Last night, I went out to the Buffalo Wild Wings in Roseville with my friend Sarah to watch the UFC fights, specifically to watch Ronda Rousey versus Amanda Nunes. It was a good night after a rough day and a rough week (head colds are for real, especially when you have to work with other people and project energy and excitement). We had a great night eating wings, drinking beers, and watching all of the fights leading up to the main event. I’ve been team Rousey, in part because there’s just something about her that I like, and in part because she was the underdog going in. She lost the belt 13 months ago and she wanted it back. In the meantime, the sport evolved and the competition got more fierce. Nunes is a fierce fighter, strong and fast. And that is the way the match went. Rousey never had a chance, never landed a punch. In 48 seconds, she was pummeled and the match was called. TKO.
I feel for her. Amanda Nunes earned that victory. I feel like Rousey’s loss is somehow a poetic representation of how most of us are feeling after 2016. It’s just a year, a measurement of time, and it doesn’t really hold any cosmic significance. But it felt a little more brutal than we’ve been used to. No, it’s not the worst ever. But there were a lot of cultural hits this year. There were a lot of surprise upheavals. And there is an ominous feeling to the year to come.
I don’t want to focus on the negative in this entry, because a lot of stuff happened this last year and not all of it was terrible. On a personal level, I went through, I think, some growth opportunities this year. And I’m trying to set myself some goals for the new year to start marking some sort of progress.
Firstly, one year ago at this very moment, I was between apartments. I had checked out of my apartment at The Burlington in St Paul and wasn’t able to sign the papers and inhabit my new space at Crossroads (how fitting is that name) until 5pm in the evening. So I did the most natural thing in the world and I went to see a movie (The Big Short). I am not moving this year. I’m working to regain some semblance of continuity and stability in my life. I left the year sleeping on a mattress in my new bedroom after sushi and a game night with my good friend, Angela. New Year’s Day, my family helped me move all of my belongings into Crossroads and I began again.
This year, I started the process of trying to move on personally. I met some amazing people and had a few almost starts. Healing will take time and, given my nature, I won’t ever really completely let go of the things that I had, but they will become recontextualized (my Mac’s spellcheck is telling me that isn’t a word, but we know what I mean, right?) and everything will move forward. I have had some good friends to fall back on, which has been immensely important. And I’ve made attempts to move forward. A big one, this year, was signing up for OK Cupid. I won’t ever become fully comfortable with the idea of online dating, but it has allowed me to meet and interact with new people that I otherwise would not have encountered. And who knows, one of these women that I meet might turn out to be a good match.
I didn’t write anything this year. That’s no good. I’m making a plan to start revising/ rewriting my novel. I’m also going to attack my short stories and start submitting them.
I did draw and paint a fair amount this year (not as much as I would like, but I still kept producing). I made a couple of paintings that I’m relatively happy with as gifts, one for a birthday and one for Christmas (I’ll post process of that one in another entry). I also made it to the last round of selections for the MN State Fair Fine Arts Competition this year with my Roller Girl painting. I wasn’t selected, but it was nice to advance slightly. I will enter the competition again this summer. I will be entering another piece in the Spectrum Arts Competition again this year (it’s due near the end of January). I haven’t started work on that painting yet, so I’m going to have a busy month!
I have been trying to put a little more priority on doing things for myself. I went to CONvergence for the first time this last July and had a lot of fun. I’m planning on attending again in July. This was in addition to the Wizard World Con that I went to with my friend Emily and the MSP Comic Con that I attended in May at the State Fair Grounds. I didn’t hit any of the Art Fairs this last year–I just couldn’t seem to prioritize going to them without B, so maybe in the year to come I’ll hit them up again (I don’t have much wall space left, so I would have to start rotating pictures). I went to only two author readings/ signings that I can think of right now, but one of them was a big one for me–I was able to see and meet Michael Chabon, who is a writer I’ve admired for a very long time (he wrote one of my favorite books, Wonder Boys). That experience was detailed in a previous entry. I also was able to see John Scalzi, with whom I don’t have as long of a reader’s history, but who I follow on various social medias (and I have enjoyed the books that I’ve read of his).
I went to a concert for my birthday this year, joined by my little brother, friend Emily & her partner Taylor. On that evening, we went to see The Dove and the Wolf at 7th Street Entry opening up for another artist that I hadn’t previously heard. It was a fantastic show. Prior to that, in October, I saw Rachael Yamagata for the third time (this time with my little brother) at Triple Rock Social Club.
I also had some smaller adventures with friends this year, including a Valentine’s Day trip in a snowstorm to get the “single’s” flavor of the day Blizzard, and seeing one of my former Hamline professors playing with the band he’s in at the Black Dog Cafe in Lowertown.
Upcoming, I’m going to a panel discussion (on Succeeding through Failure) featuring Dessa in January and I’m going to go to see Dessa perform with the MN Orchestra in April. I’m expecting, barring an underwhelming roster or the cancellation of the event, attending one of the days of Wizard World again in May. Not certain about the MSP Comic Con, but I’d like to try. Art-a-Whirl, maybe?
So, a lot of shit happened this last year. And my heart is heavy for not only what we’ve lost, but what is coming. 2016 has been one of those crazy nights at a bar, where everything started off nice and you enjoyed some good times, but somehow everything slid a little bit out of control and before you knew it someone threw up on your friend’s shirt, cars were set on fire, someone got into a brawl, furniture was broken, and the police showed up. The lights have come up now and the bartender is turning off the neon. You survived. It’s time now to close out the tab and get some rest. Tomorrow is another day.
More later …