I don't know why.
I don't know if it's a way of reaching out or just another form of passive aggressive bullying.
But...you know...since you're here, old friend...
I'm not sure if you've heard, but this year was really hard. A lot of untruths were spoken about me, a lot of rumors, gossip, unkind things. Some of those things were said by you. Some of those rumors were started by you. All of those rumors built into one of the ugliest things that I've ever experienced. And it ripped scabs off of some old ugly things. I fell into a deep depression. I wanted to kill myself. My business suffered horribly. I now deal with some pretty hardcore social anxiety. I cry a lot. You know...just a hard year.
But I want you to know this - I'm ok. And what was the ugliest year has turned into a year of a lot of growth. A really nice year, actually.
I know that I've probably spent a lot more time thinking about you than you have about me. There have been times that I've sat with my therapist (because I'm in therapy now) and just cried because I was trying so hard not to hate you. Trying so hard to not to want to get even. Not to wish for you to fail at everything you try. I've spent months trying to figure out how to keep loving my neighbors, when my neighbors have hurt me so deeply. And in the process of healing from all of the hurt that the beginning of the year brought...
I found the truest of my friends.
I found out that talking about how hard everything can be, was healing to other people who are having a hard time.
I discovered that I don't have to try so hard or work all of the time. Sometimes I can just be.
I discovered hiking and bird watching with my husband!
I see these in real life! With my husband! (photo by James Mcghee)
I found my church.
I started painting again.
Painting by Jessica Mcghee
I let go of a lot of fear.
I found out that helping people is still ok, I just do it a little differently now.
I found people who really love me, and who let me love them.
I'm still struggling. This week I'm tackling resentment...I don't want to be resentful, but there it is, so I'm fighting it. I still get sad. I still freak out in public. But these little battles are ok, because overall, I'm pretty content with how everything turned out this year. That list up there...those are a lot of gifts that I wouldn't have if it weren't for the part of the year that sucked.
And I'm not mad at you. Like - I wish you were sorry, because I thought we were friends. I thought you knew the person that I was. I thought you wouldn't believe that I would do something like that to you. And I feel like, with so much time passing, that you have to know now. I feel like surely you must know that those were lies, and how much damage those lies did.
But maybe you don't. Or maybe you do, and you're just not sorry. But I'm not mad. I think people do things out of fear and in the interest of protecting what's theirs and sometimes when things go south, people need an enemy. And for some reason, this year I made a good enemy for a lot of people.
It's not like I've never done the same thing. I definitely get fear. I definitely get fear based actions. And maybe your actions weren't born of fear. I guess I'll never really know.
But I want you to know this. I don't hate you. I'm not mad at you. I think that you were really careless with your words and I hope that you don't do that to anyone else, because your actions were devastating, but ...you know...I guess we all do what we think we need to do to get by. Maybe I did something to you that was hurtful that I'm not even aware of. If I did, I'm truly sorry. I only ever wanted to be your friend....and I have enough self awareness to know that sometimes I fall drastically short of being a good friend.
Anyway, I thought I'd throw this all out there, since you showed up. I could give this a Hallmark ending and be all, "Because of you, life is gumdrops!" and "I love you!" and all of the sappy crap that happens in Hallmark movies that pretty much never happens in real life...
Life isn't gumdrops. But I'm a better person for making it through the worst parts of this year. And if loving my neighbor means I don't hate you, I don't wish bad things for you, I hope you and your family are ok but I'm going to go ahead and keep you at a safe distance...then I guess I love you, neighbor. I guess I'm thankful for your actions, because at the end of the day, I like this version of me better than the version from the beginning of the year.
Happy holidays and all the best,