blog year 2011 in review

This is a meme that I've done relatively consistently, looking back at what I wrote each month in the previous year and it's interesting to compare topics, style, etc. then and now. Last year, instead of choosing the very first blog post of January to represent the month, I determined which post best stood in for the goings on of each month. I'm going to continue to do that in this review, as well. I'll choose an excerpt from that post and link to it for easy reading. If you're interested in past reviews you can read the following years at these links: 2010, 20092007,  2006,  2005

January 2011:  I've had the wind knocked out of me on an emotional level. I am affected by what others say and think about me, particularly when it comes to my work... I am facing some hard truths and trying to figure out what to do next. It is in this space that I feel the least centered, the least open, and the most afraid. But, I am strong and determined. 

February 2011: The power of asking for what you need and receiving it can be overwhelming. This is at the heart of the questions with which I'm living right now. What do I need? What's preventing me from asking for it? What is it that I am afraid of? 

I think that what usually stops me from stating what I need from people in my life, from the universe, from myself is a deep-seeded feeling that I'm somehow undeserving of success. I become convinced that the answer will be, "No," despite evidence to the contrary. 

March 2011: Sometimes I think that when we are unable to see the road we should be on, roadblocks and dead ends and washed out bridges will prevent us from going down the wrong ones until we figure out our next move or until there's only one road left but what you see along the dead-end route may be the one thing that helps you figure out the right road or at least a way to get there. I am trying not to live with regrets or remorse and instead focus on a way to get wherever it is I am supposed to be.

April 2011: I discovered some poems from my early graduate and undergraduate career as well as many of my old essays and research projects. So as I'm trying to navigate the layers of theorizing nostalgia, I'm re-experiencing my own yearnings as I read through these poems. What is so striking to me here is the sense of longing in my writing. In some, I long for forgiveness, in others I seek something to make the yearning less acute. But it's there in every single poem. 

May 2011: I am re-reading Thoreau's Walden and there is a fantastic line in his conclusion where he writes, "The universe is wider than our views of it." And maybe that's it, where faith comes in. We make decisions; we dream; we set goals and try to accomplish them and all that we can't see about where that work will take us is what we have to believe in. 

June 2011: I can see how comparing your abilities to others can lead you to miss appreciating your own talents for what they are. As a culture, we spend a lot of energy creating models to whom we compare ourselves, whether they be celebrities whose money we wish we had or reality stars whose lives we may see as tragic. Much of popular culture sets up comparisons for us. We compare this house to that house or this year's vacation to last year's. We think about how we would do things if it were our birthday party, or child or wedding. Our bosses compare our work to other employees'; it's how we're built. 

So, how do we move beyond this kind of thinking? It's so embedded in our daily thinking; how do we stop judging ourselves and everyone else along the way? 

July 2011: As you may or may not know, my previous blog was hacked. I've had that blog in that space for about 5 years and it was the first time I ever experienced my files and site being compromised. I tried for a few days to figure out what happened. I backed up all my text files just to be sure I wasn't missing anything and after trying a variety of possible solutions, it seemed like the best thing to do was to move the space.

August 2011:  Recently, I spent a few weeks helping my parents move. Along the way, I found an autobiography I'd written for a school assignment in English. Part of the autobiography asked us to write diary/journal entries as our future selves. Though I expected that I'd written something  a bit...well, like a 17-year-old would, I was surprised to read that I imagined myself alone, not in a relationship but married to my career, which of course was a fabulous job in publishing in a metropolitan city. I could imagine professional success and ambition but not love. 

September 2011: This morning I woke up in a great mood. I don't know that I've felt this good in a very long time. It's finally feeling and looking like Fall with oranges and reds. Tomorrow is October 1st and October is my favorite month. So many exciting and good things are happening. I hope I can maintain belief in them and not let my fear get the best of me. 

October 2011:  What I've learned about norms and traditions and fulfilling expectations is that participating in them has to make sense for each person. We all have to work out what these big ideas and concepts mean to us. Commitment, marriage, weddings, relationships, in general, we all see them differently based on our experiences. 

November 2011: I am especially grateful this year for my friends. I've never felt more embraced and comforted or in need of friendship more than this year.

December 2011: I believe in magic.  I believe in kind words, saying thank you. I believe in appreciating what you have and telling people why they're important to you. I believe in language, a clever turn of phrase, in poetry and story. I believe in saying what you mean but choosing words carefully. They have more power than you realize. I believe compassion is better than anger. I believe in making relationships work.