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.
It’s hard not to feel like the world is in peril. So many of my personal heroes have died this year. American leadership is questionable at best (and downright devious at worst). As this year comes to a close, I have not felt merry or bright. I’ve spent the last few months feeling small and hopeless and afraid for the the future.
This has not been a great year.
While it feels like the end of the world, it isn’t. Probably. And good things DID happen this year and will continue to occur in small and large ways, I’m sure. These days I often find myself overwhelmed by fear and doubt of whatever is to come. It feels natural, almost reassuring, to lapse into paralyzed grief. But instead I want to fight. I want to read about all the things I do not know, to educate myself and make myself a better and more informed citizen. I want to help those who cannot help themselves and protect those at risk. 2016 was a disaster, but 2017 will have its own series of battles. Instead of wallowing, I vow to fight back, whatever that entails, and I beg for the strength to keep going when everything gets hard, as I know it will.
I’m not going to dwell on the bad things that happened this year. We all know them. We lived them. Drumpf. The election. The loss of so many great artists: Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Gene Wilder, Anton Yelchin, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher, among others. War and horror in Syria. Black lives lost over and over and over. Terror attacks. Gun violence. Hatred. Homophobia. Racism. Misogyny. The list goes on.
Instead, I’d like to look back at what good I was able to find in an otherwise very difficult year:
- I turned 25.
- I watched Singing in the Rain and O Brother Where Art Thou? for the first times.
- We had many lovely friends over for brunch and dinner and games.
- I finally finished Gilmore Girls just in time to watch A Year in the Life (I loved it).
- I invested in replacing all our bulbs with CFLs.
- I tried to say no to projects that weren’t bringing me joy.
- All my friends came over and dyed Easter eggs at my house.
- I successfully explored New York City on my own.
- I SAW HAMILTON WITH THE ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST (minus Jonathan Groff).
- We saw Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder talk about Serial at Symphony Hall.
- Got to go to PAX East.
- I helped run the very small Cambridge Community Comics Arts Fair.
- We saw a special screening of Don’t Think Twice with a special Q&A with Mike Birbiglia and Chris Gethard following. (I also met Mike and he was very kind.)
- We went to Neil’s cousin’s wedding and it was just so beautiful and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.
- PODCASTS. All of them. What a glorious time for radio.
- I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $18,000.
- I was a second round reader for the Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest.
- I visited my dear friend Ross for a summer weekend in New York and we saw WAITRESS on Broadway.
- I apparently wrote “God help and forgive me I want to build something that’s gonna outlive me” at least three separate times in my diary.
- I was the Managing Editor for Boundless, which is a real book I helped publish.
- We threw what may have been the best summer house party of all time.
- We drove out of state to a casino to see a free Hellogoodbye concert.
- I was stalked by house centipedes (I know this doesn’t sound like a good thing, but I really learned a lot about myself and my relationship with insects with too many legs.)
- I work with some of the best people on Earth.
- We went on a Pacific Northwest tour of Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Vancouver, British Columbia and got to catch up with some truly amazing friends.
- I ate SO MANY gluten free treats. I made a lot of them myself.
- I get to eat apples again (in reasonable quantities).
- I started playing Vampire: The Masquerade with an absolutely phenomenal group.
- Neil and I celebrated four years together by watching Wolf Children and eating cookies and strawberries and drinking wine.
- I saw Built to Spill and Hop Along.
- FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM.
- I helped found Robot Camp, a comics collective.
- I took care of a lot of people’s cats.
- I helped plan, organize, and execute the 2016 Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo.
- I printed my very first comic: CATSTAR (illustrated by the illustrious Olivia Li).
- We finally caught up on Steven Universe.
- I invested in multiple pairs of long underwear for the winter.
- I am executive producing an audio drama podcast.
- I saw The Scottsboro Boys, which was one of the most brilliant performances I’ve ever seen.
- I made new friends.
- I saw MOANA!
- I had a Christmas that felt truly special for the first time in years.
- I started reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Also known as Game of Thrones. (God, it is taking me forever to get through.)
If you want to see my full book list, click below. It’s a little small this year, but I’m hoping to do better in 2017.
Happy New Year everyone.
Another year is coming to a close. I always get pensive this time of year. Time seems to be moving so much faster these days. I just hope I am properly taking advantage of it. In that regard, let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of this year:
- I started watching Breaking Bad with Neil. I still haven’t finished because it’s too stressful to watch all at once.
- Danced it up at Howl at the Moon.
- I turned 24.
- Played a LOT of board games.
- The entire city of Boston was battered by blizzards.
- I used a bath bomb for the first time and boy was it magical.
- Neil and I were both sick on Valentine’s Day. It was gross and romantic. ❤
- I did a little writing here and there, including finally reviewing the first draft of my tragically awful novel.
- I passed on the winning fiction piece for a local emerging writer’s contest.
- I worried about the state of our country and our criminal justice system. I still worry about that.
- I watched a lot of Gilmore Girls but didn’t finish (yet).
- We played a lot of DDR. Like a lot.
- I sprawled on Liz’s couch and loved Mabel. Also loved Liz.
- Bar trivia with the besties.
- I listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts.
- I had a god damn fiasco disaster trying to buy new glasses. Warby Parker failed me and my super blind eyes. I ended up at Spectacle in the South End and found a pair I really love. Thanks Paul. You are an amazing optician.
- I met Laci Green. She is an inspiration.
- I saw the Mountain Goats, They Might Be Giants, Hank Green, Sufjan Stevens (open weeping), Conor Oberst, and Desaparecidos in concert. They were all transcendent experiences.
- Conor Oberst may have touched my hand.
- I had a gastric emptying test. It was weird and long and came back normal.
- I cut my hair short.
- I had a bad reaction to the dye when having a MRE and it was absolutely no fun.
- Neil and I started going to the Boston Comics Roundtable.
- I saw Welcome to Nightvale live.
- I couldn’t stop listening to 1989.
- We visited Ross in Burlington and had glorious gluten free crepes.
- I struggled with doubt and anxiety.
- I said a lot of not so nice things about the Republican presidential candidates.
- I attended the 1920s themed wedding of our friends Justin and Heidi at a gorgeous estate in Rhode Island. It was beautiful and so much fun.
- I experienced the gluten free doughnut.
- I vacationed a few days with Neil in Portland, Maine.
- Neil and I rode bicycles around Peaks Island and explored an extremely creepy WWII battery.
- I cracked my tooth eating kettle corn while my dentist was out of town and had to get an emergency crown. It cost an absurd amount of money.
- Neil and I went to the Science of PIXAR exhibit at the Museum of Science.
- I saw Inside Out and sobbed loudly in public.
- I tabled for BCR at Boston Comic Con and TopatoCon.
- I spent time with friends from back home.
- We moved into an amazing and comfortable new apartment.
- We went to upstate New York and stayed in a million dollar mansion.
- I had an ultrasound. It was weird. I think I’ve had every test they can possibly do to look at the inside of your abdomen.
- The antics of the Maine crew made me laugh so hard.
- 90% of the power went out in our apartment our first week there. I handled it just as well as could be expected.
- Primark opened in downtown Boston. #bless
- I started seeing a new nutritionist and PCP who really seem like a good fit.
- Neil and I attended the first ever NerdCon in Minneapolis and I got to see my friend Abby.
- I helped keep the exhibitors happy at the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo.
- I hosted my very first Murder Mystery Dinner Party.
- I saw Libba Bray at Boston Book Festival.
- I voted.
- I felt the Bern.
- Neil and I were Bert Macklin and Janet Snakehole for Halloween and it was glorious.
- I attended the Massachusetts Conference for Women.
- I SAW STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.
- I got a Kitchen Aid for Christmas and cried.
- I read 40 books.
And I’m sure there’s more to add: so many wonderful, little moments in a year. I wish I could have captured them all. I have big hopes for 2016. I am going to be a quarter of a century, which makes me nervous. I feel like there is so much I have yet to accomplish and so much I should already have done. But only time will tell.
Until next time!
If you want to see my full book list for the year click below (asterisk indicates graphic novel):
I’m going to be perfectly honest. The year 2014 was not great for me. I was sick and frustrated for most of it, but all that being considered, some pretty amazing things happened and I got to share my time with some of the most wonderful and dear people that I know. So, in the spirit of the new year, let us consider this past one:
– I had my one year anniversary at the AMS and was grateful.
– I watched Frozen and had my life forever changed.
– I saw Neutral Milk Hotel at the Orpheum and it was insane.
– I turned 23.
– I watched Veronica Mars in its entirety for the first time ever.
– I saw Groundhog Day for the first time and also simultaneously in theaters.
– We didn’t have working heat in the apartment for a full forty-eight hour period.
– I saw a therapist for a little while.
– I started getting into yoga.
– I scalded my forearm.
– I went through the ordeal that is a colonoscopy and it was awful.
– Neil found work and all our hopes were answered.
– We found two amazing new roommates and friends.
– The power weirdly went off in half our apartment for a couple of days.
– Many parties were had of the friend, Halloween, Christmas, New Year, and other variety.
– I went to the New England Aquarium.
– I copyedited my first book, Climate Conundrums by Bill Gail.
– I spent a loooooot of money at Whole Foods (like a lot).
– Justin and I released our Disney cover album.
– I took an online class about the Lord of the Rings.
– I bought a new laptop.
– I found the world’s greatest primary care physician, gastrointestinal specialist, and nutritionist and they are all together slowly saving my life.
– I went to the beach and got stung by a jellyfish, which was weird and painful, but also kind of awesome.
– I started a game club at work.
– I started the FODMAP diet and went gluten free, which has been challenging but helpful.
– I celebrated my two year anniversary with Neil and I cannot express how much I ardently admire and love him and value his companionship, support, and affection.
– Neil finished his book and I helped him show his work at MICE and we met a really cool dude named Evan.
– I spoke words to Maki Naro.
– I had an upper endoscopy and was really scared, but it all worked out for the best.
– Neil and I had a ballin’ Halloween costume (Luke and Leia on Hoth)
– We went to Vancouver and it was breathtaking and phenomenal.
– Neil showed his work at Northeast Comic Con with Evan (and I helped!).
– I went to New York to visit my friend Ross.
– I had many friends leave Boston and come to visit. Each meeting and parting has been heart wrenching and warming, respectively.
– I protested on the streets of Boston because #blacklivesmatter
– I cooked Christmas dinner and did not burn the house down. (Also pies).
– I read 43 and 98/100th books (see below).
There is probably more, little moments that I couldn’t quite fish out of my memory right now. There was a lot of laughter and fun among the pain and strangeness. I persevered and I have a new hope for the future that I certainly did not have at this time last year. I am glad to have lived through all of it because with the bad, there has been some wonderful moments. Thanks for hanging in with me. Expect more book reviews and life musings in 2015.
Until next time!
If you want to see the full book list, click below!
One thing I like about being home is the microwave. There are a lot of things you can do with a microwave, whole meals you could make, but I like having access to one because I can heat up my tea when it inevitably goes cold because I’ve left it sitting somewhere (the worst). Unintentionally cold tea should be a crime.
In other news, I RECEIVED MY PASSPORT! I am actually going to London. LONDON LONDON LONDON! It makes me feel a little hyperactive, but in the absolutely best way possible. I am less skeptical now that I have my actual passport. I still won’t believe it until I’m standing in the city. And I have tea. London-ness and tea. That will cure my skepticism. I am ridiculously excited.
Also, I have started two books A Lost Lady by Willa Cather and Blankets by Craig Thompson. They are very different. I’m going to finish the Cather novel first methinks.