Eat Well, Read Lots, Stay Cozy

It’s nearly four o’clock in the morning and I went to bed at midnight and just can’t seem to sleep. Blame it on the caffeine. So I’m gonna write about what’s on my mind and maybe if I pour everything outta my brain, my mind will stop racing and I’ll finally fall asleep. That, or I’ll pull an all-nighter and watch the sun come up.

Let’s talk about wintertime and fresh starts and the New Year. Every autumn, when the leaves turn gold and the nights get colder, I prepare my winter survival strategy: a to-do list to keep me goin’ through the months of snow, freezing temperatures, and early sunsets. This time around, I’ve been saying eat well, read lots, stay cozy, like it’s some kinda slogan. Simple goals. Over the past few months, I’ve been training myself to be a morning person and I’ve been doing pretty well at it. I figure if I can do that, I can train myself to be a winter person, too. Not like a let’s-hit-the-slopes winter person, more like a let’s-not-be-a-melancholic-hermit winter person. So far, so good! I’ve been keeping myself busy with a few writing projects as usual, and mostly just hanging out at the Tulip Farm, surrounded by papers and cats and bowls of rice and soup. I repainted and redecorated my bedroom, and made a comic for Zine Crush. I’ve even been going for walks in the snow just for fun, and that’s saying something – a few days ago, we had a record-breaking snowfall here in Montréal, levels that haven’t been seen since 1971. Lookit this charming video of it!

This is the first year ever that I didn’t visit my family for the holidaze. Really just because I saw them in November and I was tired of bus-ing it all over the place. I wrote letters instead, and my grandparents sent me a pair of slippers in the mail, which is super cute. It’s been very quiet around here, with my roommate gone, and my neighbour left for a few days, too. I’ve had a houseful of cats though – Sebastian, Thunder, and Marie – and it’s been so lovely. On Christmas Eve, I took the day to myself. I wrote lots, listened to tapes, went for a walk, picked up a copy of Putain by Nelly Arcan at a nearby used bookstore, worked on recording some audio zine-y stuff…

My silly face. In the background: A freshly-painted pink bedroom wall and a rainbow of zines.

My silly face. In the background: A freshly-painted pink bedroom wall and a rainbow of zines.

The best part about staying in Montréal for the holidaze: catsitting! This is Marie, my cousin's sweetheart of a cat.

The best part about staying in Montréal for the holidaze: catsitting! This is Marie, my cousin’s sweetheart of a cat.

Now there are only two days left in the year. For me, it’s a time of self-reflection. On Christmas night, I gathered around a kitchen table with friends (some I’d only met that night) and we talked about the things we’d learned over the past year. It was strange – I usually get shy and anxious in groups of people – but I felt so comfortable. The next day, I wrote a few pages in my journal about lessons learned: “I learned about the difference between loneliness and being alone. I learned about taking care of myself, even if I’m not always very good at it. I learned about the kinds of interactions I wanna have with people, and that it’s okay if I don’t wanna go to parties and do all the “fun” stuff. I learned more about communication and what I want/need from friendships and romantic relationships.” There is so much more, but nothing I wanna share online. It’ll stay in my journal, in letters, in conversations.

Fight Boredom with Fashion: Dyeing a denim vest in my kitchen sink.

Fight Boredom with Fashion: Dyeing a denim vest in my kitchen sink.

Looking back in an old notebook, my resolutions for 2012 were to learn how to approach people and be more sociable; to write reviews of every book I read; to stay sober; to travel lots; to make things happen. I feel like I’ve been successful and I can keep it up (except for the whole book review thing, but I’ll try again). In 2013, I’d like to learn how see the big picture – like, to able to work on bigger projects even if I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much, if anything, by the end of the day. I’d like to build up my self-confidence and I’d like to quit a couple of pesky habits. Oh, and start a savings account, and publish my damn book.

I also want to be more mindful of my sobriety. I’ve been sober for fourteen months now, by the way. Back in November, I picked up a copy of Each Day A New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women (I know I know, it sounds totally cheesy and unpunk, but hey, the book is stolen; I’m still cool, right?) and I’m looking forward to starting it on New Year’s Day. Each page features a quote from various women in history – Virginia Woolf, Billie Holiday, Carole King, George Sand… – with additional notes. It comes back to the Twelve Steps, but it doesn’t look too God-y. I tried to think about who I might replace God’s name with while reading, and fuck it, my inspirational people are Anaïs Nin and Kurt Cobain. They’ll have to be my version of God for now. (I am half-serious). (I just picked up the book to flip through it, and Anaïs Nin is actually quoted on the January 17th entry).

Writing a letter to Kate in NYC.

Writing a letter to Kate in NYC.

Aaaand now it’s five in the morning. I guess I’m in it for the long haul.

How is the winter treating you so far? Any plans for the New Year?

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