2018, Here We Come…

It’s the final couple hours of 2017. I’m finishing fighting a cold I’ve had all of December. Partially because of that I have decided to skip the festivities and parties with friends and stay indoors with my two (very adorable) cats. I made Thai pineapple chicken curry with extra spice to help kick my cold in the butt. And of course am drinking champagne because it’s great to pairing with spice and obviously… it’s new year’s eve. My champagne is in a specially labeled 2017 glass which I acquired for last year’s new year’s celebration. I have a 2018 glass ready and anxiously awaiting midnight for me to switch to.

I sit on my couch, cats quietly snoozing near by (periodically sneaking onto my lap), (electric) fire blazing, Christmas decorations still up, and (finally) watching Dollhouse for my first time. I can’t help but reflect on not just 2017 but the last two years. 2017 has been crazy, adventurous, wild, sad, joyful, and inspiring.

Two years ago on New Year’s Eve, so many things were different, yet some things are similar. I was in an unhappy marriage. I had just been sexually harassed and unconsensually (is that a real word? feels like it should be…) touched by a (now ex) coworker at a going away party. My boss, who was one of the best managers I’ve ever worked for, still one of my favorite people, one of the few I had confided in about my harassment, had recently announced she was leaving for a new job. I was fighting a cold like I am again now, as was my husband at the time. Canceled New Year’s Day plans of going for the traditional 5 mile Hangover Handicap run followed by jumping in Lake Coeur d’Alene for the Polar Bear Plunge. Both seemed like questionable ideas with a cold. This year again those plans got canceled.

The clock struck 12 and my ex-husband soon fell asleep on the couch, from too much champagne, and from pretending we were still in college versus the reality of being in our early 30’s and struggling to make it to midnight on a normal night. I spent the next hour or so past midnight finishing the movie we had started, strategizing how to handle my beloved boss’s departure, and crying my eyes out from feeling totally alone in handling the sexual harassment I had experienced. I didn’t even tell my ex-husband about the harassment until New Year’s Day, a couple weeks after it had occured… and all I’ll say is I received less than a supportive reaction.

What I find interesting about this story is not the sadness that surrounds it. But the triggering impact it ultimately had. Two years later, the hindsight is pretty clear how important this moment was. While it was happening, it felt devastating. Now I see how it strengthened me. Emboldened me. I realized how important it was for me to take care of and protect myself. It sparked my power. This moment ultimately helped me have the courage to get a divorce, to speak up at work and in my personal life about things I didn’t agree with, to get involved in activism to make my voice bigger, to stand up stronger for women in tech, for minorities, for the rights of my friends, family, and everyone. To make a difference.

Since this moment two years ago, I did get divorced, moved back to Washington state, started removing toxic people from my life, stopped caring about what people think about my opinion, stopped fearing my opinion being known, I have embraced my new wonderful life of being single with cats and being a feminist activist. My life is full of love, joy, friends, family, volunteering, giving back, and a fulfilling career that allows me to be as independent as I wish to be.

2017 may have been full of a lot of awful things, but there was enough good things like the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement to give me hope and strength for 2018. All we need to do is… persist.

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