I don’t drink alcohol. I hate the winter. I look dumpy in dress clothes. And I find public displays of affection—including a mere peck at midnight—to be completely humiliating. So, suffice it to say, I’m not one for New Year’s celebrations.
Please. If you love to celebrate the ball drop, please don’t let me stop you. Although, if that’s not some Freudian Genital Stage bullshit, then you clearly didn’t pay attention in your psychology lectures.
I’m not trying to be a killjoy fuddy-duddy. It’s just that personally, I find the whole pretense of New Year’s to be a farce. I mean, why bother celebrating the arbitrary passage of time? In the sense that time is a continuum—a clock ticking ever-closer to imminent death—what is more significant about one second than the very next?
And yet, I found myself really looking forward to moving past 2017. Not in the collective liberal moan of “2017. WHAT A YEAR.” In a much more personal, more hateful way. Because fuck this year. It’s been a total asshole to me.
Well, at least we have each other. And the music.
The inauguration of Hillary Clinton.
The inauguration of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is all the worst attributes of a person, and I am still furious about his having been elected. I’m not one of those “NOT MY PRESIDENT” people—I believe in the rule of law far too much—but this man really tests me. He’s bad for America. He’s bad for you. He’s bad for me. He’s just a bad guy. A villain. And we all deserve better. Even the dummy sandwiches who voted for him.
“My President” – Jeezy, Nas
“We the People” – A Tribe Called Quest
Acceptance of the most bone-chilling days of winter.
A trip to Costa Rica.
Hey! Let’s put this one in the plus column. Ceviche and sunsets and surfing and sweating and sand and solace. Everything’s fine, right?
But in the afternoon sun, I lie on my back with my eyes closed, letting my eyes fill up with tears until they quietly fall down the sides of my face. I don’t cry, per se. I just can’t carry these fucking tears all the time. I let them drop without letting anyone notice. I don’t tell anyone I’m carrying something heavier than they know.
I smile through dinner.
“Banana Pancakes” – Jack Johnson
“Smile Like You Mean It” – The Killers
A month of my own self-important alms-giving, Lenten sacrifice, and holier than thou nonsense.
Maybe it’s stupid and ambiguously heretical / hypocritical / hangdog because I’m not religious, but I value Lent. I enjoy the mindful deprivation, abstinence from vices, and the curtain of shame draped over everything I am that is imperfect, which is everything. I guess I’m more Catholic than I thought!
Yeah, bro, I know. Cold-blooded. It just happened one day. By someone who had been a friend for 15 years. He’s still too cowardly to give me a reason, but I know why. And I also know why he’s paranoid. And why it will eat at him every single day. And why he’s reading this with a heavy heart and sweaty palms and anxiety while I get to just let go and take allllll his friends with me.
“Free Fallin’” – Tom Petty
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Rhythms Del Mundo, Shanade
PITY PARTY IN THE USA!
Yeah, ya girl is fire. I don’t really have an off button, folks. I don’t know how to stop. I’m a motherfucking shark in the motherfucking high seas, swimming even while I sleep. I murder by accident.
So, rather than staying in bed and moping for weeks, I talked to some fucking amazing people like Ashley Horner, and wrote a piece about the triumph of the human spirit. Then I sold it to espnW. Then it was the top story for a week. Then Horner ran 230 miles AND doubled her fundraising goal.
And even if it’s just the overcompensating bravada of someone with misdirected rage, I still fucking did it. SUBLIMATE THIS, B*TCHES.
And when you feel so fucking out of control of everything going on around you—when you are in the middle of a ride that is spinning so fast—sometimes you just put your head between your knees and try not to puke.
Yeah, so I have a very low center of gravity. It’s pretty hard to knock me down.
“Lost Ones” – Lauryn Hill
“i” – Kendrick Lamar
A goddamn job already—GUYS, I’M A FUCKING CATCH.
Do you need someone to present in large groups? Good! I’m a ham-and-a-half. Do you need a ringer for the company basketball/softball/soccer team? Put me in, coach! So I know it’s only been a few weeks, but like, doesn’t anybody want me?
For real, ask around. I’m a workhorse. I can write AND do math. I can communicate with engineers AND artsy fartsy creatives AND statistics nerds AND corporate bigwigs. I barely require sleep.
Somebody? Anybody? I’m sorry. It’s just that my routine and esteem are inextricably linked to my productivity. Haaaaaailp!
More free time spend time with my mom.
Pardon the heavy-handed foreshadowing, but this is important.
“Fade” – Kanye West
“May I Have this Dance” – Francis and the Lights, Chance the Rapper
A life-changing trip to five National Parks.
A life-changing trip to five National Parks.
Let this be a permanent lesson to me. Whenever I’m feeling lost, I will find myself in the great outdoors. I just have to take the time to look.
“Bring It On Home To Me” – Sam Cooke
“Such Great Heights” – Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox
Finding normalcy in a new job at a great company.
I got a job! With people I like! Doing sports! Let us rejoice!
My mom died.
You didn’t know. I didn’t tell you. And I’m kind of sorry about that, but also, I don’t tell people things
—you should know that by now. If you want to know things, you have to ask me point blank. I know it seems like I’m telling you things, but I’m mostly full of bubbles and sugar and effervescent dance moves—
until it’s too late. And now it’s too late.
I didn’t tell you that she was sick for 9 months. I didn’t tell you that I found out about her cancer on the day after the election. I didn’t tell you that that was the real reason my hands shook that day, and why I was so full of anger and anxiousness for the months that followed. I didn’t tell you that was why I invited you to democracy brunch. I didn’t tell you how out of control I felt about everything.
I just did things that made me feel like I was spinning the hamster wheel of my own free will, while rapidly becoming a godless, empty nihilist on the inside. I kept smiling because I thought that’s what we all wanted.
I didn’t tell you I was hopeful about her prognosis. Because though I was, I also wasn’t. The tumor was shrinking, but aside from doctors’ visits, she hadn’t left the house in months. She was in constant pain. Not just minor pain. Searing pain. All-consuming pain. Screaming for mercy, begging for death, wake up panting and wailing pain. She hadn’t seen her friends since November because she didn’t want them to see her that way. And every time I came home, she told me she had been nervous to see me. Because she didn’t want me to see her that way either. My own mother.
I didn’t tell you that the last time I went home, I had left a day earlier than intended because I had a job interview. I didn’t get the job. I didn’t get to see my mom again. I’m not mad about the former. I may never get over the latter.
I did honk the horn twice when I drove away, waving and definitely-not-crying. She stood on the front step, pale and weakened and unlike the strong summer woman she had always been to me.
Wave, honk, and try to keep it together. That had become the ritual. I still kinda do it. It’s hard to break a habit.
“Ultralight Beam” – Kanye West
“Rise Up” – Andra Day
“Crying Silently and Alone in the Shower” – Me
That “fuck it, I’ve already lost everything” invincibility cloak.
Hit by a car.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME WITH THIS SHIT, 2017?
I’m in the fucking crosswalk. I still have more than 45 seconds left on the WALK countdown, listening to a podcast on my way to the office. Then—because god is dead or has been taken hostage or is a really shitty comedian—I get hit by a white truck making a left turn into my right thigh.
He tells me that I wasn’t looking. He drives away. I take a picture of his license plate but do nothing because nothing fucking matters anymore. Like, what am I going to do? Scream into a fucking sinkhole like an uglier Natalie Portman?
I walk back to the middle of the street to pick up my stupid hat, then continue walking to work. I get another 3 blocks before I realize I’m bleeding.
I’m fine, but I’m bleeding. I’m totally whole, but I’m bleeding. I’m miraculously unbroken, but I’m bleeding.
Everything’s perfect. This is the new normal. This is my life now.
“Good Grief” – Bastille
“Seether” – Veruca Salt
The sad but tolerable annual end of summer
Guilted into donating to every hurricane recovery effort.*
*Despite paying federal taxes to have zero voting power in Congress, which is controlled by a party that is still “on the fence” about the “science” of “climate change.”
GO FUCK YOURSELVES
NOTHING MATTERS AND
NIHILISM IS FOREVER
MELT ME INTO
BARS OF GOLD
BARS OF CHOCOLATE
CHOCOLATE BARS WRAPPED
WITH GOLDEN TICKETS
CHARLIE BUCKET DIES
IN THE END
WE ALL DO
“ELEMENT.” – Kendrick Lamar
“Where Is My Mind?” – The Pixies
Nothing to happen to evil, rich white men with all their consolidated power and tax plans and golf outings and bad hair.
Harvey Weinstein and all his little shitty pals finally started eating their little #MeToo salads.
Hell hath no fury, et. al. The counterculture is a motherfucker, ain’t it?
“Karma Chameleon” – Culture Club
“Sorry” – Justin Bieber
Based on how the year’s been going? I don’t know.
Russia to murder me? A casual civil war? The fourth horseman of the Apocalypse to violate the Third Amendment and demand to live in my second bedroom?
Promoted to my actual dream job.
Wow. OK. Well that was an interesting plot twist. So, who’s driving this wild machine? Do you even know how to get there? I could probably look up directions if I knew where we were headed.
Sir? Miss? Hello? Is anyone there?
What I’m saying is I could help navigate if you’d let me. What I’m saying is this is the direction I want to keep traveling.
What I’m saying is thank you. And please. Simultaneously.
“Cover Me” – Bruce Springsteen
“Coloring Outside the Lines” – MisterWives
Ah, the universe. She’s really something. Twirl for me, you beauteous mystical beast!
“Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” – Phil Collins
“Break Ups 2 Make Ups” – Method Man, D’Angelo
Perspective. Surprised. Whatever I earn / deserve / can get.
“The Magic Hour” – Talib Kweli
“Pursuit of Happiness” – Lissie