The very real pain of not giving up

Dear one,

It’s not like you thought it would be, is it? To put it mildly, this past year did not go to plan. It was a reckoning, in every sense of the word.

We’ve seen just how tenuous our “normal” is, just how quickly life as we knew it can end. And so perhaps you’re looking ahead to this new year and feeling a strange mixture of terror and anticipation.

Will things get worse before they get better? Will COVID be a memory by this time next year? Where are we in the scope of this struggle?

Of course, I don’t have the answers. For now, we are still in the middle. There’s hope on the horizon, it’s true, but we can’t gauge the distance yet to travel.

The middle is the keep-on-keeping-on part. It’s the trudge of one foot in front of the other, the seemingly endless march. It’s tough to do, in writing and living.

It’s the hardest part of the story.

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Embarrassing Secrets of a Recovering Perfectionist

During my first month as a freshman at Vassar College, one of my hallmates caught me folding my dirty laundry.

Yes, you read that right – I folded my dirty laundry before placing it in the collapsible navy-blue mesh hamper at the foot of my bed. It was a nervous habit that gave me a sense of control in an unfamiliar place.

Of course I didn’t want anyone to know about my odd practice, so I flushed with embarrassment when my hallmate said, “Caroline, did you seriously just fold those pajamas before putting them into your hamper?”

My hallmate’s tone was more amused than accusatory, but even so, I felt like hiding under the bed.

“Yeah, I did. You got me. I’m a total neat freak,” I said, trying to laugh it off. I swallowed hard and tried to push aside the critical voice inside my head that said, You’re so weird! Why can’t you be normal? What’s wrong with you?

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They Tried to Make Me Go To Rehab, and I Said Yes.

Friends, do you remember back in March when I wrote to you – albeit indirectly – about the blizzard that hit my life?

I’d prefer to keep that crisis vague and metaphorical; it suffices to say that I went through something tough. That’s one reason why I’ve been quieter than usual on the blog this year. (That, and writing a book.)

When I wrote about the hard time, I described it as “a slow-motion train wreck with no end in sight”, and it was. But there was still hope. I just couldn’t see it.

First, I needed to take a trip to rehab … but not for the reasons that you might imagine!

Despite the cheeky post title, no one but me “tried to make me go to rehab”. I sent myself there, and it was one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

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