Saying goodbye, saying goodnight. 2016 has been the busiest and perhaps the best year of my life.
Winter of this year marked my final quarter of college, where I completed a graduate level poetry class and compiled my first poetry chapbook, TRIP: Poems. After six years, two universities and one community college in two different cities along I-5, I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in English with Creative Writing emphasis from WWU. March 19th, 2016 marked a schism in my reality that I am still learning to accept and cope with every day.
In the spring, I bought a car. On April 20th I got out of a nearly four year relationship, and simultaneously consumed my last drink of alcohol. I spent nearly the entirety of May scrambling to make well-informed decisions and write a new script or for my life. I decided to quit my job and move away from the house and city I’d lived and loved in for two years. On the same day I moved back to Bellingham (June 6) I also interviewed for and got offered a new job at Avenue Bread downtown, where I get to kick ass and drink coffee with some of the most amazing coworkers I could ask for.
This summer I worked hard and played harder. I made friends, fell in love, dropped acid, climbed up near Mount Baker & pledged my fealty to those mountains, ran around as many lakes and waterfalls as I could, and watched a plethora of magic sunsets from my summer home overlooking Bellingham Bay. Every person I shared that North Garden home with changed my outlook and helped feed my momentum. I opened up to people like never before, danced and danced and sang and danced, at music festivals in the woods and at clubs & bars downtown, and made new connections that I envision lasting a lifetime. I gave my heart away a few times; sometimes it came back to me more powerful than ever, and sometimes people dropped it back into my chest cavity bruised and mangled. But it’s still beating.
In the fall I moved again, from North Garden to the York District. In October I underwent trauma at the hands of someone I considered a friend, and have spent much of my time since then processing and learning what the hell a ‘boundary’ is and how to enforce mine as a femme presenting person in a patriarchal world that doesn’t want to give us access to the word ‘no.’ I wrote a rant about being trans & feeling invisible that turned into a slam poem and gave one of the best performances of my life at my favorite poetry gathering. I started learning how to be okay being alone, learning how to fill hours with my own music and words, how to ignore anxiety-fueled guilt and accept my autonomy as absolute. I started driving for Uber, started trying to figure out how to give back to my community. I went to my first protest. I came out as trans/nonbinary to my family and friends via Facebook.
Now it’s December 31st. This post skims the surface of my last 366 days, but I say confidently and often that 2016 has been the best year of my life, even with the trauma and lows. Tonight I’ll be starting the new year driving for Uber, making money for my future/getting me out of immediate debt, and helping keep my community of Bellingham safe. I’m 8 months and 9 days sober. I’m single and celibate and okay with that. I read 53 books this year, and want to double that number next year. I just turned 25 and I’m ready to take on my next quarter century. I’m ready for whatever 2017 has to throw at me. The future is mine. And yours.