A year in review

I keep seeing these 2016 dumpster fire memes.  I feel lucky to say that that wasn’t completely the case for me.  While school and mental health kept me from blogging often, I experienced quite a bit this year.  So, here’s a quick review of 2016:

January – A fairly quiet month.  My husband’s beloved Ford Ranger finally died for good which left us as a one car household for a bit.  One of my idols – David Bowie- passed away.  It was cold, a lot.

February- After several pushed off coffee dates one of my best friends, the woman who has been in my life for 25 years, called me.  Which terrified me – we hardly ever talk on the phone.  She asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding in the summer.  I, of course, accepted.  We also went bridesmaid dress shopping this month.
At the end of the month my car died… leaving us without a car for a few days.  Talk about a humbling experience.  I realized how much I take for granted having my own reliable transportation.
I also got to meet author Rainbow Rowell and her her speak!  I have a post here that explains why this was so huge for me – not only meeting one of my favorite authors of all time, but also overcoming my anxiety to go alone.

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March- March 1st my husband and I went to a car dealership where a friend works to talk about maybe, possibly leasing a used car.  We drove off the lot that night in my first ever brand new car – a 2016 Kia Forte that we named Fiona.

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I got to meet Author Markus Zusak and here him speak!  One of my all time favorite book is The Book Thief.

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April – I got another new tattoo bringing my total to three at that time.  This time it was the stars in the Harry Potter books on my foot.

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My grandmother, my last living grandparent, passed away at the age of 102.

May- The bridal shower for my best friends wedding took place early in the month, it was a surprise shower and went off quite well!

June – Wedding day!  The wedding was perfect and beautiful!

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The Cleveland Cavs won a championship and our city went NUTS.  It was so amazing to watch it happen (granted I watched on TV).  Cleveland also had a huge victory parade!

July – I got another new tattoo, this time a bookish theme.

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I also, for the first time in my life, dyed my hair a non natural color, purple.  Not the whole thing, but enough that it was noticeable and I LOVED it. Also cut it way shorter.  LOVE.

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I turned 34 on the 31st.

August – Went to my first burlesque show, ever.  Even better was that a dear friend was performing and I was able to go with some amazing friends.

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This was a rough month.. major tragedy struck one of my best friends.  However, I am happy I was able to be there for her.

September- I learned my own level of capability when once again, I was left without a co-teacher for a bit (which started back in August).  However, through some great teamwork I made it through Meet the Teacher night in one piece.

October – I met my childhood writing icon… R.L. Stine.

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I participated in the Out of the Darkness Walk with some amazing friends.

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I also went on a great pumpkin and apple picking adventure with my darling husband.

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November- Another new hair style.  A bit shorter and darker with teal. Election day.  Much sadness.  Enough said.

December – Christmas festivities and a fun game night for a friend’s birthday.Christmas break – nine full days off wok.  Always nice.

And there you have it.  My 2016 year in review.  At lest some main points.  I plan to update in the next few days about my goals and word for 2016.  So, until then.

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How Rainbow Rowell helped me beat anxiety – for one night anyway.

Wow. Okay. So. This post contains two big things for me – the first being hearing Rainbow Rowell speak, and meeting her after. The second, and it ties in with the first, is how I (barely at times) overrode the anxiety that tends to rule my life – for a night anyway.

About… a month and a half to two months ago I got an e-mail from my county library system. Important to note that my city library isn’t a part of the county system, and I’m not exactly sure how I ended up getting this email. Anyway, I found out that Rainbow Rowell (and Markus Zusak!- more on that later) were going to be in my area. I waited a bit too long and wasn’t able to get meet and greet tickets for Rainbow Rowell, but I was signed up for her talk that night. One of my best friends was going to try to join me. I was, obviously, beyond stoked. Rainbow Rowell! I love her books and relate especially to Cath in Fangirl – the whole not going to the dining hall because of anxiety was me in college… both times.

Day of the event, my friend can’t make it and it’s snowing/icing outside. I decide that if I can find a fairly easy way to the library she will be at I will try to go on my own. I am terrified to do this. I DO NOT want to go alone. I don’t do well at all in unknown places with lots of people I don’t know when someone is with me, so imagine how I can be when alone. I realize this chance may not come again for a long time, if ever, and get in my car and make the drive.

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Oh so blurry, but its Rainbow FREAKING Rowell!

 

She spoke for nearly 90 minutes.  I teared up when she came onto the stage.

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Seriously, guys.  It was a life changing moment for me.  For nearly 90 minutes I got to hear an author I adore speak, and I was so captivated by her words that for most of that 90 minutes, the anxiety was pushed back just enough.

When the talked ended we were informed that Rainbow would be singing books.  ALL the books, but only personalizing one.  Being by myself was a slight advantage at this point because while people gathered their things and waited for their friends, I was able to maneuver around them a bit and get in the line, so I wasn’t standing alone in line with my anxieties for too awful long.

I brought the three books I have in hard copy.  Eleanore & Park, Landline, and of course – Fangirl.  I was set to have her personalize Fangirl for me.  I stood in line and just stared at her… she was so attentive to every person who was there.  Reading her interviews and twitter feed only scratch the surface of how amazing she really is.  Then, finally, it was my turn.  Shaking and teary eyed I get up to her and hand her my books.  Where she personalized TWO of the three for me, as I explained to her my kinship to Cath and she shared her own anxiety story with me.  I told her how came alone, but I wasn’t willing to miss her even in the storm of anxiety and she looked me in the eye and told me how happy she was that I made it there.

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In short, it was amazing.  So much so that today at work when I was telling some co-worker friends the story, they said I was glowing.  I was absolutely excited about meeting her and having my books signed.  That still hasn’t worn off. But I was also proud that for one evening, just for a few hours, I managed to beat my mind at it’s own game.