Blogging While Brown is proud to host our first full blog carnival in conjunction with Bee from 83 to Infinity. Our theme this month is Looking Forward: Looking Back. Next month our theme will be fitness and wellness and our February 2014 topic will be Black history. Join Bee and the contributors for a live Twitter chat on Thursday, December 19th at 8pm EST! We'll be discussing some of the highlights in our posts, and our thoughts on 2013 and 2014! Follow Bee at @BeeSince83 and check out the hashtag #BWB1314 to chime in!
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
By Bridget "Bee" Quammie
There are two times of the year that this Zora Neale Hurston quote comes to mind: once on my birthday, and again at the delicate crux between Old Year's Night and New Year's Day. I always assess the year that is culminating - did it ask or answer? Then I wonder about the year to come - will I receive more questions or responses? I'm a sucker for the reflection and anticipation that comes with wrapping up another rotation around the sun or completion of another dog-eared, marked-up calendar - so, here we are.
Special shout-out to Blogging While Brown for giving me the opportunity to host their December blog carnival - stay tuned for links from some other awesome bloggers who took on the same theme and ran with it.
In my assessment of Miss Zora's quote - 2013 definitely answered questions. Questions like "Can I do it?" and "Is it time to take a risk?" and "Who am I?" and "What do I want?" permeated my mind over the last 12 months, and I received answers to all of them and more.
This year saw me do a major job of overcoming my fear of public speaking - from hosting award shows and fashion shows, to being on TV (three times!), to speaking at 2 conferences, I've learned to get comfy with the Bee that stands up in front of 5-500 people and speaks her mind. Whodathunkit? Not me.
I continued to develop my writing voice and skill, which is a continual work in process. I'm still having fun with '83 To Infinity, and I'm blessed to write for some awesome publications that trust me and support me. Little Bee always wanted to be a multi-hyphenate model/actress/writer/doctor, but only one of those options seemed truly possible as I got older (hence my work in health care - I still fell short of the 'doctor' title, much to my father's chagrin). To be able to say that I am now able to sustain an alternate stream of income through my words AND that so many new people have gotten to read my writing AND the fact that I giggle every time someone thinks that I do this (blog/write/events etc.) full-time...all I can say is I feel blessed.
On a more personal level, I made some huge strides this year. One thing I've never written about before is my diagnosis with depression in 2012 (shortly after my cervical cancer issue), and my struggles coming to terms with it. 2012 broke me in many ways, but I was determined to rebuild myself in 2013. I think I threw myself into blogging and writing and events to distract myself - which helped a bit, but eventually I learned that rebuilding myself wouldn't happen if I was hiding from myself. I chose to face things head-on, and I'm proud of the work I've done on myself. Sometimes I slip and fall and need someone to catch me. Sometimes I don't allow anyone to catch me. Sometimes sliding to the bottom is the most saddening yet comfortable thing. I'm learning how to work with myself and my brain and my heart, and I'm utterly thankful for the people who (whether they know it or not) have helped to save me from myself.
2013 allowed me to build some amazing new friendships and strengthen existing ones at a point in my life where it felt like everyone had their besties already. I turned 30 and started turning my Don't Give a F*ck meter all the way up. I learned a lot and expanded my mind about themes like sexuality, feminism, womanism, and entrepreneurship. I've come out of 2013 so confident, so strong, more loved, more in love, and ready to jump into 2014 with both feet.
So. 2014. There's so much newness and change underway that I can't even reference my usual Zora Neale Hurston-assisted formula. All I know is that 2014 is going to do more than ask questions or answer them. It's already given me a few teasers to show me that I'm headed in the right direction. I'm nominated for a national award and will be attending an award show in March. An amazing publication has offered me a contributor position. A community agency has tapped me to facilitate a series of workshops on social media. I'm determined to run with all of these confirmations that I'm most definitely on to something, and I can't wait. A move, more travel, continuing to improve my health, continuing to come into my own...next year will surely be incredible. 2014 will be a redefinition, and I'm excited to take it on.
There's actually a pretty big project on the go for 2014, but I can't give out the details just yet - you'll have to stay tuned! Overall, I haven't been this excited for a new year in a long time. I so looked forward to 2013 because I was desperate to escape the grasp of 2012, but heading into 2014 feels different. I'm not running away from anything - I'm ready for everything.
Now that I've said my piece - check out the posts from my awesome contributors:
Claire of Claire She Goes talks about a year of finding her voice, navigating religion, and presenting her most authentic self in 2014.
Amy of Now - For A Word Or Two gives us a breakdown of some of the highlights and challenges of her year (breastfeeding, social media, the NFL and more!) and lets us know her resolutions plans for 2014.
Join myself and the contributors for a live Twitter chat on Thursday, December 19th at 8pm EST! We'll be discussing some of the highlights in our posts, and our thoughts on 2013 and 2014! Follow me at @BeeSince83 and check out the hashtag #BWB1314 to chime in!