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untitled unmastered.

I am spending the holidays alone. In fact, I think I am the only person in my building. It snowed last night and someone driving on the ice this morning made me realise how silent the past ten (or eleven? Twelve?) days have been. This evening The Fighter's maybe we are meant to be lonely / maybe we are meant to be on our own did not do me much good.

2021 was extraordinarily hard. It is an irony because this is the year that plans since 2018 came to fruition. I paid the price. I am exactly where I need to be, doing what I need to do. And in a short time, I have made remarkable progress. I am in graduate school. I'm teaching fiction. I have quite the portfolio of short stories. I am getting published for the first time by a reputable literary journal. I am writing my first novel.

But because I cannot separate life and work, I started to wonder what my life was without these professional achievements. What was my life like this year without this checklist?

Anxiety. Waiting in limbo. Pinching pennies. Fear. Aloneness. Loneliness. Rejection. Uncertainty. Anger. Helplessness.

But this year was also one of an even deeper connection with my sisters. This is my most important takeaway this year. Because I lost friendships, I saw clearly for the first time certain people I was once too distracted to feel the depth and height of their care and support for me. I feel centered as a person — what I believe, what values I want to continue to live by. I no longer live by the need to please. I say no better, firmer. I am able to navigate what it means to open up again on my own absofuckinlute terms. I really like that I am able to choose what to do about my love-hate relationship with the internet, like deactivating my Instagram and Twitter accounts. It is such a big deal for me. I can choose to be active again, but the point is I can choose.

I am glad to see this year go. But again, time is an illusion. I am hoping the next year is better. I am doing so much hard work to make sure it is, thanks to my obsessive self. I am excited about who I'll yet be, and for the opportunities for growth and mastery. I have high hopes. (Look at me, not afraid to hope.) Thank you, 2021.

Send me books! All I have is to offer is my many thanks and sincere goodwill.

An obligatory first winter portrait:

a woman walking in the snow.


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