Summaries are hard. Which is perhaps why I write more novels than short stories.
But this year was certainly an interesting one, so I’ll attempt it before the clock strikes midnight.
2014 brought a significant season of moving forward in my creative pursuits. I have edited 6 total versions of my first novel, which will be ready to submit for publication hopefully sometime in the first half of this year. I officially began writing my second novel, of which I am 485 pages in. It will likely end up split into two books.
I incorporated drawing classes into my academic load, which provided my first introduction to being part of a community of artists, and to being brave and letting people much more skilled than myself examine and critique my work. I have contacted my top art school choice, and am working on the application for the MFA program for Illustration, even as I make initial movements for marketing myself as a professional artist. Throughout this crucial preparatory phase, I have been learning to take myself seriously as a writer and an illustrator, despite the fact that I’m nowhere near as experienced as I want to be.
In May, I went overseas for the first time. This year, my travels took me to South Korea, Hong Kong, and Vietnam, which landed me more confidence in traveling, learning and navigating new systems, and grew me in ways I’m not even completely sure of. God willing, May 2015 will see me back to Costa Rica, making my first voyage outside of the United States unaffiliated with academics.
This year also brought biology research—physiological and ecological studies on hummingbirds at high elevations in the mountains of southeastern Arizona. This was unlike anything I’ve ever done, as I know I’ve said before. Excruciating heat, all-nighters, 6-hour DLW sessions in the disgustingly early morning, strange living conditions, wrath-invoking bugs, harrowing work hours, and a terribly inconvenient visit from the BBC. My lab partner and I were just a couple of derpy kids left without a supervisor for three weeks in the middle of nowhere—but we nailed our research anyway. And those six weeks taught me so much about pulling through, of doing whatever it took to woman-up and show up and find gratification in the work I had accomplished.
And by the end of the summer, my lab partner had become one of my closest friends. (Which is a story I’ll have to tell another time, ‘cause it’s a good one.)
I seriously wanted an easy fall semester. But the latter half of this year brought a cold season spiritually, and a persistent state of social exhaustion—juxtaposed with an increasing passion for alleviating the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, and a quest to reconcile my more traditional religious foundation with what I have come to believe regarding gender and sexual identity.
By the end of the year, I ended up retreating for maintenance and recuperation—recognizing limits and taking care of myself and trying to let go of the crippling insecurities that had made this new journey so stressful. As the new semester swiftly approaches, I am still feeling out where I am, and looking to treat this new year like a blank page.
On the verge of a new year, with new adventures and experiences and challenges, I want to thank everyone who has held a part of my life thus far. I am truly affected and honored by all your love and support. Thank you so much. I wish you the best this upcoming year.