Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Trying To Fail Better

I'm not a resolution girl. Never have been. Mostly because I'm constantly making little resolutions all up in my head and quietly failing them.

I'm going to exercise more...

I'm going to

I'm going to save more money...

Which I think means I'm too much of a resolution girl. I just meant I'm not much of a New Year resolution girl. Silly, really. The one time the universe invites me to be resolute I turn it down, preferring instead to fail my resolutions throughout the other months of the year.

Lately I have had the keen sense that I've been wasting time this year. Too much time falling down the wrong internet rabbit holes, too much time watching shitty TV, too much time reading crap magazines, too much time worried about what other people think - a favorite pastime of mine...

Not enough time spent reading and writing and doing the kind of things that better my mind, my outlook, my spirit. I lost control in 2012, I think. And, in my very human attempt to blame something else for my shortcomings, I'll confidently point my finger at the house fire. The fire and the aftermath really messed me up. In ways so much more complex than the obvious.

Yeah we lost a lot of stuff, yeah we had to move, yeah we were really scared, but what messed me up most is this indefinable feeling of dread I carry around in my heart now. The rug on which I strolled through life was yanked from beneath my feet. I fell on my ass. Hard. 2012 was a year spent in survival mode, consoling myself with the most immediate comforts available: food, alcohol, TV, internet.

I don't feel safe. Still. Am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I constantly roam around my house, including several times a night, touching plugs to make sure they aren't warm, feeling walls to see if they're warm, opening doors and peeking into rooms fully expecting to see flames engulfing everything.

Will that unsettling expectation of imminent danger ever go away?

Losing so much stuff instilled within me an impulse to acquire more stuff. Particularly for my daughter, who lost everything. Not important stuff. Just stuff. I guess to show the fire that it didn't win? I don't know. For someone who has a history of not enjoying shopping, I spent a lot of time roaming aisles in search of the one thing that could perfectly plug the hole in my heart. I never found it, of course.

You'd think it would be the other way around, wouldn't you? That a fire destroying so much, including my personal mementos, would inspire a deep appreciation for what's truly important. Which, it did that, yes, but it also freaked me out so badly that I immersed myself in methodically improving upon my surroundings by acquiring more stuff. Futile. Like slapping a tiny band-aid on a gaping wound, it was never going to work.

You see where this is going, don't you?

Back to the resolutions... I want to grab the reigns of these wild runaway horses of 2012, and show the bastards who's boss of 2013. Make 2013 my bitch, if you will... And yet I'm afraid to vocalize any specific desire because of the overwhelming fear of more failure and the inevitable crushing disappointment in myself.

This is where the cliches come in, right? Yes. Trying and failing is better than not trying at all.

This time I'll just try to fail better.

Reader Comments (20)

Failing better is the best resolution I can think of! You'll do great and I look forward to reading and watching your better everything this year.

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarty Coleman

Best wishes to you in 2013....I hope it kicks ass for you and your family!!

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkacy

i know of which you speak, not from fire, but other circumstances. living on edge like that, on constant high alert, is something that is obviously not healthy and joy stealing. in my case, it was PTSD and Anxiety Disorder producing after a time of having the fight/flight mechanism engaged for too long. the desire to return to joy sent me on paths of spiritual trials and awakenings...ultimately, it came down to having faith in the fact that the universe does indeed have our backs...but that faith is hard won, yet well worth the journey. all the best to you and yours in 2013. claim it! breathe! xx

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

I love your honesty. I'll keep praying for peace & blessings for you. God can fill that hole.

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrace Miller

Hang in there, Monica. Your blog is so refreshing and honest and I feel like some change is ahead for you in 2013. In a good way. Happy New year!

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstella

One day at a time...

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous

wishing you and yours a happy New Year... remember you are not really alone in your suffering as so many people can relate, and that you deserve happiness and peace of mind. it's always a good exercise to break our external, habitual dependencies and learn to rely on yourself again. you are a beautiful person and tough enough to be all over 2013!

sending out love vibes through the interwebs,
devoted reader

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterash

This post is wonderful and captures the spirit of your blogging that I love. I found your rap post so jaw droppingly terrible which led me to ***** and I found you engaging horribly. I am glad to see that there is still sweetness and hope and not the angry bitterness of earlier in the month.

I hope your 2013 is fulfilling and filled with joy

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterR.M.

Cliche sounds like a ballet dance step, Something we all do in time, at the appropriate time. Sounds right anyway. One two three turn and cliche. Have you seen the Nutcracker Suite? I believe there is something very healing in distraction particularly in taking in something which is which can't easily be taken away or devastated. I think music and the way we see simple things in nature as art and animals and stars help us to keep it simple. to be silly and laugh and enjoy each other's company. You write beautifully, Monica ( and Serge too). Your blog and babble stuff is always interesting and fun reading, often cracking me up and other times just making me think. It's one of those therapeutic intangible things you do and share which can't easily be taken away. It's something you really can't fail at, being you. I hope you continue in whatever God has gifted you with. In time as you have helped heal others, you will also be healed. Cut yourself a break for Peach sakes! Happy old year!

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergina

Here's to health (mental and physical and emotional....) in '13. I had my own trauma last year which threw me into what most would call a nervous breakdown: was swiped by a car while riding my bike in downtown SF and ended up bashing my head along with everything else (helmet saved my life, please always wear one, everyone) My sister just happened to be visiting me and I was on my way to meet her for lunch--- when crash.

She doesn't have a cell phone, so I managed (in the ambulance and while in shock) to get the number of the restaurant, have her paged and then told her I was hurt and TO MEET ME AT THE EMERGENCY ROOM.

She never came. That's her story, still can't understand... but the aftermath is what reminds me of your story, Monica. I blocked everything out, telling myself that I was a grown woman and perfectly able of taking care of myself, which I did.... it was OK she didn't come.... OK OK OK I don't care, OK OK-- until my body collapsed under me. My body let me know I wasn't OK when the anxiety was so intense I could.not.breathe.

Took me four months of therapy, medication, raw desire to live to get through it--- it was most horrible, but the Queen of Denial bit didn't work for me so much, which really pissed me off because I'm really good at denial.

Anyway-- too long of a story, but what I did learn was that I had to deal with my shit because it doesn't evaporate or simply get better if your psyche is holding onto it. Thank Goddess and goodness I am still here, and quite, fucking happy-- which is a miracle in itself. amen--

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

It will get easier with each day passing. It just takes time.

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercharity

"Make 2013 my bitch" i love this Monica. I will keep this in my mind as well:) Happy new year. All the best.

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranajo

@Karen: So sorry about your accident and everything you suffered but I appreciate how you can write about it and encourage others to deal with stuff. I was also in a terrible accident this past year and though i had many fractures none of it sounds as bad as what you went through. I had to stop and mull over every thing you wrote there. You are right. Things don't just go away when your psych is hanging onto it. No they don't. I had to forgive several people for not being there for me when I went through my own private Idaho and still have to stop and validate my feelings of abandonment and remember that I am loved even without ANYONE being there! But it STILL HURT! Here I had been making excuses for them until one day I kind of had a melt down and told my sister about it. I was pretty angry. I used words Pollyanna don't usually use, Felt good to let that anger out and forgive those I felt had abandoned me. I still never spoke of my feelings to certain people but feel less bothered. Anyway thanks for sharing. I know you are commenting to Monica but your words are far reaching. .You ARE important and you deserved everything you expected and more. Healing is of course,.a process, and I found that praying a simple Psalm 23 comforting. It seemed to protect my heart like a comforter through a crap-load of hurt feelings ( while you give yourself permission to FEEL those things which hurt so bad.) We all have to FEEL our pain in order to deal with it effectively, As the queen of denial, I can also attest to the misery of suppression and subsequent anxiety attacks and it really HELPS to talk about it...I TALK TOO MUCH HERE! Sorry everyone!!! Yikes. Carry on! Love Gina :)

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergina

@Karen - WHAAAA? She never came?! I don't understand. I'm sorry about that. I've been dealing with some similar family-related stuff. People behaving in ways that blow my mind, confuse me and leave me questioning everything I previously thought about family and myself. It's brutal.

December 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterMonica

Sounds like you might have PTSD/Anxiety. :-(

I hope you kick 2013's ass and find comfort anywhere & anyway you can, you deserve to relax, chica. I can't imagine going through what you went through, but in the end you will be stronger for it. Here's to a new year!

December 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCheney

It does go you know, that feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. The trick is to stop waiting and look around and enjoy now too.

December 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuze

Happy New Year, Monica!

Gina, your comments rule.

December 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra

I like Gina's comments too.

December 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTheGirlWho

Gina, thanks for the response. That's exactly how I felt: abandoned... when I finally let myself go there, but I fought it. Gave me flashbacks to being a kid when I felt utterly alone. You're right, it helps to talk about it, and I finally started telling my close friends what happened; even they didn't know, I was pretending all was well after 13 stitches in my noggin. I was actually petrified of writing the story in Monica's comments, but what a nice response both you and Monica made. Thanks, friends. It was a TOUGH road, but I'm doing well now, but am not really connecting at all with The Sis. Happy New Year!

December 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Where is Milo? Haven't heard mention of him recently, and only Max appeared in your christmas photo shoot. Just curious. Hope he's ok.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersunny

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