Reflections on ’07

Better late than never?

2007index2007 is a year that for me is really hard to classify. In some ways it was incredibly hard. I started the year in pretty bad shape financially and romantically. Then by February, both seemed to get a little better, and then in April I said goodbye to Adrian, which was really hard, and had a whole slew of financial setbacks. In November I said goodbye to the dog, which was also hard in its own way. I also had some difficulties with family and friends. This year was rife with trouble and turmoil. Numerologically, I was in a 6 personal year, which often is linked with extra responsibilities and burdens, and that was a gross understatement for how the year actually turned out. There were definitely times I felt like so much shit was hitting me at once I couldn’t see straight. There was a lot I crawled out from underneath.

Yet, when I look back at it, my feelings about the year are more positive than negative. In some ways, I feel like I really came into my own. I feel stronger than I did at this point last year, that’s for sure. I also feel like I sort of blossomed in a way, especially in terms of clothing, if that makes sense. I got rid of a lot of old clothes that had never fit well, that I’d worn for ages because they were there, things I didn’t feel comfortable in but wore anyway, clothes people gave me as hand-me-downs or that I’d found at free clothing drives that were five sizes too big, or just totally not me, things that made me feel frumpy and homely. So I did a lot of clearing out, and then during my trip, got some new clothes that I felt supremely attracted to in terms of color and style.

I’ve always had this thing about looking at clothes with an artist’s eye, looking at outfits almost like a painting. It’s hard to explain, and it’s something I’ve done all my life, so it’s so integral to how I am that it’s hard to nail down and describe. I am totally drawn to color, so I’m always looking at how my clothes look together color-wise, and going for an aesthetic satisfaction that may not make sense or even be noticeable to anyone else. And in recent years, in a lot of clothes I felt so blah and so unsatisfied artistically that I almost stopped thinking about it, but that just felt like dulling myself down. That’s not to say nothing was good. This move towards my truer artistic compass and better fitting in dressing is something I’ve made steps toward in the last few years, slowly and surely, and then this year it was like, okay, I’m completely ready to take this on, and also to embrace being sexy. All of that has felt really good.

I’ve also worked hard to change my financial situation in the last year, and I feel great about that. I have savings, not a ton, but some to build on. I have paid off a lot of bills, not all, but pretty damn close. In fact, most months, I’m ready to go online and pay bills before they’re even issued, which feels sooo awesome. I feel on top of things, secure, able to support myself. I also have been able to afford things, like my trip, without dipping into those savings. I don’t feel completely poor, and I absolutely did when 2007 started and my account was severely overdrawn. It has taken a lot of hard work, and hopefully this trend will only continue into 2008, especially with college coming up!

I definitely feel like it’s been a year for seeing my own strengths, my own ability to take care of myself financially, emotionally and beyond, and it’s been great. It hasn’t been without the support of friends and others. I have some of the best friends in the world. And I’m also learning how to do it for myself. I’m working on changing relationships that haven’t felt good to me, ones in which I feel at the wrong end of power plays, because that has too often been the case. I’m working hard on learning to stand up for myself, be assertive without being aggressive, and being more honest about how I feel and who I am, being authentic and listening to my own authority.

I reconnected with some old friends, strengthened friendships that were budding last year, like Linda, my writing friend extraordinaire, as well as a local friend who I meet for lunch every month or so. She has been great to talk to and she’s helped me sexify my life, meaning mostly she’s helped me work on fixing up my apartment in a way that really suits me. In a way, a lot of this year has been about investing in quality things that I really love, whether they’re from thrift stores or malls, whether it’s in clothes or curtains or friendships or college decisions.

My friend found me matching lamps for my bedroom that were perfect colors, a painting to hang up that fits perfectly, and helped me rearrange the furniture in there, and now I just love being in there. Call it feng shui or whatever, but my bedroom now feels so much more inviting, peaceful, satisfying, sexy, instead of some sort of chaotic throwaway place. This same friend also found me a set of dishes and some other odds and ends, and I know I’ll take these things with me when I move, and keep for years to come. It’s a trend I’d like to continue.

I also met some new friends this year, like Janna and others at the PNWA writing conference, Kali who I met through an online forum, and then met in real life twice during my trip. It’s funny, when I went back to work at camp this year, I was part-time, and I didn’t live there, but somehow I feel like I’ve made more connections this year than in years past. Especially after the season ended, I got to spend a lot of quality time with quality people who stuck around, but even before that, I felt like I got to know the staff pretty well, and had some great times going out with them. I’m finally hanging with people my own age, which is really incredible. That’s yet another thing I want to continue and increase in this new year.

Writing also went well for me in 2007. In January or February, I got the first full critique of my book, which was followed by Linda’s, and I used those to completely rework my book, to take it deeper, to address albinism more, to focus the story, to brave the darker parts, enter them and put them on paper. I completely rewrote the first section, which was hard. Originally I had an essayish narrative at the beginning, and that grew and morphed and changed some more into now four distinct chapters with vivid scenes, most of which were pretty difficult to write, and I’m very happy with it now. In October I finished my most recent draft, and sent it to Linda again, and received her full critique a few weeks ago.

Also in writing news, I went to some open mic readings, locally and in Seattle, went to a writing conference and pitched to agents, had two pieces selected as finalists in I’m From Rolling Stone, got some personalized rejection letters from agents, got an agent referral after an open mic reading (that agent subsequently sent me a personalized rejection too, lol), entered a lot of contests in which I didn’t place, got accepted for the Orcas ArtSmith Residency and was invited to read at The Best Memoirists Pageant Ever. So all in all, it’s been a successful year for my writing.

I’ll also say there was one other little writing thing I found out about in early December, that may or may not make it to print, I’ll know very soon, but until then I don’t want to say anything.

So overall, my feelings towards this past year, are largely positive.

~Emilia J

Currently Listening:
“Shine” – Dog’s Eye View – this song deserves its own post, it has quite the history for me, and has some really profound lines. Probably my favorite DEV song out there. This would be one of those quality songs that I will take with me forever, thanks to a friend, almost eight years ago, who used to call herself BlueShine.

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2 thoughts on “Reflections on ’07

  1. “I definitely feel like it’s been a year for seeing my won strengths” <– I remember reading about all of your troubles in mid-2007, when I first 'met' you. The way you wrote about it left me feeling frustrated with you, and it’s been wonderful to see the clouds you were under lift and dissipate. You’re an inspiration, Emilia, and I’m looking forward to seeing you continue to blossom!

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