2017 Year In Review

​​​11:26pm.

​It’s dead in here can I pleeeeease get cut?

I grab my bag and run to the bathroom. Black heels and a red dress. A quick attempt at smoky eye. I snag my bar key from the top of the sink and stuff it in my coat pocket.

Bye everyone! Happy New Year!

I run out of the door and into the grey Toyota Camry. 11:41 pm.

So, I know there’s like, speed laws or whatever, but I need to make it by midnight. Step on it! I laugh, but I’m also, like, so serious.

I watch the digital clock intently like a slow motion Times Square ball drop in the Uber. My palms are sweating. “Ringing in the New Year” seems like such a frivolous thing, except this year I have someone waiting for me. –

I arrive with 8 minutes to spare. Greeted with a kiss.

I’m so happy you made it. You look amazing, Beth.

The bright, LED display counts the seconds down.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

Happy New Year, beautiful.

***

The weather is cold. I find myself slipping into a seasonal depression of sorts. I’m 23. I’m supposed to have my life figured out. I’m supposed to be sitting in an office, starting a 401k at a job with coworkers who go to happy hours and throw lavish holiday parties.

It’s 9am.

My eyes struggle to open after a long night of bartending the night before. I reach for my phone beneath my pillow.

Right swipe.

While your skills are impressive, we regret to inform you that we have chosen to pursue other candidates.

I pull the crumpled paper from my nightstand and cross off another job prospect. I pull the blanket back over my eyes.

I press my hands against my eyes. Don’t cry.

***

We both wake up with a crippling hangover. Beth’s birthday festivities won. We lost.

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I crawl into Kat’s bed. Our eyes are smothered with dark eye makeup. We are not well.

The Diner? Kat suggests.

Yes.

We practically crawl up Kalorama Road to 18th Street. The hill is too much today.

It’s noon.

Coffee and lots of water, pretty please. We cry for help. The bartender observes our creature-like appearance and can’t help but laugh.

Our food comes out. We stare at it and poke at it with our forks. The food is almost as unappetizing as the Bloody Marys served to the man next to us.

We attempt to piece together the day. We have questions. Lots of questions.

We grab a napkin and ask the bartender for a pen. Let’s map out what happened.

The napkin is full of scribbles and mixed drinks. This leads to more questions.

Why were we drinking pre-batched Old Fashioneds out of a punch bowl at 10:30pm at Johnny Pistolas?

Kat runs to the bathroom. 10 minutes later, I follow. Nope, we are definitely not well.

 

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***

I knew what my Mom was going to say as soon as I felt my phone vibrate.
I didn’t want to hear her say it. I even debated not answering and holding it off for a few more hours. I wanted to hug her one last time. Tell her how much I loved her.

I love you too, Mom.

I picked up the photograph sitting on my night stand. Nona in her fifties sitting at The Capitol building. Dark brown hair and a pink dress paired with black ballet flats.img_8202
I hold the photograph in my hands. The way her face wrinkled when she laughed. Her soft hands and silver hair cut on Tuesdays by the women of Supercuts.

This time is goodbye. Eyes fill. A tear drops on my naked chest.

I love you, Nona. I place the photo back on my nightstand. 

My mom paints her backdoor yellow in her memory. I buy a sunflower and place it on my window sill. Her favorite color is a reflection of the person she was. Vibrant and beautiful.

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***

I’ve been waiting over 2 months.

I thought applying early action meant early-we’ll-accept-or-deny-you. Tell me already, would ya?

I re-read my personal statement. Perhaps my best work. Emotional. Provocative. A difficult subject to write and read about but a conversation worth talking about. My writing style.

After all, I don’t have 2 years of PR experience as they recommend. I needed to stick out.

I latch onto this decision as if its my last chance to prove to myself that I have a handle on my life.

I need this.

Request for a phone interview. This is a good sign.

We’d like to talk to you about your personal statement. A concerning tone. The conversation starts.

I hang up the phone and replay everything back in my head. It sounded like they wanted me to apologize and scramble to take my words back. Perhaps rewrite another statement. I didn’t know exactly what they wanted.

Maybe I should have apologized, but I didn’t.

I don’t write to offend, I write to bring light to issues that may not be comfortable to talk about, but that should be talked about. I can’t change the narrative on my own, but I can contribute. And that’s what I do. You asked me how ethics play into my everyday life, and that’s how.

Kindly,
Beth

I hit send.

It’s a Tuesday at 8am.

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into Georgetown University’s Public Relations and Corporate Communications program.

I’m singing “Every Other Time” by LFO at Nellie’s karaoke with Staci in celebration.

And you told everyone that I was gay…okay.

Our mics go quiet. Staci and I look at each other. Oops.

***

He is the topic of conversation between my journal and I as of late. An emotional roller coaster of stories and mixed feelings. Pages written with shaky hands, crooked letters and tear stains followed by pages of sappiness and hand-drawn emojis.

You should publish your story, Beth. Staci encourages.

I compile my journal entries, attempting to piece together what we were. The story doesn’t make sense. It’s fragmented.

He, the man I fell for. I, the one that tried to stay away but couldn’t. The end.

No, it’s more than that.

My hands hover over the black plastic keys of my laptop.

The blue “Publish” button sits in the right hand corner of my WordPress screen. I guide my mouse pad.I am paralyzed in this moment.

Click.

I don’t know what is going to happen next. The uncertainty is nerve-wracking, yet I feel free. 

I feel free.

Thank you for writing this. I can relate. Hugs from Nigeria.

Thank you for sharing your story, Beth. I don’t know you, but you have given me a newfound voice. Thank you. X

***

Can I have a Tanqueray and tonic please? He blows cigarette smoke from his mouth, dressed in a plain gray t-shirt and jeans. He seems to know the staff.

That’s Adriel, he works here too. He just got back from traveling for a month.

I head out the front door to head home after my first training shift.

We’re going to Exiles next door, do you want to come? Oh, it’s him again. He seems friendly.

Sure.

It’s 10pm on a Tuesday. I have work to do tomorrow, but I find myself in the back patio of a bar with a vodka soda in hand and a round of Jameson shots on their way.

I peak around at the rest of the staff that has joined us. I observe the varying personalities. Everybody is so different, holy shit. But it works.

Like a puzzle with a picture that is discombobulated, yet the pieces still fit together in an oddly perfect fashion.

Conversation is loud, whiskey shots continue. I laugh harder than I have in months.

A picnic table filled with my soon-to-be family. My dysfunctionally perfect Local 16 fam.

Editor’s note: Not gunna lie, being totally 110% honest, dead assssss serious u guyz are the best. 😉

 

***

We’re in Newport, Rhode Island. The matching “Aloha Beaches” tank tops are folded in my duffle bag.

I try to forget about the texts exchanged the day before. I work hard. I’m smart. I know these things. This will be a relaxing weekend.

Your value is not always noticed, nor acknowledged by others. I realize this in a string of tears on the front steps of the cottage as night falls. My sister rubs my back.

I’m sorry, I know this weekend is supposed to be about you, I apologize.

It’s okay. Just know your worth, she tells me, know it and own it.

I stand up for myself. After all, who else will?

I learn a dream job is hardly a dream when you lose sight of what your worth. I learn my worth. 

I leave WeWork with my head held high. Onward and upward.

***

I have an idea. A really good idea.

Google, how do you start a small business? What’s an LLC? Can I afford that?

I design my logo. I don’t really know what I’m doing. My entrepreneurial spirit kicks in. It’s me, my laptop and an iced coffee. It’s August. It’s hot outside. The condensation drips from the plastic cup onto my fingers.

I need to send a proposal to a potential client. Welp, this template looks good I guess. Not sure what all of this legal jargon means but whatevs.

I start to receive inquiries from word-of-mouth and email. Is this happening? Am I actually doing this? Am I in over my head?

I’m not sure.

Hi, I’m Beth. Founder and social media storyteller at Socially Attractive by Beth.

beth

***

Staci, can I wear my Birkenstocks? 

Yeah! Who cares? She replies.

I practically live in these glorified Jesus sandals, but how can you not?

Ugh. I debate with myself. I feel like most people are going to show up in business clothes after a long day at work and there I’ll be with my Birks and Herschel backpack.

Do I want to give off the earthy-crunchy vibe? Is there a dress code for this thing? Whatever. Birkenstock’s it is.

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I swipe my card and enter the building. Find your name tag and grab a notebook on that table right over there.

Damn, a leather notebook on day one. I guess I’m getting my money’s worth.

So, I was right. Most people are dressed in business-like attire, but I don’t totally stick out. It’s all good.

Tell us about yourself! We’re going to go around and have people give their name, hometown, and a fun fact!

Icebreakers. I roll my eyes.

I tell everyone that I despise pickles.

“Hey, I’m Evan. I’m from Connecticut and my fun fact is that I was born in Colombia.” A man chimes from the other end of the auditorium.

Turns out four other people in our program are also from Colombia.

Oh my gosh, they all came up to me afterwards and started speaking in Spanish and I have no idea why the f I said that as my fun fact because I don’t speak a lick of Spanish.

We stand next to each other in the circle of awkwardness of strangers and laugh. He makes fun of my Birkenstock’s. I don’t know him, but I have a good feeling about this one.

Meet Evan, the star of my Snapchat stories. The eyes behind all of my top Instagram photos. My fake boyfriend and favorite coffee date.

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***

I’m holding a grudge.

He reaches out, but I ignore his phone calls and e-mails. I don’t remember the last time I we spoke beyond a text that was hardly five syllables.

Ignoring takes effort.

How’s he doing? I ask my sister. I pretend I don’t care that much.

He asks about you a lot, Beth. She encourages me to let go of the past. I tell her I can’t.

The past hurts.

I remember waking up in bed alone with puffy red eyes and a broken heart. I don’t tell her that all I wanted was a hug from Dad. I don’t tell her that I want to fix things because I don’t know how to.

I hold a grudge because I think it’s easier than confrontation. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m not sure.

He continues to reach out, I respond from time to time, slowly opening the door of a relationship that has been in the dark for over a year. His surgery went well. He now has 83% hearing in his left ear. A 60% increase. I tell him I’m happy for him. A smile wipes across my face and a tear falls from my eye.

The past starts to slip from my tight grasp. Light seeps through the door crack.

I remember mornings that he’d make his homemade egg McMuffins on a lightly toasted bagel. Stops at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way home from basketball games.

Extra large extra cream extra sugar for me. Hot chocolate for this basketball star. He pats me on the head. I look up at him and smile.

I choose the good memories.

***

I don’t know if I’ll have someone waiting for me on New Year’s Eve this year. I’m not sure if 2018 will be the Year of Beth or the Year of WTF is Wrong With You????!!??!

Let’s hope the latter won’t be the case, but I don’t know. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life is a journey of fuck ups, triumphs and unexpected twists and turns. Accept these fuck ups and triumphs for what they are and move forward. Eyes on the prize. 

What’s the prize? I haven’t a clue. But it’s there. My eyes are on it, I’ll tell ya.

2017 was a year full of struggle followed by amazing opportunities. I’ve met the most beautiful (and well, ugliest too I guess) people along the way — a tribe of people that will be with me for the rest of my life. 

I can’t tell you what 2018 holds. I know resolutions are super cliché or whatever, but aren’t they sorta, like, required? Maybe? No?

I’m going to attempt to focus on the present. Focus on the things I can control and change and deal with my emotions however they come. I’m going to work on new relationships, and foster the ones I already have. Let people in even when I don’t think I can. I don’t know the best place to start achieving these things, but I’ll just take it day by day.

I guess homemade egg McMuffins and a hot chocolate from Dunkin’ Donuts on Christmas is a good place to start.

 

***
Catch ya on the flip side, 2017.

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Oh. Maybe I should try and be less basic this year and chill on the Snapchat. What do you guys think? I’m just gunna leave these here and you can be the judge.