MMXVI

The year where we were all challenged with loss, gain, thrilling prospects, memorable adventures and much much more.

But isn’t that every year? Stick with me for this.  

Let’s start with my new friends (and yes, I’ve written a similar blog on this earlier in the year, but a great many more came into my life and they deserve attention here!):

It’s no secret that in 2016 I found myself a new home. No, not the physical structure that sits protectively over you day and night providing shelter and safety, nor the four walls, windows and doors of that which offers a sense of belongingness and comfort. This new home is a digital one, a non-tangible place that represents and stands for all the same.

A place I fell into by chance rather than because of chance. I madethis reality happen and work to maintain it every day – yes, I work to maintain meaningful relationships with people I’ve never met. One of these gals even became my boss-lady in the beginning of November. But we’ll get to that.

This year was the year of an online Star Wars life for me. I’ve “met” and made friends with no less than fifty, if not more, wonderful people this year. I’ve shared secrets with them, cried and laughed-cried with them. I’ve bonded, been disappointed with and mad at some of them for reasons I won’t list here because that happens with real, true friends. You get mad sometimes, and then you make nice and move on. You don’t close the door and walk away because they poked the wrong buttons.  

Well, not unless you’ve finally glimpsed two suspiciously hooven-shaped feet and backed away once and for all. Self-preservation and all that.

I digress.

2016 brought Mark Hamill twitter likes, RTs and follows, it also brought tickets to next year’s Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, FL and hotel reservations with a bunch of wonderful ladies I get to finally meet! It brought the ridiculously authentic heartbreak of watching my close gal-pals meet and hug and even smooch [the cheek of] MH. But, it also invited a happiness into me I didn’t know I was capable of feeling. Pure, amazing happiness for their oft-once-in-a-lifetime experiences.  

I’m kind of the jealous type but for some strange reason, a large part of those tendencies vanished this year and I couldn’t have been happier. Good riddance to such nastiness!

I won’t name all the names like I did before but know that those ladies are still a part of my everyday, only now there are + 20 more. And I genuinely value every single one of them for the variety and honesty they bring into my day to day.

In the professional boxes I’ve ticked this year, 2016 saw to the end of the worst job of my entire life – 18 months of part-timing at a daycare, making next to no money, and getting seriously ill just about every other week. It was the worst decision I’ve ever made to work in a place like that, to date, and the day I quit was the single best feeling I’d ever had in a work setting. I left a week and a half later and never looked back.

On the other positive side of that, I started work as a Virtual Assistant for my best friend, Sara Tasker of Me & Orla. She’s also part of the Star Wars crew I mentioned above, and I KNOW what they say about working with or for friends. But we gel and I adore the girl and her work so all’s well and I’m happy as a clam! 😉

The photography business has slowly begun to rise as well – I’ve stopped caring what others think of me or my work and have jumped in wholeheartedly with two feet. There’s no Jenny C’s living in my world any longer that can steal my ideas, my brand and even my words. And if she should, I’ve got next to know clue why. Let bygones be bygones and all that.

So I’m saying it here, aloud (on the internet, on a platform she’s completely unaware of, but still): I forgive you Jenny. I forgive you for all the jealousy you birthed in my heart. I forgive you for stealing all the things that should have brought me success but instead brought you a bounty I’ve yet to see in my career as an image-capture artist. I forgive you and now I’m done. After six years, I’ve let you go. I won’t hate you in my heart secretly, I won’t shun the opportunities that may arise for fear of judgement from you and the small circle of interconnected friends we once shared. May your life be ripe with abundance and plenty.

Personally, I’ve grown so fucking much, I might as well be a weed. Yes, I just said that. cringes But I’ve really, truly grown this year. Finally. I feel as though I’ve been waiting ages to be more like the person I am now and whether it was an acceptance that comes with age, my SW people and new close-knit group of friends, or the confidence to know I made decisions that needed making for myself by myself, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s a little bit of all of those things.

But I’ve pushed harder for just about everything this year and the results are plain as day. My photography business is doing better, I’ve written and completed an entire fanfiction novel totaling ~65k words, I’m writing more in general, I have my own podcast (twitter.com/supernatchpod), I’m becoming a permanent regular on a large Star Wars podcast come January (twitter.com/unmistakablysw), I’ve created this blog and shared some of the darkest parts of myself with complete strangers, I’ve explored national parks and local state parks, I’ve been to theme parks and at least 3 weekend getaway family adventures, I’ve stood on the beach and walked in the ocean a handful of few times, I’ve driven through the mountains (will stop next go around) and saw sunsets that made me cry and sunrises that took my breath away.

I’ve fallen in love over and over again with A and how he makes me laugh and cooks the best mashed potatoes and artichoke spinach dip. And Bella, oh Bella. How her mind absorbs and creates and takes it all in. I watch her study and learn and experience all these things I once took for granted and I’m in awe of her everyday, even if I don’t show it. She’s this small human being with tendencies of her own and preferences and likes and dislikes. She obsesses over things like I do but is joyful and funny like A. She questions things beyond the normal and reacts immediately to new or repeated situations in hyper irrationality sometimes – much like I do. But …then she processes things analytically and does math calculations in and out of her head for fun, and that is definitely not a me-thing.

She loves tiny things the most, lining them up, knocking them over, or creating little scenes just for them to exist in for a brief flash of time. She also constructs physical projects from somewhere deep within that brilliant mind of hers; using rolls of duct tape to create these her-size cardboard boats, I know she would drop like a stone to the bottom of the ocean if ever she attempted to use one, but Bella would try it anyway. She’s afraid of heights but I think it’s more because I am than because she really is…is that makes sense? I could write on her for days and never reach an end to how wonderful and beautiful my daughter is, but that’s how it should be, and I’m proud that that’s how it is.  

All of this leads me to believe, I think, that my is heart is open, completely.

But 2016 was not without its faults. Some of them massive, despite the disconnected state with which I’ve experienced such losses. Some of them not so massive, and connected directly to me.

My health for starters, isn’t aligned or optimal in any way, shape or form. I need to get serious about this in 2017 and it is one of four goals for the entire year (that blog is coming tomorrow!). I’ve gained more weight than I have in a long time and my body-fat % is just deplorable. So major changes are needed and they are needed now.

I’ve lost or moved on from friends I thought would be in or around my little corner of the universe forever. These were hard decisions but they needed to be made, for my mental health and my soul. I can only take someone swinging a dagger into my spine so many times before I succumb, right? But the losses were felt, processed and moved on from. Because a year without change is a bad year indeed.

Celebrity deaths. I know, I know, “you never even KNEW them!” or “it’s not like they were your family or anything, why the fuss?” But here’s the thing, some of these people – a lot of these people – felt like family and to me, mourning their deaths is appropriate and healing for the soul.

Let’s start with Carrie Fisher. I can’t even believe I’m writing this right now and might actually have to stop before I even begin. You know, I am going to stop. Carrie deserves her own blog and she will get it in January.

But let’s do a thank you list to those whose passing has affected me most:

  • Sir George Martin – “The 5th Beatle.” Thank you, George. Your brilliant mind saw and created some of the finest, most beautiful music ever crafted. You’ve helped change my life time and again over the last 30+ years.
  • David Bowie – “There’s a Starman waiting in the sky…” Oh, David. How your music has touched every soul across this star system and beyond. Thank you for giving me so much to drown out the displeasures and normalcy of everyday life. Your absence is so deeply felt.
  • Kenny Baker – “Beep Beep Bloop.” R2-D2 will live on for generations to come and though you will not, we all know who brought the magic to life inside that hunk of Astromech space metal. Thank you for bringing me joy. I can never remember a time before R2.
  • Alan Rickman – “Always.” My favorite good-bad guy actor. Thank you for sharing your brilliance and your gentle spirit with us all these years. I’ll never forget the first time I watched Die Hard, or Harry Potter and connected the dots between the marvelous years of your career.
  • Gene Wilder – “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination…” I’ve lived so many times through those words and still, hear Gene’s voice echoing in my head. But he was more than that. He brought so much laughter into my life and so many others and he will be sorely missed.
  • Debbie Reynolds – “Good morning, good morning!” I admit I’m most familiar with Singing in the Rain but Debbie’s death the day after the loss of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, is heartbreaking. She was a beautiful entertainer and I will remember her fondly in all the films she’s gifted us with through the decades.
  • Prince – “This is what is sounds like when doves cry…” I respected your prodigy and unhindered ability to smash any sounds anywhere at anytime. You presented that ideal musician in my brain, the ultimate achievement of perfection where there typically exists none. Thank you for bringing that to me.
  • Glenn Frey – “Take it easy…” The Eagles have always been right there with Fleetwood Mac for me. The Beatles, as you know, are my ultimate but those two bands aren’t far behind. And Glenn’s loss was felt so deeply that I remember weeping to the best-of soundtrack for days. Still choke up if I’m being honest. Thank you Glenn, your music will live on exactly as you had given it to us – through this perfect melodic deliverance that will never be matched.

There were so many others that passed away this year but these are the ones that left impact craters on the very construction of my soul itself. It’s not silly to mourn those we’ve never met and I’ll never feel anything but true to this belief. May they rest now, rocking on in the ultimate party that I’m intensely certain is happening right now as I type this.

So, that’s my 2016 year in review. I didn’t run as many miles as I needed to or should have, didn’t eat as many vegetables as my body craved or drink enough ounces of water to properly maintain my organs, according to nutritional dietitians. I didn’t reach my book reading or movie watching goals either. Or write my novel. But I read millions and millions of words that either turned me on (thanks SW Luke & Mara fanfic), learned me something new or entertained while simultaneously breaking my heart. I didn’t travel as much as I longed to or meet all the people I desperately wanted, but I will. And that’s what 2016 brought. Hope. Growth.

In 2017 I will run endlessly and cycle miles upon miles and eat healthier and read a metric ton of books and watch tv shows I love and movies I’ll obsess over and smash these goals because 2016 taught me the importance of both sides. To understand the value of having, receiving, giving, wanting, reaching, accomplishing, winning, losing, failing and succeeding… and I’m thankful for that. Thankful for the heartbreak and the growth weaved so precariously throughout.

Seems they’re one and the same, doesn’t it?

Happy New Year, all! More coming in 2017.

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