Up until five years ago, I made New Year’s resolutions every year. Since I’ve kept handwritten journals ever since I was seven years old, I have documented evidence of these resolutions, which turned out more like wish-lists, and fantastical ones at that.

And then I stopped. I think it was in part due to the fact that my expectations of myself were so unreasonable, there was no way I could fulfill those goals in the year to come. That made me terribly depressed, and took my self-esteem down more notches each year.

This year, I’ve been working through a lot of crap that’s piled up in my head over the last twenty-six years. After massive, near-lethal doses of introspection, I’ve come to one definite conclusion: I must improve my interaction with others. There is no way I can continue to function if I don’t. People have always affected me deeply, but I’ve reached the point where I’m experiencing almost a total loss of self. An astrologer once told me that Pisceans immerse themselves in other people, sometimes to the extent of emotional martyrdom or extreme dependency. I’m still not sure of what or how much I should believe when it comes to astrology, but this part of the deal is true for me. There are benefits to this: I am an extremely empathetic and compassionate person. And there are drawbacks: I lose myself in other people. Pisces, the fish, swimming ever deeper and faster into the cold black ocean, and then realizing that it’s gotten too cold, too dense. Much too late.

By the end of April, I was stranded at the very bottom of my ocean. It’s happened before. But this time, I saw the faintest shimmer of light from the surface … and this time, I swam for it.

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On April 30th of this year – called Walpurgisnacht or Vappu in some places, Beltaine or May Eve in others, and also just plain two Fridays ago – I made an oddly-shaped bunch of resolutions. Reasonable ones. Logical ones. Good ones.

So, without further adieu, here they are.

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halsted’s walpurgisnacht interactional resolutions (now in oceans near you – not for resale) I will tell you the very moment something upsets me between us, and try to articulate it as best I can, because for all my protestations of inarticulation I think I do a better job than I give myself credit for. I will heap praise upon you when you succeed, when you give me a gift (be it tangible or no), and when you need skritches to feel better. I will not under any circumstances use passive aggression or “the silent treatment” to show my disapproval of something that’s happened between us. I will think enough of my own opinions to share them with you freely. I will take care of you when you need me to, not because I expect you to do the same but because I want to. I do hope that in turn you will take care of me when I need it. I will respect your need to be alone and/or apart from me for (hopefully) short periods, or to not discuss a particular topic at any given time, provided I get the same respect in return. I will make a conscious effort to keep in close contact with you, or if that is not possible, to let you know that I’ll be unable to do so. I will try my hardest not to simply withdraw and leave everyone guessing. I will clarify what communication between us is private-only and what is not, so I am not upset if our communication is shared with other people, with my consent. I will not share things with you if I am uncomfortable sharing them, nor will I expect you to do the same. I will, however, explain why I would be uncomfortable sharing them. I will always be honest with you about how I am feeling and what I am thinking. I will not be afraid that you will go away if you hear something you don’t like. I will apologize to you for my actions and/or words when I have hurt you with them. I will not apologize for being myself.

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The water’s much warmer, much lighter up here. I think I’ll stay.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.