In 2017 I wrote three posts here, in 2018 I wrote none.
But I’m not dead. And I have been writing.
Throughout 2018 I wrote behind the scenes reflections and updates regularly over on Patreon, and in my dayjob, I wrote additional blogs over at The Dirt. I’ve also been chipping away at a YA fantasy novel project, two plays, some short stories and lots and lots of poems. So the words aren’t getting lost, they are just living in other places. I’m not going to promise to write more here in 2019, but I do intend to have a think about what I write and where I put it and that might mean some other bits appearing here. I guess we’ll see.
I’ve been writing end of year/new year reflection posts for a few years now. I like the process of reflecting on what a year has contained. It helps me understand that space of time as a whole. It helps me see where I’m up to and where I’m heading and helps me check if I need to adjust anything.
And it helps me get perspective.
Especially on productivity and context and growth. I have that voice in my head – you might have one too – that niggles at me all the time with comments like “you’re not doing enough!”, “you’re so lazy”, “stop procrastinating” etc etc. Looking at the wholeness of a year helps give me perspective to push back against that voice. It’s not the only tool for pushing back against that voice, and not even the most important one, but it is useful and has a place.
2018 was a full and hectic year. Nic and I were both in new jobs, our smallest human started (and finished kindy) and our not so small human transitioned back to mainstream schooling after four years of home(un)schooling. We also bought (!!) our second house and moved back to regional South Australia. So there was a lot of change and adjusting to manage just on a practical day-to-day level.
Alongside that we had a couple of big (new) things happening with people we love. They are their stories to tell but to give you a general sense those big things included cancer diagnoses, serious illness of children, mental health disruptions & challenges and more than one suicide attempt.
There was also a very serious incident* at Nic’s workplace this year, which although it didn’t directly involve him, did have a significant impact on many of the students in his care and his colleagues and did rattle him too. Those things can shake us and make us ask ourselves questions that are very hard to answer.
All of this took energy and had an emotional, mental and physical cost.
I ended the year tired.
I’m still tired.
But also feeling grateful. So grateful to love and be loved. So grateful that we have the resources and opportunity to walk beside and support our loved ones. So grateful to be at a point in my life where I feel the most competent and capable I’ve ever felt and where I have resources (skills, finances, time, networks) to back myself up. That doesn’t mean I’m not scared and don’t have doubts. I am scared, I do have doubts. I question myself and everything else all the time. But also underneath that I feel like I’ve got this. I can face the unknown. I can face the things that go wrong. I can face the ugly and painful cracks of my own history. I can learn and grow and live and cry and laugh and breathe and hurt and be okay.
2018 I think was the year I finally started getting okay with being bad at things. When I finally started to actually shed some of the old stories about myself (mine and others). When I finally felt like maybe, just maybe, I can do this terrible and precious thing called life.
Yield was my word for 2018. It was well-chosen, I think.
I’ve chosen a word for the past few years – as many others do** – as a way to set intention and give myself guidance for the year. I guess it’s a kind of New Years Resolution, although it’s not quite so direct. It is its own kind of tradition though and I like it. So I keep doing it.
In 2018 I felt safe and supported and well. And that seemed to trigger my brain to say ‘hey you, here’s a bunch of old hurts and history you’ve never dealt with, better feel it all now.” So 2018 was this weird space of joy and comfort and trauma and tears.
ARLP (and other things) really challenged me to face some of the stories I was telling about myself. And it’s time to keep doing the work of rewriting those stories.
So my word for 2019 is
- to put right
- to change or modify (something) for the better
- to alter
- to reform oneself
And just quietly – I’m not actively sharing this yet, so we’ll count this as a ‘soft launch’ – here’s (one of) my contribution/s to continuing to change and modify the Riverland for the better. Opening mid 2019. Tell your (Riverland) friends.
Let’s see what 2019 brings.
PS – I’ve decided this is my anthem for 2019 ( I haven’t seen the movie but my four-year old loves it and we listen to the soundtrack in the car, the whole soundtrack is super cute and sometimes I listen to it even when she’s not with me).
*It was widely reported on the news at the time and I don’t feel it’s appropriate, useful or necessary to rehash here.
** I was first introduced to choosing a word by Maxabella Loves. I can’t remember how I stumbled on her though!
A small selection of significant things/places/people that inspired me, shaped me, moved me, made me in 2018:
- Mojo Juju, Native Tongue
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeymoon & The Break by Katherena Vermette (thanks to Tully Bates for inviting me to join bookclub)
- Climate Century, Vitalstatistix
- Patricia Piccinini
- FELTspace, The Mill and Sister Gallery
- D’Faces and Whyalla, especially Deb Hughes, Olivia White, Rob Golding & Ashlee Worger
- Brianna Obst & Claire Glenn (all the things and the Never Endo Story)
- Lysa and the Freeborn Dames by Claire Christian (LaBoite)
- The Art Squad and Youth Arts Facilitator Hothouse (and all the people part of both)
- ARLP C24 and our brief time together
- The Ancient Bloods, in particular This Land (Acknowledgement Song)
- The She-Ra Netflix reboot & Brooklyn 99
- Sara Strachan and the Arts Front U30 Gathering in Newcastle
- DEB by Catherine McNamara and Emily Moffat (at Crack X)
- Chooks SA (the Facebook group and the movement)
- Ella Winnall and Maz McGann, in general, but especially their campaigns for local gov.
- Spoken Word SA (even though I didn’t get to many events)
- the wind coming through my home office window in the evening
And so many others. Thank you 2018.