1. Maintain a replacement-only makeup no-buy through March (and possibly longer).
It seems like everyone on the Internet is undertaking a year-long no-buy in 2019. While I admire that level of dedication, I don't think it's the right plan for me. However, there's no denying that my finances are precarious and that I have enough makeup to adorn my face well into my dotage. So I'm starting the year with a three-month no-buy on makeup and nail polish. If I'm still feeling good at the end of March, I'll keep going for another three months; if there's something I really want by then, I'll buy it without feeling guilty.
So far, I've fought off one serious temptation: a lipstick in MAC's beautiful Lunar New Year collection. It's a bright pinky red, and I don't wear bright reds enough to justify owning more than a couple. Other than that, I've had no problems sticking to my no-buy and avoiding blogs and subreddits that post about new releases. I'm actually looking forward to putting my familiar makeup to new uses! And I'm starting to see my no-buy as a source of FREEDOM, not of deprivation. Freedom from the stress of purchasing decisions; freedom from worrying about how a lipstick will fit into my budget; freedom to buy things I actually need; freedom to experiment with new techniques and color combinations without having to learn how to use new products.
2. Revamp my blog and buy my own domain.
I'm pretty sure I resolved to do this last year. This time, though, I'm serious. If I leave academia after this semester, my blog will be a good addition to my résumé, but not if it looks like a time capsule from 2007. Blogger has also been malfunctioning recently, inserting random line breaks into my posts and preventing me from logging in to leave comments on my blog or anyone else's. Time for a change.
3. Lose my fear of writing short reviews.
You know how sometimes you want a recipe for a specific thing--say, chocolate pudding--so you Google it, and you find a blog with a likely-looking recipe, but you have to scroll through six long-winded, saccharine paragraphs about the blogger's grandmother's chocolate pudding? Sometimes I wonder if readers have the same experience with my reviews: "Damn it, I just want to know if the Birthday Balm Dotcom is any good! I don't care about this bitch's opinions on Glossier's marketing strategy!" I certainly won't stop writing long, introspective posts, but I'll try to keep my product reviews short and incisive. This will also serve the practical function of letting me post more frequently.
4. Keep my lipstick stash at 45 shades or below.
I've found that when my collection grows past 45, I start losing track of what I actually have and feeling anxious about not using everything often enough. I now have 41 lipsticks, which is just manageable. I want to get to the point where I truly enjoy all the lipsticks I own, and I'm almost at that point. I have a feeling that 35-40 is the true sweet spot for me: I love variety and could never winnow down my stash to, say, 10, but I also want to feel like I'm wearing everything on my shelf semi-regularly. (Interestingly, it seems that 40 has always been my sweet spot: almost five years ago, I wrote that I owned 49 lipsticks but planned to get rid of about 10.)
And just for fun, I'll post a few of my non-beauty resolutions:
1. Read at least two books for pleasure per month.
This was a 2018 resolution as well, and though I stopped keeping track of the books I read, I'm fairly sure I averaged about two a month. (Several of them were very long, so they took me a while.) I didn't do much pleasure reading while writing my dissertation, and though I defended over a year ago, it's taken me some time to convince myself that reading doesn't have to be serious, stressful work. (Seriously, guys, don't do a PhD in English because you "love literature.")
Here's the big problem for me: I don't encounter many books that I enjoy enough to finish. I see people on Instagram who read more than a dozen books a month, and I always wonder whether they simply have more tolerance for writerly quirks and tics than I do. In high school and college, I made myself finish books I wasn't enjoying. I stopped doing that in grad school, because I felt that I no longer had anything to prove, and because I had to force myself through thousands of pages of unenjoyable reading for my courses and research. But now I've progressed to the other extreme: if I don't like a book after two chapters or so, I'll abandon it. And there are so many things that can turn me off a book: self-consciously literary prose, bad copyediting, sloppy plotting, unsympathetic characters, or just a general feeling that the author is probably a pretentious asshole. I think I'd finish more books if I were a nicer, more positive person who always assumed the best of others. If you're one of those amazing people who finish most of the books they start, let me know how you do it.
All that said, here are five books I read for the first time in 2018 and truly enjoyed (yes, I read a lot about the AIDS crisis; that's a topic for another post, maybe):
- Alysia Abbott, Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father
- David France, How to Survive a Plague
- Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties
- Randy Shilts, And the Band Played On
- Jeff VanderMeer, Borne
2. Get a short story published.
Last year I resolved to finish a short story and submit it for publication, which I did! It was rejected by two SF/F magazines, but the main thing was to get my work out there, and I'm proud that I managed to do that. This year, I want to try harder to get published, which means actually finishing more fiction, which is hard to do because of my aforementioned ridiculously high standards for writing, which I apply to my own work as well. If you have any tips for getting over paralyzing self-doubt, hit me up.
3. Do more embroidery.
I've been embroidering on and off for most of my life, but I took it up seriously last year, and it was one of the best things I did for my mental health in 2018. Here's the piece I gave my friend Lucy for Christmas, based on a weird 17th-century engraving of Prince Rupert's dog Boy, who was rumored to have occult powers:
However, I go through periods of paralyzing self-doubt with this hobby, too. I'll start a project multiple times, then put it aside, convinced I can't do justice to the image in my head. I can occasionally stick with something long enough to complete it, but not before fighting off impulse after impulse to toss it aside because it looks like shit (because, duh, it's not finished yet). Isn't it weird how you can observe your own brain doing irrational and self-destructive things, yet you can't make it stop without tremendous effort, and sometimes not even then? In case you're wondering, yes, I do in fact have clinically diagnosed anxiety! Anyway, if you want to see my infrequent embroidery updates, follow me on Instagram @glumdalstitch.
I'm also giving up added sugars for the second half of January; it's been less than two days and I already have a withdrawal headache. Wish me luck, and best of luck with your own resolutions for 2019!