2011 has been a good year. Wait, did I say good? Strike that. What I meant to say was 2011 has been an excellent year. I remember very clearly how it began. I had just gotten home from work, New Year’s Eve 2010. I was not at all sad to see that old year go… truth be told, it had been an utter bitch. Quite possibly the worst 12 month span of my entire life. But that’s neither here nor there. At any rate… I trudged up the stairs after making the two plus mile hike home from work, as after the second car accident in as many months, I was once again without a vehicle. I was cold. Neigh, freezing. It was frigid out, snowing in fact. As usual, I wasn’t wearing anything more substantial than a hoodie (A purple one with a lovely zombie on the back of it, if you must know). I slung my laptop bag from my shoulder, flounced down on the couch and watched my cat chasing big fluffy snowflakes from her window perch. Where was I going? What direction should I head in? Did I even know what I wanted out of life? I felt spent. Aimless. I sighed and got up. I was hungry, so I should probably make some dinner, or at the very least feed the cat. I went to the kitchen and hung the new Whole Foods calendar I’d gotten from work that day up on the side of the fridge, flipping through the pages and wondering what the new year would bring. Could I really make it here all on my own? Here it was, New Year’s Eve and I was all by my lonesome, cold and tired and truth be told, a little scared. So much of what lie just around the corner was unfathomable to me at that point. I had yet to attempt my first zombie makeup. I hadn’t written a single word in ages. I hadn’t really done much of anything other than buy a plane ticket on impulse on Expedia’s Black Friday sale. I chewed my lower lip, pausing over the sink while rinsing out the empty cat food can before tossing it in with the rest of the recycling. I probably should’ve been paying more attention to what I was doing. I was startled out of my reverie by a jolt of pain. I had cut my finger on the lip of the Fancy Feast® and the cut was actually pretty deep. It might even need stitches. I swallowed, hard, and ran my hand under the cold water running from the tap, watching as the reddish orangey swirls of my blood danced down the drain. I didn’t really know anyone here. My landlords were still on vacation. I didn’t have a car, let alone know where the nearest hospital was. I pulled my finger out of the flow of the faucet and stuck it in my mouth, tears running down my cheeks. What the hell was I thinking? I couldn’t do this. How could I survive with no one? No friends, no family, just me and a vaguely evil cat against a world that seemed cold and dark and cruel, full of ghosts and regret. All at once it just built to a crescendo and I yanked my bleeding finger free of my mouth and slammed my fist into the cabinet over the sink, splattering a big arc of bright blood, which dripped and dropped its way back down into the metal basin. I wailed, knowing no one was around to hear me, and sobbed my loneliness and frustration and bitter despair into the dim light of my darkening kitchen. My hand hurt. The bleeding hadn’t stopped or even slowed. What if I was anemic again? What if it wouldn’t stop all on its own? I stood there, crying and bleeding and wishing things could be different… and then I picked my head up. I was being ridiculous. Selfish and stupid and ineffectual at best. If I wanted a life, friends, someone to come home to who didn’t walk on all fours and steal all my lip balm, it was up to ME to make it happen. I may have lost almost everything, but I had gained something as well, something I’d never really had before – My freedom. The freedom to do what I wanted, say what I wanted, BE what I wanted. There was nothing there to stop me from reaching for my dreams, becoming someone I could be proud of, making my life into whatever I wanted it to be. So I calmed the fuck down, smeared some aquaphor on my cut and wrapped it in an old pink dishtowel and set to work deciding exactly what it was I wanted for myself. I ordered some chinese (rangoons are one of my weaknesses) and began to plot out a course for my destiny. The fortune contained in the cookie that came along with my meal read “All the water in the world cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside.” I liked that. I found it appropriate. I saved that fortune and it sits on the upper edge of my keyboard at work to this very day. That night, sitting in my living room, hand all wrapped up like a pretty pink mummy, I made one of the most positive, impactful decisions I’ve ever made – I decided to live my life for me, no more compromising, no more settling, no more doing what I thought other people wanted me to do, I was in it for myself. I curled up on the brown rug with my chinese food and had a good long talk with myself. I was yet weeks away from *thunder* *lightening* THE WORST AFTERNOON EVER! *glass breaking* *baby crying* , yet another formative event in the Year Of The Zombie, but I was off to a good start. I finally had my feet underneath me, my head on straight, and my eyes opened wide. I was ready to greet whatever was going to come my way in 2011 with open arms… and perhaps concealed weapons, if the case warranted. But whatever I was to face, I wasn’t going to do it passively. I was going to fight. I was going to claw, tooth, and nail, and by gosh and by golly, I was going to win.
2011 brought so much into my life. In January I used that plane ticket I mentioned earlier and took a trip to Seattle, my first ever solo vacation. In early February there was that afore mentioned WORST AFTERNOON EVER, an afternoon that found me locked out of both my apartment and my car, digging my car out of almost a foot of snow coated in a half inch layer of ice like an evil insectoid exoskeleton, and finally getting so cold, frustrated, and frostbitten that I sat my ass down right there on the driveway and signed up for Twitter on my new Droid Smart Phone just so I could have someone to rant to… That Twitter account (Which is quite possibly how you yourself stumbled onto this very blogpost, dear reader) ended up being an incredibly positive thing for me. I made many new friends via twitter. I learned a lot about the world around me and the people that populated it. I tweeted pictures of my food, my many injuries, and eventually my zombie make up, sharing them with the world. Also in February, I decided to get back into the dating world, though it would be six months of bad dates, horror stories, and awkward conversations before I’d find someone fantastic. In March I did my first ever zombie make up, which you can see pictures of on my flickr.
In April I met Chris Hardwick at his Boston show, and as a result met several awesome new friends including Kristin and Heather (We are the Three Musketeers, but with nerdiness and boobs). In May I participated in my first ever zombie walk and had a blast, lurching and staggering down Boston’s Newbury Street with thousands of other undead. In June I began to write again in earnest and, in fact, I started this blog. In July I met some of my idols, my very favorite authors, Brian Keene and JF Gonzalez among them. In August I met my boyfriend, who not only makes me ridiculously happy, but he also edits, proof reads, and critiques my work, which is invaluable, really. In September I received my very first acceptance letter, as well as meeting Ken Foree and Tom Monteleone at Horrorfind Weekend (during which I also got to hang out with some of my awesome PA Friends and get complimented on my costumes by none other than Bill Freaking Mosely). In October I turned 28, the absolute hands down best birthday I have ever had. In November I got another acceptance letter. In December I held copies of my very first printed work in my hands and celebrated my first Christmas with my boyfriend. So, yes, it has been a busy, awesome, crazy, fantastic, wonderful year. As many fantastic and awesome people as I met, the most important one I got to know was myself, and I do kind of rock, if I may say so myself. I am looking forward to 2012, eager to see what it will bring, what surprises, smiles, challenges, triumphs, goals, and accomplishments it has in store. What did 2011 bring you?