At the beginning of this year, I wrote a post reflecting on 2018 and laying out what my New Year’s Resolutions would be for 2019. Now that 2019 is coming to a close I feel it is time for me to reflect back on this year, as well as those resolutions that I had set out for myself. I totally get the cynicism around New Year’s Resolutions. You shouldn’t wait for a new year to start pursuing your dreams when you could start them literally at any time. Even the concept of a “new year” is sort of an arbitrary, man-made concept. I, however, still love New Year’s Resolutions, because it allows us collectively as humans to reflect on the passage of time together. I am someone who is very motivated by connectedness, and I think making setting out intentions for the year together can help to keep us accountable. That being said, this is going to be a very long post, and I won’t be upset if you don’t read through all of this. I just need to do this for me.
2019: A Year In Review
I started out 2019 living on a couch. So basically my year could only go up from there! Brice had got a job in Dallas and had been staying with our friend Andy, and I was still in College Station trying to get a job up here. After many interviews and long drives, I finally got a job offer and February first I moved up to Dallas and back in with Brice. We started to settle into our new life in our new city and along the way, we met some new friends.
March was a month of highs and lows. At the beginning of the month, we cashed in on Brice’s Christmas gift and went to see Tim McGraw live at the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo. We had so much fun, and I was so glad to have made that memory. Then, towards the end of the month, we lost Papa Nohow suddenly. There are times that it still doesn’t feel real. We miss him, but I trust that he is at peace in heaven. In April, I drove down to New Orleans (from Dallas after work, mind you) for Holly’s Bachelorette party! We had such a fun time there enjoying great food and drinks, art, and music. We also met an alligator and fed marshmallows to a raccoon. The following month we all got back together for the wedding and danced our little hearts out. Unrelated, but May was also the month I finally started therapy. This is one of the best decisions I made in 2019.
I started June by watching my little sister graduate high school. I am so proud of her and the awesome woman she is becoming. I spent most of my free time in June trying to save up money to go on a solo travel trip that was very important to me. I also was inspired to write a song (which doesn’t happen very often) about my sister who passed away when news broke that a country artist I follow, Granger Smith, had lost his son in a similar way. This was a very emotional time for me, but I also learned a lot about the power of creative expression.
July was a high point for me. I had saved enough money in June to go on a solo travel trip to Los Angeles for Vidcon! I got to see the creators who inspire me in person! I felt so empowered not only creatively, but also in the fact that I was doing this all on my own. It was such an inspiring trip that really made me feel like I was on the path I was intended to be on in pursuing a career in writing and vlogging.
In the next few months, this encouraged me to continue creating and pushing out content. The high point in August included taking my parents to a Granger Smith concert and getting to drop my sister off at college. September was an extra special month because I got to reconnect with some awesome people from high school. We sang, we laughed, and we caught by giving powerpoint presentations on our life up until that point. It was so great to have that time with them after so many years.
August and September were also the months that I decided I was going to create a challenge for my blog called End With a BANG. This was inspired by Rachel Hollis’s Last 90 Days, but I felt I need something that aligned more with my values and needs. I feel like this challenge has really pushed me out of my comfort zone, and helped me to feel empowered in my ability to put out content regularly while maintaining my other day-to-day responsibilities like having a desk job. It’s something I hope to do again next year and to revamp and make more interactive for the other participants.
October is when we officially started End With A BANG, and it was honestly a little difficult to stay motivated at first. We had a lot going on this month, and it absolutely flew by. Then again, these last 3 months of the year always seem to do that. Hence why I created the challenge, and why it was a challenge, to begin with. We also celebrated Brice’s 29th Birthday with a party for all our friends! This is also the month our friends got a fire pit for their back yard which is how we have been spending most of our free weekends. We had a pretty laid back Halloween. I wore a unicorn onesie to work, and then we fell asleep watching festive movies.
November was a crazy busy month. I spent the first weekend back in my hometown for my birthday, which was really nice to see all my family. The following weekend Brice and I went on our yearly anniversary trip, which so fun and relaxing. He is my favorite person to hang out with. The following weekend we drove to College Station to visit some old friends and to celebrate my birthday part 2. It was nice to be back in Aggieland and to be reminded of how much that place means to me. Then, I finally had a weekend at home until a few days later when we drove back down to my hometown for thanksgiving. Brice and I both got to spend some quality time with our families, which we were very much in need of. It has been really difficult living in Dallas and being so far away from them. We ended out November by celebrating Morgan’s birthday, and then finally getting our Christmas decorations up!
We are only roughly midway through December, but it has brought on a whole new set of challenges. For starters, I have embarked on a new challenge on top of End With A BANG, called Vlogmas! Every day until Christmas I am posting a blog on my YouTube Channel, which you can access by clicking Vlogmas in the toolbar of this blog. There is also going to be a lot of travel this month for the holidays. Last weekend, I was in Austin celebrating a friend’s birthday and getting a tattoo. This coming weekend will be the last weekend of 2019 I spend at home. I will, of course, be updating you on with either the blog or vlog on all the adventures to come.
As a whole, 2019 has been challenging, empowering, and healing. In my blog post leading into 2019, I said that my word of the year was healing, and I believe that this year I did just that. Reading back through my review of 2018 and the things I wanted for myself at the start of 2019 I get really emotional. I have come so far, and I did almost everything I set out to do this year. I can honestly say for the first time in a long time I am really proud of myself. I feel that I have accomplished so much on my personal journey this year.
Reflecting on my 2019 Resolutions
NO DIETING: I owe part of my success in this to my commitment to not pursue dieting. Even though there are still 19 days left in the year, I think it is safe to say that 2019 was the first year probably since I was 8 years old that I did not try to restrict/change my body in any type of way. I can honestly say that I am better off for it. Emotionally, physically, and mentally I am in a much better place than I was at the start of this year. I have written a lot about how dieting does not work and all of the sources that back this up, but my hope in sharing my journey is that you can see how much giving this up has bettered my life. I still have somethings to work on, but my relationship with food and my body has never been better. I hope that you can see the difference that I feel in my writing over this past year.
Find a home in my body: Another goal that I had for 2019 was to make my body feel more like home. I remember for a long time my body did not feel like it was part of me. I honestly still have trouble with this from time-to-time, but I feel that I have made major improvements with this year. I know that this may seem shallow to some, but clothes are a big part of this. Really honing in on what my style is and what I enjoy wearing has helped me to feel more like myself in my body. I feel like for plus-size folks the clothing industry makes us feel like we are not worthy of fashionable clothes that fit our bodies. It is important for us to fight back on this. It may mean we need to work a little hard to find items that we like and can afford, but the more we engage with the companies that are providing these items the more of a demand we can create. I could write a whole blog post on the plus-size clothing industry, and probably will someday, but for now, just know that this has really helped in taking ownership back of my body.
Another way I have worked toward feeling at home in my body is to get a tattoo! I almost missed out on this resolution, but I snuck it in last weekend. For a long time, I told myself that I couldn’t get any more tattoos until I had the “perfect” body. I love tattoos, and the one that I got means a lot to me because it represents my family. It makes me so sad to think that I let some idealized version of what I “should” look like hold me back from getting something I truly wanted. Tattoos for me are super empowering. They make me feel more at home in my skin and are a testament to my resiliency.
Lastly, something that wasn’t on my new year’s resolution list, but that something that has popped up over the course of 2019 that has helped to feel more at home in my body acknowledging how I feel about my body and giving myself the freedom to feel those feelings. In the body positivity movement, I feel like there is a lot of pressure on us to love our bodies, but if we are just suppressing our actual feelings, it’s just putting a bandaid on a much bigger issue. Forcing ourselves to love our bodies every day, just holds us to another standard of how we are supposed to feel. This is my body and no one is allowed to tell me how to feel about that. I also want to point out that there doesn’t have to be just “hate and love” when it comes to feelings about my body. I can feel neutral about it too. For example, I have a body, or I am a human person. Allowing myself space to not have to exist in two extremes of emotion towards my body has really helped me in being to accept my body as it is, and by extension myself.
Go to Therapy and Write/Film more: I will try not to ramble too much about this because this post is getting really long and these are both things I’ve touched on a lot already. Going to therapy has been one of the best decisions of 2019. It has really helped me to open up more and to be more reflective of my thought patterns. Writing/Filming and creating, in general, have been such empowering tools for me in 2019. It gives me such a sense of purpose fulfillment. I would not have as much joy in my life as I do if it wasn’t for my persistence in creating. Both therapy and creating are things I do not see slowing down in 2020.
Focus more on self-care: I would say overall self-care is still something I struggle with, and will definitely continue to work on in 2020. I am getting better, but I still really struggle with sticking to routines that benefit me and getting enough sleep. I do, however, think I am better at this than I was at the start of 2019. I have more clarity on the things I need to do to take care of myself. I have done a good job of sticking to therapy and making time to do creative things and my mind is better off for it. I consider this a half win.
Build my savings: Before I started writing this, I considered this goal a complete failure. I did not reach any of the big savings goals I set out for myself at the start of the year, but in reflection, I’ve done a better job than I give myself credit for. I’ve come a long way this year, but I’ve come to realize that I also have some weird issues around money. I have a really hard time spending large sums of money on myself, and the thought of spending large sums of money gives me so much anxiety that I am sick to my stomach. All of this weirdness about money came up around the time of my trip to Vidcon. I felt like I did not deserve to spend that much money on something that was just for me. In realizing I had this issue, I started to give myself more freedom to spend on myself to kind of conquer these feelings. This obviously set back some of my savings goals, but I feel like this was something I needed to confront. Thanks to the power of direct deposit, I am doing better than it feels like at times, but this is definitely something that will come up again in my 2020 resolutions.
I think 2019 is going to be the first year I can actually say I have accomplished some of my new year’s resolutions. It is also the most documented, so don’t quote me on that. Going through all of this took a lot of time and effort, but for me it was worth. It helped me to conceptualize all that I had actually accomplished this year. 2019 was a good year, and even though the end of the year can be a stressful time, it’s important for me to really see that. I have a lot to be grateful for, but it can be so easy to lose sight of that. That is why, if you have somehow actually made it to the end of this post, I want to challenge you to do what I just did. Whether you had a good or a bad year, go through your year month by month and summarize what all happened this year. If you had new year’s resolutions (or remember what they were), go ahead and reflect on them as well. You don’t have to do this publically as I did, but you do tag me in it or leave a comment so I can see. It was really empowering to reflect back on all of this, and see just how much I have grown as a person over the course of this year. If you join me in this challenge, we can all come back in a year and reflect on this together. See you then.