Resolutions and Bully Battles
While the world made their bold predictions and weighty promises for the new year, the first day of 2013 looked a lot like most of my 2012: I was seated on my red couch, with my legs curled beneath me (right leg on top, feet tucked under my derrière–if I keep folding this way, I’m guaranteed to get the Arthritis that plagued my grandmother’s knees and since this is the year I turn 30, I’m more concerned about these things), watching ESPN. I can’t remember if First Take was on New Year’s Day, but if so, I was likely listening to Skip and Stephen A’s bold assumptions and marital bickering over matters in the sports world. Like every year since 2008, I was going into 2013 without resolutions. I have but one plan: to spend my 30th birthday weekend in New Orleans. Outside of that, I was set to let 2013 do what it do.
2012 had done what it did and as I looked over the year that was, I had some less than stellar moments. There was a thing with a guy early in the year that shouldn’t have been. There was that time I ended up in the back of a police car (which up until this moment, only CT, my mother, and my mother’s “friend” at the time who picked me up from the station knew about) because of an unpaid speeding ticket that I’d missed in the ever growing pile of unopened mail in my apartment. I can’t forget about the $1000 I paid to the City of Cleveland for unpaid parking tickets (the entire parking system is a gotdamn racket). Oh. And of course there was when I decided to drop out of my MFA program at Cleveland State University, despite showing great promise as a student, ultimately because I didn’t want to spend anymore than the 40 required hours of my work week committed to anything that wasn’t drinks, dinner, or hanging out on my couch.
In between all that, I had some great times with amazing people, but I spent a lot of 2012 disgusted with myself. People who don’t struggle with mental illness grow from moments in the mirror with stern versions of their Higher Selves telling them what idiots they’ve been. In my brain, however, a simple chorus of “C’mon, You Know Better” awakens The Bully who loves to play his #1 Hit “You’re Too Damaged, Undisciplined, and Generally Awful to Ever Have Nice Things.” On repeat. For weeks at a time. I spent most of the year playing rope-a-dope with him, waiting for him to get tired and leave me alone. Well either I’m no Ali or The Bully is on HGH because he beat the shit out of me until I finally knocked him out with a patented swing I like to call “You know what? I’m not arguing with you. Think what you want. Imma be over here living life.” I spent the tail end of the year reading Zen, declaring that Life is Good, and reminding myself that in the non-afflicted part of my brain, I actually had decent self-esteem.
But back to January 1, 2013. I was in my pre-Arthritic pretzel fold on my couch when a mouse-like voice in my head made a request: “I want to make a resolution this year.” The Bully stood up immediately to object, ready to get into his verse about my lack of discipline but the quieter voice spoke a little louder and with conviction: “This year, I’m gonna be good to myself.” I realized then that the quieter voice was me; the reasonable, non-afflicted part of my brain. I gave The Bully the People’s Eyebrow and clenched my fists like “Say one gotdamn word and see what happens.” The Bully, with no immediate ideas about how I could screw this up, retreated to his corner.
Because I’m a no-goals kinda gal, I asked myself how I wanted to feel this year. I got this strategy from the wonderful Danielle Laporte in which you name your Core Desired Feelings. The “goal” here is to do things that make you feel how you’d like to feel and be fluid so that if something that previously worked for you, stops, you can let it go without all that pesky guilt about quitting. (I highly recommend this for process-oriented people and air signs, of which I am both.)
So this year, being good to myself translates into things that make me feel Centered, Creative, and Capable. We’ll see how it goes.
Below is the current Scoreboard for 2013.
The Bully: 0
IN YO FACE!