2018 Fucked

Wow, seeing my 2017 survey still on the front page of my blog made me realize that I didn’t blog this year as much as I expected I would, but I’m going to chalk that up to being really happy and living a full fucking life in 2018.

This is the 15th year (!!!) that I’ve done this survey, and I’ve now crossed the threshold from being self-conscious about it being silly and weird to being really proud that I’ve managed to keep it up for 15-fucking-years (with the exception of 2010, which was kind of blur in my life anyway).

If you’ve been following my writing, you’ll know that I’ve had kind of an up and down last few years struggling with depression and anxiety and several major life transitions, but 2018 felt like the culmination of many years of self-reflection and internal work, and these days I’m just really happy and grateful for everything that transpired to get me to where I am today.

This isn’t the most articulate choice of words, but I’ve also been sick for the past month, so bear with me while I do this hopped up on a cocktail of different medications. Here we go!

Past years for reference:

2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?
I now use Evernote to log all the new shit I do throughout the year, because I literally think about what I’m going to put in this survey all year round.

This year I took an aerial class, taught a yoga class, ate crickets in Mexico City (also the first time I traveled to Mexico), went to a concert by myself (HONNE!), experienced a sound bath, reported for jury duty, left my phone number on a receipt for a server, went to therapy (highly recommend), was fully nude in public (at a Korean spa), and got peed on during a date (by my date’s dog).

I had a lot of physical achievements this year, like going outdoor rock climbing for the first time, doing up to 4 unassisted chin-ups/pull-ups, some acro yoga poses, some advanced yoga transitions and poses, and so many pole tricks.

Travel-wise, I went to Mexico City (twice), Scottsdale, Denver, and Joshua Tree!

It’s hard to tell from the picture but there’s a big fucking gap on the other side of the rock I’m on so this was a little terrifying

It’s hard to tell from the picture but there’s a big fucking gap on the other side of the rock I’m on so this was a little terrifying

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My 2018 goals:

  • Find balance in the different parts of my life. I feel like I did a decent job of this. Considering how much I traveled this year (I averaged a flight a week), I still kept up with work and maintaining my relationships - even fostered new ones. I still wrote, I still did artsy shit, I still maintained a pretty active workout schedule between pole and yoga, and I still volunteered (though not on a regular basis). The one thing I didn’t do was cook, but I’m learning (through therapy!) to not be so hard on myself and feel like I need to fill up all of my time, and to give myself permission occasionally to relax and do nothing. And realistically, my priorities are work, my relationships, and my workout routines - I know now that it’s unlikely that I can make time for ALL OF MY HOBBIES on a monthly basis, so I feel good about how I spread my time this year.

  • Teach yoga on a semi-regular basis. Totally fucking failed at this. I couldn’t make the time for it during the first half of the year when I was traveling almost every other week, and then I lost all momentum when I started poling, which has really become my new focus. Teaching yoga has been relegated to the backburner of my life, but I’m actually ok with it, because what I’ve discovered is that I really just love being a student. I still carry the lessons I learned in my yoga teacher training with me, but yeah, teaching yoga is a future me thing to figure out.

  • Make an active effort to avoid behaviors that cause me anxiety. Fucking achieved. Well, for the most part. I can’t say I was 100% successful at avoiding these behaviors, but I was successful at moderating my anxiety so that I didn’t have eating problems this year. Therapy and moving on from people and experiences that didn’t serve me certainly helped.

  • Maintain a regular meditation practice. Not really. My meditation practice has come and gone in waves - I would still like to be better about this next year.

  • Finish my bedroom. I finally got a queen size mattress and some new sheets, but other than that, my bedroom is just as sparse and sad as it was last year. Another 2019 me goal.

My 2019 goals:

  • Be kinder and more responsible with my body. I’ve never considered myself an athletic person because I hated sports growing up and I’ve never been into conventional workouts or forms of exercise, but what I’ve since discovered is that my body is actually pretty fucking strong and flexible. I have a tendency to push my body past its limits (as I’m prone to do with all things in my life) - always testing the line between discomfort and pain - and I ended up injuring both of my wrists last month by over-poling and subsequently over-working them in yoga, and they’re still on the path to rehab. I know that I need to be conscious of my hypermobility and take better care of my body during and in-between workouts, but I’ve just never put the time into researching and understanding what that means or how to do it. My injuries this year have definitely been a wakeup call to be more mindful.

  • Maintain a regular meditation practice. Another one of my tendencies is if I can’t do something full-out, then I won’t do it. Part of the reason why I didn’t keep up with meditating was because if I felt like I didn’t have 10-15 minutes to spare in the morning because I was running late to work, I just wouldn’t do it. In therapy I’ve learned that I’m pretty hard on myself (surprise, surprise), so something I have to actively work on is giving myself permission to not do everything at the arbitrarily high standard I set for myself, and remind myself that even 5 minutes of meditation a day is better than nothing.

  • Volunteer at least once a quarter. I only volunteered once this year for 826LA’s Great Personal Statement Weekend, but I really really love 826LA’s mission, and while I realistically can’t make time to volunteer every month, volunteering at least once a quarter should be achievable.

  • Compete or perform publicly on pole. I was supposed to participate in a pole showcase a couple weeks ago but had to drop out because of my wrists. Going back to my first goal, I’d really like to be more responsible about my body next year so that I can get back into pole and actually perform or compete, which is my ultimate fitness goal (some people train for marathons, I just want to be half-naked doing pole tricks in 8-inch heels).

  • Get my finances back in fucking order. A few years ago I was SUPER into managing my finances - I’d paid off all my credit cards, opened a Roth IRA, and was contributing regularly into that, my 401k, and my savings. When I was unemployed, my bank account became a scary place and I formed an unfortunate habit of not looking at it, which has persisted to this day. I’m fortunate now to have a regular income, but I’ve been so fucking irresponsible about budgeting and managing my expenses that it can’t be looking good in there. I really need to get my shit back together next year, and I’m posting this on the internet to hold myself accountable.

  • Finish my bedroom. See above. If I don’t hang up all of my goddamn art, I don’t deserve any more nice things.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A bunch of my close friends have gotten married over the last few years, but no one has entered the baby making phase…yet

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No

5. What countries did you visit?
Mexico! Twice. Within like a 3 month period for two different 30th birthday celebrations, it was a little extra. And also Spain (Madrid) for work.

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?
A sense of frugality

7. What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
September 28 - when my date’s dog peed all over my legs during our first date

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Honestly, my body is in the best fucking shape it’s ever been in and I’m pretty proud of it. I’ve never felt more confident and sexy and comfortable in my skin, and it’s all thanks to pole and yoga  

9. What was your biggest failure?
Ugh, pushing myself to pole for 5 hours in one day because I was having anxiety about my pole performance, only to injure both of my wrists and have to drop out of the performance all together. LESSON LEARNED 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yeah, both of my fucking wrists. I’ve also been coughing for the last month which has been a pain in the ass

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The Malibu Airbnb that I rented for my 30th birthday and, like, all of my pole classes/clothes/shoes. HAVE I MENTIONED THAT I LOVE POLE

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Still mine. I made good decisions this year and I’m pretty pleased with myself

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
All of the fucking racists and white nationalists that have come out of the woodwork in the last couple of years. The mass shooter of the month. Etc.

14. Where did most of your money go?
My birthday, pole, and yoga. Per usual.  

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My birthday! Pole! And a man. :)

16. What song will always remind you of 2018?
Bob Moses - Enough to Believe, Petit Biscuit - Problems, Mahalia - Sober, HONNE - Feels So Good, RÜFÜS DU SOL - Treat You Better

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Even happier

ii. thinner or fatter?
Fitter! So much fitter. I have abs. I have definition in my arms. I lost the fat around my face. I’d be humble about it, but I’ve lost 20 lbs in the last 2 years and worked so fucking hard to get here, I’m going to celebrate it

iii. richer or poorer?
Er. I should be richer but I might be poorer, I’ve been so fucking financially irresponsible this year

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I actually wish I’d set aside more time for myself this year. I traveled so much and gave so much of myself to my hobbies and to relationships, I don’t think I set aside enough time to just relax and recharge and I definitely felt the weight of that at different points this year

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Nothing. I had a good year

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Coughing, napping, marathoning Christmas movies, chilling with my fam. The usual.

22. Did you fall in love in 2018?
I’ve said this the last couple of years but it’s still true - every year I fall more in love with the person I’ve become and the life I’ve built for myself

23. How many one night stands?
None

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Insecure, Magic for Humans, and I know this is like a decade delayed, but I finally watched all of Sex and the City and that shit is still relevant

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope, I still think hate is wasted energy

26. What was the best book you read?
OK YOU GUYS, I’M NOT GOING TO EVEN FRONT ABOUT THIS, but this year I read Matthew Hussey’s book Get the Guy, AND WHILE IT SOUNDS SUPER LAME AND CHEESY, I actually found it to be transformative. Yeah it’s a dating book, but it’s less about getting into a relationship and more about cultivating a life in which you’re happy with or without a relationship, and in so doing, opening up more opportunities to meet the kind of person you’d want to be in a relationship with. I also found its communication tips to be incredibly helpful, not just in dating but at work as well, and so yeah. I thought it was helpful and my life has improved since reading it so there you go.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Petit Biscuit and Mahalia

28. What did you want and get?
An epic 30th birthday celebration with all of my closest friends. A deeper sense of intimacy and emotional connection. And, like, all of the black, strappy pole clothes a girl could ever want.

29. What did you want and not get?
Nothing. I’m an annoying get-everything-she-wants kind of person

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I LOVED Love, Simon! I also really liked Game Night and Sorry To Bother You (despite how weird the latter was). I wouldn’t say Hereditary was a favorite, but fuck that film still haunts me

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
The weekend before my birthday I rented a mansion in Malibu and all of my best friends came out from Austin, NYC, SF, and SD to spend the weekend with me and it was fucking magical. On my actual birthday I just went to pole because that’s how much I love pole - I chose it over having a fancy dinner, which is what I would have normally done in the past. I turned 30.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Nothing. This year was perfect.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?
Still black, still yoga-y, more real leather, more boots, even more naked than before (thanks pole)

34. What kept you sane?
My workout routines, my friends, but most of all therapy

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you want the most?
Still Jay Ellis. How can anyone resist that smile!?

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Admittedly I haven’t paid as close attention to the news this year beyond the headlines (can Trump just GTFO already?), but I guess I’m glad the midterms were, for the most part, not a disappointment

37. Who did you miss?
No one…I mean, not really. I don’t think it counts as “missing” if you know you’re going to see the person again soon. 😊

38. Who are cool new people you met?
Everyone from my yoga classes, from my pole classes, from my SF and LA offices

And of course, Liam.

IMG_4676.JPG

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018?
Everyone should go to therapy. EVERYONE. THERAPY IS THE BEST.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

This feels so good (feels so good)
You got me in the mood, for love
I don’t know your horoscope 
But I know that you keep me close
‘Cause this feels so good (so good, so good)

- HONNE - Feels So Good

This blog is brought to you from the space between cities.

I flew into SF last Thursday, flew out of San Jose yesterday, I fly to NYC today from LA, and on Friday I fly back to LA from DC. Then I'll have about a 5-day window until I'm back on another flight headed to Austin, where I have 12 lbs. of pre-ordered Franklin Barbecue and another reunion of close friends waiting for me.

This past month has been a whirlwind and the next several months are shaping to be equally crazy, and you know? I kind of love it. Because I'm not feeling depressed anymore. 

It's actually a bit ridiculous - Daylight Savings Time started and my depression ended, like a switch that flipped overnight with the clocks. Recently I've been thinking about finally going to therapy, because in the throes of depression I always find myself questioning - am I really depressed or am I just being dramatic? Is this normal? What is "normal," and what does it feel like? 

When the depression subsides I remember what my "normal" state is. I'm confident, I'm charming, and I'm effortless in my interactions. I don't feel the heaviness of inexplicable melancholy weighing on me. My depression is palpable, visible, it sits in me and poses for pictures. It's actually interesting to be able to tell from the pictures from this past weekend that I'm genuinely happy - there's an authenticity in my smile, a warmth in my eyes. 

Anyways, I don't mean to use this space to constantly talk about my ~feelings~, but that's just kind of the place I'm at in my life. I'm recognizing that my emotional state is something that I have to be constantly mindful of,  especially around this time of the year (my last bad depressive phase also happened around January-March last year). 

But similar to April of last year, some things have popped up recently that are exciting and fresh and I'm reminded of how fun it is to be filled with anticipation. The electricity of new people, new experiences. My appetite is whet with the newness of things to come. 

The Other Side of This Feeling

Oh, hi. Let me tell you some shit. 

I haven't been around because I've had kind of an up and down last few months, and not for any particular reason, just the usual depression and spiraling. 

It's not always easy for me to recognize when I'm depressed. When I'm happy it feels so natural, so deep, and so lasting that I somehow forget that depression is a thing I have to deal with from time to time. It's like when I get over a wave of depression I think I've made it - I'm done, all of my emotional and mental health problems solved, permanently.

But my depression sneaks up on me, slowly, gradually, in a way that makes it difficult for me to distinguish when I'm actually unhappy or when my mental state is merely tinged with shades of gray. I fall into a trap of assigning my unhappiness to things that are outside of me - work stress, relationship stress, etc. - and spiral into dangerous thought patterns that only fuel the fires of my depression. If only this person paid more attention to me, if only I had less work on my plate, if only, if only, maybe then I would be happy, maybe then I wouldn't feel the way that I feel. 

For months I've been ignoring the deeper issue at hand, until a couple weeks ago when I had a particularly bad episode. It was crippling and extreme and unlike anything I've experienced before - I couldn't bring myself to do anything, couldn't even write, and instead lied in bed for hours, my thoughts spinning and spinning until I fell asleep, woke up still tired, and finally decided that this wasn't fucking normal and that I clearly have some shit to deal with. 

I've been better this past week. I've been meditating and making a conscious effort to be more mindful of where my thoughts go, because my depression tricks me into thinking that my life is harder and shittier than it actually is. Objectively, my life isn't shitty. The rest of this is going to be self-congratulatory, but fuck it because I've been in a hole and I need to remind myself that my life is actually great right now. 

As of this past week my job has officially been converted from a contract role to a permanent full-time one, a full 5 months sooner than I expected. I received warm, enthusiastic congratulations from colleagues in San Francisco, DC, and LA, and honestly it still blows my mind that people even know who I am at this large behemoth of a company filled with brilliant people. 

Thanks to Timehop, I was also reminded this week of how much progress I've made physically in the past 2 years. I've lost 17 lbs., escaped the pre-diabetic zone, and am the strongest and healthiest I've ever been. I'm a little embarrassed to show this before and after picture - taken exactly 2 years apart to the day - but again, fuck it, because I had to change basically my whole fucking life to get to this point, so I'm going to celebrate it. 

I also have a lot to look forward to over the next 6 months. I only have 15 more hours to complete before I'm officially a 200-HR Registered Yoga Teacher. I have trips lined up to San Francisco, Austin, Mexico City, Denver, Scottsdale, and New York. Come August, my favorite people will be flying in from all over the country to celebrate my 30th birthday in Malibu.

For me, happiness is a choice. I know that I have all of the ingredients for a full, satisfying life. I have a successful career, a wide network of people who love and support me, and hobbies that challenge and uplift me. My depression is a distraction, one that I have to actively and consciously work to overcome. 

One of the goals of yoga is to cultivate a greater awareness of your thoughts, and as my teacher often says, to let go of the ones that don't serve you - "I can't do this," "I look stupid," "I fucked up," etc. It's interesting, because when I practice yoga, I'm focused and present and fucking fearless - I've never felt incapable or doubted myself when presented with a new challenge. 

I know that the work that I have to do is to bring this same level of attention, awareness, and fearlessness into my everyday life. To catch myself when negative thoughts branch and weave in and out of my emotional center, and remind myself that I'm strong, capable, and deserving of any amount of love and success that I want.

Yoga and meditation have been profoundly helpful, and every year I feel like I get a little bit better and a little bit faster at re-centering myself when my emotional state is in flux. Here's to continuing to find more ease and balance.