2016 – the year that almost is.

2016 is almost done and in the tradition of the previous four years (or maybe three) I’ve decided to revisit this blog space, a space that I have almost abandoned, and write a yearly review.

As some of you will remember, 2015 was a shit storm and I was pretty glad for it to be over. The year ended in a paddock, as it usually does for me, watching a live band hammer guitars and scream into microphones. I stood with two good friends, a stark contrast from the previous year where I’d bailed on the festivities and returned to my campsite almost defiant in my desire to fall asleep before the new year arrived.

I’ve always believed that the way you start a year is a good indication of how that year will flow. So it’s fitting that 2015 was crap, given my desire to be an island at the start, and also fitting that 2016 was fantastic.

2016 has been a year of experiences for me. Throughout 2014 and 2015 I was a very single person. I think I went on a few dates in those years, had a number of forced conversations across the dinner table, but for the most part I was alone.

Sometime in late 2015 I wrote an exasperated email to a good friend bemoaning my relationship status. Living away from ‘home’ and removing myself from my circle of friends had made me realise just how solo I was, and I was determined to change things around.

So to hell with it, I thought, I’m going to put in THE MOST effort to not fly solo and I did. Through this experience I learned that throwing yourself into a cyclone of first dates, short term relationships and long term dalliances may not be the best way to go, but it is a way nonetheless. I learned so much about myself, other people, and what I’m like in relationships. I learned that sometimes a fling is just the thing you need. I learned that no matter how much you openly adore a person, they still have the ability to treat you like crap and will do so if you let them. I learned the importance of space, the importance of trusting your intuition and the importance of respecting what you feel you need in a relationship. I learned about me. In this year of dating I’ve felt my best and my worst and I wouldn’t trade one second of the whole experience.

2016 was also the year of permanent employment, a thing I had found challenging to find since arriving in Tasmania the previous year. Sometime in February I had an interview with a small advocacy organisation that works to improve the Tasmanian experience for minorities who live in the state. It’s a field I’m actually interested in and taps into my skills. I was nervous in the interview, which was a three person panel, firing questions one after the other. I thought I’d bombed and went home feeling pretty uncertain but within a few days I received a call back asking me to take the job. It was such a great moment. In 2015 it had been impossible to secure work in things I didn’t even like. 2016 changed all of that. My job is stressful and pays peanuts, but it’s also flexible and inspiring, so you take the good with the bad. Doing this job has enabled me to continue to work in festivals, be on radio and work on a project with one of my closest friends. A little project called The Pin.

The Pin is an energy sucking, money draining, stress inducing website that I love. It’s amazing to craft something real from an idea that was hatched on my lounge room floor sometime late 2015, which has gone on to feature some amazing musicians, artists, scientists, and people who have something to say about multiculturalism in Australia. As a mixed race kid, I’ve had experiences that have made me question how Australian I really am. Not just this, but also how seriously I am taken, how I am perceived by the world and in consequence how I perceive myself. Until I started The Pin with my good friend Nkechi, I hadn’t realised just how oppressive questioning your own national identity really is. But it’s so real, and complicated, and important. The Pin starts conversations we just don’t usually have, and they’re conversations we need to have as Australians and individuals. We reach out to people and in return they often share personal stories that have gone on to positively impact the lives of so many people. It’s so special to me and I hope it can continue for a long time, no matter how laborious it can at times seem.

So this is my 2016 in a nutshell. In the last six days of this year I will travel down the coast to Marion Bay and work at Falls Festival through till the New Year. I’ll camp with friends I’d made in the previous year, work alongside like minded people, party with them, and lament the friend we lost this year to suicide who decided life was just too overwhelming. This person was loved dearly by so many people, and is a reminder to me that no matter how scary life is – it is important to breath deeply and reach out to the people who care about you, because there are more people who care than you could ever know. I think about this person often, I sometimes say their name aloud and friends have said they do the same. A number of times this year I have found myself staring up at the night sky on a chilly Hobart night saying her name to the stars, wishing things were different and that my return to Falls Festival would mean seeing her face and saying her name in person. Of course this will never happen, and the only piece of optimism I can find is that Eloise was truly a person who would want her friends and family to celebrate every damn moment of being alive.

I hope 2017 is a year filled with challenges myself and all I know can overcome, successes, happiness, laughter, and goodness. I hope we learn, and that we grow as people. I hope we love without abandon, and know how to pick up the pieces if need be.

I hope and continue to do so.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

xx Lu

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