A new year, whether you follow the Greek calendar or the Latinx, is like the first page in a new diary, its date set by patriarchal theocracy, its entries written in guilt. I’ve always questioned the tradition of making and then forgetting resolutions. I view them as an empty promise of redemption, like the fad diets with which late-capitalist dysmorphia tyrannizes the fat-positive.
This year, however, I decided to indulge my curiosity. Yes, dear reader, I have made a resolution.
‘B-b-but how on Earth can Godfrey Elfwick’s holistically beneficial way of living xir’s best life be improved upon?’ I hear you stutter in bewilderment. That perplexed #MeToo as I began the daunting task of digging into my psyche in search of tiny flaws of personality or lifestyle. As you can imagine, trying to come up with something more compelling than ‘purchase a new pair of moccasins’ or ‘cancel Hulu subscription’ was no meager undertaking.
A week of relentless pondering yielded no fruit, so I shut myself away from worldly distractions in the cocoon of my self-built mindfulness ecochamber (a Dora the Explorer tent customized with Bluetooth speaker and essential oil diffuser), and prepared mind and body.
I put myself into a trance using a method I had learned from a Hulu documentary on the Navajo Indians. (Note to self: best not to cancel Hulu sub). By dragging a blow heater into the tent, I transformed my spiritual sanctuary into a sweat lodge. Then all I had to do was give myself a colonic with a turkey baster and a sachet of organic miso soup, and I was ready to embark on my metaphysical quest.
Deep under, I shone a metaphorical torch into every nook and cranny of my mind realm. I allowed the soothing melodies of Panpipe Covers Volume 12: Fall Out Boy’s Greatest Hits to wash over me and cleanse my chakras as I wandered serenely through endless caverns of memories, formed over the years by the formidable tide of my awe-inspiring lived experience.
Peeking into an alcove, my mind’s eye met a vivid image of my first protest. I saw myself as a two-year-old, standing resolute while my parents urged me to move out of the way of their television screen, my tiny hand clutching a sign proclaiming ‘fREDuM 4 PALiStyN’. I winced slightly at my juvenile illiteracy, and briefly considered if perhaps my tendency towards stubbornness was something that needed attention. But then, as I watched my father pick me up and deposit my rigid body in a playpen so that he could continue watching 3rd Rock From the Sun, I could not help but admire the quiet strength and purpose exuding from my tiny frame as I emulated the IRA hunger strikers and began my first dirty protest.
Rounding a corner, I came across another memory. A vibrant-looking young person was ruthlessly berating an elderly white man in a wheelchair for questioning xir’s choice to be addressed as gender-neutral. Of course, the handsome genderqueer youth was me as a teenager. The ableist old man was my grandfather; I could tell because he was wearing his medals. Then I remembered. My grandfather had presented me with a ‘World’s Best Grandson’ mug for my birthday. I had reacted with a fury I had never felt before, screaming into the old man’s face as he wheeled back in fear and confusion.
As I watched the scene, this time as an outsider, I cringed at the sight of my red face and flailing fists and wondered if I should consider anger-management sessions. Then I recalled the emotional pain my grandfather’s ignorance had caused. As I watched him begin to cry, I realized that my rage had made him reconsider his insensitivity to gender issues and even saved him from causing further anguish during his remaining three years. Looking at the indignant shadow of my teenage self, I nodded in understanding. Stay strong, sister.
Yet again, I was flummoxed. Was there really nothing I could improve on? I passed vision after vision: shades of past achievements, woke phantoms of yesteryears. I was like a transracial Ebenezer Scrooge, only instead of being shown my failings, I was confronted with the essence of the ideal. It was infuriating! Then a brutal realization catapulted me out of my trance and back into the so-called real world. How had I not seen it before? My New Year’s resolution was so obvious, I could have wept at my foolishness, had I not chuckled and forgiven myself for being so humble. My resolution is to accept my own perfection and be comfortable knowing that there is literally nothing I need to improve on. And this time, I intend to keep my resolution for the rest of my days.
This article is in The Spectator’s January 2020 US edition.