I love biting into a cold Gala apple. I love the firm crispness, the crunch, the mild sweetness. A Gala apple straight from the fridge is my favorite snack, especially when paired with a hunk of pepper jack cheese or a handful of Melba toast. It's a rare twenty-four hour period that passes without seeing me indulge in this choice treat. The thing about Gala apples, though, is they get mealy when they’re overripe. And as we all know, there is nothing in the world as unpleasant as a mealy apple, especially when you were expecting something much more delightful.
I was happy to see last year end. I can’t claim it as the worst year of my life but it certainly was a trying one. Emotionally trying as I let go of old feelings and grappled with what was left, physically trying as I spent more time in hospitals and doctors’ offices in the past twelvemonth than in the previous five added together, financially trying as all those hospital visits translated into piles of hospital bills, and just harder as a good portion of my support system disappeared to the other side of the country in one fell swoop. Ahem. (looks pointedly eastward)
December turned out to be the rotter of the year and by mid-month, I was desperately looking forward to a new year and a fresh start. Ah, the best laid plans and all, you know. January has been like an old Gala apple. I grabbed it eagerly, anticipating that sweetly familiar crunch, and instead got a mouthful of dry, crumbly bits. It was, in short, disappointing. So now, the bitter taste of a mealy month still fresh on my tongue, I look hesitantly at the coming year.
Unless you live with me or happen to be one of my very limited intimates, you’re probably surprised to read this as I require much cajoling to talk about my feelings and even more when those particular feelings are unpleasant. Also, I am queen of masking stress and disappointment with Fun Kim. Fun Kim is always cheerful and in love with life. I love Fun Kim. I love being Fun Kim. I love the people who bring out Fun Kim, who accept her and want her around. But, more than that, I need Fun Kim. I need her to let me know things are going to be okay. I need the release of stress she brings.
Lately, though, the jovial façade is beginning to crack. In the nearly two decades I've been employing this particular coping mechanism, I've never found it more difficult to dredge up the energy Fun Kim requires. One recent occasion may demonstrate what I mean: minutes before several friends were due at our house for a game night, I was unloading all my problems via a phone call home. I became so distressed at one point that I lost the ability to speak and my father, the most patient and kindest of men, listened as I quietly wept into the receiver for the better part of ten minutes. After a fresh coat of mascara and a nerve-steadying Diet Dr Pepper, Fun Kim was back in full-force and ready for the next round of Scattergories.
I'm finding myself tossed betwixt feelings of frustration that my life doesn't seem to be headed the direction I'd like and amazement that I, just a single person, could be so astoundingly and lavishly blessed. That’s how it might be for a while. I’m going to be as happy as I can muster and enjoy whatever this year is going to be.
To those dear few who've been by my side through all this, anything I say would be inadequate to acknowledge the kindness you've shown me so I'll just say this: I will never forget it.
And to all others (old friends, new friends, acquaintances, commenters, stalkers, lurkers and the like), sorry I've been more Sylvia Plath than Lucille Ball lately. Thanks for sticking around. Knowing someone is out there means the world to me.