It’s the last day of 2019, and I’ve spent the wind-down of the year preparing to let go of the old and welcome the new. This year was hard, but we all worked so much not just to get through it, but to grow through it. We may struggle to keep our heads up and keep making strides every day, but let’s not write the year off with our middle fingers to the sky. Let’s leave 2019 with gratitude for the learning and growth that has brought us to our next steps, whatever those turn out to be. I’m not setting any traditional resolutions like weight loss goals or books I promise to read — I’ve never once succeeded with that type of thing. I’m definitely not going to be a whole new person tomorrow. I fully intend to be the same slightly complicated, mostly kind, and frequently confused person I am … because that’s reality and frankly, I kinda like it.
So without further ado, here are the things I’m leaving behind in 2019:
Farewell to holding on to who I thought I was going to be.
Farewell to thoughtlessly doing things the old way.
Farewell to derby imposter syndrome.
Farewell to pretending to be interested in shit I am just never gonna do or care about.
Farewell to fear-based editing (of myself and my work).
Farewell to pretending to be whoever the hell I think other people wish I was.
Farewell to skipping fun experiences for bullshit reasons, and that vague sense of guilt that tells me I just don’t deserve it.
Farewell to hiding and guilt about who I am and who I love.
Farewell to proving myself good enough.
Farewell to some utterly forgettable fears … and some really big ones, too.
The flip side to letting things go is choosing what we carry forward — whether that’s going through your wardrobe and keeping only what you love or sorting the lessons of the year taking note of the most important ones. Here’s some stuff I learned and how I’ll carry it forward into 2020:
Don’t get a tattoo on your pelvis the day before your period starts. In 2019, I made an appointment months in advance for a tattoo on both hips, and it didn’t occur to me to check the calendar and try to predict where I’d be in my cycle for this experience. My cramps weren’t too bad before I went in, but after six solid hours under the needle, my entire pelvic region was screaming for mercy. So, if you have a period and you wanna get tattooed on your pelvis, lower abdomen or back, check your cycle before booking that shit. I’m serious.
Book self-care appointments in advance, especially for times that are likely to be stressful. Before charter tryouts, after a visit to the family, between visits from out of town guests — knowing that I had a scheduled time to recover and build up my reserves helped me through many challenging moments this year. Whatever your preferred form of self-care is, book it in advance so you’re committed. Personally, I found acupuncture to be super helpful in maintaining a healthy and sustainable level of energy and progress throughout the year, and it turns out my health insurance covers it. If you’re interested in trying it, call your local practitioner and ask if they work with your insurance provider.
Speak up! Like, in general. Yes, I’ve known how to literally make words with my mouth for a very long time. Also, I’ve always been surprisingly comfortable speaking to large groups of people. But in social gatherings, even one-on-one visits, I can be reticent. I got the idea at a young age that anything I wanted to say, especially if it was about myself, was annoying, uninteresting, naive, vain, and probably kindof embarrassing. Or, the most pernicious thing I have told myself (or been told by others) is that people “just don’t understand” me because I am somehow inherently different, and therefore, it wasn’t worth trying to express anything to them. You can imagine how stifling and isolating that can be. So I’ve spent a regrettably long time not sharing with others because I assumed they didn’t care or wouldn’t get it. Over the past year or so, I’ve started getting over that. It’s been nice. I want to do more of it. It turns out, just saying what’s on your mind is a perfectly valid way to connect with other humans, and we’re not obligated to be interesting, relevant, or helpful all the time. Nor do we need to wait for an invitation to speak. That was a fucking revelation.
Running lineups in derby games is an art. This is my favorite new skill I gained in 2019. I ran lineups for the Rock Villains for several games (and assisted the Black Eyed Suzies when I wasn’t skating), and I absolutely loved it. I’d really like to be better at it. Things move so fast during a game, and sometimes I screwed up and sent out too many skaters (not realizing someone was in the penalty box). Often I lost track of who had jammed last, who needed to play, who was watching the box, or who was playing well together. I hope I get more chances at this because it’s a lot of fun and it’s a way I can see myself staying involved in the derby community eventually … if I ever I decide I’m done skating.
Embrace the weirdness. Because life is weird. Being human is weird. This whole experience of existing in an inexplicable universe is just fucking weird, so like … might as well embrace it. Sure, I’ve always been known to be a strange one, and I’ve never really resisted it. But 2019 was the year I was like, “Oh … this doesn’t go away. I’m not gonna outgrow it. This is it.” And I’m here for it, y’all.
Anyway, uh, that’s enough about me. I feel like we’ve been doing a lot of this personal reflection stuff lately, and I’m gonna need to get outside my own head more. I hope everyone has a safe and joyful night.
Happy New Year, y’all!