This year is difficult for me to sum up in one sentence. I sat for a few minutes pondering what I could say this year was. It was many things, but above all else it was intense and challenging, in the best and worst ways.
I graduated in 2014 and found myself still unemployed in 2015. It was a depressing and shameful time for me. I looked at myself in the mirror and was very unhappy. I’d worked so hard, joined and led lots of clubs, interned with Philadelphia Magazine, and freelanced with adequate success as a college student. I thought I’d done everything right, but the reality I was faced proved that I had, in fact, not.
I spent a lot of time unemployed. My grandmother, who I lived with for most of this time, never shamed me, for which I will be forever grateful. She loved me and treated me with all the love and concern I needed. I fear where my mental and spiritual being would have ended up without her.
My unemployment was not due to lack of trying. I sent out applications constantly, mostly for jobs I wasn’t really all that in love with. But money is money, right? The rejections hit me pretty hard, but the hardest by far was my rejection for an Editorial Fellowship with BuzzFeed.
I was funny. I was hip. I brought something unique. And yet still it wasn’t enough. I was beginning to feel that writing jobs were only for “connected” people in New York and Los Angeles. Even still I feel this way.
Aside from perpetual unemployment, I entered into a stormy polyamorous relationship. I had never intended to become the third person in a pre-existing relationship, but I was lonely and they made me feel loved and important in a time when I didn’t feel very loved or important.
Times with them ranged from the very best to the very worst. The passion we felt in the good times ultimately wasn’t enough to keep us together. I was ousted from the relationship after a few months and was dumped simultaneously by two people, on a day which stands out as one of the very worst in my life: walking around the neighborhood, phoneless, for over an hour, pretty much knowing I was going to be dumped.
I sobbed, for days after. But my friends and my mother were there for me and gave me hope for a better rest of 2015. That relationship had ended, but something new was beginning. I’d finally found a job.
Due to differences in ideology, I won’t name the specific organization, but I’d found a job in the education sector. On top of this change, I’d moved to a new house. New people, a new set up. I was no longer with my grandmom due to circumstances that never should have gone where they did. I couldn’t deal with what was going on, so I left. I’ll never forgive myself for hurting my grandmom like I did. She deserved better than I gave her. But things happen for a reason, and my new home was much closer to my job.
I was overwhelmed by all this change. It was a lot. I felt myself getting swept away, losing myself. I needed to reclaim my identity, or at least claim a new one. So I dyed my hair platinum blonde, or something close. People say I look better with it, but mostly I like it more. Although, I’ll admit people thinking I’m cuter is nice. I’m working on caring less about what others think.
I still struggle with things. I struggle being so far away from my best friends. I struggle with my anxiety and with on-and-off depression. I struggle with procrastination. I struggle with writing for myself.
This year I wrote for lots of new places, but oftentimes I found myself writing for these places for the title and recognition. I wasn’t giving my best work and I knew it. I missed deadlines and was lazy with edits. I’d get one clip with a new publication and then move on. I was writing for shallow validation and getting nowhere.
But I recognized this, sooner rather than later, and made sure 2015 wasn’t all bad. I now write for publications I love more than anything in the world, like NYLON, Bitch Magazine, and Everyday Feminism. I never imagined I’d be part of these teams, in any capacity, but I contributed and continue contribute to NYLON, am an OFFICIAL contributing writer to Everyday Feminism, and am working on continuing my work with Bitch. What’s even better is that I was PAID to write for these places, which makes me feel like I’m going in the right direction towards being a professional writer and not just one stuck dreaming about it.
I was also lucky enough to work with emerging publications like Femsplain. I’ve learned so much from working with the powerful team behind this site. They’ve shown me the hard work it takes to make your dream a reality. Having a website sounds fun, but it’s a lot of work, and only the best of the best (them) really succeed at it. I know they’re going to be huge someday, and I’m going to be honored to say I was able to work with them.
Among other 2015 victories, Tavi Gevinson followed me on Twitter.
This year was pivotal in becoming the person I want to be. A lot of this has come from bad places… like finally realizing that aging is a thing that’s happening to me. I’m not a kid anymore. People have expectations of me. Like I actually have to support myself. It’s odd, that moment when you suddenly notice everyone looking at you differently. You’re not as cute or innocent. I miss it. I’m hoping one day aging won’t make me as uncomfortable as it does now. In the meantime, I’m going to eat healthier and keep doing my super long beauty routine so I can at least stay young-looking.
As the climax of this tumultuous year passes, I look forward without resolutions. I’m looking forward with plans and the steps required to make them happen. At the forefront of these plans, is me. I want to succeed for me. I want to make me happy. I’ve spent too much time in my life thinking about others, and I see now that the only way I’ll ever be the famous author and journalist I want to be is by thinking of myself. I’m entering a phase of beautiful, transformative selfishness.
I’m entering this new year with a boyfriend–one of the guys who dumped me earlier this year. I’d say it’s complicated, but isn’t it for everyone? I’m happy about it. It feels clean, and healthy, and right.
But more than him, and more than anything, I want to show love to the story idea I’ve had in my head every single day for almost seven years. I am so paralyzed by creative fear that I write nothing. My brain has crafted characters and storylines that my fingers refuse to express. I and I alone know this masterpiece–because I know it is one–but I want to share it. I want to empower others and make people like me feel less alone. I want to change the world.
Now excuse me while I sit in the corner ruminating about how cheesy I am for writing about my year on New Year’s.