I recently found myself in the Nashville airport waiting on my 4th attempt to get back to Chicago after spending the holidays in Chattanooga. You can only eat so many Auntie Annes’ pretzels in a room full of frantically bored human beings before your mind starts to wander places like “Why don’t more people do baby announcements using “Countdown” by Beyonce?” or “Whatever happened to that Michael Kors sweater that I bought three years ago?”. Of course with every new year comes an assessment of the year previous, and what better a setting for this than rounding out your seventh hour stuck at gate C-21? So I took my journal out and started breaking it down.
Every year since I’ve known Jaime we’ve partook in the prosperous meal on New Years day. It’s a meal of cornbread, cabbage, and black eyed peas. The meal is traditionally eaten on the ﬁrst day of the new year to bring you luck and prosperity. This year as we sat down with Kirk, Corey, and TK we all went around the table telling our high and low points of the year and our resolutions for 2014. I wasn’t really prepared for this and wound up telling the group that my low point was the day I found out my boyfriend had been unfaithful to me which led to the demise of our relationship. My high point was getting the opportunity to see Beyonce in Nashville with Jaime, and my resolution for 2014 was to write in my journal at least three times a week. As I sat in the airport making good on that resolution I realized that I might actually have it all wrong.
Getting to be in the same room as Beyonce writhing on top of a piano dressed in a full body glitter onesie singing “make love to me” will certainly go down in history as one of the most epic things I’ve ever experienced. But as far as the most important moment or the thing that forced me into a new chapter of life, Bey doesn’t quite ﬁt the bill. No, as much as I hate to admit it and try to tell myself that I am better in spite of rather than as a result of, my high point of 2013 is honestly the day I found out the truth of my relationship with Kyle. Now I’m sure those of you who were present for all the wallowing, Meg Ryan marathons, Evan Williams, and sweatpants that ensued as a result of this realization are more than a little confused. I don’t want this to come across as one of those “the struggle makes you stronger” pep talks you hear in the lobby after your weekly hot yoga session, because honestly it’s through gritted teeth and a tinge of sarcasm that I say I’m thankful for ﬁnding out the person I loved the most turned out to be a selﬁsh cheating phony.
No matter how much it sucked, had I not experienced that heartbreak I would still be under the impression that you can control other peoples happiness by sacriﬁcing your own.
Kyle moved from New York in to my house in St. Elmo at the beginning of last year. It’s only in retrospect that I realize the entire time he was there I was walking on eggshells desperately trying to keep him amused in Chattanooga. If I know one thing about Kyle Brown it’s that the second he gets bored or feels too settled you can go ahead and kiss him goodbye. Along with a few other reasons, I gave up moving to London because I knew he wouldn’t wait for me. It took me over a year to tell him I loved him. Even though I knew the ﬁrst day I met him, because I knew it would scare him. I resisted cutting my hair because I knew he preferred it long.
Turns out the only thing those two years of masking my feelings and constantly looking to him for validation left me with was a broken heart and an ex-boyfriend who had no idea how much damage he had done. He was reckless with my heart, and looking back I realize that I was too. After two years of feeling like I wasn’t thin enough, my style was too strange, my hair wasn’t long enough, or that I was moving too fast I ﬁnally learned that the only person that can allow someone to control your life is YOU. I rarely stood up for what my heart yearned for, because I thought it was better to bite my tongue and take what I could get than run the risk of loosing everything.
Ladies, if you’re dancing around your room in your underwear and you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think to yourself “damn, girl” then why would you stow that conﬁdence away once you’re under the gaze of someone else’s eyes?
If you know for a fact that you’d look like a badass bitch with a pixie cut, then what the hell are you doing with that hair down to your elbows? If your heart gets lit on ﬁre every time a certain someone walks into a room, then why aren’t your arms wrapped around them telling them how you feel? Waiting around feeling uncomfortable and putting everyone else’s opinions before your own will get you nowhere. True, that pixie hair cut might not look as epic as you thought it would and maybe you’ll see a picture of yourself from last night and think to yourself “why did no one tell me that wearing a denim evening gown with matching denim cowgirl hat was a bad idea?”, but I’m sure Britney Spears herself will tell you that sometimes you just have to get it all wrong before you can get it right.
SWIA began because Jaime and I reached a point where we refused to continue apologizing for being awesome. I was ﬁnally able to see all the things I had done wrong in my relationship with Kyle and realized how unhappy I was making myself. Once I was able to put the family pack of frosted animal crackers down, peel myself off the chaise lounge in Jaime’s living room, put on some neon pants, and red lipstick I made a commitment. I committed myself to showing girls that the yearnings of their hearts are valid and important, that fearlessness and honesty are our best friends, and that without a doubt we are going to royally screw it up at some point or another and we’re going to be better women because of it.
I rang in the New Year with some of the best human beings I could ask for, wearing a myriad of furs and sparkles huddled in the streets of St. Elmo singing “Auld Lang Syne” as ﬁreworks exploded around us. 2013 may have ended up completely different than I planned, but if I had the chance to go back I can’t say I would change a single thing. (Except for maybe that time I wrecked my car on the way to a Jeff Mangum concert, that was a REAL bummer).
Cheers to another year of doing shit completely wrong