Hm, 2022? No thank you!
2023 you're on thin fucking ice.
We’re in the last week of 2022, wrapping up yet another full orbit of the earth around our all-powerful sun. Now that I need to buy a new planner that I probably won’t use much, it’s time to do what I always do: write a piece reflecting on the goods and the bads of the past year and bring forth some resolutions I probably won’t be able to keep.
2022 was a…confusing year to say the least. Some good things: I went on vacation for the first time in three years. I joined my first indie improv group with people I met from class and we’ve done a lot of shows this year! We did a whole scripted mainstage show (which was very exciting). I ate a lot of good food, hung out with friends, and wrote a lot for this newsletter. I went night swimming twice and highly recommend it. In the middle of the year I managed to find a new job that isn’t all about answering phones! Not just one but two pairs of friends got married. I even got to do my first ten minutes of stand-up in front of people, twice!
And then I took a long break on everything. I’m still in that long break on everything and I don’t know when I’ll be back from this long break on everything. Because this year, May specifically, was also the year that my mom got diagnosed with glioblastoma—an aggressive and incurable form of brain cancer that also impacted her ability to move her entire left side. Being a caregiver was not on this year’s bingo card but it has been the bulk of my life. It’s hard to talk about because, like, who wants to read about brain cancer? We’re not old yet (at least I’m not!) and this is the kind of depressing shit old people talk about. The whole thing is hard, it’s sad, and sometimes in a weird way it’s beautiful. On one hand, I love to be there for someone who has always been there for me, and on the other hand, I’m sometimes so socially isolated I really feel like that bitch in the room with the yellow wallpaper. Life’s complicated, you guys!
While I haven’t been doing much of anything besides going to work, cooking a big pot of soup every week, and assisting with hourly trips to the bathroom, I can say that I read a pretty good amount of books this year. At the start I was going at a rate of about one book a week, and while that slowed down a lot I still managed to make it past my reading goal (a whopping 36 books out of 30). I haven’t seen a lot of movies this year and I haven’t watched much relevant TV either, so unless you want to hear about all the podcasts I listen to (you don’t), there’s not much media I can review except for books.
Best Books I Read in 2022
Something New Under the Sun, by Alexandra Kleeman: This is one of my earliest reads of the year but I’m still thinking about it. The story takes place in a very near-future, in Hollywood specifically. An author is having his novel made into a movie, and the movie execs are doing what they do and veering way off course from the source material. There’s also a draught and some corporation has been able to make synthetic water called WAT-R. The writing of this book is very soothing to read but there’s an air of mystery the whole time as well. What the heck is going on in California?
My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by Ottessa Moshfegh: This is a popular one on BookTok I believe, and not to hop on the bandwagon but I’ve been getting more into Moshfegh this year and I like what she has to offer. Basically, this book is about a highly unlikeable bitch in New York City who tries for a year to take so many sleeping pills that she basically isn’t awake. Now, I know that this is not ideal for a person, like, at all, but a lot of the time while reading I was like, “Damn I wish I could sleep for three days straight!” Anyways, the ending is absolutely wild.
I’m Glad My Mom Died, by Jennette McCurdy: What a weird title of a book to be reading during the same time all…this…is happening in my life! While I’m not glad that my mom is dying, I am glad that I finally got my hands on this book after I had to wait behind 370 other people who put this on hold at the library. This book is worth the hype—it’s extremely sad, angering, and is 100% going to ruin your childhood if you were a Nickelodeon fan. As it should, shit is fucked up over there. Reading this book made me appreciate that my mom was who she was.
Jell-O Girls, by Allie Rowbottom: Hopping on another trend of books about mothers and daughters, this one follows the lives of the actual women who belong to the family of the Jell-O fortune. With all this money, there also comes great pain, and what some people in the family call the “Jell-O curse.” Trickled in between family history is the history of the town that made Jell-O and the history of Jell-O itself. Even if you don’t like Jell-O or don’t like hearing about mothers and daughters (how could you these days?), you will still enjoy it.
Hot Stew, by Fiona Mozley: London is changing these days, and by changing we mean gentrifying. A bunch of women who are also sex workers live in these flats above a restaurant and it’s an incredibly good deal. A rich lady wants to buy the land, demolish the flats, and develop high-end restaurants. The women try to fight back. There are a lot of other characters and you learn about each of them in little parts, and see them come together in a larger story. I had a lot of fun reading, so I think you will too.
Shit, Actually, by Lindy West: “Shit, Actually” is actually the title of a single movie review, but it was so popular West wrote a whole book of movie reviews. The rating system is based on zero to five DVDs of The Fugitive. I haven’t seen half of these movies she talks about and with these reviews, I don’t think I need to!
Bullshit Jobs, by David Graeber: Do you ever want to feel more dead inside on your morning commute to your dumb job? Then read this book and find out the reason why your job is truly pointless (because it probably is!). This isn’t, like, a fun book but it is insightful and really good for getting you mad and talking about how capitalism is ruining the world to anyone who will listen to you once you’ve got 1.5 beers in you.
Come Fly the World, by Julia Cooke: There was a time in history when international flight was a fun time where you had comfortable seats, you were served turkey cut from an actual turkey on the same plane you were on, and stewardesses were all under 26 years old and wore cute little outfits. Besides the sexism, it sounds like air travel was just different and better back in the good old days. This book dives deep into the lives of the stewardesses who worked for PanAm in the 60’s and 70’s. They go into all the glamor of traveling the world, of having your career die before you even turn 30 (you old hag!), and having to save babies in Vietnam while the plane is actively getting shot at. Just fun airplane stuff.
Worst Books I Read in 2022
Any book about family caregiving: At the start of this whole process, I had no idea how to be a caregiver, and more importantly, how to process this major life change while I’m 1) only 28 years old, 2) single and a renter, 3) struggling to pay bills already, 4) already a late bloomer on most of the fun life stuff (but an early bloomer on the not-so-fun life stuff, see above), and 5) still hoping to perform and do comedy. Because I’m a nerd, and because the internet wasn’t really helpful on my search for answers, I turned to books. Usually, this is a good thing to do since books are smart—but this time it fucking sucked because guess who gets to write books? Middle-aged people with spouses and property who already have established careers and pride themselves on being a good mom (while I pride myself on being a lazy piece of shit 28 year-old because I deserve it). I found no good answers and just felt extra bad because if these ladies are having trouble, then what the fuck am I supposed to do?
The Ex Hex, by Erin Sterling: A witch accidentally curses this other boy witch after he has sex with her all summer and then ghosts her. He doesn’t mean to ghost her (his dad was being a wet rag) but too late! Her powers are going to destroy the town now that Ghost Boy is back. There’s a lot of descriptions about the protagonist’s dresses, which give off as like Harry Potter millennial horse-girl kind of vibe. This is not a good book.
Now I guess is the time to be talking about some new year resolutions. Sike! I’m not making any! But I will make some predictions for what I think will be IN and what will be OUT in 2023.
IN in 2023
GRIEF (I will be having lots of it); Asking your friends to do simple chores when you simply cannot do it yourself; In the same vein, setting up meal trains for friends or at least giving away leftovers from a big batch of something; Night swimming; Being a sleepy gal; Pensively looking at a body of water; Deep bags under your eyes that are so purple it looks like you took a Sharpie to it; Gaia Online; Kissing your homies on the mouth at least bi-annually; Going for a run (everyone with a deceased loved one does it); Long-form improv; Getting absolutely sloshed at the American Girl café; Being severely uncool and also cringe; Driving a car; Making a portfolio for a grad school application; Newsletters being sent straight to your email address (hint hint); Hazelnut; Rawr XD; Becoming a witch and opening portals into new alternate dimensions in an attempt to hide a grave secret; Salads; Videos of people using old-timey appliances; Thrift store lamps
OUT in 2023
Prestige TV; Long TikToks (please I’m begging you); Being a small business owner; Twitter (please I’m begging you); Mild cheddar cheese; Good music taste; Dating apps; Marvel movies (please I’m begging you); Tarot Youtube readers; Mindfulness; Clickbait blogs that are just shitty lists; Ghouls; Having to be good at eye makeup; Being weird around people you don’t like instead of just not talking to them anymore; Familial guilt; Invasive fish species; Eating all the meat on a shared plate of loaded nachos; The Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game (it is far too complicated); Crocheting weird stuff; Leaving cups next to the sink instead of putting it in the dishwasher; Shitty buttercream frosting; Getting a pet just because you’re bored; The sexualization of brand mascots (I’m so sorry); Decorative spheres for the home; Having sex (it is a sin); Believing the only DCOMs that are good are the old-school ones from your childhood; Panic! at the Disco (and anything else Brendan Urie touches); True crime
For those of you who have been reading since the beginning, thanks for hanging on! And for those of you who are more recent readers, thanks for thinking that this is something worth reading. This newsletter has turned into something that I didn’t really expect it to turn into, but that’s life I guess! As of right now I still have plans to post semi-regularly so be on the lookout for more of whatever this is. Happy New Year everyone!