Reinvention. We do it all the time. It’s a response to a desire for something greater, when you stick your head out the window and scream “I’m mad as hell, and I can’t take it anymore!” Spurred by restlessness, the desperation for something new, we rise up, dust ourselves off, assume new identity, and walk on. There are entire industries centered around this notion - fashion and advertising, for example - and there are even those, like Madonna, who are recognized for being its posterchild. Without it, life would be limiting.
Every year, I ceremoniously compose a set of resolutions. These resolutions are pure theatrics, a whimsical display made in high spirits and even higher hopes. Truth be told, I’m not delusional enough to believe I’ll actually keep said resolutions, but one always needs an outlet and a reason to reinvent. There are the mainstays - to exercise more and to not buy books merely to put impressively on shelf. Then there are the ones by proxy, imposed upon you by parents and relatives: namely, to find myself a husband. And all these resolutions, this wishful thinking of self-improvement, contribute to an overarching theme.
I ran into a friend who is studying fashion design in that cultural hub of hubs, New York City. And as we began to talk shop, we came to the very topic of discussion, of how she likes to reinvent herself every season. Last year was ’savage’, but 2007 was surely to be a more Chloe-esque, pink-lipped and chiffon clad lady. As I listened to her chronicle her various incarnations, I got to thinking about my own transformations. From Bridget Jones neuroticism to Sedaris-like self-deprecation, I found I drew more from literary and cinematic influences. 2004 heralded the year of S.S.S. - a Janerika coined term meaning sleek/sexy/sophisticated. Needless to say, the klutzy and clueless twosome fell quite short of the mark, but had a ball along the way. 2005 was marked by a quiet desperation which led to 2006’s resounding theme of escapism, echoed by books such as The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and that all time favorite - Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And by the looks of it, 2007 will be about ‘embrace’.
I spent the beginning of last year quietly recovering, recovering from a traumatic incident that occurred on a remote continent in another hemisphere. And in light of this freak occurrence, no longer was I about to tread helplessly, allowing my life to get caught in the rip tides. And so I returned to the States, quit my job, packed up my bags, and moved on up to the Bay area. “Tabula rasa,” I said.
2006 showed me that there is no such thing as a blank slate, but there does exist potential. I left what I knew and reunited with my best friend, met new roommates, found an amazing community, and watched as my God schooled me in the matters of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. And I was in my element. What I found was my future.
One year and myriad broken resolutions later, I usher in another new year, this time among friends and family past. And in this new year, I emerge happy, determined, and ready to embrace the new and shiny things to come.. at least until I assume my next identity.