Ah 2016, you glorious bastard. You were definitely on my naughty list, but if there’s one thing I’ve got to say to you it’s that you were a year of growth…. growth and change. And nobody has growing pains quite like my dear old friend anxiety. You really run in the opposite direction, don’t you buddy?
It was a year of facing demons, unboxing skeletons and other spooky adventures. I made new friends – both fictional and nonfictional. I wrote and laughed and adopted a kitteh. I even managed to come out on the other side.
So here’s my alibi for the past year, bullet-point style because this was 2016 and listicles rule the world…
- I put Frankenarm behind me. Fully mobile, fully healed, I could now return to working out on a regular basis… but didn’t, like, at all. Hurray recoveries!
- I nested in my apartment. We bought real mattresses. My parents shipped everything I own out on one wooden pallet. My roomie and I bought furniture, decorated, and started calling our apartment home. I stopped aching for Michigan and all the people there so desperately. It’ll always be home and all that jazz, but it’s nice to not feel like I’m post-breakup with my home state anymore.
- I dated some goons and some not goons. Overall, I trust people less, and that sucks. LA is a weird place to date. I now fear finding and making a genuine connection with someone – something to work on?
- I played 4 challenging characters and memorized the most lines I have ever memorized in a year (Mostly, I blame Rosalind. Rosalind and Billy Shakes.)
- I adopted a best friend. She’s perfect, cat anxiety and all.
- My Mom visited me. We ate French food, she sat through Shakespeare twice, and she was confused why my Scientology neighbors use a cross as their symbol. Perplexing indeed.
- I started using eyebrow pencil. My Dad now constantly asks me about my pet caterpillars.
- I fell more in love with my job, TV, writing, jokes, butts, puppers, and bagels
- I only got one haircut. It was in LA and $100. We’re not in *Kansas anymore.
- I had a handful of anxiety attacks. One was during intermission of As You Like It and my Orlando held me while I gasping cried in the bathroom. The director came in, barely phased, and said, “You ready?” to which I replied “Absolutely.” What a guy (He’s now one of my favorite people). I dried my tears and gave a billion more monologues. Anxiety is weird.
- I started calling myself an actress for real for the first time.
- I ate a lot of Indian food. Like a lot. Mostly of the Trader Joe’s frozen variety. I barely cooked at all. It was great. I regret nothing (which is easy to say when your roommate could be on MasterChef).
- I made decisions about who to keep in my life. I feel good about the choices I have made… although I’m constantly stressing that I’m not loving them all enough at all times (Okay. I’ll calm down.)
- I wrote songs, but not enough. I put down my guitar for too long, and I need to pick that bad boy back up.
- I met a whole glob of theater people who have genuinely become dear friends (no showmance friendships here. We’re legit).
- I wish I could tell you how many times my Mama bear has called me and said ANNA I’M WORRIED YOU DON’T HAVE ANY GIRLFRIENDS IN LA, AND YOU’RE GOING TO WITHER AWAY. Well, along came a lady who I’m keeping forever, and while I wasn’t going to wither away (MOM!), I do feel less lonely in this big ol city.
- I published 15 blogs on Anna’s Alibi and over 20 freelance articles. It’s a start.
- I wrote my first drama TV pilot. It’s about Mars and I got to use all my nerdy engineering siblings to fact check everything. They impress me to no end.
- My best friends went through the highest highs and the lowest lows, and I laughed, loved, and held some broken hearts. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude when I look at the people in my life. They make me a better person. If you haven’t found your people yet – don’t worry, they’re out there.
- I wrote a short film about sexual assault called Disfluency, got a super rad team on board to create it in 2017, and partnered with an organization called SafeBAE that shares my vision for making the world less terrible. I’m blown away.
- Okay, so demons… I outed myself as a rape survivor to family, friends, dates and the entire Internet. It wasn’t fun. Some handled it better than others. It was the best, most “right,” and worst thing I’ve done this year. I’ve had people call me brave. Maybe, but I’d rather just be right.
- I overcame PTSD, panic attacks, agoraphobia, and the urge to shush and firmly hold everyone’s hand who said something stupid, misogynistic, or voted for Trump this year.
- I had people confide in me about their own assaults, anxieties, and mental disorders. They thanked me for the things I’ve written, and my heart grew three times this year (jokes on you, cause you reaching out to me helped me more than you know).
Now I feel like a new boy, fresh out of the 2017 womb. Here are my resolutions to prove it:
- Read a book a month.
- Eat more bagels.
- Post 2 blogs a month.
- Follow a made up rule I call the 10-10-10 rule: block out 10 minutes in the morning, afternoon, and evening to do something unplanned that’s productive, relaxing, or tasty.
- Send more postcards and packages to the people I love.
- Find a new therapist.
- Workout. I know, this is infamous as the New Year’s kiss itself, but I have to not be a slug, ya dig?
Expecting something a little more bananas? A bit subdued, right? Naw, that’s the point.