Dear Powers That Be,

I think that if I sat back and really thought about it, I’d be blown away by the roller coaster nature this year took on. But I was too busy enjoying the ride, to be honest, and that makes me so happy I could cry.

I was disappointed. A lot, actually. But not surprised by it, I suppose, which is sad when you think about it too long. But I am what I am, and even if that girl is different than before, it doesn’t mean the outside world or the people in it and how they interact with me has changed.

That’s the thing. You can be an entirely different person, or at least vastly different than before, and other people are much slower to catch on than you are, and just continue to treat you like Old Betsy. Luckily New Betsy is so far out of fucks to give about it, she barely notices.

I’ve tried to make December a month of purposeful self-care, which is going really well actually. Every emperor in my life seems not to have any clothes, and I’m never going back to the days when I tried to convince myself they did.

If my main goal in life is to be left alone, every day that goes by it seems to be becoming more and more a reality. And I’m thankful for that.

The end of the year has gone about as smoothly as someone like me can hope for, so far, and since it’s nearly over I’ll run the risk of saying we made it. If you put it all on the scale, I’d have to admit that this year has been far better than it has been worse. I can almost count on one hand the number of men who said things to me to make my knees go weak, or kiss my neck in that exact spot or place their hand at just the right hip level to turn me into a puddle of goo, and none of them seem to be done and they are all so good at what they do and what’s more I’m starting to believe them when they call me up and want to spend time with me and compliment me and help me to understand myself better.

Of course, horrible things have happened. More people have been lost to me, to us, but that’s the nature of life. The thing that makes it living is its ending. And I’m grateful for that, too.

I’ll be honest, Powers, and say that another year or two that went the way this year went would be welcome. On the other hand, I’d be happy to have someone to root me to the earth as well. Floating about is fairly freeing, but gets really exhausting, not to mention lonely, after awhile.

All this to say thank you, I suppose. I think we’ve done pretty well by each other in 2016, and I’m grateful to you for it. I look very much forward to what you have in store in 2017. I’m in if you are.

Regards,

Betsy Rose

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In 2017:

 

Don’t finish the books you don’t like and don’t read a book just to say you’ve read one.

For that matter, read the Complete Works of Shakespeare if you want to, and don’t let anyone laugh at you or prophesy your failure. And even if you do fail, who exactly are you letting down? Billy isn’t going to mind.

Don’t let your stomach do flips every time you get a text message, especially since, more often than not, they are from your boss or a receipt from the coffee you spent too much on.

Don’t waste your time wondering why you don’t get to be that girl, because the kind of girl who fixates on that kind of thing is the girl who doesn’t get to do much else in life.

Put the day to bed early if it isn’t going your way. Say no to this board seat and that one because hey, it’s your life. Remember that no one cares nearly as much as you do when you say no, with one glaring outlier.

Remember that sitting at your desk with your hand on your heart holding back tears muttering

“You’re gonna be ok. You’re gonna be ok. You’re gonna be ok”

is a perfectly good use of your time.

Whatever you do, don’t get complacent. Don’t forget that you are your own worst enemy. So say the thing you’re thinking. See that thought process through. Don’t you dare settle for less than what you deserve even though you’ve spent most of your life assuming you deserve less than the pittance you’ve got.

Be that girl if you want to, but only if you want to, and not because everyone else decides that’s all you get to be.

Remember it isn’t all your fault you’re so scary, and for that matter, don’t ever forget why you are that way.

Scream, if it helps. Even standing in the middle of the room, you come off forgettable, so just dig in your heels and wail for awhile.

You’ll feel better.

And maybe someone will finally see you.

~12/29/16

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2016 Year End Quiz

1. What did you do this year that you’d never done before? Lived alone in a tower in downtown Toledo. For a few months, anyway.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Read more books. Read more books. Read more books. I’ve decided I’m going to attempt to read the Complete Works of Shakespeare in 2017.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Sara had Jaxson.

4. Did anyone close to you die? More and more every year, I tell you what.

5. What countries did you visit? 😦 Does East Toledo count?

6. Who was the best new person you met? New LCYD members continue to make my life exponentially better.

7. What date from this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why? June 12, 2016 – the night of the Pulse nightclub attack; and November 8, the night of the scary alt-right and lazy Republican attack on our country – because they were both terrifying and eye opening and the sort of things you can’t unsee or shrink away from.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? New Betsy is kind of a rockstar, and watching her develop has been quite a joy.

9. What was your biggest failure? New Betsy is 34 years old, and she should really be further developed by now.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I went back on antidepressants and I sleep like a baby and everything is practically unicorns and rainbows most of the time.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Hmmm… new Kindle. Super awesome. Yay books.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? The harem has been equal parts frustration and joy, with a little bit of “ok, now which poem is about which boy?” paranoia mixed in.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? So I live alone now…

14. Where did most of your money go? Ha. Rent.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? I mean, the harem. Right?

16. What song/bands will always remind you of this year? Wait For It – Hamilton

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? the same? Happier.
ii. thinner or fatter? Maybe fatter. But also happier.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? You know, I’m feeling pretty good. Can’t think of much. Always read more books. Traveling, I suppose. I did go see Kriszy around Memorial Day and got to spend the night in Harpers Ferry, which is always awesome. But more travel would be good.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying about other people, and what other people think.

20. How did you spend Christmas Eve? 20ish of us at the Hungarian Club.

21. Did you fall in love this year? As many times as possible.

22. How many one-night stands? More like two night stands?

23. What was your favorite TV program? I’ve spent the year adding to and culling my Netflix queue in a ballet of wonder, lemmetellyou. But The Crown stands out. Perfect show.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I mean, I probably hated Donald Trump at this time last year. Maybe just not as much as I do now.

25. What was the best book you read? Damn. There were so many good ones! I must say that The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August was the best.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Dawes. Where have they been all my life?!

27. What did you want and get? Don’t laugh: a bench to hold my blankets.

28. What did you want and not get? A new job.🙂

29. What was your favorite film of this year? FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM DUHHHHH.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 34 in Toledo, Ohio, and it was kind of a horrible day, to be honest. I’m getting increasingly bad at birthdays, it seems.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Um, so, I live alone now…

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept this year? Put on earrings and plan your outfit around them.

33. What kept you sane? He knows who he is.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Hillary em-effin Clinton.

35. What one word best describes this year? YUGE

36. Who did you miss? Eva. Always Eva.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned this year: Is it too cliche to say we’re stronger together?

In 2017
What do you plan to do that you didn’t do this year? The harem is fun, don’t get me wrong, but a steady would be nice.

Who are you spending New Year’s Eve with? At ‘Imerca’s. Nothing beats spending 10 minutes making the rounds of the room getting hugs and kisses from your best friends/cousins.

What one thing would you like to say as the year is almost done? I still think you don’t see me, world. Or at least you still see the me you decided I was a long time ago. And I suppose I don’t need you to see the real me. I’d prefer you just don’t see me at all. The people who really see me, see me just fine, and they are all that I need in this world.

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Dear Powers that Be,

My request last year was basically for you to leave me be and let me live my life. I’ve done about as well at that as both of us could have expected, I suppose. Not great, but not a complete mission failure either.

I’m feeling as bad as I’ve felt in a very long time, and while it normally wouldn’t bother or phase me, I suppose I’m just tired of it. I want year 34 to be the year I don’t need medications to sleep through the night and wake rested, or to keep the voices or the gaping chasm of depression at bay. But if it were going to happen, it would have happened by now, right?

Life is not a complete wreck. I continue to keep my head down while throwing my arms up when the moment calls for it. I don’t want to say I’m feeling optimistic about anything, because the truth is I’m probably reading more into situations than is called for, and not reading enough into others.

I’m in a bad spot, Powers. I’d ask you for help but I can’t even stomach the thought without my throat closing up. I guess I’ll just say give me a moment, every once in awhile, to pull myself back up and to dust the blood off my knuckles. You think maybe you could manage that? Happy birthday to me.

Ever yours,

Betsy Rose

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Dear Powers That Be,

December 18: I’m beginning this letter about 24 hours into a self-imposed Facebook hiatus. Which I am sure is probably causing at least some amount of shock at computer screens the world over. Even just a year ago, if you had suggested such a thing to me, I would have laughed from here to New Years.

But I’m really tired. And I think any little thing I can do to not only add a few minutes to my day, but also take out any added stress, is a solid thing to do.

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, as is typical come mid-December. Wondering what it is I wanted to say. And to be honest, I’ve been thinking good thoughts. Sure, there are things I’d have liked to accomplish this year that didn’t come to fruition, but that happens. There are so many things that DID happen, that were SO great, and SO MUCH better than they could have been simply because I wasn’t expecting them. Sure, I hate surprises, but sometimes they’re ok.

I went from the girl who “always says yes because someone has to” firmly into the “no thank you very much but really I prefer to choose me for once” mentality. It took a lot of work, and it’s not complete yet, but I feel so, so, so much better about my chances…

December 26: Christmas is over, and I can focus firmly on the new year. It’s been a really odd few months (preceded of course by 33 odd years). But very much feels like one step forward, two steps back. And I hate it. It’s raining so hard outside right now, but it was snow ten minutes ago. I wonder if winter will ever really start. Feels like a metaphor for something bigger. I guess I just wish I felt more confident in my choices. I hope I’m not being perceived inappropriately. I am tired of making my choices and immediately second guessing them, and then making them all over again.

December 30: After last night I can say with complete confidence that you have given me almost everything I wanted this year, in a way that I never thought about getting it. Which is of course the best way. The way that makes a person feel sure it was the right thing all along. So I thank you for that. I’m going to try ever so very hard in 2016 to let go a little more. I’ve been doing it, slowly and steadily, this past year – but I know I have a long way to go. For the first time in my memory, however, I actually have faith I can make it happen.

Something changed me. And I’m the kind of person who wants to investigate, to dig, to find out the exact cause. The precise moment. The culprit. The perfect storm that landed me here on my ass. But I can’t because that’s not what happened. I can’t pinpoint any person, place, or thing as the catalyst for this newest New Betsy.

But she’s more confident than any previous version of her that has ever existed. And it’s odd, but it’s amazing, and I hope it never gets old. In last year’s letter to you, I said the same thing. Beginning the year with a level of confidence I’d not experienced before. So I want you to know that I see you, that I’m aware of the significance of the statement and everything that has brought it to life.

As for the ongoing search for balance – it feels ever closer. And therefore ever more precarious. But I think I’ve learned the right lesson when it comes to that, finally, after all this time and all that searching: There’s no such thing. You can get close. And I was far off for a very long time, but the moment you feel like everything balances out, the universe (I’m looking at you) does something to tip the scale. So I think what you’re trying to say is stay as close to balanced as possible for as long as you can, because that’s all anyone can do. Is that right? Is it?

As always, Powers, I will ask for your patience and your kindness and I certainly hope that we can be friends in the days to come. Happiest of New Years to you.

Regards,

Betsy Rose

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2015 End of the Year Quiz

1. What did you do this year that you’d never done before? Lived with someone who wasn’t a direct relation. Unless you count college.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I was hoping to write more poems. I don’t think that happened. I also wanted to read more books. And it got iffy there in the middle, but I think I did all right.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Juli finally had a baby – 2 weeks late! Janoooooooooooooos!

4. Did anyone close to you die? So. Many. Funerals. Zac’s parents. The Cookie Lady. The Bochi sisters. Etc.

5. What countries did you visit? It’s getting out of hand how little traveling I’ve done recently.

6. Who was the best new person you met? We’ve had a bunch of awesome new people join LCYD.  They’re smart, and they’re fun, and they like me – they really like me!

7. What date from this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why? I can’t think of one. That’s HUGE.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I got a plan, man. And I’m even executing it, kind of. Look at me go!

9. What was your biggest failure? I haven’t said no enough.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Zyrtec is my new best friend.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I got a Shakespeare bust. I mean come on.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Teddy moved in with me. And he pays his rent on time every month. I mean…

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Haha. I think he knows. Or maybe he doesn’t. And maybe that’s the point.

14. Where did most of your money go? Christmas presents again, I think.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Boys. I admit it. I’m gross.

16. What song/bands will always remind you of this year? Water Under the Bridge. Adele.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? the same? This is a tough one. I want so desperately to say that I am happier. I am not sadder. But I don’t want to say “the same!” That seems horrible.
ii. thinner or fatter? I think I’m about the same. I don’t have any problems really, with the reflection in the mirror. I’m hot stuff.
iii. richer or poorer? Generally about the same, I’d say, thank heavens.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? So last year I said, “Falling in love in the elevator. There’s always next year.” And I didn’t actually fall in love in the elevator. But I had some good times there. And there’s always next year. 🙂

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Making justifications for the people around me. Man, if I could change that one thing about my life, I’d be gold.

20. How did you spend Christmas Eve? At the Hungarian Club with the fam.

22. Did you fall in love this year? I’m developing even further my thoughts on this from last year. The next person I fall in love with has to be as self aware of themselves as I am of me. And I want that person to be as fascinated by me as I am fascinating. I will settle for nothing less and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

23. How many one-night stands? The year’s not over yet.

24. What was your favorite TV program? Netflix is my life.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

26. What was the best book you read? The History of Love

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? I am not sure that I’ve made any. Sticking with the old favorites, as always.

28. What did you want and get? I got something I didn’t think I wanted. Which makes it mean more than it has ever before. But he knows that.

29. What did you want and not get? A new job. 🙂

30. What was your favorite film of this year? Mockingjay? I think Mockingjay.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 33 in Harpers Ferry, WV. Never in my wildest dreams would I think I’d ever be in my favorite place on my birthday. It was awesome.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I should have given up Facebook sooner.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept this year? Apparently I’ve got style. I call it “close your eyes and pull something out of the closet.”

34. What kept you sane? I wouldn’t say I stayed sane. But there are things that you can’t unsee, once you see them. And that helps you keep your head on straight and disconnected from the insanity around you.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I love the way Lindsey Graham says “Putin.”

36. What one word best describes this year? Guuuuurl.

37. Who did you miss? Eva. Always Eva.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned this year: Just because old influences will do everything they can to kill New Betsy doesn’t mean you have to let them accomplish it.

In 2016
What do you plan to do that you didn’t do this year? I need a new job, I need to go to Europe.

Who are you spending New Year’s Eve with? Unless someone has a better idea, I’ll be on the couch at home.

What one thing would you like to say as the year is almost done? Parts of it were good, parts of it were bad. Bright shining moments were stellar, and a couple were absolutely horrible. And I think that is kind of the point.

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NCOD

It’s National Coming Out Day again today, kids, and even though I’ve kissed more boys than girls lately, it doesn’t make me any less queer. Happy day, and don’t forget to live out loud.

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