This post is more than a little overdue. Sorry. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to put words about my thoughts and feelings about 2016 to the page and it’s proven to be a difficult challenge. This post has gone through a number of different revisions and changes and this is what’s left.
Globally, 2016 was a tumultuous year. Hillary Clinton was not elected as the 45th President of the United States. State protectionism rose in countries all around the world. The humanitarian crisis in Syria and other countries continues to be one of the worst humanitarian crises we have seen in decades with little to no sign of relenting without the cooperation and effort of the international community. We lost numerous icons that pushed boundaries, changed the way we think and see things, and helped give us the belief that being different, being unique was okay.
Personally, 2016 was somewhat equally of an erratic year. There were a lot of ups and a more than a few tumbles. I turned 24 in 2016, and honestly, I didn’t think I would be where I am right now five or even ten years ago. I thought I would have a lot more of my shit together and have a clearer picture of who I am and what I wanted for the future, but I don’t. I’m still trying to figure it all out and that frightens me because I’m usually the one who’s got a plan and as of right now I don’t have a concrete one and that’s more than a bit terrifying.
I had a list of challenges that I set for myself going into 2016 and for the most part I met most of them, except the two health-related ones, those always seem to fall by the wayside part way through the year. I got to do some travelling to two of my favourite cities in the world (Vancouver and Montreal), I tried to give fewer fucks, and attempted to purge as much unnecessary things, you know clothes, junk, all the DCTVU shows, from my life. The two challenges that I succeeded in reaching were to read 50 books and read more diversely. Personally, they were also my two favourite challenges and ones that I can really look back on and be proud of.
The reason I wanted to put forth those two challenges were because I wanted to learn more. I wanted to educate myself more. I spent four years working my ass off to earn a degree, which I am proud of, don’t get me wrong, but in hindsight, it provided only a fraction of the foundation of the person I am today and the person I want to be tomorrow. I wanted to expand upon that knowledge and learn more about myself, about the world, and the person I want to be in this world and how I could affect change in this world.
And I learnt a lot. My push to read more books, especially by diverse authors about different topics like race, feminism, etc., in fiction, non-fiction and even comic books helped me gain a better understanding of the world, of grasping these different and intersectional topics, of different constructs, and ultimately myself. I’m an intersectional feminist and but I can be a better intersectional feminist and I want to be a better intersectional feminist. I want to be more inclusive, I want to be more understanding and to do that I need to sit down, listen and learn even more and books have always been a source of knowledge, exploration, and adventure for me, which is why I have so often turned to them so often in the past. And if the first few weeks of 2017 are any indication, I’m going to be turning to them a lot more often this year.
In a nutshell, 2016 was the year I really started to find more pieces to my personal foundation and my voice. I’m a woman of colour. I’m an ethnically Chinese woman who was lucky enough to have been born, grown up in, and currently live in Canada. I have parents who have worked their asses off and made tremendous sacrifices that have helped given me the life that I enjoy today. I’m privileged in some ways and disadvantaged in others. I need to be better at recognizing those advantages, I need to check my privileges, and I need to be better at opening my mind and listening and supporting others who are different from me.
2017 is not going to be an easy year. It’s going to be a tough year if the first month of this year is any indication. We’re going to need support one another, fight for one another, and most importantly listen to one another. I think that’s going to be one of the best ways that we are going to get through 2017 and hopefully be better for it at the end of it.
It’s 2017. I’ve set myself a number of challenges for 2017 and I hope to succeed in reaching them. I’m still a 20-something woman trying to figure out this thing called life. I’m still overly invested in the lives of fictional characters on screen and in print. I’m trying to better a better ally and hopefully an okay human being.
Thanks for reading!