Sunday, December 31, 2017

Good Things That Happened in 2017

Today, I'm building off of a Twitter thread I did awhile back, as a way to end the year on a high note. I couldn't resist the healthy and positive meme, and I thought, hey why not make this into a blog post? Because fuck guys, 2017 was rough. It brought the end of 2016, which was one of my good things, and also made me feel at least semi-okay, until... it was literally day after day of this asshole's nonsense, of a leader who is doing his very best to defeat the rest of us. It was actual hell, and it is impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But you know what? He didn't defeat me. I'm not defeated. I've lost too much of my life grieving dead loved ones only to turn around and do it again for the country. So, no. I'm not finished yet, and I've got 2018 ahead of me, and I'm determined as fuck to make it the best year in a long, long time.

I'm going to be talking more about 2018, and my hopes and dreams and fears and wants, in January. So instead I'm going to add to the growing list of good things I'd started on Twitter, in the event that I need to come back to it next year to remind myself that I've been broken once before and I'm still here, that I'm still fighting and won't give up. Some of these are HUGE things, and some of them are small, but they all mean so much to me. So yeah, here's to looking back on what happened in 2017!

♛ I got hired in part-time at my job, with a small pay raise I wasn't expecting. And while I don't plan to stay here forever, it's good for now. It's just enough. The people are (mostly) great, the work is sometimes challenging and can get stressful but it's chill and often easy, and I feel so much more confident there than I have for so long. I've learned A LOT, and I'm good at what I do. I don't want to change that yet.

♛ I made friends at this place too and have gotten to know a lot of my coworkers better over the summer and into fall. I've had so many moments of joy and laughter here. I enjoy going out after work with them. I drove up a Thursday before Christmas and was able to do Buffalo Wild Wings night with a few people, which was great. And even when I get teased (which is often and daily), I feel a sense of, I don't know, belonging? Even though I would probably only keep in touch with my closest friend there when I ever leave, I'm less filtered than I am in a lot of ways. The people make the bullshit worth it.

♛ I've slowly, but surely, been finding my voice this year. Calling people out who hurt or anger me, opening up about my feelings or opinions. I'm still not the greatest at any of that, but it's a start. And I've been focusing on MYSELF. It's been wonderful, and something completely needed in this trash fire of a year.

♛ I've become open about my depression and social anxiety (in this community, not IRL yet), and I'm finding it easier and easier to talk about. And in 2018, I also want to take the next steps to better my mental health.

♛ I went to ALA midwinter *and* annual this year. I got so many books, met/saw tons of authors, and spent amazing days with the BEST people. Also did a gift exchange with faves Val, Shannon, and Rashika during our trip, which was the most fun ever. ❤️❤️

♛ I got to meet Emery Lord, who is one of my favorite just in general human beings, and SHE RECOGNIZED ME FROM TWITTER. πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

♛ I won NaNoWriMo! I need to actually finish this book, but I'm so determined and MOTIVATED to do it. 2018 is going to be the year for chasing my dreams of becoming a published author!

♛ I got practice driving in the city because of my job (when before it had scared me so much I'd never tried), so I was able to go to Leigh Bardugo's The Language of Thorns tour stop, which was so FUN and the only non-conference bookish event I did.

♛ I went to the mall BY MYSELF. It was a little scary, but also like really great? Crowds at stores like this can make me anxious (and it's in the city), but I actually liked the time alone and not feeling like who was with me would judge me for my purchases. Haha.

♛ I got closer to family members I'd barely talked to before starting this job. Learned more about them, became FRIENDS with them. It's been nice. It hasn't been all good (I've recognized just how toxic one of my cousins is and how much she hurts my mental health), but I do appreciate the things my family has done for me. My feelings are a tangled mess after the election and whatnot, but I guess I'm glad to have my eyes wide open now about who some of them are as people? It's a work-in-progress, to be sure, so we'll see what 2018 brings in this regard. But for a few of my relatives, this HAS been a good thing because I actually have relationships with them now. :) 

♛ I got a new laptop, and it's so much better than my last one. πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ™ŒπŸΌ

♛ I got to see Shannon twice this year, and at least Val and Rashika once, SO I CAN'T COMPLAIN TOO MUCH BUT IT'S NEVER ENOUGH TIME TOGETHER. They are the best friends in the world, and I wish we lived closer to each other. 😭

♛ I bought more dresses JUST BECAUSE. I used to loathe wearing them, but now I love them, and I have a Wonder Woman one that I just adore. 😍

♛ I BOUGHT SCRIVENER. And it is the actual best. I haven't switched over stories yet from Word, but I (re)started the first book in my only ~planned~ trilogy on it, and it is so. fun. The split screens! The levels of organization! It's going to help SO MUCH that I can't believe I've gone so long without this program.

♛ I [kind of] celebrated my 5th blogoversary! My feels on blogging have changed a little, but I still love what I do here, and I can't wait to see what opportunities 2018 brings. But yeah, it's a big number and I was very happy to reach it and realize that I want to continue doing this!

♛ When I was having a REALLY bad week, one of my coworkers made me a cootie catcher to cheer me up. And little moments throughout the year from other people in my life just reminded me that I have them, that I'm not alone, that my feelings matter. I just 😭😭 From friends checking up on me to being invited to things to having coworkers who understood and didn't mock or scoff at my social anxiety about something as simple as a party, I've come to appreciate the small gestures and kindness. 

♛ I got to see and hangout with other friends this year too! Like Sabrina and Zoey. And I got to meet Theresa for the first time. I love bookish people. ❤️

♛ I FLEW FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER AND IT WAS GREAT. A little scary, made me anxious at times, but I surprisingly loved it.

♛ Also met authors Anna-Marie McLemore, Victoria Schwab and Roshani Chokshi (who gave me like two hugs, she was so excited to meet me), and new faves Angie Thomas and Brandy Colbert. IT WAS SUCH A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR MEETING FAVES.

♛ I've gotten a lot more confident in myself: my abilities, my writing, my driving, my socializing. I still have a long ways to go re: insecurity, but I feel a lot better than I have in the past. I've grown as a person, and that's a great thing to see after so many years of feeling like a failure. I'm not perfect nor at 100%, but I'm heading in a good direction. And I can see that, and I can keep working toward it in the new year!

♛ New Taylor Swift album πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ™ŒπŸΌ

♛ New books from favorite authors, favorites from new-to-me authors. It's been a FAB reading year. Only about half a dozen 2/2.5 stars. Everything else was above 3, which I'll take. :D

♛ Playing Cards Against Humanity with my friends during our ALA annual trip. So much laughing to be had, I was crying.

♛ Year 3 of Shattering Stigmas, which was amazing. I loved the group of hosts we had this time around, getting to know some of them better and also meeting new faves of mine. I also felt brave and comfortable enough to share my own story, and the response had me in tears. Seriously, thank you for the support and love you have shown me over the years and with this mental health event. It's because of you that I was able to say, hey I have depression but it doesn't define me.

♛ ALSO I came out as bisexual on the blog. I still have yet to ~formally~ do it on Twitter but I plan to soon. I just didn't want do it while IRL people were following me (but I soft-blocked them all except one, so it's almost okay to do so). I have known this since last year, but it took me a long time to feel fully safe to come out. But since doing so, I have felt RELIEF, like it was something I didn't want holding me back anymore? I'm currently writing a few stories with bisexual main characters, and they make me so happy. Here's to queering up ALL my books. :D (I swear my NaNo WIP has not one straight important character in it)

♛ I reread a favorite childhood series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and it was a fantastic experience. So different seeing it through my adult eyes! And I could not at all remember the ending, so the refresher was great.

♛ the Wonder Woman movie. It was entirely girl power and amazing and Diana is the most precious cinnamon roll, and it's something I wish we'd had AGES ago.

♛ I've fully embraced my Gryffindor side. I've always wondered if that was a fluke, considering how very Ravenclaw I am. But I think I do fit into this house, more so now than in the past. I'm trying to be more brave, to be more adventurous, to unsheathe my claws when I deserve better, to fight. And I'm going to need my lion heart to get through 2018. It won't be easy, but I know I can do it.

♛ I went on a spontaneous one-day trip to Chicago, which is something huge I'd normally *never* do because I like to be prepared, to plan for things. While it wasn't the best, I'm happy I did it. It was nice to get out of Michigan for a bit, and to explore the city more than I've been able to every other time I've been there. I visited the bean again, ate some good food, explored the Chicago Cultural Center, and was invited into a fire station. :D

♛ By the time tomorrow ends, I will have *hopefully* hit 161 books for the year. One more than in 2016, which is awesome! 

I'm even inspired by this to do something I'd thought about doing before: journaling, a place where I can record the good, positive, and happy-making things that happen to me throughout the year. I remember reading about it from Inge, and I really loved the idea, but I never started one. Well, we've got even more fights ahead, another year of this fucker in the WH, so I think it's time to make one. I'm going to need all the tools in my arsenal to kick 2018's ass.

What are some good things that have happened to you in 2017? Did you hit any goals, make new friends, fall in love, read a book you saw yourself in, survive 2017? Whatever it is, however many you can think of it, remember that you got through this year. You're still here. And that is something to absolutely celebrate. :)

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