There’s a certain dreary sameness to the practice; every year seemingly, we promise our future self a fitter, faster, stronger, richer, happier state of being, one more worthy of love or success or some other matter of fancy. Certainly worthier of whichever bounty might justly accrue to present self – that flabby thing over there in the corner, wretchedly unloved – unlovable? – alone and more than slightly drunk. Bad present self, get your act together already. Right?
Yeah, probably not. Speaking only for myself, the annual rite of self-shaming lost its charm a while ago, and speaking of shaming: believe me, my mother doesn’t need the help, would likely even resent even a hint that her handiwork is in need of improvement. You might as well try to find a speck of unvanquished dirt on her kitchen floor, if indeed you lived to tell the tale should you succeed.
Not that there’s not room for improvement, God alone knows there is, but tying it to some dreary moment arbitrarily placed smack-dab in the worst hell-stretch of winter strikes me as less than productive, an over-reaction maybe to the sugary drabness that is my family’s Christmas.
Fuck drab. I’ve given up, finally, on pleasing mom and dad, they equally on molding me, vain labour that it ever was; a state of mutual exhaustion. Given up on pleasing anyone really, given up as well on being pleased by anything or anyone not as visceral, sensual, impossible and beautiful as I am myself. In other words, a time not for resolutions – a time for revolutions.
So there will be change. A dear friend is dying of cancer, the battle lost at last; the day she draws her last is the day I smoke my last cigarette.
Law school? This fall, and come hell or high water, this time I will not fuck up the application or be blasé enough to let anyone do it for me. Iron control, end of story, because I want to practice law so bad I can taste it. And damn right I want a BMW too, first year’s salary. First day of school? Kilt, combat boots and Dolce & Gabbana tank top, already ordered.
And tattoos; so what if they’re going to set me back two grand I don’t have presently have. I will. They’re sketched out, powerful and right, they will be etched in flesh. My flesh.
No more pining for Paris; this year, I’m going. Better, I’m taking my boyfriend – what a weak word for that magnificent man – mon amie, mon amour. I want to sit on the steps of Sacre-Coeur again with a bottle of cheap wine holding the man I cherish, show him my Paris, see it fresh in his shining eyes, make mad love in some cheap hole in the wall in my treasured Marais, lie on the grass in the Jardin de Luxembourg, read a dog-eared copy of Baudelaire haggled from the bouquinistes on the Rive Droîte. London, glorious London, can wait.
Or California; I haven’t set foot in the state of my birth since Nixon was President. It’s time. San Francisco, the Castro. My Matt there too, sculpted, sultry, seductive, brilliant, mine. A man to fuck this man into the sunrise, hold tight in the soft light of dawn the way men do. Love too long delayed.
My blond twin-in-spirit in the Pacific Northwest; one intoxicated week, beautiful, you are mine and I am yours, one body blood sweat lust into exhaustion.
All that art I have gathering dust (and value) in storerooms? No use to man or beast there, some of it is only found there and the Whitney, that Whitney, to the dealer it goes. Five figures, six, seven, it doesn’t matter, it goes. Herb Ritts, Chagall, the lot of them, out.
The apartment? No more scrubbing; fresh paint, fresh everything, time to hang my own pictures, make some crazy furniture, bathe it in light and fill it with laughter. Throw parties, dinners, bacchanals with views of Manhattan to take your breath away.
Love? I have a boyfriend, a lover, a friend, part of my soul; it’s time to make him as happy as he deserves to be, as he makes me. That’s my calling, the man’s given me enough love and to spare. I have plenty left, an inexhaustible supply for him, for all the men I’ve ever loved; I don’t fall out once I’ve fallen in. I can’t. Addition over subtraction, but you can only have one lodestar, this man is mine. His is the broad shoulder I lean on, the chest I fall asleep on this and every night.
And work. This year, that new ACT UP web site comes to pass, exactly as I’ve envisioned it for years. It will be spectacular, my gift to those men and women that gave everything, gave me everything; they’re fading. I won’t let them go into the cold dark without a memorial fitting to their magnificent rage incandescent.
That’s my 2016. Buckle up.