Not “Learning” Anything in 2019

Rev up your optimistic investments, folks, because New Years is practically here!! There’s been a cultural shift away from resolutions and more to intentions. I’m here for that. I’m here for always getting better, doing better. I’m not trying to BE better in 2019. I wanna GET better: better boundaries, better writing, better goals, better makeup, better booty gains.

Before we look at the upcoming year, let’s review my 2018 in a summary I call “How to Survive a Year”:

  • January: Started a new job while still working another part-time job.
  • February: Didn’t see anyone because I was working all the time.
  • March: Spring is coming! Things feel brighter, better despite some conflicts.
  • April: Only working my full-time job. Relief.
  • May: I travel to New York one weekend and LA the next. I share my blog and receive overwhelming support. I turn 25. I’m profoundly loved.
  • June: I see my childhood best friend in Chicago! I go to pride! A huge controversy occurs but it doesn’t impact me at the time.
  • July: The controversy grows larger. I begin to have panic attacks daily. I begin cutting again for the first time in eight years.
  • August: I pick up a second job again. I move. The Panic attacks sour into suicidal ideations. August 30th, I check myself into the emergency room where I spend 12 hours in the psych ward. It’s terrible, and one of the lowest days of my life. My mom comes to visit me that weekend to make sure I’m ok.
  • September: I enroll in intensive therapy and take a brief medical leave from work. Things improve. I plan for my future.
  • October: Things are stressful– the controversy still looms over me, but I am coping.
  • November: I advocate for myself more. I cut toxic people out of my life. I can’t see my family on Thanksgiving because of my second job. I cry, but I have so many pseudo families and have places to go on Thanksgiving. I am loved.
  • December: I quit my second job. I move again. I travel to the Dominican Republic. I see my family at Christmas and my brothers for the first time in a year! Life is messy. I am scared but strong and capable.

As 2019 arrives, it’s ok if it is another hard year. I can take hard. But I hope it is a rich year, too. An adventurous year, a year alive and pulsing and unapologetic. Twenty eighteen was the year I quit waiting for things to get easy or calm down to live my life. Twenty eighteen was the year that I dared to answer “Whose Life is it Anyway” with my own name. I refuse to be the victim in my own life, and the only way to avoid that is to live boldly.

But I’m not trying to “learn” anything in 2019. In the wake of the horrors of the Holocaust, Theodor Adorno wrote, “No poetry after Auschwitz” . No flowery language or prose could be birthed from such unparalleled agony. We do not have an obligation to spin sunshine out of shit. Positivity culture (or the impulse to sugar-coat and smile at everything, even when that is the unnatural reaction) forces a narrative that we should be “grateful” for our struggles, that they are the factory for art and lessons. I don’t agree. Some struggles are just that. They are not a breeding ground for better people, although they can be. But I don’t want to coddle all my life’s carnage in some blanket. Somethings are not ok.

When I say we aren’t learning anything in 2019, what I’m saying is that I choose to focus on that moment, on those sensations, as opposed to how I can present them to make others comfortable. When I say I am not searching for lessons in the upcoming year, it means that I unshackle myself from the embarrassment of struggle. In an instagrammable culture where everyone is CRUSHING life, that’s hard to do. But in choosing myself over lessons (which will likely come regardless), I am replacing the audience of social media with myself when I ask “Who is this for?”. I’m putting the unlearning ahead of the lessons.

Things I’m unlearning in 2019:

  • Overexerting myself
  • Hustling for my worth
  • Overstaying my welcome with an energy, a connection, a place, or aTV Series (some plot lines just ruin it for me, ya know)
  • Shame
  • Being Nice
  • Waiting on other people
  • Vying for approval
  • Wasting my time in the name of obligation
  • All the actions I cannot control (they are a reflection of the other person, and not me)

To hell with being a nice girl, a good girl. The past two years have been a gradual shedding of all my “shoulds”, and consequently, a reveal of myself. This is the closest to myself I’ve ever been. This is the most real, barest, grittiest I’ve been. This is me. This is a mess of a young woman with unbridled ambition and audacity. I lack the patience for the fuckery of previous years, of previous people. My spirit is not the rehabilitation center for other people’s problems.

Things I wanna do more of in 2019:

  • Show the EFF up for myself
  • Prioritize me
  • Travel (with friends)
  • Make serious changes and bold moves
  • Believe I am enough, a thousand times enough
  • Welcome people into my world, into my spaces, into everything I’ve shrouded in shadows
  • Clean more…woof
  • Do things that will make my 10-year-old self and 85-year-old self proud

New Years inspires us to be our best selves again. With a promising grip, I clutch that optimism, and I’ll try not to let go. I don’t want to “learn” things in 2019 as much as I want to do things, to be involved and engrained in myself. One of my coping skills was detachment. But after keeping myself at bay, I’m ready to dive back in.

For the first time in my life, my word for 2019– standards, involves others. I now have standards for how I deserve to be treated, for how I treat myself, for how I live and how my time is spent. This is the first time my word involves others. The pressure was always entirely on my previously. Conversely, this is the first time my goals do not involve someone else. I used to have a goal of winning over someone in some way, as if I alone was never enough, and now, I am. Now, I am so enough there needs to be another word for it. I don’t know what that is, but maybe I’ll find it in 2019.

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