What I’ve Done During the Pandemic (Year in Review 2020)

Well, we’re still doing this, aren’t we? Alright, normally I wrap up my year with a thrilling and sentimental post about all the things I’ve done and all the places I’ve seen. That didn’t happen this year; not to say I’ve done absolutely nothing but for sure it feels wrong to structure it or even think about this year in review like past years; this year is nothing like past years. The pandemic has kept me inside for most of the year and it has changed many facets of my daily life. But I still think it’s worth sharing some of the things I have done and did manage to do as safely as possible during this year indoors. 

January: Ah yes, January Amanda. Blissfully aware of the storm that was approaching. I had a convention in February that I was trying to prep for on top of my day job and podcasts. I was busy, I had things to do. 

February: UshiCon! A convention I’ve been trying to get into for years and finally made it. It was…well, an experience. I rarely regret convention experiences but I left this particular con exhausted, bitter and upset with myself. In personal news; I was also at the worst of my depression. I was horribly ill and miserable and was at that stage, taking it out on everyone including myself. I started back on antidepressants because I couldn’t stand who I was anymore. February also brought with it something I wasn’t expecting. Someone tried to cancel me. Now, I don’t have the energy to relive the saga but there’s a whole video on the matter that can bring you up to speed. 

March: I spent a pretty decent amount of March adjusting to the new medication but it was in March that the whispers of whatever virus that was affecting China was starting to take root here. I remember the day my boss encouraged us to work from home and if I had known that would be the last day I’d leave that office; I’d probably treasure it a little more. Working from home was a huge adjustment of trying to figure out a schedule that still allowed me to work but also accounted for the fact that now I was at home. I had to find things to fill my time in ways I was not used to. Luckily, work and the podcasts kept me busy.

April: I had a couple of virtual panels to do in April and started making masks. Amazing how cosplay started to fill a void in my life when I felt like there was nothing else to look forward to. Virtual conventions are really something. I admire event planners who had to scramble to make in-person events suddenly virtual. But it just can never quite capture the magic, can it? It’s never going to be the same. By April I had pretty much settled into what I assumed would be like the many other pandemics I’ve survived during my lifetime but I didn’t know that this was still just the tip of the iceberg. 

May: In May I did a shocking amount of baking and cooking. Mostly baking for other people because that’s how I coped with an uncertain world. I also started therapy which for longtime readers is probably a bit of a shocker. I haven’t been in therapy in a while and like most mentally ill people; I’m great at giving therapy but bad at being in therapy. It’s hard to be open about my emotions but as my psychologist cranked up the dose on the antidepressants, it got easier to talk about my past and trauma. Work continued to be a huge stressor for me; I had left a job in the death care industry (one I truly loved) hoping for more responsibility and more advanced. I got a lot of grunt work and stress that began to fray on my nerves and make me resent myself and others. 

June: By June I was sure that I no longer understood linear time. My podcasts and column kept me busy but it was also incredibly hard to think about days outside of work and not work. My day job exhausted me, I couldn’t see my friends and the conventions I had been looking forward to all year were steadily closing and canceling as the virus took its hold. I haven’t had anxiety like this before. Having anxiety during a pandemic is a unique kind of hell. It’s being constantly on edge about something but with the state of the world, there are plenty of things to be on edge about.  Oh and I lost my job. That happened. 

July: I celebrated my 30th birthday quietly with a friend in my quarantine circle without pomp or circumstance. Earlier in the year, I had thought of so many plans to celebrate a birthday that is so special but no, I stayed home and ordered in with a friend while watching trashy television. It may not have been a cruise or Las Vegas but it was nice to still be able to celebrate. 

August:  Freelance work and looking for a stable job kept me busy. I continued working on the things my therapist said and stayed on my meds. I did my best not to isolate the way my depression wanted me to do. Without conventions or other reasons to do anything, I found myself increasingly missing the things that give me meaning and pleasure. Luckily, I’d not only get a new job in August but also a visit from my best friend, Carlos, who had always been quarantining safely and took some time out to visit me. It was great even if we spent most of his visit in my apartment watching television; it was just great to do that with someone else. 

September:  I continued working, podcasting and doing my best to find my stride. The two podcasts continued to keep me busy as did the social media and design work for them. I’ve always known I do a lot for my hobbies but it was around this time of the year that I became aware of the fact that indeed, I was working quite hard all the time for these projects. September was quiet even as I tried to find more little reasons to leave the house safely in some sort of vague attempt at finding normalcy again.

October: Fortunately, October for me means two live shows and actually getting to be in costume. I wasn’t expecting to miss being in costume so much; even though I’ve been cosplaying for years. Having something to work on, to keep my idle hands busy, to look forward to was immensely rewarding and restorative. 

November: I’ve been celebrating Thanksgiving away from my ancestral homeland for the past few years. I’ve mostly stayed close to my chosen home out of convenience but now considering the pandemic of it all; staying home was really the only option. Again: I got to celebrate with a friend and cater in to mitigate stress and the intimate gathering was exactly what I needed. November also featured an election that I’m pretty sure took a year or two off my life. 

December: I made the choice to go home for Christmas. I’m not sure why, but it felt right. I missed my family, I missed my friends, I missed something that felt like my life before this pandemic. I was safe: stayed in a hotel, limited my contact with others, wore my mask: I did everything possible to be safe and honestly, I don’t regret going home and seeing my family.

I’m going to keep wearing a mask and socially distancing. I’m going to keep doing my best to be responsible. This year has been absolutely insane personally, professionally, emotionally and more and I know every year I thank my friends and those close to me but dammit, I can say with confidence that I don’t think I would have made it through this year without my friends, found family and biological family. I’ve been so fortunate to have my health and my support system and the job I have and the podcasts I get to work on. I’m just fortunate, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

Stay safe, everyone. Thanks for reading and sticking with me through this year. 

Year in Review: 2019

Oh boy. Well. We did think 2016 was a rollercoaster but now that we’re here…I mean, personally, it was fine. Politically, I don’t have time to talk about all of that. So without much ado, let’s go over 2019 in review.


January: Quiet. Mostly spent recovering from IKKiCon in Austin for the early part of the month and spent recovering from a busy 2018 for the remainder of the month. I also moved into a new apartment. It has been a journey. I moved to another side of town, doubled the square footage and now I live in a community with a gate that works.

February:  I visited the local Asian New Year Festival and wore way too much makeup and felt a great deal of ennui with Amber as we mused about the fine line between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. We also discovered where the Flemish come from with a thanks to The Institute of Texan Cultures for that.

March: I took a day trip for work to the coast of Texas and was reminded that South Texas had a giant boat in the water for some reason because that’s an American tourist trap like no other. I spent March hoarding fabric and prepping for a one-day convention. 

April: April actual featured a few cool things. Years of Marvel fandom paid off in Avengers: Endgame which you can read me complain ‒ I mean talk about here and I go on a girl’s trip to Dallas with my friend who is also named “Amanda” which is in no way confusing. Seeing my home from someone else’s eyes was amazing. We stayed in a terrifyingly nice hotel, with confusing hallways and numbers that did not make sense. We watched anime that made me sort of remember that I am very old. We ate, she met Carlos again, I showed her all the things I miss most when I’m in San Antonio: we’re going to do this again soon…hopefully this time, I won’t have to drive for 8 hours in two days.

May: May was a haze of prep for A-Kon and emotionally recovering from watching Tony Stark die.

June: A-Kon 29. I complained. A lot. You can read my whinging here. To be honest, it was fun. The small fight I had with my friend was less than ideal. I also got into a small car accident in June and managed to start an anime that I would have more opinions on later on.

July: My birth month!  Also the birth of my son: Toi. I spent the month mostly celebrating my birthday.

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Thank you to @salaamander for my new son. 💖🌵

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I made my yearly trip to the ocean as I am to return to the sea once a year, at least. 

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Continuing in the tradition of obscure beach reads

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I also spent a birthday weekend in Houston with Tori where we visited the National Museum of Funeral History where I taught a group of church ladies about anti-popes and visited The Wilde Collection where we saw several real human skeletons, some beautiful peacocks and met the owner who was a man in a beautiful mustache and wore a leather corset and a damask-patterned undershirt. The Wilde Collection is a glorious place that was recently destroyed by fire and my heart broke a little. 

It was in July that I realized my mental health was not what it used to be. I found myself lashing out at my friends, obsessively complaining over imagined and true slights and mostly just tired and unhappy. I wasn’t ready to do anything about it then but I did notice a change in myself that I was not happy with.

August: I did something shocking. I did something unexpected. I went to a concert by myself. I saw Miyavi when he stopped in San Antonio. You can read about my experience here.

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SEEING MIYAVI WAS AMAZING! 💖

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August was quiet, and really, the entire late summer was quiet. 


September: I felt my mental health continue to deteriorate. I felt myself continue to be short with the people I cared about. I continued to feel like a less than kind version of myself. I didn’t do much in September but I persisted. 

October: October was a huge month of personal change for me. I did something I have been too afraid to do for at least a year now: I changed jobs. I got tired of being a person who was unhappy and I felt like I was watching my mental health and personal relationships all fly away from me. And with October being such an emotional month with all the birthdays and death anniversaries, I mostly just did my best to keep my head above water. 

November: My podcast hit its first year anniversary! To think that our show began as a bit of a joke between friends and turned into a project I love and look forward to. November was quiet and spent mostly trying to find my footing and remind myself of what it meant to be me again. I also picked up Pokemon: Sword and I have been having fun running around as a goth in Galar making curry and taking care of my giant raven and emo lizard. 

December: Is still happening, technically. It’s been a quiet month so far but I look forward to celebrating the holidays with friends and family.



I want to take a moment to be personal and talk about just how far I’ve come since 2009. 

In 2009, I was a college sophomore with no friends and a serious chip on my shoulder after years of dealing with the loss of my father. In 2009, I decided to go to an anime convention which reignited a part of me that had laid dormant in me. In 2009, I was a nearly unrecognizable version of myself. 

In 2019, I am a seasoned cosplayer, panelist and convention veteran. In 2019, I am a digital marketing professional with a degree from a fantastic university. In 2019, I am working on finding all the parts of me that I thought I couldn’t ever reach. In those 10 years I buried a parent, finished collection, fell in love, had my heart broken, made friends, lost friends, left the damn country, saw new things around the country and made memories I’ll keep forever. I moved from my hometown to an apartment on my own and made a life in a city nearly 300 miles away from my family. 

There are plenty of things that have remained the same. There are many things that have changed. But at the end of the day, I’m just looking forward to moving on and seeing what this new decade has to offer. Politically and socially, this has been an exhausting decade and particularly an exhausting year; but I am hopeful, I do think things will improve. 

My tastes my changed, my interests have changed and even how I talk in public has changed but I think all of those changes have indeed been made for the better. What’s even more fascinating is seeing what has stayed the same after all of these years. 

Thank you all for giving me a record breaking year. Thank you all for reading. Thank you all for being here with me on this journey. 

I look forward to seeing you all in the next year. 


Year in Review: 2018

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!

Apparently, this was the nicer of the two camels.

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.

A local gin cocktail is the best cocktail. 
Told y’all I got dolled up for a drag show.
The Haters Roast! So much fun! 

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.

The Full Spread!
As it boiled! 

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.

Get you a cosplayer who can do both.
Taken at A-Kon 29.
Taken in Galveston! I had a lovely time.
The peach cobbler that almost took my thumb.

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.

I think we’re a handsome bunch. Except for me. I look like a hobgoblin.

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.

Mount Vernon was stunning and beautiful and I can’t wait to go back.

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.

Me and two of my senpais:
Cris in the center and Pat on the right. 

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.

Thank you, Austin Seance Society, for letting me be goth forever.

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. 

A Shrine to Poe at The Edgar Allan Poe Museum
The REAL Hope Diamond
I know this is The White House but that won’t stop me from making an old Vlogbrothers Joke: Lone Bird, Perched Atop the Department of Agriculture, Thanks For Watching Over Our Nation’s Grain.

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.

Thank you.

 

Year in Review: 2017

 

Hell is empty and all the devils are here._William Shakespeare (1).png

 

Boy, 2017 has been something. What’s been interesting that as far as my personal life goes: it hasn’t been terrible. The rest of the world…all I can do is apologize for the creature the rest of my countrymen decided was fit for the office of presidency.

Let’s go over 2017. Have a cocktail ready. I’ll wait.

January: Over here on the blog, January was Fanuary and we covered plenty of topics like criticism, my top favorite animes of all time and the death of discourse. January also featured a trip to Fredericksburg with Amber where I mused about how much I love Germany, alcoholic chocolates and the merits of fluffy chickens. I also started working with Fangirl Nation and so far it’s been a fruitful partnership!

February: February featured the 15th anniversary of my father’s passing. I think I handled it well. Additionally, February featured a trip Amber and I took the missions that did not end well and absolutely ended with me almost yelling at a bunch of children.

March: March featured a trip to Houston, the reappearance of my ex and a lot of discussion on RuPaul’s Drag Race. I got to fangirl over fossils, see the National Funeral Museum (which was a BLAST) and see some great things in a city that I will likely never visit again.

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Look at me in the Curio Room!

 

April: A musical month where we talked about the music I listened to as a kid (most of it was bad), how music and mental health intersect sometimes for the worst and we discussed my love-hate relationship with Rent

May: In May, I battled a mouse that has now left my apartment, coped with my anxiety in the process and also went on a trip to Goliad which was…interesting. The post about Goliad also features a GREAT ghost story if you stick around for it.

June: In June I went to A-Kon  with Carlos and BOY, OH BOY. That was…wow. My ex appeared. I was surrounded by an anime that I hate and faced some of my convention highest highs and lowest lows. June also featured a very honest talk about LGBT pride and a small break while I recovered from the summer everyone decided they liked ice skating.

By now, you’re noticing that I’m sticking to just stuff over here on the blog and in my personal life. By now, you’re probably thinking that’s a little narcissistic. We’re gonna get there. Relax.

July: My birth month! Amber and I went to Austin to see Welcome To Night Vale once more and we had a time and a half! I also reached 100 followers on this here humble blog and I’m still a little in shock that anyone would want to read my rantings.  

August: August was a deeply personal month on the blog where I talked about Pokemon Go, wanderlust and simply baked in the Summer Sun.

September: We split the month between talking about nostalgia and patronage!

October: October marked both of my parents’ birthdays and we discussed the effects of long term trauma, memorialization and putting your life on pause because of grief.

November: I went to OtakuFair with a few friends. It was interesting which is why there hasn’t been a post about it yet. I had started one but didn’t have the heart to finish it. But I think I looked okay.

 

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I was an adorable PomPom Purin.

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When I do a good job as a panelist, I get cake.

Additionally, in November I celebrated my One Year Anniversary with my agency. I also started playing Pokemon Ultra Moon and had opinions

December: IT SNOWED IN SAN ANTONIO!

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My poor car is very confused about the cold, icy nonsense.

And December is still ongoing! Who knows what will come next! I promise to update this post if anything new and thrilling happens in the time before this post goes live!

So that pin I asked you to hold onto about why I’ve only focused on my blog and personal life…let’s take that pin out. Wow, I thought 2016 was a raging dumpster fire. 2017 then promptly said “Hold my drink.” 2017 featured some of the most tragic acts of terror, the most terrifying natural disasters and the continued incompetence of an orange fascist. My heart broke during most of 2017. I cried knowing my friends in Houston may not be safe. I couldn’t sleep knowing that innocent teenagers were put at risk in the U.K. during the Ariana Grande concert. My family and friends had to check on me so many times as Texas faced many of the most devastating shootings in the state’s history and that isn’t even covering the massacre in Las Vegas.

2017 was exhausting, emotional and painful but we made great strides most parts of the worst travel ban were struck down. Many states have kept their promise LGBT people and while hate crimes and domestic terrorism are still concerns: we’ve made a lot of steps. With the continued firing of habitual sexual predators and more, we’re making steps. But god dammit,  was the cost high.

During the year I struggled with friends, with family, with worth and with feeling lost in a world that seemed to only get worst. I watched as my concept of what it means to be American, African-American, LGBTQ, and biologically female rattled to my very core. I battled creative differences, trauma, also made several guest appearances, and had an amazing time retelling the myth of Lilith to a captive audience. I’ve made new friends, lost old ones, kept bonds strong and grown some. I’ve traveled, seen places and done things that I’m proud of and done things that I am a little less than proud of. I’ve made memories that’ll last forever and will be working on forcing some deep from my memory.

Happy 2017. And honestly, I do have a few choice words for this year that was filled with fire, misery, tragedy, bullet casings and utter corruption and idiocy. Burn in Hell. If 2016 was a dumpster fire then 2017 has been an oil fire (not to be insensitive to my brothers and sisters in California). At least in 2016, the fire was contained to a dumpster.

Let’s all try to be better next year.

Year in Review: 2016

“The world has turned into a proper dumpster fire.”-John Green.png

What else can be said about 2016? This will go down for many as one of the most disappointing and disheartening years in recent memory and history. This year was even a roller coaster for me, not all bad but not all good. So let’s go over 2016 the best way we can.

January: I found myself let go again from another advertising job. I knew the nature of the business was high turnover but I never expected to have to change jobs so frequently. But I did manage to go out to Goliad with a friend and discover some of the more “interesting” aspects of Texas history. As a black woman, I’m always at odds with Texas history. To think that these men who fought for their right to own other people are praised and defied here in the state, I dunno, it’s just a strange feeling for someone with such a high level of dual-consciousness. For some context to the Goliad situation, here’s the bigger post on the San Antonio Missions I wrote late last year here.

February: I continued my job search but was able to pick up some fantastic freelance work. And I did manage to find a random as hell site in the Hill Country. I was traveling to Fredsrickburg with Amber and this little site had caught our eye as we were planning our trip. Someone, for some reason, wanted to build a replica of Stonehenge and complete with Moai statues (which have nothing to do with the Celtic origins of Stonehenge). Well, more power to him. If I had that kind of disposable money, I can’t promise I’d always be prudent with it.

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March: I took a job in Austin that didn’t pan out but something wonderful did come out of it. My very handsome car, Kurogane. You can read about my transition from walking to driving here. I also ended up picking up a contract job that was stable for the time. 

April: My grandmother passed away after many years battling lupus and I came home to visit and be with my family. We coped. We moved on. We buried her in a way only we could. I miss her, of course, but I’m comforted by the fact that she is no longer suffering.

May: Mostly full of costume work in prep for A-Kon.

June: WOW. A-Kon was…a lot. So much. You can read all about A-Kon here. I had an amazing time with Ricky and Carlos and really, this one was a game-changer. Some of the highest highs and at least one of the lowest lows but we handled it all with grace, humor and lots of delicious food. I’ll never forget sitting in the car and crying with Carlos. We admitted that as friends, it’s difficult to be apart and when we’re together, we can pick up like no time had passed at all. I cried for the city I miss so much. For the memories I make every single convention. I cried for all of those reasons but I got back on my bus and returned to San Antonio, knowing that it would be far from the last time I venture up to North Texas to see my friends and put on a show that the fans go wild for. This one’s actually from the con. This picture here is from A-Kon. I got to challenge Alexander Hamilton to a duel.

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In addition to A-Kon, I also was reminded of my mother’s passing via a callous Facebook notification that you can read about time, the nature of grief and how awful it is to be reminded via social media that your mother died here

July: I celebrated my birthday in Corpus Christi. I had asked to visit the beach, so Amber took me to the beach. This is one of the nice pictures of the ocean.What’s not pictured is my book on the poetry of Sappho and my immense desire to find shade despite requesting that we go to the beach. It’s like I always forget that seeing the ocean usually means temperatures that I do not much care for.  Oh, and realizing that apparently Domino’s Pizza WILL deliver to a beach: which seems like a terrible idea. I think it’s a terrible idea.13754675_10154012471208884_3577320894248237073_n.jpg

Also, on this trip I got to see one of the oldest trees in state (maybe even the nation). It was a beautiful tree that I’m sure has seen a lot, survived a lot and will continue to survive things long after I’m gone. It was a surreal existential moment, recognizing that this tree has seen more of human history than I ever will. 13729136_10154012471073884_9214261078277397338_n.jpg

It’s called the Big Tree. Really, no better name for this behemoth? Oh well. 

I also saw Welcome to Night Vale live as a gift to Amber and myself (post here) and Fitz and the Tantrums in concert a gift from Amber to me for my birthday (post here). Needless to say, July was very busy.

August-November: I was let go from a company that I thought would be a great fit. I put in hundreds of applications and the months all blurred together until I found work again. You can read more about that experience here. The only other good thing to come out of these months was the amazing panel review I received. At this time, I’d like to thank my friends and family that helped me through such a difficult time. No one likes being out of work and the support system I had around me was an integral part in me getting back on my feet. This was also around the time I returned to the church which you can find out more about here. I did land another gig in November and so far as of this post, it’s a great fit. 

This also featured an election that…I just rather not talk about.

December: So far despite all of the celebrity deaths, December has had a fun and emotional Christmas that you can read about here. And since December is still technically going on, let’s hope the celebrity deaths slow down just a little bit. 

Amazing how quickly a year flies by. Amazing how people come and go in your life. Amazing that friends who have been with you through highs and lows sometimes are better than family and amazing how wonderful routine and normalcy can be. This year was…for many, including myself in places, not great. It was a tough election year. A year filled with national and state tragedy. It was a year of hate crimes, senseless death and unmatched hatred and bigotry. But beneath all of that angst, there was a light. There was friendship. There was community. There was love and kindness and coming together. So I hope that for all of you who only see the darkness of this year, I hope that you all can see the light, no matter how dim. That light’s there and there’s always a light at the end of a tunnel. Because even dumpster fires eventually stop burning.

See you all in 2017.

-Amanda

A Year in Review: 2015

2015 has been a wonderfully interesting year of change and adaptation. Let’s take a little journey on this crazy and emotional year.

January: The new year started off amazing and I got the amazing chance to panel at IkkiCon. I love this convention and had a great time. Oh and I looked stunning, too.

February: Valentine’s Day was spent with a friend from back home and lots and lots of movies.

March: Suddenly in March I was let go from my agency job. It was a total shock. I never thought I’d recover. In one week, however, I was hired again at another ad agency just down the street. I was officially unemployed for 5 days and it was the most hellish experience of my life.

April: I took a once in a lifetime trip to Maui with my aunt. You can read more about it here and here. I had the most amazing time and it was absolutely life-changing. It was the perfect thing I needed to boost my confidence after the shaky month of March. I also quit my podcast with my friend…it was a terrible but freeing situation. I still think about the podcast. Whether I made the right call or not. But I can say that I feel better having left that situation.

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May: I adjusted to my new job and even made a few splashes at my current agency and started working on costumes and panels for the upcoming season.

June:  A blur of summer heat and costume choices.

July: I celebrated my 25th birthday with pernod cured salmon, homemade pumpkin ice cream and terror birds. So yeah, it was kick ass.

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August: In August, I got the news that I would be panelist for AnimeFest one of the biggest conventions in the state. I screamed/cried/yelled. Panel work began and more costume choices.

September: I went to AnimeFest with two of my best friends and had a…time. You can read about it here.

October: I celebrated both of my parents birthdays. You can read about that here.

November: I celebrated Thanksgiving at home with my family. It was a time…but the chill of November made me think about a few things that mostly stayed inside.

December: It’s still happening! I went on an amazing trip to the Missions that you can read about here and I’m looking forward to 2016 being just as sweet.

This year has been a rollercoaster. It was up and down and all the things in between. It’s getting easier to deal with these vast changes and I’m looking forward to what 2016 has in store for me.