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Marie's 2021: A Narrative & Slideshow

Every year, I review all the photos I took, plus screengrabs, and make an album of the highlights. This year I'm being extra extra. For those who want the nerdy details, I'm going to tell you how I made this post. For those who don't care, go to the next paragraph. OK, all the cool nerdy people still here? Great. So here's how I made this post. OK, so all year long, at the beginning of the month, I download all the pictures I took on my cell phone & I save them on my computer. At the end of the year, I run a search on my computer for images created in that year (including all my fancy camera pics). Then I browse through all the resulting pictures, copying my FAVORITES into a separate folder. Once I have my favorites gathered, I browse through those, trying to organize them into categories that make sense to me. This results in beautiful categories that basically sum up my entire life and year. While looking through these pics, I also am taking notes on meaningful stories or changes that I want to share about. I also go through my Google calendar starting January 1, looking for things to remind me of important events, which I add to the narrative list. Then I use the life categories created by the picture browsing and nestle all of the narratives under each category. That way, I have lots of stories to share and corresponding images. That's how the meat was made. I am absolutely delighted by the results.


This is a long post, so let's prepare you for what's ahead. Here's the table of contents:

  • 11ty Family: People who live in my home: my ex-husband, my boyfriend, and boyfriend's daughter

  • Adam & Me: My relationship with boyfriend Adam

  • Art: Things I made because art.

  • Diet: Things I've made out of edible material and that I consumed or had someone else consume.

  • Entrepreneur: My efforts in photography, life coaching, podcasting, and more.

  • Friends: Self-explanatory

  • Government/Community: My interactions with my government and community

  • Me (etc.): Intrapersonal growth & existential stuff

  • Media: Shit I watched or read that I loved so much I took a picture of it.

  • Origin Family: They made me and are related to me. Origin family!

  • Other Places: I don't believe in the word "travel", so this is for "other places" I existed in this year.

  • Pets: non homo sapien mammals in my life

  • Polycule: The unique dynamic and love between my boyfriend, his girlfriend, and myself.

  • Recreation: Things I do with my body for FUN!

  • Relationship Anarchy: Savored moments of organic and ethical connections made with amazing people without needing a relationship escalator

  • SSC: My part-time remote Executive Assistant job

  • EXTRA: Favorite Words of 2021, Least Favorite Words of 2021, Least Favorite Questions of 2021, Favorite Questions of 2021, Favorite Statements of 2021, Favorite Made-up Words of 2021


11ty Family

  • Our roommate during the pandemic, Matt, moved out this summer and my boyfriend Adam and his daughter moved in.

  • Speaking of that kiddo, I've become a consistent adult in her life, since she lives in my home half-time. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have never wanted children although I don't mind them in general. Having this one live with me has been an incredible experience. Partially because she is so funny, intelligent, and aware, but also due to my ability to practice my own gentle self-talk to my inner child by practicing it with her. I'm delighted by this unexpected development in my life.

  • I still live with Keith. More on that below!


Adam and Me

  • Adam and I began dating in November 2020 and he moved into our home in May 2021 along with his daughter. My relationship with Adam has been so incredibly brief yet constantly evolving and transformational. Plus, he's mega good looking, hilarious, and such a good dad.

  • We had our 1 year "anniversary" last month but I didn't really want to call it that. Our relationship has felt so unique and off the beaten path of any relationship I've ever had or seen so I wasn't really excited about using the word "anniversary". We weren't really celebrating US,... we were celebrating growth. So last month we celebrated what we called "Curiosity Day", as a nod to the headspace I was in when I met Adam, committed to being more curious about the world and less judgmental. Thus,... getting him a second date and more.


Art

  • In March, I pierced my eyebrow and it's made me feel more like myself. It's weird like that. In 2022, I'm thinking about doing a beauty mole piercing, or whatever they're called.

  • Late this year, I got onto TikTok and I'm trying to use it as a means to talk about all the things I'm passionate about and hopefully connect with folx who might want to work with me as a life coach.

  • I moved my digital piano up into my room and started playing it again at the end of the year. It's been really fun!


Diet

  • I have been using plant medicine for a few years to manage anxiety, learn about myself, and foster my mental relationship with the Earth as the source of everything relevant to my & everyone's survival. When I've drank alcohol recently, it never feels good and I've lost my interest in it. That's right. I don't drink alcohol anymore. That's the most shocking part of this paragraph. Also, I made a cool replacement cookie for my former roommate.


Entrepreneur

  • I taught my first Photography 101 class this year which wasn't as much fun as I had hoped it would be, but I'm glad I tried.

  • This summer, I tabled my first booth at the Columbia Heights art fair for my photography company.

  • This year I also made the decision to be more "out" about all assets of my life, including being ethically non-monogamous. So I tabled my first booth at the Columbia Heights Pride fair, promoting my life coaching business. It was really scary to be out, to be public, and in-person. But I'm so proud I did it and it's given me the momentum to continue to be out in more ways and around more people. I've stopped apologizing by hiding.


Friends

  • For a few months late this year, my best friend Luke and I enjoyed a chapter of extra closeness and connection despite him living in California. We were both going through a rough period and were able to be there for each other. We've both now gotten through our period of struggle and I'm so grateful to know that closeness can naturally ebb and flow.


Government/Community

  • In March, I got my first Moderna vaccine against COVID-19. In April, I got my second. Just 2 weeks ago, I got my booster. Thanks government!

  • I continued to volunteer as a photographer for community events in Columbia Heights. It's something I decided I would do if my friend, Amáda Simula Márquez was elected mayor last November. She was and she's doing an AMAZING job. I was delighted to document her amazing efforts in our community. Additionally, I did a photoshoot of her and a young girl who looked up to her, as Amáda cosplays as Wonder Woman, while the girl was battling cancer. It even ended up in the news!

  • The local religious trauma support group that I run has been evolving in the last year to my delight. When I started attending it years ago, it was mostly white men mocking religion and just ranting self-righteously. It has now become a queer and neurodivergent haven and it's something I'm incredibly proud of.

  • I also started a support group for practitioners of ethical non-monogamy. Still working it out but it's been fun and I'm hoping to see it grow more this upcoming year.

  • Participated in getting Donny Trump out of the Oval office.


ME (my relationship with, growth, and investment in ME [aka “spirituality”]) / Witness & Accept/Meta-Awareness/Embodiment/Existential/Plant Medicine/Synchronicity/Mental Health/Radical Awakening

  • This year, I leaned in HARD to existentialism. I went back to 9 year old me who was asking the big questions and validated the hell out of them. I'm back to embracing the big unknowns and talking about the subjective experience of existence. I'm looking for people who are on the same journey and we're exploring "existential intelligence" together.

  • Self Relationship

  • First of all, I'm just fucking DELIGHTED to have this category in my end-of-year blog. Usually I focus on my roles & relationships. This year, there was a lot more of ME... Me with ME. This year I've begun to enjoy hanging out with me. In fact, one of my favorite things to do is quickly becoming spending time with myself, which is a very distinct activity from just zoning out and watching TV though may look the same from the outside.

  • This year, I began to see that one of my favorite things to do is travel to a new city, put on some headphones, grab my camera, and meander aimlessly, just looking for beautiful whimsy and taking pictures. Maybe some plant medicine is involved. Let's be real, usually plant medicine is involved. These have been incredibly precious moments where I feel so grateful for being alive.

  • This year I also made some significant progress in my relationship with screens. It's been a problem pretty much since 2007 or whenever it was that Facebook became an app. More about this further down.

  • I've mentioned my ritualistic and respectful use of plant medicine already on this post. One thing in that arena that has changed this year is that I've begun to try smoking the plants in addition to oil vape. Something about the smoking the actual plant makes my experiences that much more enlightening and clarifying. Little Me in the DARE talks would be absolutely shocked that I'd joined the war on drugs, on the side of the drugs.

  • I've been engaging with and being curious with my internal cognitive experience which has been very fruitful. I've begun developing the skill of talking to myself, whether out loud or quietly in my head. I already talked to myself but it was reactionary and negative as a rule. This new self-talk I'm developing is a kinder voice who wants to see me be well. I've also made a new rule (to enforce when I'm aware of it happening) that no negative self-talk is allowed. It's not that I'm perfect, but it is irrational to chronically assume that I suck.

  • In reflecting on my life this year, I've had some BIG revelations. Mainly, that I am incredibly brave. More on that below.

  • I've also been re-assessing my public activism work. I've been speaking publicly since 2016 about my experiences in harmful religion, about the deconstruction of monogamy, and of secular spirituality. These are things I'm deeply passionate about and I've been trying to create community and conversations. However, I've recently come to terms with some hidden hurt inside of me which has been trying to resolve itself by facilitating healing for everyone else except for myself. The energy I had for public growth has begun to return back to ME and is focused on me. I'm still thinking over how or if I want to continue to participate in public healing conversations. Regardless of what I decide, I'm very happy with this development.


  • Self-Expression/Identity/Unmasking/Healing

  • As I've mentioned in other places on this blog, this year I've come fully out. I've been pretty closeted about being ethically non-monogamous, being a religious trauma activist, and a secular spirituality nerd. But having some space from the corporate world, getting some perspective through plant medicine, and bravely being more transparent about who I am with more people has allowed me to finally be completely out with anyone and everyone. I am not ashamed of the life I am living. It is beautiful and loving.

  • Separating from Keith was a bit painful, but it has meant that I finally have my own room. I haven't had my own room for a long time. Last time was from April to July 2010 after my divorce but before I met Keith. Before that, it would have been early 2004 that I last had my own room and that was in the basement of my brother's house. Before that, I lived in a room with 10 other girls while in Mexico or in the basement of my parents' home. This was long overdue and has been really good for me being about to develop my own space and identity.

  • I had started a podcast entitled Everyone's Autonomous in November 2019. I interviewed people about their departure from their fundamentalist faith. I focused our conversations on how to heal. However, I reached a point where I wasn't really interested in those stories anymore. I was growing and wanted to talk about that growth. So I ended that podcast this year and replaced it with Marie, Myself, and I, where I talk (alone) about the intersections of secular spirituality, neurodivergence, being formerly religious, ethical non-monogamy, and meta-awareness. It's been really fun. I'm getting about 100 downloads within the first week of an episode and I'm still mildly bewildered that 100 people want to hear me ramble about my growth for an hour.

  • With the intention to heal from the spiritual abuse from my past, I stepped out "in faith" and attended an all day event at Creators Space in St. Paul. I ended up becoming profoundly triggered and went into a room to get some support from staff. The owner of the space ended up being the one I spoke with. I shared with her about my background and how I was trying to heal and connect with myself. She encouraged me and called me a healer, saying I am working on the frontlines by focusing on my healing and trying to help others along. I didn't get much from the event itself, but connecting with her opened up my heart.

  • I finally took my FitBit off my wrist this year. I just got tired of thinking about it and having another thing tracking me or to keep track of. Surprisingly correlated, I've lost a bit of weight that was healthy for me to lose.

  • In my efforts to find peace, I developed a mantra that I'm deeply in need of: "Nothing is that urgent." I find myself in a constant rush mentality, whether I need to physically do something quickly or whether it's my state of mind even when sedentary. I remind myself that nothing is that urgent that I need to be in that state of mind as much as I am. I am encouraging myself to slow down and savor everything. Be present with every moment. Gift everyone with my full attention.

  • I also had a fantastic conversation with my mother about generational trauma. Part of my growth has been truly understanding and seeing my parents and their parents as humans with the access and knowledge that they had at the time they had it. Seeing their inner child. Translating certain choices and behaviors into their best choices to show love and foster my growth. The conversation was incredibly healing for me.

  • Neurodivergence Awakening

  • In high school, I had an inkling I had ADHD. I asked a guidance counselor and he said, sure, we'll get your parents involved, schedule some appointments, fill out some forms... If you have ADHD, you know that that is overwhelming as a process. So I didn't follow-up. In 2013, I was diagnosed with "mild" inattentive ADHD. However, at the time I was also suicidal and in the worst moment of my life. So I didn't think much of it and focused on surviving. In 2020, I began to date Adam who is autistic. In being neurodivergent, we had to have a lot of high level conversations about our conversations in order to understand each other. That allowed me to start to become aware of my own thoughts, expectations, and assumptions that weren't rational. I began talking a lot more with more people about my own cognition this year which exposed me to a lot of neurodivergent people who all seemed to be able to have these conversations with me at the level I needed it. I fell in love with neurodivergent folx and actively preferred them over neurotypicals. So when I dated a man with Aspergers and ADHD who told me that the mental phenomenon that I was sharing with him reeked of ADHD, I was rendered speechless. I told him, well, I was diagnosed in 2013. That began a very serious reconsideration of that diagnosis. I began talking about ADHD, reading books, getting into social media groups, and joining support groups like ADD.org. I very quickly found a large community of people who knew what I was experiencing without me having to say so. The memes they shared were as if they came straight out of my brain. I finally understood "what" I was. I am ADHD. I don't "have" ADHD. I am not disordered. And there's no deficit of my attention. The name is all kinds of fucked, in my opinion. Reflecting on this neurological truth, I have for the last several months been reviewing my entire life, re-narrating it through the lens of someone who had ADHD and didn't know it. Suddenly everything fit. Everything made sense. These many versions of Marie who I was ashamed of now appeared to be incredibly brave, strong, and resilient. Stories I've told about myself, like that I'm dumb and lazy, are very quickly melting away. Shame is being released. Negative thought patterns are being interrupted. Focus is being renewed. I can read books again (in fact, I've finished three just this quarter). I'm learning all about ADHD and I feel so proud. I feel proud of my skepticism. Proud of my deconstructive tendencies. Proud of my endless ideas and creativity. Embracing ADHD has allowed me to give myself permission to keep on questioning everything -- which has facilitated me deconstructing a shit ton of things like: mental health industry, capitalism, American exceptionalism, the idea of borders, the idea of property, the idea of money, government, patriarchy, internalized misogyny, consumerism, classism, human-centrism, toxic workplace culture, fatphobia, human infrastructure disillusionment, and media. I'm reconnecting with my creativity now that I understand more about my challenges. I'm rearranging my life and my flow to accommodate my neurology, not the neurotypical expectations that culture has handed down to me and nearly killed me. I finally have begun to feel joy. Joy in who I am. Delight in how my mind works. Sometimes I laugh at my own silent jokes or observations. I speak to myself kindly, not because my therapist told me to, but because I KNOW myself now and I really like me. I feel vindicated in my original skepticism and wonderings as a child. This world really ISN'T okay and America most certainly is not okay. Humanity is NOT okay. I don't want to live on like it's business as usual anymore. I'm leading a one-person rebellion. I'm going to heal and love myself. This has all allowed me to see the kinds of mental coping mechanisms that I developed for myself over these 3 decades, such as chronic thinking, masking, and paranoia. I also learned that neurodivergent people tend to develop what they call Rejection Sensitivity Disorder, which I hypothesize comes from a lifetime of not having your neurodivergence acknowledged and accommodated (C-PTSD). RSD means that you're highly sensitive to perceived or real rejection. That has been me my whole life. I am working on recognizing these patterns and unmasking. It's hard work but it's the most exciting and hopeful time in my life. I've also hired an ADHD coach after interviewing a half dozen. Being a solopreneur for 2.5 years with unaccounted ADHD has been incredibly difficult and been a huge hit to my self-esteem and self-confidence. With Tracy and other resources like Cena Block and ADD.org, I anticipate 2022 looking a lot better. Like I mentioned, I'm feeling more connected with the previous versions of me, parts of me that I had dissociated from but now it seems they are all still there along with all the memories and experiences, like a trauma time capsule waiting for when my shame reduced enough that I could hold space for that pain.


  • Self + Others

  • This year I began to deconstruct my identifier as polyamorous. I found that love, respect, and connection could happen at a multitude of levels and intersections. I learned growing up that anything other than the monogamy train with sexual puritanism was barbaric, animalistic, and deviant. I no longer believe that because I have lived that life and find it to be filled with respectful people who SEE me and find value in caring for each other, sharing time and space, even if no one wants to commit to do that every day until we die. Who knew? I honestly didn't. And I want to share the good news! I now practice relationship anarchy which just means that I trust the relationship to develop as it feels right, not according to a workflow that I've inherited from culture.

  • This year I've also deconstructed my tendency to baby and coddle men. It's something I've learned in my origins family, in culture, in my religion, and also as a gender role. It gave me a sense of value to provide "emotional support". Now I worry more about caring for myself and just listening to others. If others want support or advice, then I can consider whether I have any to give. But otherwise, I don't rush to do emotional labor for men as much anymore. I also try to catch myself when I withhold information or modify my behavior in order to prevent them from feeling uncomfortable feelings.

  • Related to this, I have also been learning how to take men (and specifically my partners) off of a pedestal. If culture is mostly driven by the stories men want to tell, I'm not surprised that I've learned from those collective stories that men are so awesome and powerful and almost god-like. That we should compete for their attention. This fall I began to deconstruct the idea of men being anything but another form of human with the same emotional capacity and need as anyone else but with their own form of trauma from patriarchy. There is a little bit of grief involved in this but ultimately, it lets me connect at a human level with folx instead of putting them on a pedestal and seeing them as being more sorted out than others.

  • In everything I've been working on this year, I've found that I'm able to be much more present with the people I'm with. I can listen more deeply, hear what they're really saying since I have more distance from my thoughts and reactions. Being able to see someone for who they are instead of my filtered version of them allows me to feel a kind of connection I've never felt before this.

  • I've also had the opportunity a few times this year to support someone who is trying plant medicine for the first time. I come from an "anti-drug" background so I had a lot to deconstruct when I began to try plant medicine as well. I have a heart for folx who want to try it or haven't tried it and are really scared and want someone to walk them through it. I've had the honor of this experience 4 times this year and it fills my heart.

  • I come from an anti-sex background (evangelical Christianity of the 90's) and it's been very injurious to my psyche and my relationships. This year I've made a lot of progress in normalizing connecting with people respectfully and consensually. And at no point did I feel like I was being used, like I was a slut, like I was out of control, like I was a deviant, like I was sinning, like I was hurting anyone, like I was dirty... In fact, I felt incredibly seen, celebrated, loved, and enjoyed. I personally don't feel the need to reclaim the word "slut", but I certainly want to plant my flag in the ground and say that I stand for the normalization of sexual interactions that are respectful, consensual, and safe.

  • Embodiment / Earth Child

  • After coming to terms with ADHD, my breakthroughs have been DAILY. One of which is "finding" my body. I have been able to tune my awareness to focus on experiencing existing in my body instead of experiencing projected minds of the people around me and worrying about what's going on in their minds and bodies.

  • This has also allowed me to begin to "hold space" for the experiences in my body. I've had depression and anxiety throughout my life and my coping mechanism has been to dissociate or to numb out. Can't blame myself. I was undiagnosed ADHD. That can be hell on earth. But now, with less shame and more self understanding, I am able to keep my awareness in my body and point it at my distress and just patiently bear witness to it, not running away or getting frustrated. This has been monumental. Still practicing.

  • Obviously, all of this has facilitated me feeling more comfortable in my body. Oftentimes, I feel "at home". That kind of feeling I had when I was very young and home was definitely the safest and happiest place I knew.

  • I've dropped in a few times to a Hoop Flow group on Boom Island on Wednesdays where we play with hula hoops and other circus-forward equipment whilst looking at downtown Minneapolis lit up by the setting sun. It has been amazing.

  • I also had the amazing opportunity to go on a motorcycle ride through the Smokey Mountains in August together with my partner Sean. I'd only been on a motorcycle once before and it was a different situation. This was such a beautiful experience. I felt incredibly connected with nature and the Earth as I weaved through the forests.

  • Responsibilities & Schedule

  • This year I signed up for the app Calendly to help facilitate scheduling for my life coaching and photography. GREAT decision. No more emails back and forth providing my availability. Just send a link and the person finds a time that works for them. Additionally, it has a workflow so that a template contract is automatically sent to a client after an introduction call. The less admin work I have to do, the better!

  • This is my first year with a solo budget in a long time. With Keith and me separating this summer, I wasn't sure how it was going to work out, but so far I'm able to live frugally enough and make enough to survive. I need to see my businesses grow for this to work long-term, but it's been really exciting to be completely autonomous with my spending.

  • I used to have a codependent relationship with my calendar. This fall I talked it out with my buddy Luke and have started relying on it less and checking in with my Self more.

  • Daily habits have always been a struggle for me (and now I know why: ADHD). Getting ToDoist and creating a to-do list that includes my daily rituals takes the burden off my executive function and has helped me take care of my daily stuff more consistently than in the past!

  • I have simplified my goal setting process. Before I was overwhelmed by everything I wanted to do. I would try system after system and couldn't get myself to get anything done. Inspired by the EOS system used at my work and by the fact that ADHD people get overwhelmed, I decided to just pick 3 "rocks" every month. Special projects that I really want to do (meaning, I'm thinking about them a lot in my free time). That has proven to be highly successful and helps me focus and actually complete stuff!

  • Cooking has always been tough for me (did you know that folx with ADHD often struggle with cooking and eating disorders? fun fact). This year it's gotten a bit easier, partially due to the flexibility of my job and me simplifying the cooking process by picking simple recipes, becoming intimate with the kitchen and our ingredient supplies. Still not a fan of cooking, but I'm proud that I am cooking twice a week now.

  • Working from home has always been a bit confusing for me. I prefer it 110% over working in an office, but I was still feeling a little uncomfortable. However, in the last quarter of this year I have found a rhythm that works for me and I've been consistent with. My bosses are super chill so when I need to flex my schedule, it's never a big deal. This frees up my mind to focus on other things, like my self-care.

  • Synapses, Meta-Awareness & Cognition:

  • This year has been the year of the brain. I have been taking a very serious look at my mind, my thoughts, its patterns, my behaviors, questioning it all, talking about it all. I have had several experiences where I would get wrapped up in some story about how someone was being rude to me and then I would simply question it, check the facts, and find that I could just as easily tell the story in a different way that meant that person was actually giving me a gift. And just like that, my entire brain mood shifts just by questioning the narrative. It's magic! Questioning my own mind has been one of the best scary decisions I've made.

  • I tried a bit of meditation this year but it never stuck much. But then I came to terms with my ADHD and found that many people with ADHD have unique struggles with meditation. Holy vindication and validation, Batman! So I hired my friend Andrew Jasko for a few sessions to talk through meditation. I was able to get some integrated clarity around what it was and how my neurodivergence interacts with the attempts to meditate. Since those sessions, I've been meditating 30 minutes a day every morning. I am still struggling to know if I am "doing it right" but things are making a LOT more sense to me now and I'm excited for what I'll learn in this realm next year.



Media

  • Summer Camp Island on HBO Max: Literally my favorite show of all time right now. A cartoon made by the writers of Adventure Time. It's about a magical island summer camp. There are stories about generational trauma, chosen family, self-talk, self-delight, capitalism, gender fluidity, and more!

  • Free Guy available for streaming: Awesome movie about nihilism, classism, enlightenment, self-fulfillment, and the joy in meaninglessness.

  • Aunty Donna's Big Ol' House of Fun on Netflix: Absolutely absurd Australians doing sketch comedy.

  • I Think You Should Leave on Netflix: By Tim Robinson, writer/cast on SNL. Again, very absurd comedy sketches.

  • Genera+ion on HBO Max: Fantastic show about queer high schoolers and their friendships.

  • Adventure Time on Hulu: Crazy cartoon about a dog and a boy in a magical world after an apocalypse. Great existential messages sprinkled throughout.

  • Midnight Gospel on Netflix: FANTASTIC show about a universe traveling podcaster who digs into the deep existential questions with his guests while on incredible adventures.

  • The Good Place on Netflix: A great show with beautifully unexpected twists and turns with some really great things to say about cosmological justice.

  • Special on Netflix: A great show about a gay man with cerebal palsy.

  • Cobra Kai on Netflix: A resurrection of Karate Kid with modern messages that hit on restorative justice, balance, the fact that people can change, and that no hero is perfect.

  • Nobody's Looking on Netflix: We follow a new angel who has questions about how this whole damn system works. He has some concerns.

  • Never Have I Ever on Netflix: A teenage Indian-American girl is highlighted as she obsesses about boys. Mood.

  • Big Mouth on Netflix: Fantastic cartoon about coming of age, puberty, and all those things we were so embarrassed about growing up. Watch this for your inner child.

  • Pen13 on Hulu: Highlights two inexperienced best friends who are each others' fiercest advocates as they navigate school and crushes.

  • Love on the Spectrum on Netflix: A reality show that shines a light on the lives of several folx on the spectrum and the challenges they face in dating. Watch this to renew your hope in humanity.

  • Maya and the Three on Netflix: Visually AMAZING show about a warrior girl who fights to fulfill a prophecy and save her people. Messaging hits on autonomy, individual strengths and weaknesses, our shadows & shame, and how to find intrapersonal liberation.

  • Ten Year Old Tom on Hulu: Hilariously awkward comedy from the viewpoint of a pre-teen. So refreshing. Reminds you of when you didn't know what was going on in the adult world.

  • Dead to Me on Netflix: Fantastic drama/thriller with unexpected twists and turns.

  • 8-Bit Christmas on HBO Max: If you're a millennial, this is for you. It's basically Christmas Story but with our childhood.

  • Expecting Amy on HBO Max: A very honest documentary by Amy Schumer regarding her complicated pregnancy and her autistic husband.

  • Conan Without Borders on HBO Max: Conan travels the world, opens our eyes to the beauty of humanity, and makes us laugh the entire time.

  • Moral Orel on HBO Max: A scathing and hilarious show about growing up Protestant.

  • Drunk History on Hulu: The BEST way to learn history. From a drunk person, re-enacted by well known actors.


Origin Family

  • My origins family!


Other Places

  • After I was fully vaccinated, I existed in San Diego, Reno, Seattle, Kansas City, and Chicago. More to come next year!


Pets

  • Once Adam moved in, he brought his dog, Dib, who has become a constant accessory to me since I work from home! I've had moments of liking her company, but for the most part, she makes me anxious. Noodle and Trogdor (cats) continue to do well.


Polycule

  • As I mentioned, I practice ethical non-monogamy / relationship anarchy. So this year, my boyfriend started dating Lacey (who I refer to as "meta", short for metamour, which means your partner's partner). Since I come from the culture I come from, it takes me some work to deconstruct feelings of jealousy and insecurity within non-monogamy, but having a meta as amazing as Lacey doesn't hurt. Lacey and I have become friends this year and I learn so much from her somatic awareness and focus on wholeness. Can't say I can judge Adam's choices in partners! We all hung out for a very special PolyMas ("polycule" is a combo of "polyamory" and "molecule"). We rotated 3 canvases between us for a few hours and made 3 pieces of art that we rotate between our respective residences. Lacey and I also secretly planned a blanket fort night with Adam after a particularly stressful period in his life.


Recreation

  • Starting in May (after being full vaccinated), I was back to Zumba! I go about 5 times a week which I'm able to easily accommodate with the flexible schedule of my part-time job. Being this active consistently has done wonders for my mind and body. I even teach a song now and then since I used to be an instructor.


Relationship Anarchy

  • Keith and I decided this summer that our marriage chapter had closed and we gracefully renegotiated our relationship into housemates, co-homeowners, parents to our cats, and simply friends. The process, although painful, was so beautiful in the end that it's been weird to not really need a lot of space to grieve. All that ended was a marriage. But not our love and respect for each other. We continue to share life together and explore more independence which has been good for us both.

  • This summer, I met Sean, a fan and former guest of my podcast. When we met in August, we ended up deciding to begin an intentional/conscious relationship. He lives in New York, so I don't see him often but we talk weekly on a phone call and I send him long rants on Marco Polo. He also flew out to Minneapolis in October and we got to enjoy a staycation where I learned he likes cranes (the object, not bird), reading placards, and deducing things. He's a delight. :)

  • In September, I went on a date with Graham. Adorable eyes and a natural smolder on his face at all times, I was very intrigued. He is also not local, so I don't get to see him often. But when we do connect, we usually spend the whole time talking about existence and meta-awareness. I don't think we've ever talked once about the weather, the traffic, or the government.

  • I met Kyle in Reno this May and was gifted a weekend in his fancy hotel room whilst he performed at the casino (singer). He is a man who is incredibly present and it's such a gift to be seen by him.


SSC

  • I started my job at SureSwift in October 2020 mostly because my entrepreneurship efforts weren't paying off and my finances were going to run out. So I applied for this random but remote Executive Assistant job. I didn't even want the job and didn't even try that hard in the interview. I was very ME. They offered me the job. I took it because why not. But it turned out that my boss, Kevin, is an incredible person. A big hearted man, he's trying to run a company that puts people first. The entire company is remote. Kevin later hired a COO who I also support, Tony. Luckily Tony is just as big hearted as Kevin and I've really grown to enjoy working for the two of them. Executive Assistant work isn't really my passion and eventually I'd like to not have to do it. But in the meantime, this is a really great setup. I have a flexible schedule, first of all. But most importantly, I feel like I can be completely myself with my bosses: irreverence, profanity, queerness, all of it. Plus, my boss rents out a space at WeWork so I have a place to hide out at if I get sick of working from home!


Favorite Words of 2021

story, unknown, consciousness, brain, curious, heal, witness, accept, wobbly, connection, intersections, narrative, cognition, notice, deconstruction, embodiment, love, compassion, grace, existential, neurodivergent, sensitivity, spotlight, maybe, time-space, masking, construct, equanimity

Least Favorite Words of 2021

Sorry, shame

Favorite Questions of 2021

"And does that bother you?" - Something I ask someone I'm listening to, in order to not assume their feelings about something they've shared. It's not a disorder unless there's distress.

"And what do you see in your mind when you say that?" - Something I ask to help people tap into their mind's eye and translate directly what they're seeing instead of reacting.

"And what meaning does that have for you?" - Something I ask my clients when they are very emotional or hyperfocused on a situation. Finding the meaning helps the deconstruction.

Least Favorite Questions of 2021

“Is it okay if…” - Not asking permission anymore.

“Can we…” - See above.

“How can I help?” - Letting others ask for help instead of volunteering out of awkwardness at their distress.

Favorite Statements of 2021

"No negative self-talk allowed"

"I could be wrong, but my sense is that..."

"I'm honored"

"Thank you for sharing that with me"

"Oh? Is that right? Thanks for educating me." - When you get feedback that your perception of someone else was inaccurate, immediately accept their feedback.

"I'm noticing that my brain wants/thinks..." - Instead of saying something like "I am mad", I talk about my experiences as if I am the sensor in the middle of my sensory input. If that's what I am, it's more grammatically correct to talk about our experiences this way.

“I want…” - Instead of asking permission or passively trying to get someone to offer something or volunteer something, I am directly asking for that which I already know I want. Whether someone can do it or not is something I'm fine with navigating. But I want to own my knowing of myself.

Favorite Made-Up Words of 2021

Slugs: word I made up to reference those thoughts we have in our brain that just show up, like thoughts of comparison, inadequacy, or weird social expectations.

Synapsicle: word I made up to reference that lightning strike of synapses you can see in your head which represent some quick logic your brain is running.


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