New Year Old Me (kind of)


I still drink too much coffee and eat too much dessert. I still spend a lot of time wondering if I am good enough to write a second book/chatarunga with my knees up/put gas in my car. Self-doubt abounds and I’m usually chalk full of caffeine and semi-sweet chocolate and sometimes nicotine. These are the vestiges of old me that have stayed intact. But the biggest way that I am different is that wine is no longer my best friend, arch nemesis, fairy god mother, etc. Also I take Prozac (yay big pharma) which is not a magic pill, but does help keep my anxiety in check. The combination of ditching booze and starting an anti-depressant in the latter half of 2017 has made my life about a hundred times more manageable. My body is a place I am learning to live in and since I can’t easily trade shells, this is a good thing indeed. I still love doing yoga. I still run a couple miles on occasion and never more than three. I still write every day, both in my journal and on my computer, either fiction or poetry or nonsensical madness that I look at fondly. I still fool myself into thinking I can do things like a Whole 30, as if yogurt and oatmeal aren’t the best things south of Mars, only to disappoint myself immensely. I still haven’t started a meditation practice. I still haven’t finished the book I started reading two weeks ago. I still love my mother a whole lot and think the Christmas gift I gave her was pretty dope (a handmade journal with 52 prompts for her to complete each week this year). I still get stomach aches and weird acne even though I’m 24-almost-25. I still wake up early and feel a thrill in my body when I read particular lines of poetry. I still love dogs more than humans and could up my social media game and generally be a better driver, but this year I didn’t make thirteen New Year’s Resolutions. In 2018 I have an intention and that is staying power: to be present, to be here, in this body, in this mind, in this life. Which is vague, I know. And they say your goals should be specific and measurable (or whatever SMART stands for), but this year I’m taking a gentler approach, which is also pretty new me.

90 things i learned from not drinking for 90 days

  1. it is entirely possible to stay too long at the fair
  2. no one can unconvince you of your name if you are not drunk
  3. anxiety is harder to come by without a hangover
  4. there are lots of beautiful wonderful things in the world that have nothing to do with wine
  5. it is entirely possible to have fun with someone when neither of you are inebriated
  6. it is better to be alone than to be with someone you are not compatible with once you take booze and napping out of the equation
  7. some of the beautiful wonderful things in the world that have nothing to do with wine include art museums, though not everything in them will be your taste
  8. other beautiful wonderful things include dogs
  9. books
  10. stars
  11. baths
  12. and other one-syllable delights, like a long uninterrupted fart in your bed
  13. feeling like a kid is not always a juvenile thing
  14. youth does not have to be wasted on the young
  15. when you want to drink you usually want something else that alcohol can’t provide. desire is a sneaky snake with legs and a good falsetto.
  16. it is worthwhile to explore feelings of lack, preferably while wearing pink velvet boots and a nude lip
  17. there are things in life that rob us of our true nature, but trick us into thinking we are better off robbed. these are dangerous things and it is best to mourn them, if necessary, while dumping them down the sink
  18. milk is a perfectly acceptable drink to order at a bar
  19. milk at a bar is probably not organic and you will probably be consuming chemical laden cow puss
  20. even chemical laden cow puss is less harmful than gin or vodka or sauvignon blanc
  21. it is harder to start things than it is to continue things
  22. your life doesn’t have to reach full catastrophe mode to make a change
  23. not drinking forces you to do other things you like to do
  24. like find places to play ping pong because it is Friday night and you are twelve and have been twelve all along
  25. it is okay to be smug when people talk about the hangover they have that you don’t have, but only for the first ninety days.
  26. afterwards, you should be less smug.
  27. strip the illusions from your life and first you will face a blank sheet of paper.
  28. with time words will appear like “hello”
  29. and “i like when you read me alex dimitrov”
  30. winters are not actually made better with hot toddys.
  31. winters are made better with fires.
  32. ice skating is not an activity that requires booze
  33. neither is writing
  34. neither is falling in love
  35. marshmallows are a good breakfast if roasted over a fire
  36. there is no such thing as too sober for this
  37. there are simply parties you should not be attending
  38. and friendships you should not be keeping
  39. it is easy to see the beginnings of things and hard to have split ends
  40. not drinking probably makes you lose weight unless you replace wine with ice cream. oh well.
  41. friends who love you the right way won’t care that you’re not drinking.
  42. what’s that saying? those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.
  43. 8:30 is not too early to go to bed.
  44. it is very romantic to be a writer who drinks too much until you are miserable in your own delusions and wish you were fourteen again
  45. beyond wasted and getting wasted there’s a pool of clear water. i’ll meet you there.
  46. meanwhile it gets easier
  47. then sometimes it gets hard again
  48. but you’ve never woken up and wished you had a hangover
  49. it’s okay that not drinking includes moments of wanting to drink
  50. most colors are a mix of many colors
  51. you know your true colors
  52. yoga is a good way to feel good without hating yourself later
  53. self-destruction is not inevitable
  54. you are funnier, actually, when you are not drunk
  55. more loveable
  56. more kind
  57. an old woman will say something you need to hear around day seventy nine: that she wishes the drinking age was not so high, as if drinking was something you must grow into instead of something you must grow out of
  58. lots of people do lots of things without drinking
  59. it is not a vinocentric universe after all
  60. though drinking has gotten you into dangerous situations, it does not have to get you into anymore
  61. it is very hard not drinking at 24, like, very fucking hard
  62. but it is not harder than the alternative
  63. learning what is true for you is not always a hallelujah moment with confetti angels and sparkling virgins
  64. there will be tears
  65. and tantrums and ill attended-pity parties
  66. create a good playlist
  67. allow yourself to move and be moved
  68. wait for the moments in the day that are pure and unconflicted and treasurous. they always come eventually.
  69. it is easier to love the people who love you when you also love yourself which is easier when you are not loving the thing that makes you hate yourself
  70. if you have to ask, you probably know the answer
  71. holidays and vacations are 75% less stressful without a hangover
  72. a life spent chasing smoke and mirrors will leave you with lung cancer and a poor reflection of yourself
  73. your feelings will not destroy you the way tequila will
  74. how relieved are you? scale of one to i have my life back
  75. it is better to be yourself than your drunk self
  76. the world is still funny
  77. happy hour can be happier
  78. you feel you deserve more things when you are sober
  79. you are right
  80. but go easy with the shopping. you’re amazing, not 27$ underwear amazing.
  81. relief is not a permanent emotion.
  82. neither is wanting.
  83. we live in a boozy culture
  84. get good at saying no.
  85. you are perfect as you are and you could use a little improvement
  86. say the things to yourself that you want to hear from someone else
  87. i love you, thank you, can i buy you a kombucha?
  88. it feels good to keep a promise with yourself
  89. like you are the richest woman in the world
  90. and you are

Things I’ve Been Up To Lately

  1.  Writing a second book. Weeeeeeeeee
  2.  Venti americanos
  3. Catching sunrises in Portland, which made me realize that like a snowflake and other cliches, a sunrise is never the same twice. Even if it were the same twice, I wouldn’t remember it, which is the same thing as if it were different.
  4. Steak. I’m on a red meat kick.
  5.  Facing my fear of being alone because my boyfriend and I broke up because I am 24 years old and don’t really know how to be myself and since I’m going to be myself my whole life I should probably figure that out
  6. Swimming in the ocean even though it was cold as a witch’s tit, then taking selfies to prove it
  7. My nana passed away, which isn’t something I’ve been up to per se, but it’s weird. I feel funky about it: sad and grateful and confused about this corn maze made of pregnant ladies called life.
  8. Have you read “Dogfish” by Mary Oliver? You should.

For Lunch, Let’s Have a Feelings Salad

Because I feel cold and closed off and walled in. Do you ever get like that? I build a fort inside myself and don’t come out until someone makes banana bread. No one’s making banana bread. It’s November, a notoriously lonely month for me and my razor*. So dark! So bare! I want to make a fire and watch it burn while drinking a glass of wine, then six more. Instead I am in the library wrestling with book #2. I know that there is a story there, but I’m stuck. Stuck like gum in hair. And then the doubt starts to creep in: You can’t write another book, you silly quack! You only had one book in you and now that that’s done you may as well find a nice bridge to cozy up under because you’re done. D-O-N-E  done like the turkey will be next week (poor Turkeys. Don’t you love birds and want to become a vegan with me?) So I start feeling sorry for myself and everything else on the goddamn planet including the leaves because they’ve fallen from such great heights and now they’re down here with the rest of us getting stepped on. Poor leaves. You know what I need? A Poopsicle. That’s what you have for dessert after you have a Feelings Salad for lunch. Probably I will also need to eat a real lunch and then I will return to book 2 and all of this will pass by the end of the afternoon. Nothing gold can stay and neither can anything rusty.  How nice is that? Life is a carousel of plastic ponies – up and down, up and down. Sometimes I get a little nauseous, but it’s not half bad in my corner of the fair.

*Get it? No shave November? How bad is a joke if I have to explain it?

Creepy Paul

On Twitter this morning I discovered #MeToo and at first I was all, I shouldn’t contribute. I’ve “only” been: verbally assaulted while eating a sausage on the street, pressured into sex by people I was in relationships with, cat called times a million, texted inappropriately in high school by a married man hitting on pictures of me and my friends on Facebook…and then I was like, oh duh. That’s the fucking point. These are not tiny, insignificant, isolated incidents. This is sexual assault and it’s happening all the time.

One of the more uncomfortable incidents I already tweeted about, but it involved a man I frequently saw while out to breakfast with my parents. I started calling him Creepy Paul because even at nine years old I could tell he gave me too much unwanted attention, then one day he kissed me on the cheek when I was going to the bathroom. It made me feel disgusting and ashamed. I don’t remember if I told my parents or if I gave them an excuse for not wanting to go back to one of our favorite breakfast spots, but I’ve been avoiding that diner for years. I don’t know for certain, but I probably wasn’t the only little girl Creepy Paul assaulted– how frightening and angering and fucked up and disgusting of him.

Besides sharing this information, I don’t really know what to “do” about this and I’m frustrated that I don’t have a solution. I do know that it’s been helpful to hear about other women’s encounters with sexual harassment, particularly on blogs I love, like this one.

And so we keep going.