my real #2015bestnine
You’ve seen it on Instagram and Facebook—#2015bestnine recaps a person’s top 9 Instagram photos based on the like aka the acknowledgment from friends, family members, random strangers, admirers from afar, and probably bots that gave a momentary eff about you in their 2 seconds of scrolling. My cynicism is showing, I know, I have to tuck that back in. But, I’m not immune. I avidly posted pictures for the like—more so this year than the year before. It made me feel liked. It made me feel validated. It made me feel like I had a tribe. Posting photos was kind of a way to develop a sense of solidarity during a time where I felt the most alone. And it was simple, very on-the surface bits of joy that I got. It’s similar to drugs, a little bump to get going. And I guess my #2015bestnine shows me as a beast who likes to eat. I mean, I am, but that’s just how I curated myself. There’s more though, there’s always more.
Looking back before the year ends is warranted. I want to know how I have grown, how I have not, and what I need to work on. Even though it’s really only a last digit change from 5 to 6 after 2–0–1, it’s still a leap forward.
2015, my limbo year.
If 2014 was my WTF year, 2015 was my limbo year.
I started off 2015 dancing at a Brooklyn bar, sharing a j with some random European dudes, and eating nachos in the middle of my living room at 3 AM. It was my first New Year’s without him—and I remember being acutely aware of how alone I felt. And that was the theme of 2015—and something I had to cope with throughout the year. It was a rocky start, like navigating an open sea with a compass that barely knew the difference between north and east. I chugged along the best I could even when it got choppy AF. It really was a transition year. It was the year that I grew up just a little bit more. The year of back & forth. The year of real loneliness. The year of letting go. The year of healing. And, man, does it take time to fully heal. At times, it felt like a standstill, tiny grains of sand that taunted me. But, the time I needed was the time I needed. There’s no fucking shortcuts. And, if I could hug my past self, I would. I was a shell of myself, I was stripped of everything I knew, I was in rebuild mode. I was fortunate to be able to discover a better version of myself—and I am a better person today than that person eating nachos at 3 AM.
So really quick, because everyone else is sharing their end-of-year recaps…here’s my real #2015bestnine—tidbits of moments and realizations I learned throughout the year that my photos can’t share.
- Even though it seems like everyone around you is getting married, having kids, etc. It’s okay, you aren’t them. It’s actually more than okay. That doesn’t make your life any less. Love really is all around when you learn to love yourself first.
- Set attainable, specific goals. It’s easy to say I want to do this, I want to do that. But, without a timeframe or benchmarks, time seems to slip away from you and you’re left empty-handed. Fucking hustle, yo.
- Curate the friendships you want—and make an effort. It’s very easy to let friendships die in a world where social media exists. You can check up on a person, but never make contact. Be human and reach out. It feels great.
- Forgive. Life is too short to be angry. The negative vibes aren’t worth it.
- Learn your limits. Emotionally, mentally, physically. We’re not superheroes, we can fail, we can fall, that doesn’t make us weak though.
- Do something that scares you. Not necessarily scare, but do something new. Your comfort zone is only as big as you make it.
- Get off your ass. It’s easy to be lazy, Netflix, and chill. But, the moment you start to feel old is the moment you forget to feel young. Practice balance.
- Pray. For others. For a better world. To just say thanks. We really are just a tiny fragment in a gigantic world. And even a tiny prayer can make a difference.
- Hope. In the realest of struggles, hope can come in the form of many things. Kind of like a Patronus (ahem, Harry Potter), hope is a guiding light that tethers you back to reality. Mine is a combination of writing, therapy, and cooking. And I am 1000% grateful that I discovered how to hope.
2016, my year of whatever.
Tonight, I leave 2015 with a sense of excitement. I have no real expectations. I have some arbitrary resolutions to keep me on track. But, this is a clean slate year. It’s kind of scary, can’t lie about that. I have no idea of what’s to come, I’m just open to whatever. I am in more or maybe less control of the life ahead of me. I will chug along the best I can. I have so much more growing up to do. I have so much more adjusting to do. But, I will hustle. I will have faith. I will let life show me the life I didn’t plan at all. That’s all I can really do. So, 2016, whatever you are, bring it.
*this is essay 7 of many. join me every Sunday (or so) for a new one. tata.