17 Artists that Fucked Up My Life in 2017 to Introduce You to in the New Year

Ibeyi--do yourself the greatest kindness and go listen to their album Ash right now. A Franco-Cuban solo artist, their two albums are the feeling of a wave washing over you and the undercurrent pulling you harder than is comfortable but you like it.

Kehlani--Musician and dancer. I was lateeee to Kehlani I know. But I heard You Should Be Here in December and mind.blown. Listened to on repeat along with SweetSexySavage for the entire remainder of the year and if I’m being honest, it’s still in my ears.

Lia Kim--Choreographer and dancer. Her dance troupe’s YouTube videos are very popular. She is the reason why.

Ari Fitz--YouTube creator, model, comedian nonbinary baddie, dreamboat. My favorite thing they do is their "Lesbians React" series. Everything else they do is gold too so check out all their ish.

Brie Larson--Actress. I saw the movies Room and Short Term 12 for the first time in 2017. Larson’s acting is incredible and so spot-on. Working in a residential home myself, Short Term 12 especially holds a place in my heart and Larson’s portrayal of being someone traumatized working with people whose trauma reminds you of your own is something I identify hard with.

Heidi Heilig--Author. She wrote two of my favorite reads in 2017! The Girl From Everywhere and The Ship Beyond Time. Her sci-fi YA novels crafted worlds with maps I wanted to fall into and built-out diverse characters I fell in love with. She also has a stellar Twitter.

Trung Nguyen--Illustrator. An incredible print media artist, draws Sailor Moon things that I love, has an upcoming tarot deck that I love the most.

Cristina Carrera--Illustrator. She did all the art for Dirty River by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. She also has a tarot deck that has my heart.

Ruby Tandoh--Baker. A QWOC  who came out in an excellent Twitter clap-back. I learned about her book Eat Up in 2017 and while finding links for this post, I learned that she has multiple books. Go Ruby!

Asali--Tarot reader, herbalist, blogger. Self described “Black queer femme community healer and earth worker.” She gives tarot readings, practices witchery, and sells handmade spell-imbued tea blends. She also maintains a database of QTPOC tarot decks.

Erinn and Celene--YouTubers. Traveling duo recently married couple that creates content very regularly. I love their life and their relationship and how they allow their audience to be with them on their journey.

Anders V.--Multimedia artist. Profoundly gifted, a very good friend of mine, and long-time supporter of this blog, they launched their latest project last year, a podcast entitled How We Met that explores love and relationships through the lens of colonialism, imperialism, white supremacy, cisheterosexism, and all the other things that are in play when we meet and grow to care about each other. 

Catherynne Valente--Author. She writes the children’s fantasy novel series The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (if you’re sensing a theme here, I should mention that I nearly exclusively read Children/YA fantasy and sci-fi novels in 2017).

Jasika Nicole--Actress, podcaster, seamstress. I knew her from voicing Dana in Welcome to Night Vale and then being the main narrator in Alice Isn’t Dead, both podcasts that I love, but then this past year she starred in the film Suicide Kale and lesbian websites everywhere went wild for it! I actually still haven’t seen the film but I’ve seen the trailer lots and it’s high on my watchlist for this year. Additionally, Jasika is an artists-of-all-trades, she makes all of her own clothing to resist capitalism and build her own intimate relationship to appearance, is there anything she can’t do?

Cacheila Soto--Print and digital media artist. I saw this artist’s work La calma at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in San Juan last July. I haven’t seen any other of their work but I was so moved by this piece, refinding it again for this post was being stunned into awe all over again.

Lexie Bean--Author, performer, and another friend of mine. I contributed to one of their projects in 2017. It is an anthology (their third!) that trans survivors of domestic and sexual violence wrote to parts of their bodies. The collection is entitled Written on the Body.  Writing my own letter was such an intimate, painful, and releasing process I can’t wait to read the rest. Shameless plug: You can preorder the book here.

New Year, New Resolutions

Okay, I’ve had some time to think. I had some time to spend with friends and not think. I did a couple tarot readings. And here they are. The list has come to me. My resolutions for 2018:

  • Location goal: Move somewhere warm with someone I love. This isn’t a goal so much as it is a plan already in motion, but it is a big bold task that I’m endeavoring in 2018 so it can make the list.

  • Physical health goal: Be able to survive the zombie apocalypse. I have a really tenuous relationship to exercise. Mostly it stresses me out. I danced growing up, but was not athletically inclined and felt (feel) very embarrassed by my body movement and sounds of exertion. For the past few years, since I had PTSD, exercise has not been enjoyable. I also have a chronic thing where when I stand for long or am very stressed I get dizzy and occasionally faint. So, what happens to my body when I exercise feels very similar to what happens to my body when I have panic attacks--sweating, raised heart rate, numb fingers and toes, blurry vision, dizzy, and/or like I’m outside of my own body. Instead of those glorious after-endorphins, workouts leave me feeling fatigued, scared, and on the brink of breaking down. But I want to be stronger and honestly if I want to cut it on the farm I need to build some muscle. I’ve toyed with the idea of faking myself out--exercising but making it seem like it’s not exercise. So I’m bribing myself with the idea of surviving the zombie apocalypse. “I’m not doing these pushups because I’m working out, I’m doing them as practice for when I get thrown down to the ground by a brain-eating monster and have to push myself back up.” The distraction, with a lot of water breaks, I’m hoping can get me through the moments of all-too-familiar panic.

  • Travel goal: go two places I’ve never been before. This should be possible and fairly achievable during my two weeks of vacation in March. It’s looking like I’ll be driving to New York and if I go through Canada I’ll hit Toronto, Montreal, Bar Harbor, and Portland--all of which I’ve never been to before.  

  • The Big 3-6-5 goal: Write something every day. It could be a poem, a diary entry, something for this blog, less than a sentence. There are no restrictions. Only the rule that I need to do it every day. I’ve never successfully done an everyday thing, but 2018 is about proving my doubts wrong and proving myself possible and proud.

  • Honorable Mention: Be more tender with your limits. This was a friend’s goal for me and I’m not totally ready to commit but I do know that I need to grow more comfortable with not being able to do everything all the time. I want to be all the things! But I won’t be any of them if I don’t prioritize my time, listen to my feelings, and work on what is most present. So perhaps there can be newfound tenderness in 2018.

    + that is where I’m at as I write this on my last night in Chicago. I came down here for three days to see friends and ring in the New Year. Filled with the energy of the first and the full moon, everything feels sparkly and attainable. What are you striving for in 2018?