TW: brief mentions of death and violence toward the end.
It feels odd that we have again reached the end of the year. For me, it seems like it was just 2012, counting down the seconds to this year with dread because I had no idea what to expect in 2013. 2012 had been such a milestone year for me in so many ways that it seemed impossible the year would actually end – but it did, and now so has 2013, which means that the time has come for an annual wrap-up of the projects and resolutions for 2014.
All in all, I believe that this was quite a successful year. I had to remind myself periodically that while I was more prolific in 2012, I was more successful in 2013. I was more practiced, more polished, the projects were more established, and less mistakes were made due to inexperience or insecurity, as they were the first year. Five new stories were posted to the site; additionally, I finally came forward with my own during the Week of Action after two years of being too afraid to talk about it. Sharing my story was a liberating experience, albeit a terrifying one, and though the decision to stop denying what happened has come with a whole host of new issues, it was definitely the right choice. The four other stories collected in 2013, all of which are well worth a read if you haven’t yet, can be found below:
From Wayne Wilcox, a friend and classmate of Rebecca Wight: https://weekofactionmovement.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/the-stories-project-wayne-wilcoxs-story/
From Clayton Ham, a youth who wanted to share his experience of being openly gay in high school: https://weekofactionmovement.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/the-stories-project-clayton-hams-story/
From Tessa Crawford, a youth who has been touched by both suicide and homicide: https://weekofactionmovement.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/the-stories-project-tessa-crawfords-story/
From Judy Wight, the youngest sister of Rebecca Wight: https://weekofactionmovement.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/the-stories-project-judy-wights-story/
I will also link the stories collected in 2012, just because:
From Mark Brady, a friend and classmate of Rebecca Wight: https://weekofactionmovement.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/the-stories-project-mark-bradys-story/
From Karen Poiani, a friend of Rebecca Wight and Claudia Brenner: https://weekofactionmovement.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/the-stories-project-karen-poianis-story/
From Bill Thomas, the older brother of Cathleen Thomas: https://weekofactionmovement.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/the-stories-project-bill-thomass-story/
Now, on to 2014. In the previous post, I detailed three things I am going to try to see if they improve the projects; additionally, I have created four resolutions for the new year. First, I resolve to sort through the 100+ comments in moderation as soon as possible and get them posted on the site. Yes, there are more than 100 comments in moderation – the Stories Project has been blowing up as of late! I am not sure how it happened or where the traffic is coming from, but people are taking notice of and responding to your stories. Second, I will focus my efforts on the stories of trans* people and people of color this year, because I want to represent the entire LGBT community, not just certain segments. Third, I will find a balance between caring too much and too little about appropriating the stories. As I have mentioned before, this is something I struggle with – if I care too much about appropriating the stories, I will freeze and become unable to proceed forward, but if I care too little, then I couldn’t say I care about the victims because I would indeed be using them and using their stories. I recently stepped away from the projects for six weeks due to freezing and becoming unable to proceed. Balance is key and I need to find it.
Finally, I resolve to take back the woods. I’ve always found the woods a little unsettling, but I developed a deep fear of the woods after becoming invested in the stories of women who faced violence while out in nature. I think one of the stories said it best – you can’t help it, they just influence you like that. The thing is, I don’t want to be afraid of the woods. I don’t want to feel unsafe in the outdoors, which is supposed to be a safe place. I don’t expect it to happen overnight, but I intend to at least take the first steps: this summer I will be visiting and sleeping over at some of the spots in the woods where I feel the most ill at ease, one in Pennsylvania and one in Virginia. Which perhaps isn’t the most orthodox method of unlearning my fear of the woods, but it’s one that makes sense to me. If I stay at the sites where the worst has happened and emerge okay, the hope is that I will be less intimidated to go into the woods again. 2014 is going to be the year I take back the trails.
I’m looking forward to 2014. And as we’ve now passed the first of the year, the projects are both open again. Happy New Year to all, and here’s to the future.