As it is the last day of 2011, I figured I should take a look at where the last year has gotten me.
Roleplay and Fandom
Honestly, my first reaction is wow, things have changed a lot. Looking at the roleplay side of things alone, to think that at the beginning of the year I was barely roleplaying, a part of no games, and knew very few people online. It seems like vatheon and all the people I have met through it have been a part of my life forever. I found my home on the internet again, my friends, and people who have become like family to me.
This was actually a huge step for someone who was terrified of rejoining the roleplay crowd. My terror was a mix of online and real life issues, but I was welcomed with open arms. There is definitely one person that stands out in my mind as spreading her arms and making me feel like I was home: when I reserved Zelda at Vatheon, galvantula replied to me with such utter sweetness and excitement I knew I had to go through with my application. I had no idea who she was, nor who Maya (from Persona 2), the character whose journal she was using, was, yet the fact that someone was interested in my joining was something that I desperately needed in a time I felt very unwanted.
Surprisingly enough, my real ice-breaker for vatheon was not my ninja princess, but a character I picked up due to an impulse buy. I told myself I was going to wait for the new Pokémon game to become used before I bought it. Come the day of March 6th... the whole waiting thing did not happen. I ended up nervously at a Gamestop, asking if they had any copies of Pokémon Black that were not spoken for, and walked out the door with it.
I have played Pokémon since I was a child (I believe my first one was Pokémon Yellow), yet I never paid much attention to the plot or the characters. I was entirely in it for the cute monster collecting. Perhaps it was because I was older, or maybe it was simply that the plot of Pokémon Black/White was so good, but I ended up fascinated with the story. I played through the game at an addict's pace. I knew halfway through the game I wanted to play the antagonist, N, though the thought made me nervous. Within a few days of the game being released he was already a super popular character, and there were many other roleplayers cropping up. I put in a reserve at vatheon before I had even finished the game, just because I desperately wanted to try playing him in a game and was frightened I would not finish in time.
I apped singularjustice and Zelda at the same time, and things took off from there. Their CR got me acquainted with many wonderful people I would have been too shy to talk to originally. Not only that, but the game got me onto Plurk, which turned out to be an amazing site of its own. I have a terrible time keeping up with social sites, but Plurk somehow fits exactly what I need. To think I have plurked over a thousand times and commented over five-thousand!
Let's see, other fandom things of note. Well, this was the year I bought myself a Wii. That was in January, actually. I knew Skyward Sword was going to come out at some point in the year, and it was one game I wanted to be able to pre-order and play the day of (which I ended up doing! Though, of course, I have not had time to play more of it). It was a gigantic buy for me at the time, to the point that, even though I had planned for it, I ended up crying out of guilt to my grandmother after buying it. It was the first time I had really spoiled myself in a long time... now I think I have the problem of spoiling myself too much!
Other big fandoms for me this year were Sengoku BASARA (for which sunflowered can be blamed) and Persona (blame rests on kalisona there). Both are continuing addictions I will likely have for a while.
This year was the first year I went to an anime convention! I went to the Arkansas Anime Festival dressed as Mitsuru Kirijo from Persona 3 (some photographs here and here. I was very awkward and shy, but it was a pleasant time. I would prefer to have more time to make my costume, however! I only found out about it a week in advance, and of course it was one of my busiest weeks in school. I finished my costume in the parking lot of Hobby Lobby the Friday night of the convention. My bow was made out of curtain fabric and most of the rest of the costume came from Goodwill.
This is perhaps the time to mention that I dyed my hair red for this convention, and cut my bangs! I did it all myself on a whim, but I'm actually quite happy with it. 2 AM haircuts are never a good idea, but it came out surprisingly well.
I am ending the year with a hoard of games. A humongous hoard. Seriously, I am not allowed into a gamestore in 2012 until I've played everything here. This isn't counting some DS games, a handful of Gameboy games, and N64 games that are stashed elsewhere. I feel like a dragon sitting on her hoard; I do not have time to play much, yet I am just happy to know I have them, and not only that: I bought them all with my money, which I had earned throughout the year. I think it is evidence I have been much more financially stable this year than those in the past.
In terms of fanfiction, I have not been as prolific this year as in others, though I do have a few here: Fanfiction Masterlist @ LJ. A lot of what I wrote was in AIM or over text, and I did not save it as I ought to of.
School and Work
Of course, life is not all fun and fandom. Two more semesters down, plus an extra summer class in between. Much of the first half of the year was fighting to get through Calculus I and II, which I finally did, with a C and B respectively. My grades are slowly getting better; I'm not failing a class a semester like I was before.
I did, however, overload myself on several occasions. I ended up with two jobs over the summer (both the CEA Office and ) along with Calculus II, and then in the fall semester had four classes, 20-30 hours of work a week, and some extra projects on the side. That is something I need to watch in the future; I get burnt out too easily and too quickly.
I got to start Chinese again in the Fall, which was beautiful. I forgot how very much I adored taking a language, especially Chinese. It's a whole new world of its own, and was a bit of brightness during very stressful days.
I got my first professional website commission this year! It was for Southgate Pharmacy. It took a lot longer than I liked, but the owner was pleased with it and even payed me $100 over my original quoted price for the job. He was a great first customer and I'm very grateful for him.
If I remember right, this year was when I finished Dad's website, Ward Metal. I also worked on the local SCA group's website for a time on a volunteer basis, though I had to set that aside due to time constrains and personal frustration with how I was being treated.
I also have ended up working on two other websites: one for two professors in my department at the University, and one for a family friend's website. I am nearly done with the first (I actually need to work on that today!), and the second have just recently taken over. However, it was a lot further a long than I though it was (his step-daughter had originally started it), so that was a big relief.
I got addicted to lists this year. I've become a lot more organized, which is a good thing. I also found out that Google Calendar is a life-saver for me. It helps me keep my school schedule and everything else in line. This is a habit I definitely, definitely want to keep up!
I also think I've become happier with myself over the year. I've been more responsible, had a cooler head, and been more of an adult (scary as that sounds). I've still got a ways to go, but I'm getting there. I'm improving. Most importantly, I'm happier than I have been in a long time. I'm growing out of that stage of eternal depression I was in for a long, long time.
I've also gotten financially better, though again it is a thing to continue working on! I actually ended up with a $200 credit on my electric bill; I was so baffled. I went in to ask, and found out it was because this time last year, I had not paid my bill to the point it had gotten disconnected, so they required a $200 deposit to cover it. After paying on time for twelve months straight, you get that deposit back. So for the past twelve months, I've paid my electric bill on time. That is a beautiful, beautiful feeling. I'm a big kid, Mommy!
Health and Physical
I lost a lot of weight this year. At my smallest, I was 158 pounds and a size 10, which is a far cry from the 220 I was when I first moved to Arkansas in 2009! I've started to gain some weight over the break; I'm back up to 170. I think it is the lack of exercise from not walking a mile a day to the parking lot (not to mention all the holiday food-!), but I know now I can get back there. I need to start on some serious Dance Dance Revolution to make up for it, and also take the dog out more often (he is also getting chubby!).
This also meant that I got rid of a lot of old clothes, bought new ones (thank you, Goodwill, for clothing me), and got a lot braver in my wardrobe. I've worn a lot more dresses and skirts, and loved it. I am much more comfortable with myself now that I am smaller, and I hope to continue down that path. What I want to do is get fit: not that I think I would do it often, but I want to be able to show my midriff and have abs there.
I started fighting this year! How could I forget that? I've been wanting to do SCA fighting since I was a child, but life got in the way. Through some very generous donations and my father's hard work, I got a full set of armor. Here is me at my first fighter practice! I only had a few fighter practices before I authorized at Feast of Eagles in Kansas City -- a week before Pennsic 40. I promptly went to Pennsic with Dad, Mar, and Shay.
I fought in two tournaments the first Saturday (the Novice Tourney and the Second Generation Tourney), and fought in all of the battles Monday - Thursday before realizing that I'd had gotten a concussion on Saturday and had just aggravated it all week. However, it was a great experience and I'm super glad I pushed through and got in as much fun as I physically could! Plus, I got to wear the purple and gold tabard on the field for the first time in my life. It was very, very nice to be one of the fighters I've watched on the field since I was too small to hold a sword.
I haven't fought much since, but work and school took over my life again. It's another thing to do better on this next year, but that's for the next post!
Oh, on the mental health side of things, this is the year I got diagnosed with ADD and was put on Adderal, which has changed my life so much. I doubt I could even type this entire monster of a post if I hadn't taken my Adderal this morning. You would have thought my parents would have told me they both have ADD (or I would have realized it! It explains so much about my life), but they didn't until this year. I am so glad it came through, however; my grades have improved, work has gotten better, and I'm just generally happier.
Okay, this is one thing to kick myself about! I stopped going to my writing group, I haven't written a lot this past year, and my sketches have all been just that -- quick sketches without going further. Granted, I had a ton going on this year, so that is part of it! Still, I want to coax this part of me back into being again, as it has been much neglected this year. Things to note for my next post!
Looking back, this has been an amazing year, and I'm absolutely grateful for it. It's been a roller-coaster at times, and every day is a surprise, but I've been moving up, slowly but surely! I've been blessed in many ways.
Goodbye, 2011, and thank you for everything you've brought!