I have a tradition that goes back to when I was about thirteen years old.
I first began journaling on January 10, 2001, when I was twelve, and sometime in early 2002 it dawned on me to look back and see what I'd been doing a year before. It's something I've done ever since, though not on a daily basis.
I'll typically leaf through an old journal once a month or so, forget about it, and then come back later and read all of the old entries that have lapsed since I last looked in.
It's always so interesting to see how you've grown, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually in one year's time, and to see how much your life has changed.
Sometimes, very little was different from one year to another; on New Year's Day of 2008 I realized with disappointment that I was in roughly the same place I'd been in on New Year's Day of 2007 (and that place was not an especially happy one).
Other times, I've been amazed at the incredible alterations that one year can bring. Between New Year's Day of 2005 and New Year's Day of 2006 I transferred schools, moved twice, and left most of my friends hundreds of miles away.
In 2009, with eight years of of journaling behind me, I can look back across eight years of development and marvel at the way my life has rearranged since I was twelve. In hindsight, I see plunging lows and soaring peaks, whole eras with clearly delineated borders that were unclear to me when the events were taking place.
Until today, however, I have not been able to engage in this tradition with blogging.
It was one year ago today, on April 7, 2008, that I began to blog, and in the time since then it's become such an enriching part of my life that I can't imagine how I ever went without it.
On that day, I introduced myself as BlackenedBoy, a nineteen-year-old with three siblings at home, one of whom was about to graduate high school.
A lot has changed since then, and so I think it's time to review.
My pseudonym is BlackenedBoy, for reasons that by now have become apparent, and you can still call me BB.
I am twenty years old, and currently a college student at a major university in the American South, where I’m studying Government and International Politics. I used to imagine that after graduation (which is yet one or two years away for me), I'd probably be a journalist, but I realized I didn't like that very much so now I'm trying to figure out what kind of career to go into.
I love to read and write, and want to go into a job that allows me to do that, but what could that be? I've been thinking about book publishing or working for a magazine, but the career office so far has offered me a couple of websites and that's it.
When I first began writing here, I was an on-campus student, but during the 2008-2009 school year I've commuted the hour and a half back and forth to school. I love living at home because of the ready access it gives me to great food, great facilities, and family, but I miss campus life and am applying for housing to serve me during the 2009-2010 year.
One of my worst fears is that I won't be granted a spot--enjoying the college experience is something that's very important to me. I didn't used to care about that, but going through all I did taught me that life is a series of stages to be treasured and savored, each special in its own way. Missing out on any one of those periods is a bad thing.
I still live in Mountain Town with my parents and two of my siblings, Thomas (13) and Pie (5). Powell (19), however, lives in Decaying State with our birth-mother, Anne. My parents and the rest of us had finally had enough, so now he stays in Anne's Town and works at a grocery store, hopefully saving up money to go to college.
He started community college this Fall but missed so much class that he failed for the semester, and he's not showing any signs of planning to start soon. I told him it would be better to begin now than later; he'll turn twenty in December, and when you're twenty you don't want to be stuck in a dorm with a bunch of eighteen-year-olds.
At the beginning, I promised a Journals Section every week. That's definitely dropped off (I'm lucky to post one a month now), but in other areas, like Flickr, I've greatly improved. Speaking of which, you may have noticed that I've changed my profile picture.
The swirly-faced photo of me that became my identifying symbol was great, but I decided that after a year the time had come to update it, something I will do once every year. I like the one I've chosen for this year, but next year it will be replaced by another good photo.
2008's was very special, 2009's is as well, and 2010's will be, too.
I've been part of this community for a year now, and it's been a great experience that I intend to keep with. I wonder how long I'll continue blogging on this site, how far into the future it will take me?
Will all of you one day be reading about my first house, my first love, my first child, my career?
A year ago this website was one of the few spots of joy in my life.
Now it, and the online friends it has given me, is one of but many bright lights, and this blog is becoming what it was always supposed to be: a reflection of a full and happy life.
Things have improved so much since April 7, 2008 that I almost can't believe it's been only a year.
And now, a year in review:
April, 2008: I began blogging and celebrated my twentieth birthday
May, 2008: I started having serious difficulties with my parents that intensified when the school year ended and I was unable to find a job
June, 2008: I took a trip out to Movie State with Grand Ma Normal Family, Aunt Crazy, Cool Cousin, and Powell. I hadn't come out yet, and I wish I'd been comfortable with my sexuality at the time so that I really could have appreciated Gay City.
July, 2008: Out of a job and still friendless, I sank into severe depression that brought me to the brink of suicide. Being hired by Western City Movie Theater late in the month began a process that gave me comrades and literally saved my life.
August, 2008: The 2008-2009 school year, my Junior Year of college, began. Gone from Western City Movie Theater for the semester, commuting back and forth to school, and with few friends on campus, I became depressed again. I came out to my mother.
October, 2008: As Fall began, I was rehired by Western City Movie Theater and began to come out the blackness I'd fallen into two years before.
November, 2008: Thanksgiving was a happy time.
December, 2008: Christmas Break was welcome, and on New Year's Eve I found myself unexpectedly joined by Powell and his friend Blonde Boy.
January, 2009: After three hurtful ones before it, I welcomed the New Year. An internship at Western City Newspaper convinced me not to pursue newspaper journalism as a career. The new semester began. I came out to my blogging friends.
February, 2009: I found myself, inexplicably, with friends on campus. Hippy Guy, Asian Girl, Friendly Guy, Friendly Girl, and other make me feel so blessed.
March, 2009: Spring began. I came out to Sacajawea, my ex-girlfriend.
When I came home today, it was snowing, the latest snowfall I can remember since living in Native State (and very unusual for this part of the country).
As my second year of blogging begins, I have a tremendous amount to be thankful for. I can't wait to write all about this year.