Like most nice Italian girls, I was raised on a diet of pasta and grudges.
As I’ve gotten older, my body has betrayed me by actually aging (we had a deal–or so I thought–that I could Dorian Gray my way through life as long as I pledged a good chunk of every week to obsessive exercise). And so I’ve had to give up the pasta (some of it, anyway).
But not the grudge-holding. Never the grudge-holding.
A girl’s gotta have a hobby.
Besides, I don’t really hold grudges, not in the “I’m never gonna forgive you AND I’m gonna make you pay” kind of way.
That’s not me. I’m not vengeful.
I just never, ever forget. I remember every slight perpetrated by friends, family members, business associates, mailmen, store clerks, wait staff, kids who pick on my kid. I remember the guy I worked with years ago who told me I had chicken legs. Every time he crosses my mind, his insult crosses with him, along with a tiny stab of rage that I mentally jab in his gut. But I don’t wish him ill. If God were to smite him tomorrow, I would feel sad for him and his family.
So no, I don’t hold a grudge. I just make a list and check it twice before I put myself out for someone or something that’s proven him/her/itself untrustworthy.
Which brings me to 2014.
It’s not that you’ve been a horrible, devastating year, 2014. There have been some great things in my life during the time I’ve spent with you. I’ve got my wonderful son and husband, whose patience and good humor have helped jolt me out of many a bitchy mood when I’m feeling overworked and under-written.
On your watch, 2014, I’ve published stories in beautiful magazines and worked with editors like Matthew Limpede at Carve Magazine and Elizabeth Taylor at Printers Row Journal, whose care and consideration have made my work stronger and my love of literary magazines steadfast.
I’ve experienced the pleasure of having my stories brought to life as part of the New Short Fiction Series, a spoken word performance series directed by the brilliant Sally Shore, and I’ve had the joy of dear friends saying lovely things about my work as part of that series.
I’ve been blessed to spend another year as part of two incredible writers’ groups whose members provide invaluable support and insight and allow me to feel like it’s okay to write another day.
I’ve had the immense pleasure of teaching students whose talents astonish me every day. They’ve written stories and essays that have made me weep and laugh and gasp; they’ve published their work, won awards, gotten accepted into fantastic MFA programs. They’ve taught me to listen before speaking, to rejoice in spontaneity.
I have to admit, 2014, you’ve brought a lot of good into my life.
But you’ve taken something from me too, 2014, something unforgivable: Time. You’ve robbed me of time.
You’ve been a speed demon on steroids, rushing by so fast that I haven’t had time to fix the things I need to fix. My house–an ancient Spanish-style, tile-roofed monstrosity that I adore–is crumbling around me. My closets haven’t been cleaned in a decade. Files full of old receipts and insurance forms dating back to the 90s are still waiting to be shredded. I’ve worked early in the morning, late at night, every weekend, and yet I still find myself behind.
You couldn’t slow down just a little, could you, 2014, to let me get some of that shit out of the way?
You’ve flitted by so quickly that I haven’t had a chance to heal certain wounds. Did you forget that my mother’s no longer around to play peacekeeper? (I hold her death against 2013, so you, 2014, can rest easy on that one.) It’s true that she caused as many fights as she mediated, but still. At least when she caused a fight, the rest of us could band together and shake our heads and say, Oh, that Mom, she’s at it again.
Without her, we’ve been left to our own devises with no idea of how to handle each other diplomatically.
So, 2014, you heartless, sprinting bastard, without my mother around, there have been family fights that haven’t righted themselves, old secrets dragged into the harsh, unrelenting light, situations that can be endured but not rectified.
Time’s supposed to heal all wounds, and yet here you are at your end, 2014, winded and weary, about to be kicked out by a brand, spanking new year, and you haven’t given me enough of it to fix anything.
Let’s be clear, 2014: I’m not holding a grudge. I’m not out for revenge. That’s not who I am.
But I’ve got you etched in memory as a stingy son of a bitch who didn’t give me time enough to heal. You’re a year that I wish I could forget. But I won’t. Because that’s who I am.
I never, ever forget. And forgiveness, well, that’s not my strong suit either.
Don’t let the door hit you in the ass, 2014.
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