New Year, Same Dope Me


I’m one of those folks who like, and generally keep, resolutions.

I’m also an annoyingly chipper morning person. Like, I wake up singing “Good Morning!” and don’t need to drink coffee. But, I digress.

For me, the new year starts in mid-December, around my birthday. I start taking stock in what was the year like, what worked, what didn’t work. It feels organic. And my anticipation for this year was particularly electric.

I know there was a lot of talk of how terrible 2016 was. Shoot, I participated in some of that myself. (I still find it hard to breathe when I hear the phrase “President-Elect Trump” and I can’t believe that we lost so many of my childhood faves like Prince and George Michael). But, the truth is, 2016 was a pretty good year for me.

My 2015 was a banner year for being particularly terrible. Like, super terrible. Like, go down in history with the Titanic terrible. 2016, on the other hand, although a global dumpster fire in many ways, was kind of dope for me. It was a year that answered. I learned a lot about myself and, even when bad shit happened, I often felt incredibly grateful for the life I’ve built, the people that love me, and the person I am and am always becoming.

In 2016 I had a goal to read 52 books and I read 53. I co-edited two books that are coming out this year. I saw my girls bunches of time and got to love them and get loved on. I participated in the VONA essay writing workshop and got to meet a bunch of amazing writers. I declared myself a writer. I learned and relearned to trust my gut and reset my boundaries. I laughed a lot.

I aim to carry that spirit of self-love, resilience, and general badassery into 2017. I have a bunch of hopes, dreams, and actions fueling this yearly quest. I wonder, how can I love myself even more? How can I show up for myself even more? How can I continue to be a good teacher, sister, friend, and citizen of the world? How can I be even better?

For the first time in probably 20 years I have not made a resolution to lose weight. I’ve been really thinking about how I can recast wellness and health. Rather than thinking of my walks in the park or Zumba as a way to burn off calories, I have been thinking about the joys of moving my body and having fun. Rather than thinking of food as “good” or “bad,” I’m mostly interested in it being delicious. This may not seem particularly profound, but after decades of dieting moving away from that mindset is so freeing.

Shit is real out there in these streets. In many of our communities, 2017 (and beyond) will be about our continued resistance to tyranny, fascism, white supremacy, patriarchy and all the other social ills and systemic inequities that shape our lives. That’s got me to thinking about how we have fun. No, seriously. These things aim to kill us and that’s no hyperbole. Part of how we survive this is how we take care of ourselves.

What’s my plan for fun? More reading—at least 52 books again. Laughter more often than not. Music. Time with friends. Snuggles with my cat.

I declared myself a writer in 2016 and I ain’t trying to backslide in the new year. I decided to take my commitment to the next level and participate in a weekly writing challenge: 52 essays in 52 weeks. I’ll post some here and some on my personal site. I’m taking a screenwriting class. I plan on grinding on other projects and working on my craft.

And on a real adulting tip, I’m trying to get a handle on my finances. I know this will be a multi-year process because capitalism. But I’m trying to get real about my debt and my relationship to money.

Overall, my 2017 resolutions are about recognizing and honoring my dopeness and finding ways to amplify it in a world hell bent on grinding me into the dust. But like our foremother Zora, I’m here with my sharpened oyster knife, ready and willing to take on the challenge.