I am going to say this here.
I hate the beginning of a new year.
I know, I know, it's supposed to be this fabulous new year, new you, resolution-filled time when we shed our old skins and start all new and shiny and fresh, but this year, all of my being is rejecting all of it so hard.
It was my birthday on January 1st too, so you'd think I would feel very different about this time of year, but nope. Not happening.
I can't handle all the expectations that are piled onto everyone, most of them self-administered, and then the eventual (inevitable?) failure to achieve said expectations and the subsequent guilt about it all. It feels like a set-up and I can't do it this year. I mean, if you weren't doing these things a month ago, what has changed so much in four weeks that you are going to do them consistently now?
It's January 5th already. If you haven't started your #365whatevertheheckitis by now, you are now five days behind and you probably already feel awful about it and are scrambling to catch up. Better find those 5 things you have to throw out. Take 5 selfies today and pretend they are all from different places/times/moments. Read another 11 minutes of that first in your #100booksin2016 list. Do your thing and add it at the end of your already busy day. Feel like you're being all goal-oriented and committed. Go ahead. I give you another 7-10 days before it starts feeling like a chore and not as much fun anymore. (I know, I am being such a resolution killjoy right now!)
The pressure to make new year's resolutions is massive in our western culture. It makes me wonder? Is this a thing in other parts of the world?
I just googled this question and it seems all the resoluting that happens around New Year's has a very North American, Protestant/Christian/puritanical background, with the advent of the new year signalling a renewed commitment to God and promoting the ideals of physical and emotional restraint in the face of life's indulgences. Colour me not surprised about this.
Nowadays, it's not so much about a commitment to God and limiting life's indulgences, and more so about losing weight, stopping a bad habit, or starting a new one, something often thought to make us "better people". So in a way, I suppose it is kind of the same idea - promoting physical or emotional restraint in the face of life's so-called vices. Not eating all the chocolate, getting to the gym more, cutting back on alcohol/smoking/spending/facebooking/etc... Just with less God as the reason and more selfish or self-centered ones. I think we'd all agree that losing weight or becoming more physically fit is the top resolution for 90% of the western world. Or as Abigail Saguy, a sociology and gender studies professor at UCLA puts it, ‘How can I be thinner and better conformed to social expectations in the hopes of having more privilege?’
Now, I am not knocking anyone who wants to lose weight or be healthier, but I do sometimes question the reasons for this. In a few weeks, I will be in a bathing suit on a beach. Societal norms of beauty and size tell me that I must get myself "beach body ready" for this, and I'd be lying if I told you that this is not at least part of the motivation for having upped my workout schedule this month. At the same time, THIS is my body. It has scars, stretch marks, a round belly I lovingly refer to as "the donut", big thighs, and those arm flappy things. It is not going to change that much in a matter of weeks.I mean sure, I can probably shed 5, maybe 10 pounds between now and when I am supposed to be on the aforementioned beach, but to what avail? I don't particularly care about the strangers on the beach or their opinions of my body, and I don't want my focus to be on how I look in my bathing suit, I want to have FUN! Learn to stand up paddle board, catch a few good waves with the boogie board and build epic sand castles with my kids. I am (mostly-like 92.7%) comfortable with this body of mine and what it can do, and to quote the amazing Carrie Fisher, who has been criticized recently for aging LIKE A HUMAN BEING,
So I say NO to setting unrealistic, manipulated-by-our-culture-of-beauty-worship-because this-is-what-society-tells-me-I-should-do, resolutions for 2016. I am opting out of this tradition. I am not going to start the year depriving myself of things that give me joy (good food, good coffee, good shopping, riffing on FB with my secret society of intersectional feminists) and I am not going to take on multiple social media or blogging or lifestyle challenges or set resolutions to prove I don't know what to I don't know whom.
Some people are calling 2016 the #YearofYES (no offence Ms. Shonda Rhimes), but I am feeling like this year is more of a #YearofNO for me. NO to other people's bullshit. NO to volunteering my time and efforts in places I feel I am taken for granted. NO to being the fixer and everyone's (other than my own two children's) mother all the time. NO to anyone's racism, sexism, homo- or transphobia and general intolerance towards fellow humans. NO to any but my own definition of what my body should look like, feel like and is capable of doing. NO to anyone calling me "just" a (insert pejorative term/label for stay at home mother, blogger, writer, feminist, etc... here)!
This #YearofNO also includes me saying NO to that voice in my head. The one that keeps telling me resistance-type things like, "you can't do A, B or C, you really are no good at this, someone else will do it better, why bother?". This is the year I shut that biatch down - HARD! This year I will be like Obama in the final months of his second term - the giver of NO fucks! Dropping executive orders all over the damn place and removing all roadblocks to an unapologetic, wholehearted, purposeful, shouty as fuck, life. LIKE A DAMN BOSS!
Do you see what has happened here?
In the writing of this, I've gone and made resolutions.
Kind of. I am going to call them anti-resolution resolutions.
Like I said, this year I am the giver of no fucks and I am what I am.
Take it or leave it.
Happy New #YearofNO.