Dear Queer Diary: Looking Forward, Looking Back

Dear Queer Diary_Rory Midhani_640px

My best friend believes she is a psychic.

This is due primarily to the fact that, in December of 2011, she accurately predicted that another friend of ours would both cut her hair short and “find love in springtime.”

 (via Harry Potter Wikia)

The inspiration for the next Queer Outfit of the Week is right here.

Every New Year’s since approximately 2010, my pals and I have assembled a list of New Year’s Predictions, a sort of personal horoscope for the upcoming 365 days. While legitimate horoscope-makers may rely on star signs or planetary movement, we depend on our respective guts (recently bulked up by plenty of Christmas desserts). Perhaps this year, I will try using the tea leaves from all of the delicious warm beverages I have consumed over the course of the last week?

In contrast to the example above, most of our prognostications turn out to be wrong—and quite a few of them are just plain silly. Seduction with cheesecake, cat-hair artwork, and sword-swallowing have all played a key role in past predictions. Nevertheless, looking back on the predictions at the end of every year offers a peek into what we were thinking, wishing, fearing, and hoping 52 weeks before—almost like a communal journal entry.

Because I am considered the most responsible, I get to keep the predictions in my jewelry box until we read them the following December.

Because I am considered the most responsible, I get to keep the predictions in my jewelry box until we read them the following December.

Of course, for the more retrospectively inclined, this time of year also provides the perfect opportunity for looking back on the events of the last twelve months. While my Facebook profile was extremely eager to show me the 20 most important moments of 2013, I found that (surprise, surprise!) Mark Zuckerberg did not have the most accurate insight into my life’s biggest events. I can certainly agree that my first Autostraddle column makes the list—but somehow, the picture of Lady Gaga that my former roommate posted on my wall does not seem all that significant.

This artistically designed year in review really makes Mark look like a slacker. (via Lisa Congdon)

This artistically designed year in review really makes Mark look like a slacker.
(via Lisa Congdon)

What about the night we consumed our body weights in tortilla chips at Chili’s? The meltdown I had in the parking lot of the hardware store? The quiet conversations on the porch? That’s where my journal comes in: to capture the truer, more private moments—the ones that aren’t forever immortalized on social media.

If your journal has as many gaps as mine does, documenting the entire year may be a challenge, but those who are truly determined to reconstruct the last 365 days should take a few minutes to gather evidence by playing private eye. Peruse your online bank account to track major purchases like flights or that really, really expensive trip to Whole Foods. Examine your phone bill for most frequently called numbers. Do a quick run-through of major holidays: Valentine’s Day, Sukkot, Ramadan, Bastille Day, April Fool’s Day, Thanksgayving, Guy Fawkes Day, your birthday… You get the idea.

Some of you dear queer diarists might favor a month-by-month approach. Others will prefer to organize graphically: a web of relationships, a map of places traveled. Lists, of course, are always an option: people you met (Vanessa!), places that felt like home (I’ve collected at least three zip codes this year), moments you want to remember (too many to fit into these parentheses).

Whatever we are going to do, we are clearly going to do it with really nice handwriting.  (via The Notebook Doodles

Whatever we are going to do, we are clearly going to do it with really nice handwriting.
(via The Notebook Doodles)

Can you sum up your year in three words? I think mine are “change,” “quiet,” and “comfort,” the last of which being inspired in part by the fact that I bought my first real grown-up mattress in August. How do the last twelve months rate on a scale of one to ten? For me, they average to about a 7.3. What one song best represents 2013? Mine would be “Hard Way Home,” by Brandi Carlile, which I saw her perform this summer at Red Rocks. What are the other ways you look back on your year, my journaling geniuses?

Dear Queer Diary is a column about the joys (and occasionally, the pains) of journaling. We crack open our tiny notebooks and break out the rainbow-colored pens on the regular, so get ready to limber up your writing hands and document all your beautiful feelings!

Header by Rory Midhani

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Maggie is a freckly, punctuation-loving queer living in the Boston area. She supports her book-buying and tea-drinking habits by teaching America’s youth how to write topic sentences and spends her free time writing postcards and making sandwiches for her girlfriend.

Maggie has written 53 articles for us.


  1. oh my GOD maggie i love this column all the time but i especially love it today. how did you know i’ve been a big ball of nostalgia all week/month and needed a good cry? (okay fine it’s the fourth time i’m crying today but whatever.)

    i can’t believe i got a personal shout out in this post. halloween was such a weird night but meeting you was an absolute highlight for me too!

    i am trying to think of three words for my year…it is hard! i think maybe “change,” “unexpected,” and “community.” i will keep thinking about it in my own journal…

    my hopes for 2014 are “change,” “adventure,” and “love.” i mean love as a concept and an all-inclusive, not in a romantic way. anyway.

    thanks for adding this column to AS and thanks for being rad. here’s to hoping our paths cross again (preferably not in a weird boston bar with annoying dudes…)

    • Thank YOU for being rad and leaving the best comments! I can’t tell you how firmly I believe that change, adventure, and love are all in your future.

  2. The predictions for the new year seems really fun and awesome. I might try that but maybe one a week or month instead of day.

    • OH MY! Looking back on what I wrote, I now realize that it looks like we wrote predictions for every single day of the year, but that is FAR from the case. It’s usually just a list of a dozen or so predictions per person, assembled in no particular order– one a day would truly require psychic powers!

      Anyway, I highly recommend the practice, however you choose to do it!

      • That makes sense. I think I definitely should predict for this year, because twice recently I’ve predicted accurately. Christmas eve I predicted I would get a flashlight for Christmas. I got one in my stocking. Today I predicted my brother would start a fight with the whole family tonight. I decided we shouldn’t watch the Christmas doctor who because he would interrupt it with a fight like last year. He did start a fight, about a quarter into the movie we watched instead of doctor who.

  3. this seems like a lot of fun but there’s no way I could keep it up. you should come back and share some of your predictions with us next year.

    Facebook was creepily accurate in my case. They caught the majors, but also stuff that I would have supposed was only important to me. Their spying has become rather good.

  4. I did something like this a few months ago, the night before my birthday. I was feeling kind of down on myself, like I hadn’t accomplished much in the past year, but making a list of all the memorable things that happened really helped. (Coincidentally, one of those things was seeing Brandi Carlile perform at Interlochen, PLUS Hard Way Home was my song for 2012!)

  5. I love this idea, I’ve been so excited to journal/make some kind of vision board for next year, mostly because this has been a hard year. Now I’m thinking of 3 words to focus on and hopefully manifest in the year to come :)

    This year has been: Challenge, Courage, Resilience

  6. i feel like my three words to best sum up the year would be:


    because that’s really the best way to describe it.

  7. “scary, mad, new”

    This year I’ve been on three different antidepressants, moved to university, saw my mother’s house sold, saw my Dad’s new house for the first time, saw the scariest points of my own ill mental health, and the scariest points of a friend’s as well, made a dozen new and brilliant friends, and had a dozen new experiences (getting my first girlfriend and suffering my first Big Heartbreak being two of them).

    It’s been a mad, mad year.

    It’s also, relevantly to this column, been the first year I’ve ever finished a journal. It took me 18 months (and I think four days), but I filled from front-to-back a black moleskine journal, and I’m now working on the sequel, in a teeny little pocket sized one.

  8. Hmm. This year? I think: Europe, queer (the verb), anxiety.

    Next year I hope to at least get rid of that last one! I’m sure I can. :)

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