Review of 2012 & Preview of 2013

I’ve been reading Happy Black Woman for ages, and in general, I love to read her monthly reviews. Basically, she looks over the past month and discusses what went well, and what she’d like to improve. But seeing as how 2012 ends in two days, a yearly review is in order. Snagged from HBW:

Flickr Credit to: Joli Sourire (OFF)

Flickr Credit to: Joli Sourire (OFF)

What I Want to Remember About 2012:

What was the most valuable lesson you learned this year?

Taking chances on myself, most definitely. That’s definitely something I want to keep doing as the year progresses – investing in myself, and my own personal growth and goals. 

What was the biggest personal milestone you reached this year in your relationships, health, finances, education and/or lifestyle?

I think I’ve had a few milestones this year: I cut off the locs I’d been growing since December 2008, and reading about Oneika cutting her own acted as the final push for me to do it. And today I went to the barber to get it shaped up (since it was uneven) and mowed down since it was way too big. I don’t miss having locs at all, nor do I miss having long hair – which I’ve had my entire life. This was especially enlightening when I did some quick math, and found that when/if I spent $50 a month to get my locs re-twisted, I’d spend about $600 a year. (Wow). But if I just got my new fro cut down every few months, at about $15, that’s obviously a massive savings. 

And I moved to Philadelphia for a new, contract job, even though I didn’t have anywhere to stay when I got here. Everything worked out, and I landed two great room mates and an apartment in a really nice neighborhood. 

I’ve also made some investments in my spiritual growth, such as meditating and praying every day – when I wake up, and right before bed. And I’m on the look out for new material to supplement my growth and finding new ways to help me get the type of life I want. Before, I would spend a lot of time reading, but not practicing. Now – not so much! 

What professional accomplishments (at work or in your business) were you most proud of this year?

Starting to do web development on the side. I’ve only just begun, but I’m really dedicated to becoming proficient in programming and building my skill set. While the job I have now isn’t best suited to me, it’s really opened my eyes to what I’d love to do – working in technology and computer science. So, stumbling upon a new career goal is DEFINITELY an accomplishment!

What was your favorite family/friends moment from 2012?

Hm. I think my favorite moment was being able to chat with Constance, a friend I made off of Twitter, for like two hours (or something) as we chatted about social justice.

What was the best book/blog/song/movie/restaurant/city/country/etc. you discovered this year?

Another hard one! The best book I think is Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. It’s really, really good. I highly recommend it. I don’t know if I saw any tremendously good movies this year. But one of the best blogs I discovered is about menstruation activism – which I found inspiring and knowledgeable. 

What I Want to Leave Behind As I Enter 2013

Which personal development area(s) did you make the LEAST progress on this year: health, finances, education, relationships, family, work and/or lifestyle?

Finances. That’s definitely my Achilles’ Heel. Even though I make more in my current job than I did in my previous, part-time employment. It’s still really frustrating to have student loans, credit card debt and chronic obligations (ie: cell phone bills, food, internet, utilities, rent, etc). One of my goals is to simply make more money so I can [literally] afford to do the things that matter to me the most. 

I also didn’t make any progress on my health. While I acquired a free membership to a semi-close gym, I actually hate gyms and the idea of working out (or even having to attend a class) agitates me. I looked into taking an aikido class downtown, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I’ve been searching on and off since October, but haven’t locked into anything yet. My eating habits are semi-better, but I really need to learn how to cook. Currently, I eat a lot of pasta. A LOT. 

What promises (to yourself or others) did you break in 2012?

I told myself that I’d take my credit card debt more seriously – since it’s not a lot – and actively work to pay down at least one of the credit cards. I haven’t tackled it at all, but I know why. I just need to DO it. 

What arguments/gossip/hurtful comments, if any, did you participate in or make this year that you wish you could take back and/or apologize for?

Hm… I do like to hear gossip because it makes me feel like I’m in the loop. I don’t hurl hurtful comments, not because of self-control, but because when I’m upset with someone I tend not to go that route.  

What opportunities, if any, did you miss out on in 2012 because of fear or procrastination?

I’m not sure! 

What did you do in 2012, if anything, that was out of alignment with your values?

I’m not sure – my values are changing all the time! Hah. But, I think a big one with my spirituality is that even though I know I should work on it, I haven’t. 

What I Want to Bring Into My Life in 2013

What do you deserve more of next year? What do you deserve less of next year?

More of: Commitment – to myself, mostly. I rarely prioritize myself, and my own goals. I normally spend a lot of time worrying about what other people may want from me (ie: family) or worried about how I’ll be perceived by doing x, y or z. So in 2013 I want to spend LESS time fretting over other people’s opinions – not just about my life, but about things in general. My goal for 2013 is to alter my mindset so that I can manifest the type of life I want. Being around people who doubt themselves, or allowing their negative perceptions of the world to get to me won’t help me. 

What personal milestone(s) do you most want to reach in your relationships, health, family, finances, education and/or lifestyle?

Relationships: Dating. Even if it doesn’t end up with a relationship, I want to explore that. 

Health: Taking up a sport or physical activity – preferably self-defense or martial arts. 

Finances: Make more money, pay down credit card debt. 

Education: Continue attending web development courses, so I can learn to program. Find a mentorship and a network of other women who program to nurture and support me. 

Lifestyle: Live in my own apartment (no room mates). 

What professional accomplishments (at work or in your business) do you want to see for yourself next year?

For my writing to become a bigger part of my life/work. To be able to program – and get paid to do it. 

What do you want to learn in 2013?

Love. Manifestation. God.

What do you want to cross off of your bucket list in 2013?

Moving abroad to work. 

What I Want My Life to Look Like in 2013

What part of your life do you want to pay more attention to in 2013?
My work life. I definitely want my resume and cover letter and networking skills to be top notch!

Who do you want to spend more time with in 2013? Who do you want to spend less time with in 2013?
Hm. I’m not sure. I want to be present for myself, and spend less time with people who I don’t like or connect with. 

Which activities, habits or behaviors, if any, do you want to stop doing in 2013 because they no longer serve you?
Procrastinating. Doubting myself. 

Which activities do you want to start and/or continue doing in 2013?
My spiritual habits: praying, meditating, reading books (both fiction and non-fiction). Writing. Learning to code. Photography. Practicing the spiritual lessons I’m learning. 

What will your ideal day look like next year?
My ideal day would start off with me waking up in my solo apartment, with my cat purring next to my face. She’d be fluffy and adorable. The day will start with prayer, meditation and yoga. Then a shower. I’d eat breakfast first: toast, eggs, orange juice (my favorites). My cat will be meowing for food. Later I’d pop open the laptop, checking my e-mail while my partner is singing and getting ready for the day. The cat is on the laptop, swishing its tail. So I pick her up and take her to the balcony, where our apartment overlooks the Mediterranean ocean. That day all I have is a meeting over Skype, some code to clean up and to put the finishing touches on my novel before sending it to the publisher. My lover is ready to head out – we’ll be spending the day in Paris, and I can easily work on the train, and then spend the rest of my day meeting up with friends, and going out to dinner in my favorite city. 

Day 8 || Ideal Job For You

Today’s prompt: If you could have any job (and instantly have the training and qualifications to do it), which job would you want?

I think about this rather frequently. Not this prompt specifically, but about my next job, my next steps. What do I want to do? A huge part of my problem is that I don’t know what my strengths are, what I’m decent at except writing. But, this question is about pure idealism, so let’s just pretend. If I had all the instant training, qualifications and certifications: I’d be a teacher.

To me, teaching is rather versatile: you can do it anywhere, you can teach anyone anything, and the best way to learn things is to teach it to others. I once saw a quote, I forget where, that what you’re teaching to others, are things you’re learning yourself. Which, I think, is a great way to look at it. A lot of the time, it feels like teachers (in a more abstract usage of the word) are those who are have come much further than you, and it’s up to you to catch up to them in their wisdom. But that’s not necessarily true.

Teachers are also students – something I definitely am. Always learning, always trying to incorporating more knowledge into their own lives. To me, this is the perpetual student versus the idea of someone who avoids reality by burying their heads in academic text (ie: staying in college for all eternity).

So I think I’d like to graduate, so to speak, to a teacher. That would be pretty amazing.

I’m participating in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo).

30 Days of Blog Posting.

If you click the badge, you’ll be taken to the NaBloPoMo and you can join in yourself!

Day 6 & 7 || Getting Caught Up

Last night, in the US, were the presidential elections. I mostly kept updated with Twitter and the Huffington Post, and waited until 1am for Romney to do his concession speech before heading to bed (apparently he didn’t do it until after).
So I ended up not blogging. It’s not that I was wrapped up in the election; I could’ve taken 30 minutes out to unwind and churn out a blog post. But I stayed glued to it, because I tried to convince myself that following the election was more important than a commitment I had made to blog each day of November. And now I have to catch up, and get myself back on track.

Have you ever had to get yourself back on track?

There have been times when I wasn’t sure what I was doing with my life. I had this small epiphany when I was living in Seattle – not the best situation; a crap job, an awful room mate and no idea about what I wanted to do at all with myself. So I left, and wandered around in Orland for awhile trying to figure out who I was. Quickly I learned that I loved comics, after getting the chance to be part of a large anthology created by and for women. This one decision has led me to write for a comics site – and it’s been one of the best choices I’ve made.

This aimless wandering, and general fear of being dependent on others also led me into my current position: I’ve acquired a new job that I enjoy, with a company that’s really great and I get to live with two really awesome people in a brand new city.

Everything is still a work in progress as I discover that even now, with my situation bringing me more happiness than the last, there’s still something missing. I’m still wandering. Still trying to figure things out, to catch up.

Not to “catch up” as in a race, but to catch up to the image I have of myself, of my future. I want to be that person that writes every day, that wakes up early and eats breakfast, to follow through on the tasks she sets out for herself. So I’m writing my post for two days to catch up to that person.

A lot of the time, I find myself comparing my life to others not because I want their lives specifically, but because it seems like those people are already doing what they’ve set out to do. They’re living their lives, doing their dreams. Naturally, there’s always a filter when observing someone else’s life – so the picture is never complete, you never get the whole story, only what you choose to see and what others allow you to see.

Someone I follow online once suggested that you just stay in your own lane, focus on what you’re doing and don’t get too caught up in others.

I should try that, maybe that’ll help me get a lot closer to who I imagine myself to be.

I’m participating in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo).

30 Days of Blog Posting.

If you click the badge, you’ll be taken to the NaBloPoMo and you can join in yourself!

Writing Is A Part of Me. What’s A Part of You?

Credit to: gregoryhogan

While college was winding down, I eventually took a Creative Writing 101 course to fulfill a general requirement to graduate. I hadn’t really wanted to take it, but for reasons that have forsaken me, I did. So many girls at my single sex college were aspiring writers that it was difficult to throw a stick and not hit someone working on their first novel. It had been unusual for me, since I rarely shared my interest in writing. I remember being in 8th grade, and hitting my first fifty pages in the book I was creating. Then, when I was sixteen, I had finally cracked over 150 pages for another novel I was writing.

So you would think I’d be in heaven, attending a school well known for its English/Creative Writing program (admittedly – when I was 18, I had initially applied specifically for that reason). Not exactly. The second, and last, creative writing class I took involved an incompetent graduate student “professor” and a class totaling almost twenty people. Not exactly conducive to in-depth analyses of each other’s work – or anythingrather.

But, this isn’t about me riffing on my alma mater, or my poor experiences with graduate students masquerading as English professors – this is about me never talking to other people about the fact that I love to write. My family knew I liked it, my other writer friends knew it – but I didn’t stamp it on my forehead, or wear it like a proud identity. For the longest (even now), I believed in keeping passions a secret. I didn’t mind – and often times relished! – talking to people about things that annoyed me, or criticizing various habits I witnessed around me. Conversely, I fell into the camp of lamenting my lack of skill in other areas: like math and science that fascinated, but inevitably, eluded me.

The fact that I enjoyed writing seemed mostly buried deep within me, sometimes to the point where I forgot that I even LIKED to write. I remember a hiatus I had taken from writing unintentionally, mind you, but when I had finally written a story it felt nearly orgasmic! It was like pieces of me were being unlocked, and I had connected to something deeper. A part that was me. I think about this moment a lot – this feeling that writing is such an integral part of me.

If I’m being honest – I do feel pangs of intense jealousy and over-protectiveness about writing. I turn my nose up at fan fiction, and lament aspiring creators who attend expensive graduate programs just to be told to use less adverbs. I get prickly when someone compliments someone else’s work but not mine. But then my ego explodes when someone remarks on how talented I am, basking in one of the few instances of praise I receive.

It’s difficult for me to talk about what writing means to me in person, how defensive of it I am. Little by little, though, I get to share what I love with you guys!

So tell me, what do you love (but keep to yourself)?

2011: Half and Half – Why It Sucked and Didn’t Simutaneously

Thank the Goddess that 2011 is coming to swift – and much needed – end. In about two days, we’ll be entering 2012 and I couldn’t be happier. You’ve probably seen quite a few posts about blogging this year, ways to make blogging more awesome, goals accomplished and lessons learned.

I’m going to talk about why 2011 sucked.

Backstory: At the brink of the New Year I was living in Seattle with someone I didn’t particularly like. I needed to leave my living situation but wasn’t making enough money to have my own place. At least, a super awesome place with nice amenities. So I sought out a room mate, but then discovered Penelope Trunk’s blog about taking over your career, and decided I needed to move. To Florida. In a brief, gruesome detail free nutshell. 

Hands down, the second worst decision of my life.

Moving two days before my birthday, I found myself in humid Florida, staying with relatives, two puppies and one mean old lady who I grew to despise. After seven months, the highlight had been my overwhelming feeling of joblessness – mining the internet daily for job leads, scrapping by on what little savings I had left, and being told on several occasions that retail positions don’t like college degrees. Meanwhile, I found myself flailing as I tried to make important “life decisions”:

  • Contemplate going to the local community college and majoring in Graphic/Web Design
  • Applied to over 20 positions with Americorps
  • Thought about getting into PR/Advertising but couldn’t even qualify for free internships because of my BA in French
  • Attempted to learn HTML solo (among other programming code) in order to have employable skills
  • Looking into freelance writing gigs, but found myself mostly at content mills

Ultimately, I decided on blogging, which turned out to be really fun, and allowed me to meet some really awesome people in the process. Yet, the joys from blogging seemed to pale in comparison to my day-to-day frustrations of not being able to take care of myself. I slept in most ways, well past noon, as I half-assed my job hunt, hoping that each application sent would be my golden ticket to employment.

Like most people, I wish I had the power to go back and alter time. Where would I be now if I had stayed in Seattle and moved in with that girl? Would I be blogging? Would I had found another job? What if I had moved to NY first instead of going down South?

Thinking back on my 2011, it’s easy to understand why people believe that things happen for a reason. Everything I went through brought me to this point:

  • I’ve had more interviews since leaving FL than ever in my life
  • Met really awesome bloggers, learned how to use Twitter (kinda)
  • Expanding my writing repertoire to include comics and exploring freelancing
  • Learned A LOT (particularly about social justice)
  • Building my network and connecting with like-minded people

Despite my general tone of powerlessness, 2011 gifted me with a better sense of Self. And when I actually stop to think about it – I know ten times more about what I want out of life than when I was in college, living in Seattle, or even the time I spent in Florida.Which definitely makes the transition into 2012 much anticipated; I’m looking forward to the new year despite everything!

What About You? How was your 2011?

Vulnerability and Social Media

How do you define “friend”?

I think about this a lot, especially as a person who easily (and quickly) becomes attached to people I like. It can be heart-breaking to think of someone as a friend, and, later, for them to completely disregard your relationship. As if it never mattered in the first place. This situation seems to happen rather frequently in “real life”, but what in the online world – where the boundary between friend, stranger and acquaintance never seems to be clear, or it’s constantly being re-draw, recreated and redefined.

I’ve been faced with rejection in both my real and online life. It can be disheartening for a minor misunderstanding, or a difference in opinion to make a relationship explode. But I suppose that brings to mind: what is a friend and how do you know when you have one? This is almost exclusively related to social media. In our waking life, it’s easier to see who our friends are; the people who call us or write us. The people who we feel we can talk to about anything. The people who we resonate with the most. But online? Does spending months chatting constitute friendship? Does taking the time to e-mail each other mean you’re BFFs? Do private DMs mean anything at all, or is it just meaningless chatter? At what point do we know when we’ve reached a solid friendship? But also, when have we realized that our friendship is worth fighting for?

You never really know what a friendship can or is able to tolerate until there’s a tremor. Casual relationships, understandably, tend to explode the quickest since there’s no foundation or support to keep the friendship alive. There’s a strong undercurrent of; “I don’t know you, therefore I’m not morally obligated to you or our relationship.” People are more inclined to walk away from something they haven’t invested themselves in, including other people. But the concept of rejection is also very much about power.

It’s similar to the idea presented in “Two Can Play That Game” where Vivica A. Fox says that whomever breaks up with the other person first, wins. I do believe that there’s a strong sense of satisfaction and self-importance at having ended a friendship – regardless of its quality – versus being the person dealing with the rejection. A lot of the time, I think, the people who were rejected long for a sense of closure because everything happened so abruptly. The quickness of it is jarring because a person is cutting you off for no other reason than because they just don’t know you. 

For instance, a girl I knew in college unfriended me on Facebook. It drove me nuts; it still bothers me because she’s friends with people I know. But underneath all my insanity, I get it. I can’t compete with girls she saw every day in her dorms, the fact that I never called her or spoke with her, or the close relationship she had with a girl who become the Godmother to her kids. (Yeah, can’t compete with THAT) So technically, we were never friends, and it made sense for her to unfriend me. Yet at the same time…

This isn’t to suggest that every online relationship is destined to fail – I’ve made some amazing friends online who I hope to meet up with in real life very soon! But an online relationship can, and does, have the same emotional responses as one that’s initiated in real life.

What about you? What are some relationship explosions or mishaps you’ve had since being online?

I Received The Liebster Blog Award!

Oh happy day! Lynn Asummermoon Davis nominated me for The Liebster Blog Award! This is the first time I’ve ever been nominated for something in regards to my blog!

Here’s the meaning of it that I copied and pasted from her blog:

“Ok, so here is what I’ve learned about the Liebster Blog Award; “in German—“liebster” means “dear,” from the verb “lieber” [to love]“. The Liebster Blog Award in essence is all about recognizing worthy bloggers with less than 200 followers (or was it subscribers?), and raising their blog visibility. In other words, spread the love.  I am assuming that most of the blogs I read probably have more than 200 followers, so I did my best to recognize some bloggers that I feel more certain don’t have over 200 followers and are deserving recipients. I hope I don’t offend anyone if I was wrong, and they do have 200+ followers. Also, there is no obligation to continue this award.  If you don’t want to participate, I won’t think anything of it, and I won’t stop following your blog.”

The way the Liebster Award works:

  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  2. Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
  3. Copy and Paste the award onto your blog
  4. Nominate 3-5 blogs to receive the award. (I read 3-5 on another blog so I opted for 3)
  5. Inform them of their nomination by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here is my list of Nominees (In no particular order):

1. A Summer Moon (Lynn!): I actually found out about her because I was hanging out on LinkedIn and I kept looking at her picture thinking that I knew her! Even though I didn’t, but I friended her on Twitter after checking our her blog. She blogs about a little bit of everything: her journey through life, her thoughts, being Gen Y, entrepreneurship…

2. Julia Tarquinio: I’ve been checking out her blog a lot and I LOOVE a lot of her posts. She taught in Chile for a year, so she talks a lot about that, and now she’s back in the States, doing more soul searching!

3. The Feminist Griote: her blog is about black feminism and the blogger’s observations regarding pop culture and media. It’s really great and I love checking out her stuff!

 

I don’t know which blogs has x-amount of traffic, so I picked ones that don’t get a lot of comments since that seems to be an indication of traffic (???) to me. :D

 

Guest Posts!

Hello readers!

How are you?

I’ve got a guest post over at Julia Tarquinio’s blog – she talks about her one year teaching experience in Costa Rica as well as her observations about life (in a nut shell). My post is about how to stay involved emotionally with your blog! Check it out:

Are You Staying Passionate With Your Blog?

Have fun! :]