Thursday, January 2, 2014

Old Year, New Year

This time last year, I drew up a list of resolutions I hoped to accomplish in 2013. Some of them were vague ("put myself out there!!") and some were specific ("focus on getting my poetry published!"). Like a lot of people, I get caught up in the emotional meaning of the new year, the planning and goal making of it. There are a lot of things on that little marker-written list that I did accomplish in 2013. I learned that to spend time by myself is invaluable, and necessary, but that to talk to people I don't know is also essential. I got my first poem accepted for publication and proved that I can write outside of an educational environment. Not long into the year though, I learned that my lists and plans were, well, sort of irrelevant.

This year was not at all the year I expected it to be, which is sort of how all years go I guess, unless you're a psychic medium/time-traveling magician from space. There were the changes I expected: graduating from college, finding new jobs. And then there were all of the things I could never have seen coming. Change is usually the sort of relative that doesn't text you that it's on its way, or even that it's waiting in the car outside to take you to Smashburger. It just sort of knocks your door down and asks to sleep on your couch for a week or two (or longer), especially on the days when your couch is covered in a bunch of clothes and junk you've been meaning to put away.

At the end of February, I was invited to a concert by my friend, who was really only a friend of a best-friend-from-New-Hampshire. I went, surprisingly enough, ("put yourself out there!!") and met his friend, who tbh I hardly even spoke to. Three days later we were dating. Ten months later we're still dating, I'm moving into his apartment, and we're buying toilet paper and 50% off bags of holiday chocolate together. I know more about film projection, Martin Scorcese ['s eyebrows] and how to love and grow with someone than I ever thought I would. I'm in a relationship where I am encouraged to push myself, but also nurture myself, and where I'm able (for the most part) to reciprocate that encouragement. I'm in a relationship with someone who has faults too, and who can work with me to improve both of our failings. I get to be with someone who makes me happy (except when he is farting on me) and that makes me so, so happy (except for the farts because, come on).

Two weeks later, my sister went for a CATscan. Later that day, we learned something was wrong. Later that month we were in a hospital emergency room waiting for a surgeon to tell us that the surgery was successful, and what the mass on her brain really was. I don't really know how to talk about learning that my sister has cancer. I still have trouble talking about it to anyone who isn't my mom, and sometimes even that doesn't work. What I can talk about is how amazing my sister has been, and how I keep learning to love her more even when I think I've reached the maximum level of love (that sounds like an 80's album title but I'm not even sorry about it). It has been strange and so difficult and in some ways amazing, seeing my family morph and grow, seeing my sister struggle and win. She is doing great, and she is strong, and we are going to run a 5k in the spring together.

In 2013 I broke down. I was strong for other people, and learned to let other people nurture me. I loved more than I ever have before. I was lazy. I worked hard. I hurt other people because I couldn't deal with my own emotions. I soared. I learned. I saw my family change. I became a better, louder, more honest, more passionate person. It was not the year I expected, but is it ever? It was worse than I anticipated, and better than I could have ever dreamed.

I have a lot of creative and personal goals swimming around in my head for 2014. To be honest, most of them mirror my 2013 goals, and I like that. I feel like I have a direction, and a solid grip (I actually keep picturing one of those weird tubes filled with shimmery liquid goop that were really hip in the 90's, which is probably more accurate) on the kind of person I am becoming and want to become. Writing, making, growing, loving - that's what I want in 2014. And pizza, always pizza.


  1. This post made me all teary/I miss you so f*cking much. I don't have much to say in response to all this except that you're an inspiration to me and I don't know what I'd do if we had never become friends. Here's to pushing each other out of our comfort zones even more in 2014. Also new idea, I think after work I am going to create a blanket fort and name it "Comfort Zone".

  2. Nicole! I am so very happy to see a post from you pop up on my dashboard. It's good to see you wormin' around. Clearly you have been so busy... that's really exciting that you're getting a poem published, wowee! I knew you could do it. You've always been such an adept writer, and I learn from your posts as I read them. :)

    But my goodness, I am so sorry to hear about what you've been through with your sister--I can't even imagine that happening to a friend or someone so close to me, let alone a sibling. She sounds like a fighter, though, and I'm glad you two have been battling through it. I wish her all the best, and your family as well.

    I agree about making more in 2014. Let's make it an awesome year, yo! FULL OF PIZZA AND CREATIVE STUFF! !!

  3. i'm so happy for you! best wishes for an even more amazing 2014! Xx

  4. I liked this post very much. And I very much liked that you posted. Seriously sending best wishes your way. And am very happy for the good things happening in your life. Super disjointed here, but know that I really appreciate you/your writing/your blog/your thoughts.

  5. "And pizza, always pizza." Ugh it's like you're my dream girl or something. You seem to me the loveliest, funniest, best person to be around. I hope 2014 is the best year ever for you. Break every leg! :D

  6. Hi Nicole, I've never commented before, but I do appreciate your blog, your honesty and you just seem to be really nice, smart and cool. Yes, being yourself is the coolest thing! Great news about your sister. Great news about your publication too (and with your relationship!). I certainly didn't have as much hindsight on myself in my twenties as you. I'm glad for your good news and for keeping us posted. Take care and thanks!


Thank you so, so much for taking some time to comment on my blog!