To 2010: a farewell and my gratitudes

2009 was a dazzling year for me—2010's gifts were subtler.

I returned to my college after a year on leave. That was not so easy. My life for the past year had been beautiful and low-stress. I needed that calm in order to get well, but it didn't occur to me that my recovery wasn't finished; it needed to be tested under pressure, and and cracked and strengthened, and then tested some more—again and again. It keeps going like that. It doesn't always feel linear. That's real, though.

On the intellectual level, my understanding of mental illness has gotten much more sophisticated. I am no longer insistent on a mind-brain dichotomy, which means the biological bits and pieces become much more interesting, and I can't BEAR mainstream media coverage of eating disorders.

I have gotten a lot better at taking care of myself in times of stress and when depression or anxiety does come knocking. Mostly learning (slowly) from mistakes.

I spent a lot of time spring semester sitting on the floor in my contesserates' fourth-floor dorm room, reading aloud and drinking tea and talking with them. I have consciously reserved space for those nights in my future self's memory.

I have become more captivated by minimalism and 35mm. I get more ideas of my own that captivate me. I've given my intuition freer rein in creative pursuits, and it's been rewarding.

I bought my first SLR. I'm still not perfectly at ease taking pictures of strangers, but I have gotten markedly more comfortable doing so. That is necessary. I've been falling in fascination with people sometimes: it feels like a very objective sort of love. I just want to document them, catch their faces and mannerisms just right, see them just right, write down something true about them. Looking is a drug. Eye contact is a drug.

My big sister carried and gave birth to her first baby. My so-loved niece.

I decided to turn the leftovers of my old German major into a finished German minor after all. Cut some blunt bangs again, did the No-Pants Subway Ride, made some messes, swallowed my pride (better sometimes than others), did the NaPoWriMo thirty poems/thirty days challenge. Started copy editing at the school paper again.

My reading tastes have been changing. Fewer novels, fewer young adult, more poetry and non-fiction and photography. Not that I don't love novels and YA still, but they aren't what has felt urgent to me.

I'm living the cheapest I ever have, outside of—and partially because of—the cost of film and developing. With that and finishing up my major as quickly as possible, it feels tight and anxious sometimes, but I'll look back on this time happily, I'm certain, so I try to see from that perspective now.


Sarah Louise 1/01/2011 2:52 PM  

Lovely, my dear one. I can't bear mainstream media coverage of mental illnesses either. And isn't it the truth that you think you got it and don't. I guess the old fashioned way of saying that is that "pride cometh before a fall." (But it's more complex than that, even.)

I am so proud of you!!


Lena 1/01/2011 3:35 PM  

Wonderful picture.

Jenica 1/01/2011 3:43 PM  

I know just what you mean about faces; the desire to document, to capture. I don't take pictures. I draw portraits, mostly of strangers from magazines, and when I go places I love to study the people.

Priya 1/01/2011 6:36 PM  

Still sounds like 2010 was a pretty good year for you. :) Happy New Year, Holly!

Holly 1/02/2011 12:50 AM  

Sarah Louise - I know, it's: Relearn, relearn, relearn. But, learning eventually. xo.

Lena - Thank you. Those shadows are one of the things I like about my room at school.

Jenica - You do! Oh, that's awesome. I can't draw for beans. I love that...I love that you understand and are a portraitist.

Priya - I agree! And to you too, Priya.

Beth Kephart 1/02/2011 8:35 AM  

You know that I love you. You are one of the smartest and most accomplished young minds working today.

Erin 1/02/2011 12:09 PM  

Happy 2011 to you, I love you muchmuchMUCH. xoxxx

Holly 1/02/2011 11:39 PM  

Oh Beth, your encouragement has always meant so much to me.

EMac - And to you also, my LRRHer soul-sister! xooo

sui 1/07/2011 6:14 PM  

I've long been a lover of YA!

You are a terrific writer and I really respect your gift. ♥ May 2011 be awesome for the both of us!

Ich liebe dich ;)

Holly 1/08/2011 2:10 PM  

sui - I really think YA is in its halcyon days...we are lucky. Danke so sehr! <3 And I second that invocation.

sui 1/09/2011 5:46 PM  

I took a class on Adolescent Literature last year, YA didn't even exist until recently (nor did even the concept of "adolescent" until the 20th century!).

Holly 1/09/2011 9:30 PM  

Was it the sixties that the first YA proper books started coming out? I think I've read one person positing that The Outsiders was the first.'s things like these that make me love sociology/anthropology!

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