(Tonight’s super moon was photographed using my newest telephoto lens.)
Allow me to jump on the bandwagon of posts saying good riddance to 2017. Certainly, I am ending this year in a much better place than where I began… but there were so many low points along the way. This blog has been pushed aside amidst my hard evaluation of personal priorities. I’m continuing to create art and build my wardrobe, but have felt reluctant to document it online. Honestly, I felt it was a waste of precious energy. I can’t promise that I’ll post more in 2018, but I did want to share some updates.
For starters, I quit my job back in March. I felt so undervalued and mentally taxed that I left without securing new employment. I resolved to find a new job within a month or move back in with my parents. After two weeks of searching, I was lucky enough to interview for a position at a small local law firm and immediately clicked with my prospective boss and coworker.
My counselor has called this one of the best job transitions she’s ever witnessed. Not only do I make a livable wage and feel respected, but I am also constantly learning and improving in my work. In my role as a paralegal for an immigration lawyer, I help people work toward legal status and eventual citizenship. A typical client has been in this country for decades, raising their family and paying their taxes and having the same hopes and dreams as someone that was born here. I am also privileged enough to help people apply for political asylum.
Until this fall, we helped many young folks gain work authorization through DACA. (For those unfamiliar with DACA, a person must have entered the United States before age 16, have already arrived and under age 31 when the program was announced in June 2012, have no criminal record, and have a high school diploma or be currently pursuing their degree. This was not a path to citizenship, but simply a way for young adults to legally work.)
I am now immersed in a world I had little understanding of before this job. My heart was broken when that piece of shit in the White House announced the end of DACA on September 5th. I am holding out what little hope I have left that congress will cave to public pressure and put in place a CLEAN Dream Act.
I feel that many experiences from this year are helping me to become a better white ally. But as with any sort of wisdom, the more that I learn, the more awareness I gain of my own ignorance. I have a long road ahead of me to be a “good ally.” It’s a complicated process to shed the well-intentioned white savior mentality that is so easy to for folks to adopt when they have lived a life of such privilege. Mostly, I’m trying to shut up and listen, and to educate myself using the resources already available instead of expecting POC to educate me.
Some of the moments or journeys that were most impactful this year:
- I witnessed two minutes of a total solar eclipse in Idaho. I plan to travel to Texas for the country’s next total eclipse in seven years.
- I started taking better care of my body. Through changes in my diet and intense classes led by trainers at Evolve Fitness, I am honestly in the best shape of my life. I’m still not “athletic” by any means, but everything is easier, I have more energy, and I went down a full pant size.
- I stopped eating meat (besides seafood) in September and have had zero regrets about it.
- I attended a number of rallies and marches, donated to causes and campaigns, and made plenty of calls to state reps. The highlight was shutting down State Street when The Donald visited on December 4th to announce the egregious shrinking of Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments.
- I was more assertive and had more self-respect in my romantic relationships. I’m ending this year single as ever, but definitely wiser. I’m still trying to unlearn the bullshit societal pressure that dictates the need for a long-term partner in order to be seen as a successful adult.
- I’ve started growing plants and have only killed one so far.
- My day-to-day mental state is good enough that I can now recognize when I am beginning to fall into a depressive episode and have been able to shorten their duration in a few instances. I’m still learning how to be kind to myself, but I have made significant progress on that front.
I must admit that I put a lot of weight into how I end the year and the intentions that I set for the coming year. I am hoping that 2018 brings more self-care and learning and an adventure or two.