According to my vast googling of "when actually are the twelve days of Christmas," it appears as though today, December 28th, is the third day of Christmas. Hence, the French hens.
I started my Christmas season crying on my friend's couch because I had just skyped my father on Christmas Eve, and it is acutely heart wrenching to be away from my parents right now. Decembers haven't been kind to us as a family, and each year that passes is a significant reminder of it.
Unexpected mishaps the following morning had me sitting in my bed on Christmas morning without even the slightest glimmer of magic that had so often glittered this holiday in the days of yore. Don't worry, my Christmas shaped up to be the perfect way to spend the holiday--hours of platonic cuddling, Mean Girls, a pint of Shooting Star ice cream, and the classic holiday dish, spaghetti.
But, while I was wallowing in my own brought upon self pity, I decided that the only person making me feel like this was myself. And, that I am embarrassing myself. Let's be clear, there is nothing wrong with feeling upset that I am not with my family, nor is there anything wrong with a healthy amount of self-pity. But, this wasn't healthy. So, I did something about it. I started thinking of a list of good things in my life. Some friend's names popped into my head, and I thought, "What would _____ do?" So, I guess this is it...
... a list of 12 things I've received this year:
1. Unexpected friendships: 2015 has been a surprising year for strong relationships forged in things like mutual respect, compassion, intelligence, and rapier quick wit. These friendships have sort of fallen into my lap, and I hope that I have the wherewithal to maintain them as I travel and return to Wisconsin this next year.
2. Affirmation of existing friendships: After three years of being apart, I plan to visit the person who, arguably, has helped me most in my coming of age. Like, if this were a hero story, she would be my meeting with the mentor. She set all of my positive life changes in motion. I knew I had to unlock my potential, she just helped me discover the key.
3. Relationships with both of my parents: I left. I left when my parents got divorced. It was absolutely the right decision for me, as a young adult, but I also have been absent in how our family has restructured itself. And, it is time for me to return after fostering relationships with my parents as individuals. I am ready to figure out how I fit into this new idea of family of individual units as well as a whole.
4. A niece: On February 11th, 2015, a little human came into this world. I skyped with her and her daddy in her first few minutes of her life. It was almost like I was in the waiting room, but just sitting on a couch in the middle of Busan watching The Imitation Game. I have skyped with her almost every week since she was born, and I let go of her, like, twice in my whole time visiting her. Saying goodbye to her was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.
5. Conversations with my sister: She is one of the two most important women in my life (my mother being the other). She is often the facilitator of all the skype sessions with my niece, although, Sweet P is a wily one. Since I was 13, my sister has been my confidant and my hero. Here we are 15 years later, and that is still the case.
6. Soundness of body: Touch wood, this has been the first major injury free year in a long time. I had some slips in September, but I rested and allowed my body to heal without pushing it too hard. I have worked hard to have a healthy body (totally just wrote baby there...guess motherhood is never truly far from my brain).
7. Soundness of mind: I have finally figured out a system of writing that helps me process emotions as well as create something I find beautiful. My co-boss for Busan Spoken Word told me I finally started to write poems I thought were good as opposed to poems the audience would think are good. I am excited to check out the slam scene in the States. It will be difficult to crack, but I plan to watch for a long time before I get up there, myself.
8. Lots of luck: I dunno if you've been paying attention, but every list I have ever made in my poetry or writing, the number eight has something to do with luck. Eight is my lucky number for no other reason than my friend asked what my lucky number was when I was eight, and so obviously my first choice was my age. It has been my jersey number for every sport except for TWO unlucky draws, then I became 20. No matter, 2015 has been full of luck. I drafted an amazing team of mostly rookies who played Ultimate with the most heart for which a gal could ask. We grew as an amazing rag tag group of pirates. We were small but mighty. And, by gum, we had the most unicorn points for the entire league, so there's that.
9. Freedom to marry: I can't tell you how frustrating it was listening to one male coworker talking to my other male coworker explaining how awful marriage is and that everything in your life is worse after you get married. As a queer woman, who did not have the right to wife or get wifed for half of the year, I wanted to shout at him, but that wouldn't have made for a positive work environment. So, on June 27th, when loads of queer folks queued in front state offices to get a federally recognised marriage, I showed up on Monday in my most queer outfit that still passed as work clothes. Thanks Supreme Court for creating a universe in which queer little kids can imagine their weddings however they choose, with boys, girls, boygirls, girlboys, and everyone in between.
10. Opportunity to educate: I have had some amazing teaching moments both within the classroom outside of it. I have taught my students about non-gender binary pronouns, as well as how to treat all people with respect. I have discussed word choice with those around me to encourage safe environments in which people feel comfortable being themselves.
11. Opportunity to learn: I read all the time. I read newspapers, books, and articles. I take in so much information that I can't possibly process all of it. However, I take extra time with the things I care about the most. For example, this is possibly the most informed I have been about an election in my life. And, it is 11 months away. I am dedicated to find out the most I can about a topic before I spout my opinions on social media. I use the vast amounts of technology at my disposal for good and not evil. It is important to learn about your country AND ALSO the world in which we live. There is no possible way we can continue to survive with this "I / Me" attitude. It must become "We" or else we're finished.
12. Hope: Too many folks live in fear. We fear each other. We fear the "other." We fear ourselves. This is why too many people arm themselves with weapons instead of words. But, I trust the people around me. I know that we can do something greater than what we've been given. This is not a good time in our world, but I have hope that we will work towards equality and compassion.
If you've made it this far, congratulations. I am proud of you, kid. 2015 has been a big year. I can't wait to see the sunrise on January 1st, 2016. I will greet whatever comes at me with the strength, perseverance, and determination that I have learned these past 362 days.
Have peace, friends.