Twenty Eight

A look back at another year.

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This time every year I sit down to write some sort of recap as to whatever it was that just whipped by. There has never been a year short of a label as I remain inherently in tune with the minute trappings of the tangled webs I weave: Two thousand sixteen was all about, “Development.” (Growth, but more professional.) Two thousand fifteen, “Returning.” (After a long break.) This year, my web has been more tangled than ever, conscience never more skewed, and certainty never more in question. I’m confused.

“On this Day” last year – as Facebook says, I was bidding on what would be my largest client to date. Not in numbers but in size and opportunity. The sky was the limit and for the first time in nearly a decade I was allowing myself to fall fearlessly into it. Two thousand sixteen was on-track to be the single most rewarding year to date. I was prepared to live comfortably in a state of awareness and conscious growth. And, in the end, I did win the bid — before the bid lost me.

Spring sprung with an entirely new (and never more serious) life change; the kind of life change you can’t talk about with friends and family with the deepest fear of failure. A personal trainer. A nutritionist. An investment in the software to better process the most precious hardware: Me. I learned to plan my meals throughout the week. I learned to cook them. I became less focused on a diet and more inherently in tune with a better, healthier style of living. I became more grounded through the struggle of it all. (Because, there was. Struggle.) I became more confident. And, I became more comfortable; in who I was; not what I was; in who I wanted to be; not what I wanted to be.

I learned the lesson that there is success in every failure.

Yes, I failed. I audited the profitability of The Studio and came to terms with the fact that “my passion” and “their gratitude” aren’t really all that equal in value, or currency didn’t exchange at all for that matter. I lost the contract that was supposed to take my career to new heights by standing up for myself, and remembered how much I prefer my feet firmly on the ground.

I fell in love for the first time in more than six years and I fell in love with a gay man for the first time in my life. Then, I realized that I still hadn’t gotten it right and navigated out. And after the three solid attempts at goodbye, I allowed myself to no longer seek immediate revival from failure of the heart. I died a little. But, only to live a whole lot more.

In the wake of the breakup (beer mug in-hand), I accepted a friend’s challenge to participate in Sober October; I failed there too. The success in the failure came after each of the three “cheats” – each whisper of the lesson and echo of lacking accountability a little louder than the next. The only person I was cheating was myself. There’s only so much comedy in calling yourself an alcoholic before you begin to question the validity of the statement. Could I live without it? Turns out I could, for 28 out of 31 days.

Maybe there is a word for the year after all. Maybe the word for the year is resistance; by definition, resistance is the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument. Or, the ability to not be affected by something, especially adversely. It was the year I refused to accept myself for who I was, for the first time, the healthy way. It was the year I redefined profitability as “a balance in growth between mind, body, and soul” and refused to comply with any demand that decreased that. It was the year I took action and prevented the instinctive, time and time again, to lose myself in another person; another project; another idea. It was the year I found the ability to not to be affected by adversity through acceptance in reality, that I am not invincible; nor do I need to be.

I cannot project the year ahead. Though I do feel, more than ever, an inherent urge to take aim at community ties beyond the retina displays I so strongly rely on. I feel like so much of my life has been a rat race; moving quickly from one period, project, or person to the next. I was never really afforded the opportunity to find myself let alone “my people” or relish in the comfort of their presence – the innate communities to which I belong. Being gay requires it. There is no one Queen to rule us all. Being an entrepreneur requires we build our own. Yet, it’s lonely at the top; that’s why it’s so important to “lean out” every once in awhile too. I’m looking into that.

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