Ariana de Gennaro
I’ve never been a New Year’s Resolution type of gal. It’s just not for me — picking some aspect of my life that I want to change and then waiting until a specific day to start working toward that goal. Usually, when a new year comes around, the biggest difference in my life is that I have to start writing a different number at the top of my papers.
This year, though, I saw a TikTok which suggested making a New Year Bingo Card with random things that might happen during the year. I thought this was a fun idea, so on Dec. 31 I stayed up, filling in squares on a bingo template I found online. As I was thinking of what to write, I found myself drawn not to arbitrary predictions, but rather to small things I really thought would be nice to do — like hiking East Rock or visiting a new art gallery. Some of my bingo squares were a little less within my control, like studying abroad or going to The Game for the first time. Some of my ideas were even a bit absurd, like becoming a social media influencer.
I had a great time making the scorecard, but in the end, I realized that I had actually written down resolutions, or at least goals — 25 of them. The definition of “resolution” feels too abstract to pin down, but if the things I wrote — the things I’d like to do this year — were in fact those, then maybe my assertion of not being a New Year’s Resolution person doesn’t exactly stand. Maybe I just hadn’t found the right format of resolutions for me. But this new template feels like my jam, and I’m already excited to call out “Bingo!” before the next New Year rolls around.
“I … I took off my headphones for you. You know that, right?”
I had rehearsed a whole list of questions to ask him, but when the moment finally came and I saw him approach me on Broadway with a terrifyingly soft smile, all I could tell him was that I had taken off my headphones for him. He understood me, nodding but saying nothing. My chin resting on his shoulders, all I could think about was how kind he was to me. The kind ones are always the hardest to forget.
I’m always disappointed in how much control a boy, especially one I can no longer have, has over my feelings. It’s embarrassing how much I value the presence of a tall man with a pretty smile, but I do. I hide my embarrassment in the music that I listen and relisten to — averaging 13 hours a day, according to my Apple Music tracker. I once described to Mom that listening to a song feels like thrusting myself back in time to the most beautiful moments I shared with someone, a way of convincing myself that I can relive, or even convict, the past. I look at the way people talk, move and carry themselves, and my synesthesia translates that to rhythm. By pressing the replay button, I could secretly miss them without the fear of being rejected or coming across as clingy. Genres are my control panel: aggressive Rihanna club hits for when I need to feel confident to shrug off awkward encounters with exes who are chasing new people and breathtaking piano ballads when I want to belt out my own heartbreak on paper. The only thing I would choose over music is a romantic relationship.
But this year, I tried taking my headphones off for the first time being single, and it was harder than I expected. I worried for myself. It’s not because my phone says that I spend twice as much time on Apple Music than I do sleeping, or that I’ve started lying to friends that my headphones are a fashion accessory.
I enjoy making the same mistakes over and over again, and it hurts. Music, more than a coping mechanism for romantic longing and unrequited love, has become this excuse for overthinking. It’s hard not to feel like a liability in a place where I lose people as fast as they enter me — and sometimes, it really does feel as though the less I talk, the fewer opportunities there are for others to realize how broken of a talker I am. My headphones, and my head-down posture when I scurry from class to class, mean that I don’t have to put in effort to create a name for myself. It’s humiliating to say, but listening to music allows me to get high off of loving someone more than myself. It detracks my attention from the mistakes I should have held myself accountable for in a past relationship, trapping me in this purgatory where the only thing I anticipate is a satisfying beat drop. For however long the song plays, I imagine myself in his arms again. I am responsible for nothing except the movement of my feet as I dance alone.
But relying on the narratives and bravado of other artists to remember how to feel again comes with a price. I confuse happiness for this thing that is always slipping away — rather than a choice — and I fear losing people so much that I only write in the conditional tense, never giving myself the physical chance to fall. I plagiarize the experiences of my favorite artists, embedding their coded lyrics in my own writing. I rehearse my breakup lines like it’s a movie script, and I get so tired when all that ends up coming out of my mouth is a self-deprecating statement of how much I still need the other person. I’m so tired, I’m so tired, and I still miss him. I keep playing our songs over and over until the lyrics remember me more than I remember myself. I know exactly what’s wrong with me, but I’m the only person I cannot be a psychologist for.
All I know is that I need to take these headphones off in 2023. For myself, this time. I have to learn to live my life a capella. But if it’s true that resolutions do break as easily as hearts, I don’t think I can take these headphones off anytime soon —so please don’t stop the music just yet.
I am not a New Year’s Resolution-ist. Frankly, the “New Year, new me” mantra has always felt reductive to me. I am exactly as insufferable as I was this time last year – if I’ve been less obvious about it, it’s just because I’m not in DS anymore. With that being said, ask and you shall receive. Here are the realest resolutions I can come up with:
- Haven’t been to DKE since I arrived bright-eyed and lanyard-wearing on campus last fall. Feeling like this could count as ‘traveling more’ in the new year. Feeling DKE-curious. Am getting too comfy on High Street — gotta start taking risks here.
- Assume alpha female position at the Wall St. Common Grounds so I can always sit in the window-adjacent seats when I loiter there. Best place to people-watch on Yale’s campus. If it looks like I’m staring at you from the CG window seats, I am. Your hair probably looks weird.
- Successfully run one continuous mile without stopping to speed walk and pant (this would actually be a cool achievement).
- Decipher why Silliman igloos were taken away last year, and why we’ve been warned not to “get into trouble” in them again. Roommate is convinced someone fucked in them — attempt to confirm and, if true, find out who and befriend.
- Figure out whose bare-ass toothbrush has been strewn across my shared bathroom sink since last semester. Reprimand them. Note: if you are reading this and your bare-ass toothbrush sits somewhere in a shared bathroom, someone in that bathroom has for sure knocked it onto the floor and not cleaned it afterwards. Get a grip.
- Determine whether we’re allowed to listen to Kanye anymore. As a Jew it feels like no, but hoping to find a loophole.
Happy New Year. You’re still the same, but if you want to pretend you’ve been born anew as a cooler 2023 version of yourself, do you, my man. Just don’t let me catch you in the goddamn Common Grounds window seats.