Good morning 2019!
I have to say, the year hasn’t started off amazingly well: I spent the night plagued by nightmares and terror, which were only exacerbated by the poor cat who came to try and make sure I was ok. It cannot be a good sign that my first words of the year were “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Help! Help! Help!” But hey, that’s what I’m starting with, so that’s where I’m going on from.
2018 was a very mixed year for me. At the start of the fall semester I made the very vulnerable decision to publish my “year in numbers,” which looked like this:
5 of whom committed some kind of assault or crime against my person and/or property
600 dollars stolen
4 accusations of being a deranged, malicious liar
5 calls to the police
2 strenuous attempts at trying to get myself to kill myself (and the requisite therapy that goes with such things)
1 sudden family illness
0 days outside of the United States (the biggest change in my life since the election)
4 candidacy exams (and 2 re-writes)
3 levels of ASL
1 book review
14 blog posts
3 dissertation chapters
6 national-level social dance jobs
1 piece on tour
I consciously chose to publish that list because I’d spent the first half of the year living under the shadows of abuse and strenuously resisting talking about it, with catastrophic effects on my mental health and wellbeing. Making the decision to speak out about what was actually going on made a huge difference to how I could participate in my community, and accepting that what happened to me was wrong gave me some of the tools I needed to start moving on from it in new ways.
Since I published that post things have radically improved – I’ve travelled and worked and lived and loved and generally been a much, much happier human being than I was a year ago. Success in the first half of the year felt like a traumatic battle against overwhelming circumstances. Success now feels like… hard work. Fun, pleasurable hard work that I’m passionate about and equipped to deal with. It makes a massive difference.
Of course one of the big changes of the year was top surgery, and I’m still just starting to feel out how that’s changing my body, my feelings, and how I live my life. While I would have hated having to wear the compression vest over the summer break, I’m at the point now where I really wish I could feasibly walk around in tank-tops and t-shirts and get used to seeing new shape, rather than muffling my body under layer-upon-layer of warm and wooly things (today I am wearing three sweaters, jeans, leggings, and two pairs of socks – I’m a very chilly human). I know that going back to dancing in January will bean a whole new set of accommodations and new practices, but it’s doing me good to develop a relationship with my body where I have to set hard limits for my own wellbeing, and ask others for help accordingly.
When I started my list of resolutions yesterday it had a lot of pretty regular stuff on it:
- Learn to drive
- Get a job
- Keep in better contact with the people I love
But that was before the screaming dreams, and frankly, I’m in a different place this morning. So that list above I’m calling my “to do” list for 2019. No arguments, no giving up, I’m just going to do the hard work and tick the things off. My resolutions?
I am not going to let the news dull me into a stupor of “Oh goodness this is terrible” and I’m not going to let any difficulties in my own circumstances prevent me from working towards larger goals of equity and justice in the world around me. I’m going to keep my eyes open, keep learning about the needs I’m currently ignorant to, and I’m going to keep putting myself out there as a force for change.
In remembrance to 2018, I am going to rise up stronger and more beautiful out of my nightmares, and turn anything that tries to strike me down into a tool for doing more good for more people.
Happy New Year!
Reminder: my GoFundMe campaign will end on January 30th. If you feel like this blog has been useful to you I would be delighted to take contributions towards the cost of my surgery and to my aftercare. The biggest problem right now is the day-to-day expense of keeping my home livabley warm and still having enough money to eat and … actually those are my two big expenses now, food and warmth – I’m pretty good at not spending other money. Any mount, big or small is massively appreciated.