A New Year’s Eve unlike 2012. That was my only requirement. I couldn’t bear another colossal stroke-of-midnight letdown this year.
I remember that the ballroom was filled to capacity and the cover band was screaming Prince’s “1999”. I was booty-shaking away, thanks to the horrifically bad bottom-shelf vodka/crans that also made me ignorant of the fact that my stilettos were shredding the skin off the top of my pinky toes. It had been a great evening so far, with pre-gaming in the hotel rooms upstairs and the ever-female three hour ritual of group beautification. A forgotten strapless bra panic had been remedied by hacking off the straps of a push-up bra. Price tags were ripped violently off flashy new garments. We crammed ourselves into the bathroom and expertly applied eyeliner and falsies. And me, I couldn’t believe I’d let my friend talk me into wearing this strapless sequined tube of a dress. I didn’t have the boobs she did, but prayed it would miraculously stay put.
There were 15 of us in total, with myself as the lone East coast-er, the only one with real boobs, and one of the two single people in the bunch. Relationship status didn’t matter in the hours leading up to midnight – we were just a group of friends ringing in the New Year. But when the night reached its frenzied peak as the countdown began, I looked around for the other single girlfriend.
She had disappeared.
All the couples around me were arm in arm, shouting the backward numbers, blissfully ignorant of my crisis.
Some creepy guy standing next to me grabbed my waist. I shoved his hands off me and flung my steely “just try that again” look at him. He didn’t.
I stood alone, on a crowded dance floor.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
There’s something magical but heartbreaking about the moment a new year begins. The elation of the digit-flip, the cheering, the falling confetti, and the slow descent from frenzy into Auld Lang Syne are all very intoxicating. Time pauses while you enjoy the soft caress of lips with your companion. You bless the wonderful memories of the past year and wish good riddance to the ugly ones. And in these first few seconds, the new year is pristine. It is untouched and unblemished. It is perfect, yet still so easily shattered as you realize that the same feeling of despair and loneliness that existed at 11:59:59 on 2011 was not only still present, but magnified tenfold at 12:00:01 on 2012.
Because I stood alone, on a crowded dance floor.
The romantic embraces all around me seemed to defy time. I was about to leave the dance floor when suddenly I caught sight of my sequined-dress-pusher of a best friend running at me, arms outstretched. Before I could blink she had planted a loud, smacking kiss on my lips and was screaming ‘Happy New Year, Peach!!!’ over the din. We laughed and hugged and then of course went back to more blister-inducing dancing, almost as if that moment of darkness had never occurred. Hell, I doubt anyone even sensed it, other than me.
This year when given the chance to come to New York, I was hellbent on NOT having an emotional fuckery repeat during the ball drop of 2013. Single-hood be damned, I’ve had too great of a year to spend even one iota of a second feeling sorry for myself at the stroke of midnight.
During 2012 I got healthy and got happy. I reveled in the proximity to family after so many years away. I was lovingly embraced by friends old and new. I dated a few men, and have those
shitshow stories to thank for starting this blog. I made a Life List and started a journey of living my life for me, to the fullest and to the fore. I recognized my deep-down passions and started to go after them, without letting fear of judgment control my ambitions.
I’m so glad that I chose “different” over “usual” this year for New Year’s Eve. I swapped the dress and stilettos for a compression shirt, race bib, running tights and my trusty Nikes. Instead of battling a sweaty dance floor packed with obnoxious handsy drunks, I battled the cold and my newly-strong body all the way to a sweaty finish line.
Running those 3.14 miles through Brooklyn’s Prospect Park couldn’t have been more perfect. There were no expectations, and no silly build-up leading to a monumental emotional hangover. The only drunks I saw were teenagers teetering along the park’s path with their party hats and smuggled bottles of champagne. I listened to my steady breath inhaling and exhaling the chilly air in a solid rhythm. My thigh muscles bunched and released with every stride and I remember grinning at the thought that there’d be no way in hell my rockin’ new booty would fit into that sequined strapless number from last year. I laughed as I was passed by a girl who ran the race with her torso wrapped in Christmas lights. I challenged myself to pass a few folks, just to see if I could do it. And when we crossed the finish line just before midnight, we celebrated with steaming cups of Swiss Miss hot chocolate. The few hundred of us counted down to 2013 underneath the barren trees, exhilarated and alive as we watched the fireworks start. I hugged Might-E and her friend, and that was it. No muss, no fuss.
At 12:00:01 of 2013, there were no residual feelings of loneliness or despair. There was only peace and happiness. Because I knew that I didn’t need a clock or confetti or a ball drop to tell me how amazing this year will be. My goals were already in motion and I knew that even bigger, better things were in store for me.
When I closed my eyes that night, curled under a blanket in the heart of Brooklyn, I thanked the universe for everything that was 2012. The struggles and the joys changed me for the better and I’m steady, solid and happy for the first time in as long as I can remember. I drifted into my first sleep of 2013 with a smile in my heart.
Linking up with the fantastic crew over at YeahWrite.