Stories on the edge of familiarity

Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013: A Year of Presence

This past year, my theme has been this word: Presence.

Also, in my 2012 review, I resolved to take that year’s subthemes and build on them.

Beneficial things to build on

  1. Do things
  2. Find awesome people
  3. Learn things
  4. Be open to new perspectives
  5. Listen to your heart for things you easily trust with
  6. Delve into relationship
  7. Listen to your heart even with things you don’t easily trust with

New beneficial things to add

  1. Do things you love
  2. Love yourself
  3. Ask for help
  4. Forgive yourself

What Worked

  • Listening to my heart with things I (don’t) easily trust with:
    • In February, I went to Cincinnati for Reading Week to visit a friend. It was scary as heck, everything that led up to us finally meeting in person for the first time at the airport but, from her perspective, and also from mine, that visit was a beautiful thing. A miracle, even.
    • Also, holy crap, I went to China for three weeks this summer. There were several months before the trip where it wasn’t even clear if I’d be able to go and it would have been totally reasonable for me to stress about that, but I wasn’t even worried in the slightest. That “peace that passes all understanding” thing… yeah. That’s a thing. O.O
    • And then we get to the fact that I deliberately decided not to have a summer job, due to my China trip. Talk about trust. Talk about then only applying for one job in August (working for the university library), simply because there was a still, small voice that told me that was the only application I’d need. Talk about holy-crap-best-job-ever. And then, let’s talk about the fact that I was able to pay all my tuition this past semester without having to borrow a cent from my parents. After two years of financial struggle and no summer jobs in sight, this made me cry from joy.
    • I decided to tell people that I’m going to make a webcomic, even though I was scared as heck about the whole thing. Making a comic has been a dream of mine for as long as I knew what comics were, but I’d never dared to breathe a word about it because I was afraid that no one would listen. I was so scared that people would just ignore that Facebook status. And then, before I had a chance to blink, four people had already liked the post, and three had commented.
  • Find awesome people
    • Library people are awesome people. All of them. :D
    • I also went more regularly to the science fiction and fantasy club on campus and, as a result, met some pretty darn awesome people, which made going to Edmonton Expo in September that much cooler.
    • My classes this year were fairly dripping with awesome people (and, ok, I’m an introvert, so “dripping” means there were at least two people that I met in my classes that are awesome. In this case, the number was much higher than two. :D ).
    • Awesome people have also been found online, whether I found them or they found me, as well as in a variety of offline situations. Gosh. People are just so awesome.
  • Do things (you love)
    • I published The Illuminated Heart this year, which is based off of my favourite fairy tale of all time, and I’m currently working on making it a paperback. If you’re signed up for Backstage Passes, you’ve already heard about the super-cool bonuses that I’m making to include with the book.
    • Webcomic, guys. Webcomic.
    • I haven’t done this yet, but I’ve said yes to making a video game this coming summer. Does that count? :)
  • Ask for help
    • The fact that the trip to Cincinnati happened at all was because I asked for financial help from my brother. It was terrifying to do. But his response was one of unconditional generosity. I still can’t get over it.
    • When I posted that Facebook status about my webcomic, that was me asking for help. For people to see, to show me that I am seen, and so let me know that it was finally time to start making a dream into reality. And that also turned out beautifully.
    • Without going into too much detail because I’m still a little embarrassed about it: I lived a university student’s biggest nightmare during finals, and the only reason it had a happy ending was because I went to my prof and asked for help. This time, asking was out of necessity, something I did as a matter of course, and it was so cool for me to see how far I’ve come from nearly freezing to death/having a terrible car accident because of pride (aka, the incident which made me realize the necessity of being willing to ask for help in the first place).
  • Forgive yourself. I want to put this in the next section, but that would be lying. While there are some areas I’ve discovered I still need to learn how to forgive myself, I’ve also made some huge breakthroughs. I’ve had a couple health issues for years that I was stuck in because of negative self-talk that came up every time I fell short in some way in those areas. It sucked me dry of the ability to make healthy choices. But, guess what? I finally got so freaking tired of it all that I looked straight in the face of all that self-loathing and told it to piss off. While my health still isn’t perfect, all of the stress, all of the hateful thoughts are gone. Totally gone. And I’m more healthy in those areas now than I’ve been for more than half my life. That is big. Huge.
  • Learn new things. I’m in university. So long as I’m passing my classes, learning is a thing that is happening. But, as can be seen from everything I’ve already written, I’ve learned a whole lot of other things as well, and those have been my favourite things to learn.

What Didn’t

  •  Delve into relationship. This year, my biggest struggle, socially speaking, was whether or not I would be with people all the times I had a chance to. While going to events, making myself available for doing things with groups of people (not all of whom I know), and such have finally made it to my priority list, it hasn’t been until the past couple months that I finally made choices towards building relationships.
  • Be open to new perspectives. While, yes, I did do that for the most part, I’ve learned that I’m only willing to do that when I’m pretty sure the other person/people are also willing to do that with me on whatever we’re discussing. And, while that’s my assumption for people unless contradicted, it got contradicted by one of my profs this semester. The internal friction that resulted was… not fun.

Goals for 2014

My plans for the new year aren’t as detailed as they were for this year. Kind of.

Projects

  • As mentioned in my last post, there’s the paperback of The Illuminated Heart. Which is very nearly done, I’m happy to say. :D
  • After that’s done, I have my webcomic to start up.
  • Starting either April or May, I’ll be editing my first novel (details to come :P ), and it’ll be published by June.
  • With that book out, I’ll start work on that video game.

Those are my plans for projects. I had better get it all done on time. :P

Life in general

  • Today, I gained a huge appreciation for people who do consulting and coaching. They have fabulous communication skills, and their preparation? Off the charts. This next year, I want to develop my work ethic so that I can be just as prepared and just as able to communicate on the spot. Things are already heading in that direction, but I want this growth to be more purposeful, rather than just a part of the ebb and flow of life.
  • I want to learn how to not just build, but also maintain friendships. There’s so much I still fall short in, and while I don’t beat myself up about it, I still want to improve in my relationships with people.

See? Less than last year. :)

My Word for the New Year and Some Concluding Thoughts

The word I’ve chosen for 2014 is: Grow. Growth in my writing, myself, the people around me, and what I can offer to the world. All the good stuff. A few extra inches would be nice, too. :P

This past year, all the coolest things happened simply because of my choosing to be present in the right situations, and my struggles were all struggles with being present in some way. It’s not so much that I chose that word because I was purposefully trying to make presence a thing in my life. I just chose it, and it ended up being an accurate portrayal of my life this past year. But grow is different. Growth is purposeful in the sense that I have to choose to take in the good, clear out the bad, and let the rest take care of itself. Because, if you do that, you will grow (or so the theory goes).

So, 2014, bring it on. No matter what you throw at me, it’s only going to make me grow.

How was your 2013? What do you plan/look forward to in 2014? Anything exciting? :D

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