Monday, January 3, 2011

Both Hands

and both hands 
now use both hands 
oh, no don't close your eyes 
I am writing 
graffitti on your body 
I am drawing the story of 
how hard we tried 

Almost a year ago, I saw Ani play at Tipitina's. I remember hearing this song and feeling like I had been hit by a brick -- it was as if she was singing about me and my girlfriend. I felt like I was hearing this song for the first time. It was an illuminating moment, and for me, a really important step in recognizing a failing relationship and starting to let go. It was months before I was at peace with that decision, and sadly, over those months I lost a lot financially and emotionally that probably could have been avoided. But sometimes, you just have to hit rock bottom to start to rise again. 

2010 was, in a lot of ways, a miserable year. It started out amazing with the Saints winning the Superbowl, but so quickly that became overshadowed by my girlfriend's bullshit, the BP oil spill, and my own inability to exorcise myself from a really bad relationship. I cried almost every day for the first five months of the year. Sometimes, it felt like I was doing nothing but crying for days straight. There were a few moments that shine through that darkness -- my first day at Jazz Fest, visiting family in Mississippi, a few great conversations with new people in my life, a mess of amazing festivals and food, and more. Summer was, for me, a saving grace in a lot of ways. It's always a great reprieve after winter ~ I always treasure warmth and sunlight, long evenings outside, summer dresses, and being barefoot. But this summer was unique -- I quit a job that had been weighing heavily on me, I found a new energy in 3am beers and late night conversations, I got the nerve to save up and start traveling out of my comfort zone, and I got a therapist. I found myself facing a lot of what made me unhappy, and I started the upward climb into a post-relationship renaissance. I realized that by not investing in many of my friendships, I had missed out on a lot. So I cut that shit. I started, slowly, to analyze and exorcise everything in my life that wasn't making me happy. And by December, I had done a whole lot of cutting and cleaning. 

December has been such a whirlwind of travel and spending time with friends. It's been exhausting and rejuvenating at the same time. But more on that later. In the last month, I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I want from myself in 2011. Of course, the year will bring a thousand things that I can't predict. It will be drastically different from the last year, simply because I am starting this year in a totally different place. I don't want guidelines or hard and fast rules. But I want a list (I love lists!), a beginning point. So, this is more about hopes and dreams than resolutions and rules. 

1) The older I get, the more I find the edges of my personality are filed down -- I become slower to anger, faster to understand and empathize, more accepting, less stressed and reactive. I want that. I want to learn to center myself when I most need it. I want to take a breath first, not after. 

2) I want positivity in my life. I want to surround myself by people who don't talk shit about others. I want people in my life who spread compassion and love. I want to do so, myself. I want to look for the good in everything. I don't want to ignore the rest, but I want to learn to acknowledge it and respond accordingly. 

3) I want to work on my own honesty. I have a tendency to run or shy away from questions and truths that make me uncomfortable. I tend to gloss over talking about my emotions. I have to force myself to be emotionally honest and open, and I think that process will become easier as I work through it. 

4) I want to encourage my creativity.

5) I want to take time to enjoy where I am, every day, as much as possible. I want to spend more time in the moment than looking back or looking forward. 

I want 2011 to be a year I look back on fondly, not one I wish would go by faster. :)

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