It is sometimes suggested that you write a letter to yourself as a younger person, letting the younger ‘you’ know what became of their dreams, hopes and aspirations. I cannot see the point of that. That young, idealistic and naive Diana is long gone. What is left is this is almost fifty, battle-scarred woman who has torn her fingernails to shreds, trying to hold onto that last strand of hope that there is a reason for all the hardship and heart break. I am not a superstitious person but I am now almost convinced that thirteen is an unlucky number, because 2013 has truly been the worst year of my life.
So I decided to address my concerns to the year 2014 hoping that we can reach some sort of understanding as to what I expect from it.
Your counterpart, 2013, has been the most unpleasant companion in my forty-nine year journey so far.
It has thrown every conceivable challenge, soul-destroying and hope-crushing situation in my path. It has left me broken and sobbing on the floor and wondering how it is possible to keep breathing when there is so much pain screaming through my mind and body. It took my heart, put it into a blender and then discarded all of it, without so much as a courtesy flush.
2013 was cruel and vindictive too. It would flash glimmers of hope at me, seducing me with the possibility of love and peace and happiness, and then just as my heart would tremor back to life, it would cackle with laughter and crush the hope, like you would a cockroach. And then it would taunt me repeatedly until all hope was smashed.
It was a thief. It stole all my money. Each time I paid off a debt or put something aside to start saving, it would hurl a cash-gobbling event in my path: The car that broke down every few months, the bill for children’s mishaps at the hospital, the unexpected surgery that I needed (without medical aid), the washing machine that broke (and just about every other electrical appliance). And then it stole my car, leaving me stranded with children that needed to go to school.
It stole my business too. It told clients not to pay me. It breathed into my ear that nothing I did would ever make money and that it was a waste of time to even try. Its murmurs were so loud, that I could not hear myself fighting to deny it. I believed it. So I did not try.
2013 was a murderer too. It took away a life at the beginning of the year with a speed that left me breathless and anchor-less. That was not supposed to happen. It was too soon. It followed that up with a series of nightmares of what would happen to my children should I die today. Who would take care of them? Who would provide for them? Who would love them and hug them like I do? Then it took away another one, just two weeks ago.
It destroyed relationships. In this lonely world, losing people close to you is like being drawn and quartered … slowly. There are no King’s Horses to put Humpty Dumpty together again. There are just the broken, scattered shells of what was once whole.
It stole me. All my self-confidence and belief flushed down the toilet. Looking in the mirror I could hear 2013 sniggering with glee as I put down the lipstick that I was going to apply. What’s the point? You are ugly, unlovable and worthless was the silent hiss in my ear.
There was nothing left in this empty, hopeless shell, not even a hint what could have been.
Now dear 2014, as I lay here, worn out, and terrified that life has no meaning, I thought about what I would say to you. I looked at each event and situation and tried to summarise for you what exactly each episode and circumstance has left me with.
When your counterpart pulverised my heart, I thought it could never be mended. As I examine my heart today, I see that I was wrong. It has gradually repaired itself. It is fragile, with scar tissue that is deep and permanent but the beat is steady. It’s cautious rhythm reminds me not to give it away so carelessly next time. Its gentle pulse advises me that only a man who recognises how unique and special it is, and who treats it like the precious jewel it is, deserves the unconditional love, passion, commitment, kindness, joy and sex that it will give him.
The fleeting fantasies of hope that your cruel counterpart threw at my shattered heart and mind? Maybe 2013, despite its obvious and blatant cruelty, had a transient moment of compassion. Had it not done that, perhaps there would have been no reason for me to go on.
Now as far as your purse-snatching sibling is concerned, I realised that I had to find a more effective way to manage the money that I did have in order stop that sticky-fingered thief. I went digging for a new fountain of revenue that would not dry up at the first sign of inclement weather or bloody noses from unforeseen baseball-bats-in-the-face that your pal was so fond of. I am still digging but as I write this, I see the sparkle of fresh water twinkling at me from the bottom of the well. Soon it will bubble up and eventually erupt into a fountain of abundance.
There is no redemption for 2013 for those callous murders. Death is death, and 2013 took those lives without regard for who they left behind, the pain it would cause and the nights of terror that it would come for me too. It made me pull my children closer to me and resolve that I would live a fuller life for them. It made me very aware of just how little time I do have left and wondering what on earth I should do with that time that was left to me. Life purposes are born out of death. Perhaps that is all 2013 could offer in a situation like that.
Now as I turn my attention to the shattered shells at my feet, I see on closer inspection that there are a lot of cracks in those shells. Those are old cracks, not caused by the fall, but appear to have been there all along. Is that possible? Perhaps it is not entirely 2013’s fault that those relationships are now broken. It could have been 2012, 2011 or even a distant relative that started the degradation and subsequent shattering. Maybe it was just poor 2013’s bad luck to nudge them off the wall.
I went looking for me. I had to do a lot of digging because me was buried under tons of self-loathing, and doubt. It was, and still is, a very painful extraction process but I am delighted to report that the digging is going along at a regular pace. As I unearth each part of me, I examine it closely. Any mould or dirt that I find gets put under a microscope to establish its origin. Then it gets scrubbed until it gleams.
Please convey my apologies to 2013. I blamed it for that hissing whisper of hate in the mirror. It turns out it was actually me.
So there you have it 2014! As you can tell from my heartfelt letter it has been the worst year of my life.
I just wanted to let you know that I do not have such high expectations of you.
Your’s in time,
Diana Heuser specialises in e-Business and Publishing Resources for Authors. Connect with Diana Heuser on her business website, via Twitter @DianaHeuser or on Google+. She has recently started a new group called Secrets To Publishing A Book that you will find interesting.