What Are You Most Proud of From 2022?
January 10, 2023
What are you most proud of from 2022?
Did you finish a poem that says something vulnerable and true? Make a new friend who really gets you or revive an old friendship?
Maybe you kicked butt at work, published a story, started therapy, read a ton of books that made you happy, or stood up for yourself.
Or maybe you made it through the end of the year in (mostly) one piece and that’s a triumph in itself.
If you’re anything like us, it’s so easy to forget or minimize your accomplishments, big or small.
Between a near decade in grad school and, let’s be honest, our basic personalities, we tend to hyperfocus on what we should be doing rather than what we are doing. It’s like everything we actually accomplish immediately falls into some kind of smoky abyss in our brains, leaving us to wring our hands and feel guilty about being lazy blobs.
Apparently, writing stuff down helps defeat this kind of skewed thinking – according to Emily and Amelia Nagoski, Marie Forleo, and pretty much everything we’ve read about stress, overachieving, and time management.
So we’re each going to share what we’re most proud of from the last year, to document that it really happened.
And we’d love it if you’d hit reply and tell us about your most cherished victories, big or small, from last year, too.
I am so proud of the vampire series that we wrote and recorded for Wondrium. More specifically, I’m proud of learning how to be filmed in a studio. That might sound like less of a big deal than actually writing and editing all the scripts…but I’ve long been terrified of public speaking.
Like, I have blacked out from sheer terror in front of an actual audience.
At my wedding, I had the venue coordinator hide a chair near the altar, in case I collapsed from all the people staring at me. (I was fine, I did not faint away into Jared’s arms like a Jane Austen heroine, the chair remained safely hidden!)
Yes, I realize that this is incredibly ironic given my actual job now. No one is more surprised than me that I ended up as a professional public speaker.
Over time, I’ve become much more comfortable with talking in front of an audience or even our laptop cameras. But recording in a studio? With multiple cameras? While learning to read off of a teleprompter? With lots of people watching and having to stop every time I slipped up the tiniest bit?
CUE THE PERFECTIONIST TERROR.
Hilariously, something that really helped me was seeing The Late Show recorded live in NYC just before our first visit to the Wondrium studio. Stephen Colbert, a true professional of his craft, stumbled multiple times while using his teleprompters…and it was no big deal! It’s just part of what happens! So if Colbert doesn’t have to perfectly nail every single line on the first try, neither do I!
Anyway, the teleprompters, the cameras, all the people, did take some getting used to. But it ended up being incredibly fun – and also really funny! It’s just a skillset like any other, and once I stopped demanding so much perfection from myself, I started enjoying the process a lot more. It helped a ton that Brittany was there with me and that our team at Wondrium could not have been kinder or more intent at putting us at our ease.
So that’s the thing I’m most proud of from 2022: learning to record in a filming studio and broadening my skillset in a way that was terrifying but also incredibly rewarding.
While I’m exceptionally proud of the Wondrium project too, I’m going to pick something different to talk about – the roundtable on “Folklore and Resistance” that we organized last July.
Let’s face it, 2022 didn’t have a lot going for it. It often felt like everyone was being hit with one thing after another. There were horrible, unthinkable political things happening right and left and, on a more personal level, we both experienced some awful health and/ or family stuff. There were a lot of points last year that just felt hopeless… but we knew that there was hope, somewhere, and I am so proud that we were able to channel that energy into something wonderful and helpful.
We’ve organized a lot of things over the years, but something like this was totally new to us. We knew we wanted it to involve our mentors, friends, colleagues, and inspirations. We knew we wanted everyone to think about how every person can take actions of resistance and resilience in the world, and that the small bits of magic we make can make a huge difference. We knew that we wanted it to be BIG but 100% free. And we believed we could make it happen.
We’re always saying that folklore and stories can have amazing power in the world, but I felt like this was where we really explored that idea in all its messy beauty. We had so many different perspectives, so many different ways of thinking about how story can help us persist and actually make the changes we want to see. Absolutely everyone brought their A game, and we exploded the idea that no one person can make any real difference (I’ll keep Ellen Datlow/Terri Windling’s comment about some of us making the soup in my heart forever.)
What are you most proud of from 2022? Hit REPLY down in the comments and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!
P.S. Tickets for our Smithsonian Associates talk on Feminist Fairy Tales just went live – grab yours here! Remember that we’re also doing a talk on writing fairy tales, also for the Smithsonian, later this month. Tickets are still available here!