last year

Last year I moved out of the loft I shared with my husband, and got my own place, with my money, not his. Last year I got the last dollar I'll ever see from him. I downsized my entire life to 600 square feet, and felt glorious freedom and terror in doing so. I spent many, many days curled up being sad about the death of my marriage, and being frightened about my future. Last year my dog became my best friend, and together we walked for hours at a time. I talked to him so much in public that people probably thought I was crazy. I talked to him so much in private that he probably thought I was crazy.

Last year I took the Metro to Hollywood and Pasadena by myself, and walked and walked and window shopped and people watched, and sat in coffee shops alone, thinking and reading. Last year I tried to be friends with my husband, and failed. I went to Tucson for weeks at a time, and stayed at a friend's place in Canyon Ranch. I got facials, massages, and nail treatments, and felt, down to the tips of my fingers, how incredibly lucky and privileged I am. I went running in Sabino Canyon and on the horse trails behind La Mariposa. I went camping and watched Chaucer wade knee-deep into the lake to retrieve stick after stick, until the shore was littered with driftwood. Last year I realized I'd rather live in a tiny, roach-ridden walk-up in the city than a mansion in the suburbs. I fell in love with minimalism and came to truly understand that mo' money really does = mo' problems.

Last year I ate peanut butter on celery for the first time, when a 10 year-old introduced me to its pleasures. I perfected my own tomato sauce. I started walking to the grocery store almost daily.

Last year I went to an all-day trance festival, rolled on ecstasy, and danced like my life depended on it. I smoked pot in the penthouse loft of an artist friend, and giggled until I couldn't remember where I was. Last year I danced and danced and danced. I danced at straight clubs and gay bars and concerts and foam parties and house parties and in my own kitchen, while my dog watched. And I drank. I drank wine at dinner parties and tequila at friends' houses and overpriced Ketel One in WeHo bars. I drank sweet tea vodka and lemonade by the gallon.

Last year I had two significant relationships with men. The second one nearly killed me. The first one nearly killed him.

Last year I had the best sex of my life.

Last year I kissed a man two decades my senior, and one a decade my junior.

Last year I got chewed out by a good friend for being a self-indulgent, whiny, self-pitying, and self-destructive little shit. I watched another good friend move to San Francisco and take a piece of my heart with him. I learned a lot about myself, and my limitations and shortcomings. I took at hard, unforgiving look at myself and wrote a list of everything I need to work on. It's alarmingly long.

Last year I discovered Young The Giant, and 7 Minutes in Heaven with Mike o'Brien. I tried to stop reading the blogs of people I dislike, and failed. I started reading novels again. I saw Old 97s in concert, pressed up against the stage like a teenager. I saw Devotchka and went to the Edwardian Ball in Hollywood. I went to awards shows and rallies and protests, a 300-person pillow fight, and a pop up water park. I modeled in a professional photo shoot and I took hundreds of photographs for my own pleasure. I went to museums and parks and beaches, and tried, in my limited, car-less way, to start taking advantage of this amazing place I call home.

Last year I came to appreciate Los Angeles in a way I never thought I would. Yes, there's glitz and glamour. But you can find shitty, superficial social climbers anywhere in the world, down to the most podunk of towns. You'll get out of LA as much as you put into it. Hate traffic? Take public transportation. On a budget? Go to the beach, or Runyon Canyon, or any of the other dozens of free attractions. Don't like Hollywood? Come downtown, where there's a whole different, relaxed and familiar vibe. The culture and energy in this city are like nothing I've ever experienced.

Last year I went to Israel and strolled the cobblestones of Jerusalem and bobbed in the Dead Sea. I went to Bethlehem, the Sea of Galilee, Haifa, Golan Heights, Tel Aviv, and Jaffa. I stood at the Western Wall and listened to the Islamic call to prayer, getting the chills not because it was scary, but because it was so stunningly beautiful to hear. I walked along the cliffs of Masada and I dipped my feet into the River Jordan where John baptized Christ. I looked across the northern border to Syria, where people were fighting for their lives, and felt dizzy at the vast and arbitrary polarity of my existence compared to theirs. I visited a kibbutz where eighteen year-olds from places like Brazil and Iceland came to be a part of something bigger than themselves. At night, after sightseeing, I drank in the mixed, amicable company of Israeli-born Muslims and Jews and Catholics. They answered my pressing, probably intrusive questions about their religions with patience and good humor. I saw the settlements in the West Bank and the wall around Palestinian territories, and watched teenage girls wear assault rifles as comfortably as American coeds wear Coach purses. I got cursed out by an antiques peddler in a street market, for trying to haggle with him over the price of some old postcards. I watched nomadic Bedouin tribespeople - full-fledged, voting members of the Israeli citizenry - caravanning across the desert on camelback. At the Tel Aviv airport on the way back home, I went through eight security checkpoints before getting on the plane. At some moments I felt relief at being an American; at others, shame.

Last year I was 40 miles from the Arab Spring.

Last year I made less money than I have since I was 18. It was more money than some people in this world - many people - make in a lifetime. I spent it on rent, food, alcohol, and premium dog food. Last year I was grateful for the ability to make any money.

Last year I read The Magnificent Ambersons and pledged to read every Pulitzer-winning novel published. I learned "cognoscenti" and "backronym" and "parvenu" and after the death of Kim Jong il, I became obsessed with North Korea.

Last year I stopped and started my blog half a dozen times. I toyed with the idea of multiple blogs. I deleted posts not in an effort to whitewash, but in an attempt to find a solid direction, an identifiable voice. I made grand plans to blog about all the things I was experiencing, and to go back and update my blog with the things I'd been doing months earlier. But I couldn't find the time or energy or enthusiasm for it. Last year I realized that while I very much enjoy blogging, all the really good stuff happens when I'm AFK. Life happens AFK. I can either sit here and spend hours furiously documenting it, or I can be out there actually living it. But I can't do both.

Last year I realized how precious privacy has become, in this age of information ubiquity. The distaste I had for Facebook hardened into pure disgust, and I pulled back out once and for all. I decided never again would I include other people's photos or names on my blog without their permission. I realized that other people are not props to be trotted out onto the virtual stage of my life. And yet, I feel an urge to share, to show. To celebrate and honor the love and laughter my life is (usually, but not always) filled with. This seemed like an elegant, if abbreviated solution.

Last year I started thinking about what, if anything, I want to share on my blog in the future. What I want to get out of blogging. I didn't figure it out.