2016 Year in Review

I loved memes like this one back in my LiveJournal days. It’s been a few years since I filled one out, and in light of what a shit-show this year has been now seems as good a time as any to resume the practice.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Got an agent.
Attended a commercial audition.
Directed a musical.
Began seeing a therapist in person rather than through a web app.
Project managed a sick friend’s hospitalization.
Supported another friend through a mental health crisis.
Attended an all-night horror movie marathon (and managed to stay awake for most of it).
Taught myself needlepoint.
Attended a Naked Lady Party.
Saw the same play three times in a row.
Went to Pip’s Original on my birthday for a dozen free mini-donuts. Do recommend.
Began co-writing a serialized play with a friend.
Acted in an immersive horror/comedy play. (This, incidentally, was the first play I’ve appeared in locally that I felt really proud of and excited for people to see. Oy vey.)

2. Did you meet any of your important goals this year? What are your goals for next year?
I hate questions like this for forcing me to confront what a goal-oriented person I am not.

That said, my most immediate goal for next year is to meet the informal reading deadline my co-writer friend and I set for the second episode of our seven-episode play.

My major long-term goals are to stop expending energy on relationships that involve me being blown off for months at a time until somebody needs a favor/my labor/free entertainment/asses in seats at the matinee, to deepen those friendships characterized by reciprocity, to stop compulsively committing myself to projects and obligations that don’t interest or excite me, and to stop treating my own material and emotional needs like they matter less than everybody else’s.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
The above-named writer friend became a first-time dad.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Came close, but no. One of my idols died, though. My post about that can be read here.

5. What countries did you visit?
Still landlocked here in the US.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Good mental health, a steady income, a gratifying artistic life, a sense of community, zero one-sided relationships.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
As a rule I don’t remember dates, just events. November 8th is the only one that will stand out in my mind because that was the day all American citizens were forced to pile into the clown car that will destroy democracy. (Thanks for that one, Andy Richter.)

Other than that, the deaths of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, and Carrie Fisher will be indelibly printed on my memory for their impact on my loved ones and their cultural significance.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Directing a musical with a cast composed of mainly non-actors.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Allowing friends and lovers to treat me like a non-priority.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A 24-hour stomach bug sent me to the ER because I was vomiting virtually non-stop for hours and couldn’t even keep down water. They gave me an anti-emetic and IV fluids to rehydrate me and sent me home a few hours later. It was horrid and I hope to never experience anything like it again.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A Timbuk2 bag and the Hamiltome.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Danielle, Corinne, and Jack are at the top of the list for reasons too many to enumerate here. These three women are reservoirs of compassion and fortitude, and without them I wouldn’t have made it through this summer without cracking.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The Bernie-or-bust crowd, many Democrats, most Republicans, many members of my community, several friends, one romantic partner.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Basic living expenses. I don’t make enough to splurge on much of anything.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The Hamilton Mixtape, and it did not disappoint.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
“Wait for It” from Hamilton.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Sadder. Much sadder.

b) thinner or fatter?
About the same.

c) richer or poorer?
At the moment, poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Saying no.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Motherfucking Reddit.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent it with my mom, her fiance, and his family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
I fell in weapons-grade like. That was short-lived, but not so short that I didn’t manage to make a few bad judgment calls first.

22. Read any good books?
Trainwreck by Sady Doyle, How to Be a Person in the World by Heather Havrilesky, The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van der Kolk.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
If we’re talking about shows currently in production, it’s still Bob’s Burgers.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No. I’m disappointed in a few more people, though.

25. What was the best movie you saw?
Christine was a feat of character acting and cemented my love for Rebecca Hall. Don’t Breathe and Wiener-Dog were honorable mentions, too.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Snow Tha Product’s verses in “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done).” I loved her contribution to that song so much I’m reprinting the lyrics here:

It’s a hard line when you’re an import
Baby boy, it’s hard times
When you ain’t sent for
Racists feed the belly of the beast
With they pitchforks, rich chores
Done by the people that get ignored

Ya se armó
Ya se despertaron
It’s a whole awakening
La alarma ya sonó hace rato
Los que quieren buscan
Pero nos apodan como vagos
We are the same ones
Hustling on every level
Ten los datos

Walk a mile in our shoes

Abróchense los zapatos
I been scoping ya dudes, ya’ll ain’t been working like I do
I’ll outwork you, it hurts you
You claim I’m stealing jobs, though
Peter Piper claimed he picked them, he just underpaid Pablo
But there ain’t a paper trail when you living in the shadows
We’re America’s ghost writers, the credit’s only borrowed
It’s a matter of time before the checks all come

Immigrants, we get the job done

27. What did you want and get?
Good question.

28. What did you want and not get?
These Golden Girls prayer candles.

29. What did you do on your birthday?
Saw Blair Witch with Bobby, Seth, and Estela. The movie was underwhelming, but I spent it in good company.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not having to watch so many people I care about suffer. Just about everyone I love has been through the fucking wringer this year.

31. Who kept you sane?
Heather Havrilesky and The Coquette.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Philip Seymour Hoffman.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
The ascension of a badly spray-tanned reality TV star with narcissistic personality disorder to the highest office in the land was pretty goddamned stirring.

34. Who did you miss?
Dana, my high school drama teacher, mentor, and friend. There were countless times during this terrible summer when I wished I could turn to him for advice. He always knew exactly what I needed to hear, and he knew how to be comforting in a way that still left me feeling like I could stand on my own two feet.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
Alicia. One day we were rehearsing Coriolanus outdoors, and I was crouching in the grass reviewing my script. Without any warning she ran up to me and exclaimed, “I am the Senate!” and pushed me to the ground. I laughed hysterically and fell instantly in friend-love.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:
You teach people how to treat you. I’ve taught people that I’ll accept scraps.

No more.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

It’s just a knot in the small of your back
You could work it out with your fingers
It’s just a tune that got stuck in your head
You could work it out with your fingers
It’s just some numbers tangled up in your sums
You could work it out with your fingers
It’s just a simple braille missive from the person you miss, a reminder you could always be
A little bit better than this

So try and get better and don’t ever accept less
Take a plain black marker and write this on your chest
Draw a line underneath all of this unhappiness
Come on now, let’s fix this mess
We could get better
Because we’re not dead yet
We could get better
Because we’re not dead yet


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