(Originally posted: 1/2/17)
It’s very fashionable to say you don’t believe in resolutions. The year that begins in January is, after all, an arbitrary restart, a construct, a way of stuffing last year’s sins under a dust skirt and proclaiming spiritual freshness, renewal, clean floors, without actually exorcising the monsters.
I have long been a resolutions-skeptic myself. While I love the idea of recommitting to something—much as I enjoy a good vow renewal between Bravo celebrities—I don’t have a ton of faith in the durability of any promise you must awkwardly declare before friends and family in order to believe it true yourself. Ramona and Mario. Vicki and Donn. Cynthia and Peter. The proof is in the divorce papers.
But I must say: I’ve turned a corner on resolutions. Maybe it’s because, at this moment, remarkably, my optimism narrowly outweighs my cynicism. Probably, too, the rebranding of resolutions as “intention-setting” pings all my millennial self-improvement sensors. Perhaps, after the year we’ve had, resolve just feels more necessary than ever.
A month ago, my friend Danielle came up with a great idea for a Staunchly post: ask a group of women for their New Year’s resolutions—something they might do to empower, enrich, sweeten, spice up, or in any way better their lives in 2017. I reached out to some of my staunchest friends (and my mom!) for their answers.
I’m so happy to present the first edition of Staunchly Resolutions, a glimpse into how these women plan to care for themselves and others in 2017. Prepare to be inspired and tickled by this group of phenomenal, hell-raising, barrier-busting ladies. I love them with my whole heart. You will too.
To kick things off, here are my resolutions:
Develop my literal and figurative core strength. Watch Murphy Brown. Write my book. Take my mood stabilizers. Cultivate my authentic self—make decisions not in rebellion against the people I’ve established as my villains but instead from a genuine, sacred well of self-respect. Make less space for self-pity. Make more room for kindness. Be tender. Be wicked. Be staunch.
Now, here's what my girls had to say....
Learn to code because as fucked up as it sounds having niche skills like this will help me remain indispensable in my job and in future endeavors. In this man's world it's something I'm doing to further myself and help myself stand out.
Go back to school and get a masters of public policy so I can fight like hell for all the policies that protect those who need protection the most under this administration.
Keep getting louder and nastier, and not shutting up about my beliefs, even when everybody openly refers to me as a killjoy pain in the ass, and nobody invites me to dinner parties anymore.
Also, to never run out of vodka before 2020.
Stop letting my work day beat me into submission. Too many evenings when I get home, I rip my clothes off, collapse on my bed, and wallow in my burnout for hours. I want to spend more of my after-hours time doing the things that make me happy, like drawing or writing, or getting off my ass to volunteer, or ideally finding my way back into a classroom.
Stop biting my nails and squandering my money at the Whole Foods prepared food bar.
I wish to work on my masturbatory skills because currently I am only able to reach a pleasurable state by my lover or with the help of an electric friend. This new year I want to become more in touch (no pun intended) with myself and free myself from the chains of pleasure dependence.
I chose this because I fear that, with this election, women are losing/ will lose (even just spiritually) the equal ground we have worked so hard to gain. I want to feel strong and independent; I am woman! I can make myself orgasm without a man and without a machine.
Take my birth control on time
1. Entertain more, because I think the best memories with friends are made in living rooms, not restaurants.
2. Either get promoted or leave my job, because it's time for me to go where I'm valued.
3. Bring back pigtails, because I'm bored with my hair routine.
I need to do a better job of budgeting. I have expensive taste and a massive bucket list with a job that pays mediocre at best.
My New Year's resolution is to care less. I've spent so much time worrying about where my life is going, whether or not I'm doing the right things, and comparing myself to everyone else. 2016 taught me that nothing in life makes any sense so my goal is to just lean out and do what I want without caring about where it might take me.
Once a week, I'd like to set aside a few hours to go to a cute cafe and catch up on non-school/non-work reading: read through my Twitter bookmarks, make a dent in my Pocket list, read a few chapters of a fun book, catch up on news, etc. It's hard to make time for pleasure reading when you're in school and I've struggled to do that during my first semester, so I'd like to do a better job next year. Plus, this New Year's resolution has a built in exploration component - will constantly be on the hunt for new coffee shops!
My New Years Resolution for 2017 is to take better care of myself; give myself more alone time, get more massages, meditate daily... do things that are going to make me feel better so that I can, in turn, make others feel better about themselves. Also, to watch the Matrix trilogy.
I bought myself a stack of books that I selected from a few “The Trump Presidency Is Happening WTF Do We Do Now” syllabi. (Books like Angela Davis' Women, Race, & Class and Gail Bederman's Manliness and Civilization, which, I mean, excellent title.) Anyway, my resolution is to read one per month because, since November 9th, all I've been able to read are feminist-penned romance novels that take place in a world in which white men don't suck and white ladies do better.
My resolution is to stop sticking modifiers, like “just,” before asking for simple things (especially at work) and to stop apologizing for everything. I'm tired of saying sorry just for daring to take up space, speak, ask for what I need, have desires. Enough with that “women should be delicate and likable” shit. No more sugar and spice and everything nice! I'm not “just” checking in for the important thing you owe me, man-at-work who is junior to me—I need it and you are past your deadline! Girl Power!
I'm not sure if I believe in [resolutions] because I find them hard to uphold, particularly at the onset of the New Year. My new thing is: pick a word or two or three and revolve your week or month or year around it. For instance, the word "finishing" resonates with me right now. I like that word because it's applicable to many different things and I often start things without seeing them through.
I couldn't get out of bed on November 9. I didn't leave my apartment for two days. The pit of hurt and anger I fell into nearly swallowed me whole, but I'm fortunate enough to have people in my life who were there to pull me out of it (and then weep alongside me as we stared into its depths).
Feeling optimistic in looking forward to 2017 seems absurd, but I know in my bones that it's what I need to do. That I can't possibly go on if I don't nurture some sense of lightness. So my resolution is just that: to stay positive. To believe that things will get better, and to reach out to others I see teetering on the edge of that darkness. Simply, impossibly: to hope.
Listen to more gangsta rap.
– My Mom
On that note let me just say, Happy New Year, and thanks for reading Staunchly. xo