Something about this time of year makes me grumpy. I’m not sure why, as I’m happier than Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack leading up to Christmas. I. Freaking. Love. That. Holiday. But then New Year’s hits and — BAM — I’m cloaked in sadness. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve caught up with so many great friends recently … ones that I don’t get to see very often, and we’ve had the best of times. But in between I’m faced with this melancholy. I look on the interwebs and everyone’s all, “Yeah, 2014, bring it.” And I’m all, “YAWN.”*
I thought it was because 2013 sucked. For years, my husband called me a pessimist and I hated that label. But, to be perfectly honest, I’ve come to accept it. I had been thinking that this year sucked marshmallows because my fam has been so, so sick as of late. And life has dealt many of my friends a serious sh*t sandwich this year, too. One of my favorite pastimes is also to torture myself with excruciatingly sad stories about strangers. For instance, last night, I had insomnia (holla, my fellow non-sleepers), so I popped on my phone. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to do that. But I do, okay? Sue me. And I began to read about a cancer warrior who had passed away at the ripe old age of 7 years old. And, because I subscribe to this site that follows these warriors, I was able to peruse photos of this wee guy when he was alive. And had hair. And dreams. And a future. And a family who thought they’d see him grow into a fine, young man. And it was like someone put the squeeze on my already bleeding heart.
Today, though, I decided to finally do one of those newfangled flippy videos that everyone’s been doing. Granted, it took me like 50 tries to get it right and I had to cut the thing down to only about 20 pix to get it to work but, in reviewing my photos from the year, I realized 2013 did not suck at all. It was a pretty freaking banner year, in fact. I got to spend lots of time soaking up the sun with old friends and family. I forged new friendships. I faced a few fears. I also faced my depression and even, on some days, treated it like the little beeyatch that it is. I squeezed my family members. I squeezed my dogs. I whispered butterflies. I went in the ocean. I laughed. I cried. I loved.
In looking at the photos, I decided that it’s all in the smile. I love looking at my photos from high school and college because my smile was so authentic. So genuine. So filled with fun. So conspiratorial. That baby was ear to ear. Even before that, I won “best smile” in junior high. And I remember that it wasn’t because of my pearly whites but, rather, people used to tell me that I smiled, like, all the time. All the damn time. I can even remember that. As time has worn on, that’s gone away quite a bit. And, when I faced my first case of the serious blues in college, I remember a friend once said to me, “Sloan, I can’t remember the last time you smiled.” And it was like a punch to the gut.
Fast forward to these days. Photos and selfies abound. If you want a photo of yourself on the internet in an instant, the power is at your fingertips. And yet I find that I’m always trying to fight the wrinkles. Fight the fat angles. Combat the crow’s feet. Avoid that weird angle when you’re in the front of the crowd and your neck looks like a giant, stuffed Thanksgiving turkey (we all know that angle). And every time someone takes a photo, I think, “Okay, angle left, face down, suck in cheeks.” The result is a smile that looks pained and, quite frankly, like I need to make a bowel movement.
I miss my smile of reckless abandon. I miss the smile that spelled trouble with a capital “T.” I miss my smile that told the story of a night filled with fun and laughter with friends. And, so, while some of my New Year’s Resolutions will remain private and personal to me, as I’m nothing if not a work in progress, I’ll share this one. In 2014, I’m going to try and get back that smile.
What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Share if you dare!
*Please note my sarcastic use of “I’m all.” I do live in SoCal, after all.