Tuesday, December 30, 2014

looking backward, looking forward

"Nevertheless, the death who now rises from her chair is an empress. She shouldn't be living in this freezing subterranean room, as if she had been buried alive, but on top of the highest mountain presiding over the fates of the world, gazing benevolently down on the human herd, watching them as they rush hither and thither, unaware that they're heading in the same direction, that one step forward will take them just as close to death as one step back, that it makes no difference because everything will have but one ending, the ending that a part of yourself will aways have to think about and which is the black stain on your hopeless humanity."
-Death With Interruptions, 183

I finished this beautiful Jose Saramago novel yesterday. It's the first book that I have finished in months. One of my many new year's resolutions is to get back into the habit of reading fiction. It really is necessary. What good fiction can do is insane. It reacquaints a person with the beauty and mysteries of what it is to be human, what it is to be alive, and what it that we are really doing with our short time here on this planet. It both grounds and elevates a person, tying them into what it is to inhabit this planet, bringing forth questions that are otherwise easy to silence with time wasted on social media, time spent thinking about your job, or time playing games on your cellphone as you move about your day. Fiction successfully does this in a way that no other art forms really are capable of, at least for me.

Other resolutions:
-to become more muscular, more fit, to have better posture - all tied together
-to smoke tobacco less, if at all
-to spend way, way less time seeking out sexual stimulation or satisfaction through online methods (porn, Scruff, etc.) - it's all a distraction
-to get employed by an ad agency in a full-time gig with benefits
-tied to the above resolution, is the resolution to get health care and get on PrEP
-to be both more confident and more vulnerable

Thinking back over this past year, I am proud of myself and what I have accomplished. I took a big leap by finally leaving a comfortable job in hospitality that paid decently and had benefits to intern as a copywriter for way less pay and no benefits. And I am so fucking happy I did. I only wish I would have been brave enough to attempt it earlier. You have to go after what you want.

I moved apartments. I left a shitty one bedroom apartment that I liked a lot out in Bushwick because the landlord wanted the apartment to sell for more. I moved in with my friend, Diego, into a much nicer apartment in Williamsburg. I was scared and upset when I was told I needed to move out of my apartment, felt like I was regressing by having to again have a roommate after living by myself, but sometimes things work out for the best. My living situation now is much nicer than my one then and I am really glad circumstances conspired to bring about my current situation.

I ate a lot of burritos.

I'm not sure I had any real romances. A lot of attempts at them, a lot of failed attempts. The words of Aaliyah continually inspire me: "Dust yourself off and try again."I am pretty happy alone right now and couldn't even imagine what a romance might look like, how it would fit into my life in which I barely have time for myself, let alone another person. And as you can see, my 2015 resolutions have nothing to do with romance, with anyone else. For what might be the first time in my life, I can say that I really am more concerned about my own life, my own career, and things that I want to accomplish for myself, so much so that I'm not even thinking about a boyfriend. And, yes, I am sure you, if you know me well, are probably rolling your eyes, maybe even pointing to diary entries I have written this past year, saying What about X, or What about Y? And you know what? Eat shit. Because there are the occasional crushes, yes, but really I just want to be the best I can be right now, and that doesn't involve any sort of romantic fulfillment at this point.

I want to get better at writing comedy. I want to get better at writing everything.

While I was at my mom's house over Christmas, we went to the movie theater to watch Wild on Christmas Day after opening presents. I have been thinking about the movie since. It's one of the better movies I have seen in a very long time and really hit close to home for me, this story of a woman who has spent a large part of her twenties sowing wild oats recklessly, doing what some might call wasting time, and who decides to try to get it together, to move on. And the way she does this is by hiking the PCT, which clearly is where our stories diverge. But the broader contours are what I identify with. There's this scene in the movie, a flashback scene in which Reese Witherspoon's character is talking to her mom, played by the always amazing Laura Dern. Witherspoon's character asks her mom something along the lines of, "How can you be happy? Don't you regret that you married Dad, an abusive alcoholic?" And Laura Dern's character replies something along the lines of, "No, I don't regret any of it. I don't regret marrying an abusive alcoholic. Because I got you out of it. If I hadn't have married him, I would never have had you." A stream of tears were falling down my face during this scene because I remember a near identical conversation with my mom once when visiting home on a break from college, my mom at this point divorced from my dad, and having suffered through numerous traumas brought on by being married to a person with an appetite for drugs and destruction. Discussing my dad and how she was really happy to be free of him, she told that is was worth it though because she got me and my sister out of it, that it had its purpose.

And everything has its purpose. 2014, you were great. All you previous years, equally amazing, all for some purpose, every moment, even the terrible ones, teaching me something, making me this current person I am. 2015, I welcome you and whatever it is you may bring. Let's dance!

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