It’s finally stopped raining here in Southern California and today’s blue sky is a welcome sight. This week, as I’ve tried to shake off whatever this under-the-weather thing that has afflicted me and a number of my friends, I’m taking a long look at last year, and breathing in this fresh new one along with all the promises it brings.
I realize that much of last year was spent creating new goals for myself, not least when I picked up archery once again, having enjoyed it back in my high school days. The feel of the bow in my hand and hearing the thuck of my arrow hitting the target was all kinds of wonderful. Of course, a tiny part of my rekindling the archery romance might be my love for Hawkeye and having spent last year binge-reading my way through Marvel’s Hawkeye comics, I still tell myself it was mostly nostalgia. Mostly.
And then there’s Hapkido. In 2014 I had extensive knee surgery which led to a year of intensive therapy to get the mobility back. Last year I started taking Hapkido and working with Master Sayed at the American Hapkido Karate Academy to build up its strength, with the added bonus of learning a martial art in the process. In May I achieved my first belt (Orange) and was very excited. After a few knee setbacks which saw me return to class in the fall, I ended the year with my much-anticipated second belt, Yellow.
I finished the year with new headshots by the fantastically talented Mark Atteberry and his eye for detail is incredible, as verified by his amazing Instagram (so it’s not just me being biased). The next few months will include marketing them to casting directors in the hopes of unlocking many new auditions for me.
Quite a few people see 2016 as the year that hated us, bringing with it losses like the wonderful Alan Rickman, Nancy Reagan, David Bowie, Victoria Wood, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds to name but a few. Though it’s hard not to attribute human emotions onto the passage of time, 2016 has certainly dealt an unfair share of punches and I, for one, am glad the year is behind us.
One of the most emotional blog contributions I’ve submitted to this blog site was written last summer. In it I spoke of how the events of my past were once the core of my existence and how I let it shape and define every part of my life but that I was now choosing to no longer allow My Story to be my defining. I called the blog, “Live in the lower case“.
The fallout from this blog was unexpected. While the majority of those who read it were deeply moved by my honesty, this reaction wasn’t universal. I learned that while I was choosing to move forward with confidence, there were a few I once wanted to be close to who instead took umbrage at My Story, for they believe such things are meant to be kept in the darkness and not brought into the light. I’m sad to say that their support and understanding was not forthcoming.
I made the difficult decision to draw a line in the sand and walk away from these lifelong connections for the betterment of my soul and my future, and entered into the new year released from the burden of twisting myself into a pretzel of their defining. Though a part of me is pained by the estrangement, there is a sense of liberation within myself that I can now live my life according to my own definitions.
While the earth dries from the storms of the last few weeks, and while we each find our groove as we navigate this new year, I hope each of you pray for the courage to chase new challenges, and the strength to leave behind anything that is detrimental to your story.
Much love and Happy New Year