old (2007), Uncategorized

aught-seven in semi-review

Thanks to M. I’ve got this nifty little end-of-the-year survey to give me reason (as if I needed one) not to get any work done before going to eat dinner with the vegans…

Drinking Buddy of the Year
Hands down, P. and all of his friends; however, I am grateful that ended when it did… I can’t even imagine how completely screwed up my life would be if I’d continued on that trajectory.

Lifetime Service Award – Longest Friend
Oh, definitely Mr. Big. It’s been nine years now, and it seems like a lifetime ago when we met — W. was a toddler! I was still married! I was in the process of willingly moving to Wisconsin to “make my life better.” And I weighed something like 190 pounds and had permed hair and bushy eyebrows and zero fashion sense (I used to wear men’s flannel shirts and leggings and combat boots all winter…) Yes, things have changed since then. At the very least, I have nicer eyebrows.

Newcomer Aware – Coolest New Friend
This is a hard one to answer, since I’ve met so many wonderful people in the past few months. But I do have to say the one who’s the most fun to hang out with lately has been A. — she helped me get into the program (along with L.) and we are grappling with a lot of the same issues but also have similar views about how important it is to get out of ourselves and laugh with friends to be able to put the craziness aside. And, really, it was super cool on the obstacle ropes course at Navy Pier when I was freaking out about falling and she didn’t make fun of me.

High Point of the Year?
My trip to New York City in July. I didn’t do anything particularly spectacular (well, I went on a secret behind-the-scenes tour of Grand Central Terminal), but two things in particular defined it as transcendent:

(1) Staying in a studio apartment in the East Village, whereas before I’d always stayed in hotels, made it a much more authentic experience, and I loved being able to spend the day walking around the LES, hanging out at Teany, taking the subway to Union Square & reading in the park. It gave me the chance to really inhabit the city exactly the same way as if I were to live there, and I needed that.

(2) Spending the day at Coney Island with the Brooklyn Boy. I’m sure, if asked, he would think it was average — walking on the boardwalk, playing arcade games, the disco bumper cars, riding Deno’s Wonder Wheel, drinking Heineken and eating knishes with mustard, walking into the candy store and seeing five NYC cops lined up eating ice cream cones — but there was something about it that was just so jarring compared to my life in Chicago. It was peaceful and relaxing and normal and fun — no drama, no arguments, just following our whims and taking the road where it led us. It was the first time I could put my finger on what had been lacking in all of my romantic relationships so far, which is probably one reason it was so very difficult to come back home, where I was fairly certain it would be impossible to find anyone who would find spending hours walking and exploring anything short of boring. Or at least I knew that wasn’t possible with the people tangled in my web back then. I think it might be a possibility now.

Low Point of the Year?
There have been so many of them, it’s difficult to single out just one, but May 16-June 5 probably takes the cake for the low point. There were a few days in September that sucked, too.

Best Holiday?
B.’s birthday, even though not a national holiday, was particularly meaningful to me. It was the first time in a long time I really enjoyed being present and participating in his life, and it was beautiful.

Your Song for 2007?
This is an easy one. Damien Rice’s Rat Within the Grain. It’s an extremely liberating and healing song. When I first listened to it, it made me sad, but it has become a song of forgiveness. When I hear its lyrics, I realize how culpable I’ve been in my own destruction, how much I’ve contributed to allowing other people to treat me badly. And I’ve done these things because I wanted to be loved — not a bad motivation on the one hand, but I needed to learn that the only person who needs to love me is, well, me. And the song reminds me of that.

Your Movie for 2007?
Year of the Dog spoke to me the most. It offered a realistic portrayal of what it’s like to have a change of heart or mind and learning how to cope with a more sensitive consciousness of pain in the world.

Whom Did You Spend Valentine’s Day With?
Mr. Big and I went to the Midlake show at Schuba’s, and we stayed out insanely late, considering I had to leave my house at 4am to make a flight to Albuquerque the next day.

Best Relationship?
It’s not a romantic relationship, but my friendship with M. has been phenomenal this year. We’ve been able to spend a lot more time together and it’s been very nice — but the high point was June when she took time off of work to help me through some things and then contacted me pretty much every day for a month making sure I was doing okay. [Though she recently admitted to me she was about at her wit’s end with me when I went back to D. and things took a predictable downward turn… but, of course, that’s understandable.]

What Were You for Halloween?
Nothing. Well, except myself. I’m not really a Halloween type of gal, though my therapist claims it may be a good goal to turn me into one. I’m, uh, skeptical.

Restaurant of the Year?
Karyn’s Cooked. I love going there with folks after the meetings on Friday nights, and I take as many people as I can there all the time — it’s my favorite place in the world. Well, for a (relatively) budget-priced vegan meal. As The Perfect Veg*n Guy reminded me yesterday, the Green Zebra takes the cake on upscale vegan food in Chicago… and it looks like we’ll be going there soon! Yay!

Book of the Year?
Collectively, anything Anne Lamott has written. She has changed my life, the way I write, the way I read, the way I inhabit the world. If I ever meet her, I will give her a great big bear hug.

Best Decision Made This Year?
Breaking up with D.

What Are Your Plans for Next Year?
To keep doing the things I’ve been doing for the past couple of months: staying sober, learning how to love myself, making healthy decisions and — most importantly — continuing to jump off emotional cliffs and praying for the willingness to let grace into my life.

Most Stupid Idea When Drunk
I think it’s safe to say that all of the ideas I had when drunk were fairly stupid, but it was probably whatever I was thinking that resulted in waking up the next morning with a urine-soaked hand towel in my toilet.

Television Show of the Year?
It didn’t come out this year (obviously), but June was the first time I watched all six seasons of Sex and the City from beginning to end within a three-week period, and a show I’d previously considered quite stupid turned into something relatively inspiring and — dare I be silly? — magical. Yeah, the first couple of seasons are dumb and annoying and the women are shrill and bitch. But that last season made it all pay off… and it really reminded me that we aren’t the same people we were five or six (or one) year ago… that people can and do change, and it’s all just everyone in the world trying to do the best they know how, and sometimes we do the right things and sometimes we don’t, but it’s all just everyone trying to move forward and that means something.

Most Loyal Friend?
It’s a tie between V. and M. — both for much the same reason: they stuck by me when they thought I was making some of the biggest mistakes in my life and still offered their love and support, and then they helped me pick up the pieces. And they’ve also both been super supportive in my sobriety, more than I could have imagined.

Biggest Change of the Year?
Getting sober + (re)starting therapy.

Biggest Douchebag Award?
I’m sure everyone expects me to say D., but I’m going to say it was me. And before you all get up in arms with your Be kind to yourself! crap… I am saying this out of honesty and awareness. By not thinking I deserved anything better, I allowed lots of people to treat me in some fairly despicable ways. Yeah, those people were wrong for what they did — but I was also wrong for letting them continue.

New Year’s Resolution?
To have someone else get next year’s Biggest Douchebag Award.