Shikagoland’s Reluctant Reflections on 2013

I have a strict “no personal shit” policy on this blog but…whatever I’m paying for this little corner of the internet and I DO WHAT I WANT. And its not like I’ve been posting anything else so…


At some point in my teenage years I looked around at the world and said to myself “I’m so glad I’m always right”. This actually happened.

Of course, thats what all shithead teenagers think I was referring to, and congratulating myself on, not being racist or homophobic or any of those other things that are generally thought of as being very, very bad things. In my mind, these things, these basic tenants of being a decent human being, shaped my self-perception. The world is black and white. I am right. The things I don’t do/believe in are wrong. Thats all there is.

I am reminded of this now because so many of my friends and loved ones are currently engaging in the annual expressions of hope and optimism that come on the eve of a new year, the kind of ruminations that I have met in the past with a rolled eye and a shrug. But this year, these statements have provoked a new response: anger. A anger that I realize is borne out of my own dogged refusal of self reflection. I read these things and I’m like “don’t they know these are empty words? Why are they bothering? Whatever”.

“I am right, and you are wrong” is all well and good when you’re a cocky sheltered child with years of learning ahead of you but…well…when you’re 33 years old that shit is not a good look.

You didn’t come here for the prose.

This morning as I lay on my couch puffy eyed, sad, and seeking the meaning of life in a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, I looked around at my world and said to myself “I’m an asshole”.

While I think the meaning of life could still possibly be extracted from a economically priced big gulp of caffeine, the puffy eyed and sad thing is all of my own doing. I’m not saying that being sad (especially around this time of year as so many are) is a bad thing, but I realized that I relish in feeling that way. Because its easy. It takes no effort to slink home, don a pair of sweatpants (seriously when did I start owning so many sweatpants? 2013 was apparently my year for elastic waistbands), and perch on my couch like a tower from which to cast out a disdainful eye on the world and watch Netflix. Its so easy to say “I’m right and the universe is wrong and its wrongness is what makes me feel like this”. Its not quite blaming everyone else for your problems…ok wait no. Thats exactly what it is.

While there are certainly some aspects of my life that are out of my immediate control, there are so many others that I could probably fix if I devoted half as much energy to it as I do to looking up pictures of Tom Hiddleston on the internet to making up excuses for why I haven’t.

But outside of over focusing on the bad or not totally awesome things, I never allow myself to take pleasure in the good and totally awesome things. I actively work against being happy. If I’m in a funk and wallowing in it like a pig in so much mud, a positive feeling will bubble up and I will stamp it down. I do this constantly. I occasionally avoid things like music and tv shows and people that will make me feel good. I tell myself things like “I will be in a bad mood today” like some kind of fucked up commandment. I did it this morning when I was reading my twitter timeline and jumped into a silly conversation…oh wait. I told myself I wouldn’t tweet today because…I’m sad. I actually considered deleting the tweets…like…why? Apparently I need that gap to show the world SHIKA IS HAVING A SHITTY DAY. Because committing to being sad is something I do often, I’m awesome at it. But committing to being happy seems trite. I can’t fathom it.

2013 may not have been 365 days of THIS IS FUCKING AWESOMEEEE but there have been moments of greatness. Instead of being like “GUYS I fucking went to Korea this year and IIII HAAAAD THE TIME OF MY LIIIIIIFE”, I’m like “ugh I can’t afford to go on another trip”. Instead of being like “Whoo!! I’m at this party with all my awesome friends and I’m having a fantastic time” I’m like “ugh, I’m always the single girl at the party”. For every moment of feeling happy for my friends that have been blessed with beautiful children for me to adore, there are ten moments of worrying over the fact that I’ll probably never have any of my own. In my darkest moments I look at the fortune of others and my only thought is “Why do they have everything while I have nothing?”

It is, to quote Aristotle*, “a vicious cycle of fuckshit”.

*not an actual quote

Another problem with needing to be “right” all the time is that sometimes you can’t be, because not every situation is a simple matter of right and wrong. Human interactions can be messy and complicated because…humans can be messy and complicated. I can be rigid and judgmental. I am prone to hiding my true feelings behind sarcasm and humor and letting anger and pain fester inside me. I thirstily seek out approval and can be resentful when I am not immediately rewarded or lavished in praise for my efforts. I am extremely sensitive and easily wounded. I am jealous with the time and attention of others. I KNOW these things about myself yet I expect to always be accepted as I am, because (in my mind) my intentions are to do the right thing and people should just know that, even as I give very little thought to the motivations and actions of others except in relation to how they make me feel. I did this, and I expected this result, and you’re not giving it to me and you’re wrong.

See? Asshole.

But I’m like, totes gonna work on that. Because you can’t expect people to care about your shit when you don’t care about their shit. You also can’t expect your shit to get better if you don’t put in any effort. I could try harder at finding a new job. I could do better at saving money so I can go visit the people I love. I could go out more often instead of sitting at home and complaining about my lack of a social life. I can do better at solidifying the relationships that enhance my life and cut off the ones that don’t. I can grasp the hands that reach out to me instead of slapping them away. I can actually get help for the depression and anxiety that I’ve been diagnosed with but have more or less refused to treat. I can stop focusing on giving the impression that I have my shit together and…like actually get my shit together. Not to get all new-agey but the common denominator is me. These are things I can do. No matter how hokey or trite they sound (even to me, right now) the actions will speak for themselves.

There is no magic wand. Deigning to hope for better days won’t make them appear. There will still be days where crippling loneliness descends like a fog. There will be angry days. And resentment. And fear. And despair. But they don’t have to be my default. I can fight it.

And if I fail at some things, which I will…I can step back and re-group…on the couch watching Netflix.

I just hope they don’t ever take The Avengers off streaming cause then I’m fucked.

I still don’t think I’m into making “I’m gonna do xyz in 2014” lists but…basically.

My internal dialogue in 2014: Less this


More this:


My social life in 2014: Less this


More this:


At work in 2014: Less this


More this:


When people try to be there for me in 2014: Less this


More this:


What I see in the mirror in 2014: Less this


More this:


In conclusion:


5 thoughts on “Shikagoland’s Reluctant Reflections on 2013

  1. Pingback: Shikagoland: Started From the Bottom…Still Kinda There | shikagoland

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