By Leila Sackur
First and foremost it is necessary to understand that 2017 has been, whilst contained within the same number of sunrises and sunsets, the longest year on record. To make 2018 better (and I believe it can be better) I declare all that I resolve, written like lines; tally marks on the wall in the purgatory of the end of December. I am itching to bury this year beneath the cold dead ground, and to never look back on it. But equally I am scared of it ending, because I want to remember it fully, and am afraid that memories I hold either fondly or with revulsion now will soon become pinpricks in my mind, and more than anything I don’t want to forget because to forget is to lose feeling.
So whilst stuck in this limbo I have written down my resolutions, my personal manifesto, my pledges to myself;
Ultimately I resolve for honesty. Most, I resolve to be honest about what I need and desire. I accept that I am deeply needy of constant love and validation, as all human beings are. So I will stop demonising neediness, I will send that vulnerable text, and when I am scared that people find me irritating or annoying (read: I am always scared that people find me irritating or annoying), I will make the effort to call them or see them to determine whether or not, this time, it is true. Even though I am terrible at talking to people on the phone. (I resolve to be better at talking to people on the phone.)
I resolve to stop sucking in when I look in the mirror, but admire the curves and planes of my stomach. I resolve to stop sucking in during sex. I resolve to become better at accepting compliments, other people find it awkward when they’re trying to be nice and you’re trying to shut them up. I resolve to stop demonising critics (EVEN THOUGH I AM PERFECT). I resolve to stop seeking validation from mediocre men. I will not judge a night out by how many Fila-clad boys find me fuckable but instead on the music and the dancing and the food at the end. I resolve to stop idolising older girls who I don’t know but deem to be cooler than me anyway. I resolve to stop spending hours scrolling through their social media. I resolve to stop projecting my insecurities onto other people. I HEREBY RESOLVE to apologise to everyone I have ever hurt, and to stop apologising to everyone else for no reason whatsoever.
I resolve to write more. I will start actually writing that play I have told all of my friends that I am writing but have not actually started writing yet. But I will read more than I write, because this article is cliché enough already. I will see more films. I will stop being culturally illiterate. I will not resolve to be better at giving in my work on time because that’s a pointless promise to make (I know I can’t make good on it), and it doesn’t even equal self-improvement anyway. I resolve to remember that I am doing my degree for myself. I resolve to dedicate myself to myself. I resolve to love myself. I resolve to understand that the promise of love requires meaningful action; I cannot love myself or anyone else if I do not act on that love. I resolve to remember that loving someone and being loved does not make one above critical analysis. But I still resolve my self to myself, and not to anyone else.
I refuse to be whitewashed in 2018. Although I recognise that my proximity to whiteness gives me privilege. I resolve to learn more about my identity, my history, my culture. I resolve to take pride in my name; ‘Cool Night’, moon girl; I resolve to learn Arabic. I resolve to continue to try to unlearn my bigotries. I resolve to learn when called out. I resolve to stay in my lane. I resolve to be a better ally and a better activist. I resolve to act on injustice. I resolve to protest. I resolve to be a headache for the already empowered. I resolve to stop being obsessed with being liked, because I don’t care about pleasing people who perpetrate violence. I resolve to stop tolerating the intolerable.
I resolve to cry because it is more honest that way. I will be vulnerable with people who deserve it. I will prioritize my mental wellbeing. I will be better at asking for help. (I will stop being such a fucking narcissist.) When someone asks me to meet me two hours from my house because it is closer to their gentrified area of London but about a million light years from mine, I will just ask them to meet in the middle. Or just say no; it is more honest that way.
I have written these down and thus doomed myself and cursed my success. But more than anything else, I resolve to try.