The difference four years can make

Today, I woke up with a dog snuggled as close to my back as she could be without being on top of me and a husband scrolling on his phone for the morning news, memes, whatnot. As soon as it was remotely evident I might have been awake, the dog began army crawling on top of my chest and looked down at me with admiration and adoration.

Four years ago today, I woke up alone in a hotel room in Birmingham, Alabama. I packed my suitcase while I cried. I made plans with my colleagues to meet in the lobby. It was a very different time.

Today, I cried. I cried with relief, joy, hope, and deep sadness for all we’ve lost. I cried with pride as Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first woman vice president, the first Asian vice president, the first Black vice president of the United States of America. And I cried with relief as President Joe Biden was sworn in as President.

Four years ago, I cried. I cried with fear, loathing, concern, and deep sadness for what could happen. Some of my worst fears were realized over those four years, but some, thankfully, did not come to fruition.

Today, I sat in pajamas in my home — my fortress — the place I’ve spent the majority of the last 10 months and watched Joe Biden swear in as the president of the United States of America.

“If you can’t fly then run; if you can’t run then walk; if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Four years ago, I stood in front of a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I walked past the 16th Street Baptist Church. And I walked into the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum.

Today, I will not go anywhere or see anything outside the four sides of my house. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and there are no museums or points of interest drawing me in. The inauguration is populated by more National Guard and security personnel than guests of the Capitol.

Four years ago, I dressed in business casual and walked a few blocks to the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum with my co-workers as Donald Trump was sworn in as the president. I spent hours poring over the exhibits, reading and watching speeches of people fighting for equal rights in the 50s and 60s.

Today, I changed my Facebook profile photo to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the first Black and Asian woman vice president. I changed my cover photo to the incoming first family.

Four years ago, I changed my Facebook profile photo to Barack Obama, the first Black president, and Joe Biden.

Today, I am relieved. We have a lot of work to do. We must continue to hold our elected officials responsible and ensure that they work for us. But today, we celebrate.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Stop saying 2016 was the worst year ever

No, seriously. Get the fuck over it. That goes for any year. Every day, week, month, and year has its ups and downs. Every single one. Sure we may have elected well…you know. Sure you may have been sick. Or someone may have died. Maybe even a brilliant musical artist or actor. Or someone hurt your feelings, broke your heart. And it’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to say, “man, this <fill in the blank with an event or something> sucked.”

But for the love of everyone else, stop saying “this year was the worst. This year was horrible. Can this fucking year be over yet?”

No. I’m calling your ass out. Because you know what? For as much shitty bullshit that went down, a lot of happy stuff happened too. And your crappy attitude is only bringing everyone around you down.

Think about people in your life, right now.

How many of them got healthier?

How many of them got married?

Found love?

Found long-lost family?

Got pregnant or had babies?

Got their first job?

Got a better job?

Won something?

Lost weight?

Achieved a goal?

The list keeps going. And all that negative, “this is the worst year ever” naysaying probably makes those people feel pretty shitty. At least that’s what I’m getting out of it.

As someone whose highlight of the year was marrying my own personal Prince Charming, I’ve had enough.

Brilliant, talented celebrities die every year. It sucks, but that does not the worst year ever make.

Shitty stuff happens to individuals, who may personally be experiencing their worst year, but a large percent of the people who are saying it are not among those individuals.

A narcissistic professional bullshitter was elected as president, but you know what? He’s not the president right now. Barack Obama is. And we have a few more weeks to revel in that.

None of that is part of the recipe for the worst year ever.

Our world has survived some pretty awful times. The Holocaust? World War I? World War II? The bubonic plague? The Great Depression? Come the fuck on, people.

Take a look at some of the good things that HAVE come out of this year. I promise it wasn’t all bad. And if it really was 100% terrible, think about how you can take charge of the last couple days of 2016, and find joy for the love of all things. Find joy. And continue that into next year.

Unemployment is down. People are working. People are getting married, making babies, taking control of their health and their lives. They’re finding love. They’re believing in magic. To quote one of my favorite holiday movies, “If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

So open your eyes.

Volunteer your time to help people and organizations. Donate money to causes you believe in. Do something to improve your own life. Just stop bitching about this year, already.

Let’s drink from the glass that’s full, alright?

raising a glass at the head table at our wedding

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!