It was the year that kicked the shit out of me.
It was the year that I thought would never end.
It was the year I got inspired to do something.
Before I say goodbye to 2011, I want to talk about it for just a bit…
Looking back, I was a bit of an idiot for most of the year. Still am, actually- that won’t change any time soon, and I’m sure my constant idiocy will adapt to whatever 2012 throws at me, but I think the biggest thing I recognize is that I was a big idiot.
2011 was the year that I let things get away from me. I became defined by surrounding work-related mediocrity and opinions that I had no control over. I let my day job rule me, and that was more damaging than anything that the year tossed at me, I think.
I’m done with all that, though. I’ve come out of 2011 with a new sense of self.
The movement towards this started March 11th-13th.
‘Cuz I was here:
And damn it, it was glorious. The expo was packed and lots of cool shit happened- highlights included dropping a cot on my foot, fighting with a bottle of childproof aspirin thanks to a bottle of Jagermeister in my system, not being able to watch all of BIRDEMIC, playing CASTLE CRASHERS on a full-sized arcade cabinet, ruling at a still unreleased Fire Pro Wrestling for XBOX Live Arcade, and above all, good times with good peoples.
Hey Doc, how ya doin’?
PAX EAST 2011 was a watershed moment for me, personally. I’ve been going to various comic and anime conventions off and on for almost twenty years, but this one was the first con that I actually felt completely and fully in my element. I was in the zone! I was ready to take on the world! I…
I… I managed to photobomb my own picture with X-Play’s Morgan Webb.
WAIT, WHAT THE WHAT?
Told you I was an idiot. Just creeping into my own phone’s picture frame. I am ashamed of my lack of smiling. It makes me sad that I fouled up such an awesome picture. I can be a longnecked dummy.
That happened. And more amazing things happened…
In 2011, I was given the opportunity to tryout to announce for the DC Rollergirls. After the initial tryout period, I actually became an announcer for the home bouts for the current season; by doing so, I actually got to fulfill a dream of mine: to announce a live sport! It’s an amazing experience; roller derby is no damn joke, people: the skaters hustle and bust their collective asses bout after bout after bout, and I’m more than honored to be allowed to call the action. I get antsy and fidgety each and every time I‘ve got a mic, but I’ve realized that I’m not nervous- I’m firing on all cylinders because I’m honest-to-various-deities emotionally invested in what I’m about to do.
That, my friends, is a wonderful feeling.
There’s only one other thing that gives me that feeling, and that’s writing.
2011 was frustrating because I knew what I wanted, but I was getting paid to do other things. Here’s a not-so-big secret about me: I don’t write for money. I don’t write for trends, and I don’t write for promotion. I write for me. 2011 was a yearlong saga of me coming to that point, and it was damn frustrating: there’s one thing in the world that I love, and even though I’m not any good at it, I know that it’s what I was meant to do. I’d wake up dreading going to work because I knew that I shouldn’t be going there- no, I should be parking my ass in front of the computer and writing up a storm. The fixes- packing notebooks and pens and pencils and notecards- didn’t help. They actually stopped working. I was a mess for a long time (and still am ) because I could not do what I wanted in order to survive. Due to a big shakeup at the workplace that involved me not getting a promotion, things got even worse, and for the first time in a long time, I started to doubt myself. I started to think that I wasn’t worth anything, that I had nothing to offer, that all my hardwork at work meant absolutely nothing.
It’s odd when you have to focus on one thing in order to do the other, and for the bulk of 2011, I was focused on work in order to make room for the writing… but the work blindsided all of that.
I can’t change who I am, but I can change my focus… and I will never neglect my meager little purpose on this dustbucket again.
2011 is done, I know one thing: it’s okay.
It’s okay. The strife, the anger, the disappointment, the derailment- it’s okay.
HERE’S THE KICK
Just don’t let it define you. Don’t let whatever you think is destroying you and your existence take you off what you know you need to do. I’ve been there- it’s not pretty, it’s horrible, and takes too much time away from what you have to do in order to get your true work done.
It’s going to happen.
You’re going to get yanked off course when you least expect it. The world’s going to feel like it’s ending and there’s nothing you can do about it.
LISTEN TO GRIFF, GRIFF. OH, AND YOU AS WELL, LISTEN TO GRIFF.
We all have things that we want to do. We all have things that we have to do, and I’ve realized that, for better for worse, I’d much rather focus on what I want, what I have, and what I have to do than get dragged down by things that are out of my control. You should too- no matter what it is, take a step back and think about it. Shitty job, fickle situations, financial woes- whatever. It’s going to happen, it’s a fact of life. No one gets a perfect run through this whole ordeal, you know? The lumps come. They always come.
Here’s the thing…
Be willing to get dragged down a notch or two- there’s a difference between getting waylaid by life and stubbornly walking into a bad situation. My advice? Get waylaid randomly. Don’t do dumb shit on purpose.
Since it’s over, here’s a secret: 2011 is the year I realized that I was great.
For the bulk of this past year, I wondered if I was doing the right thing. My lifestyle is stupid and dumb and weird and I’ve thought about the hows and whys of… well, all that is “Griff”.
And at the end, looking back on the past year, I realized something.
My “failures” are some people’s triumphs. Everything I thought I was doing wrong… it’s just part of the experience. No door ever truly closes- there’s always another way to get to where we need to go.
2012’s here, and I’m ready for it.
Are you ready?
If so, get behind me.
I got this.
Thanks for reading, you.
I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know…