you learned all the words to the Apostle’s Creed
you joined the gym
you poured all the vodka down the sink (you only cried a little)
you called your mother (she said you were looking “thick in the middle”)
then you ate a whole chocolate cake (but only the cake part, you scraped the frosting into the sink)
you figured out how to use the elliptical without crying or breaking a kneecap
you joined the church
you told your husband you were sorry first (even if you didn’t mean it)
you called your mother (she said you “had hands like her great aunt Bertha”)
then you ate all the candy canes still left over from Christmas. And you sat on the front step, while an early spring snow (and your spirits) kept falling on the brown lawn
The air smelled like broken clouds and heartbreak.
you ran more than you walked on the treadmill
you prayed and asked Him to help you be patient
you only laughed when your son spilled his milk (and then his sister’s milk)
you called your mother (she said she thought the cat you gave her had rabies…So she gave it to the neighbor boy)
then you bit your nails until your jaw was sore
you drove by the gym and thought that should count for something
you wondered, really, if your small life even mattered to Him
you laughed at him when your husband made meatloaf (or was it Salisbury steak?)
you called your mother when you knew she was at the podiatrist
you weren’t hungry
you cancelled the gym membership
you realized that all you ever did was ask God for things you wanted
you told your husband that the sound of him chewing was going to make you choke him (but nicely and you’d never actually do it)
you drank two shots of vodka and called your mother (she told you that she loved talking to you more this year—after all those years you didn’t make any time for her)
you were supposed to find peace, but you can’t remember what it looks like.
What it feels like.
Same bed, same ceiling crack. Your children are asleep in their rooms. Your husband is sleeping on the couch downstairs, the flicker of Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve making constellations on his face.
Your thighs rub together, there’s a bottle on the table of wine half drunk. You’re half drunk.
You are no thinner, no nicer, no meaner, no happier, no lighter, no better, no worse. You failed your own test.
You could look back and be sad. Maybe you should.
You could wake up tomorrow and try it all over again.
Resolve to resolve within you all the ways you let yourself and other people down.
Tell me again, how you let them down? By not being better than you are?
You could do this all over again. The list, the promises, the goals.
Or. This year make a Resolution not to look at what’s wrong with you, within you.
Resolve, instead, to silence that part of you that sees only the wrongness inside.
Tell your string of years, your Unresolved Resolutions to shut the fuck up.
Then you can go to sleep and see the eyelid stars.