And here comes another one. We didn't think we'd ever make it here, did we? We didn't think we'd ever count this high, did we?
Well, here's to proving them wrong.
I'm a legend around these parts. People point and say: "Look! There's the girl that's going to save the world in 2012!" They say: "Look! There's the girl with two hands, two lungs, and an appetite. This is her year." They say: "Look! There's the girl we've been waiting for, for two thousand and twelve long years, to run up in holey mary-janes and take the world in one hand and the sun in other and swallow them whole, and make us... gods." Well I'm your girl. Yeah, I've been waiting around for her to show up for a while, too.
I can't pinpoint the exact moment the first person said "Look!" but, boy, I am not going back. Somewhere between one bright shiny morning and another, I started to love 2011.
Here's to 2011.
In 2011, I grabbed a bunch of people by the elbows and said, "Hey, you should love me the way I am." And they did. I also offended a lot of people. I'm sorry. In 2011, I was opinionated and I was selfish. In 2011, I was bitter and I was crass, I was worried about everything and I was a tiny bit pretentious and I was shocked by my good fortune, I turned around and said, "Me? Are you talking to me?" because I couldn't believe that you were saying, "Hey Ave, tell me another one." In 2011, I was very, very, very young. I was hopeful but pessimistic, I was reckless but scared. In 2011, I walked around with my hands wide open, trying to catch everything in them, no matter if it was sugar or dust or cyanide or moth balls, because all I wanted was to be able to point to the world and say "What else you got?" and for the world to say, "Nothin'". In 2011, I was cranky and violent, hot-blooded and inspired, melodramatic, bored, late everywhere, sarcastic, shameless, unrealistic, unimpressed, unreliable, uncouth, unjust, unworthy, unrepentant, undamaged, unwilling. In 2011, I was all of those things. And it's 2012, and I'm still all of those things.
I haven't changed much.
But you'd barely recognize me now.
Long live 2011.
Here's to our long hair. Here's to Rooftop Concert Series and Twilight Concert Series and underground basement concert series, brought to you by secondhand guitars and shaving cream. Here's to the soft and half-forgotten home I left in California, but trust me, what I left was a dent. Here's to windless Wednesday and sunless Sundays, here's to the blisters hardening into callouses on our bare feet. Here's to tardies and attendance school, here's to math tests and traffic tickets and the short ten-mile walk from your car to the front door. Here's to my skin next to your skin. Here's to the iPhone (yeah, one big round of applause for the iPhone). Here's to locker #1190 (I miss you) and here's to locker #74 (I guess you're alright, too). Here's to the space between us. Here's to beds. Here's to cold air so that we have to get a little bit closer, you know, to survive. Here's to shoulder blades and collar bones and ankles. Here's to an era of beautiful, beautiful teenage boys and they're growing into beautiful, beautiful men. Here's to broken hearts and new hearts and big, bloody, bright, beating hearts, all together now, you know the words: 2011.
Here's to a lot of Last's: the last first day of grade school I'll ever have, the last time Halloween costumes will decorate the halls on October 31st, the last state football game where I ever could have said: "Go Knights!" (I didn't go).
Here's to romance. But let me tell you something: I wasn't as much of a romantic as I once thought. And let me tell you something else: I'm proud of it.
Here's to 2011. No, here's to us.
2011, I'll miss you. You've been very kind.
But I outgrew you, 2011. And 2012 was a long time coming.
I guess I'll see you around. Here's another 365, right? No wait, it's Leap Year: 366.
2012, be good to me. Don't quit on me yet.
Goodnight, 2011. And happy new year.