Hello, my dear friends,
It’s been a long while since I last posted something like this. An accompanying Instagram post will be coming up later, but there are a few things about this year that can’t be summed up in a caption.
The Books and Media
I’d like to shout out the books and media that helped me make 2021 bearable:
- Books: Get a Life, Chloe Brown; Act Your Age, Eve Brown; Amari and the Night Brothers; Girl, Woman, Other; Women Don’t Owe You Pretty; A Court of Silver Flames; How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right?; What Will It Take for Me to Leave; The Sad Ghost Club, and Heartstopper (Vols. 1 & 2)
- Media: Kim’s Convenience, Shadow and Bone, Attack on Titan; JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures; Aggretsuko; Avatar and the Last Airbender; Legend of Korra; The Silent Voice; The Blue Exorcist; The Office (US)
These stories provided me with solace and escape when I needed it, and for that, I am forever grateful. May 2022 be even better!
2021 was hard. It felt like I was still processing what happened in 2020 half of the time. And looking back, whilst there have been a lot of good experiences and connections made, it’s also been a year of great discomfort. I can’t remember a time when I was not questioning myself. There were some great moments of peace and clarity, however – and whilst fleeting, they really helped put things into perspective.
2021 came with a lot of firsts for me, such as:
- My first full-time job after graduating from university
- My first year pushing myself out of my comfort zone consistently
- Coming out as bisexual publicly
- Founding a new political party and participating more publicly in local politics in Malta
- Balancing a full-time job and freelancing for the first half of the year (which didn’t work out too well)
- Travelling abroad during COVID for the first time (which was so lovely, but also quite stressful at first)
- The first time I didn’t care to count how many books I read in a year
- My first year of only buying books online ONCE
However, a lot of these firsts came at a huge price. I was burning out constantly; stopped working out; stress ate a lot; and often could not remember what my purpose was.
I also fought long and hard with myself about what came next after graduation. Freelancing gave me a chance to truly experience what is what like to work for myself and experiment creatively, with a lot of autonomy. The problem, however, was that I didn’t have a lot of experience, so I didn’t earn that much. That led me to get a job, where I managed to get the stability and experience I needed, and I’m so grateful that I can get a stable income and learn a lot too.
But at times it just doesn’t feel like enough, y’know? And that’s okay, too.
In 2021, a lot of the choices that I made were based on survival. Just getting by from one day to the next. And that severely impacted my mental health. Anxiety and depression, and experiencing it during the time of COVID, is a whole different ball-game. A good thing that came out of these experiences, however, was that I truly learnt the need to surrender to the flow of life – but also, listening to my intuition and needs.
Through all the worries and anxieties of entering adult life, 2021 helped me come back to my purpose. I’m here to write, and read, connect with others, and experience life in all of its ups and downs. I’m here to write about love, and darkness, and humanity in all of its complexity; and most importantly, I’m here to use my own experiences to help other people, to show people that their struggles do not determine their capabilities as human beings.
And lastly, I developed an keen interest in something that I didn’t think would be my thing: politics. My experience kept me accountable on my own growth, and pushes me constantly me to do better for my community and use my voice to speak up on important issues. I made quite a few mistakes, and learnt a lot along the way. But it also helped renew a sense of community that I haven’t felt in a long time, and I’ve met quite a few interesting and cool people (who I am very grateful for)!
I hope that I can use my voice and words to do better in 2022!
That’s it from my end – wishing you all a better and more gentle 2022. However you are celebrating (or not celebrating) the New Year, I hope you are safe and sound.
Did you learn anything about yourself in 2021? What were you grateful for?
Written by: Alexia DeBono
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