Posted by: Trigger | 2 January, 2008

A year I don’t care to repeat. But a valuable year, nonetheless.

After being away from my desk at work for days on end, I’m feeling quite recharged. A bit disappointed to be here (if I’m being honest), but happy with how my days away from the job went.

Mostly, I am happy with how this new year has already started off about a million times better than last year. And now, I’ll reflect on some of the things that happened. It was a tough year, and a year that made me tougher. This year, in fact, inspired the url for my blogg – because I have indeed become Tough Trigger, through the experiences I’ve racked up throughout the year.

I initially set out to chronical those experiences in a way that many other members of the blogosphere have done. But, to be quite honest, things were hard enough for me the first time around, and I’ve spent enough time contemplating what I could have/would have/should have done to make things go “better” as they unfolded last year, so I really don’t want to dedicate more brainpower (and emotion) to it at this point. Many things about last year hurt, I spent a lot of the year hurting, but ultimately I have a better understanding of myself and my goals, boundaries, and desires in the end. So I will take those lessons and move forward into 2008.

Some of the things I did learn were the following:

-Although I spent a lot of my life running away from the possibility of a serious relationship, once I found someone that I was interested in building that type of relationship with, I am incapable of settling for casual. And that’s okay – as long as I make it clear what will and won’t work for me. It took me about 6 months to realize that lesson – 6 fairly turbulent months of trying to be casual with Z, and failing miserably. When I finally came to my senses, and explained to Z that I couldn’t accept less than a serious commitment, I definitely took the biggest risk of my young adult life. I was terrified! And rightfully so – at first, his answer was less than enthusiastic. To me, anything less than a categorical “yes, let’s be serious” was the same as a flat-out “no.” I learned that about myself, and even though his answer fell in the second category, I felt good and confident and proud of myself for sticking to my principals. In the end, I got the guy, too. And although it hasn’t been roses and sunshine every single day, we are at a really great place at this point. I’m smiling just thinking about how happy we’ve been.

-I am a stress no-eater. The best diet for me? Get me all anxious and weirded out about something (anything!) and I’ll drop 5 pounds in a week. I think my net loss from my turbulent year is about 13 pounds, but I had lost more than 20 when I was weighing my lowest this year.

-Losing weight through a loss of appetite is not the healthiest way to get skinny. (Well, I already knew that, but I just wanted to throw that out there – don’t want to be accused of being a dumb girl who starves herself). The best way to lose weight? Control your portions, eat complex carbs, lean protein and your most vividly colored fruits and veggies, and up your exercise. So there, don’t accuse me of being an ignorant twit.

-You know what else I learned? Sex is an important part of a long term relationship to me. I have always been a bit of a prude when it comes to sex (it’s always been imperative to me that I be fairly seriously dating a guy before the physical relationship progressed past making out), but when I am comfortable with someone, when I trust him and when he is an important part of the future I envision for myself, sex becomes a wonderful expression of that most intimate emotional connection. Plus, it’s fun, duh!!! And I become very stressed out when things are not connecting well between my partner and I on that level – specifically in regards to the whole “quantity” issue – “quality” has never been a problem.

-Praise and accolades in the workplace are very important. And I am a walking example of why the Oreo method of delivering constructive criticism (stick with me, I’ll explain) is important for your subordinates. I walked out of my annual review feeling like I had been told I was a terrible employee, although I’ve since realized I was only receiving a (negative) subset of my performance review. Say something good (the first outer cookie), deliver the constructive criticism -and make sure it’s really constructive (the inner creamy center), then say something else that’s good (the second outer cookie). This will get the message across about your expectations, yet also leave your subordinate feeling like a valued member of the team, and will spur improvement through good will and general desire to get better, not just from spite (“I’ll show you how wrong you were about my review”) or fear (“I got a bad review, holy cow, I’ve got to do better, or else”).

-I get caught up in consumerism, but I really don’t agree morally with it. I really, REALLY wish that I were smarter about my consumption. For the reasons why, you can see this article by Jared Diamond in the NY Times that fairly closely chronicles my ideas about consumerism. Now, it’s time for me to affect change in my own life.

-I have an incredibly hard time contradicting my parents, and a ridiculously hard time making decisions that I know they will not approve of. Once Z made the efforts to win me back, and I was on board to give a committed relationship with each other another go, we decided to live together. Quite honestly, with the things that had transpired between us, I’m not sure I could have learned to trust him again without some giant, momentous gesture of commitment from him. Deciding to cohabitate signaled to me how serious he was, and the lengths he was willing to go to make our relationship work. But my parents are fairly WASP-y (at least as WASP-y as one can get in a Podunk cow town like my hometown), and I really should have a ring on my finger before they can accept my living arrangement. This happened to be what was right for me, however, and it was (and is) essential to my ability to trust Z again.

-If I’m really, 100%, completely being honest here, I still don’t blindly trust Z. He’s still proving himself to me after the mistakes he’s made since we began dating almost two years ago. Especially the mistakes he made during our 6 months of not-quite-broken-up, not-quite-dating status. And I am not, in any way shape or form, blaming him for those months and my pain during those months. I knew all along that the only way to guarantee that I was never hurt by him, would be to completely wash my hands of our romantic relationship, which would mean removing him from my life for an indefinite amount of time. And I never did that. I was always hoping, always praying, that he would realize what a great partner I am for him. And so, for those six months, I set myself right in the middle of the line of fire. And what do you know? I DID get hurt. Repeatedly. I had the power to make it stop, to remove myself from the situation and the risk, and I didn’t. Fortunately for me, he did a lot of work on himself, and made enough realizations about the things he’s really after in life and the person he really wants to be, and also the person he really wants to be with, that it looks like I made the right choice in enduring those hard times. But it wasn’t easy. And I’m painfully human, that much I’ve definitely learned, and fabulously flawed – so my heart is still a little out of sync with my mind on the whole trust issue. I’ve decided to forgive, and do my best not to forget, but to relinquish those times to the very deepest, dark recesses of my mind. It’s just…my heart is taking a little bit longer to catch up with my mind than I expected. It’s not that I have zero trust in him, more that occasionally, my heart will trick my gut and my mind into expecting the worst out of a situation. And I’ve finally realized that this discord will just take time to sort itself out. I’ve gotten better, and more confident, in trusting Z again. But I still have work to do.

Although I’m sure I’ll be reflecting on other things as I start to fill up my 2008 calendar, and I hope I continually am growing as a human, I do have to say – 2007 marked a big shift in me. I feel more like an adult now than I ever have before, having conquered some big fears, some big risks, and some big hurts throughout the year. What doesn’t kill us, really does make us stronger, or at least teaches us something.

Here’s to an excellent 2008. Right now, I’m feeling like my future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades. πŸ™‚ For that, I can be truly thankful.

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Responses

  1. Wow, Trigger, this was a great post. I related (again!) to a lot of what you said there…you can express feelings and relationship nuances much better than I’d ever be able to. I’m really happy that things are going well for you and Z, and I hope 2008 brings only good things πŸ™‚
    PS… I love your music references! It’s 11pm where I am; I’m about to go to bed and now I have that ‘shades’ song stuck in my head. Thanks! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜›

  2. Hi! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I just read you for the first time, and it bewilders me a bit. Part of me is hoping that your being with Z currently is something I can look forward to with GDB – so maybe we’ve hit our six months patch. I love your healthy dieting tips, and I think…I’ve so much more to read from you. πŸ™‚

  3. Trust is a weird thing, isn’t it. A tricky, manipulative little fucker. But also very simple: trust your gut.

    Happy New Year girl.

  4. Here to 2008! I have a good feeling about this one.
    πŸ™‚


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