Hello, Readers, and welcome to the new year.
When I was a little girl, every new year I used to make resolutions. Everyone did so; I always heard adults or my friends or people on TV discussing what their new year’s resolutions were, so of course I always had to make my own little list.
This list, which was always very vague, always ended up completely forgotten by Valentine’s Day. I made resolutions just to make resolutions, because that’s what everyone else did, but I was never truly resolved to do anything.
When I got older, I just stopped making resolutions. People would still ask me, but I never could really think of anything. A few times, I would throw out one of the classics, like to exercise more or lose a few pounds. But eventually, I got to the point where I just shrugged, and admitted that I didn’t have any.
Well, except the only one that mattered.
At some point it occurred to me that the reason I never could think up any resolutions was because I didn’t know what I wanted. My life seemed to have a pretty pre-determined path that included playing soccer, attending school, and working, and there never seemed to be a great deal of room for deviation.
I’ve also always had this weird mental thing where it’s like if I consider how many bad things can possibly go wrong in the year, there’s no way they can sneak up on me and surprise me and therefore they won’t happen. It’s like if I appreciated what I had hard enough, the universe wouldn’t take it from me. Making resolutions and saying I am going to make this, this, and this happen this year, felt almost like I was tempting fate. I had no way to know what an entire year might bring, but trying to impose my plans on it seemed very uppity and presumptuous, like I was asking to have my plans wrecked.
It occurs to me as I type this that I might be something of a pessimist at times.
It’s 50/50, really, what a new year might bring.
In my most recent years, I have occasionally gone a third route, and made resolutions that were almost guaranteed to come true, barring my death or utter catastrophe. A resolution I made for 2013? Graduate college. Which I did, four months after making it. Not even long enough later to forget my resolutions.
I can say, unequivocally, that the months following my graduation made me into a new person–into an adult. The death of my best friend, my sixteen year old cat Boo, and then the subsequent death of my beloved youngest dog, Cash, in my lap were enough to ensure that. But as life-wrecking as those things were for me, 2013 was more than that. For the first time in eighteen years, I had no plan, no clear direction. I’ve found myself in that dreaded quagmire of the college graduate– unemployed with no prospects even remotely relevant to my degree.
I’ve struggled with the inevitable curse of the writer– trying to believe your work is good enough. I worked my butt off and committed to putting time every day into a book I was writing, only to get sick of it and hate it and completely give it up… only to read it again months later and fall back in love with my own work.
I have wrestled with the reality of relationships and what true love is and the stark truth that it’s not like books or movies, but rather incredibly murky and confusing and often doesn’t work out at all. I’ve come to wonder if I’ll ever even find anyone for me– I’ve also questioned if I even want to find anyone.
But more than anything, in this strange, almost purposeless time in my life, I’ve been thinking. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. When you go from pretty much every day of your life having a regimented purpose, to suddenly being jobless and schoolless, when you no longer really have deadlines or timelines or even really much of an idea what day of the week it is, you have a tendency to spend a lot of time lounging around and thinking about things (or at least I do).
My life right now is a vacation, except it’s one where I never go anywhere or do anything and my money still slowly dwindles away.
But in all this thinking I’ve been doing, especially amidst a lot of upheaval in my life, I’ve been thinking about what it is I want in life. And I finally was ready to resolve something. Finally, I came right out and said to myself– 2014 is going to be a great year. I’m going to make it so.
Let me tell you how that’s gone so far.
One thing I was most excited about in the new year was the fact that one of my long time friends from high school, D’Erin, was getting married on January 4. Now, you probably know if you’ve ever read my blog before that I also have a fashion blog. Well, I’ve had my outfit for D’Erin’s wedding planned since before I even got the invitation to her wedding. D’Erin also made a dream of mine come true–she let me go wedding dress shopping with her. To say I was looking forward to the wedding might have been a bit of understatement.
Throughout December I was searching (in vain) for a pair of gold tights for a reasonable price to go with this dream outfit I had been planning for months, because it was going to be January in Oklahoma and I was going to need me some tights. Never finding anything likely, I settled on a black pair with gold polka dots as my backup, and resolved to go about just making a pair of my own sparkly gold tights. I went to Walmart and started looking up DIY sparkle tights on Pinterest, but unfortunately my phone signal always goes wack in our Walmart and I couldn’t get anything to pull up (make a note of this–it’s intense foreshadowing that I should have paid attention to). So, I decided to just wing it.
10,000,000 points to Gryffindor if you got this reference.
I picked up a pair of white tights–but the cheap, $1.50 ones, just in case. Next I grabbed a bottle of gold glitter. Then, I literally sat myself down on the floor of Walmart for fifteen minutes trying to decide the best way to affix said glitter to said tights. They had all types of craft glues, but most of them didn’t actually appear to be glues meant to be used on fabrics you were going to wear. There was also fabric stiffener spray, but I could not imagine a world where wearing stiff tights would be enjoyable for me. Then there was a little three pack of glues, one which said “wearable fabric spray glue” and I got very excited, because, hello, that’s exactly what I was needing. But they only had it in the three pack, and the tiny bottle inside it wasn’t going to cut it for an entire pair of tights. So, unless I wanted to buy like three of those packs and spend a lot of money, that wasn’t an option.
Finally, after much deliberation, I simply decided to buy some craft glue and attempt to mix the glitter into it and then sort of paint it on the tights. If that failed, I figured I would just try to stick the glitter to the tights with a whooole lot of hairspray.
I arrived home and busily went about mixing my glue and glitter mixture, which ended up being harder than I thought. When I tried to paint it on a test section of the tights, however, I realized very quickly that it was a disaster and definitely not going to work. So I fell back on plan b.
I set up my tights, congratulating myself on thinking of cutting up a box that a 12 pack of Diet Coke cans came in– each of the sides was the perfect size to put inside the tights to keep them taut and from sticking to each other when I worked on them. I got a box lid to catch all the loose glitter, and went to work. I soaked sections of the tights in hairspray, dumped glitter over them, and then layered over the glitter using more hairspray than Dolly Parton’s hair and hoping for the best.
Periodically, I would pause and take the whole contraption into the bathroom, where I would attempt to blow dry the tights to see if the glitter was going to stick or not. Aside from the fact that blowdrying a box containing lots of loose glitter resulted in my face being showered with glitter, the glitter on the tights actually seemed to be sticking.
My bathroom during this process. (Also, this joke never gets old. Never.)
After I finished the second leg, I thought perhaps I should just leave the tights alone to dry, but let’s be honest here, I don’t have that kind of patience and I wanted to know right then just how amazing these things were sure to look. It also occurred to me that perhaps I might not want to let the tights dry too long on the cardboard, because they might stick. I began attempting to remove the cardboard from the first leg of the tights that I had done, only to realize that the tights had, in fact, become stuck to the cardboard.
As I began the process of trying to peel them off, I was struck by how similar it was to when you try and peel one of those anti-peel stickers off of something you’ve bought, usually a gift that you want to look nice, which means the sticker inevitably rips and leaves gross reside and white bits of paper you can’t get off no matter how hard you try.
In this case, the gross residue and bits of papers was actually represented by the ink from the Coke can box, which had bled all over the white tights after getting wet from the hairspray soaking. At this point, I realized in the back of my mind that there would be no salvaging these, but I’m no quitter (okay that’s patently false) and I was going to try those tights regardless of what they looked like.
When I finally got both cardboard pieces out of them, I decided it would be a wise idea to step into the bathtub when I attempted to put them on, since glitter was falling off of them like snow at the North Pole. I did so, and managed to drag them on. For your benefit, because I value you so deeply, Readers, I did not take a picture of myself in those tights. I did, however, take a few pictures of them all by their lonesome for you to peruse.
Disastrous, I’m afraid. Also, my house is now covered in glitter. So this was how it stood so far:
2014, 1. Sara, 0.
But I mean, hey, it’s just tights, right? Not really that big of a deal. Sometimes (usually) craft projects fail. It happens. I still had my backup tights, and I still had the wedding of my dear friend to look forward to. That was the real point, after all.
So the next day, the day of the wedding, rolls around, and I start getting ready well in advance. I had never been to the church it was at, and I wanted to leave myself plenty of time to get there, find the church, and get myself a seat. I was going by myself, because my two friends I knew would be there were bridesmaids, and, naturally, D’Erin was going to be a little preoccupied getting married, so I didn’t want to come slinking in two minutes before the ceremony started and have everyone turn around and be like who is this weirdo??
Excuse me, pardon me. just trying to sit down– where did Michael Jackson come from???
Don’t mind me!
But of course, since it is me, it didn’t really work out as I’d planned. By the time I left, I was running about five minutes later than I wanted to be, but I was determined to speed my way there. I punched the address into my GPS, hit go, and took off.
Now, to preface this, you need to understand just how little sense of direction I have. Whatever way I’m facing feels like north as far as I’m concerned. I have very poor spatial conception, and I can ride in the car somewhere fifty times and have no clue how to actually drive myself there. I just can’t seem to get a sense of geography in my mind. And when people give me directions, I usually forget them approximately 7.893 seconds after I hear them. Much like math, directions go into my mind and just get all jumbled around.
North? Southeast? These terms mean NOTHING TO ME.
All this means that I rely utterly and totally on my phone GPS to get me places, with the exception of like, four or five specific places I have drove to over and over again. The church my friend was getting married at was not one of those places. It was a church on a service road of the interstate, which means it’s one of those little roads that only run one way, along the side of the interstate, and if you miss your turn or go too far, the only way to get back to it is to drive under the interstate, take the other service road on the other side all the way back down, and then come back up the other way, making a complete circle.
I had a margin of no minutes as I was coming up to end of my GPS navigation– I was already going to be arriving like three minutes after the time the wedding was supposed to start. I wasn’t too worried, however, because most weddings don’t start EXACTLY right on time. As long as I got there quickly, parked, and hustled in, I should be fine.
I exited the interstate onto the service road, and toodled along. Suddenly my GPS told me it was time to turn NOW and I panicked, because the road didn’t look like the right road and I didn’t see a church anywhere– so I overshot it. I got really angry and turned immediately at the next turn, which led into an apartment complex. I was hoping that it might have a through road to the road I should have turned on, so I drove around in it, desperately looking for one.
There wasn’t one.
Worriedly, I pulled out and back onto the service road, and made the first of the numerous loops I was going to be making that evening. I went around the little corner under the interstate, came back up the other way, then cut across again, and got back on the original road I was on. This time, I turned on the street it told me– and it led me right into an apartment complex. Confused, I drove around in it, hoping desperately that the church was somewhere behind it.
“Ummm… is there a church in here somewhere?”
I pulled my GPS back up, and typed the address in again, just in case I hadn’t got it right. It was at this point I noticed that even though I was typing the number part of the address in, when I was hitting go, it was inexplicably dropping the numbers and searching only for the street name. At this point, I was a little over ten minutes late, and I started trying to google the name of the church.
Now, remember when I told you that I should have paid attention when my phone started messing up in Walmart? Well, my internet basically started refusing to work. I had no 3G, and it wouldn’t pull up anything. I wanted to call one of my friends and ask them what I should do…. but they were in the wedding. Panickedly, I called my mom and asked her to google the church to make sure I was putting in the right address, even though I was typing in exactly what it said on the invitation I was mangling in my hand.
SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT HERE
My mom googled the church, and told me that the address was 1039, not 1029 and I cried out in triumph– I KNEW something was wrong!! Gleefully, I typed the new address in, and made the loop again. However, as I came up on the place it was telling me to turn, I realized with a sinking feeling that it was taking me to EXACTLY THE SAME SPOT. By this point I was fifteen minutes late, and I was freaking out.
I had no idea what to do, so I just started driving down the road, hoping the church was just further down or something.
I drove about two miles, with nary a sign of a church, before I decided to drive down the other way. I was coming back up on the road I had been turning on to go around to the other side of the interstate, and I knew it was pointless to drive back down that way again. The wedding was to have started at 5:30. By this point it was 5:47. Finally, I pulled into a gas station and started crying. Naturally, I was wearing lots of eye makeup. I usually wear none, and if I do, it’s usually only eyeliner. But I had even put on mascara for this very special occasion, and I knew I needed to get myself together if I didn’t want to show up as a raccoon.
BEYONCE never would have gotten lost and missed her friend’s wedding
I just kept trying my internet, and then FINALLY it started working. I went to the church’s website, and as I should’ve done from the very beginning, pulled up my GPS from the map they provided on their website. I tried to put it into my navigation, but apparently I had not been punished by the geography gods enough, because my GPS satellites chose that moment to stop working. My phone had no idea where I was, and so it could not navigate me to the church, even though it now knew where the church was.
I sat there and just kept reputting it in, over and over. Finally, I restarted my phone, and sat waiting. After a couple more minutes, my GPS found the satellites, and provided me with the route– I was 0.7 miles from my destination. If I had only gone past the street I had been turning on over and over again to go back up the other side of the interstate, I would’ve found the church. I had been within two or three miles of the church the entire 40ish minutes I had been driving in circles. The gas station I had been sitting at for fifteen minutes was literally two minutes away from the church. I could only stare at my phone in utter defeat.
Yep, that’s it. I quit.
I pulled up to the church at 6:10. There were still cars everywhere, but I had little hope. I decided to go in and see if I could find one of my friends. There was a reception that was in downtown Oklahoma City, about fifteen minutes away. But I had no idea if I should go to it yet or what anyone was doing. I walked in, and there were people standing all around. They all gave me strange looks as I hesitantly wandered around, looking for anyone I knew. I found the chapel, and saw my two friends sitting in the pews watching as D’Erin took wedding pictures. I stumbled up the aisle toward them, sat down, and told them the whole story. Naturally they told me one of my other friends had been there, and I could have callled her.
I mean, of course.
I waited until all pictures were done with the bridal party and they kicked everyone out so they could do pictures with just the bride and groom. I drove to the reception, which was at the Oklahoma Museum of Art– somewhere I had actually been. I arrived, and everything was absolutely lovely. I didn’t have the heart to tell D’Erin when I saw her that I had missed her wedding, but it’s something I’ll regret for the rest of my life. (PS D’Erin if you’re reading this… yeeeah, I missed your wedding. You do not know how sorry I am.)
2014, 1,908,3753,508,035,938,517,394. Sara, -58.
This seemed to be a confirmation of every fear I had that if I tried to declare that 2014 was going to be a good year, it was going to turn around and kick me to ground. But here’s the thing with all that thinking about what I want– it doesn’t go away. In 2013, bad things still happened to me, even when I tried to avoid them. And at least if I make resolutions in 2014, I can resolve to make sure that good things happen to me as well. I feel like, as I always do at the end of the year, I am amazed by how much more it seems like I learned, how much I have changed and my life has changed. I feel like I’ve finally matured, and gained some hard-earned wisdom. I know what I want now, and while I may not have a clue what else might be in store for me in 2014, there’s nothing wrong with going after what I do want to happen. And so, I have made a short list of resolutions I will be working towards this year.
Sara’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2014
1. Finish my novel.
2. Get a job.
3. Move out with my sister.
4. Get a tattoo.
5. Go on a date (maybe).
6. Not miss any other weddings I am invited to.
Some of these will be hard, some I’ll have no control over, and some will be entirely up to me. But it’s really exciting to picture myself at this time next year, looking back on these– because who knows what I might have accomplished?
And in the meantime, my house is looking pretty magical with all that gold glitter…. it makes it seem like the possibilities are endless.