5 Things I Learned in 2015

I went through so many changes in 2015 that I had a hard time narrowing down just five things I learned.  Instead of joking (whaaaa?! me, not joking?) about silly things like “I learned how to pencil in my eyebrows,” I took the high road by listing the serious lessons I learned in 2015.  And tbh, I still haven’t really nailed the eyebrows, anyway.

1.  I Can Cook.  ugh HOW LONG have I whined about not being able to cook?  Let’s see, I’ve been blogging since 2009…a long time, then.  It was part of the identity I’d built for myself:  a phrase I could put on a t-shirt and wear proudly to proclaim “I DON’T COOK.”  And then I actually started cooking and learned 1) it isn’t that terrible and 2) I’m not that bad at it.  I’ve told myself a lot about myself over the years:  “I’m not outdoorsy,” “I don’t like sports,” “I’m not pretty enough,” “I can’t cook.”  Breaking down a tiny bit of my identity wasn’t as bad.  I haven’t lost myself, I’ve gained something new.  Think about that the next time I tell myself “I can’t ____.” 

2.  Brooklyn is Bae!  Yeah, I’ve been singing the praises of Brooklyn a lot lately, but believe it or not, you don’t have to go far back in my archives to hear me singing quite a different tune.  I used to bag on Brooklyn pretty hard!  I believed I was Manhattan Meghan, that I had achieved special status by having a zipcode with the first three digits of “100.”  Much like my barrier against cooking, I shut out everything related to Brooklyn and was pretty mean to Kings County.  But you know what I learned?  Being a hater isn’t cool.  Being negative isn’t funny or cute and it doesn’t make you special.  It makes you a snob and you might miss out on something great!  Dear Brooklyn, I’m sorry for all those nasty things I said before.  Can we be best friends?  Aw, ILY Brooklyn.

3.  Go To The Doctor!  and also, Health Insurance is worth all the hassle (and it is a lot of hassle).  My general feeling on doctors from like 2002 (the year I turned 18 and lost my parents’ health coverage) until 2015 (the year I qualified for Obamacare and Medicaid as a poor, poor schoolteacher) was “If I don’t go to the doctor, for all I know, I’m healthy.”  And then I got that pain in my abdomen that wouldn’t go away, got worse and worse, and finally saw a doctor?  Man, I was scared – no, scared isn’t strong enough, there aren’t words strong enough for what I was.  But I reached a point where I couldn’t go another day without knowing what was wrong with me, and walked myself to the walk-in clinic.  Man, I had so many hands up my hoo-hah that day, I’m technically a Muppet now.  But from the moment I changed out of the gown, I felt better.  Whatever it was, I was taking care of it.  Like a real adult!  It was a cyst, it went away, and I am beyond grateful to everyone who stuck their hand inside me took care of me until I got the all-clear.  Moral of the story:  take care of yourself!

4.  I’m a BAMF.  not just capable, but MORE than capable.  Looking back on 11-hour school days, I can’t believe how hard I worked every damn day, but I did it!  Whenever I doubt myself for some little thing (“I can’t go to this party! There might be people there!”), I think about holding our shade structure together with my bare hands in the midst of a midnight dust storm in the desert.  I think about reading Kurt Vonnegut stories to my students.  I flew in an airplane.  I worked 60 hours a week for $4 an hour and paid my own rent.  I spent a night by myself in Reno.  I sang “Promises in the Dark” at karaoke.  I don’t even remember what source of strength I drew upon before 2015.  2015, you nearly kicked my ass!  But then I kicked your ass instead!!  Cuz I’m a BAMF!

5.  TRUST!!!   it’s been a rough couple of years for me, and it’s left me feeling pretty cynical.  Who ever heard of a cynical New Yorker?  If you’ve ever been hurt really badly, you may not even notice the wall you’re building to protect yourself after a while. Being on your own is good because you can build that wall, you can make yourself a room of your own, you can learn how to be independent.  But when it’s time to build a door and step outside a castle of self-preservation years in the making, it can be really scary.  I’m still, like, at the drawbridge.  To be honest, I’ve got like, one foot on the drawbridge because I’m still afraid of getting hurt.  Trust is some scary shit!  But I’ve come really far and hope to keep working on it in 2016.


14 responses to “5 Things I Learned in 2015”

  1. Just wanted to let you know you're an awesome person! I think a lot of people could learn/follow from your health advice!

    1. THANK YOU!!! This is a very wise comment 😀 lol j/k j/k … I know it's kind of privileged for me to sing the praises of health care but I went without insurance for half my life. Finally qualifying for Medicaid (I used to fall in the crack: make too much money to get it, but not enough to afford my own insurance, cuz wtf $15K/year is SO MUCH MONEY) was a huge deal for me. I'm so lucky (that I'm unemployed?) I can actually get health care when I need it and even just preventative care, dermatology and (coming soon) dental and therapy? It feels like the greatest gift I've ever been given. Even though I have to fight tooth and nail to keep them from cancelling it every nine months!!! Thank you for your sweet comment!

  2. Yay!!! I love these realizations and declarations! I'm so happy for you that this last year held so many positive changes! You go Glen Coco 🙂

    1. Thank you! Now I'm wondering, does everyone keep a mental file of their BAMF moments to psych themselves up before doing something intimidating? I know I'm like "You spent a week camping in the desert, you can handle this PAP smear!" and "You broke up a fist fight between sixth graders, you can nail this job interview!" I dunno, maybe I should ask next time. Thanks for the sweet comment!

    2. I definitely have those moments before going into something big. If I really don't want to or am scared to do something, I just remember what I've done that was scarier and I'm good! Ha!

    3. Just out of curiosity, what are your "moments"? Upon further reflection I realized that prior to 2015 and Burning Man and teaching my big "psych up" moments were that trapeze class I took in 2013 (you hung upside down by your knees, you'll do fine at this audition!) and the big tattoos I sat for across my chest and upper arm.

  3. That last photo of you is so awesome. I'm crazy jealous of your style. Also, amen to cooking. I'm still working on that one, but I think I'm getting the handle of it. Have a great 2016!

    1. Thanks! I wore basically that same outfit for the entire week at Burning Man – I just like flouncing around the dusty desert in big floofy skirts and that vest! I felt very "olde West" or kinda steampunk. Next year, More floofy skirts! Thanks for the compliment and stay confident in the kitchen!!

  4. I can't cook but I LOVE eating good food 🙂 Great list!

    1. Never say never! If you love the taste of food, I bet you'd be great at cooking! It's not so hard: if you look at a menu in a restaurant and say, "Ooh, potatoes with rosemary and shallots!" you've just figured out a combination that works! It's all just garlic, salt, and tomatoes anyways. Give it a try!!

  5. I live in Sweden, the land of affordable healthcare (in theory; it's weird and complicated in practice but still cheaper than the US) and I still haven't gone to the doctor because THEY ARE SCARY AND INTIMIDATING AND ALSO IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. You get a gold star!

    1. Oh no! My doctor's office is in a very Polish neighbourhood of Brooklyn, and they have paperwork laid out at the front desk in English, Polish, and Spanish! Do you think you might be able to find a doctor who can administer care in English? Ask around! You never know what might turn up!!!

  6. haha, what fun things you learned in 2015! It sounds like you had such an awesome 2015, you Bad Ass MoFo! Hahahaha! So happy you are having fun in Brooklyn! <3

    xx Bash | H E Y   B A S H | bloglovin'

    1. Thank you!!! Brooklyn is The Best!! 2016 is going to hit the ground running pretty soon – I can't wait! Thanks for visiting!!

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