Babylonians made promises to their gods at the beginning of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts, because they were the worst to lend anything too, apparently. Romans began each year by making promises to their god Janus, which the month January is named after, which feels more like begging on a deity than a set of personal goals.
Even I am not immune to the feeling of hope and renewal the new year brings. I always start my list of resolutions, my bullet-pointed road map to the new me, filled with a vision of a better self and a better world. The most common resolutions always make my list: lose weight, enjoy life more, improve finances/ reduce debt, improve career, be more spiritual, don’t drink Mountain Dew, be nicer to straight people… You know, the regular stuff.
I even came up with a personal slogan for this year, “Get It Queen In 2018.” But even as I make the list, my negative mind, that little voice in my head that never shuts up, is rolling its eyes at the ever expanding list and starts commenting on the validity of my goals.
“Lose weight and get in shape? Pick one hunny,” my neg mind hisses.
“Drink more bone broth. Is that hipster talk for sucking dick?” it adds.
My neg mind rips my new goals apart, one by one, before I even finish the list. So here I am left with a list of things I want for myself that not even I believe I can achieve, and we are only half way through January.
I am still working those resolutions, just slowly and stealthily. As my neg mind picks apart every resolution as they come up, I add a little cardio to my life, I drink one less soda, I read one more page in my book, I take one more minute to plan my day. The whole time, the neg mind rages saying, “You’ll quit all this by February. You’ll still look like a hog on Groundhog’s day, bitch.”
And sometimes the neg mind is right. It will wake me up at 2 a.m. to remind me of the fact that there is Baja Blast in the world, just out there, waiting for me to drink it, that I am failing before I actually succeed.
But this year I’m playing a different game. This year I am playing dirty. My resolutions were all a scam, the same process I go through every year that my neg mind picks apart is just a misdirect.
I only have one resolution this year and that is to piss my neg mind off with everything I do, to keep slowly improving myself in as many areas as possible to exhaust that inner negative voice for an entire year. I want it hoarse with it’s incessant negative talk track.
The notion of another year of that voice wearing me down was too much to contemplate, so after much soul searching I decided to make the neg mind my resolution. Not to get rid of it, because I am not even sure one can, but to exhaust it, to challenge myself everyday this year, just enough to send that voice into overdrive trying to pick my plans apart.
So if you see me out walking somewhere, or in a store buying vegetables screaming at myself “Get It Queen In 2018,” know that I am not losing my mind, just putting part of it in its place.
Ian Aber is a queer comedian and show promoter living in Atlanta. He never lends objects or money to Babylonians. Photo by Joeff Davis courtesy Ian Aber.
A version of this article originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the full issue below: