Hey, blog. Long time no see. I apologise in advance that this is a long read.
I figured at some point I would take the time to explain what has been happening with me. In case anybody cared… but mostly for myself. I used to write a diary when I was young, and then I used to write a virtual diary when I was a little older, and I would always take the time on this stupid day, to write something. Many people do. We like to reflect back on a year. What was good, what was bad, what do we want out of the shiny promise of a new year?
You write diaries so you can look back on things that happened later on, and that is exactly why I keep this blog. I started it in the new year, full of new promises and good intentions. “I will definitely be better at my blog in 2013!” I thought. I had already been preparing for a few weeks before really starting it, I was excited. Of course after a few weeks it still fell apart. I’ve never been good at keeping my blog the way I want to – so why would I think this year would be any different?! But, it’s my thing that I do and probably will keep doing just because I like it. Maybe 2014 will be better. Maybe not. Who knows.
2013 has been a really weird year. It started weird, because my partner and I were going through a thing. However, I thought we worked through the thing. I was doing much better in Nov-Dec 2012 than previous years, so I felt like we could handle the thing. I was also going to the student counseling and actually managed to feel a lot better by the time the second semester came around.
The end of the school year was actually fine. We had worked out the thing. That was the second time we almost broke up – but it gave us new life in a way. We worked harder at our relationship and felt really quite good by the end of the academic term. I went to the Netherlands and back to see my friends [and a baby!]. Slam Dunk is worth a mention just because I saw Andrew McMahon live FINALLY and it was beautiful.
Summer 2013 was pretty great. We went to London, saw Anti-Flag, I felt good about myself. Japan Expo with my friends was quite great, there were so many memorable moments again. Every year keeps being better than the last. Even if I felt really really stupid when I missed my train and had to buy a whole new ticket to avoid being stuck in Paris… the memories of that trip are still great. My twin-twin and I modeled in a fashion show together and had a great time being twins for the rest of the trip. One of my favourite things was being Mike & Sulley when we went to Disneyland for her birthday.
Frock On!, the big Lolita event in London, was also magical. I walked in two fashion shows and had the most amazing hairdo I’ve ever had in my life. There were so many friends, old and new, and I felt really really great being in such an amazing community!
After Frock On! I went to the Netherlands to visit a festival with my sister, this was really nice. However, it marked the end of the summer and soon after the magical island-getaway it was back to the academic year. I did start a new job, which has been great and still continues to be something I like doing.
Over summer, my partner had moved into the 4-room student house I live in. I thought we were making a life for ourselves but in the time that I was going away to Paris, London and little islands, and by the time academia forced its routine on us, we got less into a life and more into a routine. It wasn’t the most healthy routine.
All my weekends were as good as filled with really awesome social events, all of which I would gladly share at some point [but since I have no free weekends, I wonder when that will happen ] and I didn’t really notice how unhealthy the routine was becoming.
It also started to get darker and darker, and then our relationship also ended. And by saying that it ended, I mean that I got dumped.
It wasn’t pretty. It happened over the course of a few very emotional and very confusing days, but it comes down to this: I was dumped over Facebook chat. And I only say that because I hope to paint a picture of how stupid things had become. Who breaks up with another person over chat? And not even via personal phones, but over Facebook? It continued over phone conversation, while I was in my friend’s kitchen, sitting on the floor crying after I’d spend a fun morning together with my friends taking photos in Lolita… Needless to say my day was ruined. And my week. And my month.
I don’t want to get into details because that is useless. It was done, it is still done. But this whole thing, it catapulted me into a state of mind I hadn’t had in a long time. Yes, I get real bad moods sometimes. Well, I can just say that in the last two months, I’ve been forced to really take care of those bad moods because I was so scared I was going to be beaten by them. It’s been a weird battle.
Luckily, I have a great network of supportive people surrounding me, and I’m grateful for that. When I opened up on December 9th, the date of my mother’s birthday, that I really wasn’t feeling well emotionally, I was really touched by all the sweet and supportive messages I received. Really, from the bottom of my heart: thank you for that.
Right now I’m in the Netherlands, and my immediate family have all gone on holidays to different places in the world. I’ve spent today mostly inside, just taking it slow. Taking it easy. Rethinking things. Thinking of my mother and of a time when she wasn’t resting in a bookcase.
Which takes me to this day. December 31.
This day is a special day. But not just because it’s a holiday. For me this is not just a day to reflect on a year and whether it has been good or bad. It is the day my mother died. And every year it is another year since that happened. At this point in my life I have had more without-you-years than with-you-years. It’s sad. I would always write about how much I miss, what has happened, but mostly that I haven’t forgotten, and never will. December 31 is a stupid day.
In 1997, my grandmother was staying over at our house. My grandmother was Vietnamese and spent a few months a year in Vietnam, a few months in Paris, a few months traveling around. She would also spend quite some time in the rainy and cold weather of Rotterdam. Every day she would watch the weather and complain that in Vietnam, it was about three times as hot – in the shade!
Since I was the youngest and I had a bunk bed, my room also had another bed which was my grandmother’s when she came to stay with us. This year, she was even staying with us for New Year’s. In fact, this was the year that my French family all came to visit us in the Netherlands instead of us spending Christmas in France, like we had done for all of my life before that year. The reason was that my mother was in the hospital. The good news was that she wasn’t in the Intensive Care anymore. She had a nice room to herself. I remember that we went to visit on the 30th and I had said “Oh, you have such a good view up here, you’ll have a great view of the fireworks.” I mean, I was just turned ten years old. I think I was kinda jealous. Right now I’m just trying really hard not to think how hard that must have sucked to spend the holidays in a hospital in a room by yourself.
The morning of December 31st, my father woke both my grandmother and me up, and I don’t really remember much, but I remember that my grandmother was leaning against my bunkbed while she was crying. It had happened really early in the morning. I’ve been told she was sleeping and couldn’t have felt anything and it happened really fast. It was a blood clot in the brain. To be honest, I’ve forgotten the technical details because the outcome doesn’t change.
This little calendar thing will forever be ‘stuck’ on December 31st.
Even if our little family has moved on in all sorts of ways. Even if we eventually come to terms with things. Even if we will enjoy life in other ways. December 31st will always suck.
In one of the years after 1997, I wrote in my diary how much I hated that the cheer started so early in the morning. I hated the fireworks. I hated that she wasn’t even allowed to enjoy the ‘amazing view’ from the stupid hospital – even if my ten year old self had tried to remedy that by making everyone have sparklers at the cremation.
Maybe I didn’t understand much when I was ten years old. Or eleven or twelve or thirteen or fourteen. But this year, I understand more about myself. I have spent a lot of time trying to hide things away because I didn’t know how to cope. I have spent a lot of time trying to run away from places that made me miserable and trying to move on from people who made me upset. But as I get older, I realise it doesn’t matter where you go; as long as you don’t work on yourself, you’ll never be happy. So, in a way it’s fitting that I have ended up alone by the end of this year, I’m being forced to make myself better. I’m working on it.
I’m not going to say that 2013 was amazing, or that it was horrible. It had ups, and it had downs. I’m not going to make any promises about 2014 because I feel very ambivalent about everything right now.
The only thing I really want to happen, is that I finish my degree and accomplish something without running away for once in my life.
Not much has changed in so many years, they still start the fireworks early in the morning, the little kids run around the streets, there’s too much noise, and I don’t like it.
I don’t like December 31, and I never will. No matter where I celebrate or who I celebrate with, there will always be a part of me that won’t understand. It’s unfair when people die, and it leaves a lot of scars. I’m working on myself, but those are scars I will always bear.
The phoenix on my side is my ode to my mother, the woman who gave me life and who I will always remember and continue to love. It’s been sixteen years, but not a day goes by that I am not changed by this, and not a day will come where I’m over it – but that is okay.
I have no idea what will happen in 2014 and right now I really don’t care, I don’t want to think about it. I just hope that I’ll get through my sadness and that people will understand. Thanks for reading. I wish you all the best in the new year.