Those of you who spend a lot of time with me have no doubt noticed something in the last month or so. I've been more withdrawn, tired, and cranky. There was a brief spell in early December when I tried to do my same old same old, find a person to fuck and feel better routine, but it didn't play. I started seeing a couple of people (convinced I could emotionally manage as long as my needs were being met) and when I realized that these people were becoming attached, I ran away.
This is just to say, I've eaten the dag plums and I'm still running away and I feel pretty fine about it. Here's the thing: I've been sick since October. By sick I mean, I've finally grown into an inherited food allergy that's taken a while to get under control. My mother has a slew of allergies including nightshades, gluten intolerance, lectin intolerance, etc. Fortunately, I'm not quite as sad a tale. After a bit of diet experimenting, I found that nightshades really affect me. Tomatoes, soy, and peppers make me nauseous and give me stomach cramps for days; potatoes and eggplant dry out my skin and make me incredibly sleepy.
If you've read my most recent posts, you'll know I went through a breakup at the end of last month as well. Part of the reason I had to step back from that relationship (there's a larger, more personal reason for the suddenness I won't share here) but, a small part of why I wanted to be alone is that I haven't been able to slow down. Dating someone gives my mind something to fixate on and because I have an exorbitant amount of energy, the diversion and the sex help me feel like I'm slowing down, when in fact I'm just neglecting other parts of my life.
The more I think about it, the more I realize I've always been with someone. I've been trying to work towards this emotional blockage in these posts for a while. Why can't I just slow down, get some perspective, and then date when I'm ready? Why do I go out on the prowl, attract poor rubes, and then date them because I can't speak up about how I really feel? It's a prison of my own making and it's unfair. In my last attempt to hang with the couple of people I mentioned above, I tried to be extremely transparent (something I actually have been doing most of this year). By that I mean, I'm saying to the people I date, "I'm dealing with a lot right now and I'm not looking for a relationship at all." As if. Saying that and having it all work out and everyone stay friends is a fantasy. Either I catch feelings or they catch feelings and then it all crumbles.
Last night, my little coven and I hung out before going to see an incredible show at State Street, and we did a sort of NYE ritual. We each sparked our own match and made a wish for 2018 before casting it to self-lighting lodestone powder, which is known to attract and manifest desires. For some, the transition to a new year is a hokey attempt to revise yourself a little. For others, the new year is a time to seek out transformative experiences and pursue dreams. This year, I'm seeing a lot of people saying that they aren't making big sweeping resolutions and instead are trying to turn this ritual into a pragmatic thing. They say, I resolve to be a better person each day. I like that. To each their own. However, I do think writing down a little something on the new year is important, making a public tome for accountability if that's your thing (it's mine obvs), or creating a secret document to check against how things unfold.
This time last year, I was posting Maggie Nelson's, Good Bones which is a great poem for the new year. This year, I'll be less ambiguous. I've grown so painfully much this year. It's sucked. Every single day has presented a challenge to surmount. Whether a breakup, an event, a reclamation of myself, a very sad day, a surprisingly bad day, a dog attack, a 4 month long illness, a betrayal, family drama, or a bike accident, I managed to get over the hump. There were a lot of victories too. I got the job that has sparked both my career and my heart, I've made an abundance of great new friends, I've felt hugged by a city, I've helped plan and organize some of the most fun parties, shows, readings, festivals, etc, I've gotten back to the gym and to my taking care of my health, I sing publicly again, I released my first book of poetry, and I read it for the poetry foundation, and writing this list feels like what? How many years were in 2017?
But it all happened. It's all happening. This year I want more focus on grounding myself in myself. I've finally figured out some of my self-care rituals: taking baths, going to the gym, cooking, reading, and making/listening to music. Part of the sweeping drama of 2017 was that I had to learn how to say no to opportunities even though I feel a ton of FOMO because I needed to learn the value of slowing down. In 2018, I want to continue to "embrace the pace," as my father would say. Being a person who seemingly has a lot of energy means that I've always felt I had to shield other people from their incorrect perceptions of me. People think I'm happy all the time so I act happy in public a lot. People think it's not a chore for me to execute a lot of work so I keep odd hours and tire myself out to complete everything I've neglected to say no to. People think that I'm put together so I wrap myself in packing tape and go out anyway. But, let me explain. I don't have a lot of energy. I'm manic. I have adhd. I can't focus very well in quiet. I need a lot of stimuli and when I'm alone I tend to feel guilty for not feeling stimulated and ready to pounce on whatever I need to pounce on. That guilt turns into depression when I grow so tired from being stimulated and seeking stimulation that I have to turn inward and I can't even bathe or write or read.
2018 is dedicated to breaking that cycle, and to appreciating how I've learned to listen to my body and intuition and then turn that data into action. I want to continue to do this and make it a more regular feature of my life. My only real resolution is to slow the heck down. (& to say the word "heck" way more often.)