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this new year.

i was on the subway, one stop from home, when the clock struck twelve ushering in another year.

the train conductor announced it on the intercom and all of us sitting there--all of us who somehow found themselves on a train between stations when the ball dropped in times square, looked up and smiled.

it was such a perfect moment. it was such a perfect way to commemorate the end of one year and the start of the next--by just simply living it, a nod to thing as opposed to a full-throated shout. it felt so very  good and right and like the real new york, assuming of course there is a real new york, which i'm not tremendously sure there is.

can i admit something? i've sort of given up on the notion of new year's. there's something about the last days of december into the first few weeks of january that always makes me feel as though the world is flat and i've reached its edge: a terrible and fearsome and two-dimensional precipice.

january is a lonely month. it just is. january is lonely and i within it am lonely. and to try to fight that loneliness by resolving and genie-blinking myself into a new year when the clock strikes twelve somehow feels wrong. existential crisis or some such.

i'm more of the-clock-turns-twelve-cinderalla-mentality. one shoe down.

i'm not interested in new year's. i'm interested in the rest of the year. i'm interested in getting the shoe back and the then-what.

but the announcement on the train's intercom was deeply comforting. and when i got off at carrol street not two minutes later and there were fireworks in the east and fireworks in the west--full on fourth-of-july-fireworks, i felt deeply eased. quite at peace. not so lonely.

so i went home and made myself nachos. with cheese and black beans. a natural choice for the year's first food, obviously.

when i saw my friend kim the next day she said, i went home last night and made myself mac-and-cheese.  

i made myself nachos! i replied, secretly delighted that both of our pallet's resembled that of an eight-year-old. but they had black beans on them, i continued. and seeing how black beans are dangerously close to black-eyed-peas i felt justified by the sheer proximity of the symbolism. 

what are you talking about? was all kim said.

black-eyed-peas? good luck? the new year? oh, is this a southern thing?

turns out it is. i know because i googled. and the image that the website ran with was a heaping pile of black-eyed-peas on the very dishware that populates my mother's cabinets.

there are moments i am keenly aware that i am from somewhere else. and let me be clear that the south--and texas are most especially somewhere-else. and i say that now with the deepest affection.

just the other day a man looked right at me and said you're not from here are you? you're a southern girl. he didn't know me but for a moment and he himself wasn't from new york or california or any state in between (i think he was welsh), but it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

it's taken me a long time to own my texan roots. but i'm starting to realize that anything of worth takes a good long time.

i may not buy into the new year's in the way that i used to--no more lose 10 lbs or best-year-of-my-life  resolutions. but i resolve quite a bit. and so i resolve that this year i will continue the good fight for those things of value. i will take bigger risks and own with a clearer voice my southern eccentricities and texan charm. i will live my life and trust that the other shoe will find me. because when cinderalla gets that glass slipper back, well, that's when the real adventure begins. that's the bit i'm most interested in.

alright new year, let's dance.


Anonymous said...

i also came home to nachos for my first meal of the new year! new years is so overrated.... and i totally get the lonely feeling of january, too. i love how you spent yours :)

xx, kara

becky said...

stop making me cry, meg fee, stop making me cry.

you're wonderful.

january is my birthday month. but the last two january's and february's have been the worst. they've been the ones in which i have nursed my sadness--have really let it take hold and fester and root. december, this year, didn't even really do it for me. and this past week i have been filled and full of nostalgia. of such deep-rooted nostalgia that i can barely get through the day without a few tears and a need to furrow deeper into my bed.

but you never fail to give me hope. you never fail to stand on some corner of what feels like my life with some kind of brave smile and a nod and a wave and little bit of recognition that everything.will.just.be.alright.

if i ever become half the woman you are, i'll be lucky. thanks for always being an inspiration.

Katie said...

"because when cinderalla gets that glass slipper back, well, that's when the real adventure begins."

why oh why can't you dance with just one slipper!

Heather said...

" to try to fight that loneliness by resolving and genie-blinking myself into a new year when the clock strikes twelve"

Love your poetic/unique words for the new year!

hannah debbie said...

beautifully put. My feelings on New Year's, exactly.

meThinks said...

you are gifted :)

Kmarie Jones said...

I feel the same about New Years. I like to celebrate Autumn Equinox and initiate a New Season of life then...with the leaves turning and falling...it seems more appropriate to ponder what needs to leave my life and what needs to be added...but I am from Canadian Prairies where winter and January usually means minus 20- 35 degrees celcius at times...not only is it isolating but it means I have to bundle my three children from head to toe to do the regular errands:) So we are home bound a lot...I dislike January.
This was lovely.

look a little closer said...

here's to a fabulous year!

Lily said...

I think it's awfully poetic that you were on the train at midnight-- literally in transit, as we all are when the year changes. I was home sick on the couch this year. It took spending way too much money on a ticket to a bar then seeing it go to waste to realize this night just isn't that big a deal. It was liberating in a sense.

Where you are at this idealized moment of transition really doesn't matter. Like you said, it's the rest of the year. Beautiful post. Here's to a great year!

The Lewicutt's said...

We do black-eyed peas for the New Year too! Embrace the South, sister!! Us Southern girls have SOUL! And charm! And while we can be refined... do not piss us off... we can hold our own.

Brei said...

I totally thought black-eyed peas and cabbage was something they did every where! Oh well embracing my southern nature when it comes to that.

I too hate Jan. It makes me want to retreat to my bedroom and not come out till Spring where the sky is blue and the birds are chirping.

BTW I just read a book that I think you may enjoy. "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake" by Anna Quindlen

laura said...

Hi Meg,

I've just started reading your blog in the last month or so (found you from Naomi;) ). I'm a 29 year old single girl and may move to NYC in the future, so I love to see your pics and hear about your life there. Your writing is so beautiful! I'm not one to comment, but realized recently I should leave a note on the blogs I love just to let the writer know I love their work and stop by often.

Also, I saw this post today on another blog I read and thought you may enjoy reading it based on what you said about criticism in one of your posts recently:

Happy New Year!

reagan rosen said...

My dad text me on the 1st and told me not to forget the black eyed peas. I had no idea what he was talking about. We're from Texas too but I don't remember him ever making them when I was growing up!

Megan said...

"there are moments i am keenly aware that i am from somewhere else."

I've been feeling this exact sentiment lately. As a southern Californian, I don't think I'll ever get used to Massachusetts winters. (And this is my third "real" winter!)

kylee said...

i read your blog and sometimes get too nervous to leave a comment, but this was one of those too good to not leave a comment posts. so this is me facing the nerves and thanking you for this post. it was everything i needed and more.

Lori said...

Happy New Year beauty!!! It really is going to be a great one!

Laura Marie Meyers said...

Most definitely grew up on New Year's black-eyed peas courtesy of my Tennesseean mother :) XO

Diana said...

Wow. Just wow.

DJ said...

"and own with a clearer voice my southern eccentricities and texan charm."

Yes. I'm going to join you in that goal. I'm a lifelong Texan/Louisianian. I just moved from Louisiana to Minnesota, and I stop myself from saying y'all far too often; embarrassed. I shouldn't do that. I should scream y'all from the rooftops, make my new friends jambalaya, and break out some french-cajun every now and then.

Your description of your new year's moment was perfection.

Anonymous said...

yes, yes, yes. i love this.

christine said...

so well and perfectly said. thank you.

elventryst said...

I'm a southern girl, too! I was scheduled to work on New Year's Eve and all day on New Year's Day, so was bummed that I would miss our traditional meal of collard greens and black-eyed peas (which I'm a bit superstitious about since they're supposed to bring prosperity and good luck), but I managed to get off work early, and got home just in time for dinner on New Year's Day.

Anyway, just finished listening to the audiobook version of Dear Sugar thanks to your recommendation and loved it. She's wonderful.

And, I wanted to wish you a happy New Year! I look forward to reading your blog in the new year.

wheatgrassandbarley said...

This honestly sums up everything I've been feeling
I love your ability to simply write from the heart
no wasted words, no convoluted thoughts
just heartfelt.
please never stop writing.

emilia. said...

this post makes we want to cheer. thank you.

jill said...

Happy New Year Meg. As the clock struck midnight I was working the night shift at the hospital cleaning up vomit of-all-the-unglamourous-things. But I watched the clock change and while I was sad I wasn't at a party with friends, I realized that for that patient I was exactly where I needed to be at midnight. I love what you wrote, "to commemorate the end of one year and the start of the next--by just simply living it." Thanks!