I am usually not one to share my thoughts about the closing of a year because I am so vocal about what I have been thinking throughout the year, that there is no point in repeating myself. However, this year was such a shit show in our political realm, I wanted to end the year on some things that I am looking forward to. 1. The things that I can control – Often I feel helpless and like my small voice has no say in the greater society. As a woman, I can say that this year has been particularly difficult seeing men who have been accused of sexual assault and other deplorable acts seemingly get away with it, and not only that, but reach high seats of esteem. Often this year I wanted to give up. But I have some hope knowing that Maxine Waters will be chair of the house financial services committee and perhaps pull in the reigns that the previous GOP leaders let go. But beyond our political landscape, I am looking forward to personal projects that I have been toiling over this past year. Starting in January, I will be holding monthly writing seminars through July and ending the year with writing workshops. I hope that the few who have already, and will, sign up, will be future voices that will be able to carve some space into the moral conscience that needs so much help in our world today. We need more voices to cast light upon injustices often ignored by the general public. I can do my part and share my advice as a writer to fellow writers who are trying to make a difference. Giving a voice to the voiceless has been one of my goals since joining my MA/MFA program, and I am looking forward to helping myself and others make their voice stronger. 2. How I communicate my beliefs to those close to me - Those who know me personally know that I have strong, and often immobile, sense of what is just. This past Thanksgiving, I spent the evening with my best friend and her family. My best friend’s cousin, who happens to be an only child, was finding it difficult to trust the people around the table while playing a game of Left-Right-Center. When one of the di fell to the ground by my feet, I retrieved the fallen piece in its upright and landed position. The cousin proceeded to declare that she did not believe me. My best-friend jumped in and in a stern but calm voice told her cousin that she had known me for seventeen years and has not known of any instance of me cheating, ever. My sense of fairness runs deep. However, in being so fair, I have made for some uncomfortable moments. Now, if you read my previous blog, you might be saying but isn’t that your whole thing? Well yes and no. I am definitely still going to hold my friends, family, and others accountable to their words and actions, but there is a way to do it, and I have not been the most sensitive when it comes to this. You cannot win over people, or even have them consider your argument, if you yell at them—which sis usually the route I go. I feel like this year has been a year of anger and frustration, but I think this is the moment when that anger and frustration needs to be appropriately channeled and communicated effectively; otherwise it will be another year of turning blue in the face with no real progress in the end. 3. Learning about other PoC – Since being in the realm of social justice, it is easy to see how injustices have affected my community, and you can get tunnel vision to your particular cause. The situation that is still happening at our southern border is enough to make me want to stay in bed. And I have tried to be more inclusive in my efforts by advocating for Black and LGBTQI rights. But there are other groups that I have to educate myself on and not forget are suffering also. Most recently I began following indigenous people on my social media. Those who I would suggest following today would be @misscorinne86, @lilnativeboy and @dallasgoldtooth. I am a benefactor of the European colonizers who came and nearly eradicated these people because of my light skin, but I recognize this and will try in any way that I can to bring up the voices from these communities. A part of being an ally is to elevate and help those you are trying to help, not stand in their spotlight and be a mouthpiece for them. So, I want to be a better ally to other communities this coming year too. I don’t want to think of these as any type of resolution or commitment in the new year. These are things that I have come to learn in another year of being on this earth. It is nothing new learned or anything revelatory in the whole of humanity, but they are things that I have picked up along the way of trying to leave this place better than when I found it. And that’s all I am trying to do with my time here.