It will be, this year, too.

I’m writing for my own recollection, potential remediation, hopeful reconciliation. 2019 can basically remove its own rib to suck its own dick and swallow for the first time in a long time and choke on that dick and die and be gone. But it’s over, now, so we have that.

I started 2019 in a healthier place than I’d been in a long time. My 2018 car accident and subsequent concussed decision to stay in my marriage meant I’d made some intentional changes. When I re-chose commitment I did so with a new revelation that I must first be committed to myself. Years of contemptuous resentment at my spouse for the decisions I was making or not making in order to appease or please him had left me with very little semblance of the life I’d imagined. At the end of 2018 I decided I was wholly responsible for my own choices and involvement or happiness or growth and, when I stopped blaming him, I started living some of the joyous ideas I’d long put off.

The funny thing about personal responsibility is that it makes you personally responsible. This meant that, even healthier and happier, I still had to own the drunken night in Barcelona in February that cost me my best friend. I’d argue, still, and be right, still, that it wasn’t my fight and it wasn’t my fault, but I have to recognize that sober, I would know, and instead, I’m guessing and going off the same shaky feelings she is. No matter what went wrong, it went horribly wrong and I left Spain broken and sober, grasping for meaning once again.

I pursued semi-sobriety for most of 2019, pausing for a few celebratory moments (the finish line of the Rickshaw Run in Sri Lanka in April, a Wonder Woman themed romp with my SO, Christmas with my brother and his fiance) and challenged myself to read my writing, honestly, on stage, aloud, sober. Without the cover of a beer or three, I found a courageous (though trembling) voice, and though my creativity seems to wane and falter without whiskey and trauma as it’s heartbeat, I’m learning to write it out anyhow — to leave blood and bone on the pages even when there’s no way to numb the hurt.

In 2019 I built and launched a storytelling collective that became life giving to me and others who hug me on the street and remind me why we must always tell our stories, rend and wrench vulnerability from the spaces between our teeth and the soft shoulders where our hearts can never hide. Listening and learning from my community of misfit intellectuals and queer folks and trauma survivors and addicts and believers and adventurers lit a fire in front of me — a path I’ve followed joyously as I’ve rediscovered the passion of slow creation — words and pictures and pieces I believe in.

2019 was the year I tried to relearn to walk and to breathe. A car accident that should have killed me reminded me of my mortality, a brief flicker of opportunity here while I yet exist. “You’re indelible,” a friend told me but the story was old. I used to be indelible. This year I tried to remember how to make a mark, use chewed nails and bloody feet to forge a trail or write my name. I’m proud of the efforts I was able to empower and voices I was allowed to amplify as I took slow, thoughtful progress into a slower way of being.

Okay, so far this sounds bloody delightful and not like the dick choking disaster I referenced. But the truth is I lost my dearest friend in February and my brother in October. I came face to face with how bigotry runs alongside belief and how fucking hard it can be to disconnect or deconstruct from our own desire for affirmation or expectancy of response. I learned violence, close up, first hand, and watched addiction and mental health spiral hard and out of control while simultaneously witnessing my sister recover, discover, and gift life through her own body (a kidney) and heart (sobriety) and voice (power.) I gained twenty pounds of sadness and carry that grief and pain into 2020, though a piece of it broke off and was left behind when I experienced my first psychedelic therapy. Seeing hopeful colors on the edges of this New Year, glowing at the cracks where we have broken enough to let the light in, offers a tentative anticipation of what is yet to come.

Unpromised, this year is. We come into it open and ready for change or growth or belief or joy but we don’t know if we will be here wholly or holy or for the whole year. I want all 366 days to drip with meaning, glow in the sunrise, stretch in the tension of belief and surprise.

Since 2019 was hard as fuck I’m giving myself a gentle goal in 2020. David Foster Wallace, insufferable and brilliant prick, said this.

"The underlying bureaucratic key is the ability to deal with boredom. To function effectively in an environment that precludes everything vital and human. To breathe, so to speak, without air. The key is the ability, whether innate or conditioned, to find the other side of the rote, the picayune, the meaningless, the repetitive, the pointlessly complex. To be, in a word, unborable. It is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.”

I wanna trip through 2020 unborably. Delight in the delightful. Discover the hidden. Rediscover what should be revisited and stop staying in the way of my own steps forward. Travel often and well and keep eyes and heart and hands wide and open to what is coming (and what is leaving) and practice the patience of joy. Work with my hands when my screens tire me or my tires stop screeching. Live more analog. Write my way in or out or back or onward. Vote. Fucking VOTE. Operate with Absolute Wonder and limited worry about what anyoneelsehastosayaboutanythingIdo.

I guess what I’m saying is I hope 2020 is a better blowjob, ya know, and that we all finish, or at least give it the old college try.

To that. To you. To me. Let’s do this umboring thing called life wide eyed and wondering, tripping and together. No obligation, just an invitation. I hope you’ll consider coming along.

Telescope, microscope, vision. To the moon. www.natalielafranceslack.com and www.verbstorytelling.com

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