Monday Roundtable And New Year Open Thread: Let’s Shape 2019 With Our Words

For a certain group of humans in this world, specifically people who love bullet journaling and suburban mom bloggers who are weirdly good at crafts on Instagram, every new year comes with an obvious partner: a new word! This word is something specific to you and is meant to be a declaration, a manifestation, an inspiration – all rolled into one. This year we’re stealing the concept for us, because why the fuck not!

Please join in by picking a word, any word, that is going to represent 2019 for you, and you in 2019. Then feel free to tattoo that word on your bod, write it on a post-it note and hang it on the wall next to your desk, draw a beautiful spread about it in your bullet journal or Passion Planner, or totally forget about it immediately! Let’s all pick a single word that we want to engage with in 2019. If you do this anyway, wonderful, if you think this is dumb, please humor us (or just ignore this post, lol)!

And while you’re here – what are you doing for New Year’s Eve? Tell us all your hopes and dreams! We love you! Happy New Year!

Here are the words the Autostraddle team chose for 2019. We’ve got create; we’ve got rest; we’ve got act; we’ve got focus; we’ve got family; and we’ve got no! Let no one say the queers of 2019 can’t have it all.

Vanessa, Community Editor

I didn’t have an official word for 2018, but I think if I’m being honest it might have been CHAOS. I was going to say CHANGE, and that’s true too, but the change was not the gradual easy kind, the kind where you don’t really notice things are moving and shifting and then suddenly everything is fresh and new. No, the change I experienced in 2018 was, uh, chaotic! I broke up with my partner of four years who I thought I was going to spend my whole life with, I got into grad school, I moved across the country to attend grad school, and I shifted my whole personal brand to like, Extremely Thirsty and DTF. It was a lot! Now I’m firmly ensconced in this new life – I’m a grad student, I live in Yonkers, I’m attempting to practice ethical non-monogamy in earnest, and I just turned 30! – and it’s time to take a deep breath, accept the radical shifts that cracked open my life this year, and really fucking focus. Hence, my word for 2019.

I want to write even more and be extremely intentional about putting words on the page (or the screen). I want to get a grip on my social media and phone usage and stop scrolling mindlessly instead of sleeping. I want to create routines that make me feel good. I want to get back to being a person who spends a lot of time outside. I want to continue checking in with myself about what feels good in my heart and my brain and then I want to do those things! All of these things require focus. I’m a Capricorn sun with a Virgo rising, so you’d think focus would come naturally to me, but I’ve also got a Gemini moon, and my whole life has often felt like a push and pull between the earth and the air in my chart. This year, I’m going to grow my roots deep into the earth. I’m going to shut down the distractions. I’m going to get grounded. I’m going to focus.

Heather Hogan, Managing Editor

I barely talk about meditation in my writing or even with my voice in my real life, just casual mentions here and there. Or I guess maybe it’s more accurate to say that I do talk about it, but not in proportion to what an enormous part of my life it is. The reason why is because I don’t want to be one of those white ladies, and I did quite enough religious proselytizing when I was entrenched in the Baptist church for 27 years, and it’s actually something kind of sacred to me and I don’t want anyone else’s paws on it (some of the nicest people I know have said some of the meanest stuff to me about meditation). Also, honestly talking about the tenants and benefits of meditation sounds trite as hell without personal application.

I started meditating about a year and a half ago, three minutes a day, with the Headspace app, because anxiety was eating my life to the point that even the anxiety-specific therapist I went to see seemed startled by it (which only gave me more anxiety!). Meditation was meant to be a tool to help me make it through the day and accomplish the minimum amount of tasks necessary to be considered a functioning adult human, and it was that — but as time went on and I saw how it was benefitting my mental and physical health, my work, my happiness, and the people I love most in so many surprising ways, I developed an actual meditation practice.

Vipassana is both a type of meditation and the Buddhist idea of insight or “clear-seeing,” of recognizing the essential nature of things (especially your own thoughts and feelings), of not deluding yourself with stories stacked on top of stories stacked on top of stories about who you are and what you’re doing and why, of recognizing the self-castigation and self-flattery that cloud your ability to see even your seemingly simplest actions for what they truly are. Our minds and bodies evolved for dissimilar lives than the ones we’re living; natural selection was concerned with helping us stay alive and pass on our genes — in a very different kind of world, with very different social structures, and very different threats to our health and happiness — than the one we’re currently living in. So we’re hard-wired to hoodwink ourselves about a whole lot to accomplish those two things. Vipassana is seeing everything for what it actually is, not what we’re afraid it is or what we want it to be.

Siobhan, Contributing Writer

I feel like I spent a lot of time stagnating in my twenties. I made a lot of excuses; I loved my best friends too much to need try dating, I was going to get better any day now so I didn’t need to modify my lifestyle – which then became, when it inevitably got worse, I was going to get better any day now so I didn’t need to try and have a life until then. Writing was meant to be what I did while I waited for my body to get better so I could go back to archiving and I didn’t really have a coherent plan for it. Everything was meant to be temporary. A year or two back I realised it probably wasn’t going to be and I actually had to get out of the places I felt comfortable and stop waiting for my life to begin. It was hard and took a lot of steps but I have a partner I love, a wider circle of friends and the start of a steady career that fits around my illness. For the next year I’m really going to work on building these things into something solid and secure. I have the foundation and that was the hard and scary part, the rest is just going to take work and I’ve never been afraid of that.

Rachel, Managing Editor

At the risk of sounding dramatic, 2018 was I think the most exhausting year of my life. It involved moving to a new city and building a new life there, working constantly as we tried to make Autostraddle better than ever and hustling for small side gigs for extra money now that I was living alone, some ambitious emotional acrobatics while I did things like get an interstate divorce, constant juggling and figuring out and managing and making do and ~making it work~ in every area of my life. It also involved very little actual literal rest because I stopped being able to sleep through the night, unable to stop thinking about the aforementioned things and also how awful everything on earth is. I say that not to complain, but because I have resolved that that shit has got to stay in 2018! 2019 I’m making space in my life for rest, things and practices and people that genuinely restore me rather than taking more out of me or just providing a temporary pause or distraction — the equivalent of cooking a real dinner with multiple food groups rather than eating a large spoonful of peanut butter standing up. I think this will open up a lot of space and energy in my life for new and great things, but that isn’t even the point; mostly I think pursuing actual rest, solace and comfort will feel really good and be good for me, all on its own.

Valerie Anne, Writer

Revolution has many definitions, but the one that speaks to me for this coming year is, “a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something; a change of paradigm.” This year fucking sucked. But getting to my lowest low in a long time helped me realize something: it’s time to change. I’m unsatisfied at my day job, especially compared to how fulfilled I feel by my work at Autostraddle. One of my older groups of friends was really dragging me down, especially compared to groups of new friends I’ve made in the past year or two. I finally realized that the power to change these circumstances was in my hands. Slowly releasing yourself from a group of friends you’ve had for years to focus on the people who bring you joy and really get you is hard, but it’s doable. Changing jobs and careers to follow your dreams feels impossible, but you’ll never know until you try. So next year, I’m going to focus. I’m going to write those scripts, I’m going to apply to those jobs, I’m going to stop going to social events that make me want to crawl under my covers and never get out when I think about them. I’m going to change. Plus I’m also going to continue smashing the patriarchy any chance I get.

Al(aina), Writer

Surprisingly, maybe not surprisingly, I am deep in one of those corners of Instagram where white ladies come up with a word of the year, specifically evangelical Christian moms. I’ve had a word of the year for the past 2 years. For 2018 it was “wisdom” which is, frankly, hilarious. Maybe it’s not, though? As I was coming up with 2019’s word, I uncovered that part of what made this year feel like a shit show – at work, at school, in my relationships – was my tendency to freeze up. And I freeze up, usually, because I set unreasonable goals for myself. I’m still judging my work ethic against that of 17-year-old me, who had zero bills to pay, and lived a very posh suburban life! That is not me. School is not the same, work is not the same, and I think I finally realized what’s holding me back is that I’ve spent the past two or three years pretending like that isn’t true. So sure, maybe I gained some wisdom, I guess.

In 2019, I’m setting reasonable, meetable goals that take into account my mental and physical health, that aren’t in comparison to my peers, that don’t require an all or nothing mindset. Then, I’m going to ACT on them. I’m not going to freeze, because before I commit to something, I’ll take assessment of where I am. I’ll stop living in fear that my honesty will let someone down, or make them think less of me. One of the definitions of act is “a state of realization, as opposed to potentiality.” I spend a lot of my time thinking about what I could do instead of doing things. If I want to start realizing my dreams or whatever, I have to start acting on them. I’m a big scared baby about it but, idk, maybe next year I won’t feel so, like this, at the end of the year.

Laneia, Executive Editor

A lot of my life has been me like, stumbling into things and then making them work. Some of those things have been amazing — an unexpected pregnancy, this job! — and some of them have been a real fucking struggle. Not many things have actually been planned with a clear intention, and that’s what I’ve been working on. I’m talking about the big things, like a savings account and my wardrobe, but also little things like this desk, for example. The desk is fine but I’m only using it because it happens to be the desk that I’ve had since I happened upon it on craigslist nearly 7 years ago and the previous owner just happened to live near enough by and I happened to have the cash available to spend that day. But truth be fucking told, this desk is too small for me and it always has been! And I hate the way it looks! I’ve wasted 7 years of my life looking at and working at this too-small ugly desk and like, why? What do I want my office to look like, hmm? How do I need my space to work for me? How long will it take to save up the money to get these helpful pieces of furniture? Let’s find out! I’ve slowly been taking more control over more things and now I’m on a roll and cannot be stopped. All the things I want? I can surely have them, but I have to be intentional about my actions in order to get there! I know this sounds like the simplest thing ever and maybe it is! But I’m ready – I am so ready – for more things in my life to be on purpose.

Heather Davidson, Contributing Writer

Like a lot of people, my 2018 sucked. However, the silver lining is that it largely sucked due to me making the difficult, fantastic decision to leave London and move back up to Scotland. I’ve spent the last few months of 2018 shedding the survival techniques I relied on in the big city, where just making it through the day took up everything in me and left no room for anything else. After years of lacking the energy to create, I can finally feel the not-just-writer’s-block-but-everything-block lifting. Right now, that might be manifesting itself in me spending all the money I’m saving on rent on craft supplies. In 2019, though, I’m ready to channel that energy into the simple joy of creating. I’ve missed you!

Eli, Tech Intern

I tried to pick a word that was the opposite of my 2018, and though I’m not sure it fully captures the opposite of this real rollercoaster of a year, I’m going with calm. My past year has been largely consumed with my transition, undergoing significant physical and emotional changes – having serious conversations about my gender with nearly everyone in my life, and taking large steps towards living my life openly. It hasn’t all been bad, but it has been all-consuming, anxiety-inducing and honestly exhausting. I want a year where I get to feel calm, or realistically, calmer. I want to not think about Trans Stuff day in and day out, and just live my actual normal life without a constant churn of high-stakes decisions and interactions. I would also like to stop grinding my teeth at night, that would be cool! So here I go, trying my absolute best to just calm down.

Alexis, Contributing Writer

I’m on mood stabilizers that work (BLESS UP) and have a new job (BLESS EXTRA UP) and can almost always count on a paycheck, which means I can dream like a whole MONTH into the future instead of three days/hours/minutes/anxiety-ed breaths. The thing about being so used to believing that dreaming was all I could afford to do, is that it’s really hard for me to act on those dreams and push them into reality. I’ve been super content with living in my head (it has not been a very lovely place, but it’s mine). Now it’s time for me to like… do stuff.

I want to write a novel! I have to sit down and write everyday. I want to love my people more openly! I have to actually like maybe leave my house (I’m not a 100% decided on this one yet). I want to heal! I have to finally face my psychosis and whatnot.

What do my hands have to do with this? I’ll tell you! When I kept a lot of stuff in for very many years, it always felt like my fingertips were crying. There was a weight that made me keep my hands away from everything. Then nothing could touch me and I couldn’t ruin everything else with my touch. Now, thanks to a lot of therapy, my fingers don’t feel like they’re crying all the time anymore. I want to reach out and touch (with consent) my dreams and other parts of the world. I can only do it if I make my hands move that what’s already in my head and my heart into reality. Did you get lost while reading this? So did I, but the whole point is I’m gonna lay out actionable steps to things I want to do – instead of just doodling about them in the margins of my brain where they can stay pretty and perfect and never fully real. I’m terrified, but my hands were also terrified once. I think it’s time to give them a chance to do something other than hurt and grieve and cry, don’t you?

Riese, Editor-in-Chief

I was pressed to declare a word for this roundtable while shopping at my local Whole Foods, which asks, via aggressive advertising, “what makes you whole?” I don’t know what makes me whole, but I know that a lot of my life feels a little broken right now, while also somehow feeling fuller than ever with possibility and adventure. A mid-year breakup blew my world open in so many unexpected ways, and, coinciding with literally everybody else’s breakups, that meant I was able to invest in friendships, community and travel like never before. I’ve also made valuable business connections I wouldn’t have taken the time for otherwise. I’ve gotten to know myself — honestly, I don’t always like what I see, but you’ve gotta know what’s broken before you can troubleshoot a solution, right?

In 2019, I aim to be whole. To find funding for Autostraddle because we can’t keep running on half a budget. To take care of myself and deal with my fibromyalgia because I can’t keep running on a body so prone to falling apart. To deal with the trauma I experienced through a relationship that ended in 2016 and has made me terrified to be vulnerable or give myself over to desire or even hope. I don’t think I can honestly expect to become whole in 2019. But I think aiming for it is a good first step towards getting at least halfway there. (Except with the Autostraddle budget thing. That’s non-negotiable.)

Erin, Writer

The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, but make it no. Every person/ thing/ proposition/ environment/ situation that takes more than it gives is getting hit with that: No. I’m thrilled to enter this new year and probably shock those around me with the kind of No that’s accompanied by little to no explanation! Today on Twitter I saw someone ask the rapper CupcakKe what she thought of Taylor Swift (?) and she responded, “That’s none of my business.” Wow! The finesse of that No. It’s beautiful. I aspire to reach that level of adeptness because a No is a Yes to Yourself. Be blessed, everyone!

Carrie, Writer

2018 was easily the busiest year of my adult life, with a new job and a cross-country move and everything those changes require. I’ve been juggling a lot and realized in the course of everything that I tend to retreat into pointless tasks when I get overwhelmed. I’ll start mindlessly filling the time and, before I know it, everything is ten times more stressful than it would have been in the first place. In 2019, I plan to be more intentional, cutting down on the random voids of lost minutes and embracing the purpose behind everything (even sitting in silence, which it turns out I really enjoy!).

Carmen, Associate Editor

Ok, technically “bit-by-bit” is three words, but just go with me! 2018 had a lot of big swing changes. I got a new degree, I started a new job here, and everything has been rapid fire as I adjust to my new normal. This year I’m focusing on taking life in smaller chunks. I have no idea if other big changes are on the horizon, but if they are coming, I don’t want them to overwhelm me. Even the largest obstacles can be broken into bite sized, accomplishable, action-based pieces. My anxiety doesn’t have to always win! That’s what I want to remember in 2019. I can be in charge of the storm.

KaeLyn, Writer

I used to worry all the time about whether I was achieving my life goals fast enough, particularly if I was getting ahead at work or in my education or just, like, in general. I had a 10-year job goals vision for myself when I was 22. I’m still young, but as each year passes, I feel less and less urgent about MAKING BIG PLANS. Life is unpredictable. I never ever imagined I’d have a kid and love being a parent. I didn’t think I’d write a book anytime before the age of, like, 50. I didn’t think I’d ever have the honor or being published on Autostraddle or become a “real writer.” I definitely didn’t plan to stay in the same monogamous relationship for over 13 years or get married! Legally! However, I still worry about missing out on opportunities or not making the right choices when presented with an opening.

I turn 36 on January 6th. That means I’m closer to 40 than 30. Instead of feeling like I’m not doing enough, I feel kind of like I could do anything. Who knows what the next 10 years brings? Or even the next 12 months? I want to cultivate openness in 2019 with an intentional practice. I want to approach life decisions, challenges, and opportunities with the foundation that every choice I make is the right choice for that moment. I want to be more open to failure, to risk, and to taking creative chances. I want to be in the moment, instead of worried about the future or over-processing the past. I want to be open to my own needs and listen deeply to myself. I want to be more vulnerable with others, particularly when I’m coming from a place of structural power. I know that life will continue to throw me curve balls in 2019. I want to be more ready to receive them.

Stef, Vapid Fluff Editor

When I’m not writing for Autostraddle, my day/night job is managing a club. That takes up about 200% of my time. My friends always wonder when I sleep and the answer is I DO NOT SLEEP. Unfortunately (but not shockingly), this has taken a serious toll on my personal life and my mental health!!! I’m taking about twice the dose of antidepressants I was taking this time last year and REALLY trying to force myself to socialize in my frighteningly rare spare time. I went on two whole dates in 2018, and did not fare much better in 2017. I very rarely see even my closest friends. I miss a lot of important moments.

I’ve wanted this every year for the last four, but I really want it this year: Balance. I want to slow down, get organized, be more intentional about the choices I make, take care of my relationships. I don’t want my friends and family to forget I exist during my busy season. I want to make the most of my free days. I fell into a rut this year in terms of my health, my diet, the way I take care of myself in general. It all boils down to work stress, but I’m still not convinced it has to. I have been treating my needs as extremely decadent wants. Honestly, that’s not working out too well.

Mostly, I want to be able to wake up in the morning ready to seize the goddamn day. Just kidding, I wake up in the afternoon, but you know what I mean.

Robin, A-Camp Co-Director

I know this was a terrible year for many people and a terrible year in general. I’m not normally prone to hyperbole, but the first half of this year was probably the worst of my life. My grandma died in January. My mom lost her hearing in February, was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer in March, and died in April. I spent a month as her hospice nurse watching her painful deterioration. Then I felt nothing for 3 or 4 months. I mean I felt NOTHING. I didn’t really cry. I walked through life like a shadow. Even at A-Camp I smiled through layers of pain I didn’t even know were there. Sometime in August, everything came flooding back. I didn’t stop crying until October. I discovered parts of myself buried for so many years, decades even. I decided to open up my life to change in every way. I changed my career path. I took up new hobbies. I looked further inward and dreamed bigger. I began to feel my body again. I gained so much confidence this fall and just went for things.

2019 is the year that we won’t let up until we are good. I want every single person in my orbit to feel their power and purpose. I want every single thing I’ve wanted my entire adult life to begin. I will not stop until it happens. When my mom died, she had mostly regrets. She had unfinished work (she was an artist with a lot of repressed pain). She had so many missed opportunities. Her once bright and burning passion for life and for herself had faded. I watched her go out too quietly. And dammit, not me.

Also, I plan to wear a lot more capes and big hats.

Natalie, Writer

Before she even dropped her debut album, The ArchAndroid, Janelle Monáe developed the concept behind her 2018 masterpiece, Dirty Computer (it’s the album of the year, don’t @ me). She pushed the idea aside for nearly eight years, waiting until she was ready to do the necessary emotional excavation to craft Dirty Computer into what she imagined.

I have ideas — so many that it’s hard to turn my brain off most nights — and, particularly this year, I’ve been frustrated with my inability to bring them to fruition, right way. Why can’t I build this thing, whatever it is, to match the picture I had in my head? But the lesson I’m taking into 2019, courtesy of Janelle Monáe, is to have more patience. Few ideas or dreams come out of our heads fully formed. They take cultivation, and that requires work and time. Stopping to learn something new isn’t a cause for frustration, it’s a necessary vehicle to get yourself to whatever dream or idea you have.

Dirty Computer’s eight year delay was pitch perfect, not just for Janelle — who seems to be living her best life right now — but for the audience. We needed that album, with that message, at exactly this moment. There’s a time and a season for every idea and every dream and maybe the time for mine isn’t right now. I just have to be patient.

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Writer

I have so many physical and emotional wounds right now that it almost feels like a joke to say I need to heal. For six months in 2018, I could only count the days I didn’t cry on one hand. Something happened to me this spring that felt like my life shattering into a million glass pieces and then someone immediately putting that explosion into slow-motion, so those pieces didn’t even fall anywhere; they just slowly hovered in the air, a shattering with no end in sight. Isn’t that a lovely image!

I stopped sleeping to the point where it started to affect my physical health and short-term memory. Things occasionally got even darker than that when I turned on myself, my brain, my body, blaming myself for things that never could have been my fault. Uhhh, so I need to heal. I don’t know what that looks like exactly, but I’m heading into 2019 with it at the top of my priority list. I need to remember to be gentle with myself. I need to be better about asking for help when I need it. I need to pick up those fucking glass pieces and make them into something new and better.

Crystal, HR Director

For the first few decades of my existence, family always felt fleeting; something I only ever managed to experience in short-to-mid termed bursts. People came and went – some died, some drifted away, some I left. I’ve always craved a more permanent connection and every year of my thirties has felt a step closer. I gained a wonderful wife and in-laws who’ve embraced me, a nephew I am obsessed with, and a couple of friends who lean on me and I can lean on. In 2019, we’re going to attempt to grow a human. I don’t know yet if my body’s gonna get on board, but I’m going to give it all I’ve got.

Reneice, Writer

Ooooh! I’m so ready for this cause I’m one of those people that chooses a word every year. It’s a practice that has really helped me maintain focus and feel like i’m always working toward a goal even when I get a little lost in life. The word I chose this year is abundance. I am calling in financial abundance, creative abundance, wardrobe abundance! I want this year to overflow with love, laughter and friendship. I want my house full of people I love, eating delicious meals and talking about the goals we’re striving for. I want an abundance of new experiences in new destinations. I literally want the universe to shower me with so many gifts that I couldn’t possibly keep them all for myself. Then I get to give the extras to others and help them glow up, too. As always, I’m also aiming for an abundance of bomb photoshoots for the ‘gram.

Audrey, Contributing Writer

2019 is gonna be a big year, with all sorts of opportunities for change and growth and things that could either be magical or go horribly wrong. I’m getting married! Figuring out what transition means to me! Some other stuff I can’t tell you about yet!

I keep “joking” that I want to turn myself into an orb of life because having a body is really getting me down, but I’ll settle for spiritual fluidity. I want to move in, out of, and through all the big things and come out whole on the other side. I want to dance and run and wrestle with my dog and make out with my spouse. I don’t want to forget about stillness, but it’s going to be important to remember my own power to move myself through the world and everything that it throws at me.

A.E. Osworth, Contributing Writer

I’ve had the worst year of my life and it’s only recently started to get better! But! That’s been mostly my personal life. My professional life has actually been on fire in the good way??

I finished the fifth draft of my novel back in July, and at the end of November I signed with Christopher Hermelin at Fischer-Harbage, so I have an agent now! I’ve got more edits to do on this book, plus a whole other one I’m writing that is a magical trans romp (because whooo boy this book is a BUMMER and I need a happy thing). I also have a slew of essays I’ve been working on, 40 pages worth of poems and a list of writing goals for 2019. Professionally, I want to keep finding the spark that has near died in this last year (I mean, if we’re really being honest, in the last 2.5 years) to make things and actually see them through, instead of saving them as fragments on my Google Drive and telling myself they won’t be good enough to share with anyone. 2019 is the year of creating wonderful things — and on top of writing and publishing, that includes creating the personal life I want in all sorts of ways, big and small.

Molly, Writer

Most of my life has been determined by needing to stay in some places because of various reasons: my family said I had to, my dad got sick, I bought a house, got married, etc. Now my life is in a totally different place than I ever expected it to be. Fear holds almost no power over me at the moment, because fearing pain didn’t make something less painful, so what’s the point? It’s time to move, time to do, time to see loss as opportunity for something totally different. It’s time for me to go.

Sarah, Business + Design Director

I’ve spent a lot of 2018 traversing surfaces — traveling almost every month and moving across the country to start a new life in Portland. A very important and long-term relationship came to an end. I haven’t stood still this entire year. Much of my momentum was born from need to move deeper into myself — to create a life driven by choices that are truly mine.

Recently I came across one of my favorite poems, “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich. In a very straightforward way, she describes the idea of healing old trauma by exploring it — in this case, a shipwreck. To face “the thing itself, and not the myth”. Therapy has begun this process for me. It’s been such a powerful tool already, even in just grazing the surface. 2019 is about diving way deeper than I ever have before. I’m fully ready to embrace challenges and bask in all the growth that comes with it.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

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  1. My word for 2019 is brave! It is time for me to let go of my fear of disappointing or displeasing others. It is time for me to design and build my own life and safe spaces. Hopefully, now that I can truly be myself, authentic friendships will follow. This post made me want to draw my word in bubble-block cursive in my sketch pad and color it bright green with orange fire blazing around it! Wishing you all the happiest of new years!

  2. It is so nice to see so many of the team sharing here!

    My word for 2019 is curry, because I really like curry. Probably it was my word for 2018 too, but re-use is important for the environment.

    2018 was a solid year for me, and I plan to finish strongly by taking Erin’s advice and saying No to New Year’s Eve.

    2019 is shaping up even better, as I’m shifting down to a four-day week, which means I’ll have a whole day every week just to do weird shit, and what could be better than that?

    Happy new year everyone!

  3. I started doing words of the year when I started doing the Unravel Your Year workbook a few years ago, so. 2018 was “Trust Your Gut.” 2019 is “Joy.”

    Loved reading these, all. <3

  4. Last night my wife described 2018 as a “diarrhea headache” and I’m inclined to agree!

    It was a really difficult, stressful, upsetting, heartbreaking year for me— but I made it and am spending the next year taking better care of myself mentally/spiritually/emotionally/physically, so that I can both heal and be better able to deal.

  5. 2018 was the year I discovered Autostraddle and started learning a few things about myself I should have known before I turned 47! It’s also stayed a lot the same in most areas of my life.

    I think my word of 2019 needs to be change! I think the Serenity Prayer best encapsulates it:
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    Courage to change the things I can,
    And wisdom to know the difference

    There are things I can and should change – starting with my health, so that is my goal for this coming year.

    • Loved reading your comment, both because I’m so happy you found Autostraddle! and because serenity was my word last year :)

  6. PRESENT. Ya gurl loves to dissociate from unpleasant situations — unrequited love, new locales, boring jobs — by imagining and mentally relocating to alternate timelines where that love is reciprocated, those locales are familiar, and work is thrilling. And while this is a useful talent for getting through less than ideal times, it also means I’m not actually engaging with the life that’s in front of me. Which is all we’ve really got! So for 2019, I hope to be more present where I actually am, and release the fear of letting go and moving on — cause wherever we are, that’s where we gotta be, bittersweet though it may be.

  7. really love this roundtable! my 2018 words were instinct and attention, both of which came through a tarot reading. i haven’t done my new years reading yet, but the word that keeps popping into my mind for 2019 is TRY. i’ve been taking more chances in the last few months, and while not everything has worked, the things that do have been amazing. i want to keep pushing myself harder to go for the things i want with intention and focus, and not be so afraid of failure that i stay stagnant.

  8. Tried to make it one but I couldn’t, because I think that 2019 needs these two things: RATIONALITY and EMPATHY. 2018 was one gigantic piece of shit year in regard to these: children being separated from their parents, people (and children most of all) starving to death in Yemen, people voting for every stupid and irrational political platform and party you can think about, etc., etc., etc.

    And I agree with Valerie Anne’s choice and there’s not a better way of saying it that in the words of the Great Tracy Chapman…

    “Don’t you know
    They’re talkin’ ’bout a revolution
    It sounds like a whisper
    Poor people gonna rise up
    And get their share
    Poor people gonna rise up
    And take what’s theirs”

    PD: sorry, can’t help it, BIG LEFTIE here.

  9. My word is body-joy! (sorta 2 but whatever) I really really want to feel more, feel like I am IN my body more, feel my body more, feel more with my body, just more, more body-joy. A-Camp this year brought up a lot of body feelings and pushed me to start the process of getting top surgery. It’s happening in 2 days and I can’t wait to see how it’ll help me be more in my body and change how I relate to myself and other. I really really can’t wait to see what sort of body feels I’ll have at A Camp this year after such a huge change. I also want to move more and feel joyful in those movements. Feeling like I connect to myself will hopefully make it more possible to connect with other people. So excited for 2019 but also nervous, so many unknowns about what I’m going to do after I finish grad school.

  10. Hi loves! I think my word for this year is INHABIT.

    When I was young I really hated my body. (I mean, don’t we all). But at 35, I think I’m starting to realize – well, it’s home. Guess I should take off my coat and stay awhile!

    Inhabiting my body will mean doing things that feel good, unashamedly, wholly. Good food and good hikes (listen, I LIKE hiking, as long as I can go at my own pace), and good sex, I hope. Inhabiting my body will mean looking for balance, because balance feels good, and it will mean having patience with myself when I don’t find it. It will mean honoring the things my body can hopefully do – maybe getting pregnant? Fingers crossed? And it will mean finally going to an allergist to get these damn asthma attacks under control, lol.

    And I don’t just want to inhabit my body. I want to inhabit my life! I want to do things to my house that help me feel good in my home. I want to submit more writing. I want to DO more writing (probably a helpful first step). I want to look at new ways I could model working, new ways I could model making and spending money, that will bring me more balance and more meaning, things that use my skills.

    Haha I mean, that’s all!

    Maybe another word for all of this is intention, but I’m excited to really roll around in my life, to get down and dirty and comfortable with what makes things feel right and good. A lot of my life, and a lot of the past two years, have been about surviving in what felt like the end of the world. But, like my body, this is the world we’ve got. I’m gonna try to thrive in it. 💙

  11. these are fantastic, I seriously need to incorporate “no” into my life. I think I want my word to be “out!” I want to get out of my shell, out of my comfort zone, out of my house, enjoy more of the outdoors, put myself out there, get out of my head, and maybe even properly come out instead of just dropping strong hints and assuming others have picked up on them lmao.

    my 2018 was less stagnant than 2017, but I still don’t feel like I made much progress in 2018 especially because I was finally in a mental space where going out seemed really fun or at the very least not-entirely-terrifying since my driving anxiety has now limited itself to parking anxiety. I’d put things in my planner that I wanted to do but just didn’t act on them when the day came; I didn’t go out to any of the concerts I wanted to, I didn’t really go out with people except in the summer, etc.

    here’s to putting the bi in 20bi-teen and happy new year!

  12. My word for 2019 is thrive.

    Last year was a huge turning point for me, because I got a new job in October. My first *real* job after finishing grad school the second time. This working-class kid has FINALLY made a better life for themselves, financially speaking.

    So much of my life up til now has been about surviving, starting with my abusive family when I was young, then failing at my first career, and then a truly terrible grad school experience most recently.

    Now that my financial situation has been transformed, I’m getting better at acting on things that let me really live, rather than just exist. I’m shifting my mindset from risk avoidance to embracing enjoyment and adventure!

    This past week, I moved out of a perfectly acceptable apartment with a meh-to-unpleasant roommate, to a new house that’s part of a very friendly intentional community of five lovely humans. Typically, I would have just stayed in the old apartment because it’s ‘good enough’. Thriving means I will stop settling for things just because I can tolerate them. Before I would need some survival-type reason to make a big change, like it would save time or money or be otherwise practical. Now, it’s enough to know that something would be positive or enjoyable, for me to move in that direction. Having disposable income, health insurance, and paid vacation is extremely helpful, heh.

    This new house is the first time I’ve lived within a community at home since my family’s house growing up, so it was scary to take the dive, but I love it so far! Being part of the online community at AS these past ten years was a big part of showing me what was possible in terms of belonging to a positive and supportive community, and what I had been missing.

    One way I’m gonna thrive this year is to paint my new room. Kind of a deep reddish eggplant color! :^D I’ve always wanted to paint my various rooms over the years, but I never did, because that’s the kind of thing you only do when your life isn’t on fire. Other people paint their rooms, but not me.

    I always imagined a life for myself in the distant future where I *would* be the kind of person who gets to paint their room. My future is finally my present, and I’m really happy to be out of the long, survival-oriented way of existing, and into the really living part.

    For new year’s eve I took the day off to relax in my new house, and made a new brownie recipe. Now it’s time for some tequila and Netflix.

    Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for being here and sharing your lives with us and for putting your love into the universe!

  13. I’ve been letting this soak into my mind today, and the word that has come up is respect.

    Respect for myself, and my own unique being. Respect for others and their own unique beings.
    Respect from others.
    Respect for my mind, body and spirit. Respect for my boundaries and desires.

    This is how I will honour existence. This is how I will endeavour to, by making space to listen to what that means, how to embody respect in all its forms.

  14. budgeting bc i actually set up that part of online banking where they break down exactly how fucked you are into a color coded pie chart and yall? It’s Not Great

    • like how is it physically possible to spend more than i make when i don’t use credit and i have overdraft protection? how have i afforded food at all ever when 90% of my income goes to fixed costs?? why does my moisturizer cost $20???

  15. My word for 2019 is “write.” I have a tendency to let deadlines creep up until I become completely anxiety-ridden about how little time I have left to get it done and who cares, it’s gonna suck anyway. Then I throw together a draft or proposal or whatever while getting more and more sleep-deprived and submit what I think is utter shite but what my advisors assure me is lovely prose. IDK why I do this to myself–I guess it’s imposter syndrome? Anyway, I also have trouble setting goals and deadlines without the aforementioned anxiety, so I’m determined to make a schedule for writing everyday that, if I stick to it (or at least stand adjacent to it), will help me complete this dissertation in a reasonable time.

    Happy New Year everyone! I am so thankful for the AE community! Riese, it won’t be much, but I’ll consult with the wife/family CFO about upping my AE membership!

  16. Oh wow, suddenly I can’t make up my mind about what my word should be so I will pick ‘craft’ (it was either ‘wish’, ‘dream’ or ‘magic’)

    I’ve had a very, very tough year but I guess it started with an electrical fire that happened in my room in…April? I want to say. No one got hurt but I lost a lot of things like books and then maybe a month after that happened, the landlord decided to sell the house my parents were renting for nearly 16 years so through the most bullshit heat wave ever in Virginia, we were hotel hopping through most of the summer and somehow I still had to go to work and bring back that sweet…minimum wage bacon -_-

    In the midst of all of that, one of the main things I had to cope was “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron that I had the e-book of. I won’t get into how that turned into another different thing (because it involves a guy >_O) but through it, I rediscovered something about myself that I sort of let lapse: my love of crafting. It’s hard to know if it was just being on the spectrum, naturally introverted or moving around so much that I never had what you’d call childhood friends but being by myself crafting was my safe haven. I sort of balled that up into a lot of now recently trendy “aesthetic” stuff I convinced myself I outgrew or the patriarchy told me was girlie and childish: unicorns and stickers and holographic textures and being emotionally raw. This year was the year of me getting more choked up and being more of a huge crybaby and only now coming to terms with being fine with it.

    This year was a year of loss and I spent most of the fall in a state of deep reflection, almost as if I stepped inside myself and I’ve gradually started to carve out a safe space for myself where I feel more comfortable making things. Things for others but mostly things for myself, things that make me happy and engage the curiosity and joy I used to have when it came to playing around with glue and yarn and beads and glitter when I was younger. Even in the midst of the project that I started that ultimately fell through, I was even trying to APPROACH making it like I would a craft project and make it more fun for me: essentially putting a spoonful of sugar on it.

    I’m rambling now but yeah: “Craft”. Honing my craft (writing and drawing) and doing the kind of crafting that doesn’t really serve a higher purpose than bringing out a little happiness into the world, maybe even crafting myself into the person I want to become but have been too afraid to let come forth.

  17. My word for 2019 is Dismantle. I didn’t have a word for 2018, but it was a goal to live and speak with intention. It brought clarity to old patterns and now I can challenge the roots of those old patterns.

  18. “Fear holds almost no power over me at the moment, because fearing pain didn’t make something less painful, so what’s the point?” Molly this is a fucking wORD i want to keep thinking about this for a long time

    you all are so wonderful and i hope your words come true and you find yourselves happily and fully in them thank you for this space thank you for being in this space

  19. I know I’m late to the comment party, my word is REBOOT! I had major reconstructive leg surgery in October 2018, am in the process of leaving a 2 year relationship behind and moving to the other side of the country. New year, new life. It’s all very scary.

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