This year was a bitch.

2016: nothing but loss. In his Meek Mills diss track, Back to Back, Drake fires off the line, ” I don’t want to hear about this ever again,” indicating that he was done talking about the beef at the song’s conclusion.

I get it.

Nobody wants to keep talking about the same negativity once it’s past. You have to let that thing breathe and move on.

That’s exactly how I feel about 2016.

On the scoreboard of life, my initial reaction was to write a big ass “L” (for loss) in the 2016 slot. I lost a lot of things this year.

For starters, I lost a friendship I don’t know how to fix. A cousin of mine and I were close, like sisters. We argued over something stupid and basic. It was so basic it doesn’t even matter anymore to me. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to get back to a place where I can say to her, “I’m sorry. I miss you. It was some other stuff that had nothing to do with you, and that particular day, it exploded.” A lifelong friendship evaporated. A loss.

Later in the year I lost my marriage, and with my marriage, my stepchildren. That loss that rocked me to my very foundations. When you stand smiling and saying vows and promising forever, you don’t always know what forever will bring. Occasionally, the terms and conditions of forever change. If you can’t deal with the changes, you have to go. So I did, with a broken heart. That loss has changed the very landscape of my life. I’m not saying it was the wrong choice to leave; leaving was just another loss.

They weren’t all such personal losses

I lost my favorite musician. Prince was an inspiration to millions of people on this planet. I’m no exception. Indeed, Prince taught me how to use my art to make people feel something. He taught me how to bring everything I had inside me and dump it all out with all its ugliness, beauty, its jagged edges and make it make sense. We all have both inside us, beauty and pain and joy. I mourned the loss of that man like I would any other beloved mentor; with tears. With anguish. I mourned a man I never met to the point of being embarrassed for myself. That’s the truth of great art, great art leaves imprints on your soul. That was a great loss for us all.

Loss leaves imprints as well.

Additionally, I lost respect for so many people I thought I knew well through this political shitstorm of an election. There has been so much vitriol that it left me slack jawed at times. Another loss.   I don’t know what else to say about that.

To my horror, I lost just about everything I thought I needed this year. I hit rock bottom. There’s a famous quote from J. K. Rowling, “rock bottom was the foundation from which I rebuilt my life.” It comes from a Harvard commencement speech in which she talks about failure (watch that speech here). After listening to that speech I gained new perspective; it moved me.

What did I learn from this loss?

I think I have learned the secret of loss. I have learned gratitude for beauty. I have gained appreciation for the people I still have left in my life, and gratitude for those who I parted ways from. Each person who touches our lives does so for a reason. Some of them are there to wound us so badly we go searching for answers. This was a year of loss. Yet I gained a deeper understanding of myself.

I had no idea how little I knew about myself

Ironically, this year was the making of René. I know who I am now. I’m kind, I’m loving, but I’m not here for your shit either. I learned it is not selfishness to choose me. I am the only person who knows exactly what I need to survive. I am the only person who always has my best interest at heart. I am the only person who will be with me for the rest of my life. Additionally, I needed to know that constantly prioritizing others at my own expense wasn’t selfless, it was stupid. I learned I am allowed to have needs. I am allowed to fulfill those needs all by my damn self. Of course, I’m allowed to defend myself. I don’t have to wait for permission from anybody.

In conclusion, 2016, you were a real challenge. A coach who pushed me to my absolute limits and left me breathless and vomiting on the floor. Even so, you made a champion out of me.

All things considered, I have to put a W on that scoreboard. However, I still don’t want to talk about it again. Sometimes you lose too much to celebrate the win. Ultimately, I learned and I am so ready to leave this shit show of a year behind forever.

What do you have to say about 2016?

Until next time,

René

Saftgläser” by Peter Drach (aka PeteDragomir) is licensed under CC BY-SA

Saftgläser” by Peter Drach (aka PeteDragomir) is licensed under CC BY-SA

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