Things I’ve Done and How I’ve Won in 2021

2020 was a dumpster fire shit show. I think most of us agree. We rounded out December and went into January looking forward to the new year. 2021 was supposed to be the year that made up for 2020 which was supposed to make up for 2019, which was supposed to make up for 2018, and on and on it goes.

Thanks to a good friend (it’s you, Jen), I started out my 2021 with a cute video about setting themes instead of resolutions or goals. 

(https://youtu.be/NVGuFdX5guE)

My themes for 2021 were learning, fitness, art, and kindness. 

2021 started with some hope. Jen had shared with me about themes. I had a new name. I had a new job at Oxford University Press. Vaccines were on the horizon. There was a light at the end of the quarantunnel.

But at the same time as this positivity flooded to me, I started the new year with several unfathomable betrayals—the kinds I’ll only talk about with uncomfortable laughter. The cost thereof, was the first three months of the year plus interest to depression. 

But this writing isn’t about betrayal.

This writing is a celebration.

I want to reflect on and enjoy the good shit from 2021. 

Let’s break it down by theme. 

Things I learned in 2021: 

  1. 100% of the bullshit hasn’t killed me yet.
  2. It’s ok to drop out of a class you’ve paid for.
  3. Ability and what makes art “good” is completely subjective. When my friends say I’m good, they probably aren’t lying. I am good. I am good enough for them. And therefore I am good enough for me.
  4. “Should” is a word of judgment. Fuck what I should do. If I want to apologise, I will apologise. If I want to run really slowly, I will. If I want to trace something for a painting, fuck you, I’m gonna trace it. If I feel like I “should” probably do something a particular way, I probably need to evaluate. If I should do something because I’ve been indoctrinated or because I’m trying to please everybody, I *should* do whatever I want instead.
  5. I detest disorder. Especially if I’m paying for organisation.
  6. Restarting at the bottom is humbling as fuck. And as much as I’d like to be able to speak with authority on something (anything plz), it’s also liberating to just know nothing and say nothing. Or know everything and say nothing. Some lessons are for me. Some aren’t.
  7. Deleting Facebook is nice.
  8. It takes me almost a year to build a simple 5-minute-a-day habit. But finally, I haven’t had to use a streak freeze on Duolingo since 8 Sept.

Fitness milestones in 2021:

  1. I can run 2 miles. I’ve done it at least 5 times now. I don’t even have to think about it anymore. At the start of the year, I celebrated being able to run just 1 minute or ⅛ of a mile. 
  2. I found the runners’ high. This is like Indiana Jones, National Treasure-level shit. (See the post “Runners’ High).
  3. I found a diet that is comfortable for me and tasty. While I had to ditch the usual foods for the holidays, I made it through the holiday season maintaining moderate portions and exercise routines. 

Kindnesses in 2021:

  1. I’ll be honest. I’m carrying this one over to 2022 so I can try again. 
  2. Mostly I have been kinder to myself. I’ve let myself fail. I’ve let myself feel like shit. I’ve also let myself believe that feeling like shit doesn’t have to be my default mode. 

Art things from 2021:

  1. I think I’ve found my digital art style. I figured out what I like and how to make it work. It still needs refinement, but I think I’m finally onto something resembling “voice”.
  2. I was blessed with a load of really great new friends and pre-friends in the local and local-ish Shakespeare community.
  3. I finally got to do Shakespeare in sign language!
  4. Acting. Oh acting. It has been hard this year. To the point of giving up a time or two. But I’m finally starting to learn to unmask and stop giving what I think people want. I’m finally starting to be able to trust my instincts even if I think I’m supposed to do something else. I’ll get there.
  5. Booked and shot a photoshoot for an organisation I care a lot about.
  6. I got a story published in an anthology!
  7. I got headshots that actually feel like “me” and not me trying to be what I think people want.
  8. Merely Players. Be on the lookout for this one, folks. It’s gonna be a good one.
  9. I’ve done a lot of writing this year. Big things next year, I think.

Random happinesses:

  1. Multiverse Con and all the lovely people there. Friday nights have been amazing. And the con itself? Inspiring! Can’t wait til 2022.
  2. Healthy cats and dogs.
  3. John.
  4. Sweet Tea Shakespeare.
  5. I got an apology I never asked for and that I didn’t know I needed.
  6. Bonded another Aes Sedai
  7. My work was featured by Dan Schreiber on The Cryptid Factor
  8. A good friend got me a really great Cameo!
  9. I began to reconnect with the outside world. I met deers, toads, coyotes, hawks, house cats, snakes etc. And I’ve been working on listening closer to what they have to say.
  10. They/them.
  11. New car!!
  12. Used my grown up money to buy a nice kilt. Finally.
  13. Promotion!!
  14. I think there’s been a lot for me to celebrate that I probably have forgotten. I think I’ll do a journal next year.

Themes for 2022:

Kindness, unmasking, do, and fitness.

DO

I think I’ve focused quite a bit on learning and education this year. It’s been good, but I’m now approaching the Dunning-Kruger abyss. In 2022, I’m going to “do” more things instead of just learn about them.

UNMASK

I’m finally starting to figure out and like who I am. I’m going to try to keep on being me next year. No more “should”. “I should be still” “I should smile more” “I shouldn’t be so blunt”…

Naw. 2022 is the year I unmask. But still masked. Because covid. I’ll be metaphorically unmasked only. 

FITNESS

In late 2021, I finally figured out a diet and exercise that works for me. I’m looking forward to keeping it going in 2022.

KINDNESS

Kindness? It’s hard for me sometimes. Especially when it comes to dealing with myself. So I’m going to try to be as caring and empathetic with myself as I am with others. 

Themes are subject to change.

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