January 1, 2014

The Way We Were: A Year In Review

When I look back on this year, I see a lot of puddles—places where bits of my heart pooled and gathered in certain pockets of humanity, sought refuge in places both familiar and foreign. Lots of starts and stops, holding on, letting go, holding on, and cycling, bearing loss and life with friends and family and I swore, oh I swore this day would never come but it did. It did, and I am here, and I am still standing.

This year did a number on me in ways I never would have expected. At the beginning, I remember not wanting to let go of 2012—it held too much beauty bound up in its withered days—now 2013 is no different. And when I say I will improve, I will. When I say I will be imperfect in the process, I will, because I am human.  

2013 was (in no particular order)…

A newfound love of darts. Throwing sharp projectiles at walls is more stress-relieving than you know.

Hairdye hits and misses, and the Year Of The Mini Undercut (which is now growing out very cute and super awkwardly).

Discovering beautiful people, a few of My People, in the most unexpected places, at the most unexpected moments. I love the way life works sometimes.  

Less creating with my hands (which was kind of sad), more soaking up the world and the people in it (which was interesting).

Devouring the written word, and finding my own words again. Filling notebooks.

Obsessing over Joan Didion and Spalding Gray and Simone De Beauvoir, and trying not to drool over the work of Marina Abramovic.

Connection and disconnection, holding on and letting go, pulling together and falling apart in stitches—abiding the fluctuation as only one can.

Doubling up on Record Store Day with fabulous dearhearts and coming away with some amazing albums, but more the experience than anything else.

Proud-crying at her voice recital, at his talent show. Again. 

Being commissioned to do some work for two weddings and enjoying every second of the process for both. Pinterest has made beautiful monsters of us all, haha.   

Mini local roadtrips immortalized only on film, partially in writing.

Watching the slow disappearance of the weathered patio booth, piece by piece. First the round warped center table, still on its side against the back corner fence, and then the whole booth itself. Gone. In general, what a year can do to the landscape of a place, or what people will do to the landscape of a place. Somethingsomething a metaphor for our lives.

Experiencing Handsome Ransom’s last show, and the way I cried silently when they closed out with Broadripple.

Falling into almostlove, and realizing that for all of my openness, there are still things I am afraid of.

The sound of the planes and how they truly turned my stomach after that night. How some touchstones weather with time, and there’s nothing you can do about it, except find different ones (and guess what: they’re all around you).

Reconnecting with nature and long distance dearhearts, and how we were once again a duo, and two trifectas, and how you never truly forget the people who love you—life just gets busy sometimes.

Operation Room Repaint 2013 Edition!
That night my worlds converged and I just kept shooting those darts til steel barrels rubbed my fingers raw, blunted the tips. The bitterness was deafening, and I hated the round barrel tables, the picnic one in the corner.

Vinyl parties and sunset lifetalks in the staunch white gazebo of time. 

The love-soaked mess of people at the house where my great-grandmother turned 101 years old, all that light in her face, brightness her smile.

Grand Stafford Theater experience, Revolution Cafe, those simple soul explosions.

How I needed that Alt-J show more than I ever could have possibly realized beforehand, and how strangely certain things are imprinted in your memory, the ones that you cling to for hope sometimes.

Disposable cameras in my bag every single month, and how Walgreens stopped developing them in-house, and it was frustrating but worth the wait, always.

Water bottles were the new pillows, and driveway hangs were the iconic summer thing, nostalgic and comforting under balmy humid skies. 

The one meteor shower witnessed. Multiple wishes were made that night.

Planting strawberries in a martini glass, because it was The Most Practical Thing. 

Yoga mats and life mantras and leaving anonymous love notes everywhere we went.

Joining the technological age with my first smart phone, while expanding my vinyl collection more than I have in any given year. Bifurcated mind of the best kind, y’all. 

How I proudcried when he made that decision, because it was proof that he was ready to fight and in the end came out stronger for it. How we’re both each other’s inspiration and encouragement, and how the small victories matter.

The day she walked into the room and I knew the minute I saw her we were meant to be soulmates. I was right. And how every time I mention Kerouac or Ginsberg or the Beats, she’s on the top of my heart and the tip of my tongue. Always.  

Learning so much from him, and being thankful for every second I was allowed, even though I know there are moments I did not sufficiently appreciate while I was in them. He was my exercise in staying present.

Taking a swing at portrait embroidery, and having a blast.

All of those serious conversations, and how some things bloomed and other things never actually came of them. We still left the puzzle unfinished. I left it unfinished. It was my job to begin with.

Seeing one of my oldest friends in her wedding dress, looking so damn gorgeous my breath was completely stolen, and how honored I was to be part of the occasion, and how much my heart explodes with joy for the both of them, especially since that day.

Curbside poetry late into the night, in the cold. Especially the not-so-cold night near the alley with the open air barber shop and I cried because the little girls were dancing on the sidewalk and I wanted to tell them love yourself. Hold onto this moment, even though you won’t. You are beautiful, and don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise. This was our therapy.

Becoming a regular. That could be a good or a bad thing, haha.

Getting beaned square in the forehead with a pick at the end of the show I accidently stumbled upon, and how that made me one of the luckiest girls alive. What came after still makes my heart smile. 

Thrift store runs for ugly sweaters, dollars stretching beautifully for such Important Life Quests. 

Heightened awareness, and indulging in calculated risk-taking. It was almost always 1000x better than I expected, and hardly ever worth the initial stress.

So many late night friend hangs and mini adventures with my girl Mae, and how completely and truly blessed I am to have this woman in my life. Such a ridiculous encouragement and testament that fighting is so worth it. And to everyone else who has encouraged and supported me through this year (I love you all incessantly—it wasn’t always pretty, I know), thank you. I mean really. I’m a pretty terrible human being sometimes. But you were there regardless, so thank you, hard words and hardknocks and all. Needed that, haha. 

I hope everyone had safe/fun new year celebratorials!
You can see last year's list here



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