2015 was a piece of shit

2015 was a piece of shit, truly. But I told myself that I would do an inventory of my year and I’m sticking to it, because despite how shitty this year was for me, my loved ones, and the world…good, funny, and strange shit happened too. For example, I went to three weddings this year of friends I have known since either middle school or high school. However, the theme that permeates all four seasons has been crippling depression and persistent anxiety. I’ve dealt with mild depression all my life, but never has it taken away my agency in such a way that made me feel so powerless. I have never felt so low or helpless in my life, which is one of the reasons I wanted to reflect on what 2015 really looked like.

In no particular order, here is what came of 2015:

Winter/Spring

  • Moved in with a partner for the first time.
  • Started writing poetry on a regular basis for the first time in 10 years
    • Started writing good poetry for the first time in my life
    • Performed for the Poetry for the People course
    • Fell in love with June Jordan through Aya de Leon‘s teachings and through Jordan’s memoir of her early childhood, Soldier.
  • Played Menelaus in the world premiere of Aulis: An act of nihilism in one long act
  • Made it through weeks of 10-hour days of school and rehearsal
  • Attended Sundance–by myself :D–to watch myself as Frankie in the premiere of The Diary of a Teenage Girl
  • Wrote a theatrical adaptation of an Alice Walker piece for a course
  • Learned that I’m an empath and started to strategize how to best move through the world
  • Took four classes while working part time
    • Managed to get 3 A’s, 1 A-, and 1 A+
  • Attended the Young Black Gay Men’s Leadership Initiative Policy & Advocacy Summit in Baltimore, MD
  • Attended the Other & Belonging Conference (where I met bell hooks)
  • Co-facilitated and co-created a “Managing stress and maintaining wellness workshop” for the UC Berkeley BRIDGES Transfer Weekend
  • Guest speaker in Professor Nikki Jones‘ class to discuss After the War Blues
  • Co-edited The Diaspora (the UCB Department of African American Studies publication), a special collection: Insurgency: The Black Matter(s) Issue
  • Co-Chaired the Sociological Research Symposium
    • Increased number of applications
    • Increased quality of research
    • Increased number of schools represented
  • Peer edited for Gilman Scholarship applicants at UCB
  • Spoke on my study abroad experience at the UC Education Abroad Program South Africa Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Started using social media (twitter, instagram, and facebook) for more consciousness raising
  • Read James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time. It changed my life.
  • Went on many auditions & callbacks
    • …didn’t book
    • got direct booked in a feature film (Medias Res) that shot a few months later
  • Got into a twitter beef with Khia that still makes me laugh
  • Saw my jujus (sociology transfer crew) graduate
  • Went to Black grad for the first time–it was lit.
  • Broke up with partner, couch hopped for three weeks before…

Summer

  • #SayHerName Oakland
  • Moved into Afro House
  • Worked at my old job before my two summer programs
    • Made up a new rap when I blanked on the lyrics
  • Completed the Center for Ethnographic Research summer workshop on a full-ride scholarship
  • Completed the Mellon Mays Summer Research Program at the University of Chicago
    • Presented my preliminary research at the conference
    • Dealt with lots of anti-Blackness
    • Learned that sometimes the label “people of color” erases Blackness
    • Saw much art
  • Attended the American Sociological Association Conference on Sexualities in Chicago
    • Gained an academic following on twitter through livetweeting
    • Met fabulous folks
  • Stopped watching videos of police brutality after #McKinney

Fall/Winter

  • #Mizzou2Cal
  • #BlackXmas2
  • Didn’t eat well / didn’t get enough sleep / didn’t take care of myself well
    • Multiple days where I could not and therefore did not get out of bed for hours
    • Started seeing a therapist again
  • Went on many auditions (again)
    • …didn’t book
  • Recognized that I fall more on the introvert side of the spectrum
  • Began a second year as Co-Chair of the Sociological Research Symposium
  • Created boundaries, particularly around social media
    • wrote about Facebook’s racism and lack of protection
    • unintentionally pissed off some people by setting boundaries
    • lost some friends (throughout the year)
    • stopped talking to some racist/sexist/misogynistic/classist folks
  • Became a budding community organizer
  • Created #MasculinitySoFragile
  • Became a published writer!
  • Started writing for the Afrikan Black Coalition
    • Took on the role of Prison Divestment Communications Director
      • Got major press for our huge divestment win
        • Reuters, CNN, HuffPost, and more
      • Did my first radio spots and many phone interviews
    • Promoted to Editor-in-Chief of the Afrikan Black Coalition
  • Earned scholarships:
  • Began Playground Directing Apprenticeship, 2015-16
    • Directing a mainstage Monday Night Playground in January 2016
  • Attended the MMUF Regional Conference at Stanford University and presented my preliminary research
  • Roadtrip with Jahaira to NY and back to MD in under 10 hours
    • (we only spent two hours in NY, literally)
  • Watched The Diary of a Teenage Girl rack up accolades upon accolades
  • Joined the African American Recruitment and Yield Task Force, Retention and On Campus Support Sub-Group to support the African-American Student Initiative and the Cal Black Student Union
  • Joined the Underrepresented Undergraduate Research Ambassadors
  • Portrayed Topper in A Christmas Carol with Lucy Gray for her upcoming book
  • Listened to Laverne Cox spit hot fiya.
  • Finished my second to last semester with all A’s!
  • Admitted to myself that I’ve been on reduced capacity
  • Admitted to myself and started to belief that my worth is not determined by my productivity
  • Learned the true meaning of self-care

At the end of the day, though, I made it to 2016 alive.

2015 was a year where over 1,100 people were killed by the police. Where 10 people were killed and 55 were wounded on the 4th of July weekend in Chicago due to gun violence. Where refugees were turned away, Palestinians were still ignored, and Black, Native, Latinx, queer, differently abled folks and those with multiple marginalized identities were killed at alarming rates.

2015 taught me that even with all of the privilege I have and despite the strangling nature of depression, I’m grateful everyday that I can wake up and continue to work toward liberation, education, mentorship, research, love, community, connection, family, dancing, friendship, relationships, and more. You were a piece of shit, 2015, but I am grateful for each day that I’m here, even when it’s too much.

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4 thoughts on “2015 was a piece of shit

  1. As always your words and writings touch my heart. We met a year ago next month and since then I’ve been able to witness some of your greatness evolve. 2015 may have given you hell but I think in 2016 it’s time to give life a run for its money!!! Continue to be great love! XOXO

  2. Also, I do have a question. You mentioned, “Recognized that I fall more on the introvert side of the spectrum.” How was or is that transition going for you from the former extrovert to being the truth of introversion?

    1. Difficult. I’ve been an introvert but was fronting as an extrovert, so it’s calming to realize this but difficult to adjust in my daily life and with friends.

      1. I can see the difficulty. I’m trying to shake my old habits of wanting to be out and about as much as I did in my past. I want adopt more introverted characteristics, including being to and by myself without feeling that there is something wrong with me for doing so

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