On wrapping up 2016

2016 has been a rough year. We all know about the heated political debates, causing great tension between families and friends. Those who do not support Trump are devastated about the outcome of the election and afraid for their lives. So many people have died. Alan Rickman. Prince. Muhammad Ali. There are the killings of innocent Blacks by police and the destruction of Aleppo. 2016 has not even stopped for the holidays, as we are mourning the deaths of George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds. They died on the first, third, and fourth day of Christmas (respectively). It makes me wonder what death(s) we will mourn tomorrow, and the day after that, and so on.

It’s not just the world outside me–it’s also the world within me that has experienced many difficulties this year. Relationships with friends have been especially rocky. In April I made a dear friend so angry he blocked me for a month on Instagram (we’ve made up since then). That was the time I developed anxiety.

This year has definitely been a year of opening up change and discussion for both myself and the world, but it’s just the beginning. I see people say, “Thank God 2016’s gonna be over, ’cause it sucks.” You think those struggles we’ve seen aren’t going to continue into 2017? I believe they were given to us to make us stronger. Let us not forget these dark days; for many, 2016 unveiled a world of brokenness that had been quietly tucked away for so long.

I’m sure it has also taught many people that the good times are fleeting. For some of us, that seems to be a redundant statement, but I know several people who have only known good times due to their societal privileges. Now they know how temporary things can be.

Nothing lasts; life goes on, full of surprises. You’ll be faced with problems of all shapes and sizes…Except for death and paying taxes, everything in life is only for now.

—Avenue Q, in the song “For Now”

This doesn’t mean, though. For me, 2016 was not without little pockets of brightness. In 2016:

  • I finally opened up to many friends that I had ADHD. When I was diagnosed at the age of nine, my mom told me never to tell anyone except the teachers that I had it. She was afraid I would come home crying because my friends wouldn’t want to spend time with me anymore. And this went on for several years. Yet, throughout that period, I would notice that some of my friends would unknowingly make horrible, uninformed remarks about people with ADHD. And I felt like I couldn’t express myself as much. When I opened up, it brought about more respect for those with ADHD, as well as a greater knowledge of the condition.
  • I found out what a platonic life partnership is and formed one.
  • I met someone I love very much, but we are not in a relationship.
  • I joined my local church choir, where I play the violin and sing as an alto. This has helped me sightread music better when I sing.
  • My braiding skills significantly improved. Along with the classic braid, I can now do French, Dutch, lace, rope, fishtail, and countless other braids and variations.
  • My Spanish also greatly improved after years of not speaking it. In addition to that, I started learning Esperanto on Duolingo and Lernu.
  • I started another blog on social justice.
  • After one of my friends became very upset with me and blocked me for a month, I discovered Zentangle and started drawing a lot more in order to cope with the situation. I also ventured into calligraphy and lettering. You can see my art on my Instagram page.

Finally, 2016 has left me personally with a very important lesson. It has taught me to recognize and fight against the very real injustices people face, but at the same time, always look for positivity in the darkest of times. Previously, this was easy to do, but with anxiety, not anymore. In 2017 I will try to forgive and be more positive. Here’s to a prosperous and brighter year. Cheers!