As the ball was dropping on New Year’s Eve, I had one hope for 2018: Please be better than 2017. It seems like everybody had a terrible year, and I was including myself in that. Sure: Last year did have some great moments, but some events and situations had me so grateful for 2017’s demise.
In truth, I had been putting off writing this post because I really didn’t want to take a stroll through 2017. But I am oh so glad that I did because it turns out that I had a bang-up year. A huge smile crept across my face as I was scrolling through photos on my phone. ‘This couldn’t have happened last year,’ I thought to myself. But the timestamps can’t lie.
Was I really putting this much stock in what I perceived as all of the negatives that came along with 2017? Indeed, I had been. ‘For 2018, I can’t let this happen again,’ I demanded of myself. So to help make sure I don’t forget how good 2017 had been to me, here’s a list of the things I loved about the year.
Entertainment Weekly’s A-List Listening Party with Kelly Clarkson
I remember it clearly: I was not having a great week, and as I scrolled through my inbox I found an e-mail from Entertainment Weekly inviting me to an exclusive listening party with Kelly Clarkson herself. I love Kelly and have followed her career for years, and had just told my boyfriend over the summer that I want to see her in concert. While the event didn’t include a live performance, the interview was way more enjoyable to me. I felt empowered and rejuvenated afterwards. Kelly’s confident, sexy, and that night her words made me feel the same way about myself. It’s like the universe knew what I needed and delivered it to me.
Virtual Reality, rollercoasters, and get togethers
I am so grateful for my friends and the experiences we shared together throughout the year. One of my favorite days of 2017 was when Andy & I went to Six Flags to celebrate our friend’s birthday with her and her family. We also celebrated another birthday at this really cool place dedicated to Virtual Reality gaming – I had never truly experienced VR so I had a blast. And towards the beginning of summer, a few of us headed to Coney Island for some rides and time on the boardwalk. I remember it was uncharacteristically cold so we were all freezing but it didn’t keep us from having fun.
2017’s Pride was a little different because it was my first time celebrating without Andy since we met. I can be introverted and shy, so I was worried that I might be standoffish, but I ended up having the best time. I met up with a close friend and a group of his friends on the day of the march and we wandered about at the festival before heading to the march. You may have noticed us screaming like lunatics vying equally for the attention of notable people marching (such as the fabulous drag performer, Peppermint) as well as every adorable pup that passed us by. It was also nice because I was able to bond with one of one of the people in the group (we’d met loads of times but hadn’t really had an actual conversation before). She’s also a designer and shares my undying love for all things canine, so it was great making a new friend. Pride will always be important to me, for obvious reasons but also because it’s when Andy and I decided to be each other’s heartmate. Pride really brings everyone together and I’m always in awe of how much happiness and love it brings.
If you follow me on social media, you may not have even realized that I went to Comic Con this year (my first time since high school!) – and there is a reason for it. At some point, I had found out that Doctor Who’s Billie Piper would be attending and would be giving out autographs and taking photos. I love her (I started watching the series from the reboot which she starred in), but my dad absolutely adores her. I knew what I had to do! Andy and I were able to get our photo taken with her and got two autographs – one for us, and one for my dear dad. She was so sweet, and I wasn’t nervous and tripping over my words trying to talk to her at all. Nope, not me!
Other crowning moments were the Twisted Toonz show we attended: A group of famous voice actors (essentially the voices of our childhood) read through movies in a much less child-appropriate way. For us, they performed Ghostbusters which you can see here but I definitely recommend catching a show yourself when you can. We also took the opportunity to purchase entirely too much art that we still have not framed and hung up. That is one of my goals for 2018 – hang up the abundance of artwork we own. But overall? I’m not convinced I loved the entire event. It just felt so cramped and chaotic (I’m not the biggest fan of crowds), and between starting the day and ending it was just a whirlwind.
I had no idea what to expect out of DragCon, but I was so unbelievably excited and we had purchased tickets for the full weekend! There’s a few things that I didn’t get to do (meet RuPaul, attend Uhhhh! Live, meet Ross Mathews), but there was so much to do and I have absolutely no regrets. One of the highlights of the weekend was definitely getting to meet one of the judges of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Michelle Visage. I admire her: She has worked hard for all that she has, she’s passionate about her work on the show, and let’s be honest – she should have won CBB15. The line to meet her was really long, but once it’s your turn she seriously made it feel as if she was there to see just you. Andy & I took a photo with her and she signed my copy of her book. I also was able to attend some interesting panels, including a look into the judge’s panel, and purchase entirely too much merchandise.
I had wanted so badly to pre-order Nintendo’s newest console, the Switch, but was persuaded to hold off on purchasing it (for a little while). It immediately sold out, and I was itching like crazy knowing I wouldn’t be one of the first to buy one. By the end of the month, I was somehow able to snag one that BestBuy had available online and I the addiction was immediate. I could not put down Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – even to go to sleep. To give you an idea: Only now is Andy really able to start majorly exploring the game on his account. Since BOTW, I’ve added Snipperclips, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, and Super Mario Odyssey to my collection. We actually just bought Super Mario Odyssey right after Christmas and the rest of our Christmas vacation was spent alternating between playing it in co-op mode and watching iJustine videos on YouTube.
Speaking of YouTube, it’s sort of become a haven for us both this year. After dinner if we aren’t quite ready to go to clean up for the night and go to sleep but aren’t down for watching another show on TV, we’ll just turn on YouTube for “a few minutes” which inevitably turns into hours. I’ve really enjoyed it, because it’s something so simple, but it has brought such laughter and joy into our lives. We started out watching The Try Guys/BuzzFeed videos, The Ellen DeGeneres Show clips, Joe Santagato (who we’ve nicknamed SantaCat), Miss Coco Peru, Jenna Marbles, and iJustine. Those last three in particular, especially iJustine, have honestly made 2017 that much brighter for us. Everyone could always use more laughter in their day.
Drag Queens of Comedy
Andy has always liked Miss Coco Peru, but something about her irked me (mostly because I absolutely hate bob-style haircuts). I never wanted to give her a chance (much to Andy’s dismay) but a video of hers popped up on one of our feeds some night and we just let the video play – and I fell in love. Have you ever heard of a “spirit animal?” Because either Coco is mine or I’m hers. Because of her, I have a mild addiction to Tension Tamer tea, can’t stop saying “that bothers me,” and am always searching for next video on YouTube. So imagine how excited I got when I saw that there were tickets available to see her in The Drag Queens of Comedy show. I either knew of or was already a fan of the majority of the queens performing, so it was a no-brainer. The show was such a blast, and I’d definitely go again. It was also great to see Jackie Beat since she’s an occasional guest of my favorite podcast, Straight Talk with Ross Mathews.
My aunt and uncle had planned a vacation in Harwich Port, Cape Cod in the summer and invited my family. My brother and his fiancé were busy planning their upcoming wedding but my parents, Andy and I took them up on the offer and it was one of the best parts of the year. There was no wifi, so it was nice to be unplugged and spend the time together chatting and playing board games at night. During the days, we explored the nearby beach and restaurants in the area (we fell in love with Bonatt’s Bakery & Restaurant for their breakfast and famous meltaways). My dad, Andy, and I went on a whale watching tour and we were absolutely shocked that we actually got to see whales (and dolphins!). It was so much fun, and I cannot wait to go again. Andy and I also begged that we make the drive to Provincetown and explore the gay destination (even though it was off-peak). It was beautiful, and there was still so much to explore – including all of the shops. I really want to grab a bunch of my friends and just go again this summer, maybe rent a house or something.
In October, we all headed to Salem, Massachusetts for my brother’s wedding. The ceremony and reception were held at The Hawthorne Hotel (which is haunted but unfortunately we didn’t feel any ~presences~ during the trip), which was wonderful and in the middle of so much tourist attractions. It was peak season, being so close to Halloween, and so there was so much to do in the few days before the actual wedding. I loved being able to just wander around the town exploring the different dining options, shops, and tourist experiences – and bumping into family (and family-to-be) along the way! Don’t get me wrong – I was so unbelievably nervous the closer it go to the wedding day because I was Best Man and it was for the most part my first wedding. I didn’t get to really relax until after I gave my speech at the reception, which I think went over well. My brother’s wife had already felt like a big sister to me for quite some time, but spending the rest of the autumn and winter holidays with her as my official big sister was really sweet.
So, after reminiscing about all that had come with 2017 it was clear to me that it wasn’t a terrible year like I had originally thought. It was one of the best I’ve ever had! While there will always be negatives and bad things that happen in your life, please don’t let them consume you. There are definitely going to be a lot of changes I’ll be making to my life this year. For one, I want 2017 me to have set the bar: I want spend way more time with my family and friends. Surround yourself with love and joy and the rest should just melt away. Bring it on, 2018!