Drumroll….Ta Da! My annual round up of answers to random questions. I like having done this for a while. Perspective and retrospection are always nice to have. Here are the posts from 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014.
What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?
Dealt with the discomfort, anxiety, and dissociation of not knowing what is wrong with my body. Thus, The Boob Issue. I also vacationed by myself, and it wasn’t (that) lonely or sad. Both of these stories warrant more explanation.
Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No resolutions. I always have a desire to continue to do better things for myself, my friends, the world, but I think by now I can conclude that a new year’s resolution isn’t the way to inspire me to do that. I do have a few guidelines that I tried to live by when I moved into the new apartment in August. In the new place, I a) wash my face every night b) keep the cat litter acceptable for His Highness so he doesn’t pee on things, and c) make the bed. I fail at this miserably but I try again the next day.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin Heather & Luck had a very sweet (surprise!) baby named Amaya! My friends Rachel and Luis welcomed Anne Katherine, the baby with the best laugh I’ve ever heard!
And there are still a few days left in 2018, so little Piney might make an appearance. And Marisa & Mike were blessed with sweet little chubby cheeked Matilda.
Did anyone close to you die?
I just found out that the owner/co-founder of Clyde’s Restaurant Group, John Laytham, died. I’m a generous person because of two people in my life: my mother and John. He (and Clyde’s) taught me a lot about hospitality, but more importantly, helped shape who I am as a business person and a member of the community. Thanks for everything, John.
I had a very dear friend attempt to die from depression. Luckily, she made it through that crisis and is here to make us laugh again. Paula and I had her on our podcast and it was a really good episode, if I do say so myself.
Also, Aretha. Growing up, a few of my dad’s favorite albums (at least according to soundtrack of my childhood) were Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder, That’s a Plenty by The Pointer Sisters, You Don’t Mess Around with Jim by Jim Croce, and Lady Soul by Aretha Franklin.
There was something about Aretha’s voice that really made my dad feel a certain kind of way. I remember once how my he explained to me a how a singer’s voice can hit a note so pure, it spins you. His examples were Aretha (all time fave), but also Peggy Lee, Eva Cassidy, and Patsy Cline. I would add to that list Sara Bareilles, Patty Griffin, and Brandi Carlile.
What countries did you visit?
I went to Puerto Rico! By myself! It was absolutely gorgeous. The trip was restorative, relaxing, healing, and very, very, very needed.
What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?
Romantic love and affection, same as 2017. I’d also like to travel more (which I’ll be doing through my new job), have more free space in my place (aka continue to downsize), and to move my body more. The other things I wanted last year –a clearer sense of self, a new apartment, a tad more financial security — I got!
What dates from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
- February 13: surgery day to remove a might-be-cancerous duct from my left breast
- February 21: The day I got the pathology report. Benign.
- August 18: Moved into a new apartment after a decade in my old place
- September 17: Started my new job
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Took the big step of leaving a job after 4 years and moving apartments after 10.
What was your biggest failure?
I don’t think I failed at that many things this year. Nothing notable. Go me! Not a failure!
Did you suffer illness or injury?
In November of 2017, I noticed blood in my bra. Then a few weeks later, I saw it again. So I lifted my breast to give the ol’ girl a look-see and BLOOD CAME OUT OF MY NIPPLE. Like, M Night Shyamalan style. It was so weird. Four months later, in February of 2018, after all the biopsies, I had surgery. It deserves it’s own post, especially about how it made me think of life/death/isolation/loneliness/connectedness. More to come.
What was the best thing you bought?
Plane ticket and Air B&B in Puerto Rico!
Whose behavior merited celebration?
Just to name a few: Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Danica Roem, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michelle Obama… Also my friend Matt. He’s become a body positive mental health activist. It’s a lovely compliment to me that he, as a thin person with no mental health issues, is taking on the fight, but it’s also exposing a soft, fluffy part of his heart that I’ve been watching grow for a few years now.
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Donald Trump. GET HIM THE FUCK OUT OF OUR GOVERNMENT OMFG FFS JFC.
Where did most of your money go?
Same as the past few years — rent, parking, and mental health care not covered by insurance — but happy to say that some money went to vacation!
What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My new place. I have always loved being a city girl since I moved into DC proper in 2002. But I absolutely LOVE living in this neighborhood where I can walk to everything I need. Adams Morgan has changed a lot, but it’s kept its authenticity, which is not a euphemism for people of color. Sure, it’s been gentrified but the small mom & pop restaurants, tattoo parlors and frame shops that have kept Adams Morgan weird are still there, just nestled between &pizza, a fancy hotel, and some bougie ice cream parlors.
What song will always remind you of 2018?
“Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. When I’m alone in my car, I bellow, “I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in, I’ll never meet the ground!”
What do you wish you’d done more of?
What I wrote last year: “Here’s an off the cuff list: travel, taken life less seriously, cleaned, gotten out of my own head, pushed myself to fight my introvertedness, snipped Otis’s goddamn claws, read more books, journaled more, accepted help from other people, seen more live music.”
In 2018, I didn’t read or see significantly more live music, nor did I snip Otis’s claws more frequently, but I accepted help from others quite easily, I cleaned and I did get out of my own head. Nothing like a cancer scare to shake your shit up.
What do you wish you’d done less of?
I wish I had spent less time wringing my hands about cleaning and more time just picking up a few things. A lesson I continue to learn over and over is that nothing is as bad as my brain will imagine it to be. It’s just a towel; pick it up. (For all my depressed people out there, this is My Thing.)
How did you spend Christmas?
I started a new job, so I didn’t have the accrued vacay time to go to Arkansas. It was sad not being with my parents, or my sweet grandmother, but it was probably the best decision I made this year. Instead, I got to celebrate Christmas by flying in and out of Syracuse for a quick trip to see my Rossi sisters, going to church with Marisa & Mike to hear an amazing sermon about God’s love, inclusivity and our responsibility to not “appallingly misrepresent” Jesus’s intentions, and “Christmas hop” to a few of my not-by-blood family (Molly, and Matt).
Did you fall in love in 2018?
Nope. I gots a lotta hopes pinned on 2019.
How many one-night stands?
What was your favorite TV program?
I was a few years late to the party but I fell in love with Schitt’s Creek. The character of David Rose is so hilarious and his sexuality has been woven into what is a pretty complex character development for a sit-com in a way that is actually NORMAL. It’s almost as if being pan-sexual, fat, disabled, crazy, etc are NOT personality traits interesting enough to carry an entire story line.
Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Same as last year: “I hated Trump last year. I hate him now. So, no.”
What was the best book you read?
The Sun Does Shine, by Anthony Ray Hinton. It moved me in a way that few things have.
What was your greatest musical discovery?
What did you want and get?
I wanted to not have breast cancer, and I got a benign diagnosis. Also, new job and new apartment.
What did you want and not get?
With the milestone of turning 43, I finally accepted that I will not have a biological child with a husband. I make new friends like other people make the bed: every day. But as easily as I make friends (both male and female) it’s been even harder to find a relationship.
Note: I want a family, not a baby. I bow down to single parents everywhere, and I know that I could do it if I had to, but I don’t want to add a baby to the life I have now. I want to create a life with someone else and then together have a family.
It’s such an odd thing, this situation. I’ve wanted and prayed for a family my whole life. I’ve been reassured by people that it would happen because “God wants what you want and will make it happen.” But here I am faced with the reality that it’s not happening. I feel arrogant, entitled and kind of embarrassed that I expected to get my family, and those are odd feelings for wanting a common, natural, amazing thing.
I don’t feel understood by some of my friends about this one topic. The ones who have kids are a little jealous of my single, life-in-the-city persona, and the ones who don’t want kids either think I’m being too limiting by how I define motherhood (“You can be a step-mom!”) as if I don’t acknowledge how cool that could be, or that I should be lucky that I have disposable income, time to travel, ability to nap, etc, as if I don’t acknowledge how great those things are.
What was your favorite film of this year?
A few: A Quiet Place, A Star is Born, Can You Ever Forgive Me, Fahrenheit 9-11.
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 43 and I celebrated by going to dinner and playing trivia at one of my (new) neighborhood joints.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A true partnership with someone, a person that could have helped me make all the tough decisions I made in 2018, and a comfortable, memory foam-soled shoe option that was not Skechers.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?
I want to be adorable and comfortable. I guess my personal fashion concept is that “you get what you get and you like it” and sometimes that means full beat face, accessories, and polished nails, but other times it means bare, clean face, Adidas, ripped jeans and an ill-fitting top. You gotta love me equally both ways or I’m not interested.
What kept you sane?
My finely tuned mix of psychotropic drugs and my tight knit circle of friends.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Many of the new bad-ass female, Muslim, bi, disabled, brown and black Members of Congress. I also really loved Jamila Jameel and her “I Weigh” campaign. Big time good stuff.
What political issue stirred you the most?
What I said last year: “All of them. Literally every single one. This year was the year I became extremely interested in our political system and our government.”
Turns out I’m more passionate and hungry than I was last year. Let that sink in.
Who did you miss?
Who was the best new person you met?
I didn’t actually technically meet them this year, but I’ve fallen madly in love with my downstairs neighbors Rachel & Paul. We were friends before, but now that we live in a dorm-like environment, and I’ve been let into their inner circle, I can’t say enough wonderful things about them.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.
Last year I said:
Bad things happen that no one deserves. They happen to wonderful people who have wonderful love stories. They happen without reason, justification and purpose, that are definitely not part of God’s plan. And sometimes the good things you DO deserve don’t happen at all. I have no idea how to reconcile that with a strong sense of faith, but lessons aren’t to be learned in the middle. We can only pray for clarity in the long term.
A few different things were on my mind when I wrote that, including having my own family (see above), but mostly I was thinking about my friend Brian who fell down the stairs last Christmas Eve, just a few days prior to my writing, and broke his head wide open. There was in a sign in the hospital to remind us that there was “NO BONE LEFT SIDE”. As if we could forget. I spent a lot of time with his wife Jeanie (my sweet dimpled friend, my college roommate, and 26 year resident of my inner, inner circle) in the ICU keeping her distracted from the shell of the man in the hospital bed next to her. There were many times that I demanded him to fade away peacefully so no Impossibly Hard Decisions would have to be made.
It’s been 12 months since then, and I’m short-cutting a ton here for brevity, but the last time I saw him was a few weeks ago at a football game tailgate. He was breathtakingly similar to how he was before the accident, being very courteous and polite but also busting my balls big time, and asking about my parents. Sorry I prayed for your death, I thought to myself as I laughed. Then we took a selfie, natch.
The sentiment on Jeanie and Brian’s Christmas card, which is what the doctor said almost exactly one year ago after listing all the ways their life would probably be fucked up beyond repair, even if he lived: “But, there is always hope.”
There is always hope. That’s a lesson I learned this year. Again, for the millionth time.
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
From my favorite album of 2018, “The Joke” by Brandi Carlile.
I saw your eyes behind your hair
And you’re looking tired, but you don’t look scared