Looking back, looking ahead
It’s the beginning of a brand new year, and for me, as for many people, this time is a time of relaxation, but also it’s a time for reflecting on things to come and things that have just come to pass. 2017 was a year of so many things for me, amazing and terrible things and all the shades in between, and so this year, instead of thinking strictly about resolutions, I would like to look back on the things that went well for me in the past year, and what were the experiences that helped me grow as a person. I’m also going to share some of my 2018 goals with you, for the sake of accountability. And, of course, I’m going to talk about the books I loved in 2017, because there are many to talk about.
Since this would make a post that’s over 2500 words long, I’m going to be posting four posts about 2017 and the beginning of 2018: One about the great things which came into my life last year, one about the more negative things and how they helped me grow as a person (because they did. As bad as it got this year, I’m glad for every moment of it, because I am a better person because of all of it), one about my goals for 2018 (includes writing goals, so if you want to know how I’m doing with a story you’re waiting for, make sure to check it out) and a last one with my favourite reads of 2017.
So, let’s start with 2017’s big positive events!
Without a doubt, finally coming to terms with my gender identity as a transgender man was the high point of my year, and perhaps of my life. I’m completely transformed, finally feeling free to be the most complete version of me there could possibly be. It’s impossible to fully explain how meaningful it is being recognized as your true gender by the people you love, but I’ll try. It’s a bit like you have this constant pain, like a horrible toothache, but in your soul, and when you finally come out and say it and have others recognize you, it’s like the ache is gone. If you’ve ever wept earnestly in relief at the sudden absence of pain, you get close to what I’ve been feeling since I came out.
It’s also made me realize how lucky I am with the people I have in my life; family, friends, coworkers who have not batted an eye at my transition, who have seamlessly switched pronouns and made a point to use correct language when speaking to me and referring to me; who have gone out of their way to make me feel included and validated; who, when presented with the opportunity to ask me anything they were curious about regarding my transition, overwhelmingly responded with questions wanting to know if I was happy, if it had eased my depression. I am humbled, floored, and literally brought to tears on a regular basis by the sheer quality of character of the people in my life.
As Clarence says in It’s a Wonderful Life, “No man is a failure who has friends”. This year, you have all made me a huge success as a person. The most important thing I learned in 2017 is that I am lucky beyond all belief, beyond all reason, and beyond my capacity to express proper gratitude for. I have so many important, wonderful people in my life, and I love them all so much. I feel like my heart keeps growing and swelling with love for the amazing people who support me, and I just can’t believe my luck.
The Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature has always been one of my favourite cons, and this year was definitely no exception. I’d be lying if I said having just come out the week before didn’t have anything to do with my joy of being there, but it wasn’t the biggest part of it. Meeting many more amazing people, getting to hang out with friends I see too little of, and being on a number of awesome panels was also priceless. However, what I loved most about Can-Con this year was its warm, welcoming atmosphere where everyone is treated with respect, and its focus on inclusivity and respect. Since I could go on and on about this conference, I will refer you to this post which I wrote about it, because I don’t want this post to get too long.
As most of you know, I’m involved with the management of Ottawa-based publisher Renaissance Press. This past year, Renaissance has seen a real boom in visibility and following, and we’re receiving more submissions than ever. But beyond that and more importantly, I feel like I’ve gotten really close to all the people involved in Renaissance, and they feel more like a family than a group of people who just work together. I’m so grateful to have all of them in my life, and I’m a better person because of all of them.
Renaissance will be five years old in 2018, and I couldn’t be prouder of it.
I’ve also grown my tribe a little bit over the past years, and made some new friends all over the place. I’m having more and more amazing, supportive people in my life, and that’s definitely a huge positive impact for me.
Check in tomorrow to see how the stuff that has hurt me this year has helped me grow as a person!