The Time You Tried to Reinvent Yourself Over the New Year

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Happy New Year, Jezebel readers! You’re alive! It is 2020 now, a year that definitely doesn’t seem real. Considering that our dystopia must continue beyond the annual punishment that is attending a New Year’s Eve party, you might feel pressure to reinvent yourself. How’s that going? Any notable triumphs? Or failures? It’s much too early into this new hell to know, so let’s consider your previous forays into “New Year, New You” territory. This week, I want to hear all about the time you tried to reinvent yourself over the new year: the good, the bad, the ugly, the funny, and the confounding. I want stories.


But first, let’s take a look at the most recent Pissing Contest winners, those of you who had the best-worst holiday dinner conversations. 

Elizabeth Wakefield’s Tuxedo Shirt, yikes, you win:

My family is pretty rife with alcoholics, druggies, and various inappropriate behaviors, but even I have to admit that the Christmas that Uncle Pothead told us about his recent medically-necessary circumcision because he hadn’t kept himself clean enough was really just not the best conversation to go with the mashed potatoes and gravy. Until the following year, when Uncle Pothead told us about how, for his last birthday, his oldest stepdaughter (in her 20s, out of jail on prostitution charges) told him she “couldn’t afford a gift, so she offered me her body instead. And I’ll tell you, I was offended!” Well. Thanks for clearing that up. Pass the dressing?

slowtobond, I’m so sorry this happened:

I found out that my mother was fine about my 13yo niece getting raped as long as she had the baby.

I haven’t been back for Christmas since.

Bananabunny, this absolutely blows:

Several years ago my high school aged son was planning to spend Christmas with his dad and his grandparents who live out of state, so John and Annie, my married couple friends, graciously invited me to spend the holiday weekend with them so that I wouldn’t be alone. My friends also invited John’s parents, his brother And SIL to come over for dinner on Christmas Day.

John, Annie and I had a great time drinking cocktails and watching movies on a Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day, we spent most of the afternoon preparing a lavish dinner to enjoy once John’s parents, brother and SIL arrived. Of course, I missed my son, but I knew he was having a good time, and John and Annie were so much fun to be with. Well, about 5 minutes after meeting John’s family— and just before dinner was ready to be served— John’s SIL began interrogating me:

“Where’s your family today? Why aren’t you with them instead?” (Ok take a deep breath, bananabunny) “Um, well my parents and I don’t have a relationship any longer, unfortunately” (because of abuse, but that’s none of her business).

Then SIL asks, “You have a son? That’s nice. Well, is he here?” “No, he’s spending the holiday weekend with his dad and his grandparents and cousins out of state. I’d love to be with him, of course, but he doesn’t get to see them all very often, so I’m happy for him and thankful they’re all together right now.”

SIL: “Oh my god, that’s terrible. Well, I just know that if I ever went through a divorce, I would insist on having my kids every holiday. That’s just not right. You should be together. He’s your son.” (JFC, really?! DEEP BREATH!!!) “Actually, it’s really ok because they all deserve to see one other. It was hard for me at first, and it still is sometimes, but we can just celebrate Christmas when he gets back!”

SIL: “Well, has he called you, at least?” “Not yet, but I’m sure we’ll talk this evening. He’s visiting with a lot of family members today so he’s probably very busy. He’ll call me once his cousins leave and he has some quiet time.”

SIL: “Well, that’s just terrible. What kind of son doesn’t call his mother on Christmas Day? I would be so upset. How are you not upset right now? Are you two not close or something? Is that why? I know I would be devastated if I couldn’t even talk with my own child on Christmas.”

At that point I was so pissed I had to excuse myself to the bathroom so I could cry it out. Like what the hell?!! John and Annie only heard part of that conversation, and were horrified. Dinner was tense, but we had fun after they left. And my son called me that evening, just as I knew he would. But ugh!

Let’s hear all about those transformations in the comments below.

URL: Senior Writer, Jezebel. IRL: Author of the very good book 'LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS,' out now.



Not explicitly New Year’s-y, but my mother spent the last 20-30 minutes of our weekly phone call talking about why I should try to lose weight for my wedding. I have asked her not to talk to me about weight loss, I explained (again!) why I don’t want to put that pressure on myself, and while she usually gets it and respects that boundary, she majorly dropped the ball this time, so I spent a fun couple of hours crying and trying to pull myself out of a negative thought-spiral afterwards. I really thought it would be a nice thing to try going dress shopping with my mom when I’m back in the States in a few months, but apparently it might turn into Prom Shopping: Redux. Sigh.