2016 was a waterfall and earthquake; it was every wake-up call I needed, and every growing pain I tried to smile through.
2016; the year I said goodbye to Abuela Carmita; to a whitewashed view of Justice; to a closet (publicly); and to silence (both internally and otherwise).
This year I marched to say #BlackLivesMatter - not because "all lives" don't - but because when there is specific pain (within yourself, your community, or your neighbor), you either tend to it or get infected.
This year, I spoke up; cried; planned a vigil and read 49 names of people who died in a particular nightclub, just like the one I was in that night.
This year I celebrated; becoming a Tía again, seeing my nephews grow, and relearning the complexities and compassion of family.
This year, I left nonprofit communications, moved to direct service social work, and then I felt a call elsewhere, and answered.
I saw new friendships emerge (like whack-a-mole's) out of the dust, aka the way God likes to work. I said hello to crushes and heart-rushes, and said abrupt goodbye's. I learned my heart is a parachute and loves the fall (though it's still trying to master the land, without injury).
This year was many things. And now, I see the slow orange/pink of a sunrise coming. I see reaffirmed passion. I see boldness. And I see people and opportunities I could've never expected.
2017: You may only be a symbol for new things, but I see so many sprouting up; I see the warmth of your arms extending to me. And I don't want to smile too expectantly, but what can I say? I welcome this embrace, and I relish the chance to meet you, today, for the very first time.