resolute

resolute (adjective): admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering.
***
It is hard to believe that 2018 is coming to an end, and that 2019 is nearly upon us.
2018 was a particularly transformative year in my life, and in the lives of those nearest and dearest to me.
In many ways, it was spectacular. Publicly, there were measures of personal growth (and, dare I say, success). Books were published, new book deals were acquired, babies were born. Privately, friendships were tested and fortified. Hard work was done, mountains were climbed, stability was found, strength was gained.
And, like every other year, in some ways 2018 was sucky.
We saw ugliness, dishonesty, selfishness, hatred, cruelty, inhumanity, bias, bigotry, hurt, and heartache.
So, at the end of another year, I can best describe myself as resolute (or, you know, admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering).
 About what, you ask? Oh! I am so glad you brought it up! I shall tell you!
For the past several years, I have shared my new year’s resolutions on here, not just to get personal (as I have been known to do), but to hold myself accountable.
I had made four discrete resolutions for 2017:
1. Make an effort to form deeper connections with my friends; fortify the village. 
2. Find awe. 
3. Pamper myself. 
4. Ask for help. 
At the end of 2017, in a piece about what I had learned throughout the year, I even followed up on the past year’s resolutions to see how I’d done. I’d done pretty well.
I then shared my resolutions for 2018, and I will, once again, follow-up with you and share with you about how successful I was in keeping these pledges that I had (like so many others do during this time of the year) made to myself. But, so that this post does not take you until 2019 to read, I will do so in another post (very, very soon, I promise! Resolutely!)
But, just to whet your appetite(s), I’ll remind you of the resolutions I’d made for 2018.
To quote from (and abbreviate) my prior post:
1.
1. Do more things that are hard for me. At 32-years-old I have a general sense of the things I can do and, most likely, an even greater sense of the things that I believe that I cannot. As far as the latter, I want to shorten that list. Because so many of these things are things that I can do, I just find them to be hard, or new, or overwhelming or scary; or, I am scared of getting scared. I don’t want to miss out on opportunities or feel helpless just because I am either intimidated by a situation or because I am used to relying on the help of someone else (like Kenny or my parents)…I want to learn how to play the guitar.I will stand up for the things in which I believe. I will stand up when I see something that I know is not right.I will speak up, even when my voice is shaking, and even when it feels so enormously scary.I will push myself.
2. Stop apologizing.  Since my high school days I have been told that I apologize way too often. Someone once joked that “I apologize for the weather.” Do not get me wrong. I fully intend to take responsibility for things in 2018 and beyond (if I bump into someone, a quick, “Oh, I am so sorry!” will suffice; if I unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings I will apologize and make an effort to show that I care).But, as it stands now, I apologize for everything. I will be falling off my feet, after a long day of working, parenting, being a wife/friend/ally and I will take too long to reply to a text message or reply in my head, meaning the person does not get a reply until they ping me to remind me. For these things I can apologize, but then I can leave it at that. When I am sick, or something comes up, and I have to cancel plans, I am going to try to explain the situation, apologize proportionately, and then move on.3. Write more cards. Drop off more “just because” gifts. Follow through. This New Year’s Resolution is actually an offshoot of my resolution from two years ago, and it definitely reflects progress. But, I want to improve even more.

4. Get more rest.  

This one is so salient and also so hard. My brain, like everyone else’s functions so much better with more sleep. Not just in its sharpness, but also in terms of my mood. In 2018 I would like to have an earlier bedtime and stick to it. Yes, I might miss out on Grey’s or Pump Rules but that is why we have DVR.

***

My list of resolutions for 2019 has been carefully constructed and curated after a lot of soul-searching and self-reflection. I had to tease things apart in my head, a bit. I had to separate “goals” from “resolutions,” as there are many things that I want to accomplish, like bullet points I can try to check off on a list, but those, to me, are not resolutions. They are incredibly important (and exciting!), but they aren’t the same types of fundamental changes of which I speak when I make my true resolutions for the new year. I’ll get into this distinction more in my follow-up post, but, as an example, a goal would be, “I will get on an airplane in 2019,” whereas a resolution would be, “This year I will conquer my fear of flying and make sure that flying never again holds me back from taking an opportunity.”

In some ways, my 2019 resolutions feel selfish. In fact, was talking to Kenny about them, last night, right before we fell asleep, and I asked him about this notion. But, I’ve decided not to apologize for my list. Why?

Because my resolution for 2018 was to stop apologizing.

And now, for my list of

New Year’s Resolutions for 2019:

1. Say no. 

This is going to be so hard. Over the past year, it has struck me, more than ever before, that I say, “yes” to far too many things, and the majority of said things are not because I want to say, “yes,” but, rather, because I am “should-ing all over myself.”

I do this in big ways and in small ways. Personally, professionally, and familially. And, with all of my “yessing” I am not doing anyone any good. I overextend myself, and this inevitably means I cannot keep plans, either because I have not budgeted my time effectively, or I have become too overwhelmed and freaked out, or, at its worst, gotten myself sick from being so run-down.

Saying no in 2019 is not going to be saying no to social events. While that will be part of it, it will be not making plans or appointments on days when I am too busy. Doing GOOD things, but not offering to carry more than I can handle. Cancelling plans when I have to. Cancelling on things when said things mean I have to sacrifice precious time with my family. I do not lie and make excuses when I have to change plans; I am way too superstitious to feign illness. And this means I do not cancel on things when, really, I should.

In 2019 I will add less to my plate and, when need be, I will remove things that are already on it. And, when I have to give an excuse, I will be honest, and say, “I am too tired,” or, “I am feeling anxious and overwhelmed,” or, best of all, nothing at all.

Because, I am resolute in the belief that those who will remain close to me in 2019 and beyond will understand.

No questions asked.

2. Cut Down on the Negative Self Talk

I am hard on myself. Most of the people I know are hard on themselves. Please note that I did not say that I will “stop” the negative self talk, because I like to keep my resolutions realistic, here! BUT, it has gotten too loud.

Step one of this goal is that I will try not to speak negatively about myself in front of my children. This is incredibly important to me. I want them to grow up feeling confident and strong, and I have to model that for them. I do not want them to hear me saying things like, “I look awful, today!” and “I feel like I didn’t sound good there,” or “I really suck at this!” I have already stopped making them pose for 12 takes of the same photo, just so we all look our best (or at least semi-functional). Do I want our family pictures to be good? Of course. Do I want my kids to hear me say, “Ugh, look! My eyes are closed here, and this is the worst angle and you can’t even see half of Beau’s head or Belle’s feet!” every time we try to capture a moment? NO NO NO NO NO NO NO no no no no NO NO NO no no NO NO.

No.

A healthy dose of humility is fine, but a mother who constantly puts herself down for being less than is not.

Step two of this goal is to speak less negatively about myself to myself. 

3. Shake Up My Uniform

I have posted a lot lately over on Instagram** about my lack of self confidence. Part of this has to do with this whole issue, but it is more than that. I want to break free from my daily uniform (I have one for warm months and one for cold months) and shake it up. I will try to hone in on the things that make me feel good and like myself, but to stop lamenting about the fact that I see so many other people looking stylish and cool in ways that I have convinced myself I absolutely cannot pull off.

This might seem completely superficial and ridiculous, but it is very important to me, as it relates directly to resolution #2. I referenced my “uniforms” above, and let me share with you what they are:

Warm months: cut-off shorts, graphic/rock-and-roll/tissue tank, cool shoes, sunglasses, ponytail

Cold months: black leggings, button down shirt tied into a knot OR oversized/cashmere sweater, statement necklaces, boot, hat, funky jacket

What do I want to wear? I want to wear my hair in half-up-half-down-top-knots; those cool, cropped, high-waisted jeans; funky sweaters; floral skirts (my sister kills all of this, btw, and I love her style so much and I am 100% convinced I cannot pull it off); creative layers; chokers; stuff that makes me feel good about myself, but still like me, but is just way cooler than what I’ve been donning for the past 5 years. By the way, I OWN all of the things that I wish I could wear. I just don’t wear them.

In 2019, I shall.

**This is a much longer story for a different day, but, as you have noticed, my daily blog posts have been replaced by daily instagram posts. I have mixed feelings about this, but it seems to be the way of the world, and, truthfully, it is what works in my life, right now. The downside is that I feel sheepish about calling myself a “blogger” when I have been blogging so much less, as of late. There is something supremely rewarding about writing and publishing a real punch-in-the-gut, honest, heartfelt post. But, on the flip side, instagram allows me to share my life in real time. I post every single day, whether in my stories or with an actual post in my feed, or both, and anyone who wants to keep up with my life in a very real, very unpolished way should follow me, there @rebeccafoxstarr.

Instagram has also helped me to up my style game just a bit, particularly with these “Simply Styled” challenges I have taken part in since early 2017. They are not sponsored, I do not get anything from them (though, last month I am proud to say that I WON the challenge and so I did get a $100 gift card to Gap!), but they push me out of my comfort zone with daily prompts, and this is going to help me to accomplish this particular resolution in 2019. And, in January, I am going to be co-hosting a Simply Styled challenge with a group of amazing, kind women from across the country! This means that every day I will be forced to take the time to treat myself to some sartorial TLC and, as previously stated, shakeups.

4. Just Show Up

I will stop asking, “What can I do?” without any follow-up action. I will still ask, but then, if I am told, “nothing,” I will not listen.

I have experienced too many instances of people in my life — and not in my life — who have needed help and who have had a hard time asking for it. If I think someone is struggling or in trouble, I will just show up. If this annoys them, I will deal with it. I would rather just show up and be wrong than not show up and be wrong.

This past year has been marked by incredible bravery and incredible sadness. We have seen lives changed and lives lost, and I am going to fight for people to be able to speak the truth, ask for help without fear or guilt, and know, deeply and viscerally, that they are seen, cared for, and loved.

***

I am excited for 2019 and for all that is to come. I am eager to publish my list of goals for you, as in reading my resolutions for 2018 I am so excited to report back to you with the ways in which I have grown; the ways in which I can now set goals that are based upon the things I set my mind to try in 2018.

(Hint: In 2019 I want to get up on stage and play guitar while I sing. Why is this even possible? Because I did what I said I was going to do under my “do hard things” category of resolutions for this year: I learned to play the guitar!)

I have a lot of hard work ahead of me.

A top knot is not always just a top knot.

A book does not just write itself.

My family members need a healthy, happy mother/wife/sister/daughter/granddaughter/cousin.

I am cautiously optimistic. In some ways, I am nervous, and, in others, I am confident.

But, mostly, I am resolute.

See you in 2019, my dear ones.

xx,

B

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