In my very-best-but-not-even-remotely-close Adele voice: Hello. It has been a while since I blogged. It’s been so long I don’t even recognize my WordPress draft. WordPress looks different. I am on the other side of my second semester of graduate school. Only 3 semesters left. Yes, I am counting. Graduate school has been tough. I miss working. I miss sick and vacation days. I miss benefits and a steady income. This semester was different from my first and I can’t quite articulate how. I had difficulty adjusting back to school after Christmas break. I couldn’t find the balance between school and staying aware of what is happening in our country. Somehow, I survived and didn’t fail. Every time I received a grade back from an assignment I was sure I muddled my way through, I was shocked. Did I actually get an A on this? Did I actually survive 6 group presentations gracefully? I hope my focus during summer session is different because I expect summer to go by quickly. I start practicum in two weeks and I need to start preparing for a conference I’m presenting at.
My draft is filled with posts about culture and living under authoritarian regime so I thought I would switch things up and balance it out with goodness. This past weekend I celebrated my best friend’s birthday. Not to boast or anything, but she is quite an amazing best friend. I could not imagine doing life without her. She is kind, caring, warm, supportive, and loves unconditionally. She’s inspiring and challenges me to be a better version of myself daily. Her friendship means the world to me and her encouragement inspired me to be my authentic self and to start this blog. Since I am getting emotional writing this, I will stop here, but I hope everyone at some point experiences that kind of friendship.
Earlier this week I read a post by Naturally Fashionable that inspired me. In the post she wrote about choosing a guide word for 2017. Thirteen days into 2017 feels a little late to write this, but I loved the idea so much I figured I could choose a guide word for spring 2017. Spring semester began this week and after reading the syllabi for all my classes, I’ll need a guide word, prayers, and anything else you can offer. I am confident group projects will lead to my demise. I am also confident the trauma of group projects will be passed down to my future offspring through epigenetics. I’m exaggerating, of course (not about the epigenetics part).
Happy New Year! I hope all of you are doing well. I hoped to reflect on 2016 and wish all of you a Happy New Year sooner, but never quite found the time or the motivation without my computer handy. If you’ve endured any hardships and challenges in 2016, I hope 2017 is filled with many blessings, good health, hope, and all your dreams come true. I hope it’s as bright and colorful as the peacock above. May you begin to live your best life now. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in goal-setting and being intentional so…what do you hope to be intentional about this year?
*The peacock above appeared as I was touring Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville a few days ago. I squealed in excitement. There were three of them.
This year I read non-fiction and memoirs written by POC, but I’m usually a fiction girl. My goal going into the new year and beyond is to intentionally support fictional stories that represent people who look like me. The books listed below are fiction or Young Adult fiction written by writers of color or have POC main characters. If you know of any YA fiction or want to make recommendations, let me know in the comments or on Twitter.
On to the working list (will be updated frequently):
Wrapping up the last few days of the my first semester in grad school. I know! It feels strange typing those words. Where has the time gone? I’m so close to freedom I can almost taste and feel it. It feels like being in an open field with wet grass under your feet and cool breeze in your hair. It tastes like every seafood meal I tried in San Francisco this summer with a side of bacon. and milkshake. and pulled pork. That was a strange analogy because I hate wet grass. See what’s happened to me in a matter of months? I’m comparing freedom to wet grass under my feet. I need a vacation and sleep. and mixed drinks. and books. and sun. and massages.