1. My Career
Many things happened in the way of work this past year. I coauthored a paper with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, I made an appearance in a documentary about Winnipeg rooming houses, I spoke about my work at a community forum, a film festival, and again for several government officials. I traveled to Edmonton for a conference where I learned, networked, and promoted my own work with others working in the housing & homelessness sector. As a result of that networking, I’ve been asked to present a webinar on rooming houses as an essential form of affordable housing , I was nominated for a Golden Carrot Award for my work ensuring food security of low income tenants in West Broadway. Things are rolling along well in this aspect of my life and hopefully continues to do so.
2. Grad School
I submitted my application to study for a Masters of Social Work at the University of Calgary. I made the decision to make a life change and finally go through with it. I won’t hear until around April, which doesn’t give me much time to tie up loose ends and make a big move.
3. San Francisco
I took a trip to San Francisco, somewhere that has been on my list for awhile now. I went with a friend and I don’t usually travel with another person, but it was nice to be able to share a great experience with someone I care about. Of course it could have been a longer trip, but I’ll take what I can get. Time to start planning where I’ll be off to in 2015.
1. The last of my good friends left Winnipeg
In the last couple years, all of my closest friends have moved to other provinces. It’s been really hard to lose everyone close to you when you don’t have much family at all or many close relationships. I’ve always been one to advocate for quality friends over quantity, but it has kind of come to kick me these days. It’s hard to stay in touch when people are diving into their careers or having babies; and I’ve definitely seen a deterioration in at least one of my friendships.
2. A break up of sorts and all that follows
I had been in a long-distance relationship of sorts which came to an end this summer. I don’t want to say too much about it, but it has been incredibly difficult for me to process and figure out where to go from here. Do you remain friends with an ex, do you go no-contact and just try to forget the whole thing? I’m still in a place where I don’t know what’s to come in the future and it drives me absolutely insane. It has also been a major factor in my next disappointment below.
3. Hitting as close to rock bottom as I care to get
In 2014, I came out about suffering from “a severe case of major depressive disorder” after struggling silently for many years. I told a few friends and a couple coworkers so they could understand my actions, but it didn’t really help me at all and those who wanted to help didn’t know how. The last half of 2014 became so unbearable for me that the thoughts and feelings I was having about myself and life around me just weren’t normal anymore.
1. Art & Creating
I spent a lot of time in 2014 making. I’ve always been the creative type and it really showed in 2014. I took up crocheting in late 2013 and really got into this past year. I made hats and scarves, mitts and trivets, placemats and blankets. I painted a lot in 2014 and I began making polymer clay brooches and necklaces.
2. Being Depressed
Sounds strange, but a lot of my energy went into being depressed. I thought if I just rode it out and watched a lot of Netflix, drank a lot of vodka, and hid out from the world… it would all go away and I would feel normal again. That didn’t happen and I wasted a good six months or more doing that.
If not for Twitter I would probably never make any friends ever. It has become a really great place to discuss things like politics, social issues, craft beer, and other everyday stuff. I’ve said these things before and I’ll continue to say them, “some of the smartest people I know are on Twitter” and “most new people I meet are through Twitter.”
2. Bob’s Burgers
I discovered this television show this year and you might wonder, “why the hell would you be grateful for a cartoon?!?” Well, let me tell you… this show made me laugh so hard I would cry and gasp for air sometimes. It was a really nice reprieve from my usual deadpan, expressionless self. Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene, and Louise reminded me I was still a living, breathing person under all that.
I’ve never been one of those people who are in love with their family. I actually have a pretty poor relationship with every member of my family and I chocked it up to past events and bad communication and poor nurturing. I realized this year that it was ME creating the negative relationships and my family didn’t necessarily see it the same way as I did. I opened myself up a small bit to the possibility of strengthening my relationships with them. I began talking to my brother more than we ever have. I continue to see my mom pretty regularly. And the biggest step of all, I had breakfast with my father- someone I haven’t seen in close to a decade and haven’t shared a meal with in probably about 12+ years.
1. Be Healthy
This is all encompassing- mental, physical, financial, spiritual. I’m determined to feel good in 2015.
2. Create More
I want to continue to do what I love and make things, create art. But, I also want to dabble in other art forms like writing, wood working, photography, and even cooking.
3. Be Brave
Travel often. Take a leap. Invest in something risky. Take chances. I think 2015 is going to be full of scary changes and I’m going to have to be strong and brave to take the year on and survive it. Today, I feel like I am ready for that challenge!