I have a weird relationship to the idea of resolutions. Something about forced fresh-starts and implying that the rest of the year is less optimum for making big change seems wrong. But sitting in my apartment on a winter afternoon during this first week of January, it suddenly seems important to reconsider. And the weather is always dictating my thoughts (my body my being), so that’s where I’ll begin:
The white snow outside my window is falling at a constant, hurried pace, and it looks like what I imagine might occur should all the stars in the sky finally lose their footing, and come tumbling down to earth, eager to see what all the fuss is about. The winters in Minneapolis inspire these notions of grave proportions, as we trudge along snow piles taller than our heads, adjust to the disappearance of street and sidewalk, and mentally and physically prepare for the months of all-consuming cold and ice. But we all do this willingly, and there is a comfort in knowing our neighbor is experiencing the exact same thing. It is no wonder I find it suitable to compare this winter afternoon to the plummeting of burning balls since winters here make cozy and comforting ideas of “natural disaster.” Live Through This! the winter challenges us, and we, us Minnesotans (temporary or not), see it’s wager and raise it one: “Done…and with pleasure.”
It makes sense to me too that the New Year is in January, a guaranteed cold and snowy month for those of us in a large portion of the US. The social construction of our time-line, arbitrary as these deadlines may be, are materially felt. This discursive organizing stirs our blood and quickens our pulse on the eve of a new January 1st, reflecting on the 365 days the calendar tells us matters, and we make promises about how this time, this time things will be different. Like the cruelest parts of winter to which we say “fuck it!” and laugh and love anyway, our years, our days and moments that fill our temporally defined eras, are full of defeats that we respond to by living anyway. In spite of the cold and in spite of the blows, we keep going, and on the eve of winter and the eve of the new year, we’re excited all the same.
This new year is a bit of an anomaly for me. 2010 was full of fairly little drama. I was pummeled by my first year of a PhD program, but I survived it, and did really well, to boot. It took a couple months in the beginning of 2010 for me to let go of a past that was weighing me down, but I did it, and have rarely looked back. I suffered the most terrible physical injury I’ve ever endured, which forced me to drop out of a 5k race, but later that year, I ran a half-marathon, so, all in all, not a major bust. People I loved had it worse than me, and that made my heart heavy and blue, but it seems, for the most part, most of these folks have picked up the broken pieces and started building something better. Other than that, no major catastrophes or self-destructive behavior. I was just a girl living in a city, loving her boy, loving her cat, loving her friends, and trying to make her research and teaching relevant and important to creating a better world….
If only it were so easy, right? I turn to this line from songstress, Jenny Lewis, all the time, but it continues to mirror my life, especially in times like this: “I say there’s trouble when everything is fine/the need to destroy things creeps up on my every time.” And so toward the end of the 2010, I started creating problems out of things that were really just minor complications. I do this when things are smooth. I’m really good at making things un-smooth, and my melodramatic exaggerations were perfected with the change from autumn to winter. So that seems like a logical resolution #1, right?
#1: Stop being terrified of happiness and stability, and stop creating drama to destroy the things that bring you those very things.
….Okay, maybe something smaller for #2. Such as my new potentially misguided diet/cleanse plan! This gives me an excuse to talk about what it means to be a queer, feminist, sex-positive, body-positive woman who also happens to be obsessed with health, fitness and exercise. I mean, I really geek out about it. My house is full of fitness magazines and dvds, weights, and an entire closet devoted to workout clothes. It’s hard to explain this and negotiate this with other aspects of my life, especially because my obsession began for unhealthy reasons. Like most young women my age, I had major body issues. Like, super self-destructive ones. And exercising and fear of food became part of that. But after over a decade of body-hate and self-abuse, I’ve managed to learn the difference between being healthy and being skinny. And because all this exercising has yet to make me skinny, I keep doing it for less superficial reasons (like endorphins and energy and happiness and heart-health and sex drive, etc etc). So putting the origin of this fixation aside, this is all very positive.
It continues to get complicated when I end up being in gym shoes and sweaty clothes more than the femme-ified ensembles that reflect my person. I am very invested in femme aesthetic (see earlier post defending this position), and it’s a bummer that I spend more money on good running spandex than high heels.
The other major reason this is an odd past-time for me to possess is that in addition to being a health nut, I’m also a somewhat accomplished vegan baker. I take great pleasure in creating adorable desserts full of all the horrible things you can imagine, just vegan versions (sugar, margarine, etc).
And it’s this last point that brings me to resolution #2. I will never be a girl who always refuses dessert, but there comes a time–especially post a month full of Christmas cookies–to tell sugar you need some space. And so I’m taking a bit of a break via the Clean Detox created by Alejandro Junger. The cool thing about this detox is that you get to eat! Yeah! So:
#2: Take a 3-week break from sugar with Clean!
Number three follows what was written above about that whole femme-aesthetic thing. I need to brush up on those skills. Living in Minnesota has resulted in my being more northern hipster chic than sultry femme, and to be perfectly honest, I really miss my pencil skirts and stilettos.
#3: Ooze femme. Draw inspiration in 2011 from femmes including but not limited to these obvious, but perfect picks:
#4: Take charge of my academic career in a way that ensures my research and teaching be founded in a dedication to creating significant social change, and then find ways to contribute to that change outside of the academy.
There is so much more to say on this, but I’ll let it hang for now.
#5: Play music again. I miss it. I’m not very good, but life seems more romantic when I talk about it through a song.
”].I think I’ll stop there. My hesitations about list-form resolve are creeping up again. But no matter your thoughts on fresh-starts and fictitious lines of temporal demarcation, I wish you a wonderful 365 days to come.