2016 Year in Review
The year 2016 was the first in a very long time where nothing major happened in my life. Lots of things happened in the world and we did lots of things, but neither of us changed jobs, we didn't move, nothing crashed. We did incredible things but you compare this to 2015 or 2014, it was much calmer of a year. However, I have grown so much emotional in 2016 that it's hard to recognize the person I once was. I want to reflect on that growth for a moment.
On the 2, I decided to do 1 sec a day video for the entire year. This project was huge for me, as video has always been terrifying (I hate the sound of my own voice), but it's a very different median than what I was used to and I wanted a challenge outside of images. I am a very slow learner when it comes to teaching myself, an odd fact for a homeschooler. I expect to go from A to Z in a matter of minutes, which is what would happen if I had a dedicated teacher. Instead I pushed myself to learn on my own. With video I am finding it's learning curve to be quite high, it's hard to figure how to get what I picture in my head to the viewer. For the most part I am able to capture this with images but this is why I have only made a handful of videos. The one I am proud of the most are from this 1 sec a day challenge, spontaneous, I had to do it, and it couldn't be the same as the day before. This video is the second half of the project. You can see the first half here. Watching does give a way a lot of the things I did throughout the year, but I am still going to highlight a few things.
Our ten year anniversary was this February. I am still not sure how I managed to fall in love, but I'll take every second of it I can get. The best part of this month was that I started writing and sharing photos of our house. This is the first place I have felt truly at home in. We have lived many places, but this place became the home that felt safe. Feeling so secure has allowed me to start writing and feeling all the emotions that I've been putting off for the last 15 years. Having a supportive person beside be while going through all these emotions makes a huge difference.
My favorite post is called Fierce. I wrote it because I was feeling fierce! I had just spent the first two months of the year writing my heart out and prepping posts that would see me through the next few months. Those posts are incredibly draining, but it feels so amazing to have written it all. I didn't know then that hitting publish and receiving feedback would be harder than the writing. At the time, all I felt was empowered by the sheer volume of what I had accomplished. It was a good feeling and I will always be proud of the work I put out.
April was a crazy month! I started it off with a concussion that threw all my balance out the window. Recovering was not a fun journey as you'll see in May and June but more importantly to me, is that I finally wrote about feminism. I took a question from a job posting and answered them, acknowledging my lack of knowledge. With that acknowledgement I started actively seeking out ways to educate myself better on the terms which I was exploring. Books and youtube have become my biggest sources for education and I search for people who fall into the lines that I wrote about in that piece. I've come along way since writing that, but I have so far to go. Being aware of where you stand is important, being open to the idea of change and having your ideas challenged is also important. I think I'm getting there. My favorite line from that post is
I try very hard to write within my own experiences and allow for being teachable for when the occasion arises that I am wrong.
It's never easy accepting when you are wrong but allowing yourself to be teachable helps you to grow.
May and June
When I look back at these months, all I can think about is recovery and endless appointments. Recovering from my concussion, meant coming to terms with my balance being different from what it was and that it might this way from now on. The endless appointments were a different matter; my migraines and sleep issues. Alberta claims to be the migraine capital of the world, which isn't a positive thing in my mind. Due to chinooks (mass change in weather from hour to hour), the temperature change causes issues with brain tissues, or something like that. What it means, is that doctors have always refused to see if my pain was something more than weather caused. Since moving, my migraines have not changed, I still have the same debilitating head pain and I wanted to know why and how to prevent it. I have learned so much in regards to my migraines, triggers and sleep health. It's been an interesting journey. I still don't feel fully satisfied in my answers, but I'm better than before. I spent so much of my time driving to and from appointments, that I did a series of posts on the American Health Care vs Canada.
I also took some big steps and shared my first post discussing body image. That posted included a picture of me in my bra. I love this post and I find it strange how posting those images gave me no reason to pause but this one picture of my belly on instagram totally does. Writing and sharing my body positivity journey has been challenging but rewarding. The comments are always so touching and heartbreaking.
I produced some amazing work this month, that was light hearted, fun, and pushed my boundaries. Taking one of my favorite photos ever, for my post called The Killer Green Thumb. I love plants and creating this piece was so much fun. I spent way to many days setting up how the image was going to look, getting the lighting right and editing it to perfection! I also began to seriously edit and create video content. I shared the first half of my 1 sec a day video and my 30 Day Push Up Challenge. The learning curve for video editing came out lots with this, I deleted things that I shouldn't have, which dropped the quality. While editing, I began having a ton of computer issues. My laptop couldn't handle the video editing and my desktop began crashing after hours of work. As much as I wanted to do and work on more videos, it's frustrating to spend 6+ hours editing only to have your computer crash and you lose it all. By the end of this month I was tired of losing work and struggling to produce what I wanted so I pulled back a little bit until I could find a more permanent solution, which was solved in December.
August came with a bang, In the Throes of Overcoming Body Shame published. It's a very emotionally charged post, as with most of my work. All the fiercest that I had cultivated from March, melted away. Blogging got to me. I took a break from all social media, curled up on my couch and did nothing for two whole weeks. I felt incredibly guilty doing this, but I've learned that a social media break can be good. It's good for some many reasons. Anatasia Amour said it best when she wrote about taking her internet break
This year has been wonderful with some huge life stuff, but it's also been immensely hard and draining on me. Y'all know that I'm constantly stressing the importance of taking care of your own wellbeing before worrying about anyone else, and I've gotta practice what I preach. And for me, being in a position where I interact with people in the capacity to help them with their struggles every day, it's crucial that I take care of myself so I can best serve others. So that's exactly what I'm gonna do! - see the rest here
After I spent that time curled up on the couch, I sat down, inspired, and got to work. Created most of the content you would see following in September and October. While my posting wasn't consistent those two months, I am so happy with the time I took off.
September and October
Kevin's Dad came to see us. We visited houses, did tours, and explored Chicago with him. I simply loved having people come visit. It was wonderful to open my house and share my life with them. Having visitors could not have been better timed. By the time everyone left, I was missing the blogsphere so bad that it felt amazing just diving right into it again.
Hello Fall is how I started back, I talked about the amazing time I had watching the leafs change and my privilege. Then I introduced you to my crazy part of the world and I realize that my little odd habits, aren't so odd after all. But the best part was writing two posts on body positivity - When Your Silence Speaks Volumes and Body Positivity Tag. When writing those posts I knew this time what to expect and so I took steps to prevent the drain from happening again. I am so glad I did, a lot of the feedback I got was positive and uplifting, but the few negatives that I did have to deal with were crushing. In being prepared I was able to handle it, so my mental health and blog didn't suffer. That alone shows me how much I've grown. There's a small beauty in discovering that you are aware enough to know when to take a break and when to engage.
We end the year with my month of happiness. For the first time in ages, I felt like celebrating the holidays. It was beautiful and glorious. I signed off all social media on the 23 and didn't take a single picture or video (except for the 1 sec a day project) all of Christmas Weekend.
The last day of the year is my birthday. It ended on a high note and again I am so thankful for the amazing people I have in my life and the amazing growth I have done in this past year. Now I am looking forward to 2017 Adventure, I hope you will join me.