As dumpster fires go.


As dumpster fires go.


I’ve been sit­ting here for a good 10 min­utes, just star­ing at the screen. Occa­sion­al­ly typ­ing a sen­tence or two, then delet­ing. The words I want to say aren’t words I feel I can say yet, and so I choose to be silent. Much like I have most of this year, if you’ve noticed.

On Jan­u­ary 18, I left my hus­band. There’s much that could be said about this, but it’s still so fresh to me, and some­times I real­ize that it’s still a gap­ing wound.

Speak­ing of that gap­ing wound. From March 11–17, I was raped sev­er­al times. So, rather than focus­ing on pack­ing my mar­i­tal wound and heal­ing from the breakup, deal­ing with the trau­ma from the rapes took prece­dence above all else.

And so this year has been all about sur­vival. Keep­ing myself so dis­tract­ed and so tired that I can’t give voice to the sui­ci­dal urges con­stant­ly lurk­ing just around the cor­ner in my mind. I’ve made no attempts this year, though I’ve come ter­ri­fy­ing­ly and mind-numb­ing­ly close a few times. But. I’m here. Whether I want to be or not.

I’ve been able to find words some­times. After all, writ­ing pub­licly in com­mu­ni­ty is impor­tant to me. I’ve found frag­ments I could turn into poet­ry, some rev­e­la­tions about puri­ty cul­ture and the evan­gel­i­cal baby boomers who raised my gen­er­a­tion, and even words for my con­stant self-hatred and fear of being an incon­ve­nience.

But by and large, this year has been spent in rel­a­tive silence. I can’t write about the thing I most need to write about, and so I’ve been unable to write about any­thing else. As if all of my words are blocked off since I can’t work out what I most need to.

Then there’s oth­er aspects of the year. My dad’s symp­toms wors­en­ing ear­ly on, so the doc­tors dou­bled his month­ly treat­ment in hopes it would help. Everyone’s hope was that his body was just used to the treat­ment. Not that the tumors were becom­ing more active. But when a blood test revealed his can­cer mark­ers were through the roof…well, we knew. Thank­ful­ly, his new treat­ment seems to be effec­tive. But he’s still sick. And so he retired this year, after around 40 years in radio. It’s been such an emo­tion­al roller-coast­er for the whole fam­i­ly.

When I thought things couldn’t get more dif­fi­cult, I lost my job in August. The first time I’ve ever been let go. Busi­ness had been slow, and I was the most recent­ly hired design­er (even though that was 5 years ago). I’ve been able to scrape by with free­lanc­ing and unem­ploy­ment, but it’s been unspeak­ably dif­fi­cult. After enjoy­ing finan­cial sta­bil­i­ty for the first time in my adult life, to have it tak­en away was…devastating.


Vision: “Wan­da, if you do this, they’ll nev­er stop being afraid of you.” Wan­da: “I can­not con­trol their fear. Only my own.”

There are oth­er things, too, out­side of my own per­son­al bub­ble. The Pulse shoot­ing, which gut­ted me to the point of say­ing “to hell with it” and com­ing out as queer (at least on Twit­ter). And then the elec­tion. The elec­tion has bro­ken me. And so I’m no longer going to waste pre­cious emo­tion­al ener­gy hid­ing who I am from any­one any­more. I will not live my life in fear of what peo­ple might think of me. And any­one who thinks I ought to is not some­one I want to be a close part of my life.

Despite all of this, I’ve also expe­ri­enced a lot of good.

Art has tak­en a larg­er role in my life this year. Teach­ing myself how to paint with ink, improv­ing my let­ter­ing skills, con­tin­u­ing to work towards excel­lence with my design work — it’s all been so free­ing and ful­fill­ing.

was finan­cial­ly sta­ble for about 6 months. Which enabled me to pay off most of my debt and invest in things I’d done with­out for a long time. And I’ve been large­ly suc­cess­ful pro­vid­ing for myself after the job loss. It’s so val­i­dat­ing to hear pos­i­tive things from my clients. Not only that, but I will be teach­ing a graph­ic design class at the local com­mu­ni­ty col­lege spring semes­ter 2017. Things are look­ing up.

My fam­i­ly has become a much larg­er part of my life. I can freely spend time with them when­ev­er I want to, with­out a lot of anx­i­ety. The close­ness I’ve missed for the pre­vi­ous 7 years is return­ing, and it means the world to me. Their love and sup­port are invalu­able.

I’ve also met so many amaz­ing and won­der­ful peo­ple this year. Some only for a short sea­son, but oth­ers who have become such good friends. Some I’ve had the great for­tune to meet in per­son, and many who have tak­en me under their wing from across the coun­try or even across the globe. My sup­port sys­tem, my Team Me, has lift­ed me up this year when I could have so eas­i­ly fad­ed into the dark­ness.

This year has cer­tain­ly been a dump­ster fire. It’s affect­ed me more than per­haps any oth­er year in my life, most­ly for ill. But there are pin­points of light that give me hope, even amidst hope­less­ness. And so I am grate­ful.

Posted in Fat Girl,