It’s New Year’s Day, and I’m scrolling through my journey’s journals of the past 12 months. Come join me.
I guess I really wanted to live in a big city here, but now I’m practically allergic to the fast pace of consumption and concrete – especially after reading this book. I thought I wanted to operate my own business here, but that was before Fem Theory, meeting like-minded Geography gal-pals, and realizing I don’t want to perpetuate this consumerist, patriarchal, capitalist system we call our economy – if I can help it. I thought I wanted to inspire climate resilience here, instead of working to halt, alter, and regrow the systems that perpetuate increasingly damaging (and uneven) climate change in the first place, like I do now.
This year, I struggled to heal my bruised and broken body and find myself in a chaotic, frustrating time for an intersectional feminist and an environmentalist. I tried to ‘go slow’ with this manifesto, but slowed only when I couldn’t physically run away from my fears.
A theme emerges from the lingering light of this year: You just don’t know.
I didn’t know all that I would learn – in my classes and in my body. I didn’t know I would lose my grandmother, and I sure didn’t know I would feel as rejected and hopeless as I did in the breathtaking sweat of the autumn sun. I didn’t know I would travel to Europe with one of my most treasured friends. I didn’t know what my body was trying to tell me, and I still don’t know where I’m going – but I’m (slowly) getting there.
Because what other way is there?
My resolutions for 2017 (more like intentions) were broad, bold, and belatedly upheld, for the most part: Embrace the feeling of feeling. Don’t take myself so seriously. Remember and honor whole-body fitness. Be surprised. Keep a new hobby (debatable). Resist judgment. Uphold my values. Discover something new. Travel somewhere new. Create – Always.
Amid all the low-points of misery and mistaken injuries, my highlights were wildly joyous – sometimes entirely unexpected:
- I turned 21, hallelujah (January)
- I published my third poetry book ‘bare bones’ (November) and an eMagazine ‘PERMEABLE’ (May)
- I was honored as an OHIO Women Leader ‘On and Off the Court’ (March)
- I read my poetry aloud for the first time at the OHIO International Women’s Day Festival (March)
- I finished my Fem Theory capstone project: 22 pages of research (December)
- I met both ultra-feminist Gloria Steinem (November) and Dr. Vandana Shiva (March)
- I marched for climate justice in D.C. (April)
- I moved into my first apartment (May)
- I lived in Chicago for a summer and made many new friends (June-August)
- I toured Rome, Italy and Berlin/Leipzig, Germany for 8 days (August)
- I finally saw Hamilton: An American Musical (July)
- I traveled to Texas with the fam for the last Ohio State football game of the season (December)
My mantra of 2017 is surprisingly true some 365 days later: I have no idea what I’m doing, and I’m having so much fun figuring it all out.
Some ruminating yesterday afternoon led me to pluck a piece of BNB-advice (mostly to myself) from last year’s posts on my blog ‘Body Mind Bella’:
My mind has always been stronger than my muscles, my brain more fortified than my bones. –January 15, 2015 “Interference”
It’s easy to feel powerless when you’ve got no power to stand. –January 28, 2017 “Giving back, getting back to me”
I know that I’d much rather learn from my own two hands than at the hands of an institution. –February 3, 2017 “Create your own (life)”
I am running away from the excuses and the broken mirrors that shaped me, and instead breaking the bones that make me. –February 12, 2017 “Winter waiting”
Because food and health and personal happiness is a commitment, not a prize. And it seems I’ve only just begun. –February 20, 2017 “Competing paradigms”
Each view in a kaleidoscope isn’t inherently wrong, just different. That’s the beauty of discovering who you were meant to be: There’s not one wrong you — but finding the most authentic you takes time to shift all of the pieces in the right viewing field. –February 27, 2017 “Fight, resist, or heal”
But abandoning the table doesn’t make the table non-existent. –March 13, 2017 “Shine a light”
“Maybe that’s my lesson here: you can’t do it all.” –March 28, 2017 “‘What sings to your soul'”
I wanted to be part of the story I was writing and creating — but what do you call someone who writes and is a story, all to herself, too? –May 7, 2017 “The Life of No Label”
Seven years later, and so much stronger. –May 24, 2017 “‘Me’gan”
What work lasts, in an age of digitized ‘posts’ and fleeting Instagrammable moments? –June 8, 2017 “On the flow of information”
For who I am today — not tomorrow, not yesterday, but right now — I celebrate. –July 7, 2017 “Rough seas”
Today I look around my castaway net and don’t see it empty. Not really. –July 18, 2017 “Fishing for myself”
I will strive to be grateful instead of grumbling, to be kind to myself as well as to others. –September 3, 2017 “Aged in Athens”
I can’t walk now, because I loved running too much. –September 10, 2017 “A *Break* for Health”
I feel the heaviness of exposure, the world swirling around me that I’ve scarcely made sense of. –September 24, 2017 “Sit still.”
My future homemaking elsewhere in the world is going to depend on my homemaking here in Ohio – the making of home in my own body. –October 8, 2017 “The feeling of home”
Tugging on my 1-piece and limping out to the pool for the first time, I realized I had a lot to learn here. How to *fundamentally* swim, how to regain endurance, and perhaps how to love my whole body. –October 22, 2017 “Healed by water”
I’ve learned many things since the start of my leg ‘injuries,’ but I have to say I didn’t give my own body enough credit. –November 10, 2017 “Walk this way”
What do I need to forgive myself for? Putting my faith externally instead of internally –December 26, 2017 “30 questions answered”
I’ve got 15 more weeks of undergraduate ahead of me, my 22nd birthday in 2 weeks (yikes!), and hopefully a whole lifetime of adventuring, exploring, and making this world a home.
2018 holds a lot of unknowns – post-graduation life, mainly – and yet, that’s what every day brings. I’m learning to live, to let go, and to let life come as it will.
Thanks for being along for the ride.