Today, I turned 26. I celebrated by teaching outdoors. (One of my students even brought me cake!) Death Ray is making a barbecue chicken pizza (with bacon!) together, and we also have the entire second season of Fullmetal Alchemist to watch.
25 was a good year. Here are some of the things I did:
- Set up this website (with Rachel’s patient assistance) after years of depending on subdomains. Sometimes I miss the community (actually, I miss it a lot) but there’s something to be said for spending more time outside an f-list, away from the wank. This isn’t to say I miss out on -fails like Amazon and Race, but I hear about them through different sources without my natural, acquisitive “must check all available links!” impulse kicking in.
- Attended my first NIN show.
- Learnt some Japanese.
- Visited Japan. Learnt that I am a bad traveller, or at least a persnickety one. I attribute this to my not having travelled very much beforehand, and therefore not having really accumulated the coping skills necessary for being lost somewhere totally foreign. (I did, however, stumble into tucked-away jazz clubs, give chocolate to middle-aged men whose names I didn’t know, and share a bath with a family whose portrait I later took to cap off their summer vacation.)
- Discovered that in many ways, the hardest thing to accept about my relationship with Death Ray is that he consistently tolerates this behaviour, without erupting into accusation or abandonment. I keep expecting him to act like other men. He persists in not doing so.
- Deepened my friendships with Dave, Peter, and Karl. I have a home here, now, one that exists outside my marriage (though as a result of it). I feel like I’m part of something where (for some bizarre reason) just being myself is enough.
- Wrote most of a Master’s thesis on anime, fandom, and cyborg theory.
- Became a teacher. I’m surprised at how much I enjoy it. Probably no one else is, though. I have a tendency to lecture.
- Chose a living space with my partner. Despite having lived together for roughly four years, this is the first time we’ve actually managed to select a spot together. Circumstances conspired against us, previously. I enjoy our current location a great deal moreso than our previous one: it is safer and more densely-packed, with all the things I imagined myself living close to when I imagined living in a global city. I feel like a grown-up.
- Was lucky enough to have some stories published.
- Decided to apply for this program in foresight. (Wish me luck.)
For 26, I’d like to finish up my thesis (obviously), publish more stories, exercise more, and continue my current trend of feeling more like myself. I noticed this year at Ad Astra that, as a panelist, I was tapping into an identity that I’d forgotten I once had. I felt at home — not at the con, but in my own skin. This feeling had eluded me for a long time. I hadn’t understood how long, or how much I needed it, until that moment. Now I don’t want to lose it, this sense of having caught up to myself. I want to be more genuine. I want to be myself.