The Best of 2013/A Personal Message From K...

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Film of the Year

12 Years A Slave

If we can talk about the visuals for a sec: I have to say that this is one of the most stunning films that has ever passed through my eyes. There are the very few moments where McQueen lets us up for air and you feel the warmth of the south on your face, you can smell the dryness of the fields baked by the sun, and the cicadas are right above you. A lot of the film is actually quiet. It seems zen. And it nearly moves as so. But you come out feeling so emotionally wrung-out, raw, and fragile like you’ve never felt before. It’s a beautiful horror film; a saturated deep south backdrop set for the unfolding of such a surreal, exceptionally brutal evil that you almost deny it existed in our history. Massive accolades to McQueen and a power-house cast for creating a phenomenal piece of work. Believe the Oscar hype.

 

TV Show of the Year

Breaking Bad

do I even have to say anything about this? Oh, this: for a few Sundays following the show’s ending, my body would clench with anxiety because it felt like it was getting ready for another episode. It was weird!

 

Book of the Year

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain 

I had to read this one for my Book Club and I surprizingly really enjoyed it. I liked it more than Klosterman’s new book!

 

Album(s) of the Year

Trouble Will Find Me - The National

 

Disappoints (albums) of the Year

Random Access Memories - Daft Punk

 

Album From Way Back That I Missed, But Got Into This Year

Smoke Ring For My Halo - Kurt Vile (I guess not that far back, but still)

 

Best Song of the Year

'Devotion' - Jessie Ware

 

Best New Artist of the Year

Jessie Ware (it’s a late call, but I’m making it anyway!) 

 

Overrated Artist of the Year

Disclosure 

 

Best New Act of the Year

Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, BFFing it up all over the place in bowler hats (this was a hard one to come up with and I’m only really naming it because I just came across the umpteenth photo of the OTP doing exactly what I just described).

 

Concert of the Year

Nine Inch Nails

(very, VERY close second: Crystal Castles)

 

Haunt of the Year

The Annex (which is where I live now!)

 

Website of the Year

http://www.gawker.com

(I was on Gawker almost every day of this year)

 

Best New Game

Elfenland (a more fun version of Ticket to Ride)

 

New Addiction of the Year

—I don’t think I picked one up this year? But cycling/spinning was/is a continued one.

 

Food of the Year

Cannolis 

…I ate a lot of these this year. In Italy. And NYC. And here *blush*. I almost turned into one!? Maybe this was my addiction.

 

Best New Discovery of the Year

Smorgasburg (http://www.smorgasburg.com)

 

Memorable Death of the Year

Corey Monteith

I wasn’t emotionally attached to this kid, but I remember feeling a genuine sadness when the news hit. He was taken way too soon.

 

Word(s) of the Year

'Presence'

 

Man of the Year

Edward Snowden

 

Douche(s) of the Year

The Roast Busters of New Zealand

 

Woman of the Year

Texan Democrat Wendy Davis (I love your shoes!)

 

Woman-We-Don’t-Want-Playing-For-Our-Team-Anymore of the Year

Gwyneth Paltrow

 

Girl Crush of the Year

Lupita Nyong’o

 

"Holy shit" Moment(s)/Realizations/Awesomeness of the Year

-Finally getting back up on my feet and living by myself again (well— with the greatest roommate ever) 

-Having conquered all three meringues (French; Swiss; Italian). And finally being able to make French macarons (my Everest of baking)

-Riding so many planes and trains (I’ve never travelled so much in my life)

-Seeing Leonardo DiCaprio being regular people (it was awesome, I’m sorry!)

-Traveling by myself

-Shooting my first ever commercial, which was for the Central County Tourism Board— and then having said commercial air at Dundas Square

I have to say something retrospectively about my time in Italy—

I was with my buddy Peter for most of the time, but when I was in Milan (either just arriving from Canada or arriving from Florence), it was just me and my suitcase and my travel journal. I didn’t know anyone there. I had no institution to catch me. I didn’t know the language (except for “voglio suchiarre il cazzo”— which is kind of forward). I had no idea how to navigate the place because my phone was a brick. I really was out of my comfort zone. And I thought to myself, “Okay, I’m doing this thing right now that not a lot of people I know would do alone. But I’m doing it and this is what I wanted, so—“ —and trying to set aside paralyzing fear and discomfort, I let this thought of “no one really does this” empower me. And I let it build up my confidence. And then I became determined. And able. And I found a rhythm. And then I was able to order focaccia and espresso perfectly and ask if this top came in a size small and rode on the back of a motorbike and met a Vogue Italia photographer by the end of it.

And now I own this, I own this story, this experience. And— I’m pretty fucking proud of it.

 

Friend of the Year

Man, so many of you were so present (more on this in a bit), it’d be unfair to name one person this year. Let’s just say you’re all winners :)

 

Regret of the Year

Not accomplishing nearly enough

 

Things I’m Looking Forward To in 2014

-Getting back into writing

-Side projects, side projects, side projects!

-Another big bike trip/more travelling 

-Being bigger and better

 

And now a personal message…

I need to say something about my word of the year, ‘presence’…

This year in particular, I learned a lot (A LOT) about people and modern relationships and what it is to sustain a relationship of any kind (friendship, familial, love, etc.). The internet had much to say about what it is to exist in a relationship with anyone today and it’s so disheartening to see that most of it is hyper-critical, vitriolic, misanthropic, and overall negative. We all loathe each other. We all don’t give a shit. We’ll all eventually hurt each other so what’s the point. And no matter how well we know each other, we’re still so insanely afraid of each other. I understand that there is just so much “stuff” today that creates this chasm between two people now. It somehow gives these two people false senses of “they just don’t give a shit so I’m not reaching out” or gives either party license to act in a minimal way that’s immediately unsatisfying but is somehow deemed “good enough” or act in an utterly frustrating passive-aggressive way…

So here…

Classic K, needing to go against the grain always, I clenched my fists and became determined. Being subjected to it enough this year, I really saw that being a narcissistic asshole doesn’t work, for anyone. Quelle fucking surprise, I know that that’s a pass-the-salt observation, but that’s precisely it— we’ve normalized narcissism that being narcissistic, at the very most, gets an eye-roll and we forgive it too easily (and please gain a thorough understanding of what exactly narcissism is— it is, but not limited to just gazing at your reflection in a pool of water). Normalized narcissism: I don’t accept this and I don’t want to forgive it. It is destroying us. It is hurting us. We’ve never been more self-absorbed, we’ve never been more self-important, we’ve never been more self-entitled, we’ve never been more insensitive, and we’ve never been more engaged in an arms race of “MY SHIT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR SHIT” than right now. Ayn Rand-type selfishness works when you’re 23-year-old little shit who doesn’t know any better. At this age? It’s not a good look and too many people are wearing it. And-it-is-hurting-us. I’m scared that either of us will just pass through each other without having made an impact and we realize too late that we were just two people who just sort of knew each other but not really.

I tried really hard to be more physically, mentally, emotionally present so that I could transcend the meaninglessness, the distance, the detachment, the superficiality, and at times, the hurt that exists in relationships that are born out of modern narcissism and bring some meaning back into my close relationships. I started exercising the following:

  • trying really, really, REALLY hard to think outside of myself as often as I was able to
  • trying to love like I’m terminal
  • on a daily basis, strengthen and flex my empathy muscles 
  • not just say things, but do things, and try my damnedest to follow through and come up with a fucking good reason if I can’t
  • know, for real, if I can or can’t commit. I may have the best of intentions, but they count for nearly nothing.
  • time-manage better
  • continually suggesting alternatives so that we can make something happen and not just dismiss it or give up
  • drop the self-entitlement
  • pull my head out of my ass
  • stop being self-important
  • stop being a flake 
  • calling myself out/admitting and apologizing for mistakes (and learning how to apologize proper. Apparently, “I’m sorry if that’s how you feel” doesn’t cut it)
  • stop looking at my cell phone as often as I do
  • listening to you (and I mean, really listen)

They’re all hard and you realize how much of an asshole society has raised you to be when you finally start trying to undo it all. I had really fucking shitty bad habits and breaking them has been exhausting. And I still struggle (you should see my cubicle at work, I’m like Leonard from Memento, but with Post-It notes).

Really focusing on staying present this year has allowed me to enjoy you more, learn you more, absorb you more. I’ve had a moment or moments with you that have made things and us and our relationship refreshingly meaningful. I can recall a moving conversation or meditation with you, word for word, and your accompanying facial expressions. I can recall precise moments where we connected. Or we mustered the balls to reconnect after years of absence. Or we were there for each other during a life-shattering crisis. Or when we made each other laugh so hard we broke some ribs. Or we made delicious food together. Or we cried together. Or we stayed on the phone together. Or we held each other. Or we had a geek-out. Or we girl-bonded together. Or we had a long car ride together. Or we spoke at the bar and it wasn’t just phoney chit-chat. Or we reacted in synch during a movie. Or we stood in some line together. Or I came by your work to say hi or vice versa. Or we cut up the rug together. Or we biked together. Or we hippy-swayed at a concert together.

Text messages are fun but we stopped hiding behind the screen for a second and had these real moments, face to face. And, amazingly, these real moments happened in our perpetually busy world that doesn’t really allow for them to happen anymore. They happened when we fought against counter-intuition and you indulged me for just a little bit, made time for me me, and met me halfway because you sort of got where I was coming from. And it just counted so much to me and it downright healed/saved me, inspired me, and made things meaningful and enjoyable and I felt happy and surrounded and lucky again.

So thank-you. So. Much.

With every part of my heart, I love you all :) 

Let’s keep it going in 2014.

Yours,

K