Every year in January, people I know talk about their new years resolutions. Many of which we will forget by February or March. Why do we do this ritual every year? Where we dissect our lives, ponder all the things we failed to do or should have done better, and then seek out ways to be better? Do we ever think back on the accomplishments we did do? Sometimes but sometimes our failures stick out in our minds more.
Perhaps we do it to remind ourselves that we are not static, not frozen in time, that we really do improve and become better over time. That we can change for the better and that we don’t have to be set in stone. And yet, even as we remind ourselves of this, we fight back against the idea that people change, that change is somehow okay, that things aren’t set in stone. We can’t have both. What will it be?
I’ve been in flux for a long time, where I walked on the edges of society. Ever since I was a kid, I walked the cracks on the pavement, balanced precariously as if at any moment I could fall onto one side of the other and lose the essence of me. I know how the other children would hop over those cracks, laugh at how if you stepped on them you’d break your mother’s back, but to me the cracks were the in-between, the netherworld — this fragile reality that I could exist in in more than one place. Where I couldn’t be labeled as one or the other, but as something else entirely.
Labels never fit me well. I slid through them, into them, and out of them like the clothes I tried in stores — seeking just the right color or the right size, but never quite certain because I was always between sizes. I couldn’t just tell folks to get me a small or a medium or a size 4 or a size 6 or a size 30 waist, 30 length — because sometimes those sizes just never fit. I was a hodgepodge of existing in multiple sizes at once, never able to fit into one or the other. Just like I slipped on the labels of one idea, only to fall out of it as I came to better understand myself. Some have stuck to me like glue, and those I’ve used as a communication device, but others fade away in time. Labels are never set in stone as we’re not static beings. We flux and change, and move forward or backwards or sideways. But as much as folks might say they are concrete and are what they are forever, even they, the static ones, have fluctuated over time. It’s near impossible to breathe and be alive and not have change as an integral factor in one’s life. To say any differently is to live an illusion within this distorted lens of reality, never willing to acknowledge the giant stick in one’s own eye that prevents you from seeing the world in all its glorious beauty.
So for this new year, I spread my wings as wide as they can go. I am not the best at flying, nor am I the best at anything really. I just try and see where I end up. I’ve been this drifter, in and out of jobs, in and out of housing, and I struggled to stay safe, stay alive, and just move forward, but I’ve never given up. If that is one lesson I offer, you don’t have to be a fighter to make it in life. You just have to be willing to take a risk, go out into the unknown, and be willing to be there for yourself and for those around you. Because by being present in life in this current moment, you are truly alive, and you have the chance to truly make a difference. Don’t let it pass you by. Reach for it and hope for the best.