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An open letter to 2011.

Dear 2011,

Unlike 2010, where I had very few words to say, I actually have quite a few things to tell you before you depart.

You were the year in which my divorce was finalized.  The end of any connection with Wasband, and his family, brought me some closure, though yeah, there are a few things that popped up toward the end of the year that were a surprise.  They’re taken care of, though, so you’re the year that I truly got rid of that horrible man.

You were the year in which I began dating someone who is, by all measures, ACTUALLY amazing, not just conditionally.  He’s the same around me as he is everyone else…including his dad.  He opened his home to me when I had nowhere else to go, and was respectful enough to maintain a separate bedroom for months while I got my bearings and decided whether I wanted our relationship to progress to something more serious.  After I made that decision, I haven’t regretted it.

You were also the year in which I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease, among other maladies that join it in a magnificently awful way.  I’m learning my limits, but I’m also learning just how much I can toe the line, and you’ve pushed me to do a few things this year that I might have never done, otherwise.  I learned to swallow my pride and ask for help when I need it, and have learned that, hilariously, Wal-Mart literally makes me sick.

I got off of most of my medication this year…unnecessary meds that did nothing more than slow me down, dull my senses, and damage my liver and kidneys.  I found several doctors who listen to me, but aren’t afraid to challenge me if they think I’m being ridiculous about something.  I can’t tell you how invaluable that’s been.  Doctors have been throwing medication at me for so long that I forgot what it was like to have an appointment where other options were discussed.

I re-connected with folks from high school in a way that I’d have never imagined.  In particular, two different guys named Jason.  One who dropped everything to call in some friends and help me move my stuff from Covington to Collierville at the beginning of the year (and who helped ensure that I still had transportation, at a later point), and another who, mid-year, re-kindled my passion for singing and has supported me figuratively and literally (he’s my accompanist, in fact) in performing.

I lost my cats, then got one of them back.  Sure, Sophie’s a bit of a pill, but when you have moments like this when you’re so sick you can’t do anything but watch Netflix and keep hydrated:

I had a fever. She likes warm things. She still manages to look evil in an adorable moment like this one.

…well, you start to overlook the little things.  Like the fact that she sneezed directly into my face right after I took this photo.

I learned that I have a special skill in teaching for standardized tests, which is something I’m just innately awesome at doing.  Knowing I could pass some of that knowledge on made me feel useful during a time when “useless” was my main feeling toward myself.

I lost 40 pounds this year.  I’m still over 200, and I hate it with a fiery passion, but being under 220 feels awesome, considering how resigned I’d let myself get with being over 250 while married.  A huge part of that weight loss (most of it, really) was diet change to help my condition…which I would have never had diagnosed if I hadn’t gotten divorced.  The other part of it was getting off of that medication that turned me into a slug.

I connected with several folks in the local movie and music industry.  I got my name in a couple of projects, and am beginning to inject myself more into the scene as a photographer and makeup artist.

I don't have Photoshop on this computer. That's all makeup and lighting. Did I mention I was about a minute away from being pneumonia-ridden, as well? Yeah. That happened.

I’ve lost a lot, have gained very little in the way of material wealth, and am starting 2012 in pretty much the same position as I began 2011:  unemployed, broke, and sick.

The difference is that, last year, I didn’t even have any hope.  I was grasping at straws, unhappy, and my life was devastated.

This year, I have a little hope and a lot of support.  I haven’t pinned all of my resources on one person – Forrest is very important to me, but I learned my lesson with Wasband.  I’m keeping in contact with friends and family, and making my own path.  I was scared to start tutoring, but did it, anyway.  I freaked out at Halloween when I was tapped to sing covers to open for a band, but I sucked it up and got up there and had a blast.  I have a paid gig in a month, as a result.

While I’m careful with my health, and I try not to push myself physically, I’ve gotten rid of my cane.  It’s still here, in just case, but I haven’t used it in months, and THAT makes me feel awesome.

This is the year that taught me that I’m stronger than even I knew.

This is the year that showed me who my friends are, and on whom I could count when things got rough.  I got a few surprising answers to both of those questions.

I also saw one of my best friends for the first time in over 3 years, today, by a freak occurrence involving her (brand new as of last night!) fiancee and his flight arrangements, which brought her to Memphis briefly.  The last time I saw her was right before I got engaged to Wasband (2008), and she was still in the midst of her divorce from the father of her two sons…the guy she’d married when we were in college at APSU in 2002.  You want to talk about missing a few things?  Yeah, we’ve both missed a few things.

This also happened. PROOF.

Seeing Andrea today was the little kick-off for next year that I needed.  It was a pretty good closer, and I hope that not so many years go by before I get to see her, again.

So…2011.

Parts of you sucked so much ass that your breath is a killer.

Parts of you were immeasurably awesome.

I learned a lot, did more than I thought I could, and am alive to tell the tale.

So while I don’t have the urge to kick you in the ass that I did 2010, I bid you farewell, with all of your faults and all of your bad memories, and welcome 2012 and the opportunities it brings.

Instead of resolutions, I’m just going to make myself a promise:  don’t slide backward.

Best wishes,

-Bonnie

 

7 comments to An open letter to 2011.