If we all get to have one big epiphany every year, I had mine in the middle of July in a hotel in Dorchester.
Amir and I had just finished having dinner, and after a stroll through the sleepy town, we were in our hotel room finishing up our speeches. He had been working on his for a while — he was the groom, after all — but I, unbeknownst to him, hadn’t started writing mine just yet.
Best man speeches aren’t easy: you’re supposed to be funny and entertaining, heartwarming and charming, and welcoming and memorable, all while being inclusive and without offending or alienating anyone in the crowd. Writing the speech for Amir and Jana’s wedding was a lot of pressure, but it was pressure I embraced with joy; after all, I feel most at ease when I’m in front of an audience, performing or speaking, putting on some kind of show.
I wrote the speech quickly — if I may gloat, I think it was a pretty good one — and spent the next hour or so rehearsing it, and that’s when I had my epiphany.
Amir trusted me enough to not just ask me to be his best man, but also to speak about him and Jana to a room full of his family and loved ones that I didn’t even know. He knew, as I sat at the hotel desk scribbling away, that I hadn’t finished preparing, but he trusted that I would eventually get it all sorted out and make it all memorable.
It was a lovely day, a lovely wedding, and I was so happy to be a part of it.
After a tumultuous 2012, I decided that my word for this past year would be trust. When you’ve been hurt and betrayed and cast aside, it can be easy to be wary of the world, and I wanted to make sure that I made a concerted effort to trust people again.
The year 2013 was filled with leaps of faith, whether they were personal or professional. I let myself trust the people around me, believed in their goodwill and care, and that trust paid off repeatedly. It hasn’t been easy, but letting go of some control and giving it to others has been cathartic, healing, and has led to immense happiness.
What I didn’t fully realize — despite alluding to it when I picked my word of the year — was that 2013 was not just going to be a year of learning to trust others again; it was a year of learning to trust myself, again.
The events of early 2012 didn’t just make wary of others, but they made me distrust myself. They made me feel inadequate, unreliable, unhappy with who I am.
Over the past 12 months, I’ve been working on changing that.
I’ve trusted myself to try new things — cooking classes and choirs and volunteer work and more — and to take on new challenges at work. I’ve trusted myself to make new friends, go to new places, do things in a way I haven’t done them before. I’ve trusted myself to move into a beautiful new home with the woman I love, and she trusted me, too.
At the start of 2013, I assumed I would spend the majority of the year re-learning to trust others; instead, I spent most of it re-learning to trust myself.
My epiphany in that hotel room in July wasn’t just that Amir trusted me, that others trusted me to be there for them, but that I could trust myself to be there for them, too. I realized that, after having my sense of self-worth shattered just a year prior, that I was still me, that I could do things if I set my mind to them, that others could depend on me, and that I could depend on myself.
A productive year, I think. And now, on to the next.