I'm sure many of you have seen that whole 2009-2019 Decade in Review meme thing floating around social media. I'm sure it's some sort of aging detection psy-ops thing but I plan on going dark on all platforms sometime during 2020 so whatever. And most of these photos already exist online anyway, so I have a hard time believing it really is anything other than a silly game. (Or is that what they want us to believe? Dun dun dun!)
The moment I truly began to think about all that has happened, changed, moved in my life in the last ten years, shit. I had no words because there were too many words. I know there must be many of us who feel this way. In 2009, I was just 23 years old. Now, 33, and I feel like such a more well-rounded person. I was truly walking by faith, yet it took 10 years to appreciate what a child I was, yet how well I handled life as it was dealt to me.
I think I'm going to talk about myself in third-person for most of this. Because, I feel so far removed from a lot of this story/for my own mental health-- time traveling and being the narrator feels safer.
2009-Azia was living in Mankato, MN and had a daughter who would turn 2 in November of that year. She wasn't in school and would happily and with great style quit the soul-sucking job she held at a Verizon Wireless Call Center. (This job would be the main factor of her absolutely hating telephone conversations from there on out. Seriously, unless you are her sister who lives out of state or it is an emergency, please just text her. She hates phone conversations with a passion). She would return to being an Assistant Manager at Wet Seal and take on more hours serving at what would become nearly decade-long employment at The Pub 500. Working was a major theme of that year.
By 2010, she would be a single mother. She will have met and gotten photos with Julian Casablancas (The lead singer of The Strokes for those of you unfamiliar with this living genius). Eva's father and her will have split. She will have attempted to date at a long distance, Adam, but not have the time. A lot of childhood trauma's she had pretend hadn't existed begin to surface. She sees a therapist for the first time. She is bothered greatly by the way she rolls her socks. She meets a really talented musician named Devin. They are not meant to be but she will always remember his kindness and how much she liked his mother. She will, in 2019, still make a few of the recipes for her family that his mother had shared with her.
In 2011, she will allow her mother to live with her. She will sleep on the couch, and Azia will help her get a job that she will stop attending. This visit will drive a nearly irreparable wedge between the two. Azia doesn't regret many things in her life, but this is one moment in time she wishes never happened. She often thinks that if she hadn't allowed her mother to stay, that she wouldn't have seen and known too much and that there wouldn't be as much hurt. There are other parts of this story, but it doesn't feel right to share just yet. She will spend many years praying for strength. Her doctor's will tell her she has severe depression. She will be put on celexa and it keeps her in bed for a few weeks. She stops taking it and her heart feels very broken. She tells her strange-socked therapist that pills won't undue the sexual trauma that has haunted her since childhood. She will tell the therapist to fuck off and not return. Later that year, after a night of trick or treating with Eva and her dad, they find themselves together again and she conceives her son Abram. In December 2011, Azia receives a call that her father has died. Another regret from 2011-- it will reshape her boundaries and tolerance for ghosting. She never got to tell her father she loved him or explore their relationship before he died. More heartbreak. More prayer.
By 2012, her son Abram will be born. She will move to New Ulm. Go to church regularly. Start a Lit Mag. Get married after the church puts on a wedding for them in 2013. Lean on prayer when they lose everything later that year. She will move to Iowa and fall in love with a lot of people she will eventually have to leave. She will have another daughter, Maggie. She will work at Barnes and Noble and attend women's ministry, lead small group bible studies. She will share her testimony during a sermon series. It will be the first time she shares her sexual trauma publicly. She will begin to feel free of it. She will continue to publish writers with a team of really great literature-lovers and also steadily find her own work going out into the world. She will relocate to California reluctantly in 2015. It's hard for her to say goodbye to her church family, because it is the first time she has ever felt part of a community and been able to like the person she sees when she looks in the mirror.
In California, she will be alone often. Her faith will be tested, yet it will bloom. She will not find a home-church but will make a church in her heart. She will grow close with her cousin, Sara. She will fall in love with California. Her marriage, built on a shaky foundation will crumble. She will begin seeing a therapist who will explain C-PTSD to her and have her do a lot of writing. She will tell her she is whole and that many of her anxieties to noise and over-stimulation are trauma responses.
In June of 2016, she will almost kill herself but fall asleep before she can continue. This dark night of the soul will be her shedding. She won't know that until later. She will wake up with new vision and a new appreciation for life. She will see clearer and feel clearer. She will move to Minnesota. She will get a divorce. She will be the maid-of-honor at her best friend Melissa's wedding. She will cry a lot. And remember Adam.
By 2017, Azia and Adam will have both nearly died. February 7 will be a day that lives in their hearts forever. They will experience more death throughout the next 2 years, but it brings them closer, makes the moment they experience life even more sweet. Azia moves to Zimmerman. She will first fall in love with the place, then grow to resent it, and then settle into a quiet peace knowing the home is temporary but also that now is the only moment hat exists so it is also forever. Her first poetry chapbook, "Atoms and Evers" will be published.
In 2018 her daughter will perform "Annie" and it will be one of Azia's favorite memories of being a mother thus far. Azia gives birth to Adam's son, Jude in August. Jude brings peace to all of them-- Adam, her, the kids, her former spouse, Garrett. Their family grows stronger every day.
By 2019, she is sitting at her computer wondering how she managed to grow from a girl to a woman. She has appreciation for her oldest daughter, Eva, who just turned 12. She will one day recognize that her mother wasn't qutie an adult when she was first born, and that she was able to watch her mother grow. Azia hope she appreciates that aspect and doesn't harbor resentment ha.
There is so much I glossed over. But, it's because I know one day I will be writing longer works (some already in development) on some of these things, others I'm not ready to share or they aren't just my story to tell, so they are left out. I refuse to go back and reread all of of that and correct typos because even as nuanced as it was, it was hard to return.
I spoke briefly about regret. And I do have regrets. I was a little girl in an adult role for most of my life. I wasn't prepared for any of it. I was surviving and I did my best. There are moments that stick out for me, that I wish I could whisper in my ear words of wisdom in order to avoid unnecessary heartbreak or dramas even. But, they've all been learning opportunities, too.
Life is so strange. And here's to another decade of it!