New Year’s Eve: usually devoted to taking account of the year past, giddy revelry in a sexy black dress accessorized with a bottle of champagne, and optimistic (if unrealistic) resolutions. My biggest ambitions for this evening? A fireside game of family Connect Four, a dark chocolate double-layer cake (cooling on the racks right now), finishing my novel-of-the-day, The One Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (which transports me to an 18th century Dutch trading post in Japan), and remembering to be grateful that I am here, with my family, and alive.
Do I dare imagine a better year ahead? One where ITs powers are diminished, if not decimated by love and hope and healing? A year where I might make peace with and make amends to my body, remembering that food is not just fuel, but an act of love and nurturance, that my body, if treated with respect and affection, might see me through another 38 years? A year when I work towards accepting my many faceted self: ambitious, loving, determined, intelligent, mother, wife, friend and despairing, selfish, complicated, crazy, willful, needy, and scared? Neither black nor white, but gray.
Dr. B. wants me to imagine what my life might look like if I was 25%, 50%, and 75% “better.” Hard to see my way to that vision—the State of the Nation of Kerry is easily revealed just by looking at the state of my hands: fingers and cuticles chewed and gnawed, ugly stumps. Or by looking inside my brain: crossed wires, mangled synapses, ITs dark tumor tentacling across all that fragile matter. But yes, 25% better might allow me to be free of the oppressive daily urges to inflict self-damage. 50% better might allow me to experience real stability, even admit lasting joy. 75% better might have me believing that IT is not the bleak custodian of my future, rather I am—and I am the one with the compass in hand, pointed at my true steady North.
Isn’t the cliché “A New Year, A New You”? Blank Slate? Tabula Rasa? But I’m not looking for a new self or for a do-over. What I’m looking for—what might actually get me to 99% better—is to accept that I am good enough as is. That I am perfectly fine and lovable, if flawed and imperfect. Loved, in fact, for my flaws and forgiven my failings. Fucked up and just fine: fabula-rasa.