Everyone keeps talking about how they can’t wait until 2016 is over. And I get it. 2016 was kind of a shit hole year for common decency, society, human rights, the environment, most pop music, and my exercise regime. But I’m not losing myself in my 2017 calendar, full of blissful wonder.
After all, besides a change in year (that I will forget while writing the date down for the next six months, anyway) there is nothing going on to suggest that everything that happened in 2016 will not get worse in a few days.
That weird writing collaboration between Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris.
The Gilmore Girls reunion show.
My student loan payments.
White women letting everyone down.
We’re all just pretending it’s going to get better because we like to finish things. Like, personally, I love finishing a plate of food. It’s satisfying. And when it’s done, I am then allowed to get another plate of food. I understand the obsession with the end of one thing and the beginning of the other. Especially if it’s french fries.
So for some, 2016 must feel like the end of one particularly difficult chapter and the start of something new and not just some sort of inevitable sprint towards your eventual death. You think you have control over something. You think you can start fresh in 2017.
BUT YOU CAN’T.
You can’t. You have no control. We are just little pieces of evolutionary mistakes covered in hairy flesh plastered to a floating rock that’s spinning so quickly we can’t even attempt to peel ourselves off of it and float into nothingness should the moment require a dramatic departure.
There was this awful carnival ride I used to go on as a kid that mimicked this sensation of spinning forever in a pointless circle. I honestly hate most rides (why am I on here and why are there kids around me) but knew that I would be the lame, loser, jelly-like outcast kid if I refused to go on with my friends. I’ve grown enough now to know that peer-pressure doesn’t make friends unless it’s forcing someone to ingest too much alcohol — somehow that still makes you cool. So this ride used centrifugal force to stick you to the walls. You’d shuffle inside and strap yourself in. You’d slowly gain speed and then you’d be spinning so fast, your limbs would stick the walls, you couldn’t lift your head up. You’d unstrap yourself and squish yourself around and upside down like a spider, hovering above the ground but effectively plastered in place. You thought that gave you freedom to climb all over the place!!! You thought you were experiencing something new!!!
But you weren’t. Physics was playing a trick on you where you thought you were experiencing this awesome, new sensation and could test the limits of the human potential but really you were just a human piece of gum on a particularly sticky movie theater floor. And that is exactly what the universe is doing to you right now. You can’t get off when the clock strikes midnight. You don’t get to start fresh. You just… continue, slightly nauseous, stuck in place, waiting for ride to stop.
And to prove to you that you have no control and no ability to make 2017 better is January 20th. Inauguration Day. The day that we, as a nation, say “right-o, yep, matey” to President-elect Donald Trump.
And you tried thinking it wasn’t going to happen right? You thought that maybe if you forwarded a pre-written e-mail to your elector that somehow the electoral college would vote against Donald Trump and the system of democracy we have come to accept. You thought that somehow this would result in world peace and not just a terrifying civil war against crazy people in the middle of the country who own way more guns than you. Your desire for control is so cute.
Have I depressed you enough, yet? Is your New Year, New You mantra slowly cracking under the weight of reality?
Because you’re smarter than that. The new year is going to be awful. If the end of this year is any indication, we are about to enter some dogmatic, oppressive, state-funded bullshit. The government is going to look at the bloody bundle of cells you pee out in the toilet after a miscarrying and say you need to give it a proper funeral. The president of the United States is going to continue tweeting word salad about international affairs and you’re going to have to not poke your eyes with hot needles so that you can get up and go to work. Congress will not impeach this motherfucker even amidst his conflicts of interest regarding his businesses — or the fact that he has been accused of raping a 13-year-old girl — because this guy is white and white is right and right is tight and tighty, whitey, lefty, loosey, my name is Donald Trump and this is as much sense as I make when I tweet.
People who do not think like you will still not think like you in 2017. No amount of “I’m going to go to yoga three times a week” is going to change that. Since the election I have tried my hardest to understand the working class in the middle of the country who felt they had no choice but to vote for Trump. I still think they were awfully misguided, but I’m trying to have empathy for their situation, while never actually encountering those people in real life. The Trump voters that I do encounter are smart, well-educated, coastal-living, and wealthy. I, for the life of me, cannot understand their voting choices. And 2017 isn’t going to change that for me.
2017 isn’t going to be the year I accept Donald Trump and “move on.”
2017 isn’t going to be the year people on Twitter stop claiming they are victims of “reverse racism.”
2017 isn’t going to be the year celebrities suddenly stop dying no matter how many times you tweet #enoughalready plus the current year.
2017 isn’t going to be the year I figure out how to contour. It’s just not.
And that’s okay.
Accepting that it’s going to be the same old shit is the first step in realizing life is a lot more complicated than a perfectly worded inspirational tweet. Figuring out that the real world continues, that the earth keeps spinning, that – unless some extenuating circumstance takes over – you will be stuck to this spinning rock for another dizzying year, is the first step in readying yourself for what is coming. And it’s not a new kind of yoga class that mixes aerial silks with an ice bath in a really hot room.
It’s Donald Trump.
Buck up. Move on. And join The Resistance.