Monday Notes: 2021 Year in Review

Sometimes, I feel as if I haven’t done anything. It might sound irrational, but it’s true. I stood in the middle of my room a few weeks ago and wondered what I’d really accomplished this year. It sounds like this: What have you done? Can’t you do more? So what you published a book? This happens frequently. I know where these “not good enough” thoughts come from, but I won’t be sharing root causes today. I mean…if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, then more than likely you can fill in the blanks.

Instead, I compiled a list. Initially, the point of the list was for me to see how ridiculous my “not good enough” thoughts were. It was supposed to be like a tangible pep talk for myself. But then I figured you may want to read one of these essays, too. So, here goes:

Stories of Sport: Critical Literacy in Media Production, Consumption, and Dissemination

The year began with a publication with my colleagues. Aside from being proud of myself for leading this project, it shows the both/and space in which I’ve begun to live. I can be both a scholar and a personal blogger. I don’t have to choose.

There’s Strength in Softness

Life continued with one of my proudest essays. I’d been thinking about generational patterns, how we oftentimes unknowingly pass on ways of living that don’t suit our children. What are the effects of passing down generational patterns? How does it affect the child as an adult, who then becomes a parent? This was the purpose of There’s Strength in Softness.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: I’m Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope

Shortly after, my essay Good Enough (that’s ironic, huh?) was published in the well-known Chicken Soup for the Soul (CSS) series. To be honest, I didn’t think anything about it at first, mainly because publishing my feelings about being an Affirmative Action hire in a special edition of Black women writers actually showed what I was saying (another irony). But then, a blogger friend, Shira D. tweeted “Thank you for speaking for us all.” And boy, did that shift my thinking. I really hadn’t even thought about it that way. The CSS franchise has only had a special edition of Black women writers once before, twenty-five years or so ago. Being selected as one of 101 writers is a big deal.

Pro-Choice: What Being It Actually Means

If you’ve been following me for a while, then you probably remember reading a piece I wrote a couple years ago called What it Actually Means to be Pro-Choice. It was first published by PULPMag, which not only advocates for reproductive rights, but also freedom of sexuality, in general. I was excited when my blogger friend, da-AL wanted to re-publish it this year, especially given the current conversation and actions on abortion rights.

5 Reasons Critical Media Literacy is Important in the 21st Century

I mentioned Shira D. earlier. I promised her some time ago to guest blog on Educating for Future Democracy Collaborative. Because the site is focused on democracy, and because democracy in the United States seems to be quickly waning, I thought it would be appropriate to write about the role critical media literacy can play in the twenty-first century.

2021 (the year of the ox) is my Chinese New Year!

What is Happiness?

Do you follow the hot goddess? If not, why? How can you not follow someone who is a self-proclaimed HOT goddess? Anywho, she asked me to answer one question: What is happiness? My and others’ answers can be found on her blog.

Oh, and I started another blog focused on all things menopause (and midlife). Aside from myself, several contributing authors have shared their own journeys with this global community. If I haven’t said it before, thank you to those of you who’ve written for the site in its inaugural year, and thanks to those of you who have liked, subscribed, followed, or shared something from it.

Spotlight on Menopause Advocate: K. E. Garland

Keisha over at The Real Perimeno deemed me a menopause advocate! That was surprising. But I’m here for the new title. My interview with her about Navigating the Change can be found on her site. Also, she and I will be bringing an essay contest to fruition very soon.

Lori L. Tharps invited me to be a guest on her new podcast, My Bloody Hell. After listening to a few episodes and googling who Lori is, I was more than excited. My episode aired on November 3, 2021. I can promise you a whole lot of laughing and girlfriend-type conversation about perimenopause.

Top 10 Ways Perimenopause Helped Me Get My Sh*t Together

Quite honestly, I think this was the best way to end my writing year. I went from not knowing wtf was going on with my perimenopausal body, to being able to tell you what hormone is currently affecting me and how to alleviate the shift. Tera’s invite to write a top 10 list about midlife couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

Julia Cameron said, “the antidote for shame is self-love and self-praise,” and I agree. I used to be really good at praising myself whenever I accomplished a task. Somewhere along life’s journey, I stopped. But I’m reclaiming that practice. When you do good work, you should be proud of yourself. I should be proud of myself. In 2022, I plan to be more intentional about celebrating myself when the process is complete. I know there’s a fine line between hubris, confidence, dismissiveness, and humility. But this year, I’ll be pushing those boundaries to find my own sweet spot. Strengthening my self worth has become a priority for living a full life.

What are you working on for 2022? What are you proud of from 2021?


69 thoughts on “Monday Notes: 2021 Year in Review

  1. Since this is a year in review, I’ll use this note to occasion my happy new year to you, Katherin. I’m thankful for the serendipitous chance that somehow allowed us to meet virtually in this past year. It has been a privilege to make your acquaintance, to read your fine essays, trade insights, share thoughts, and laugh with each other. I’m looking forward to continuing our friendship into 2022. Fondest and warmest regards, Jason

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Jason! I feel like I’ve known you, your wife, and the boys for years, like I can see myself asking if one of them is still wearing those cowboy boots. This makes me laugh, but I am serious. I hope you and your family have a wonderful new year!

      Like

  2. You might have wondered why I follow your blog. I have been a single dad for the last twenty years; my daughter had just recently left to ‘conquer’ the world on her own.
    Your blog does address the issues the modern women of today have to face in a pragmatic and realistic way, consequently allowing me to discuss those issues with my daughter in sensible ways, which I might have otherwise judged from the position of ignorance. So thank you again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you find value in my opinion and experiences in this world, McHapus! And I’m really pleased to hear that it helps you to connect to your daughter. That’s important. You’re welcome, and I appreciate you always reading and leaving thoughtful comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing!!… you have accomplished a lot and no doubt have more to accomplish… I just follow my heart, plan to live each day as it comes and follow my dreams and looking forward to new adventures that life puts before me… 🙂

    Have a very Happy New Year filled with love and happiness and life is all that you wish for it to be!!.. until we meet again..
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Here we have a typical case of, what we describe in German as,
    ‘she cannot see the forest because there are too many trees!’

    What do I work on?
    I cannot perceive artistic endeavours as work, because I am in that period of life where you do either nothing and watch the clouds passing by and be satisfied with that or you live out your passion with a kind of unashamed boldness for having fun! No. 1, finalise and publish my first book.
    No. 2 follow up with the next volume
    No. 3 develop the third draft for a novel, which is sleeping in my draw for the last six years (not so sure because my eyesight is giving me trouble).
    No. 4 having my final (for the above-mentioned reasons) exhibition of abstract images.
    No. 5, trying to satisfy my unrelenting sense of curiosity; read all those books that have accumulated and have so far avoided my attention.
    What I am proud of?
    The trees I have planted in recent years are finally reaching for the sky!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have that saying in the States, too, so I get it. There are a lot of trees, and I’m pretty good at ignoring the big picture, for sure 😉

      Good luck with finishing your book! That’s a huge accomplishment in and of itself.

      I’ve been thinking about that first line about “perceiving artistic endeavors as work.” It seems whether we’re retired or not, we can all either think of artistic endeavors as work or as a play or as nothing at all, I suppose. That concept would probably alleviate what is mostly self-imposed stress.

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  5. I think reminding yourself of all you have accomplished is a wonderful thing! (Aside from the fact that you accomplish more in a year than most people do in a decade.) You’re so right that we need to learn to praise ourselves and recognize our achievements….that doesn’t make us vain, it makes us secure and confident and those are good things!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL That’s always been my way of living life. My grandmother has letters from me written in undergrad where I’m listing all the things I’m about to do or have done lol

      I do think praising ourselves is super important. I think it plants the seed for whatever else we want to do/happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So I’m on vacation and I see yesterday that my WordPress blog is f**king up and it took a couple of precious supposedly relaxing days and multiple WordPress help chats… hopefully finally fixed and I feel like I can’t get hardly anything done no matter how hard I try… and now I read this. Aaaaaaahhhhh! Thanks much dear Kathy for this, your continually uplifting posts — and your generous wise guest posts for my blog. Wishing you, yours, and everyone here all goodness for 2022 ❤️💋🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds super annoying. WP can be very wonky sometimes. For example, it keeps unfollowing me from people’s blogs :-/

      You’re so very welcome about the post. It’s good to know where allies are 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You have done so much!

    Any review at the end of the year brings longing and sadness. We think that we are running out of time to do this or that if we haven’t done… this or that. I look at it this way: I will awaken after midnight:01 in the new year and take my morning walk. I will add the morning’s miles to those I accumulated last year and the year before that and the year before…

    I do this knowing that I am the continuation of many seekers who walked this earth for millions of years of which this is only one.

    Regards.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Rebecca! This did help, and I’ll be doing it more frequently. I recently listened to a podcast where a prof called it a working diary. Of course, I won’t be publishing them lol but I do think it’s useful to snap yourself/myself back to reality.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You actually achieved alot this and you should be proud of what you have done infact you should pop up the champagne and celebrate and I feel like people should make it a norm to celebrate every achievement no matter how big or small because that’s a sign of victory and more motivation to accomplish greater…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I loved reading about all your accomplishments in 2021, Katherin. It’s so interesting that I went through the same feelings you wrote about. I thought I’d languished this year, but when I checked to see the hours of meditation music I released – I was actually pleasantly surprised. (Over 10 hours!)
    It seems that we are self-critical in a way that certainly doesn’t lead to feeling accomplished!
    I’m glad I was able to share in reading your achievements in real time. Congratulations on a productive 2021 and I wish you all the best in the coming year!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would say it’s an artists’ thing, but who knows. It does seem to be very common among artists…this imposter syndrome kind of thing.

      Over 10 hours is A LOT, Judy! Thank you also for always reading everything in real time 😉 I appreciate you. Happy Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I hear you, LA! For me, the answer is yes, it does matter. The only way I wouldn’t accomplish something important to me is if I was sick or not on this earth lol Before, it was to fill a void, but now it’s more intentional, like if I’m here, then I may as well be productive (in a way I see fit).

    An in-person writing class sounds like a lot of fun!

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  11. Congratulations on such a successful and diverse year! I may not always comment, but I do appreciate your knowledge and insight into mental health, women’s health, and personal experiences.

    Wishing you nothing but success and more accomplishments in the coming new year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Felicia! No explanation required. When you tried that jackfruit taco recipe, I was like oh yeah…Felicia and I are blogging buddies lol

      Thanks also for pointing out the diversity of these. It really is a representation of who I feel like inside.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I just now read “There’s Strength in Softness” for the first time. Wow! It’s so heartbreaking, vivid, and honest. I love it. Thanks for sharing it. I relate to the “don’t grieve” message that adults pass to children. Somehow I received that message without anyone ever actually saying it. Thank goodness resources exist for us to heal as adults.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. First of all, did you change your photo, Fran??? I like it.

      Thank you for reading. It is one of my favs, and it took quite a lot (emotionally) to get it to what you read.

      You’re absolutely right about being an adult, though. That is the beauty of it all—to be able to choose a different/healthier path for oneself.

      Like

      1. Thank you, Kathy. I changed my photo after you mentioned the other one, and I had to realize how old it was!
        I can imagine it took a lot of emotional work to write your Strength in Softness essay. It’s so gratifying to write something honest, isn’t it? Kind of removing layers and rotating the “object” to look at it in different ways until it feels really truthful. Readers can see it.
        Maybe I’ll write a post about the year’s accomplishments, too! I see that many of your commenters are on board! Thanks for the inspiration.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Kathy!!! Yours are remarkable achievements. Well done, girl! ❤ I also appreciate that you decided to share your insightful publications with us because I can check out those I had missed. And also because celebrating these victories/accomplishments (big and small) is something we owe to ourselves.

    I'm not sure if you remember, you and I once talked about synchronicity some time ago… This is to say, I'm actual busy right now taking stock of my [writing] life over the past year in order to start afresh next year. To be honest, I had NO plans to publish this account. But both your post and a book I'm currently reading just delivered the same message (in one day) that it's OK to acknowledge and celebrate own achievements. Thank you as always for the inspiration.

    Here's to pushing boundaries and finding your sweet spot in 2022!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Khaya!!! It really is! I was listening to a podcast recently, and the person suggested doing a work diary, so that you don’t keep doing and doing without recognizing yourself, and to combat low self-worth.

      I do remember the synchronicity convo! It is totally okay, Khaya! Looking forward to seeing what you write ❤

      Happy New Year to you, too 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Why are we so hard on ourselves? For 2021, I’m most proud of finishing my master’s degree. For 2022, I hope to stop my “not good enough” and “imposter syndrome” thinking. The new year always brings hope. Here’s to finding our sweet spots.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Kathy, you are an inspiration! So many impressive accomplishments…yet still willing to be vulnerable enough to admit self-doubt. Recognizing your own negative self-chatter for what it is — and then clapping back with the recognition of all you’ve achieved — is the greatest accomplishment of all. Such power!

    I am proud to have started publishing a blog for the first time, in February 2021 for my 61st birthday. As a recovering social media avoider, I found the thought of unpacking my thinking in a public space terrifying. Since being here, though, connecting with you and other bloggers has been one of the greatest gifts I’ve received this year. Thank you so much for your support, encouragement, and inspiration, Kathy. Here’s to a new year filled with promise and possibility ❤.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would’ve never thought you were a person to avoid social media! It seems like you’ve been on there working it for years.

      Anywho, thank you so much for this comment, Natalie! I’m happy to have met you here, and on IG! Hoping you have a Happy Happy New Year!

      Like

  16. Wow – what an amazing list! As I read over it, I am overcome with the sense of embracing where you are and showing up to be an amazing leader. I don’t know if that is how you experience the work that you’ve done but it is powerful work.

    I’m most proud of deepening my skill to listen – to myself, to my kids, to my life, to others. That’s shown up in many ways including my writing and what I read and practice.

    And one of the things it has led me to is you. I’m grateful to have met you in this year, Kathy and looking forward to being inspired by you for many years to come.

    Wishing you and your beautiful family a fabulous 2022!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Wynne! I’m grateful to have met you here, too!

      Your most prideful moments sound amazing, mainly because if you’re working on yourself, then you’re improving the world in some way from the inside out 😉

      To answer your question, I don’t always see it that way, but the weirdest thing happens when I start to doubt myself…I receive unexpected words of affirmation from friends that say what you’ve said here.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Great post thank you! For 2022 I’m first and foremost recovering from a breakup. I’d also love to reach 500 followers with my blog. And I’d love to find new love, and follow new creative paths. Wherever The Goddesses want me to go, I’m there! And I love your efforts to recognize your negative self-talk and then pivot. You’re a legit goddess, talented, super impressive, and I hope you enjoy yourself more this year, yes!!! 💖😘

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Eek! Congratulations on RECOVERING from a breakup! There are so many other spaces you could be in after that, so I’m happy to hear you’re recovering.

      Thank you also for all these affirmations. I appreciate them, Goddess ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  18. My real question is…does it matter if you did or didn’t accomplish anything over the past year? But to answer the questions you actually asked…I’m most proud of doing the things that I loved over the past year. I’m looking forward to making the most out of 2022….and hoping I can take an in person writing class

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I don’t know. I know people who hit their goals, and still aren’t happy, or who haven’t really grown. And then…how do you define success? If you don’t complete a goal, is it necessarily failure, or does it show growth to not finish something that you’re not getting anything out of? I don’t know if growth, improvement or success can be quantified. I’m a numbers geek, and I know how numbers only show one part of any dynamic.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I totally get you! A few years ago I had gotten into the habit of writing an end of the year report on my accomplishments and then using that to set my goals for the next year.

        It struck me one day that the reason why I was still struggling with anxiety and depression was because I really didn’t like myself! So my new goal was to teach myself to like myself!

        Wow that was quite a journey! The end result was that one day I woke up and discovered that I was happy! Since then I’ve been less focused on accomplishing goals (I still do, but I no longer need a big list of accomplishments to feel good about myself because I’ve developed the inner tools for doing this!

        It takes work and perseverance, especially when we have internalized the negative messages we have received both in words and actions from others. It is doable!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. It was massively life changing for me after having spent most of my life speaking harshly and unkindly to myself! In those years no matter what I did, I was never enough!

        Liked by 2 people

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