FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: What’s Something Good That Happened To You In 2018?

My dearest Straddlers! How are you? How were your holigays? I’m so excited to hear about how you spent your holidays and what cool gifts you got. I hope all your wishes came true. Santa brought me the NES Classic Edition that I asked for and that’s been fun to play with. I didn’t anticipate how much my nephews, who are used to far more sophisticated gaming systems, would enjoy sharing in my Nintendo nostalgia. Of course, my nine-year-old nephew thinks that nostalgia means I’ve got an unfair advantage — so every time I beat him at Tecmo Bowl, it’s not really a win for me. Go figure.

We’ve made it to the final Friday Open Thread of 2018, a year that has both flown by and been so impossibly long that things that happened just six months ago feel like they happened a lifetime ago. It’s been a rough time for a lot of folks. We’ve been through a lot this year — the mass shootings, the natural disasters, the travel ban, the separation of immigrant families, the erosion of Title IX, the #MeToo movement, the heightening of anti-trans rhetoric, etc. — and it all feels very traumatic. On top of all of that, you add your own personal traumas — lost love, financial woes, school stress, health issues, etc. — and it feels like a lot. Too much, honestly.

But, here’s the thing: 2018 wasn’t all bad, was it? I mean, we called it 20GAYteen for a reason, right? Even in bad times, there are moments of pure light and joy that reinvigorated my spirit and convinced me that things are going to get better. What have been those moments for you? What moments from 2018 were so good that you’re carrying them with you into the new year?

Here are a few of mine:

Nephew #9: When it came time to have children, my dad really wanted a son. It wasn’t the macho stuff, like teaching his son how to catch that he was concerned with. He just wanted someone to carry his name. By the time he finally got his wish, he’d already had four girls. I find it ironic that boys have been far more prolific among the new generation of Duggins: we’re up to nine now, including the newest baby boy, born just last month. I love being an aunt, more than anything else in the world, and I’m thrilled to have another nephew to watch grow up.

Janelle Monáe: When Spotify Wrapped revealed that my top artist for 2018 was Janelle Monáe, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. Dirty Computer has been on constant rotation since the day it dropped. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so seen by a piece of music than I have with this album. Dirty Computer deserves every bit of recognition it’s getting, and more. Beyond the album, there’s something so inspiring about watching Monáe, who I’ve been a fan of for years, hit this peak as she’s living her full, authentic life as a “free-ass motherf*cker.”

Finding My Footing: When Heather brought me on-board the TV Team last year, I was positive I’d crush it… I was a pop culture junkie, so surely I could write about it for our readers. Suffice to say, my confidence was a little misplaced and writing for Autostraddle turned out to be much harder than I thought! Poor Heather had to dig through my exhaustive prose when I couldn’t figure out what parts of an episode were worth mentioning and which weren’t. About halfway through 20Gayteen, I finally felt like I found my footing. I’m still not great at it — I aspire to scribegrrrl levels of greatness — but I’m getting better. I’ve achieved some much needed balance: I’ve found a way to cover a topic, without going on ad nauseum, while also interjecting my personality into it, so I’m counting that as progress.

#Beychella: Originally scheduled to perform at the California music festival in 2017, Beyoncé was forced to delay the performance due to her pregnancy and, boy, did she make it worth the wait. When Bey re-emerged from her first costume change, at the top of the risers, and asks the audience, “Coachella, y’all ready?,” I yell “no” at my screen. They are not ready, Bey; I’ve seen it probably a hundred times now and I’m still not ready. It was so, so good. After Dirty Computer, there’s no piece of pop culture that’s gotten more play in my house in 2018 than the video of Beyoncé’s performance at Coachella. Need to be uplifted? Watch Bey go from “Freedom” to “Lift Every Voice and Sing” to “Formation.” Feeling yourself? Check out the medley of “Swag Surfin,” “Diva” and “Everybody Mad.” Need a little joy injected into your day? Watch Beyoncé and her sister, Solange, dance to “Get Me Bodied.” There is no day that cannot be improved by watching Beyoncé at Coachella…this is a fact.

Those are just a few of my 20GAYteen highlights; now, it’s your turn. In a couple of days, we can leave most of this year behind. But what good memories are you taking with you into 20BI-teen?


How To Post A Photo In The Comments:

Find a photo on the web, right click (on a Mac, control+click), hit “Copy Image URL” and then…
code it in to your comment like so:

If you need to upload the photo you love from your computer, try using imgur. To learn more about posting photos, check out A.E.’s step-by-step guide.

How To Post A Video In The Comments, Too:

Find a video on YouTube, copy the URL, and paste the link on its own separate line in your comment. You no longer need to use the “embed” code!

A black biracial, bisexual girl raised in the South, working hard to restore North Carolina's good name. Lover of sports, politics, good TV and Sonia Sotomayor. Spends her Thursday nights trying to make #Shonday happen.

Natalie has written 69 articles for us.

199 Comments

  1. Natalie! This post brought me to tears! What a great topic for the last Friday Open Thread of 2018, and thank you for sharing so much of yourself in here. “Poor Heather” made me laugh out loud, as working alongside you and editing your work has been one of the highlights of my year, one of the things I’d add to my “good things that happened to me in 2018” list.

    That list also includes:
    Writing dozens of things I’m proud of
    Our TV Team
    Logging so so so many miles on my bike
    Finding some much-needed work-life balance
    Reading 100 books (and enjoying the heck out of 85 of them)
    Turning 40!
    My ever-deepening relationship with Stacy
    More cat cuddles than I can count
    A frankly unbelievable year of queer rep on TV
    My family and my chosen family

  2. i made a very hard step towards one giant positive life change

    i asked for a different position at work that has lower pay but which is worth it for the lower stress levels and (after some convincing) they gave it to me

    i got a multitool for my bikes

    • @mic-k-ey Wow, that’s a huge and, I’d imagine, difficult step. I’m so proud of you for recognizing what you needed to make your life better, even if it meant sacrificing monetarily to do it. Lots of people could stand to learn that lesson.

      Tell me more about this wrapping paper, though. How’d you make it? What’d you design for it?

      • @pecola hey thanks!

        OK so I bought a pack of 5 lawn & garden bags, which are those giant paper bags people put their leaves and lawn clippings into for easy pickup on the sidewalk, and I cut them open, and split them apart (they are double layered for strength), creating two large rectangles of paper out of each.

        Then I drew on them with a combo of acrylic paints, giant sharpie, amd
        and POSCA pens (acrylic paint pens).

        One was covered with cartoons of letters ready to mail & stamps, another with stylized flowers and hearts, and another with cartoon oak leaves and pine needles

  3. Hey Autostraddle! Hey Natalie! Happy New Year!!

    2018 was kind of weird. Kind of mundane. Not a whole lot happened in terms of events, but I have grown a lot as a human. Thanks, therapy! And thank you, Autostraddle, for helping me learn that my kink is Mommi. My current Mommi is Mary Poppins.

    ANYWAY, I did have one amazing event of 2018, which was in early 2018 (Feb 1): I produced a one-night-only performance of the musical Next to Normal to raise money for The JED Foundation, which prevents teen and young adult suicide. I worked with incredible, shiny Broadway performers, and the composer of N2N came to the performance, and it was the highlight of the year. It’s a little disappointing when the highlight comes a month into the year.

    I hope 2019 is filled with love and health and happiness and creativity and all those things!

  4. Thank you Natalie ~ I’m looking forward to reading what beauty everyone found amidst this year!

    For myself, first and foremost, it is the fact that I decided to invite myself into my own life, and treat myself with love.

    The discovery that there is part of myself that loves me, no matter what.

    Having a deepening friendship with my Straddler group. Seeing how we can bring so much to each other through our differences, and through accepting and learning from them, through respect and laughter and support and innumerable photos of pets and bad jokes.

    Discovering new books and authors, especially Leanne Betasamosake Simpson!!

    Biking…along the water, up and then dowwwwwn hills…seeing otters and snowcapped mountains and murals and so much along the way.

    • @snaelle Your comment reminds me of a video I saw recently of Wentworth Miller, a gay actor from Legends of Tomorrow, where he talked about starting the work of being your own best friend. It sounds you are definitely on that path. Congratulations!

    • @snaelle I’m glad you’re friends with yourself ! It may sound corny to some, but I believe in this whole-heartedly.

      And Thanks for being a Straddler ! I really look forward to your thoughtful comments and truly zany sense of humour. You’re a Paronomasiast Par Excellence.

      • @deli-twotone ~ thank you so very much! This is one of the loveliest com/pli/ments I’ve ever received (cela se plie et deplie!).

        Your year certainly seems to have followed an equally tumultuous course ~ but I’m very glad to hear that on balance it has tipped towards joy. Your thoughtful, supportive, humorous comments share that joy here, so thank you for the gift of yourself. And I hope you will revel in your own gifts even more in the coming year!

  5. I found out that I am a BOSS at handling my mental health. I’ve been managing Bipolar I for years now and it’s always made me nervous; it runs in my family and I’ve seen how bad it can get, especially in times of stress.
    I experienced a traumatic SA a few months back. I went into crisis management mode pretty much immediately – made my appointments, got my work hours reduced, upped therapy, got my butt to the emergency room when I needed to, did a couple weeks of partial hospitalization. You know those stories about people suddenly having the strength to lift up a car when someone they love is trapped under it? I felt like that, like I saw myself about to get hurt and I was able to stop it.
    2018 was a mother****** but if I could get through all that without self-destructing or worse, I’m pretty sure I’ll always be ok.

  6. Happy New Year!

    This year I had the amazing opportunity to help complete a family via surrogacy. In September I gave birth to a beautiful set of twins and had the privilege of witnessing the two dads welcoming their new additions. It was a most profound journey and experience.

    This and another year of watching my own children’s smiles, growth, and happiness are the highlights of the year. Despite the heartbreaks and sadness that 2018 brought me these are the moments I hold onto going into the new year.

  7. This year I got a kitten who is the best thing to happen in MY LIFE.

    I spent 2018 working on myself and recovering from a traumatic 2017 – being more sure of myself and living it more authentically. I still have a ways to go, but it’s a major improvement from 2017.

    My girlfriend and I went to California and we got to spend time with my extended family openly as a couple. While there we visited Yosemite, which was breathtaking.

    We also went to New Orleans and took did a swamp tour and a ghost tour in one day, which was super-memorable.

    After two moves this summer, I now live alone in an awesome apartment. Bless.

    • @sushita I hope your recovery in 2018, after a traumatizing 2017, gives people who struggled this year hope that things can indeed get better. Thanks for sharing that with us.

      I’m totally jealous of you getting to see Hayley Kiyoko, Mitski and Janelle Monae in the space of one year.

    • Ooh was it Honey Island swamp? And was it one those ones where that somehow technically don’t break the law by enticing gators to do “tricks” using marshmallows and frozen hot dogs?

      I’m a local with a strange…relationship/view of tourism.
      Like this matrix of fascinated, horrified, annoyed with what tourists do here but also like flattered people come to visit, will tell people things to do that won’t kill them when they make the mistake of visiting in July-August and that in winter while snow is NOT a regular occurrence the humidity will cause the cold to seep into your bones dress warm.

  8. I’ve had a couple amazing things happen this year, but I’m most proud of and excited by the fact that something I wrote is published on Autostraddle! It was kind of a far off life goal and then it happened!!!
    I’m also super excited about finishing (the nearly final draft of) my thesis, getting everything done to have top surgery next week on Jan 2nd, how amazing A Camp was this year!!!, and my new kitten Sweetums!!!!!

  9. I got a cat! My cat is great. Being a cat parent has been an adventure, especially as I discovered that my cat is actually a lunatic.

    Hopefully the picture works but if not you’ll just have to believe that she’s cute.

  10. Hoosah. 2018 has been a year that felt like five years, maybe six. I got fired from a job and dived into bad depression. But a lot of good happened this year.

    I gained control of my sexual assault (from five years ago) in a few ways – doing a spoken word piece about it, using the ‘anniversary’ day for a self care day, and successfully auditioning for a solo in a chorus song about my director’s similar things.

    I came out as non-binary and using they/them pronouns! I’ve basically been this way forever but it feels good to have it in the open.

    I completed my third half marathon and I’m gonna instead focus on getting strong in 2019.

    I celebrated three years with my beloved partner and we’re making strides to be ready for marriage.

    And I turned a really bad time into something good and now I want to be a librarian when I grow up.

    Bring it, 2019. I can’t wait. (And not just because I want to ring in my 30th birthday at Disneyland lol)

    I’m proud of you all for making it through the year. You’re strong.

    • @cmcasarez Cass, I’m so proud of you for making it through this year and doing so many awesome things in the process.

      Doing that spoken word piece was so incredibly brave…I can’t even imagine the strength required to do that…I hope it helped with your healing and I’m sure you helped others too.

      Also? Ringing in your 30th year at Disneyland sounds PERFECT.

  11. Lots of new and good things happened to me in 2018! I started graduate school in January and finished the first half of my library science degree with a 4.0. I’ll be completely done this time next year, which is an amazing feeling. AND I just accepted a spot in an international studies class for the summer, which means I’ll be spending 10 days in Berlin with a library group in June. I haven’t fully wrapped my head around that one yet.

    Lots of wonderful new friends came into my life this year: I’m planning a trip to London and Paris in March with a friend I’ve gotten very close to, and I started playing D&D with a group of friends from work, which has been so much fun and brought a new group of funny, creative people into my circle. I also went on a date (I even asked her out!! A first!!) and it didn’t end up going anywhere but we had a good time and it really helped get me past some personal hurdles.

    I also very casually came out to some of my extended family over Christmas, and it wasn’t even a thing. I’m out everywhere in my life except with some of my family, mostly because I’m not that close to them and I feel a bit weird and silly about the onus to “announce” my queerness to my family. So I just let it happen as it happens, and it happened over Christmas, and y’all, I wasn’t nervous, my heart didn’t pound, I was just as cool and casual as could be and it wasn’t even a thing, which is all I ever want from a coming out moment.

    Happy New Year to you and yours! May your 2019 be full of love, support, naps, and good food.

  12. I’m at least the third commenter to report getting a new cat in 2018. Vincent Price turned up injured and screaming on my family’s porch, and is lounging on my bed as I type this.
    Other good things that happened to me and mine this year: I got straight “A”s in my college classes, taught myself how to bake, cut my ableist father almost entirely out my life, received a diagnosis for one of my sister’s health issues, started reading tarot, played “Breath of the Wild”, and was gifted a Nintendo Switch by my ever-amazing grandparents.

  13. Serious good things included running for local political office and winning (what!), and thus becoming the first woman water commissioner in the history of our district. I also figured out an exit plan for my horribly stressful and underpaid job and as part of that I got accepted to grad school to finish my previously abandoned MSci degree.

    Frivolous good thing: finally hooked up with my gorgeously hot 6 foot tall goddess best friend after eight years of lusting after each other, and it was everything I hoped it would be and more, and it might happen again one day in the future, complicated only by the part where we live 3,600 miles apart. And we’re still best friends and it’s not awkward at all, and spouse was excited for me. I’m still smug about it, haha.

  14. 1) Moved to a whole new borough and have no roommates! While I won’t be able to save nearly as much money with my more than doubled rent, not having to deal with other people in my space AND not having to switch trains at Times Square twice a day will do wonders for my mental health. Like seriously.

    2) Went to Cuba in February with two friends and did some solo traveling around France, Spain, and Portugal in August. Horseback riding in a valley, paddle boarding on the Mediterranean during sunrise, rock climbing on cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and seeing a real soccer brawl in the stands during the opening game of La Ligue . . . . pretty cool.

    3) Broke my very long celibacy. Briefly, and I’m sure I’m in for another very long celibacy streak, but it felt like a big emotional bridge to cross and I crossed it.

  15. 2018 has mostly trodded along, affirming changes done previous years and laying the foundations for future change.

    But I did go to Florence with my beloved to celebrate 15 years as a couple! It was amazing! It’s our first holiday, just the two of us, where we go somewhere just to be on holiday and it took a LOT of planning to afford and make happen. I took a photo with the chimera of Arezzo, which I’ve been trying to turn into a tattoo for years:

    I also saw several busts of my namesake, the divine Faustina, benefactor of girls, but that was before I figured out that the crossed out cameras meant no FLASH, not no photography. 🙄

    Also, I kind of came out to my parents and several relatives in frustration on Facebook while arguing about fascism, and it wasn’t a huge deal… I guess… which is good… I guess? When I say it wasn’t a huge deal, I mean that it literally ended the conversation and no one has acknowledged it in the four months that have passed and it’s unlikely that anyone will ever acknowledge it. We live in different countries but spent two weeks together like ten days later, so it’s not like we’re saving the conversation for a good time.

      • It’s definitely a struggle to feel like coming out matters at all when you’re in your thirties and in a seemingly heterosexual relationship.

        But when it comes to my parents, I think it’s more the weight of the past. I mean, I knew I was attracted to women 20 years ago (at the time I didn’t know I was also attracted to genders other than my own), but telling anyone that, least of all them, was never an option. It still doesn’t feel like an option to be honest. They don’t want to know. If there’s any way around it at all (i.e. unless I marry a woman), they want nothing to do with this inconvenient part of me.

        • I’ve had a similar experience with my parents. I had two long term partnerships before this one that were queer and it went over awfully with my parents. I’m processing it a bit in therapy now.

  16. Oh! I started doing art again! After quitting completely at 14 (20 years ago) because my art teacher told me I was “technically good” but that my art had “no soul”. I’ve realised that other people’s perceptions of me are really imperfect, reflect on them more than they reflect on me, and I’ve let them dominate my self-image for waaay too long.

      • Haha, it depends on how you define “soul” I guess. She loved the kids who were “edgy” and mostly sat around doing bold and unplanned graffiti lettering (it was the late 90s and the era of skate punk).

        The one time she thought my art had soul was when I was doing a naked woman in the woods in white gouache on black paper and the head got messed up so I turned it into a cat woman fairy tale creature to be able to hand it in on time. She made a really big deal out of it. 😏

    • @Faustine What an awful thing to say to a 14 year old, especially as a teacher. You’re absolutely right that it reflects more on them than you. I’m glad you’re getting back into it…maybe you can design your own chimera of Arezzo tattoo.

    • There’s this phrase I can’t recall for pretentious art people, think it a “loan word” so I’m just going to call her heinous and suggest you type “teacher” in quotation marks because she was technically a “teacher” but lacked the soul and compassion of one. >_>

  17. Oh this was a loooong year but there was goodness!
    – getting into and starting grad school! I’m on my way to becoming a kick ass librarian and it’s going to be worth all the stress and tears that grad school brings
    – getting hired at my job and then advocating my needs there
    – getting a second job that I love just as much as the first and learning I can balance both of them
    – figuring out how to fight for my relationship and build something stronger rather than just walking away because it got hard and messy
    – all the love and support and kindness from those around me
    – reading 21 books (my goal was 12)!

    Bring it on 2019. I’m ready to challenge myself and start working on my mental health and do more and go more and fight for change.

  18. For me the good of 2018 was all the new friends I made and the community. I have best friend that respects me and we have understanding for each other as queer Jews in the states from different backgrounds. We also got to see Queen Latifah this year at the Hollywood Bowl with some wine, beers, and snacks, which was just perfect night. I also have a friendly community gathering space that isn’t a bar or just for cis gbq men. Plus, a lot of cool people come to their events.

    How has everyone’s holiday been going? I was thinking about getting myself a gift for Chanukah, but not sure what to get myself so I decided to save it for a rainy day. I spent Tuesday with family, which was nice, but also like ugh can you be less of a cis-het dude?

    I don’t really have a new image to share; so, I will share one of my favorites I took this year. This is from Novemeber when I went to Bryce Canyon, Utah.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend and a safe and fun New Year!

    • @needlesandpin I’m so glad that you used 2018 to expand your community. Your best friend sounds like a keeper…it’s so wonderful to have someone who just gets you implicitly and I wish more people had someone like that in their lives.

      I hope your rainy day fund goes to travelling somewhere picturesque so you can gift us with some more amazing pictures in 20-Bi-Teen.

      • Thank you kindly. I’m going to Santa Brabra for the weekend in a two months for a straight relatives fancy wedding. Ugh. And if all goes well to the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo to celebrate the brithday of my best friend and I. It’s a place she really wants to visit and the prices look fair too. Plus, who can say no to indoor jaccuzzi fun with their bestie and bottles of wine(or more likely whisky)?

        • What up, fellow queer Jewish person! Just popping in to say that the Madonna Inn is the best (especially all the rooms with rock waterfall showers). If you and your bestie like cake, I highly recommend any of their fancy cake slices (the pink champagne is the prettiest and also delicious). Have fun!

          • We do like cakes, but I don’t do dairy anymore, but she does so that sounds perfect! Is the rock waterfall part of the romance/honey(or whatever it’s called) package? Thank you!

  19. Well, well, well… 2018. I KNOW this will come across as shameless pandering, but after coming out of a long queer awareness dormancy, I discovered Autostraddle!!! Huzzah!!! <> Additionally, I’ve rediscovered my creativity mojo. I’ve started writing a bit o’ fiction for the first time in the 21st c., and I’ve been cast in a little movie. Finally, I don’t want to underestimate finding bits of joy amidst the dysthymia.

  20. 20-gay-teen delivered for me, y’all.

    My debut novel came out! It’s making a bunch of best-of-2018 lists! My queer Latinx butch hero is out in the world and people think she’s great. 😁

    Also I met my wonderful, gorgeous, rocking-my-world girlfriend right here, via autostraddle dot com. Forever grateful for this community and the connections it fosters.

    Happy happy almost-2019, everyone!

  21. The first half of 2018 I went back to LA for a job, which I thought I would never do (certainly not so soon) when I left at the the end of 2016. This gave me the excellent gifts of a repaired relationship with LA and California in general, a renewed love of baseball and intense interest in the Dodgers, a new great friend, my first Pride weekend event, and the true queer experience of getting a very short haircut because a hot butch told me it would look good on me (it did!). I also got in some solo travel and got a baby step or two closer to figuring out some health issues. But I am SO ready for 20-BI-teen!

    • @musi215 Sounds like you and LA just needed a break from each other for a while; I’m glad you and SoCal have found a way back together. Congratulations on all the great developments in 2018…well, maybe, except that intense interest in the Dodgers thing 😉

      Also, thank you for working with me to try and make 20-BI-teen happen. I’m hoping it’ll catch on.

  22. This is the year I started to really see the fruits of my multi-year campaign to be more visibly bi / queer. And it feels great.

    I’ve been slowly coming out on FB over the last few years. And this year, on National Coming Out Day I posted a thing about coming out twice – the first time at age 21 and the second in my 40s when I realized that everyone in my life assumes I’m straight because I’ve been with my husband for so long. And it felt so easy and natural to do – and several acquaintances and former coworkers that I felt odd about having to tell in person “liked” my post, so that made it easy.

    And one of them emailed me last month – she’s recently remarried and her 18 y.o. step-daughter came out to her as bi and would I be willing to share some resources?!!! Why yes, yes I would.

    And another friend told me that my coming out post helped her come to terms with her bisexuality!

    It feels great to be authentic and to be helpful to others. It’s a long way from when I was 15 and the only bi person I’d even heard of was David Bowie.

    • Horay! I’m so glad to hear this. I always struggle with coming out because I’m afraid people won’t understand why it’s important (and some well meaning people have responded to my coming out by saying it’s not important!).

      • Yeah, some people asked me why I wanted to come out again and I had trouble answering at first. I also was kind of shocked that at least 3 people I’d come out to 10 or more years ago either didn’t remember or didn’t take it seriously (and these are people I’m close to and that I thought got it). But they all apologized after they saw how important it is to me to be visible now and how much I love my new queer community that I’m building.

        I think “because it’s important to me” and “because I want to” are perfectly good reasons to come out. And I hope that the people in your life will come around to understanding that.

      • @mayim-juno I’d add that, as difficult as it can be sometimes, coming out again is also a way of affirming your identity and helping build community with others who share it.

        It’s frustrating that people feign misunderstanding because different identities do it all the time. There’s really nothing unusual about it, aside from an identity that person might not share.

        Plus, as @cepperly‘s story points out, you never know who sharing your truth will help.

      • Another thought (because this is a topic I’ve thought about a lot).

        My experience with (straight) people who don’t think coming out is important is that they tend to think of being LGBQA+ as something that you DO rather than an integral part of who you ARE.

        And being around openly LGBQA+ people (or let’s be honest, thinking about LGBQA+ sex) makes them uncomfortable – so they’d rather we just keep quiet and stay invisible and not upset them.

        But my sexuality and being bi IS an integral part of who I am – and not being visible made me feel uncomfortable and isolated and cut off from my loved ones.

        One of my big turning points was when I realized that I didn’t actually need permission from anyone to be out or to find queer community. For me, finding queer community (online and irl) has made it much, much easier for me to be visible.

        My mom really didn’t react as well as I expected/ wanted her to when I came out at 21. For a supporter of gay rights, she was pretty appalled. We both dealt with it by not talking about it for 20 years.

        When I decided to become more visible, I deliberately did not have a conversation with her about it – instead I mentioned marching in Pride with my church, joining a queer book group, etc. Eventually she started asking me more about my activities and identity. And I was able to tell her why being out and visible matters so much to me – I told her about seeing a Harvey Milk documentary in college and how central coming out has been to the fight for gay rights. I told her about how David Bowie being the only bi person I’d even heard of in high school only confused me more. And I think she understood – and I was incredibly touched that she made the effort to ask me.

        • That’s really interesting. One of the shocking ones was one of my closest friends who I’ve gotten to know since I had kids (our kids are friends). She’s really kind and open minded and when I came out she was like, not important, whatever. I don’t know that I was hurt, really, because I think it was well intended. But it surprised me.

          Also my folks reacted badly, going so far as to estrange themselves twice. Once when I genuinely came out to them at 18, after kind of bringing it up but not truly coming out through high school. Then again when I got together with my first serious partner.

          I’m really struggling with my marriage and sexuality and have been for the past few years, and after a year of therapy am finally unpacking how hurtful the estrangement was. It’s almost both tangential but also completely central to me being queer in a hetero marriage.

          • Oh wow, I can relate.

            I’m sorry about your parents. And this bi-erasure stuff really can have an impact. I’m glad you found a therapist you can work with.

  23. My partner and I went to Japan for two weeks and had an amazing trip. When I got back I decided I was going to start studying Japanese for real, which is something I’ve kind of wanted to do since I was a teenager but thought I was “too stupid” to learn a language… especially a language with three different writing systems and extremely different grammar than English. Well, the going is slow, but I’ve managed to put in 15 minutes to an hour of studying EVERY DAY since July which I’m extremely proud of because consistency and follow through are very difficult for my adhd ass. And I can confidently read hiragana, maybe a hundred or so kanji, and mostly I can read katakana. I’ve been working on my vocab and grammar skills, too, though that’s harder to quantify. But best of all I don’t feel like giving up, despite my slow progress. Yay!

    I also did a lot of cool hikes this year. And I’m looking forward to more hikes next year! And going back to Japan next summer to see the difference after a year of studying.

    • @burningmine 👏👏👏

      That’s so impressive. I’m a big proponent of learning new languages but I think if I were choosing one, I’d pick something way simpler than Japanese (even Chinese is much, much easier). You should be proud of yourself for tackling such a difficult language. One of my good friends has been in Japan for five years now and she’s been struggling to get a grasp of the language.

    • That’s very cool. Well done! Your progress is great and your consistency is really impressive. Truly. I know all too well how easy it is to let your language studies slide when they get difficult (she said, casting a glance at her poor, abandoned Breton, that got dumped the second her lazy ass realised she could have nearly instant passive fluency in Italian with almost zero real work thanks to French).

  24. Normally the Year of the Dog is exactly that for me, une “année de chien” ! This year was no exception, Hard Times were in abundance, but so were Resolution of Conflict, New Beginnings, and Hope for the Future !

    So yes there’s divorce proceedings, personal banckruptcy, various aches and pains going with an aging body, swiss-cheese-for-brains because of same…

    But there’s also Autostraddle, a new girlfriend, lots of crushes, discovering polyamory, being on friendly terms with kink, recognition at work…

    The end balance is clearly on the side of Joy !

    Who knew giving in would end up giving me so much.

  25. Great to hear all your stories!

    For me, I traveled to a ton of cities this year with my company and made more in it than I ever made. All I need to do is to double the amount and for next year I won’t need to work somewhere shitty in addition.

    Oh,and as soon as I used that bridge job to get me out of a bad living situation in a nearby city, a lady who I kinda felt vibes for asked me out for drinks. She walked me to my new home around the corner and I decided she couldn’t leave my front porch without me kissing her. That was almost 3 months ago and in true lady love fashion, we’re inseparable and talking futures.

    Plus, this site continues to be a good thing! Best wishes to all of you as we gear up for 20-Bi-Teen!

  26. So, yeah, 2018 was a hard year and I really didn’t accomplished that much, but some cool and important stuff happened. So here are the joys (or just “mostly positive” stuff) this year brought me:

    -after YEARS of questioning and suppressing my feelings about gender, I finally figured out that I’m non-binary and I’m extremely happy about it

    – 20gayteen, with all of it’s glory and queerness happened and I might have had too many “gay heart-attacks” to count…

    -finally got over some unrequited love

    -started talking to my dad again

    -got way better at dealing with my anxiety

    -managed to save some money, so next year I might be able to do some traveling (probably won’t be able to backpack through europe, which I was hoping to do this year, but I should be able to spend a month or so traveling through South America)

    – decided that this will be my last year closeted ( at least to my mothers side of the family, and only as bi, I’m not really ready to educate people on my non-binarity, but I’m definitely telling most of my friends about being nb)

    -got to watch a couple of meteor showers

  27. 2018, let’s see….

    First full year running my section of the workplace. First A-Camp. Favorable EEOC determination and lawsuit filed. Awarded for activism in part due to said lawsuit. Started to get a lot more involved in local/state LGBTQ (esp. trans) organizations. Joined the board of one of them. Panelist at national professional conference, and spoke about difficulties specific to this career and being trans. Started being a lot more proactive about my physical/mental health (truth be told, I needed to). Did I mention first A-Camp, hopefully first of many?

  28. I joined some meetups to make friends and get outdoors, represented my employer at Pride for the first time, got an annoying roommate out of my house, and met my partner and started a whole real-ass relationship. I started hosting get-togethers, drew some boundaries and fought for them successfully, and learned how to cook a bunch of new stuff!

  29. 2018 positives are looking a little slim at the moment as I just got news my grandmother has died.
    Made dark chocolate pudding last week, my very first pudding I ever made, she loved it. Partially because she thought it was a laxative pudding and people of her generation are/were obsessed with pooping a certain amount everyday.

    She was a very stubborn person, a terrible patient because all her life she was hardy and rarely sick so she kinda panicked and lashed out anytime she was.
    I think one reason as a child I didn’t see women with short hair who wore pants all the time even to formal events as odd, panty hose is right annoying.

    I will always treasure the memory of stuffing manicottis with her that one time, the time she got out the comfy chair to come tell me/show me to not to forget to glaze the sides of the cucciddati and that this best time to do it is when their still a bit warm so the glaze has this crackled texture.

      • Thank you.
        The pudding memory is going to make me laugh for years to come. Like yeah she loved dark chocolate but she NEEDED that pudding because she assumed it was a laxative.

        It’s more guilt than grief at the moment because I didn’t see her today and kinda avoided her yesterday. Didn’t think she would die, expected her to stubborn her way thru the way she always has and she’d been making this sound that triggers my misophonia.
        But this time she stubborned herself to death, the only thing she consumed with gusto over last week and this one was my eggplant parmigiana everything else she hardly touched begging off with “But I don’t feel well.”

        Thanks @crystal your recipe gave me the courage to try doing eggplant parm and probably gave my grandmother the best meal in her last days of life as well as many good Sunday dinners together with family in the last years of her life.

        • @gunna-see-the-light My grandmother was the same way…always wanting something to help her “stay regular.” LOL.

          I completely understand the guilt you’re carrying, as I went through something similar when my uncle passed, but I imagine your grandmother sent her whole life trying to make sure her kids and grandkids were okay and she wouldn’t want you to put yourself in a difficult situation, even if she’s the cause.

          As real as your grief is right now, all the memories of your grandmother and particularly those connected to food will be with you forever. Everytime you make egglant parm, you’ll think of her…and when you pass on the recipe to others, you can share more stories about her.

          • I know the reason why elders have had such an obsession over “staying regular” and it’s real wild, health movements from the Gilded Age/Turn of the Century and the long reach of the very charismatic John Harvey Kellogg. Their parents learned it and handed it right on down like boiled vegetables which is another legacy of those health movements.

            She did in her own way try to make sure her relations were okay, but when she would be some kind of unwell she pretty much wanted everyone to drop everything except for us grandkids, it was her kids and nieces job to drop everything for her. It’s just that she had been so upset over the holiday because people were busy, doing their best, and her 2nd favourite person was out of town. The intensity of her upset tho was something she did to herself refusing to each or drink as much as her body needed of her.
            Being hangry makes an already scared person so much more emotional.

            The guilt will lessen but I’m always going to remember when I feel like shit not to skip out on food. It’s something I know better than to do but it’s now something I don’t think I’ll ever do again even if it means having a snack bar box by my bed.

            Sunday dinner won’t be the same anymore, but you’re right I have the memories.
            My brothers don’t and the eldest might miss the funeral cause he’d coming from the East Coast. These last years I got so much of her.

  30. Good things that happened in 2018 were mostly things I did for me save for Janelle Monáe(not enough words), all the people coming up and out to get politically involved fighting back. Relearning to cook things without onions, making 6 different kinds of bread, using my “hunting” skills to find some awesome pieces on end of season clearance racks as well as 3 kickass things in very flatter colors from Dirty Cheep which is where clearance items from Target, Kmart and department stores go to die, made my first ever bundt cake for my birthday cake. It was lemon-buttermilk and the silkiest cake I’ve ever eaten save for that death by chocolate cake slice when I was 13 my mom wouldn’t let me finish because “it’s too rich you’ll get sick”.

    This year was a year of realising just how much fuckin skill I have, how much I can do by myself, how much faith I have in my own ability to do stuff.
    One of the breads I was interrupted twice and mixed up part of the process AND forgot an ingredient but I didn’t panic or beat myself up because I knew the yeast was just fine. The consistency would be wrong for shokupan but it would still be bread.
    I think me and my perfectionist streak are starting to be at peace with each other after all I made an ancient style purely oat bannock for Beltane which is just wild to me because I’ve got real frame of reference for it but I made it laughed and just kept going when things got super sticky.

    The most thrilling bread for me was the flat bread because I’ve gotten nearly grandmothery level cooking powers for rolling out dough. I can eyeball when cookie dough has been over handled and needs to go back into the fridge, can make tea biscuit or crackers if I want. And it was styled after naan so all I need was to get things the right size and thickness.

    Also I read a comment about kookoo sib zamini which is like this giant Persian latke and decided to try and make it or something like it. And I did, developed a lovely egg potato thing that will give me breakfast for daysss sans any recipe because can’t read Farsi, trust google translate and British culinary world does some very bad things to innocent foods.

    Ooh and saw a hack for a looseleaf tea at my special birthday dinner, using a french press to brew and give the leaves enough room and got a 2 cup one on clearance. It has wee little scratch, only cosmetic not structural. I’ve used it plenty and even brewed a tisane with it.

    As a person who loves seeing the bands with all the types of dancers at Mardi Gras parades Beychella was also def a highlight like I don’t have words and doubt I can grasp how fucking major it was to HBCU grads and really people steeped in black drumline culture.

    I have managed to form some words about Janelle and Make Me Feel, I did a striptease in one of my butchest outfits and bi-pride t-shirt to Make Me Feel then had sex.
    For some context the outfit included a leather jacket and a 4 postered bed.
    Did a striptease in my simultaneously most butch and bisexual outfit, thank you Janelle Monáe.
    I also real got emotional about all the queer kids and poc the album will help like I coulda been helped. Dirty Computer is a fuck you and love letter all at the same time and it’s just so beautiful.

      • True I have had many delicious wins, cooking without onions is a tall order but I’ve been making it happen.
        Naan I thought was up there with pita in mainstreamity but I could be mistaken as flatbread is something I’ve loved for a long time. No idea when my crust loving child self was introduced to flatbreads, but naan could be found from the cold shelves of the grocery store when during summer break in high school I’d make “pizza” out of them.
        Maybe that’s more to do with the Pakistan and Indian community have enough of a presence I could I find turmeric before it became the new It Girl of spice via Dr. Oz. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        A culinary journey is an excellent Year End Roundup favorite to have in my book, clearly heh.

      • I felt like I fulfilled a possible intention of the song and the best part was I had listened to that song like 100 times since it had released the previous week or so my moves were as on point with the music as spontaneous choreography could be.

        Janelle Monáe and her album this year was a highlight with its own highlights for me and other people too probably.

  31. No year is perfect but 2018, at least in terms of my personal life, was really pretty good. I’m loving this sharing of positive things and supportive replies, I can see myself coming back to reread these comments. Here are my highlights, in no particular order:
    – Made it to my first ever Pride! I’d heard tales of pride events being overly male-and-corporate-dominated but I actually ended up walking in the march with a whole lot of lesbian mums with their small and enthusiastic rainbow-clad children. So it was just lovely.
    – Two OTHER people in my extended family have come out!
    – I am no longer in a situation that was damaging my mental health last year and have been doing pretty well at healing from all of that, considering
    – I managed to independently get myself through a Bad Patch re. my intermittently disabling pain condition, while living on my own, in a pretty non-accessible place, and studying. The idea of dealing with the pain and consequent mobility issues while living on my own has been a horrifying thought for a very long time, and it wasn’t good, but I feel like now I’ve proven to myself that I can do it. It’s good to have that assurance.
    – Got very good marks for this semester despite medical issues right at the worst possible time! I was shocked.
    – I managed to recognise that although I *can* deal with living in non-ideal circumstances, in this case at least, the truth is I don’t have to. So I’ve actually got my act together and have taken steps to live in a more suitable place for next year, so life will be easier.
    – Got the first haircut that I’ve ever liked rather than just accepted
    So a pretty good year.

  32. The end of last year was kind of depressing. I got what I wanted: a respite from ever having to see my jerk boss again, and also pregnant with a second child, but it felt like it came at the loss of a really nice quality of life I had crafted with my job and one kid.

    Then since August I’ve had the baby, my old beloved dog died, my spouse finished and defended his thesis, and I have attempted to sell my old house I’ve been renting out for a decade, but it hasn’t worked out how I wanted, which is not unexpected but definitely a pain.

    I’m so f’ing exhausted in so many ways. I feel so unsupported but don’t think there is any way I could feel supported. And I’m at a loss for how to structure my life in the upcoming year so I get what I need in terms of love and income and moments of joy. Hoping to somehow work it out.

    • That sounds so hard! My New Years wish for you is that you get the support you need. Because you deserve it, even if you can’t visualize how you would get it or what it would look like.

      And congratulations on your new baby.

      • Thank you, it’s appreciated! I’m having such a hard time counting my blessings, maybe because of extreme sleep deprivation, isolation from meaningful social interactions with adults, and having huge emotional life changes hit all in a row. But still. There’s plenty to be thankful for.

        • Hey Juno. I really wish for you that 2019 brings some more equilibrium AND MORE SLEEP. Everything, including thinking, is so hard during sleep deprivation and it makes everything else seem insurmountable.

          I hope you find ways to carve out little bits of time that help you get some respite and feel like yourself.

          I also know that you will figure it out.

  33. In 2018, I was encourageed by my aunt to consider what would make me truly happy, not just comfortablly safe and content. I meditated long and hard over this image of responsible contentment and security battling it out in a ring with true happiness. She encouraged me to consider what, in life, was truly worth fighting for. This resulted in haistening the inevitable break-up with my ex, and having to work through countless feelings of self-doubt, etc. Along the way, I gave voice to my radical feminist tendencies more openly than ever before, began to explore feminine spirituality (thinking about becoming a good witch of the North), and even realized I was queer! I discovered podcasts such as Queery, Nancy and Poppaganda, and websites such as Autostraddle and Broadly. These kept me alive through my darkest moments of self-doubt. I even realized that in order for me to survive, and heal, I need to stop living under the roof of my narcisist, bully father and my poor, brain-washed mother, and I have plans to move next year even though I feel it may displease them. Whew! What a year it has been!

  34. Happy new year!

    I got married! We’ve been together for 18 years and honestly thought that we would never be able to have this, but, thankfully, Ireland finally stepped up to the plate in 2015 and held a vote, I still cannot fully describe the immense feeling of sickening worry followed,slowly, by euphoria as the results came in that sunny morning.

    As a sufferer of crippling social anxiety my wife(!), Bridget, proved once again how utterly extraordinary she is by agreeing to elope so I could actually get through the day. We wed in NYC on the 5th of December. It was the single most profound experience I have ever had. Just the two of us, with no one to pander to but ourselves. I am extremely thankful that we did it how we wanted, the rewards outnumber the guilt a thousand fold.

    So, thank you 20gayteen, for giving my wife and I security, happiness and a sense of acceptance that was so long denied us, its going to be a hard one to beat.

  35. I started testosterone, discovered that many of my mental health struggles were actually related to dysphoria (which testosterone has helped with), and came out to virtually everyone in my life as non binary and trans!

    AND I passed my qualifying exams for my PhD!

    • @kayyy Wow, I can’t imagine what a relief it must have been to make that discovery about your mental health…it must be like having pieces of a puzzle just fit together perfectly. I hope the T continues to help in the new year.

      (Also? Congratulations on passing your qualifying exams! That’s big!)

  36. 2018 was a hard year for me. I developed a very difficult orthopedic condition and am still navigating through that. However, through the pain and the difficulty, I was able to take the next step in my career by getting a software engineering position at Google, after 1 year in the tech industry and only a poli sci bachelor’s degree. I’m proud of myself for keeping a cool head and doing what I need to do to set myself up for success and a higher quality of life, even when I’m dealing with incredibly difficult issues.

    • @avid, You absolutely should be proud of yourself. It’s difficult to stay focused on the long-term when you’re dealing with a health issue. All you want to do is worry about the right now–finding a way to ease your pain/discomfort–but you’ve managed to navigate a difficult situation. Congratulations on scoring such a great position!

      I hope 2019 brings you some relief from your orthopedic issues and that you’re fully able to enjoy this life that you’ve built for yourself.

  37. NATALIE HOW COULD I FORGET ABOUT BEYCHELLA i need to add this to my daily routine so i can never make such a terrible mistake again

    you have perfect timing, i thought i was feeling okay, but forgetting the pure jOY of janelle releasing pynk and beychella has me sitting down and really thinking about what gave me joy this year (thank you so much!)

    mine (off the top of my head at 1 50 am when i should be asleep since i have work soon) are:

    GOING TO A CAMP FOR THE FIRST TIME like nothing else will compare to this i had the best time and met so many people i look up to and just felt v v loved in such a short amount of time and i think about this a lot

    going to lesbians who tech! my sister and i traveled by ourselves for the first time and im just v proud of us two anxious black gxrls making it across the country and back in one piece still holding each others’ hands as tightly as we did when we were five and three means a lot to me

    QUITTING MY JOB AND BLESSEDLY GETTING ONE I LIKE???? a lot of that i chalk up to a camp, like if i had known i could be loved in my *everything* by people i met two hours earlier??? i (like to think) wouldve gotten out of that hell a lot sooner and and this job I GET TO PET DOGS its so much better

    making it to twenty five / absolutely no younger part of me believed id make it this far so honestly every day after 12/19 this year has been and will be an extra miracle

    performing for the first time at busboys and poets!!!! my best friend came and i was sO anxious and she made me a little sign and people were v kind about my work and wow

    performing and speaking on a panel about worldbuilding at #OutWriteDC WHERE CARRIE CAME TO SUPPORT ME IT WAS WONDERFUL

    i know theres so much more but even these things have made my morning so much lighter, thank you AHHHHHH YOURE SO GREAT

    • Any job where you get to pet dogs is a winner, @asmithers, so hold on to that one.

      You conquered so much stuff this year, Lex, I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings. I want to see you tackle new challenges but also walk into spaces that you stepped into this year — like A-Camp, Lesbians Who Tech, the stage — and, now that you’re a savvy veteran, conquering them anew. You’re going to do great things…I just know it!

  38. I got my own apartment, stood up more to my toxic, abusive family then I have before, just last week got a new, all around much better job, and I have groundwork in place to get my sister’s kids away from her when her marriage cracks or she goes fully off the rails. There was plenty of stress and awfulness too but it pales in comparison. I flat out killed it this year.

    • You really did!

      I really can’t applaud you enough for the steps you’re taking to look out for your nieces and/or nephews, should that become an issue. I know that couldn’t have been easy but, wow, what an incredible port in the storm for those kids. You’re a good egg, @beverytender.

  39. Hi!
    I did give the good things of 2018 some thought.
    One thing: I grew up more.
    Another: I flipped some kind of switch in the physical health department. I made working out a priority, and that most days of the week. That did wonders for my coping strategies and mental health.

  40. Happy new year! This year has been kind of a rollercoaster for me, but the good things have been really good: I realized I was bi, and came out to most of my loved ones’ positive or neutral reactions; I ended a relationship that, even though I loved the person a lot, was ultimately unhealthy and giving me more pain than joy; I stepped up my participation in local community organizing; I moved back to Brooklyn and found two good roommates; I adopted my sweet pup; managed to become friends with my ex; met my wonderful now-girlfriend; found a new job; wrote 120 pages of my graduate thesis/novel; faced the music when it became clear it wasn’t working and started over and wrote 120 pgs of a NEW thesis/novel; traveled to some cool places; prioritized time with my friends; became a little more honest with my family; and started training as a doula!

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.