Wednesday, January 01, 2014

the resolutions of a recovering resolver

I’m against resolutions, mostly because I find them so appealing. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I spent Monday making up titles for a series of anti-self-help books that decrease stress by telling you you’re fine how you are (sample title: How to Be an Unlikeable Female Protagonist). But I did this while I was scrubbing the vegetable drawers in my fridge, striving for internal and external cleanliness. So therein lie my contradictions.

I'm pretty sure this mermaid has fake boobs too. (Illustration by Cindy McClure.)
What I really want is to be a mermaid in a sea of barnacles. I want to convince everyone else that self-improvement is bullshit so that I can secretly go off and improve. What usually happens is that I feel like a barnacle in a sea of mermaids. That’s what I get for trying to be the best. I struggle with my mermaid friends, who seem to use their free time to make mermaid babies and write mermaid books; whose confidence looks all too much like smugness, even though they go on meditation retreats to learn to be humble.

I care, okay?
Contrary to popular cancer narratives, 2013 was a pretty good year for me. I lost my boobs but got newer, better ones. I lost a couple of friends, but got newer, better ones. I wrestled with my (and America’s) obsession with newer/better. I start 2014 as a humble barnacle—made so by life’s bitch-slaps, not any retreat—but I’ve still got mermaid dreams.

So here are my totally banal, predictable resolutions. Hold me to ‘em, internet.

1. Keep my car clean. Recently I bought my dad’s girlfriend’s old Mercedes. It’s a great car. I can’t give it the garage it deserves, but I can give it a wash and wax every few weeks.

2. Send out Saint Julian, Make Us Reborn. That’s my circus novel. It needs a home. I have some ideas, but I’ve been very slow about pursuing them. I don’t want this project to fall through the cracks.

3. Stay literary. More on this soon, but I want to go to readings regularly and read literary blogs, articles, etc. I’m always trying to read books and write, and will continue to, but I need to do the ephemera around it too.

4. Maintain good eating/exercise habits even when I’m tired. With the exception of a bunch of mofongo in Puerto Rico and a slippery slope made of cookies on Christmas Day, I’ve had extra good health habits for over a year now. I can’t afford not to. But I am most likely to trip up when I’m tired, so I need to learn how to just put myself to bed with a book when my willpower is waning. Or, if I can’t do that, find some kind of harm-reduction substitute—caffeine; handfuls of cereal instead of handfuls of candy; a walk when I can’t drag myself to the gym.


Peter Varvel said...

Mermaid dreams make me happy - hang on to those!

I'm a barnacle, too. I always feel like La Toya in a world full of Jacksons: I have to work twice as hard just to be half as good as everyone else.

I'm very much looking forward to reading SJ,MUB!

Cheryl said...

Ha! I like the Jackson analogy. I hope you'll get to read SJ,MUB (which I'm now going to pronounce in my mind as ess-jay-muhb) soon!