Reflecting October

October is sort of a hard month for me.

Mostly this is due to anniversaries.  October 13th has been dubbed "International Anti-Bitch Day" by myself and my girlfriend because it's my anniversary with not one but two weird exes, one of whom was a legitimately abusive woman.  Later in the month is the anniversary of my grandfather's death: he went out in a room filled with laughter and love, so it's not a bad memory. But it's a hard one. 

And that same week is the anniversary of the day my nuclear family disintegrated. I call it Broken Bone Week: there were a lot of things that came to a head at once, and my life kind of... reset.  My parents divorced. That needed to happen--three years later they're both infinitely happier and I've never had better relationships with either of them.  But my best friend at the time, who was living in our home, pretty much dropped a nuclear bomb on what would have otherwise been a stressful-but-necessary situation.

He told me we didn't really have anything without him benefiting from my family. He moved in with my aunts for six months and lied to them about what an awful person I was.  We'd been planning on becoming roommates, and he accused me of using him to move out of the house. My family, when I asked for help, had no idea what to make of the situation. It was treated like high school drama.

Or like I was making a big deal out of nothing, because I kept my parents' confidence on their divorce: no one believed me when I told them there was more to the situation. In retrospect he was a pretty awful friend and frankly a terrible person (he once told me not to leave a cheating partner because "I wouldn't find anyone better"), but I still called him my brother.

Every year, I write about it.  Not because I haven't moved on--I have, mostly, although I'm still figuring out new ways that screwed up my perception of friendships--but because it's a big milestone in my life.

Sometimes when a bone gets broken, it heals wrong.  At a weird angle, or slightly off-center. It might be functional, but it's not whole.  The doctors have to break it again and set it properly to get it to heal the right way.  I went through some trauma when I was little, which is another journal entry in itself, and it took me a long time to figure out friendship after that. I had no concept of people liking me, or connecting with me. It just didn't make sense.

You might understand why I call it Broken Bone Week.

Relationships are complicated. They just are--no one in the world naturally has healthy ones, honestly. They take a ridiculous amount of hard work.  But every October, I look back at where I was and realize how far I've come.  The mistakes I've made: multitudes, but never as bad as calling a toxic person my brother for ten years.  The progress I've made: my healthy friendships, the old ones I've rekindled.  The family in my life: my parents, who are so much happier, and the strong relationships I have with my extended family.

I've learned so much.  That's worth a couple broken bones.

October is a hard month, but it's my favorite month. The leaves change, tea takes on a distinct warmth in the chilly air, we get to plan out new novels and wear ridiculous costumes, the sweaters come back out for the winter. I'm lucky in that all the hard anniversaries are centered around a time when self-care is easy for me. I love the fall.

And the seasons keep getting easier.