202231 December 2022
2022 is (almost) officially over. It's not the year I anticipated, but it's definitely the year I needed. Whilst the first half was rife with upset and sickness, it allowed me to see what I needed to prioritise for the rest of the year.
In the beginning of the year I was still working for notable news organisation that largely concerns itself with capitalism, but, I was absolutely miserable. A grown man should not be being bullied by another grown man, nor experiencing constant burnout due to team and company discordance. So... I quit! For the first time since I taught myself to code over seven years ago, I decided to take a break. What was supposed to be three months turned into seven months of unemployment and recovery from pretty severe burnout.
I went back to work in November and I decided that I wasn't going to do a five day work week any more. For a pay cut I now work for a very small and so far lovely company, Monday to Thursday. I've only been there six weeks, but I feel like there is a lot of space for happiness and personal growth.
During my burnout recovery, after a lot of sleeping and video gaming, I started to dabble in Pixel Art. I got fairly good quite quickly, and it's a really long and enjoyable process to make such small pieces of art.
Unfortunately, after May I stopped doing art due to some relationship discord that I'll talk about next. I'm very keen to start back up again in the new year by teaching myself to draw.
May saw the abrupt end to my almost three year relationship. We weren't happy, but as I was at the time also recovering from aforementioned burnout, it shook my world very intensely. It wasn't expected but I say it's the best gift my ex-girlfriend (now best friend) ever gave to me. Because I learned very quickly that my world wasn't ending, I was going to be fine.
A few years ago I had tried polyamory and it did not go well. I thought I didn't like it, it was my fault or polyamory as a concept was just flawed and bad. However, in July, I met someone very special who was polyamorous and seeing how well and ethically they practised it, decided to give it another shot. I've been in a very loving relationship with that person ever since and I feel genuinely secure, happy and healthy with her. I also started a second relationship with a woman who is also bringing me a lot of happiness and I'm looking forward to seeing how that develops in the new year.
I am very grateful to my ex, and my two current partners, for teaching me a lot about myself in a short space of time.
I made a lot of progress in Therapy this year. Going through multiple upsetting incidents throughout the year (burnout, breakup, stalking, harassment, appearing in BuzzFeed) gave me many opportunities to work on coping mechanisms and also, weirdly, adopt a more positive attitude. My therapist would agree that I'm really excelling as a person and with my mental health, she's even remarked about how quickly I seem to be genuinely recovering from major incidents. I hate myself a lot less, which is really a great review for my therapist.
Gender is... annoying. I officially started identifying as a trans guy and using he/him pronouns rather than as a genderless they/them. However, it's only recently I started feeling like a man some of the time thanks to the love and support of my current partners. It's validating to see how they perceive me. I've a long way to go as I really don't feel like a man at all most of the time, but I also don't feel like a woman, so that's good. Topics of top surgery and hormone replacement therapy have swirled in my head but honestly, I'm not at a place where I want to tackle that in depth just yet.
When my ex and I broke up in May I was immediately hit by loneliness and the realisation that thanks to remote working, illness and the still ongoing pandemic: I had very few friends and no community. So, in true James fashion I smashed my way into a queer gaming community and started attending online and in person events with them. I was very nervous but I made a good impression and made some very good friends, it's also how I met one of my girlfriends!
After being permanently banned from Twitter (an erroneous action that was later reversed), I realised that I need to build a community of people outside of the one social media website I'd been using for 14 years. I now run a private discord for cool people I like and I think it quickly became a safe space for many. I also joined a few other discords and that's also how I met my (first?) current partner. When Twitter removed my community, I was distraught. More than my breakup. It's been a lifeline for this short king autistic queer trans guy and that really just wasn't healthy in the end. I needed to diversify. It turned out to be perfect timing as we all know how Twitter is doing now...
I moved over from Twitter to Mastodon, almost completely. I'd tried Mastodon a couple times before but each time it didn't reach critical mass and I didn't want to be somewhere none of my other friends were. This time has been much different. I've made a community, co-admin an instance with my partner and have a lot of good interactions.
I have however been privy to just how white and "liberal" it is, where a lot of it's residents live in echo chambers and wilfully ignore the racism, transphobia and other harassment people receive over there. I've "gone viral" twice over there, the first one resulting in a many white lefties sending me abuse, the second resulting in a huge amount of death threats and calls for me to kill myself just because I was trans. I note this not because it's different from Twitter, but it's more obvious and more ignored by the community that's supposed to be supportive of us. I'll write about that at a later date once I'm in the head-space to trawl back through a very demoralising few weeks.
All in all, I think 2022 was looking like an awful year. It turned out to be excellent and I'm probably the happiest I've ever been. There's a lot of self improvement still to do, but that never stops. I've learned that I am powerful and can handle anything. As I write this I'm coming to the end of my first bout of covid and am still in reasonable spirits, something that you couldn't convince me would be true three years ago when I was manically frightened of Covid and thought I'd still be unvaccinated and locked down even now.
Thanks 2022, but I'm hoping for an even better 2023.