new endings; new beginnings

2017 was a great year in many ways. Like any long-term relationship (with a job, friend, pet, or significant other), my ride with 2017 was one with its highs and lows, its moments of success and growth, and its opportunities for improvement. What more could I ask for from my journey with this past year?

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the women’s march, Washington, DC

I started off the year witnessing/participating in some pretty historic events in Washington, DC, namely the inauguration of president Trump and the Women’s March on Washington. I walked down to the Mall on inauguration day, and the following day I tried to get as close to the Women’s March route as I could (it was nearly impossible as there were so many people participating). It was amazing to witness the energy of fellow feminists and women’s rights supporters. The array of causes and issues represented at the march spanned well beyond just women’s issues, too.

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Reykjavik, Iceland

This year was also an amazing travel year. I visited Iceland at the end of February with my cousin, Emily, and we just happened to fly in on the night of their biggest snowfall in about 80 years – almost two feet of snow! We saw the northern lights, took a tour around the golden circle, and bathed in the blue lagoon under the stars.

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I nurtured my writing career by taking a workshop a the Writers Center in Bethesda, joining a few different writing groups in town (and going on retreat with one of them), and furthering friendships with some of my writing exchange buddies. I also said goodbye to my first ever writing group, Scriptorium, as most of its members moved away this year. Ah, how transient a city is DC… maybe this city is a living metaphor for how people come into your life and go at the right times.

I also developed a new interest in visual art by taking part in an art photography show that my friend Chaseedaw organized. I furthered this interest by collaborating with some local photographers on fashion and editorial shoots. I feel grateful to have discovered this new hobby, which has naturally combined my interests in fashion, beauty, art, and photography, and I hope to work with more photographers/stylists/make-up artists this year!

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portrait from the Scarred Gallery, shot by LeRoy Armstead

I made some new friends, became closer to existing ones, and perhaps went on ‘pause’ for a few friendships, which is not necessarily a bad thing, just a part of the natural evolution of friendships and relationships.

Overall, 2017 was one for the books. I’ve been thinking about what new years, and new years “resolutions” really mean. To me, these goals and objectives for the year ahead shouldn’t be so black and white, “all or nothing,” or in short, unattainable. That’s just setting ourselves up for failure. Pledging to go to the gym everyday, to give up alcohol or sugar or carbs, or to stop eating out doesn’t make one a better person.

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a rainbow, viewed from my writing retreat earlier this year in Norwood, VA

A new year, a new month, or a new week is simply a chance to reflect. It’s an opportunity to look back on the time that has passed and assess what worked and what didn’t. Life is a process of figuring out who you are, and sometimes it’s a process of elimination. Maybe not exercising and going out every night doesn’t make you feel good: that’s an easy one. Maybe there are less obvious unhealthy habits, limiting ways of thinking, or relationships that could use some evaluation.

Of course there are the things that did work — meditation; yoga; writing blog posts, Instagram captions, nonsensical stories; spending long afternoons in modern art galleries; spoiling your dog beyond belief; taking a ridiculous amount of pictures; learning who the people are who always have your back — or whatever they are for you. Figure out what those things are too, and hold on to them… Happy New Year!

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paintings and sculptures at the Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrors exhibition

xxx

– lafilleamericaine

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