I spent last new year’s eve drinking Perrier with a very close friend, sharing with her (and her with me) the most detrimental beliefs that I had about myself. I said these phrases – terrifying phrases – out loud.
This is how I feel.
Without looking away, I held her hands and told her: “I am the second pick,” and “I am an inconvenience.” She then shared how she felt about herself with me. Even if we disagreed with what the other said, we acknowledged how the other person felt. We didn’t argue. We held the others’ hand and we listened.
And then we brainstormed.
What is the opposite of that belief? Even if the answer was obvious, I realized that I needed her help to figure it out. The opposite of “I am an inconvenience” felt like such a lie… even a terrible thing to think (more terrible than my own self-hatred) that I could barely entertain it. She felt the same way when it came to her beliefs, so we helped each other. She took my hands and I took hers. Our faces were flushed. We said nice things about ourselves to each other. Over and over and over again, until the other person believed that we meant what we said.
“I am the first pick.” “My presence is a gift.”
This year I rang in the new year with a friend from middle school and high school who I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years.
We reunited outside of a Starbucks close to the waterfront in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He looked exactly the same. Maybe a little older. We tapped together our first drinks with one another as legal adults, and 5 minutes before midnight headed to the square to squeeze ourselves into the crowd waiting with anticipation for the count down. Two minutes before midnight we realized that all of our phones were dead. The count down started. 2017 arrived. There were fireworks. I whooped and hollered. The three of us (the third being his cousin/friend) hugged.
A lot has happened between those two New Year’s celebrations. And I’m feeling a lot right now.
I’m feeling hopeful and doubtful. I’m feeling inspired and angry. While walking through downtown yesterday I felt incredibly sad… but only because I’d felt so happy the day before; surrounded by amazing friends – amazing people – who lifted me off of the floor when they hugged me goodbye. And I felt so so loved. So yesterday I felt sad as I walked through downtown alone.
One of my favourite poets right now is Robin Skelton. I picked up his poetry collection ‘Limits’ at a used book sale for one dollar, and there’s a few poems I’ve read more than 20 times by now. Their lines haunt me. Here’s an excerpt from one of those poems called Back Again:
“… I think
sometimes there is no future
as there is no past;
it is all here,
as I am here,
my elsewhere in my eyes…”
That last line especially haunts me – my elsewhere in my eyes — and I think about it often. For I’m feeling very ‘back again’ right now.
I left last year.
Got rid of nearly all of my possessions, and spent three months in France.
It’s something I can’t believe I did, and now I am very much living the consequences of that decision… and by that, I mean I’ve lost what I had before. I have lost much of what used to drive me as a person. I consider this a very good thing, but that doesn’t mean that the loss of much of my ambition isn’t scary and unsettling.
In the blog post that I wrote at the beginning of 2016, I wrote this:
“My New Year’s resolution is going to be a little different this year. This year my word is ‘ease.’ This year it is my ambition to be creative, to make things – cool things – with other people, and it is my resolution to love myself, and to find the heart that beats outside of my work.”
This year (as hoped for) I have learned how soothing, sensuous, painful, and loving that heart beat is; how well it knows me.
I’ve learned how good it feels to sit in silence on my bed and breathe. How much I enjoy pretending I’m a mermaid, and swimming against the waves as if my legs were a tail. How soothing the feeling of a friends’ hand as her fingers slide and swirl against my scalp during a movie, my head resting comfortably on one of her thighs.
I’ve learned about touch this year. About the sensations my body craves, not in a sexual way, but in a human way.
I’ve learned about love. And enjoyed the feeling of sound sliding effortlessly through and out of my throat. I’ve danced and sung naked in a thunder storm. I’ve bathed underneath a waterfall. I’ve jumped off cliffs. I’ve sweated onto the pages of a book. I’ve met strangers in airports, and performed with them days later on stage. I’ve said goodbye. I’ve said hello. I’ve hugged closely a new friend I might not see for a long time at a train station, and cried with her before hugging again.
What do I want out of the year that is coming?
What is my new year’s resolution for 2017?
It is my resolution to be here as much as I can.
To hug my friends as often as I can. To let the people that I care most about, know that I care about them. To meet new people, and to discover what it means/ feels like to care about them. To receive affection and sentiments of respect that others have for me.
And love… it is my resolution to start the work of understanding what love is — how it moves in my body, how it feels in my heart.
Finally, for the new year it is my resolution to, as much as possible, leave behind the ‘I’, the do-it-aller, the miss independent, and to discover and enjoy who I am as an us; who I am as a we.
I think I’ll conclude this post with that.
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