I made a lot of promises to myself last January and broke almost all of them. I said I was going to put my goals first, that I was going to chase them, fight for them. And I haven’t. Chasing the thing you want is terrifying. If anyone tells you it isn’t hard than I don’t know what they’re selling but I’d please like some. As a chronic people pleaser who likes to be useful, it’s much easier to put others first. I’ve spent most of 2017 underneath the water, sunk into a malaise that I feel very responsible for. I don’t take enough risks. I don’t work hard enough. I sleep too much. I’m too sick. I waste time. I’m a talentless hack. Every aspect of my life feels tenuous and unstable: my career, my finances, my living situation, my art. Student loans threaten to end me. I can’t seem to actually make a decent salary with the constant uptick in all of our expenses. If only I could go without food. And time keeps getting away from me. To paraphrase Virginia Woolf: My kingdom for some cash, a few hours of time, and a room of my own.
Life seems bleak. And I feel stupid and weak for feeling this way. I feel even more ridiculous for wanting to talk about it when it’s so much easier to just pretend everything is fine. This has been a really difficult year for me. I don’t feel great about that. It feels a lot like failure, like I’m lacking something, whatever it is that gives people the strength and ability to function normally, without tearing up and feeling that tightness in their chest, and just manage their own life with acceptance and grace. I’ve sought out help and I’m working on it but that doesn’t change the fact that this year has been a struggle. I’m tired. I’m anxious. I feel like I fall short in a million different ways. I’m not sure what to do next.
So despite being in my own way, 2017 happened. This year I:
- Turned 26. Egad.
- Spent countless hours with family and friends.
- Hosted many a game night.
- Marched, protested, and donated my time and money where I could.
- Played vampires.
- Helped organize and execute MICE 2017.
- Scheduled many things.
- Helped produce an audio drama.
- Watched many good films: The Big Sick, Fences, Arrival, Moonlight, Get Out, Ingrid Goes West, Wonder Woman, Lady Bird, Baby Driver, Battle of the Sexes, Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049, The Florida Project, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
- Got MOVIEPASS. Life changer.
- Read a bunch of ace comics.
- Went to NerdCon: Nerdfighteria.
- Saw local theater.
- Attended PAX East 2017.
- Got a professional massage for the first time (10/10, would recommend)
- Saw Julien Baker & The Decemberists in New Haven.
- Went to Provincetown for the first time.
- Helped publish Campfire #2: Ghosts.
- Got new glasses.
- Experienced Kaiju Big Battel.
- Decided bangs were a look for me.
- Watched my baby brother graduate college.
- Had my wisdom teeth removed.
- Started listening to My Favorite Murder. SSDGM.
- Attended and participated in my father’s wedding to my amazing now stepmom and my family grew and got more awesome.
- Ran a 5K. Did not die.
- Had a Mini Break in Maine for Neil’s 30th.
- Exhibited at SPX 2017.
- Saw Mike Birbiglia’s new stand-up special.
- Saw Patrick McHale talk.
- Celebrated five years with Neil. I truly don’t know where I’d be without him.
- Saw Dan Deacon in Providence.
- Hosted our first ever Friendsgiving.
- Survived the holidays. I think.
The above list is a testament to the fact that life goes on. There were good moments in the last year. I remember having a very spirited, happy, and fun summer, many engaging and memorable conversations, laughing until I cried, feeling loved and cared for. But it’s hard to keep that in perspective when you’re feeling particularly low (and cold and dark; god, this seasonal affective stuff is killing me). Especially when you feel like you need to pretend that everything is fine.
I want 2018 to be different. I want it to be the “year of me,” which feels ridiculous and selfish to say. But I want to put myself first and actually follow through and just sort of see what happens. I always put my projects on the back burner because it’s easier and less scary to help other people achieve things than to do what I actually want to do. If I’m going to be depressed, it might as well be because I’m really going for it and failing, instead of just not trying hard enough. To quote a friend, “2018 is going to be my year.” So, my One Word for 2018 is going to be “Me.” And I’m really going to try to mean it.
See below for my list of books for 2017:
Books read in 2017 (updated 26 December 2017)
Star (*) indicates graphic novel
(re) indicates re-reading
- Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart
- What’s Your Sign, Girl?* by Robert Kirby (Ed.)
- Legend & Lore of Cape Cod by Robin Smith-Johnson
- Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
- The Thief of Always by Clive Barker
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Tin House: Rehab
- A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
- A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
- Making Scents* by Arthur Yorinks, Braden Lamb, and Shelli Paroline
- A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik
- The Other Side: An Anthology of Queer Paranormal Romance*
- Henchgirl* by Kristen Gudsnuk
- Witchlight* by Jessi Zabarsky
- The Encyclopedia of Early Earth* by Isabel Greenberg
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Last Halloween* by Abby Howard
- Swallow Me Whole* by Nate Powell
- Rice Boy* by Evan Dahm
- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
- Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
- Carrie by Stephen King
- Horns by Joe Hill
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche – currently reading
- A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn – currently reading