I've been meaning to write a sort-of retrospective on the year since my birthday, and haven't gotten around to it because summer is Crazy. (I'm 27, y'all, when did that happen?!)
I spent all last weekend at or traveling to the Remember the Kalamazoo event. Five years ago in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, the largest inland oil spill in US History happened, and because it was tar sands oil it sank to the bottom of the river, where it still sits. In order to get it out of the river, they need to dredge it, and even that isn't working.
So it was a weekend of sitting with allies in Michigan as they remember what was once here, fight to stop the pipelines and to stop this from happening again, and looking forward to a future. We also took a toxic tour of the BP-Whiting refinery on our way home, led by the only activist in the small company town. It was horrific - to see what refinery communities have to deal with, have to live with. I stepped off the bus and could barely breathe because of the particulate matter in the air. There's an oil spill that's been sitting there for basically five years, with no real clean-up efforts because it's on industrial land.
The whole experience was chilling. Some might even say Orwellian.
But that all deserves its own post!
There's an all-day climate change solutions visioning workshop today that I RSVPd for when I got back from Kalamazoo, but now that I've gone through a week of intense stress about grad school logistics, I'm feeling like I really just need to have a quiet morning with my coffee, my computer, my notebooks, and my plans. I feel more like reflecting, and then getting a ton of job applications done, some of my commissioned research, and maybe even writing.Great Things About This Last Year:
Challenges From This Last Year (OR: Why I'm a Much Stronger Person Now):
- Took a couple of great vacations with Matt - to the UP, and again to Lutsen Lodge
- Applied to and got in to grad school
- Deepened some friendships, let go of one particularly toxic friendship
- Quit the horrible, soul-sucking job back in January
- Was extremely productive with my writing - I am >thisclose< to finishing my first novel!
- Got much more involved in environmental activism again - finding my place in the movement, after I was forced out by my previous job
- Committed in a new way to my spiritual practice, with rituals almost every month. It feels like I'm really taking charge of life through spirituality.
- Got commissioned to work on a huge march, which was really gratifying - yes, I have worth and am offering something to the movement.
- Found out about Dreamwidth! This has been fantastic - and has also kicked my butt to journal a whole lot more.
- I've seen some GREAT music live this year.
- Women's weekend was fantastic - spending time with family was definitely a priority last year.
- Figuring out that I need to cut dairy out of my life, and committing to being a healthier person physically, mentally, and emotionally. This has become more of a constant in my life, and I'm so thankful for that.
Looking FORWARD: The Year To Come
- The parts of this year when I was working at Horrible Job were horrible. Dealing with constant ageist microaggressions, trying to change my boss' racist ways, feeling completely controlled and helpless, trying to work toward justice with people I was organizing with but being undermined by my boss and my organization's goals ... all bad news that meant almost daily anxiety attacks. That was hard, y'all.
- It was really, really hard to break up with my old friend, but it had to be done. I'm still feeling really emotional about this in some ways, but it's getting easier.
- This year, Matt and I went through a streak of being either apart or having tension in our relationship for 5 months. I think we've rounded the bend, have had some deep and open conversation, and things feel like they're finally coming back to a normal place.
- MONEY. I had saved enough to cover a couple of months before I quit the job, but finding money and making ends meet has been a near-constant problem.
- Depression has reared its ugly head, but I continue to work through it.
- HOLY SHIT Y'ALL I START GRAD SCHOOL IN A MONTH.
- Trying to find a balance with grad school and my volunteer work - which, while stressful, really gives me a sense of purpose.
- Unforeseen opportunities: internships, research assistantships, meeting new people, building my network, all those great things
- Finishing my novel! And starting the editing process.
- Continuing my spiritual practice. I'm particularly excited to start in on the Alternative Tarot Course by Beth Maiden.
- Matt and I are going to try to fit in some awesome backpacking trips! We're probably going to do an overnight this coming week, and will be doing a section of the Superior Hiking Trail. More camping and nature in general!
- More live music, travel, festivals, play with friends, good times yay!
- More writing - I want to write more about things like climate change, spirituality, feminism, anti-oppression work, my experiences as a queer woman, etc. Not only that, but I want to write more short stories - I'm not ready to dive into another novel, but I want to keep my chops up
Whew! What a year it's been, what a year it will be! I'm so excited for the things that I don't know about, and I'm so grateful for all the experiences of the last year. I'm a much stronger person now than I was before, and I look forward to this next year.
Thank you, everyone who's had a part in this, and to the Dreamwidth community! You're wonderful, and supportive, and this site has been a truly fantastic discovery.
Peace and love and kindness to all of you!