It’s January 1st* in the brand new year.
This morning at around 3 AM I broke a poor guy’s heart by leaving him at the club to go get chili cheese fries after dancing with him most of the night. I didn’t give him my number. Shit, I didn’t even give him my name.
But off I walked, into the shadows of the early morning to glorious drunk snack heaven.
Aren’t you wondering what a newly acclaimed “Vegan” is doing eating chili cheese fries at three in the god damn morning?
Does it concern you at all if I say that, despite being single for the past year, I broke two other gentlemen’s hearts this morning by not agreeing to let them buy me more drinks and dance with them?
I used to worry about shit like this. But now I’m not.
Let me just make one thing perfectly clear, OK: Fuck New Year’s resolutions.
Now, this doesn’t mean I think you are stupid for having one. You are welcome to “new year new me” yourself all the way to kingdom come for all I care.
All I’m saying is that the concept itself is Ludacris. And yes, I do mean the American rapper.
Let’s go back in a time machine real quick…you comfy back there? Good. Let’s roll.
2014 was the first year that I actually hated. It was the first time that I approached the end of the year with a desire to burn my cute Lil’ Target calendar inside a dumpster.
On one hand, I’d overcome two near-cataclysmic events in the same year: a break-up from a five-year long relationship that ended horribly, and a brain hemorrhage. Also I’d graduated college, which for me might as well have been a cataclysmic event because I almost didn’t graduate at all (LOL ask me about that Nutrition class I took that summer).
But survival was exhausting. And my emotions had been to their extremes so many times I didn’t even know how to regulate myself anymore.
What nobody tells you about having several life-changing events in one year is that you don’t really get to be the same again. You cross a threshold; of growth, of grieving. And once you step over that threshold you don’t get to go back to whatever “comfortable” life you lived before.
If that sounds dramatic to you, it’s because it fucking is.
If you don’t believe me, go to talk to the strongest person I know: my mother.
This woman has been through so much shit she’s practically an armored tank.
She’s going to call me once she reads this. Why? Because she’s my absolute biggest fan and if I ever get on Ellen someday she’s going to be crying in the front row. When I miraculously made local television this year, as the camera panned out to commercial I literally waved and mouthed “HI, MOM!”
When I arrived to December 31, 2014 I was really depressed. I was healing up nicely from my brain injury but only on the outside. My insides were still squirming with anxiety and record-breaking low self-esteem.
I was about to start my student teaching back up again and I felt a pit in my stomach drop every time I tried to pick up a lesson plan. PTSD. That’s called PTSD. I didn’t understand it then, but the classroom brought me higher rates of anxiety than normal.
Probably, oh, I don’t know, because my head exploded while trying to explain “ethnocentrism” to a couple of 14-year-old’s.
I decided to go out on the town with my best friend Brennyn so that I could do what most people do on New Year’s: get white girl wasted and pretend like my life wasn’t falling apart. I could drink alcohol again. And my doctor told me as long as I didn’t black out I was probably fine.
So I continued my trajectory to inebriation and landed myself with bloody arms (I was wearing a sequin skirt and it had scratched my arms up while dancing) in a friend of a friend’s bed drunk and kind of high, calling up my other best friend and demanding that I be her Maid of Honor if she got engaged** that night.
Do you even know what’s about to happen next in this story? Do you even understand the kind of wacky shit I’m about to tell you right now?
Here we go.
The next thing that happened was that I woke up in that stranger’s bed soaked in pee because I had just drunkenly pissed myself.
Didn’t see that one coming now did yuh?!
OK, maybe you did. Also maybe you read my book and that little juicy story is buried in there somewhere. Wow, did I just spoilers you without telling you I was gonna spoilers you right now?
I feel like that was kind of manipulative of me. But hey, if you actually read this then you must enjoy torture because literally all of these posts are ridiculous.
What was the resolution that led to this tragic event? I’ll take “What is…Stop Living Through Life-Altering Events and Having to Deal with The Emotional Fallout?” for $1,000, Alex!
As silly as that sounds, my “resolution” was to stop being me, essentially. I didn’t want to carry all that baggage with me into 2015! 2015, babay new year new-ohhhhhh, nope. I just pissed in a stranger’s bed. Same me. Wait, was I pissing in stranger’s beds before 2014? What in the actual fuck is going on here?
I’m happy to announce that I haven’t had an “incident” since. Unless you count passing out and puking at a routine blood draw every single time but I mean cut me some slack will you, pressures cuffs and bins on walls with needles in them make me lose consciousness, OK.
But that doesn’t mean my resolutions since then have been any less stupid.
There was 2016 where I vowed to get back in shape.
Also 2017 where I vowed to get back in shape.
And 2018 where I settled for being “a shape.”
Most of my resolutions in the past few years have centered on my body and changing it. I didn’t understand what this was about until recently when I remembered that my body went through a massive change in 2014 causing me to lose 20 pounds of muscle mass and gain it all back in my face, ass, and bellybutton.
I’ve also resolved to write daily, eat healthier, do more comedy, do a TED Talk, get a book published, and move to New York City.
I’ve tried all kinds of mechanisms for this change including countdown calendars, planners, writing affirmations on sticky notes and putting them around my house, and who doesn’t love a good ol’ vision board? And I’m not saying these things don’t work, because they do. Obviously a few of those things got done. And if I haven’t tried to sell you the Passion Planner then are we really even friends?
The only thing is that this change comes from within.
I know that sounds like I read it from a fortune cookie or some shit, but it’s true.
The planners and the vision boards and the resolutions can only get you so far.
It’s what you do when you’re alone that counts. What do you tell yourself when nobody is around to like your Instagram posts about your progress towards that resolution? Who is going to be there for the setbacks? How far are you willing to go to write that book or lose that weight or make that documentary? When it’s March and you’re trapped inside in a snowstorm and taking a nap or watching another Netflix show or scrolling through other people’s lives is so much easier? What are you going to give up to make a change?
Let me repeat that one more time: what are you going to give up to make a change?
We talk big talk, but when the rubber meets the road, or whatever, suddenly it’s December again and we didn’t even get so much as a chapter of our Great American Novel written. When we talk about resolutions we talk about what we’re going to get. Money, fame, the washboard abs. Nobody talks about the giving up part; the sacrifices and decisions made to make those resolutions actually resolve.
Historically speaking, I can maintain momentum with a resolution a couple of days in a row before I get distracted and derail myself because OH LOOK SHINY. WHAT’S THAT, A NEW PROJECT TO TAKE ON WITH ALL MY NON-EXISTENT FREE TIME AND SURPLUS OF MONEY? WHY YES, YES I WILL VOLUNTEER AT THAT BLIND DOG SHELTER.
We’re all like that. It’s not just me with my head injury over here flaking on resolutions left and right when we get side-tracked. January 1st rolls around and we want to change ourselves right the fuck now and right the fuck forever.
Because who doesn’t? Change is awesome. Change is what happens when a depressed high school teacher moves to New York City with nothing but a few pencil skirts and a manuscript and transforms into a slightly less depressed stand up comedian and motherfucking published author who wears mostly sweatpants and the occasional nice dress to book signings and local TV appearances.
My life is unrecognizable.
I hope my exes stalk my social media. In fact, I’m sure at least one of them does. And I can die happy knowing that he is kicking himself every time I post a juicy “look how successful I am, you SHMUCK” post on Instagram.
But change doesn’t happen overnight. And it isn’t permanent. Not for me and not for all those ex-boyfriends that ended up in my first book.
It’s 2019 and I don’t care how many “alternative facts” you’ve read today on Twitter, you know that much to be true.
I’ve seen a lot of friends achieve some amazing things this year. Some of them got married, had kids, finished Master’s degrees, climbed mountains, lost weight, and became artists.
I’ve achieved my own as well: publications, speaking tours, TED auditions, book launches, TV interviews, comedy shows, New York City hustling, Veganism. Shit did you know I cut my own bangs for a while back there? It’s been one hell of a year.
And in a sense I am still very much in progress; a process of becoming.
I refuse to reduce myself to a resolution. No, you know what I want, a revolution; a rebellion. I want to fuck shit up.
And I can’t do that with a flimsy promise to the ether to “be skinnier,” or “more successful.”
I don’t even want that. I want to be strong. So strong I can lift a fucking car over my head and still look graceful for a camera catching this viral shit go down. I want to be irrefutable. So irrefutable that people will stop at nothing to get inside my damn air bubble.
And if I really am going to get a revolution, then it’s going to take a long-ass time. I’m going to need to be strategic about this shit, get some advisers, do some homework, really dust off my suit of armor and probably get some life insurance already.
I’m going to war, basically.
I’ll fight for the life I want to live, not according to some calendar, but in the little moments that I choose to do the things that move me onward and upward.
And you know what? Some days all that means is drinking more damn water. Some days it means hiding my phone from myself so that I can write for 30 peaceful and uninterrupted minutes. Others it means letting myself eat the “non Vegan” thing instead of beating myself up for an hour over it.
And when I slip up (often), I will wipe off my bloody arms and acknowledge that the journey I’m on will challenge me to new places that I can’t even see yet. I’m going to fail and fail well, learn from my obstacles, and love myself no matter what day of the year it is.
*OK, I lied. It’s the 3rd. This post could have been much more timely but I figure by now at least 3/4ths of you have given up your resolutions already so it evens out.
**This same friend just got engaged today*** and I may or may not have sent an identical voicemail to her this morning from the parking lot of a diner in Brooklyn. What can I say, some things never change.
***Two days ago.