Saturday, January 10, 2009

January 10th & It's New Year's Day

I made it. I made it through Christmas. That was all I asked of the end of 2008.

It's my first day back in Brooklyn & I'm thinking, finally, of MY 2009.

"My" is capitalized because the last six years have been given to self-indulgence in the forms of over-eating & weight gain, financial fear, depressions of which one fraction is my rage at being fired sixfuckingyearsago, developing agoraphobia, dogs, isolation, silence, fear of writing, fear of being a public enough person that you, Dear Reader, are turning to this blog.

& I'm tired of it, & tired in general. So many harsh emotions boomeranging back on myself in physical & psychological ways is exhausting.

I've been thinking what my New Year's Resolution(s) could look like. Here's a random list:

* Lose weight.
* Get back to The Rooms.
* Get back to step work.
* Get back to my sponsor.
* Finish my novel.
* Listen to music & the radio.
* Shower every day.
* Blog more.
* Get out of the house more often, without dogs, without going to the store, bank or CVS.
* Get back to church.
* Answer my huge backlog of email & letters that I'm too scared to answer.
* Look for adjunct teaching.
* Weed through my junk.
* Say goodbye (& hello) to New York.
* Go some place where my parents aren't.
* Study up on how to use my camera & Adobe.
* Get ABT tickets.
* Go to Montana.
* Wear earrings often enough that it's not a struggle to put earrings in.
* Be a better friend.
* Look around for a boyfriend.
* Train my dog.
* Start writing a journal again.
* Listen to meditation CD's & start doing Yoga for the Rest of Us.
* Get a new TV, DVD, VCR that work.
* Learn to say "no".
* Learn to decoupage.
* Get out of debt.

The thought of all of this is, to say the least, both overwhelming & impossible.


So I want to look back at 2008 first, & not at my failures but at my successes & at my lessons.

The election brought me back to the news. I'm not only deeply interested in several politicians but am exceedingly pissed off at the invasion of the Gaza Strip. I haven't been interested in the news in years.

I finished the first draft of Angry Fat Girls. Oprah regained 40 pounds & Kirsty Ally also obliged me by validating the need for this book. It might be more important than PFT.

I found some old friends &, in doing so, resolved some jagged endings & made some new starts. D., U., C., N., L., M., K., D....that's a considerable number of friendships reclaimed from time, distance &, in some cases, bitterness.

I've begun to make some friends via Facebook. At least I have good feelings toward them.

I wrote one really terrific Lab Lady blog that I will stand by forever.

I've pretty much decided to move to Seattle about six months after AFG pubs.

I cut my hair off in an act of self-mutilation & only got rave reviews of it.

I began a novel that feels Right.

I have become closer to members of my family -- my parents during their health crises & during my depressions; my brother; nieces & nephews I can watch on Facebook; a cousin; my sister-in-law.

I have learned that I don't handle stress well & I learned where several of those stress lines are. I THINK I can learn to handle stress better again & I think I can stretch the boundaries of where too much begins.

I understand some of my weird fears better, or I can at least articulate them.

I continue to see Providence at work in my life.


Not a bad haul -- & probably not a complete one. I do so much lamenting on this blog that I don't want to go into specifics of boundaries & stress, ruptures of old friendships, my weight gain or how much, the shades of depression, the losses & scares of the year.


When I look back at 2008, the moments I want to remember include:

* Sobbing through Sunday in the Park with George
* Singing musical comedy tunes with BJ to our dogs on a bleak Promenade
* A long conversation with my oldest friend that was so funny & so dead-on that it's enough to last for months
* Hearing the Ohio poles come in while walking Daisy on the street & the feeling of unity & good will that pervaded my neighborhood the next day
* A series of suppositions BJ & I wove into a story that had us rolling on the sidewalk
* Getting a slightly larger advance for reselling AFG than the original sale
* Conversations with A Boy in which that frisson of wide-eyed wonder at synchronicity buzzed around my head
* Sitting on a stoop one afternoon with the dogs when suddenly I felt Henry rest his head on mine

These are the photographs of 2008 that I want to remember.


I'm eschewing as much sadness as I can here. It's my New Year's Day. It's time to look forward & continue building on what is good & scrapping what isn't so good.

In the forefront of mind, of course, is keeping every one of those resolutions. In the middle of my mind I have decided to limit it to one sort of group resolution for the time being: shower every day, wear jewelry more often, brush my teeth at night.

Simple? Ha! I've failed at all of them at least once. But in selecting this cluster of things, I'm opting for some self-respect, some focus on my body. I'm voiding some of my excuses for why I can't go to Starbucks or a meeting or church or to see a friend. I'm making it less likely I'll binge at night.

Come to think of it, I guess every day is the start of a new year. I'll pick up some other resolutions as I go along with 2009. I happen to be abstinent today. It feels energizing in the dead world of January.

I don't know what tomorrow's resolution will be but I think I should print out these lists & remember that resolutions to & resolutions of sometimes simply happen. I'm sniggering a little as I write this, thinking of Awful Rat-Faced Alix quoting Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which she regarded as her Bible. "Ultra-ultra secret," she would say with her rat-smile of some huge book deal she was handling that would entertain a lot of folks but not improve the world beyond that.

The proper quote, I know after finally reading the novel, is "Ultra, ultra sensitive."


Unknown said...

I like your list of snapshots from 2008. Here's hoping you get two or three things checked off your 2009 list!

Marian said...

Very astute observation about Oprah. I so wish someone would 12th-Step her, but I also wonder if she isn't really One of Us but is just honoring the 11th and 12th Traditions. I'm not sure I would want her to come out of the OA closet, if that is where she is. Remember those tabloid photos of Lindsay Lohan reading the Big Book?

Seattle awaits!

P.S. Decoupage could maybe wait until 2010...

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Laura N said...

I think this is a very hope-filled post, Frances. Your 2008 accomplishments are no small feats. Yet, small feats are big accomplishments when you are in the midst of depression & fear. So even though there were challenges, you made it through with overflowing successes. And I cannot wait for AFG. Really looking forward to it.

Seattle! Wow. That could be so wonderful for you & Daisy. This is cheesy, but the first date movie I saw with my husband was Sleepless in Seattle, and ever since I've thought it would be a neat place to live. I really love the soundtrack to that movie, too.

Happy New Year, friend.

Joan McMillan said...

Frances, I just want to let you know that Passing for Thin has been a very strong inspiration for me. I have struggled with weight since needing to periodically go on prednisone for a chronic illness and also from turning to food for comfort as a single mother. I found a lot of joy and body acceptance in dance--probably the last place I'd think I would ever be accepted, but I started taking bellydance lessons in 2002, then started yoga, and now do African dance as well. The bellydance world has a lot of women who are not the "Cosmo" standard at all. I still struggle every day with food--sweets especially--but am finding peace and acceptance that I am not perfect. Your blog and your other writing really inspire me to love who I am, this day

Annimal said...

Seriously, if you do get to Montana, I would LOVE to take you for coffee at Butterfly Herbs or lunch anywhere. If you can stand to meet someone, please let me know you are coming and we could chat. Just e-mail me and I'll give you my #.
Best of 2009 to you,

Anonymous said...

Hi Frances,

Thanks for this post. It gave me so many things to think about. I do want to tell you two things:

I love that I get to call you my friend. The more I get to know you the luckier I feel. I hope part of 2009 includes getting to know you better.

The other thing is that I like the idea of you in Seattle.

I guess this is kind of a selfish post. Sorry. I just... thank you for sharing who you are with the world.


Anonymous said...

Start with the earrings. There's nothing like having something as girly and sparkly hanging from your ears.

Bea said...

Yeah and if get to Montanna and see Annimal I will dog sled up there from here to see both of you.

Anonymous said...

The fastest and safest way to reach your goal weight is with physician supervised weight loss. Medi-Weightloss Clinics has locations across the U.S. They also help you maintain your weight loss through their wellness program! Check it out!

Natalie C. said...

You and I sound like we may have a lot in common, on a mental health level. I love your writing tone. I will try to find your book. One thing I've recently learned is that I'm so much more successful when I don't expect ridiculous things from myself. And also give myself immense credit for little things like having a shower! I actually need to go do that right now. :)

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