Monday, December 29, 2014

14 Things I Learned in 2014

So, it's the end of 2014 and while most people would expect me to kick it down the stairs while flipping it the bird and maybe screaming "Fuck you, you fucking fuck!" into its stupid little 2014 face, I'm already feeling rather warm and fuzzy toward the year. Because, although it was stressful and painful and just bizarre as hell, it was also a year where I learned what I'm made of. I'm made of vodka and chai lattes and chutzpa, y'all. Buttloads of chutzpa. I am a resilient, tough badass little fucker and 2014 made me see that. Also, while it was a challenging year personally, I had some success professionally. I tried new things and I found that putting yourself out there can be fun and rewarding. So that's cool and whatnot.

The year started really well. I was in Palm Springs with my pals wearing dumb hats and sipping Jack Daniels Honey in the hot tub. Maybe too much Jack Daniels Honey in the hot tub, tbqh but hey, it was still yay. And then around April I started feeling sick and things took a turn. But, I'm willing to forgive even though it will take a while to forget. You heard me, 2014.

So, I learned 14 important things in 2014. This is sorta like how I learned 13 things in 2013 and 12 things in 2012 and maybe A BIT like how I learned 11 things in 2011 but mainly different because, I mean, there are 14 things this year and they're special awesome things SO THERE. Here they are.

14 Things I learned in 2014:

1) Don't read the comments. In January, I wrote a piece about thigh gaps for Cosmopolitan. Any time you write about women's bodies, it can be inflammatory but I wasn't prepared for the outpouring of emotion from readers, both good and bad. I found it was better to not read the comments. Fighting in a comments section won't do anyone any good, it'll just make you upset. It's better to let your work stand for itself and learn from it. If you would do something different next time, then do just that. Do it better next time. (I intend to.)

2) Sometimes your friends will amaze and delight you. Enjoy it! This year, one of my oldest friends made me a shirt of myself as an Ewok holding a martini glass (above). He called it a Kwok. I call it the coolest gift ever. You can even order the shirts at Deadbeat Graphics if you want one.

3) If you tweet something about one of your idols, SOMETIMES THEY ACTUALLY SEE IT. I nearly died when Shonda Rhimes retweeted my tweet this year. I think I swooned and was placed delicately on a fainting couch by a big man in tights who then had to wave tacos under my nose to revive me. The same thing happened when I tweeted a terrible Duckie joke and Jon Cryer saw it and retweeted it. I know it doesn't mean anything, really, but it sure makes Twitter more fun.

4) On that same tip, why not write about the things you love? Maybe your long-time favorite writer will notice and share your article on her Facebook and her Twitter account like Anne Rice did with my piece, "8 Reasons the Vampire Lestat Should Be My Boyfriend." I shook for about an hour after this because I'm nothing if not chill as fuck.

5) Hogan McSmalls is the best dog on the planet. 

6)  Share your health experiences because you can help people. I wrote an article for xoJane about fibromyalgia and chelation and received tons of messages from readers looking for solutions to their own weird health issues. I will never again hesitate to share what I've learned just in case it helps someone else.

7) Trust your gut. I started having weird symptoms in April and I knew something was up so I had our house checked for mold. Turns out we had toxic black mold, which can cause all kinds of problems from acid reflux to TMJ to blindness to death. If I hadn't listened to my gut, we'd still be living in a poisonous atmosphere but as it is, Tim, Hogie and I are out of the grossness and, while still recovering, safe and sound. For that I am eternally grateful.

8) Possessions aren't everything. In fact, they're practically nothing. Because the mold spores got everywhere and latched onto anything porous, we had to move and get rid of most of our furniture and all of our books, papers, pictures, clothes, shoes, linens, towels, etcetera. We even had to get rid of my album covers. But, you know what? It doesn't matter. After the initial shock and depression, I now feel lighter and somehow better in general. And it's amazing what having fewer choices in your wardrobe can do for getting ready in the morning. I'm a getting ready genius now!

9) Birds belong outside. I feel really strongly about this one, guys.

10) TMJ is a bitch. Sometimes you just gotta be patient with a bitch. In 2014, I had my bite completely redone, I did acupuncture, I went to a chiropractor, I had massages, I tried hypnotherapy and I'm currently getting prolozone injections into my jaw joint all just to get a little relief from the pain. It's hurt all year long and it's tried my patience. But, I know it will get better eventually. It's a bitch but it's my bitch.

11) #YESALLWOMEN happened. And I participated. I learned it feels good to do something instead of hiding behind your laptop and nodding.

12)  Curls rock! Not only did I embrace my own natural curls this year but I declared it to the world in my first piece for Huffington Post. The overwhelming response from my fellow curly gals was amazing and awesome and made me even prouder to rock them. CURLY CURLY CURLY!

13) You can love yourself every day. You can. Seriously, I wrote about it ON THE INTERNET so it must be true.

14) Appreciate what you have. Especially people. This year was so hard on me emotionally that the only things that kept me going were friends and family and Tim, with whom I celebrated 11 years of dumb jokes and good times this year. Things may seem like they're crumbling down around you but you can grab onto that one good thing and use it to drag yourself out of the mean reds. I also recommend vodka.

Happy New Year, everyone and WELCOME, 2015!