On the interwebs I’ve been doing some of the goofy “it’s been a decade, what’s the then/now of __________” memes. The decade of hair is one of my faves.
In a lot of ways I still struggle with feeling inadequate or incompetent because I feel behind my peers on so many levels. That sense of sheer overwhelm I felt when I started writing here in 2009 hasn’t ever fully dissipated, it’s just (drastically) changed shape. I don’t know that it will ever go away and I’m beginning to think that this sense of existential anxiety is probably not uncommon.
The last 10 years have sort of gone as expected but in completely unexpected ways.
10 years ago when I imagined my adult life I envisioned a reality where I didn’t have kids (✓), had my uterus out (✓), went to college (✓-ish), traveled around the country and planet (½✓), lived in an apartment in a city (✓), made art (✓), found a sense of belonging (✓), continued doing grassroots organizing (✓), had a meaningful and healthy social life (✓), and was accepted and loved for who I am and would become (✓✓✓).
I didn’t set out to become an advocate for the rights of homeschooled children.
I didn’t intend to become so outspoken about my upbringing
(and I really hoped it wouldn’t ever be relevant).
I never imagined I would get divorced or become estranged, let alone go to trade school, and also experience ALL THE THINGS at school.
I didn’t know how extremely queer I was, let alone that I would start HRT.
After spending my years in Maine mostly outside of local politics, I didn’t expect to move to CA and dive into housing abundance and community organizing (though it shouldn’t really have surprised me).
Now, I find myself sitting in an alcove in the airbnb I’m staying at in Akron, Ohio after walking through the snow for several hours; thinking about what my next steps will be going into the new year and starting another decade. What changes await me in the next decade? Who will I grow into? What will I do? What do I want to do and become?
These existential questions have been hanging over me since I dropped out of school. I haven’t had a lot of the bandwidth to answer them, I’ve spent so much energy just trying to survive let alone map out an idea for my future. In September I confided in my therapist something I’ve been afraid to admit out loud which is that: I didn’t see a future of myself past the age of 30 or so.
Now that I’m in Akron again that’s starting to change. I’m getting glimpses of a future where I can be and not just survive but have the opportunity and bandwidth to grow and thrive and make art and be an activist without having to spend as much energy worrying about getting displaced or not being able to buy groceries.
What I want most in the next decade is to become financially secure (either by freelancing, growing my patreon, and/or finding a job with good health benefits); I want to do more writing (here, professionally, and more patreon exclusives) and make more art (I started an etsy, want to make more comics, and get back into filmmaking); improve my health and get better at this low FODMAP thing (and start making resources around it, because let’s be honest, I can’t not); I want to learn spanish and brush up on my ASL; I want to continue to organize for change in whatever ways I can (because organizing is like breathing and I live for it).
I don’t know what the next year, let alone the next decade, is going to hold. I don’t know if we’ll have a habitable planet or a recognizable country by the end of it; but I’m taking comfort in the knowledge that I have friends and chosen family all over the world – I’m not alone, I bring passion and experience to improve wherever I inhabit and share with everyone I can, I will continue to trust my instincts and be guided by kindness and empathy.
I’m entering 2020 in a better place than I entered the 2010s. I will do everything in my power to enter the 2030s in the same way.
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