By Kathy Kiger
I hate New Year’s resolutions.
I hate them because there is an underlying assumption that goes hand-in-hand with the determination to change things: There must be something wrong with me. From the time I was a little kid, I felt different, like I didn’t quite fit in.
So by the time I was 8 years old, I was trying to be like my friends. I wanted to dress like them, talk like them, be short like them. There’s not much I could do about that when I shot up to 5’4” in the 4th grade. But I slouched all the same.
Now I understand what was different from my friends. It wasn’t my hair or my height. It was my queerness. But of course I didn’t know that at the time. So I started down a long path of self-improvement.
I’ve spent the majority of my 53 trips around the sun trying to fix myself. Be a better student, better musician, better writer, better teacher, better wife, better mom, better Christian…
I wanted to be thinner, smarter, more organized, more spiritual, and on… and on… and on…
And then (because apparently I wasn’t hard enough on myself already) when I moved from Texas to California to go to grad school, I joined a high-control religious group. And let me tell you, nothing was ever good enough for those people.
But since I was already obsessed with self-improvement, I felt right at home. I was all in on trying to improve.
Every year we were strongly encouraged to make New Year’s resolutions. Mine usually involved losing weight, reading my Bible more, and inviting more people to church — because this group was serious about recruiting new members.
This annual ritual taught me to hate New Years. We’d come off of the Christmas holiday having actually had time to relax a bit — which was unusual in this high-demand group. But then we hit the ground running on January 1st. No transition. No warm-up. From full stop to top speed.
And because I’m human, I couldn’t make that transition. I’d end up exhausted and discouraged by the middle of January.
So I started hating New Years.
But then a couple years ago, I saw a post on social media that introduced me to a revolutionary idea.
I cannot overstate how shocked I was by that concept. It was a Matrix moment for me. I had spent so many years trying to improve myself that it had never occurred to me that maybe I didn’t actually need to. My mind was blown.
That’s when I stopped making New Year’s resolutions.
My peers were wrong. My religion was wrong. My mom was wrong. I don’t need to strive to be better, or more, or less. And if I’m okay as I am, there’s no need to buy into the New Year, New You messaging that slithers through social media this time of year.
It’s still hard for me to look at myself and trust that I’m okay. The underlying belief that I’m not good enough as I am is deeply rooted. But I’m learning. I’m learning to trust myself and listen to the people who love me for exactly who I am today. Not one person in my life who gets me wants me to change anything.
So I am snubbing New Year’s resolutions. I don’t care what the influencers say. I don’t need a diet or a course or a new gym membership. I’m going to ease out of the holidays without pushing myself to revolutionize my life. I’ll do what I need to so I can support my family. I’ll continue on the path of gentle emotional healing. But I’m also going to cut myself lots of slack.
So if you’re making your list of self-improvements and resolutions, I encourage you to pause. Maybe take just a moment to consider that maybe you too are just fine exactly as you are.
Kathy Kiger is a longtime friend to the Pride and Joy Foundation. A former P&J Guest Blogger, Kathy has joined the P&J team to help out as we get ready for some new and exciting changes in 2024!
Kathy is a marketing strategist and copywriter who helps queer businesses and entrepreneurs build and connect with their ideal audience. As the CEO of Kathy Kiger Agency, she writes blogs, emails, and website copy for entrepreneurs, coaches, and small businesses. Kathy also offers copy coaching for business-owning badasses who prefer to DIY their marketing.
Kathy was raised as an evangelical Christian and dutifully followed all the rules and expectations — from homeschooling her kids and baking her own bread, to suppressing her sexual orientation for decades.
Married for almost 15 years, and then divorced for 10, Kathy finally had her holy shit I’m a lesbian moment in early 2021. Kathy is now living in her queer joy as a cat-owning-dog-person and single mom to 4 adult and teen kids.
Kathy is the creator behind the Better Late Than Straight blog where she shares her own insights as a late-blooming lesbian, along with resources, and the stories of other women who have embraced their queerness later in life.
You can hear Kathy on podcasts like Coming Out With Lauren and Nicole, The Coming Out Late Podcast, and Life After MLM. You can follow along with Kathy’s Better Late Than Straight journey on Instagram.