Usually, I save the SotS statements for the end of the year.
But this year, I have been kind of overcome by how fucking much happened between my last birthday and this one and I kind of need to talk about how much I’ve done and gone through.
Friends, I am always somewhat surprised to make it another full rotation around the sun. For various reasons – physical health issues, my fear of accidents, one or more bad flights – I always wake up on the morning of my birthday like “huh, I made it”.
And I did make it, y’all.
I made it to twenty-nine.
Next year, I’ll be thirty.
But right now, I’m twenty-nine and the past twelve months have been a lot.
Last birthday, I was fresh off of graduating with my MA in Literature. (If you call six months post-degree “fresh”, that is.) I was behind on literally everything, unsure when I’d actually get a job, and I was often just really fucking sad.
But I was trying –
And y’all, that trying has paid off.
I’m sitting here at my desk (in a room I share with two other members of my department, but still) with my calendar marked out for the rest of the week. I was given the option of taking tomorrow off – at my job – and because I’m planning on saving my days for the ACE and Amber Liu concerts… I was able to be like “nah, I’m good”. One of my managers just came in to wish me “Happy Birthday”. Holy shit!
I have a job, friends.
And while it may not be forever – because what is in this fragile world – it’s the first chance I’ve had to feel employable after graduating. I’m doing something I’m good at and getting better at things I didn’t think to try working on before. I have coworker-friends and I had a really great direct boss – who’s since gone back to school but was AMAZING the entire time I’ve been working for him.
Y’all, I went to mother fucking Washington DC this year. While the flight was… a mess (and I will always be sorry for livetweeting my experience on that flight), I loved the experience of PCA 2019. I loved networking, being a panel moderator for the first time, and kind of going Wine Academic Auntie in that one panel where the guy (bless his heart) assigned Black womanhood to Hyuna of all people. I got to eat good food, hang out with the best people, and I went to Virginia for the first time in my life – solely to buy a bunch of K-pop merch for me and the niecelings.
In 2019, I also got to publish my first solo novella? My editor pal David reached out to me uh… last year to work on one of three novellas that’d be collected in Judge Anderson Year Two. My novella Flytrap came out in August and I had the incredible pleasure of seeing my dad hold a copy in his hands.
In September, I got to see my friends from BookNetFest – and make new ones. One day I’ll make to Disney! Here’s hoping that I get to do it with those precious nerds!
October has been A Lot, let’s be real here, but I got to spend time with my family, I’ve gotten to be on two really cool podcasts (Not Your Average Netizens and Jinjja Cha) about cultural appropriation and antiblackness in the k-pop industry and its fandom space. I have been doing a lot of work on that subject across the past seven months, actually. I’m really proud of it all!
The past twelve months haven’t been perfect. A lot has happened and I literally haven’t told y’all everything because it’s just plain weird. Some shit has been bad. Some shit has been worse.
But I am still here and I’m still trying.
I am still making my way.
And I couldn’t do it without y’all.
I say that all the time, but I always worry that y’all don’t know how much your presence – a form of support in and of itself – helps me keep going and keep thinking of ways to be better and do more when it comes to fandom and media analysis.
I’m going to have a good birthday and a great year from here on in –
And it’s all because I know I have your love, patience, support, and your willingness to criticize my criticism when it needs it.
Thank you for making twenty-eight a great age. I’ll make twenty-nine good for me and you.
Thank you for the birthday wishes, you beautiful and precious nerds!