There was a point in 2011 when I somewhat seriously considered squatting. That's how desperate I felt this year.
Not squatting in an abandoned building, mind you. We have a three-year-old, after all, and I need a daily shower and coffee within moments of waking up in order to feel human. I just wondered what would happen if we stopped paying rent...how long would it take to get thrown out, and could we save enough cash in that time to make a new life somewhere other than New York? Because life in this city become pretty unbearable after I was attacked by a crackhead, just as my husband suffered a major loss of work, on the day an earthquake shook the city, in the calm before a hurricane hit. I don't remember the earthquake (nor do I recall the attack), and the hurricane proved to be no worse than any other sudden summer storm. But an intense feeling that the other shoe was about to drop remains just the same. My husband has it too; neither of us can get an email without the other one demanding what bit of bad news it could possibly be. It's a terrible way to exist.
(I also considered lottery tickets and corruption as possible ways out. But good sense and a lack of opportunity won out).
So with all this in mind you would think I'd be ready to say good riddance to 2011. But I can't run arms outstretched into the future without worrying that it could be even worse. (After I was mugged, people said to me, "Well, now you've been mugged...so you don't have to worry about THAT happening again." But life doesn't work that way. You don't get a punchcard with all the bad things that could possibly happen to you on it. If it did, there would never have been a second episode of "I Hate My Teenage Daughter").
I found out this week that the guy who punched me in the mouth is refusing a plea deal so I will have to testify in court in February. What that means is I will have to see him (most likely), and be cross-examined by his defense attorney. My brain has so far done me the huge favour of not remembering the attack (thanks, brain!). But when I saw the police detective who helped me again at the Grand Jury, I was overcome with the feeling that I knew him — that maybe we dated in highschool, and he was really sweet to me...or maybe I've seen him on TV? It's so hard to explain. But when I saw him, I thought: "I KNOW him. He was nice to me. I was grateful." I can't remember what he said, or how our interaction went, but I am certain of the feeling of relief I felt in his presence. So I am worried when I see the crackhead who punched my face in I will remember the terror I felt — though not necessarily any specifics. And then I will never be able to leave my apartment again. I really would like to be able to leave my apartment in 2012.
There were some good things about 2011, to be sure:
• I was chosen as a "Featured member" on Burdastyle.com
• My husband appeared on One Life to Live
• I won a bunch of awesome stuff
• I went to Mexico for the first time, with some of my closest friends, and had the best time ever
• Pie continued to be awesome in 2011. And I'm feeling good about its enduring greatness for 2012.
• I made some cute dresses, like this one, this one, and my favourite, which was chosen by Burdastyle.com as a top project for the year
• I won a Halloween costume contest after pestering the shit out of my friends and readers
• I won tickets to Saturday Night Live
• We moved into a bigger apartment in a quieter neighborhood, though every time we hear a car horn honk, my three-year-old daughter sighs audibly and says, "I thought this was a quiet neighbourhood." (Oy, such a kvetcher!)
• We now live across the street from the BEST bagel shop ever. There's not even a toaster (because you would be an idiot if you were to toast a Bagel Corner bagel, I guess)
• My husband got into advertising school for copywriting, and I'm so excited for him to make a career change. It will be a challenging year, but we just have to hang in there and work harder. There's no other option. Not when you have this to wake up to: