2011 was awesome for me overall. I had my share of setbacks and tears, but I feel like this was definitely a chapter that will be pivotal in my autobiography. I am a different person today than I was 365 days ago. This is not to say I made a drastic change, but I do feel as though I have come into my own in a way I haven’t before. I spent all my school years on a fast-track to a certain place, and then I got there, and I wasn’t sure where to direct that energy. This year, I directed in internally.
Corny, right? I know! Previously I have been one to smirk and roll eyes at others’ journeys of self-discovery, but I finally get it. I am far more convicted in who I am than I’ve ever been. And I’m certain that the person I am is 1) an awesome person, and 2) who I am meant to be.
So here are the most important changes I made in 2011.
- I put time into my own space. I bought my house in 2009 and spent a lot of time furnishing it and making all the common areas comfortable. I focused on the places where people congregate – living room, dining room, kitchen, family room. I wanted to impress people when they came in the door. But this year I put my attention upstairs. I made my bedroom fabulous and 100% feminine, I painted my master bath purple rain, and I bought hundreds of matching velvet hangers for my custom-built closet. These are the places I spend the most time. And also the places that no one else ever sees. But that’s ok, because I have places that are special just for me. I put my time and money into myself instead of my image. Yup!
- I dated less. This may seem counterproductive considering I do want to grow up and get married one day, but I had a good time. And it wasn’t a conscious decision. I just stopped feeling the need to fill up my Friday and Saturday nights with other people. I realized I could be doing more productive things. I also stopped letting people I was less-than-enthused about take away my Friday and Saturday nights. I went places by myself and got comfortable just being by myself. I forgot about men altogether for a few months. Eventually I ran into some, and dated some, but not nearly as many as I did two years ago. I only accepted invitations that seemed more fun than live-tweeting Real Housewives, which is a tall order. Before, I thought if I dated enough men I’d eventually find a good one. Now I’m operating more on the idea that if I meet a good one, I’ll date him. Otherwise, I’m just gonna continue spending my time making a better me.
- I dated differently. Last year I told myself I would at least try dating white man before 2011 was over. Didn’t run into one that tickled my fancy, but I did try some other “new” things. I dated a Muslim, two vegetarians, a really fat dude, a short dude, a young dude, and an old dude…… people a little different than what I imagine my Prince Charming to be. So now I know what really matters and what doesn’t. And yes, some of those things DO matter. At the same time, I stopped caring what people I dated think of me. I’d much prefer someone realize they don’t like something about me on date #3 than date #25, so I don’t bother trying to seem like the perfect woman or downplay potential imperfections. I am who I am. Deal with it, or else let me get back to these Real Housewives. Not caring seems to be attractive to a lot of men. Wrote a poem about that one.
- I wore makeup. Prior to this year the only cosmetic in my purse was chap-stick. My attitude was basically “If you don’t like how my face looks when I wake up in the morning, then tough cookies!” I’ve always had pretty good skin so I wake up looking pretty damn good. I would wear makeup about as often as your average prostitute goes to church. But this year I decided that as a person running up on 30, I would invest in skin care so my black wouldn’t crack. In my quest to do more than just wash my face and leave the house, I discovered not only eye creams and moisturizers—but also mascara, concealer, the importance of blending, and even contouring. And I realized that although I look good when I wake up, I always look better with some bronzer (especially in these sad & pale winter months). I still don’t do it everyday, but at least now I actually know how to snazz myself up a bit. Before, I didn’t know how to apply makeup in a way that didn’t make me feel/look like a clown. Now after some YouTube videos and conversations with makeup artists, I’m at least decent with a shadow brush. And I can pick one out of the lineup of the dozens of different types of brushes! It’s kinda funny that investing more time into how I look actually came at the same time I stopped paying attention to men. Not sure what that means.
- I became a poet. This is not to say that I never wrote poetry before this year. I wrote in high school and college. But, I had written about 6 poems in the 6 years since I had finished college. Sad, right? But earlier this year I was asked to share. And it felt good. So I just kept doing it. And people liked it. And it made me want to write more. Which made me want to share more. So, I dedicated time to it. I wrote. I shared. I put out everything that was on my mind. I listened to others and let them inspire me. I believed that I, too, had written something worthy of sharing. And as a result, I made new friends and heard a ton of talented artists. Embracing my talent is the most important thing I did this year. I has opened up a whole new world for me. And growing as an artist will be what makes 2012 awesome. I’m most excited about what is to come in this area.