It’s the time of year when resolutions abound – people procaiming left, right and centre that the new year represents a chance for them to reinvent themselves, turn around their lives, and reach for new and exciting heights.
I won’t be doing any of that.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve bought into that in the past and I bear no ill will to anyone who either enjoys making resolutions or finds it a useful tool to make some necessary changes. I do, however, have a problem with the whole resolution culture and the way that it’s marketed to us – particularly to people who struggle with their self-esteem.
For example, the whole ‘losing your Christmas weight’ aspect of New Year’s Resolution Culture. Is there any better way of making you feel guilty about daring to enjoy yourself at the one time of year when you’re actually allowed to do so? Is there no relief from the anvil of cultural expectation?
Oh, you enjoyed your Christmas? Treated yourself, did you? Ate food, did you? WELL NOW YOU MUST SPEND YOUR ENTIRE POST-CHRISTMAS PERIOD PLEDGING TO THE WORLD THAT YOU WILL ATONE FOR YOUR SINS.
I’ve been saying for a couple of years that an important turning point in my life was when I realised that I was allowed to enjoy Christmas without guilt, justification, or a promise to reverse its effects as soon as the sun set. You should try it. It’s shockingly liberating.
Aside from what I see as the damaging cultural pressures of the resolution season, I also don’t subscribe to it because I know myself well enough to know that there’s no point.
If I come to a point in my life when I not only need to make a change, but also feel the inclination to do so, then that will happen whether I make it a New Year’s Resolution or not. And if I’m not completely in the right headspace to make that change, them I’m setting myself up for the rampant internal hatred of failure.
I can’t make a promise to myself that I can’t keep. I will be the same person when the clock strikes midnight on 31st December, and to expect any sort of dramatic difference (particularly betterness) is not only idealistic, but cruel to myself.
I don’t like failing. I have a specific coping mechanism stored under the heading ‘making a mistake’ to avoid melting down or disappearing into a self-hating anxiety pit if I make the tiniest screw up in the tiniest task. To make myself a goal that I can’t reach and then inevitably not be able to reach it is the ultimate disruption of my routine. So I owe it to me (and the world who have to deal with me) to take care of myself.
That’s not to say that I protect myself from change, and it’s not to say that I cut myself off from self-improvement and new situations. It is to say that I refuse to throw every expectation at myself in one time-based culturally-expected self-defeating barrage. Instead, I see it as a year-round, life long process without the unnecessary pressure of a time limit.
And, despite everything I have just said, I do feel as though I am standing at something of a crossroads: personally, professionally, creatively, and globally.
At a wider level, the world feels like we’re teetering on the edge of a point of no return. 2017 has been a little bit awful in terms of divisive, oppressive and bigoted politics – I remember thinking that 2016 was bad, but 2017 has done its absolute best to leave 2016 in the dust. There’s something brewing on the horizon, so I, specifically as a queer disabled woman, am on edge as to which way the explosion will be focused.
Existing in the world at the moment is just inherently stressful (and I think I’ve definitely used that phrase before).
On the more personal, emotional, professional level, there are some upcoming choices that I’ll have to make (even if I’m trying to put it of for as long as possible) and some ongoing changes that may reverberate from that. I have some storms crackling almost permanently along in my brain (wow, breaking news, your friendly neighbourhood autistic queer is in some form of emotional turmoil, stop all of the presses!) that I will unfortunately have to buckle up and deal with.
And finally, and on a related note, we have the creative side of things. 2017 was the year in which I made good on a long overdue promise to myself – and started this blog! Wahey! I can absolutely sense the joy and gratitude in people’s hearts that they get to be bombarded with my opinions, my dramas, and sometimes both at the same time. I will continue to blog into the new year, and hopefully far beyond that as well. From what we’ve discussed earlier, I have a lot of things to talk about.
In summary, as 2017 oozes over into 2018: I’m nervous about the global political climate, I’m full of emotional turmoil, and I’m going to be blogging about both of those things.
The title is literally New Year, Same Me, so I don’t know why you expected anything different.
As for what 2018 actually brings, I do have several requests that I hope the universe will take heed of:
- More Nazis being punched.
- Greater respect for the experiences of Actually Autistic people and the elevation of Actually Autistic voices in our own activism.
- An extension of #2 for all disabled people.
- Solidarity within the LGBTQIA+ community for all queer identities (now more than ever we need to support each other).
- More dogs.
- The complete and utter dismantling of the capitalist white supremacist cishetero-patriarchy.
Is that really too much to ask for?
Come on universe. Don’t let me down this time.