Year of the Snake

Well, it’s officially 2013. I’m not sure about you, but I certainly was swallowed up by the fiery pit they called the Apocalypse. Or maybe that was just my reaction to my first student loan bill, I’m not sure. Which other than making me feel the heat of the maw of Hell, has certainly made me feel even less like I’ve accomplished much of anything because now I am SERIOUSLY FREAKING POOR. But I’m going to stop what will likely be a 20-page tirade on where my life isn’t going right now because it will be a. boring b. whiny and c. make you think about your own bad life choices. So, let’s focus on the positives!

Which, ironically, was not listed anywhere in my New Years resolutions. Which I will create off the top of my head in an elegant flourish at the end of this post. But first, I want to recap my 2012 in a slightly nostalgic way but not so much that you go “aaaaand I could have just stayed on Facebook and done the same thing,” and judge me.

This past year was an interesting one for me, I experienced growth in a lot of places I hadn’t before (to everyone that knows me – drop the chest size joke right now) and learned a lot about myself that I believe will be fundamental in how I live my adult life. Sure, in the past I’ve learned that dating men who do drugs like heroin is generally a bad idea and that I will procrastinate myself into an anxiety-ridden, shower-deprived coma-like state in my bedroom when given the opportunity and Anthropology minor, but this year I feel like I really saw a piece of myself that I’d hidden away to grow on its own. Imagine opening a closet and seeing that your little sister, niece, or son left a plant brought home from kindergarten on the bottom shelf and somehow, there was something blooming. Then, naturally, you pull the Styrofoam cup out of the closet and put it on the lip behind the kitchen sink to really get some sunlight. I feel like this year was less trimming away weeds and brushing away dead remnants and more encouraging the hidden and wonderful to start to come out.

Maybe I just talked one hell of a big game about my own self-actualization but I’m going to go with it, and not just because I kind of love the metaphor I just created. This year I realized that I am a neurotic, detail-oriented, easily distracted, terrifyingly controlling big old ball of love and cuddles. And I mean that sincerely, not sarcastically. Well, maybe a little bit. Throw “and not sarcastic in the slightest” in there.

I learned that it’s not just men that lie, but people. And that I was one of them, and I don’t like it about myself anymore.

It used to be scarily easy for me to lie to and manipulate certain people, to get what I wanted by making things more or less important, but creating elaborate stories so I could get out of work or an assignment. I cried to get out of suspension in high school…and you bet your ass I got out of it. I pretended to be ignorant of others’ wrongdoings so that I didn’t have to deal with the cognitive dissonance that would bang around my conscience afterwards – even if the wrongdoings hurt me or someone I cared about. This year I was not perfectly honest, because, if you’re reading this and you didn’t tell a single lie this year then I’m super excited because the Dalai freaking Lama is clearly reading my blog post. But, I was conscious of my actions and decisions and especially when it came to friends, I tried to really just be open or, if it really didn’t involve me, back the hell out of there and choose not to stay involved. I watched multiple friends get screwed over by people they romantically cared about (and by multiple, I mean closer to ten than five) and 8 times out of the ten, it wasn’t appropriate for me to intervene. But I still gave my honest opinion of the lying, unfaithful scumbags when I could. The one time it was appropriate, I may have overextended and sent a three page email to said lying asshat’s girlfriend and told another girl he’d been leading on about it but I have to tell you, I felt great afterwards. Which leads me to my next realization…

I am a vindictive little asshole when I’m angry…for about a day. Then I can’t stay angry even if I want to, even if I beg really angrily.

My temper is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. When I was younger, I thought I was just part of the “normal crowd” by throwing around that I’m an aggressive driver. Until I realized that I am, in fact, a seriously aggressive driver. I yell at everybody. And not just “way to go asshole,” but “ARE YOU FUCKING BLIND?! ARE YOU USING ECHOLOCATION AND IS IT BROKEN? DO YOU SEE THAT DOTTED WHITE LINE YOU ASS-FACED REDNECK FUCKBAG -” etc etc. And I include a lot of elaborate hand gestures. And it’s not just when someone cuts me off, which is appropriate to yell then, but when traffic is just not moving quickly enough for me or if the 18-wheeler behind me has decided to ride my ass like a coked out rapper. Separately from that, I am the world’s most bubbly, cheerful if slightly cynical, fun, and appreciative person about 90% of the time. Five percent I’m depressed and self-hating and the other 5, I’m blowing my head off like Mt. Freaking Vesuvius. I’ve been, I think, seeing this guy for a little while now and when I found out that he had drunkenly spent the night with some drunk girl, I lost any and every shit that my short little body could possible have had. I threatened to kill two people and just…I mean I scared my friends and myself. And the worst? I was totally calmed down like two hours later. I’m still hurt, because I’m a human being and we don’t like when people let us down (even if they aren’t quite sure it can be considered  let down, but still know that it wasn’t really right), but I do regret going off like that. It’s something that gives me an inner fire that helps me to find my assertiveness when I lose it, like I need this ability to get angry or everyone would continue to walk all over me, but I also need to keep working on my initial response. And it usually only happens when, in all honesty, someone I’m “with” (sleeping with regularly, dating, whateeeever) sleeps with someone else or when, say, I get stuck in the big group room at work all night. The latter is just irritating but the former hits me where it already hurts: my self esteem. Which leads to…

I’m definitely on the path to true self-love, but I really need to give myself a break.

I find myself unattractive about 90% of the time. The other 10% I’m pretty sure is when I’m making faces in my driver’s side mirror while driving to work. And that’s when I Instagram myself. Oh face it, you would (or do) too. This year I quit smoking, started (and stopped for what’s going to be, unfortunately, a couple more months) running, committed to most of the time eating relatively healthy and staying health conscious (I had fast food, I think, twice this year), and really started to fall into yoga. And I mean fall. I love yoga, I love the spirituality, I love the physicality, I love everything. I now own all sorts of fun yoga equipment and two books on it, including “The Yoga Bible” (thanks little sister for my Christmas present). I even have toeless yoga socks. Which are the bomb diggity. But, while I’ve clearly been making strides in actually giving myself the time of day and treating myself right, I’m still in the throes of self-loathing when it comes to my appearance and where I’m at in my life. Even tonight, I kicked myself all over my bedroom because I was struggling with my job search. I realize that I have a job, which makes me blessed, a degree, which makes me doubly blessed, and the ability to interview like a champ. But actually believing in myself that I will do something great with my life and I need to just give myself time and room to grow and breathe? That’s another story. I keep breathing down my own neck wondering why I haven’t accomplished more, done better, worked harder. It’s exhausting! Same goes for my appearance. I pinch, and squeeze, and groan, and hairy-eyeball (is that a verb? It is now) my body constantly. I found myself spending an awful lot of time last year looking at other women (oh come on, no, not in that way guys) and being envious. I know that there are people born with much more than I will ever have, but there are so so many born with so much less. That maybe I am not naturally 110 pounds and wickedly intelligent and platinum blonde (or red or whatever color hair I’m drooling over), but I’m open, intelligent, kind, and driven. But fully understanding what that means is what seems to keep up the struggle. So many times this past year I found myself “sitting it out” when everyone was dancing or feeling ashamed of my body around my friends or the guy I was with. I, no seriously, I was uncomfortable with certain sexual positions at times because I didn’t want to look unflattering to the guy I was, uh, entertaining. Half of me is screaming “what is wrong with you?!” But the other half keeps getting locked up with anxiety and fear of rejection. It wasn’t until New Year’s Eve when the guys went on a hunt to find a friend “strange” (if you don’t know what it means…just, a really random hook up. I don’t know either, I just nod my head and smile like a donkey) that I actually danced honestly with my friends. I love dancing. I do it, literally, all the time. In the car, in my room, at work (probably too much at work)…but in front of a guy that has seen me naked or partially naked more times than I really think I could count? THAT terrifies me? See, I’m still confused and it’s a new year. But clearly, it’s what I finally started seeing about myself. I am not a truly confident person. I faked it for years and it’s just not possible anymore if I want to continue to grow.

So, in the end, what I realized and what it means for 2013:

I am not perfect and will not be ever. And I will not be close any time soon. But the blossoming part of me I really started to see this year was a semi-serious, deep-hearted, sensitive woman with a terrifying fear of being hurt, a damn awesome if innapropriate at times sense of humor, a serious interest in her own self-worth, and a loyalty to her loved ones that could move mountains. That being said, I am starting to love myself a little bit. Because the person I just described? She’s someone I like being around.

So my resolutions?

…Okay I was totally hoping to do something flourish-y but honestly it’s almost 3am and I can’t believe I just wrote all of that SO on with the show:

1. Own what you want. Not monetarily, but the dreams you have, take by the gnarliest balls and follow them like a pre-teen on Justin Bieber. DO IT.

2. Find something to love everyday.

3. Stop trying to rely on others, especially a guy, to feel good and wanted. You spent the better part of six months with yourself in your free time and enjoyed it immensely. You don’t need him. Plus, if he wants you, he knows you’re there. He can text first too.

4. Lose the weight. Stop rolling your eyes, stop making excuses, stop eating cream cheese and just get it over with already. You’re just scared that you’re actually going to pull it off. So pull it off and see what happens. If you hate it, go back to eating cream cheese.

5. Write a novel. A whole one. From beginning to end. And not after reading a new book that you find the plot interesting and basically recreate it. An entirely original novel.

6. Write blog posts regularly. You like it, your friends like it, some strangers like it…your family doesn’t really read it but in the parental realm that’s probably for the best but still. You have a zillion thoughts a second. Write them. With extended metaphors and soliloquies.

7. Stop hating the number 6 so much. Seriously, you’re 23, get over that shit.


– and love and everything else that could start your year right, a.


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