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On The Blank Canvas, or “The Fresh New Start.”


There’s something really refreshing about buying a new calendar when a new year starts.  When you purchase your new calendar for the upcoming year, it’s usually around the time where there’s pure madness and chaos in the air after Christmas, right before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, and there’s the post-holiday depression riddled with new year’s ‘resolutions,’ but also that joyous sensation we feel we need to carry over from Christmas that tends to get lost somewhere between Martin Luther King, Jr. day and President’s day.  While it has many names, I call it the incredibly boring and totally cliché “fresh new start.”  You know that time period; it’s that time where you REALLY want to not be a douche and try to change or stick to your goals for the New Year or whatever you wish.  I’ve never been one to make new year’s resolutions, mostly because when I plan to do something or I’m super positive about something, it tends to backfire, so I tend to low-ball my ideas, like “don’t die” and “don’t be an idiot” and “don’t destroy your liver” because something else actually makes me want to try the “fresh new start” craze, and that is the day when I march down to Office Depot and begin perusing the new paper calendars for the upcoming year.


I know what everyone is thinking: I don’t use iCal and I’m probably the last person on earth who doesn’t use it as a daily thing.  Yep, the 1700s called, they want their pen and paper back, but here’s a little backstory on how Kylie’s brain works.  I am an audio/visual person with (among other things) moderate OCD.  My OCD when I was younger used to be about certain patterns (i.e. when I was little, I would walk around a bannister in my house until it was “ok” for me to stop.) but now my OCD typically stems from my obsession of numbers and my compulsion to make lists.  I make lists upon lists, to do lists, to read lists, to listen lists, things I’ve done lists….I cannot move forward without knowing I have written down EVERYTHING I needed to list-seriously, y’all can deal for another 5 minutes without me because it is NOT okay yet because I still have to finish my lists (that’s usually when my number portion of OCD kicks in…it’s really fun, guys.  OCD is super great….UGH.)

Anyway, at the end of December, the thing on top of my daily list for 3 days was GET NEW 2013 CALENDAR.  It was mostly out of necessity (my entire headspace was “what the fuck January can you calm down already you’re being out of control” for around a week before 2013 actually started) but also because when you open up a new calendar for the first time, you’re looking at 12 months of blank pages.  12 months of unknown filled with potential.  Sure, you may know major events like birthdays, Coachella, the epcot flower and garden festival, upfronts, when the second season of squaresville will launch, what have you.  But then there are the blank days.  You know those days; the days that have zero expectations, and THOSE are the challenges because those days make you WANT to try that ‘fresh new start’ out: do new things, create new works, or maybe you just lay in bed in your pajamas having a Netflix marathon of ALIAS (love you, Bradley Cooper circa 2001).   These are the days that you may wake up and go “welp, back to bed!” or “SHIT WHY DO I HAVE TWELVE AUDITIONS TODAY WHEN I HAVE TO GET PIE TO THE VET FOR HER CHECKUP BAAAAAAAH,” but you have to do SOMETHING with your day, and write it down, either for memory for another project/meeting later or for nostalgia (especially if something cool or something tragic happens).  Simply put, my written calendar is my daily list.  That’s the only way it makes sense to me: I have to make my daily list, otherwise my entire day goes awry.  It’s also nice to look back later on when the smoke has cleared when things are stressful (i.e. Pilot Season, aka the season where all actors in Los Angeles become absolutely neurotic for four months and we don’t eat and we sleep in our cars with four changes of clothing and we don’t interact with normal people for a while.  Basically I’m apologizing in advance until April right now, sorry guys) to see what you DID accomplish on days where you thought “well, if Britney Spears can make it through 2007, I can make it through this day” and realize how you’re doing….and maybe accomplishing some of those “fresh new start” ideas.

Fresh Start

Oh the “fresh new start.”  We’re back to that.  I’ll say this: 2012 was filled with some of the worst moments of my life, but also some of the most rewarding, and while those rewarding moments definitely made the darker times of my year a bit easier to swallow, for me, 2012 SUCKED.  (I also turned 25 in 2012, so that quarter-life crisis idea + that whole Mayan prophecy situation was SO not coincidental.)  The only way I got through was knowing that the “fresh new start” of these [now formerly] blank pages in my new 2013 calendar made me cross my fingers and hope that 2013 will be a hell of a lot better.  (also because when you add them up, 2+0+1+3 = 6, an even number, which in my OCD-riddled brain, I took that as a sign that being 26 in 2013, both even numbers and 2+ 6 =8 /2 = 4 [my lucky number] and 26/2= 13 for 2013, means that THIS IS GOOD.  EVERYTHING IS GOOD oh my god brain stop you’re being annoying ANYWAY).  So far, not gonna lie, 2013 has been pretty great, and I think we’re gonna turn out okay this year (knocking on wood, quick I need to offend someone so I don’t completely jinx myself), but in true Kylie list form, here’s how last year and my 2013 calendar so far has influenced my 2013 “fresh new start,” especially since my birthday is January 27 and I am turning 26 this year:

  • Since I’m still recovering from surgery to remove my excess skin {and facing another surgery in the middle of 2013} I’m starting fresh with a new body, still swollen and creating its shape, but I physically am facing a new challenge this year, which emotionally is also challenging me to work on my perception of who I am, inside and out (including things as little as figuring out how to sing without grimacing in pain until I’m fully healed).
  • I’ve realized I need to get my head back in the game and be more proactive with my life and career and get back into the swing of things ASAP.  Yes, I was doing that before (and really, I always do….“I’m a hustla baby, I just want you to know…”), but I let some personal things and insecurities get in the way in the summer and fall and it made my headspace weird and not healthy.  So obviously, I need more ‘me’ time and figuring out how to be okay with the times I’m not going 945803457049570968 miles an hour and be grateful for the times that I am, and not let my insecurities about my work and shit going on in my life feed into a “well shit I’m never going to be Marion Cotillard GODDAMMIT going back to bed” spiral.
  • I’m going to work on being more creative with my free time and try to write, brainstorm, ANYTHING at least once a day this year without judgment, even if it’s free thought writing or terrible poetry or just a sketch of an idea, and collaborating with my friends who I know I want to work on stuff with, including Tiffany (which anyone who knows us knows we always have 12 things up our sleeves, we are the BroTP of Team Squaresville), Bri and Meaghan (two of my best friends I’ve known since I was 8 years old), my Wonderlings, and anyone who is willing to take an afternoon to work on something, whether or not it ends up coming to life, because not everything will leave the pages of a notebook or a stickies note, and I need to be okay with just creating for the sake of creativity, and I need to do something more thought provoking than Tumblr or Netflix.  Sorry, Internet.
  • I need to be around my friends more often and reconnect with those I have lost touch with for one reason or another.  And by my friends, I mean the friends I love that are good for me and I KNOW they’re good for me, not the a**holes.  Too many times I have been in toxic friendships and relationships because of the fact being nice is way easier and less taxing than being a douche, but I’ve made the hard decisions to cut ties with people who made me feel like shit about myself and standing up for myself, and I’ve learned that that doesn’t actually mean acting like a douche when you do it.  The people that I have been around in the past few years who have seen me at some of the worst points in my twenties are some of the best people I have met in my life and I am so grateful for them, and I need to be around them more because they are my greatest champions (for example, one of my best friends, Braden, and I haven’t hung out in MONTHS and I feel so bad I haven’t seen him in forever and he is just a doll but our schedules/lives just got chaotic, but even when sh*t hits the fan, he still makes time to come to my tapings or watch Squaresville and I adore him for that, and one of my other best friends, Bri, lives in Brooklyn and I never see her but when I do she buys me a bottle of wine and I get to listen to her new songs she and her band are kicking ass on.) and they believe in me when I don’t believe in myself.  While I’m an only child and an unlikely introvert, when I need my friends, NEWSTEAM ASSEMBLE.
  • I need to be a better person to my mother, who is incredible but sometimes she gets the brunt of all of my negativity, especially since she took care of me post-operation, and I feel bad about it sometimes.  Patty is a damn saint and the best mom ever and I am so blessed to have her as my mom.  Hell, she’ll be everyone’s mom if someone needs a mom (seriously, she is literally everyone’s mom for my friends) and there is a reason why my first tattoo was in her handwriting, so that way I always have her with me.

Well crap, these might be deemed ‘new year’s resolutions,’ but honestly, a NYR is just a ‘fresh new start’ with a timestamp.  Everyone can have a Fresh New Start regardless of what time of year it is and where the idea behind it comes from, but all I want is for my ‘fresh new start’ to become an actual New Start instead of a fad.  So 2013, I’m going to try to hold to these things.  I’ll check back at the end of the year to see if I accomplish them, but if I fall off the wagon, at least I can always start again for a ‘fresh new start’ and write it down in my fresh new 2013 calendar.


By: Kylie Sparks aka Esther on Squaresville

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