1. I’m grateful that I had Hillary Clinton with me in my heart every day. Her courage helped me to stand up to the biggest bullies in my life and pushed me to fight for my ideals. Fighting for her was fighting for me, for all of us. She married me to the premise that women are people and that LGBT people deserve equal rights and equal respect. She faced so much ugliness, gaslighting, horror, and humiliation and stayed herself throughout it all—working hard, doing her homework, having a plan, and standing up for those who need it. She and my wonderful campaign organizers and fellow volunteers made me into a better, stronger, and more hopeful person, and any future good I get to do will be thanks to them. Working on the campaign made me more connected to my neighborhood, my country, the world, and myself, and I hope to cultivate and honor that connection for the rest of my years.
2. I’m grateful that I fell in love this fall. It didn’t work out, but he’s a good sort, and something that doesn’t seem like it should be a big deal profoundly changed me. He got me writing a million paragraphs (and one poem!), kept me company through my election work, made lots of art with me and the library kids, and reminded me what it’s like to feel beautiful and sparky and ridiculous with someone. I remember the day I went ahead and let myself feel it: I drew stars all over the paper he’d given me to read and gave him an A+. Oh yeah, and then there’s the music—what if Frank Ocean hadn’t found his way into my heart? The most exciting thing is that even though the love is unrequited, I can still enjoy it—the love itself feels like a companion, even separate from him, and it keeps me warm and hopeful most nights. I think I’ll owe my future loves partly to him.
3. I’m grateful for retracing my steps and reconnecting with dear friends whom I briefly lost to divorce grief. It’s so heartening how friendship can just stay there and wait for you to be ready for it, how these reunions sometimes feel like no time has passed. I’m lucky to have so many generous and reliable hearts in my life.
4. I’m grateful for Hamilton, especially getting my niece and nephews obsessed! I got my four-year-old nephew a “Not throwing away my shot.” T-shirt for his birthday. My niece and I bond over our love of Lafayette (Well, he IS everyone’s favorite fighting Frenchman!) (Did you know he’s currently on black-ish? Merry Christmas to me!) I’ll never forget the drives to the comic shop belting out the king’s song, or the drive back from apple picking belting out everything. As a bonus, it seems like Hamilton might be one of the things holding our nation together, so yeah, I’m pretty glad it exists.
5. I’m grateful that I got to march for the Pulse victims, for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, for reproductive rights, for religious freedom, against the evil Nazi president elect. It’s a good thing I like marching, because it seems like it’s time to do a lot more of it.
6. I’m grateful that I got to thank John Lewis, Hillary Clinton, and Cecile Richards for their work. Also very grateful that I didn’t faint when I met John Lewis—his handshake was so warm and his “Thank you for your work” was so humbling that I’ll feel fortified by it for years to come.
7. I’m grateful for my neighborhood. In Mt. Airy, you can staple a watercolor to a phone pole and it just stays there! That’s how loved and safe and curated I feel.
8. I’m grateful for my jobs. All three are rewarding, relaxed, and fulfilling. I’ve gotten to make so much art and friendship and happiness at the library, help so many students at the bookstore, and create a warm and productive bond with my tutoring student and his family. I’m especially grateful for my Lego Day playlist, for singing “Lean on Me” and “Shine Bright Like a Diamond” and “Love on Top” and “Everything is Awesome” with the kids and feeling like the luckiest person in the world, like a goddess surrounded by beautiful treasures, because that’s exactly what this year let me be.