2020 – Here Goes My First Ever New Year’s Resolutions List

By: Malak Hatem

I’m a person who loves planning, I plan everything down to the last detail. I keep journals and those journals contain every significant event that has taken place in my life since 2011.  I like to keep track of the progress I made over the years and I like to sit and reflect to see what I could improve to be a better me for Malak (me) and for my family and friends. However, I’ve never actually had/wrote a New Year’s Resolution before. I’ve written an end-of-year-letter-to-next-year-me telling her what I had learned and how much I should be thankful for this New Year, but never an actual Resolution. 

So here goes my first Resolution for 2020 in my first ever New Year’s Resolutions list: I am not going to give a hoot.

I have lived the better part of my life worrying too much about what people think of me, what they would say if I did this or said that. I used to care about people more than I cared about myself and my own well-being.

But what I finally realized is that being concerned with what people think of you 24/7 takes away a fraction of your happiness. Every time you think about the words that will be said about you rather than how doing what you want will make you feel, you lose a little bit of the spark, the enthusiasm that makes you You. 

I deserve to be free. I deserve to take control of my life and to not let people’s opinions about me/ what I do chain me down. And I deserve to do the things that I love without the overwhelming fear of being judged. So this year will finally be the year Malak gives ZERO hoots. I will wear whatever I feel comfortable in, say whatever I want and talk in the way I see works best for me. As long as my words and actions aren’t harming anyone, I will wear neck socks that have ducks on ‘em. I will play Taylor Swift songs and I will sing my heart out to MTM’s Omy Mesafra whenever I like. I will not hide the fact that I recently bought a baby plush panda (his name is Neno btw) and that he is the most comfortable panda I have ever slept on. And I will shy away no more when I take out my romantic novels in public because they rock! And if I want to leave my house with my crocs, I’ll gladly do so because seriously guys crocs are comfy as hell and they don’t deserve the hate they get. And finally, if I want to go months without putting on makeup once, I will do so because in all honesty if I am too tired to put on makeup, I shouldn’t have to do it because I’m going somewhere nice or because “we will take pictures and they gotta look good” and also a girl should be able to rub her eyes in peace without having to worry about messing up her eyeliner. 

My second Resolution for 2020 in my first ever New Year’s Resolutions list: I am going to allow myself to not be okay all the time. 

There’s this quote that I relate to on a very personal level that says “I was taught young how to be stone-cold, self-reliant, to hold myself high and poised, with a ready smile and a subtle charm ready to conquer the world. So I learned from early on to only cry behind closed doors, on dim lights, without sound, to howl in pain silently, to break down without anyone knowing, and to never ask for help. Because when no one sees you suffering, do you really suffer? Much like, when a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? I can always just pretend that whatever pains me never happened, and I can always go back and face the world pretending I’m okay.” — cynthia go // If a tree falls in a forest

My mother is a strong, capable woman. She taught me how to be responsible, and not depend on anyone for emotional support or for anything for that matter. I never ask anyone for anything, I just learn how to do stuff myself. Even if I want go out and have fun, I have learned how to have fun on my own if everybody else is busy. I taught myself how to not ask for help when times are hard because asking for help, letting people know something is wrong makes it all real and that will make the healing process longer. So I have made a habit out of distancing myself whenever I feel even a little bit blue. I walk away from everyone, take a step back, solve my own problems and get back to the world as if nothing had happened. Even when I get sick, I usually don’t tell anyone but my close family, also because telling people is like going to the doctor (which I also don’t like expect in extreme cases) makes the disease real. It means I am really sick and that it’s best if I lay down and rest for w while. But if I don’t tell anyone, I can be up and about in no time, it doesn’t have to be a big deal. 

But this year I will not be okay all the time. This year I will allow myself to breakdown when I am in need of a breakdown. I will shout and scream and cry but not into my pillow or to my empty bedroom walls but rather to the people I confide in. This year I will suffer in the light of day so that I can give myself the credit I deserve for making it through the hard days and fighting through my battles. This year I will be sick and I will go to doctors for minor stuff also. This year I will take time off when I need it and I will not be stronger. This year I will let it all make me a little bit braver. I will let it turn me into a warrior and I will not hide away my scars. 

My third and last Resolution for 2020 in my first ever New Year’s Resolutions list: I am going to learn to let go.

“Don’t be bitter, be better” and “Live and let live” will be my new mottos. 

I spent the better part of the past two years hung up on best friends who are no longer here. It ruined me in ways I cannot begin to explain. But it had taught me that I need to pick myself back up again and not worry about the people who didn’t worry about me. I have come to peace with the fact that Allah will never do anything that isn’t the right thing for me. So if they left, they left because I was better off without them. And I actually am elhamduleAllah. I am still working on the letting go part because I am a person who doesn’t forget dates or conversations or outings with people who made me ecstatic. So it is hard for me to forget about all of that and move on. It’s engraved in my mind for good. 

But instead I decided to turn the tables. I will not try to forget these memories and erase them from my mind; I will embrace them and love them for what they are: memories. Moments that are gone and will never be repeated. Happy, wholesome minutes spent with happy, generous people who at the time were everything in my life, who at the time were my whole life. No matter what they turned into, no matter where we are now, whether we’re on good terms or bad. At that exact moment, in this particular memory, we were as close as we can be, and it was the best feeling in the world. 

This year I will learn to let go of things, of feelings, of dates and of memories. But only the bad ones, the toxic ones. I will forget how much the people who left have hurt me. I will remember how they were there, someday, making my life a lot better. I will remember how they always tolerated my nonsense and my countless moods. I will forever cherish our intimate moments and hold our bond close to my heart because no matter who we are now, we were someday best friends and that will never change even if it’s forgotten.

Yours truly, 

Malak

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