Dear 2012

Dear 2012,

I love you.  In a bemused, kind’ve melancholy way, I really do love you.  You’ve been a wild year, a heartbreaking and hilarious twelve months.

You turned me twenty-one, right off the bat, like you wanted to kick things off with as much celebration as possible.

Then you took me to Australia, and there you had me realize I’m the same no matter the continent, or any other circumstance.  You showed me that I still have my insecurities and eating habits and personality and awkwardness, even when I’m in foreign hostels with nobody who knows my name.  You also showed me, in Australia, mankind’s desperate need for genuine community.

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Coming back from this little stint overseas, you gave me a sinking feeling of pointlessness when everything back here was the same old same old and no one had time for my stories.  At least not the stories that mattered.  This probably led to what you taught me next, about alcohol.

2012, you taught me that even I (yes, intellectual badass that I pride myself on being) can struggle and stumble into weeks of binge drinking and self-destructive lifestyle patterns.  Its like humility in a bottle.  Or shot glass.

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You got my old roommate and closest friend married, and let me be a part of the wedding.  Thanks for that.  (You also spared no time and got her pregnant soon after, you dirty year, you.)

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You gave me two sets of new roommates, one set I differed from but needed to learn to cooperate with and love, and two I fell into natural affection with.  One of these roomies I happen to make my favorite bad decisions with, causing family members and ex-boyfriends to question my mental stability and spiritual health.

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You gave me validation from those other than family and loved ones that I’m a good writer.  You gave it to me in the form of a congressman’s letter, which had me elated and full of hope for days.

2012, you gave me the opportunity to believe I could save my little brother.  You then shut me down and showed me I couldn’t; the boy’s move out here scratched the scab off some old wounds and left me reeling with shame and helpless fear.  The boy is now in rehab, where he can’t hurt anyone and we can’t hurt him.  And we are licking out wounds and trying to make sense of it all.

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You also killed my teenhood best friend.  You took the action of my adolescence, the frenzied, burning, up-for-anything half of my soul and killed her.  Through this you showed me my grieving style, which is wailing at the sky, then numbness for a week, then skin-crawling, trembling defeat that kept me up all night.  You taught me to value more than air the friends I have.

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You let me and three loves into the Lumineers concert for free, and it was incredible.  Then you took us out dancing.  You’re such a party animal, 2012.

You convicted me about things and had me change my buying and eating patterns, but also showed me that I cannot live by conviction alone, as they are fickle and change with the circumstance.  You showed me that convenience often rules over conviction, and I need something outside of my personal moral leanings to determine my lifestyle.

You got me my second tattoo and a nose ring.   I am a badass now.    nosering

You earned me my associate’s degree, and I now get to crack a bitter grin and say “A lot of people go to community college for seven years.”

Thanks for three different jobs.

You got me to bite the bullet and buy a savings-account-destroying car.

You taught me how to swing dance, and got me to start volunteering at a downtown farm.

Thanks for the books that blew my mind. 1107121429_0001

Thanks for the spiritual heights and canyons and plateaus and the compromises I never imagined I’d make.  Thanks for rocking my ideas on food, God, friends and stability.  Thanks for shaking me, for rattling my brain, for breaking me.  Thanks for these scrawled journal entries and these new friends.  I wasn’t prepared for you, and I’m still taken aback by you.  I’m equally tired of and thrilled to have been a part of you.  This has been amazing.  I’m amazed.

“…nothing in my hands but a handful of crazy stars.”

Oh year.  Here’s to you.  And as my love Kerouac would say, “Though the flesh be bugged, the circumstances of existence are still pretty glorious.”

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You were bugged, 2012, but you were glorious, and I will be grateful for you forever.

Sincerely,

Me.

Year-end Review, buckle my shoe

Year-end review

It kinda does a number on my head that I began this ragtag, somewhat scatterbrained little blog with 2011’s year-end review.  I look back at those entries bemused, because much of what went right or wrong in 2012 is the same as what went right and wrong back then.

Time is weird.  The poet Ben Johnson calls time an “old bald cheater”.

I like that.  I get that.   You’re alive, right?  You must have experienced that haunting feeling you’re being cheated out of your own life.  My pastor says that our need for sleep is one of the most humbling things about being human and not gods, and I couldn’t agree more.  We are bound in time, bound to need sleep, and tragically we often may as well be sleeping through our waking hours.  Time gets away from us, and suddenly a year has passed and you’re furrowing your brows, wondering how exactly twelve months are just gone.

And what a gnarly twelve months this has been!  There has been so much good, so much beauty and truth.  This has been one of the most humbling years I’ve ever had.  These last couple of days I’ve been replaying little events, little memories that creep in unannounced that I know, someday, I’ll just forget because they’re really that tiny.  It’s the driving around at night blasting “Starships” in Perth, it’s getting into the Lumineers concert for free, its Thanksgiving dinner feeling like a last supper before my baby brother went into rehab, its sitting on the kitchen floor with my beautiful roommates when my old best friend was murdered, talking and drinking and weeping into the early morning hours, its that trembling awareness in the dried up lake in Australia; ‘my god, I’m actually here and this is actually my life’.

This year.  2012.  We’re at the end of it now and I’m sitting here, with my coffee and Gregory Ivan Isakov singing about the moon, and I think ‘ah, so this was twenty-one.’

Do you want the truth? The truth is I’m not sure what I’m doing, with this blog or with this life.  I’m going to review this year in two parts, the way I did it last year, with what went right and what went wrong.  And then we’ll look ahead at 2013.

Tempe Town Lake