Hello and an extra sparkly post-Christmas, pre-New Year to you all. Here’s my gorgeous family prepping to party party party:
Last night we celebrated/mourned/karaoked my Emma-friend‘s relocation to the weird state of Texas. I tried to sing I Will Survive with my super sexy inflamed larynx, and had very real flashbacks to a 6th grade talent show in which I croaked My Favorite Things while likewise laryngeally impaired and also wearing a dirndl in front of five hundred middle schoolers and their families. Just some junior high PTSD. Don’t even worry about it.
Today I cannot move. Elmer the cat keeps headbutting me with all of his might like a fluffy baby rhinocerous and there appears to be a force field of some kind around my bed that only yields for the promise of caffeine. I’m listening to a playlist that contains only New Order, Bright Eyes and Dashboard Confessional songs (made by yours truly, obviously) so now the internet at large knows the enormity of my reflective melancholy because it creeps me out to set up a “private session” on Spotify. I mean, the nomenclature of a “private session” on the internet is icky, right? Whatever. Music shame is for the weak. And pervy.
Given the time of year and the goings-on of life lately — loved ones coming and going; a birthday and another year gone; gratitude for my family and sad acknowledgment that not everybody has it this good; the close of 2013 and the excitement of new beginnings — plus some rare time to meditate, I’ve been thinking about how far I’ve come this past year. Conclusion: pretty f*cking far.
When I started this blog one year ago, I was still suffering from the aftermath of an eating disorder. To clarify, I had already beaten the eating disorder, itself, but when somebody focuses all of her brainpower on food and thinness and the relationship between the two for too long; that somebody loses sight of herself. Her eating disorder becomes her identity. When I finally shook off the remnants of my eating disorder, I couldn’t remember who I was; who I’d been or even who I wanted to be. And that was scary.
Career-wise, I didn’t know myself, either. When opera singers really go for it, music is all that they are and all that they do. Music performance was another huge part of my identity that I just… lost. For my entire life, I had been an aspiring opera singer. A really skinny aspiring opera singer. And then I just wasn’t anymore.
So I started this blog. I talked about teasing out my authentic self. I talked about self-care and inspiration and envisioning my future with the ultimate goal of knowing myself, and it quickly became obvious that everyone my age was grappling with the same questions. First point: I was not alone.
Second point: writing saved me. When you write, you give meaning to your life. Not in a fatalistic “nothing else matters” kind of way or a sappy, vom-inducing “buy her this necklace because she is your everything” Kay Jewelers kind of way. It’s much cleaner than all that. When you write about your life, you’re forced to seek symbolism in your day-to-day. You analyze and make sense of experiences that had you not written about, you may have never made time to confront. Plus, you try to live in a way that someone might want to read about. That doesn’t mean you hyperbolize the happenings of your life: it’s not phony like that. When I live with the intent of sharing my heart with readers, I want to really live. I want to be a fleshed-out character in my own story, and I want to know, firsthand, what I’m talking about. I hope that makes sense, because it’s everything.
Third point: like I said, I was still healing when I started this baby, and at that time I had very much internalized the need for space. Every relationship was a sacrifice of time and energy. Last year was spent retreating into myself; reestablishing and rediscovering my needs. And I did it. I know what I need now to love myself and be here, be present, to love others. I need a routine: I need to give myself time to ruminate on my existence while I run, while I eat, while I’m caring for myself. And then I need to use my findings to make stuff. To write. To share some truths with you guys. That’s it. That is the essence of who I am. When I give myself that routine, I can do anything.
The rest of what comprises me is just detail. My favorite foods are champagne, roasted root vegetables, hummus and guacamole, in that order. I spent more money this past year on arugula than I spent on clothing. I would like to be paid to write books, but until that happens, I think I would like to be a female Don Draper (less cowardice in the face of personal demons, less adultery; same amount of sex and glamour)/marketing creative. I don’t understand how anyone has time to be in love, but I hope that it’s obvious that I’m in love with life. I don’t know if I ever want to get married, but if I do, I want a bouquet made out of wild flowers and rainbow chard. Non-negotiable. I only own one pair of jeans that I stole from my sister. I do, however, own three jumpsuits and several tutus. I believe that all you need for insta-style is a faux fur, a top knot and winged eye liner, though, so don’t worry if your jumpsuit library is woefully small. I didn’t think I was a pet person until I acquired a cat. I dance like a Charlie Brown character, and I dance often. I’ve let go of a few people in my life that I think about too much. Guilt is unbecoming, some people are undeserving of my kindness, nothing is final. All of these things are true, but they only color me. They are dynamic and they do not define me.
But reflection, self-care and creativity: that combination absolutely defines me. I am proud of it. I am thankful for its home in me. And I am thankful for the chance to share my discoveries with all of you.
2013, you challenged me. You woke me up and illuminated my insides. You brought some wonderful people and a new home into my life. You changed me, and I’m so ready to see what 2014’s got cooking. SO BRING IT, 2014! We can handle whatever comes our way.