So that’s it for 2014, huh? New Year’s is always as much of as time of reflection as it is a time of celebration, and I have so much to be appreciative of from this past year, even if it’s had its fair share of dark moments. So much has happened!
This time last year, JJ and I hadn’t said we loved each other yet. I was still nervous about having Feelings for him I wasn’t sure the situation would allow for. And now, like, most weeks I see him more days than I don’t, and I can’t keep track of how many times we’ve said we love each other today alone. Last night/this morning, we spent New Year’s with one another and no one else, being silly under the influence of substances and one another, sharing my first ever New Year’s kiss and truly being excited to see how we keep growing in the next year. My first lesson of 2015 was a reminder that opening up about the ugly thoughts your insecure voice has is the only way to get the reassurance you need, and that reassurance will feel like a weight has been lifted off of you. I’m so happy to have spent all of 2014 by his side, and I’m stupid excited to do the same in 2015. He is the greatest thing in my life.
I turned 24 this year! I had a birthday party that lots of people came to and I felt surrounded by love and friendship and good vibes. People in this city care about me and it’s awesome.
I traveled this year! I went to 4 completely new states: Louisiana (New Orleans) and Mississippi (Biloxi and Moss Point) for work, and Massachusetts (Boston) and Maine (Portland/Cushings Island) for fun with my friends. I also went to new parts of Virginia for work (Dinwiddie) and w/ JJ — Virginia Beach for our first long weekend away and Suffolk to meet his family. I went back to Charlottesville to visit BC, and that was lovely. We went to a restaurant with my name! I went to Princeton both for work and for fun, and visited home a few times. I went to Reunions (because of course) and had a great time and got just the right amount of drunk and wore all the orange things and JJ told me to win a game of ‘ruits for him so I won all 6 games I played and EY and I took a very memorable nap and things were wonderful even though neither of the Princeton men who are closest to my heart were able to be there. Later JJ and I went back to campus in October for a Black Alumni Conference, which inspired very different complex feelings in both of us, but being on campus together was the coolest and I’m looking forward to doing it again.
People visited me! My mommy came down for a long weekend in March, which was fun because she and I hadn’t really spent much one-on-one time since I’ve been an adult living independently in the world. I love being a tour guide for folks, but it was particularly cool being a tour guide for her. And she met JJ for the first time then. KS was here for a conference in April and we hung out and that was great because it has always been too long since I’ve seen him. We hugged dramatically in a restaurant and I felt like I was in a movie. EY and her boyfriend came to visit in August, as did CC and her boyfriend. I had fantastic long weekends with each of them, including some exciting new experiences for everyone involved.
I dated! I kept my commitment to putting myself out there and seeing what interesting folks come my way, and went on a few dates with some cool people. Things never took off with anyone really, but I’m still glad I did it. Dating teaches me things about myself and sometimes gives me cool experiences along the way. For the first time ever, 2014 dating included women, and that is an area of myself that I am glad to have started exploring, even if I have complicated feelings about looking for new involvements.
I became more important at work! I have been a task lead on two projects now, and was promoted for a second time in June. On Monday my boss’s boss’s boss, the head of my department, told me that my transition from hiring to being fully staffed was one of the easiest she’s ever seen, which felt like a big compliment. It’s been difficult to manage sometimes, and I occasionally feel underqualified to be doing the things I do, but apparently I do the things well, haha. I feel lucky to still really enjoy and feel fulfilled by the work I do after 2.5 years with the company — most people can’t say that about their first jobs out of college.
After a long period of not speaking after saying some nasty things to one another, I repaired my relationship with my father. I feel good about where we are, even if it’s not exactly where either of us would ideally be. I am grateful for his presence in my life, especially as this year has reminded me just how short life can be and how fucked up family dynamics can be.
This summer, I helped JJ find and move into a new apartment. That was sort of the first big project of our relationship, and I think it went well, even if he might not stay in this place for a while. That whole process required that we embrace some of the unconventionalness of our relationship in ways that I think have been really helpful. I never want to carry a futon up 2 flights of stairs ever again…but I would for him.
I went to cool live events! I saw Beauty and the Beast live at an outdoor theater w/ LS and company, Me’Shell N’degeocello at the Birchmere with JJ in June, and then her again alongside Janelle Monae and Lauryn Hill (among others) at Summer Spirit Festival to recreate our first date for our one year anniversary in August. I saw Ta-Nehisi Coates talk about his article on reparations in the summer, and in November, JJ and I I went to the final show of the Revival Poetry tour and each of our first stand-up comedy show to see W. Kamau Bell. We also saw Stevie Wonder in November, which was originally mostly for his benefit, but I had such an amazing time there that in the end it was definitely a treat for both of us. Oh, and RG wound up treating me to seeing The Tempest at the Shakespeare Theater in December.
I kept my 2014 resolution, which was to let myself feel my feelings. I made a conscious effort to let myself feel hurt when I felt hurt, rather than try to talk myself out of feeling hurt or tell myself why I shouldn’t be feeling that way. I was more vulnerable with people, shared more of what goes on in the darker corners of my mind. I tried to be very good about telling people how I feel about them. I worked on keeping it real with myself and with other people. I still clammed up and tried to work things out without being open about how I was feeling from time to time, but it never quite worked and I always felt better after I just laid my shit bare. This meant a lot of taking time to cry, both by myself and in front of JJ, which never quite didn’t feel weird, but he is a fountain of support and I appreciate him for it. I wrote a lot about my feelings this year, both here in blogland and in emails to JJ (some of which got sent and some of which didn’t). I think I want this to be a life resolution that stays a goal until it’s a definitive habit.
I faced challenges I knew how to beat and problems that feel unsolveable this year. I survived unexpected bumps in the road. I gave support and I needed it, sometimes simultaneously, always in efforts to make things better. I admitted that I sometimes don’t know what to do. I sat with complicated feelings, my own and others’. I held on in moments of darkness. I created, strengthened, transitioned, and lost relationships of all kinds. I built things from the ground up, from bookshelves to a love that feels epic, and created from nothing a million words and nearly as many baked goods. I recommitted myself to expression of all of my selves. I examined my shit. I grew. Growth is always the goal.
2014, you’ve been a hell of a ride. In some ways things are so different, and in some ways things have become so stable. Change is so interesting.
2015, I hope you bring as many joys as 2014 (or more. More is good.). I know you will bring challenges — I hope I can face them/help others face them with as much support as possible, and I hope that they serve to help me become better. I am excited to see how that which I’ve been building continues to grow and prosper. I want to be kind, and be loving, and be caring, both to the people who are important to me and to myself. I want to be unapologetic. I want to be straightforward. I want to be surrounded by that which I enjoy whenever possible. I want to be generous, patient, and compassionate. I want people to be those things towards me. I want strength and resilience. I want trust and security. And if can say what I hope the year brings, my hope is simple: I hope I get to wake up next New Year’s Day the same way I did today, feeling at home in JJ’s arms.