We’re Ready For Ya, 2020: A NYE Round Table & Open Thread

Hi sparklers, welcome to the last day of 2019. We know that in some ways time is just a construct, but for a lot of us, today holds some kind of meaning, even if we can’t quite articulate why. Rhythms, rituals, tradition, social obligation. Can I handle the seasons of my life, etc. Tonight is New Year’s Eve, tomorrow is New Year’s Day. Even if it’s not real, the constructed beginning of a brand new year feels auspicious, does it not?

A few years ago I vowed never to ask anyone about “new year’s resolutions” ever again, so I’ve tried to approach January 1 of each new year since with a slightly different perspective. Small shifts, deep reckonings, sweet aspirations, kind acknowledgements of all we have accomplished over the past 365 days. This year, I find myself with one burning question in my heart: WHAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE?

When I posed this to Team Autostraddle more than a few people asked me what the heck I was talking about, which is fair. I’ll be addressing this new ethos more deeply in an article next month, but for now I’ll be brief: I wanna figure out what I need, and then I wanna work out the action items I have to take to really bring that need into reality. I want every single one of us to do that. It really feels that for a variety of reasons, we no longer have time to fuck around. We need to get honest, dream big, and make major moves (even if those actual moves are minor, they will have major consequences, ya know what I mean?). Anyway I told everyone they could follow their hearts or straight up ignore my question if it was inconvenient for them, and we landed on the gorgeous smorgasbord of 2020 energy you will find below. Please enjoy this vulnerable roundtable as a final 2019 gift from Team Autostraddle to you, dear Autostraddle Community. And of course, please take to the comments to let us know about your bottom line.

We’re ready for ya, 2020. Come on in.


Abeni, Contributing Writer

In 2020 my bottom line is $0. ZERO DOLLARS! That’s how much debt I’ll have on my credit card. About three years ago, I essentially hit rock bottom, almost died, made a lot of mistakes, and incurred a LOT of credit card debt. Like, a LOT. I had more credit card debt than money I made that a whole year. About 18 months ago I finally got mentally stable, got a decent full-time job, and have also been hustling – I’ve been working 7-day, 60+ hour weeks – and I’ve paid off more than half of that debt! And soon it’ll all be gone, and then I can stop having that hanging over my head and stressing me out, and I won’t have to pay like $200-300 just in INTEREST every month. I’m envisioning it and manifesting it and it will happen!

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Drew, Contributing Writer

Having an end of year birthday this year – that included a break-up, a move across country, dating as a queer person and a woman for the first time, getting staffed at this website, writing two pilots, meeting so many of my closest friends and favorite people, and a lot of other personal and professional achievements and struggles – was chaotic in a way that was consistently surprising. As I’ve reflected on all of this I’ve come to the conclusion that not only was this the craziest year of my life, but it was also the best year of my life. When I look towards 2020 it simply makes this season carry double the reflection. Since the mid-way point I felt comfortable calling 2019 the craziest year of my life. Anytime I said that people looked at me like – wasn’t there a year where you literally switched genders? And while that’s true, the year I came out was chaotic in a way that was sort of cliché. It wasn’t easy but there was a guidebook. I want to continue on this path I’ve started on. I want to keep working hard, keep making mistakes (different ones hopefully), keep listening and learning from the people around me, and keep moving towards a place where who I truly am and who I appear to be is more the same. And if we’re talking specific goals, I’d like to be staffed in a TV writers room by the end of the year.

Heather Hogan, Managing Editor

Last year in this very roundtable I said the thing I wanted to manifest in 2019 was a clear-eyed understanding of everything and everyone in my life, including myself. For some reason, no one I love slapped my laptop out of my hand and yelled at me about “What kind of Edgar Allen Poe hex are you casting on yourself right now!” I’m not saying I regret it, but I am saying this year was a reckoning. It wasn’t all bad. Or rather, there was profound goodness juxtaposed with what was bad. There was this one night at 3am where everything was excruciating; because I had a pinched nerve in my neck caused by a now discovered, severely degenerative spine situation; and as I paced around my bedroom like a caged animal in the most intense and relentless pain I’ve ever experienced, I looked over at Stacy, my partner of nine years, and the absolute white-hot devotion on her face pierced me so deeply in my spirit I sat down on the floor — and, for a few fleeting moments, I didn’t feel anything but keenly and singularly adored. I’ve never known something so clearly in all my life.

My physical therapist follows me around these days and says: “Heather, breathe.” And: “Heather, relax.” She does this six to twelve times a week. It’s become my accidental mantra. I whisper it to myself, bark it at myself, glare it at myself in the mirror. Heather, breathe. Heather, relax. Sometimes it even helps!

That’s my bottom line in 2020. I am so proud of the woman I’ve become, and I wouldn’t be that woman without the hard hard hard stuff, but merciful goddess: I have got to learn to breathe and relax!

Kamala Puligandla, Deputy Editor

I’ve been gearing up for my very own Kamala 2020 for a little while now. The real Kamala 2020, as I’ve been known to say. I’m excited for my book to come out, and I’ll be facilitating this project on mixed identities, called Hybrid Vigor, that I’m thrilled about (and also excited to get into this new realm of mixing writing, art and workshops) and I’m working at Autostraddle now!

My astrology apps have been telling me that this year is the time to “mature” and “get serious” and either say goodbye to things in my life that are proving difficult or commit to them more fully, and figure them out. I think they might just be reading my texts, but that’s exactly what I’m in the thick of doing. So I’m prepared to invest deeply in myself and learn new things about my emotional self. I want 2020 to be the year that I embrace and get comfortable with the full extent of my power as a leader, a writer and also a friend and lover.

Malic White, Contributing Writer

2019 was a year of making calculated changes to help me inch closer to my goals, followed by a whole lot of floundering. To create more space for writing and stand up, I left my theater company of seven years and started living alone for the first time, assuming that the extra time and solitude would make a more prolific writer. Well, kids, it turns out that removing all existing structure from your life without putting a new structure in place is like ripping the tablecloth out from under a bunch of fine china when you’re a really, really bad magician. Important stuff breaks.

In 2020, I’m giving myself the gift of structure. I’m committing to a consistent writing practice. I’m writing in new genres and in new places (my “bed office” no longer serves me). I’m getting back to that “let’s try this and see what happens” mindset of my early 20s, when I was making performance art that involved a lot of fake blood and smashed eggs and usually some kind of obstacle course. If I create more work and create more consistently, I’ll be making a living (no more side hustles) as a writer and comedian by the end of 2020.

Laneia, Executive Editor

Trusting that I’ll be ok, that’s all I can do in 2020. Just trust that I’ve done the work and that I’m ready for whatever’s coming. I can’t control all of it, but I can trust myself.

Vanessa, Community Editor

In 2020 I am going to sell my book. A few years ago I said I was going to get serious about my writing work, and then I applied to grad school, got into grad school, broke up with my girlfriend, left Portland, moved to New York, and got down to it! 2020 is the year I graduate from my MFA program and I am proud of the work I have done in school but I want to commit to continuing that work when I am no longer in a program that fosters my creativity and hands me deadlines I must meet. I have finally successfully broken the habit of putting air quotes around the word WRITER when people ask me what I do, and I strongly believe that taking myself seriously has allowed others to take me seriously, too. There’s no point in hemming and hawing about what I truly want out of life; we are marching toward death every day and if I don’t believe in myself, who the fuck is going to? I am a writer, I have been working very hard on a book for (more than) two years, and in 2020, I am going to sell the damn thing. Cheers!

Meg, Contributing Writer & Photographer

In 2019, my focus was on expansion and trying new things. I wanted to put myself out there, write and create every day, embrace a spirit of ambition and experimentation – and I honestly can’t believe how many of my dreams turned into reality. 2019 was a challenging year in so many ways, with unexpected losses and major shifts, but it’s also the year I started publishing my writing, shared personal essays for the first time, and developed creative work that is setting the foundation for the future I want to build.

For 2020, I want to keep expanding my ideas of what’s possible. I tend to limit myself, shut down dreams before they get too magical, keep my heart locked up tight so I won’t get hurt or disappointed. But I know how incredible things can be when I try anyway, when I smother those doubts and take a chance and go after what I want. So this year, I plan to draft and pitch a tarot book. I hope to share more personal writings, with new audiences, in new places. I dream of finding my place and purpose, of inspiring others, of creating beautiful things.

I want to step fully into my magic and power in 2020 – it’s a big goal, but I don’t think it’s an impossible one.

Rachel, Managing Editor

If at Christmas you tell the truth (lol) then at NYE you get to sound dramatic, so: for 2020 I want to make sure I make everything that happened in 2019 worth it, somehow. It’s been a harrowing year for so many of us, and myself and so many people I love feel like we’re just sort of barely limping over the finish line; I want to promise myself that there will have been a point to all of it! What can I use this for? What can it show me? How can this be an opportunity to show up for myself and people I love? I feel sometimes like we spent all of 2019 talking about how terrible everything is; in 2020 I wanna talk about how to make it all worth it anyway.

Valerie Anne, Contributing Writer

In 2020, I just want to get better. I want to finally find a damn therapist, actually start making smarter choices re: what I put in my body, reassess relationships in my life that are doing me more harm than good. I spent most of the years between 1987 and 2019 prioritizing other people, and I still want to do that whenever I can, but I don’t want to do it at the expense of my own health and happiness anymore. For a slew of reasons I won’t get into, I’ve spent the past two years or so just sinking. Unable to find as much joy as I used to, unwilling to keep trying. Knowing the steps I should take to get out of the muck but just lying there instead. But the end of this year has felt like the start of a shift. I feel like Mary Poppins at the end of the movie; I can feel the winds starting to change and I’m ready to fly off on my umbrella and start something new. So I guess my bottom line, hard goals for 2020 are: get a therapist, find a new day job, write more, try harder. Get out of the muck. Get better.

Bailey, Contributing Writer

Last year, I moved back to the UK and worked hard to build a new life in an all-too-familiar place. It meant figuring out who I was in that context and where I ultimately wanted/didn’t want to be. This year, I definitely tried to put myself first, but still managed to get caught up in trying to please other people. Some of my achievements took longer than they should have because I allowed other things/people to come first.

In 2020 I want to continue to trust my instincts, maintain my autonomy and always remember my worth. I want to practice these things so that I can: finish the MA I just started after ten years out of school, keep writing about queerness, travel to see friends across the world, deliver workshops and perform my work in front of crowds again. 2020 is the year of rediscovering my confidence and what feels good for me.

Natalie, Contributing Writer

I feel like I should say something really introspective in this space…something that reveals a shortcoming in my personal or professional life that I want to remedy in the new year. But no matter how long I sit with this prompt, my bottom line remains unchanged: I just want a new fuckin’ president in 2020.

I can’t get discouraged.

I can’t let my cynicism about [insert eventual Democratic nominee’s name here] change my focus.

I can’t let good be the enemy of great.

Kids are in cages. Our climate’s in crisis. Our community’s in danger.

We need a new fuckin’ president and shame on me if I don’t spend 2020 doing whatever I can to make that happen.

Carmen, Associate Editor

My bottom line for 2020 is probably the same as Natalie’s, to be honest? If we are talking about “bottom, basement, absolute truth, line drawn in the sand” — then the most important thing in 2020 for me is this upcoming election and the fight for whatever’s left of this country’s democracy. So that is #1.

However, since Natalie already outlined the importance of that task with much more fire and elegance than I could bring here, I will also say that in 2020 I’m looking to work HARD. I have a lot of personal and professional goals that are finally just at the grasps of my fingertips, and in 2019 I put a lot of puzzle pieces in place to make them a reality. This year I want to see it over the finish line. I want to keep fighting for a better country, but also fight for a better Autostraddle. I want to see our website’s readership base diversify, I want our writers — especially our writes and editors of color — to feel supported and that they have the tools to flourish. I want to be doing those things while also continuing to be patient and kind with my body. I’d like to keep fighting to make time for my family and set up healthy, strong work/life boundaries that allow for that to happen.

Honestly, I’m very bad at New Year’s Resolutions type things, so what I’ve written is probably not as inspirational to you, our readers, as I’d hope it would be. I wish I had some nugget of advice that you could write on a Post-It and put it on your desk to carry you in to the new year. Instead I hope you’ll take comfort in this: There’s a whole team of us out here fighting for you. You are not now, nor are you ever, alone in this world. And we got your back, so you can go on and do whatever is your dream to accomplish or be.

Vanessa is a queer feminist writer and photographer currently based in New York. She really misses Portland. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 330 articles for us.

30 Comments

  1. This year I finally had my surgeries. The thought of surgery terrified me my whole life, and now I’ve done it. I set the goal, I did the work, and I succeeded. This has been a year of metamorphosis, a chrysalis achieving a new form. Now it’s time to dry these wings and soar like a butterfly! Next year I want to get my sex shop up and running again, hopefully in a permanent location. I want to help queer and trans people in my community. I want to pay back the love and luck I’ve gotten this year, and help others achieve their goals. I want the world to be a better place, and I’m ready to help make that happen.

  2. This was a big year for me! I went to A-camp for the first time, moved out of my parents’ house, stood my ground with them, began dating again and just generally started adulting! I hope for so much more in 2020. It can only get better from here. I hope to keep exploring my identity, as I still feel I have a long way to go before actually figuring it all out… Also, I have had low vision my entire life, and all the 2020 vision jokes wil inevitablly get old after a while, but I’m generally positive and humorous. I never get tired of saying things like, “Even MY hindsight is 2020” and “You know who to call when you wanna’ go on a BLIND DATE! I want to believe I am whole just as I am, but some part of me wishes from deep within that either science or reiki (or both) could somehow heal my optic nerves this year. But goddess knows I have so much more emotional baggage and family pain that probably needs to be healed first. So here’s to a great new year! I’ve been so blessed by all of your writing in so many ways!

    • I’m sitting here trying to craft an alternative 2020 slogan and realizing how much of our language is heavily imbued with vision metaphors! So I’m thinking maybe 2020 can be the year of more deeply seeing within ourselves, which is something all of us can do 💚

      • Interestingly enough, my first reaction to your post was:”How can I help?”^^
        I don’t want to spoil too much and in case anyone needs inspiration or a resolution for NYE and wants to borrow mine, I’d like to open this up for discussion: What would being a BAMF mean to you?
        And more importantly: What would you need to do to get there?
        It could, for example, be: Speak five languages and be a kick ass martial artist, but that would actually translate into:Do fifteen minutes of duolingo each day, get a stretching program and go to the BJJ class down the street three times a week. Or: “Be a HBIC” that could mean:Finish that masters this year and apply for a job in a leadership position that you’re secretly afraid of due to imposter syndrome.
        Or even getting mental health shit under control. How to do that?
        I’ll give my probably lengthy answer later, since as of today I’m back in a European time zone and need to grill cheese on an electric grill in the middle of a table in a social manner for a bit, before hopefully indulging in some board games.
        Have a good NYE, everyone!

        • When I was a kid it meant “Carrying a knife and knowing how to use it,” but these days cis people tell me I’m brave just for wearing leggings, so standards have clearly changed.

          In all seriousness though, I think people who have a positive impact on their friends and community are badass, so that’s my personal goal.

  3. The universe dumped my bag out on a table this year, looked through my shit and was like “you don’t need this anymore” and I knew that already but was still pretty mad/hurt about not being the one who made the choice to leave my job/listen to my body (and intuition). I’m going to be kind to myself about not taking actions sooner but also be more aware that when I feel something deep down in my gut it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Even that acid reflux I seem to have probably should be mentioned next time I’m at the doc.

  4. My goal since I was a kid was to be a parent, and after parenting for several years, this year it should become official. I am so grateful to be parenting a house full of kids! And the kids are doing well, which warms my heart! (At thanksgiving we took turns sharing what we were grateful for and my youngest gave me a hug and said my name).

    My other goal from last year was financial security, and even with my wife not working, we have enough and then some, so we can support and take care of the people we love.

  5. My ”goal” is the same as it has been since I became disabled: GET THROUGH THE FUCKING DAY however I need to, whilst causing the least damage to myself/others. I know there’s a LOT of you in the same leaky boat, whether it’s because of (dis)ability, trans issues, racism, misogyny, all of the above and then some! So here’s to everyone who’s fighting ridiculous, shitty systems for ourselves and others.

  6. The word I want to embrace this year is grit. I need to push myself to do some tough shit and I need to light a fire under my ass to get there. But my bottom line is to be gentle. I will be gentle with myself and my progress. Gentle with my non cooperating body. Gentle with the speed bumps and hiccups. Gentle with those around me. I want to smooth out some of my rough edges, let people in, be a soft landing spot for those who need it. The world is so so so hard and bloody and rough right now, and I plan to fight as hard against that as I can. I will send postcards and hold open doors and smile and let people cry on me and take long hot showers and go into nature and give long hugs and rub backs and drink lots of coffee (and wine) and just be gentle, ya know?

    More concrete goals…Go to therapy finally. Stay open and honest with my loved ones. Find ways to embrace my queerness even as I date a really wonderful man fellow. Travel to places that make my heart happy. Love hard. Get outside more. Take deep breathes instead of yelling fuck it all. Finish grad school. Get a full time job (rather than two part times jobs that equal full time but give no benefits cause nah man over that). Find an apartment that has actual sunlight. Be patient. Don’t close myself off. Let myself be wild and reckless and dumb (did this well in 2019 and damn it I won’t stop). Fight for what I believe in. Hold my loved ones close. See my favorite humans more often. Dance naked in my living room. Cuddle my cats. Kiss my dude while angry white men glare at us and make them watch. Thrive (I’ve survived and this year I thrived so gonna keep that up).

    Happy New Year, lovelies. <3

  7. My goal is to be visible more as a non-binary person. I am hoping to have three they/them pins(two AS ones & one Cuties)) on me or my bags would get that across. I also plan to hang with my bff who is on the other side of the country in a hot tub, cause sometimes you need to be naked making out in a warm body of water with a loved one. Other than that is to survive the news.

  8. For me, 2019 was all about taking more chances, personally and professionally. And, it kind of worked. I got more legal experience, had the opportunity to volunteer with some incredible organisations, met some great people and even got published on Autostraddle. At the end of 2018 I was on the other side of the world wondering how I could reconcile whether there was space for me in the legal industry, or if I could own my queerness more. I still have a long way to go, but I can feel the baby steps having an effect.
    In 2020, I want to keep building on all of this. My concrete goals are to get a grad job, graduate my law degree with First Class Honours, have more of my writing published, put more time and energy into strengthening old relationships and building new ones, and continue to give back to my communities in more tangible ways.

  9. What I need is steak, more orgasms, and Beff Jezo’s money.
    Like I’m listening to werewolf music rn need me some RED MEAT.

    I feel like this year I was a sad lump of nothingness compared to what I achieved last year but wait actually it was 2019 I made my own king cake using the knowledge and experience I got baking about 7 different types of bread in 2018.
    Finally figured out the secret(s) to getting that bbq taste without onion but have not discovered how to keep the apple cider vinegar from over powering the spices when I store the bbq sauce in the fridge. A bunch of little things when I think about it.
    So I think what I want to bring with me is the little things do matter, they make up the whole.
    And queer resist and bite? Feeling bitey.

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