I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t think there’s a wrong time to set a goal for self-improvement.
In the past, I’ve resolved to lose weight. I even considered it this year, reasoning that if I could lose five pounds a month in 2019, I’d be under my weight goal by December.
But eating disorder hell is no way to live. I’ve lost too many years, spent too much time in treatment centers when I should have been out living my life, spent too many nights crying because I “felt fat,” when I could have been spending time with loved ones and making memories.
My life is so good today. Last night was Rebecca’s and my one-year anniversary, and she surprised me with a beautiful promise ring.
We went out to dinner, where we joked around and laughed a lot. I’ve come a long way from being afraid to let people get close to me (or even touch me). Not to be mushy or anything, but I really love Rebecca. She is a genuine treasure, and I cherish every moment we spend together. She respects my choice to live a life without drugs and alcohol–we enjoyed very pretty virgin daiquiris last night–and she never pressures me to be someone I’m not. She is kind, real, and insightful. Plus, she lets me take pictures of her like this.
Honestly, I think this is one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken, even though I didn’t snap it on a fancy camera (I took it with an instant camera, similar to a Polaroid.), and it’s kind of out-of-focus and washed-out.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what intimacy means to me. In the past, my pattern has been to try to get close to people either by revealing overly personal information about myself to them, or climbing into their beds. Neither of these strategies were particularly effective. (Can you believe that?!)
Part of the reason I used to bare my soul to people early on in a relationship (romantic or platonic) is because I wanted people to know what they were getting into before they got close to me. I thought I was helping them get to know me better, but really I was just putting up more and more walls. The friendships would become very one-sided until my friend couldn’t handle my neuroses anymore and ultimately stopped talking to me.
This happened with my friend AJ. I met her at my college’s Gay-Straight Alliance. She was small and feisty, and always wore a bandanna. I loved spending time with her, and even developed the tiniest of crushes on her. (I may have written one or two… or ten poems about her…) But she moved to a city about three hours from where I live, and transferred to a different college to pursue her dream of becoming a pharmacy technician. (She recently got her certification, and I’m so proud of her!) Our talks were now limited to Facebook Messenger and the occasional phone call. We’d stay up late, talking about this and that, until more and more of our conversations centered around my mental health issues and me.
One day, I messaged AJ to say good morning and didn’t get a response. I figured she was still sleeping, so I tried again later. Still no response. I assumed she was busy and didn’t worry about it. When I messaged her the next day, the day after, and every day for the following week, I’d see that she was opening my messages but not responding. I continued to send messages, wishing her well, until I gave up.
I messaged her boyfriend, who gave me the runaround. “AJ’s just busy, she’s tired, but she’s okay,” he would say.
Finally, and I progressed through the Twelve Steps and examined my character defects, it occurred to me that perhaps, I had not been the best friend to AJ that I could have been. So I sent another message asking if I’d done anything to upset her and if she was mad at me. This time, I got a response.
She explained that she was dealing with a lot of personal life stressors and couldn’t take mine on as well. It was hard to deal with me when all I talked about was myself and how sad I was.
I know this must have been a hard thing to say to a friend, especially in the kind, non-accusatory way AJ said it to me. I hadn’t realized the amount of pressure and stress I was putting on here to be there for me 24/7. That’s not fair for anyone.
So, I made amends to AJ and we were able to piece our friendship back together because that’s what real friends do. They talk about their issues and work through them.
My only goal for 2019 is to keep my living spaces a little cleaner and more organized. In the past, my floor has doubled as a closet and my desk as a trashcan. Colette suggested that we clean the whole house top to bottom to prepare for the New Year, and I thought it was a great idea. We vacuumed, we scrubbed, we scoured, we swept. And you know what? The house looks pretty damn good! When I take pride in my spaces, I feel better about myself.
Instead of resolving to lose weight, start a new diet, go to the gym even though we hate it, or torture or bodies in ways they weren’t meant to be, why don’t we all resolve to be a little kinder to ourselves?
In the early pre-coffee mornings, I often find myself ruminating on the past. I’m trying to change my thought patters by telling myself, “I don’t have to think about that right now,” and finding something else to focus on. Yes, it’s hard as hell, but I’m doing it.
I hope that 2019 brings us all a little closer to God.