The year is winding down. Holidays always take me by surprise—my life is so full of people and places and things that deadlines often come as a shock—and Christmas is no exception. Last year I mailed out presents to my family in March, which is so clearly unacceptable. This year I’m shooting for January. Early January.
Some deadlines, however, are easier to meet. I'm aware that it is not the New Year yet, but somehow I feel moved to fill out my annual end-of-the-year survey early this time around. There are a few reasons for this. One is that I'm feeling blocked, perhaps because I've been expending my artistic energies in other areas; it seems like when I play a lot of music or cook a lot I write less (and vice versa, of course), and I've been doing a great deal of both of those things this week and so of course my words have run dry. But also, there's the fact that life is good, amazingly so, but in a way that I don't quite know how to talk about yet. I'd rather wait for inspiration than be vague and irritating--any more than I already am, at least--and so I'm just going to be patient until I can write with the heat and passion that recent changes demand. I'm dying to tell you how happy I am, but it seems that I'm going to have to wait just a little bit longer before I can say things as they deserve to be said. Suffice to say that the year is ending well. And so: a survey.
1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?: Oh boy. A really, really large number of things, many of which I'm not going to talk about here. But here are a few: took naked pictures on a mountaintop in Alaska, embraced my queer self in radically new and beneficial ways, became the top google search result for "naked girls and me" (text and images. boo-ya), got asked to be a best man, and learned how to bake vegan gluten-free cookies.
2. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Pay for writing something. Any other improvements I'm willing to wait and experience as they come up.
3. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Seriously? This has been the best year of my life. I'd say that's an achievement.
4. What was your biggest failure?
Breaking up with S. I could have dealt with that situation less harmfully.
5. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Oh hell. Nearly everybody. Notables, in no particular order: Erica, Peter, Lauren, Mugsie, Jonathan, Rose-Anne, Anna P., Anna S., Nicole... And like 500 other people. Really.
6. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Various politicians, as usual. But otherwise, only random people in random moments, none of which I can remember currently or are noteworthy enough to single out. Oh, except for the person who kept my favorite books for three months after I asked for them back. Grr.
7. Where did most of your money go?
Food, plane tickets, instrument repairs. Umm, sex toys, largely for other people.
8. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Have you read this blog? This survey is no good for ridiculously happy people. A LOT OF THINGS.
9. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Most of Cat Power's You Are Free, Amanda Palmer, the Dresden Dolls Delilah, Neutral Milk Hotel's Oh, Comely. Radio Cure, both the Bad Plus version and the original Wilco version. I listen to slow sad music when I'm happy.
10. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder? HAPPIER. And I was happy last year.
ii. thinner or fatter? About the same? Dunno. All my clothes still fit, that's all I know.
iii. richer or poorer? Probably slightly poorer, but I can't say I care too much.
11. What do you wish you'd done more of? Reading. I've been lazy, and caught up in other things.
12. What do you wish you'd done less of? Facebook, mostly.
13. What was your favourite TV program? I don't think I watched anything. I'm not so into visual media lately.
14. What was the best book you read? Probably The Trouble With Normal, even though I still haven't finished it. (I got distracted!) Mostly I re-read things.
15. What was your greatest musical discovery? Emily Wells, an amazing cello band. <3
16. What did you want and get? Good conversation. Joy.
17. What did you want and not get? My alphabet tights in time for Halloween. My librarian costume would have been ten times better if not for backorder.
18. What was your favourite film of this year? I watched like no movies this year. But I saw Up, and it was adorable.
19. What did you do on your birthday? Got a haircut. Went to rehearsal. Skipped down a sidewalk out of happiness.
20. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
What a silly question.
21. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009? Unobtrusive, with an injection of sparkly.
22. What kept you sane? Writing, long phone conversations, a week in Alaska, my cats. All the good people in my life.
23. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Amanda Palmer. Still.
24. What political issue stirred you the most? Policing of gender and sex, just in general.
25. Who did you miss? Erica, Lauren, Rose-Anne.
26. Who was the best new person you met? Oh man. Overall, Mugsie and Jonathan, Nicole, Shannon, and all my genderqueer friends. Does Peter count? But many others as well.
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009. Let things happen instead of forcing them into your own idea of what is best. It is virtually always better to tell the truth than to hide, both for me and for people around me. Happiness is totally possible.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. "We all do what we can/So we can do just one more thing/We won't have a thing/So we've got nothing to lose/We can all be free/Maybe not with words/Maybe with a look/But with your mind" -Cat Power. Mostly just "We can all be free." We can.
41. Where did you ring in 2009? Haven't yet, but I'll be in Milwaukee being sickeningly cute.
42. What was your status by Valentine’s Day? Made a lemon meringue pie. It was very, very good, and I was impressed with myself.
43. Where did you go on vacation? Alaska! Flagstaff! Kansas?
44. What did you purchase that was over $500? A ticket to Alaska, and that's about it.
45. Did you know anybody who got married? Ben and Martha, and Josh and Anne.
46. Did you move anywhere? No! Hallelujah.
47. What’s the one thing you thought you would never do but did in 2009? Oh God. That's a pretty long list.
49. What’s something you learned about yourself? I can be really cheesy, but also really really happy.
50. What was your best month? Most of them. November and December have been kind of awesome.
51. What pop culture event will you remember 2009 by? Michael Jackson dying, I suppose, and suddenly hearing Thriller everywhere.
I'll write something real soon. I think the words are about to come together. But goddamn, I'm so happy. I'm walking down the street smiling to myself, (usually) resisting the urge to twirl, feeling happiness just gushing out of me at times. Things are falling into place. 2009's motto was "Life is awesome" (also "Boobies for everybody" and "Go team!", but those came later), but I think 2010 has a good chance of being even better. Win.