Remember in 2016 when I said things possibly couldn’t get worse? I should have kept my damn mouth shut. I won’t attempt to touch on the fresh individual hell 2018 has been for far too people around the world but I have a tradition. I will do my best to continue on this tradition. Here is my Year in Review for 2018.
January: The year started off with hope and promise. Amber and I went to an exotic animal park in Johnson City after trying to visit a few LBJ-based historical sites. We got to feed camels and reflect on the nature of keeping animals in captivity. Oh, and a goat ate a hole in Amber’s purse. Over on the blog I celebrated 200 Blog Posts and I’m happy to continue working towards 300!
February: The month began with a visit to a local gin distillery that was a delight. I also did the revolutionary thing of seeing a show by myself. I saw a bunch of my favorite drag queens be mean to each other for an hour and I am so happy I did that for myself. There’s nothing like getting all made up and seeing a show alone after dark. The month wrapped up with me and my friend also named Amanda seeing The Black Panther.
March: Over here on the blog I celebrated two milestones: 3,000 Visitors and my 5 Year Anniversary . The month was relatively quiet as far as my personal life goes. My store did open and I made my first sale in March.
April: April was quiet. I got notice that I was accepted for A-Kon later on in the year and began costume work and prep. I also got to cook a homemade Japanese meal for a friend. I made nikujaga (Japanese Beef Stew), miso soup, there was rice and a cocktail made with sake. I felt like the Japanese housewife I was trained to be.
May: In May I made my A-Kon cosplay announcement! I worked very hard on my costumes and am proud of them in hindsight. Over on the blog I celebrated 7,000 Views. I also saw Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 with Amber and left the movie violently angry.
June: I went to A-Kon 29! You can read all about that here! I got to present a panel that is close to my heart and I think went over well including a moment that I got to shout during pride month “MAKE AMERICA GAY AGAIN” and receive applause during a panel for it. I did receive (as did the rest of the world) the news that Anthony Bourdain passed away. He was an icon and inspiration and it was a huge gut punch to receive before I started my convention day. A few days later I was off traveling for work in Galveston for the Texas Funeral Directors Association convention and I had a magical time surrounded by caskets and kitchy beach decor. After that was a trip to Fredericksburg with Amber to pick peaches (yes, there is a ton of irony of two black women paying to pick peaches on someone else’s land) and an endeavor to make peach cobbler which ended with me slicing my thumb open. I have a cool scar now and a newfound respect for paring knives. I wrapped up June with a post about Juneteenth and the importance of remembering your history.
July: My birth month! I didn’t do much for my birthday but did get a very special gift in the form of a friend visiting. I really came into my own on a site called Gendou. It’s an anime music site that had a chatroom and one fateful day in my teens, I joined chat. Literally, nearly a decade later some of the best friends I have in real life were people I met on this website. Well, in July, I got to meet one of my Gendou friends. We made it a whole damn thing and a bunch of us Gendou folk got together for a magical evening of Korean BBQ, soju, over the top ice cream and innuendo. It was a magical evening and one I won’t forget. Never give up on meeting your internet friends. What was amazing was picking up a conversation we had started hours before via text and we were able to continue it in real life as if we were lifelong friends: because in so many ways, we are.
August: August sure did start off slow but towards the end of the month, things sure did get interesting. Towards the end of the month, I got a last-minute invitation to visit Virginia for a cousin’s wedding. Never one to turn down a free trip, I boarded a plane to Virginia: America’s birthplace and a state full of mixed feelings for a young black person like me. I had an excellent time visiting Mount Vernon and seeing a part of the country I do not get to see very often. August also featured the terrifying and heartbreaking attack in Jacksonville that saw the loss of innocents at a Madden tournament. I did my best to collect my feelings and my heart honestly still hurts. I also got to write a personal love letter to all my female friends who keep me going.
September: In September I started working on my Halloween costume! I decided to work on Dr. Facilier for Halloween and it was an adventure in self-doubt and hot glue that you can learn about here. I also managed to find a beautiful little Korean garden down the street from my apartment and I did my best to take some photos of a place that looked like it was pulled from an anime.
October: October was a loss heavy month. Not only did I deal with both of my parents’ birthday, I suffered a few personal losses. My great-uncle passed away after a long battle with cancer. I also lost my senpai, Cris. Now, when I say senpai I mean the person who helped me be who I am today. Cris helped form the anime club I took over when I was in college. She was the one who encouraged me to panel, helped me figure out ideas and showed me how to market myself better. She was one of the best cosplayers I’ve ever known and one of the most talented writers I’ve ever known. Losing her hurt me deeply and I’m still not entirely over her loss. I just found out I was accepted to another convention to panel and I went to message her about it only to remember she’s no longer here. I never wanted to think of a world where one of my senpais was no longer with me and I am better having known her. I miss her but I will do all I can to make her proud. October also featured me having Dim Sum with Carlos and me having a mental breakdown over Devilman Crybaby.
November: November has been so far quiet except for the ungodly amount of time and resources playing Pokemon Let’s Go: Eevee. I also got to spend a quiet Thanksgiving with Amber at an Italian chain restaurant, because of course we did. Victoria and I went to the Austin Oddities and Curiosities Expo, because of course we did and I picked up a new necklace courtesy of The Austin Seance Society (the most on brand thing I have ever done in my life). The world lost Stan Lee and you can read me trying to form a coherent phrase about losing the creator of one of my favorite comic book companies of all time. Another family trip brought me to Virginia once more. I saw the Edgar Allan Poe museum (you can read about that adventure here) and enjoyed a part of the nation I don’t get to see often. I did all the the tourist things like see The White House and The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History which made me so giddy I nearly cried. I learned a lot about myself and my family during this trip including the fact that I may be more Type-A than I give myself credit for and living alone has really dulled my ability to cope with stressors beyond my control.
December: Technically, all the tourist Virginia stuff happened in December, but it flowed better up there with the rest of November. December is still going on as I write this post and there’s some cool things on the horizon: another con or two perhaps, time with friends, time with family.
I’d like to take a moment to bring up a pin that I left up in the start all the horrible things that have happened this year: hate crimes, terrorism, national and international chaos and natural disasters; all of it is a lot and I still grieve a great deal of many of these things, it’s why I didn’t mention them earlier. But I do acknowledge them and they hurt me, but not enough to shut me down: no, in fact, I am simply more energized to continue to do the right thing for as long as I am able.
This year I also cut out as many of the toxic forces I could in my life. I removed people in my life that I swore would be with me to the very end. I’m growing as a person and I have no time for people who aren’t in it for the long haul. I’ve made new friends that I’m sure will last a lifetime and I feel better and stronger than ever.
I want to thank all of you for joining me here for another year. I’m grateful to each and every single one of you.