I started to write a new year’s post but it just felt glib – especially in the wake of the country literally being burned alive. In it, I took stock of the good parts of 2019 (there were more than I realised) and tried to project myself into the future – to figure out what I’d be writing about at the end of 2020, once the shine of optimism wore off and the momentum faded. This time last year I was about to be triggered into a cycle that lasted six months. There were a lot of things I didn’t know then. And some that were fast coming to light.
Despite the anti-resolution hype, January is usually a fairly productive month for me. It’s where I set up all the plans that I will inevitably destroy by winter. This year I’m being strategic – finish my degree and my internship, try to make some semblance of an income, knowing that I’ll be out of action when I inevitably descend into the underworld, to however many degrees this time. It feels weird to plan for it. Make hay while the sun shines, my mother used to say. I recently discovered that coffee cuts through lithium, so I’m thinking semi-clearly again, but unfortunately it has a Cinderella effect, and is starting to wear off faster. And both are fucking up my kidneys, so great. But hey (hay?). The sun is shining, and I’m getting shit done. I’ll take the win.
Shutting down my Facebook has been not just healing but liberating. It’s like being cut off from the collective (#treknerd), but in the best possible way. As my therapist says, if it’s making me spin my wheels, it’s to be avoided. So I’ve curated my Twitter and Instagram feeds, have unfollowed and muted anything that makes me turn against myself, and for once, I’m not overthinking. Last year I felt profoundly alone in a sea of noise. All of it fake, despite its intention. Now, I find, there’s nothing in these waters that interests me at all.
I’ve been thinking back to a time where we all used to be a lot more honest with ourselves and each other online. When we used to write volumes, instead of posting memes. Rants, perhaps, yes. But who cares? I fell in love once with a boy who wrote a blog. Before the word blog was even a word. He was lonely, like me, and he displayed such breathtaking, heartrenching honesty in the public sphere. I loved that about him the most, even if I didn’t fully understand the ramifications of his angst at the time. But gradually that trait that I admired more than anything, shrank and turned inwards and became a cancer. He swallowed himself whole and secrecy destroyed him from the inside, leaving those that loved him in his wake.
I used to think writers were my kryptonite, but I’ve come to realise that’s not quite true. What fuels my fire is courage. Truth. Honesty. Of all the things I cannot bear, it’s watching people lie to themselves, and then watching the truth seep out through their actions. If you can’t be honest with me, then I never wanted you anyway.
So. 2021, if you’re reading this, I hope that I took my story and made something of it. That’s enough of a resolution, I think.
Reading: Book of Mutter (Kate Zambreno)
Watching: The Witcher
Listening to: Anna Nalik