I have to confess, I’m not really big into making New Year’s resolutions. Call me a cynic, but these so called declarations tend to end up just another list of expectations and promises you fail to keep and live to regret. Sometimes I think it’s just easier to close your eyes, take a breath, and dive into things not knowing where you’re going to land. There is always a fifty percent chance you will find yourself standing relatively unscathed with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Of course, there’s always the same percentage you’ll land face first in a pile of horseshit, but hey, no one said every day was going to be a pretty one.
But sometimes I do need something to guide my spirit. There has always been one thing that gets me through beginning a fresh new year and it doesn’t involve drinking special bottled holy water, wearing a red string on my wrist, or worshipping L. Ron Hubbard. It’s The Serenity Prayer. No longer solely for twelve steppers, this prayer gives hope and strength to the, well, hopeless and the strength-less, and anyone else for that matter willing to take it into consideration (ahem, Miss Spears?). I know in my many moments of uncertainty and upheaval, I take comfort in the prayer and try to remember it and how it applies to my life.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...”
One of the biggest issues I’m facing in my life right now is one of identity. Anyone who’s making that jump from young adult to full-fledged adulthood knows what I’m talking about. My priorities sometimes feel like they fluctuate as much as Oprah’s weight. Things that didn’t seem to mean a whole lot to me before (“Mom, calm down. You just saw me a week ago!”) now have some new found strange importance (“Mom, I’ve called you twice today! Why didn’t you answer?”). The same can be said for the opposite. Once upon a time I couldn’t imagine going a day without talking to my close circle of friends. Today I’m not always exactly sure who they are anymore. It’s the circle of life I suppose and there’s no stopping it. I’m trying to accept that there are certain things in life that go on in ways you cannot predict or alter. It’s bittersweet, often terrifying one moment and exhilarating the next, but absolutely necessary into order to grow.
“… courage to change the things I can.”
On a larger scale, I struggle, like most of our community, to deal with the fact there are people and forces in this world that would just as soon I shut the hell up and go away than acknowledge my existence. Well, I’m a loud mouthed, flamboyant, up in your face queen and steadfastly refuse to go gently into that good night. What I have to say may not be earth shattering, but one, I have a God given right to say whatever the hell I want to say and b, if every member of the LGTBQI (and whatever other letter we have co-opted this month to be all inclusive) stood up and said their peace, wouldn’t that really be something? Okay, it would probably be a little psychotic, but go with me on this. I don’t care who you are, what you do or who you do, everyone needs to speak up for what they believe in and support it. And not just when it’s convenient, but everyday, without question. Especially when it comes time to decide who’s running our towns, cities, states, and country.
“…and wisdom to know the difference.”
Many years ago, while in the midst of some good old fashioned growing pain angst, a good friend of mine gave me a wonderful piece of advice: pick your pain. It’s taken me the better part of decade, but she will be relieved to find out I finally get what she was saying. I have come to realize that no one is destined for eternal sunshine and happiness. If they are, they will probably be hit by a truck or have a house drop on them. Some days, life can seem a bit overbearing and not worth facing. I have those moments, more times than I care to truly admit. Sometimes all I want to do is pull the covers over my head and block the world out. Wouldn’t that be easier than having to face people at work when you’re not in the mood? Wouldn’t that take the sting out of feeling like you’ve been rejected by the people you love and have spent a lifetime with when you realize their lives have moved on without you? Wouldn’t isolating yourself completely protect you from feeling like a one in sea of twos? Sometimes I think it would, but I know in my heart that there are always at least two answers when you’re faced with a choice. You can ignore reality and suffer alone OR you can muster up whatever ounce of self-esteem and strength you have left to stare such depression in the eye and deal with it. Neither is easy and both are painful, but you must choose. I choose to pick myself up, dust myself off, make sure the mop of unruly hair attached to my head isn’t too devastating, and face these challenges head on. I may moan, I may grumble, but damn it, I live. Because somewhere along the way there will be a good day at work, new friends to be made, and perhaps, another one looking to be a two with me.
However you choose to embrace your New Year, I wish you much love, success, and best wishes in all the things that mean something to you!
Essential Download: "Full Of Grace"
Artisit: Sarah McLachlan
Available On: Surfacing
Originally published in the December 2007 issue of The Empty Closet, New York State’s Oldest Continuously-Published LGTB newspaper since 1973, through the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley.