So I have zero #resolutions bc every year that I've made resolutions they've been from this sort of belief that if I just TRY HARDER to BE BETTER then I'll be happier? But that never has worked. Also last year it was really (emotionally) hard to make resolutions bc I knew I couldn't make any basic guarantees about anything like being alive etc, so it was all very sad and frightening so I made goals that were like "just be chill with what is" which I guess happened.
But I do have some #goals for this year which are:
1. Actually get into some sort of helping-people thing more. Maybe that'll be through Wellness Companions, maybe I'll learn how to do reiki or something. I want to say it as a goal bc I've felt really really really fulfilled when I'm talking people through a thing that's hard, and I really want to keep doing that. I love that moment when someone's like "omg I just hadn't seen it from this perspective yet," and like THEY GOT THERE, I just asked the right questions. So I guess also if you need help with something/anything, email me? Start there?
2. Work in partnership. I've always worked ALONE because I HATE TEAMS and HATE GROUP WORK and like maybe that can still be true but I've had some really powerful partnership experiences - particularly founding Wellness Companions w/ Jackie Shea, which just emerged out of conversations and we'd both wanted to do it but somehow magically when we did it together we just built the website and wrote the copy and it was so easy + done - and talking about doing some cool shit w/ Kelly Ryan O'Brien, where we each have skills and experience that the other doesn't and that can work together in synchronicity and awesomeness.
3. Keep writing in different formats and voices and styles and being OK with that. I was talking to my #squad the other day about how weird it is that my blog i.e. this is super chatty and probs (ideally?) relatable and stuff like that, whereas the book proposal chapter that I'm writing - which is about friendship - is super meditative and lyrical and like not at all approachable/chatty - and then this essay about my brain that I'm working on to get ready for publication is very experimental/stab the reader in the head, and I was sort of beating myself up for having all these different styles and maybe my book proposal should be all chatty w/ gifs and my essays shouldn't be like so tremendously dark, and then my bff was like:
"People have different expectations for different forums. I would not have been so into Truth and Beauty if it had hashtags. I also think it's awesome to be able to express yourself in different ways that are accessible to everyone,"
and I was like YOU ARE SO RIGHT I AM COPY PASTE SAVING THIS FOREVER. Because I'm also writing like disciplinarily-informed academic scholarship and whatever, at the same time as writing about my feels and my body. So the goal is to remember that the form will tell me what it needs to be, and that all the forms eventually work together to create an incoherent but still sort of coherent narrative, because the idea of having one singular voice for a multiplicity of experiences is ridiculous but a standard that I have been trying to hold myself to.
4. I'm gonna have a goal to seriously remember that what other people think of me is none of my business. I applied to some academic jobs this year and wrote some cover letters and the letters were really long and probably not standard and what came through was my enthusiasm for teaching and my like actual for-real love for language and reading and writing, and probably what didn't come through--because it isn't there--is a sense of propriety and distance and very excellent boundaries at all times and a separation of "personal life" with non-personal life, and every time I thought, "oh, I should change myself to fit in," and then I was like NOPE ALMOST DIED DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT ANYMORE.
5. Go on some sort of retreat or something. I've been talking about this for over a year. I need to go somewhere where I can be taken care of and make no decisions for at least a week. I have had to make enormous decisions for myself and about myself in the last few years, and it's profoundly exhausting. I looked into Spirit Rock in CA and the Body Mind Retreat in upstate NY and also it looks like some of the big rehab centers have trauma/grief stuff but I'm kinda nervous about getting into the wrong thing. Any suggestions pls tell me in the comments. I've never been a retreat-goer but I know a lot of my friends have gone so tell me your experiences! I'm looking for a combination of nature and some healing stuff but not a lot of writing/creativity/etc. Like I'm duh gonna go to one of Jen Pastiloff's writing retreats but that's a different kind of need.
6. Keep exploring all the healing things. 2015 was the year that I just totally decided not to give a fuck about my opinions about anything, so I tried EVERYTHING. And I got better. It took a while, but I got better. And some of the stuff that I tried was THE WRONG THINGS, but I recovered from those experiments, and went on to find things that were THE RIGHT THINGS. Stuff that worked for me last year was: energy clearings; frequency-specific microcurrent and associated bodywork; Forrest yoga; my anti-histamine protocol; quercetin; briefly eating an extremely restricted diet like EXTREMELY RESTRICTED (now I'm eating everything bc, yeah); cranio-sacral therapy; EMDR; therapy; lots of desert walks; guided meditation; infrared sauna; making friends with lizards; a few sessions with a psychic where we got super into mold; talking to my friend who died; having appropriate surgical interventions. Things that didn't work for me were: glutathione IV's; taking a bunch of detox supplements; camping in Utah; eating a bunch of spinach, salmon, and walnuts (which were supposed to be good for me but are super high in histamine, whoops); not having appropriate surgical aftercare. Some of that might all change this year but I want to keep the goal of openness and non-skepticism. I used to be SO SKEPTICAL of EVERYTHING that wasn't like aspirin. And now I'm open. Goal is to stay open.
7. Further goal is to keep trying to slowly chip away at some of the really distressing elements of academia, and to keep talking openly with all my academic pals, students, professors. Academia has been this really weird thing for me where at first it almost totally broke me -- I went from being pretty respected in my field as an architecture writer to showing up in class and feeling like I didn't even know how to read -- and then I realized that that's sort of the model of grad school - it's supposed to break you down so your profs can build you back up, and I was like "oh fine, ok, that's the model," and then this year I was like THAT'S A FUCKED-UP MODEL OF BEING A HUMAN so now I'm trying to fight it from the inside. And it's really hard bc I immediately revert to this place of supplication and for instance realized recently that I was writing every single sentence of my dissertation defensively i.e. "I hope this sentence is OK for my committee," instead of writing what I believe and find interesting etc, which is how I write everything else. Like it suddenly occurred to me that everywhere else in my life and writing I feel like I do pretty well and at least believe in what I'm writing and then suddenly I get on campus and show my work to a committee member and I forget I'm an ADULT and am like "pls pls pls approve of me" so the goal is to remember that I'm an adult and I don't need to write from a stance of supplication and ALSO to remind anyone I'm in touch with of the same. It's sad to me that every single PhD student I know is in a "super dysfunctional department" and we all just treat that as totally acceptable/normal because "that's just academia." No. I want humanity with my scholarship. Because scholarship can be rad AF so maybe we can all create an environment that helps us enjoy that?
8. Also goal is keep reading all the books like for a long time I didn't read because well for a while there my brain stopped working, but one of the upsides of being in the desert first alone and then in an enormous house is that I had my own bedroom and so I got to read every single night and so I started reading every singe night and now I'm back into reading every night! And it's awesome. When we had our tiny 1br apartment the light of my Kindle would keep my husband awake but now we sleep separately bc my sleep is the most important thing ever and also I have many opinions on the secret awesomeness of sleeping separately most of the time, but one of the things that's so great is I can wind down on my own time and read. So I've read SO MANY BOOKS! 99% of them are about doctors/medicine bc I find it so incredibly soothing to read about other people being in hospitals, and then some are like novels and whatever. But like I was really struggling with my own book proposal and then read Gail Caldwell's Let's Take The Long Way Home, which is all about her friendship with Caroline Knapp, and just reading that helped me think of a slower and more sort of meditative structure for my sample chapter and then I was like "oh right writing really does change lives i.e. my own."
9. Keep like trying to laugh every day. When I was really really really really really sick last year I had to make it a point to laugh every day, however I could. So many awesome people sent me super hilarious videos of sloths and other animals and it was so great. So yeah. More of that. A few days ago I ended up laughing hysterically like ACTUALLY hysterically bc my husband's beard (which should have its own zip code by now) was tickling me and I thought I wasn't ticklish anymore but I am, it turns out, and it was a glorious seven-to-twelve minutes.
10. Also goals is keep surrendering and letting go. I had a dream last night that my husband and I were living somewhere and then suddenly we had to move and get rid of all of our stuff (again) and in the dream I was super distressed by this and kept wanting to hold on to stuff and was really stressed out about losing stuff and then I woke up and was like wait, that happened. And for years I'd been so concerned about losing stuff and had carted some of the same like old-ass taxes etc with me for years and across state lines and when we finally had to get rid of it I thought I might not survive but CLEARLY I DID, and I really don't need that much stuff. For sure we're both excited to have a home and like rebuild and open our wedding presents, which we still haven't done, but I want to keep that feeling of "everything is OK even if I lose my stuff" bc that was new and exciting.
So these are my goals and if literally zero of them happen I'm still OK. It's nice to look to the year ahead and feel not like I have to change something about myself, but really just kind of keep doing what I'm doing. I haven't usually felt like that. Have usually had a default state of "most things about me are terrible and should probably change," and one of the great sort lessons of this whole experience of the last few years--and all its attendant parts--is that I CANNOT change myself so I don't even need to try. It's like what Melanie said and what got quoted at our wedding. It takes so much more energy for me to try and change myself than to just embrace who I am and my people will find me. And it's true. My people and I have found each other. And I know that more of us are out there.