Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Peace Out 2019... It sure has been...

How is tomorrow already 2020? Seriously, where did this year go?  It’s strange how time passes, and it felt boring and busy all at the same time.  One thing I will say about social media, is it’s a good way to archive and go back and say, “Wow, we did some cool stuff!” Of course 2018 was hard to beat, since it was the wedding!  It was the season finale everyone was waiting for. So what does that leave for 2019? It was a year of learning, finding out what we want, what we don’t want, and how to get there. What’s crazy is that by my standards, it was a pretty quiet year, but we did A LOT. Here are some of the highlights as we look forward to the new decade!

  1. We took a honeymoon!  We went back to our old stomping/wheeling grounds of Vegas, and spent some real time off together, remembering how to have fun, and why we fell in love in the first place. We even hired an amazing photographer to capture some fun shots from where it all began. 

    2. Business was booming! Seriously, I made more as a consultant than I have in my entire career. It’s funny, because every year I say to myself, it’s time to phase this out. I have a day job, I’m not a “youth” anymore, it’s time to give up this gig. Every time I say that, I get asked to do another contract, or keynote speech, and I do it, and remember how much I love it. With this, has come a lot of soul searching. I have started to learn my worth, and be more selective about how I spend my time. I am no longer in the stage where I need to “build my resume.” Things need to either fulfill me spiritually, or financially, and if they don’t, that’s ok. It’s amazing to be at a place in your career at which you are able to say “No thank you, this opportunity is not a good fit for me right now!” But the ones that do, are fantastic. The biggest professional highlight this year was being selected to give a keynote speech at the Tennessee Youth Transition Conference. Everyone was so hospitable, and it was fantastic to get to know some really ambitious youth who once again, gave me hope that maybe there is some good left in the world. If you’re interested in learning more about my “side gig” check out MalloryCyr.com
    Mallory speaking at a conference

  2. 3. We saw some shoooows! I saw Hanson again, around Christmas which obviously made my 90’s heart grow three sizes that day, and we FINALLY saw Wicked together. We had opportunities to see it before, but for some reason I wasn’t “ready.” Wicked is something that had been such a part of my past, for better and for worse, and although Owen had been there for some of the worst things we had both experienced, I wasn’t sure I was ready to “go there.” Well, before we got married, we saw RENT, Les Miserables, Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton…. it was not like he had not seen me get emotional at a show. Actually, I try to get different seats now so the poor ushers at DCPA don’t have to witness my routine musical meltdowns so frequently. So we saw Wicked. We got tickets for the Friday before my birthday, and the week we went to Vegas, and it was perfect. Since this was only the second time I had seen it (and the last time was in 2004, and I didn’t have my glasses), it was kind of like seeing it for the first time, and it was still amazing and relevant, and magical. Then we went to another event at the Hard Rock Cafe to see the cast perform in a cabaret style show, and the wizard himself said he was so glad I was there.

    4. We also got to see Kristin again, for the first time in Denver, along with my dear friend of 21 years Mary-Mitchell Campbell, who is now Kristin’s musical director/piano player. Many people may not know, but the three of us first met in 1998 at a camp fundraiser! I told Kristin after seeing her perform with the Colorado symphony, “You know, you have always been good, but you are AMAZING. It has been such a journey watching you grow professionally and vocally over the last 18 years.” And she got all choked up and teary, like she does, every time we see each other, and said “That is so meaningful coming from you, it really means so much.” Then we hugged and took pictures of our shoes together, because this is my life.

    5. We started exercising regularly. In April, our neighbors opened a class based fitness studio and offer a ton of amazing classes, with instructors that aren’t there to scare you or make you feel like you’re not good enough. They help us adapt things, and push us to do what they know we are capable of. I have felt myself grow stronger and have learned how much my body actually NEEDS physical activity (the wine after yoga doesn’t hurt either).  Shout out to Carbon Fitness! 

    6. We spent time with family. My family came to visit over Labor Day weekend, and man did we make the most of it! Then in the fall, I took some time to go to Maine by myself for the first time since Owen and I lived in Boston. For all those folks who are married, or looking at getting married, or even those who live with a significant other, it’s ok to do things by yourself. Financially, and in terms of time off, it doesn’t always make sense for both of us to go on a trip, sometimes I travel alone for work. None of this means that we love each other less, or that there is anything wrong with our relationship. It’s crucial to remember who you are as a “me,” when you are not being an “US!”

    7. Owen and I won Halloween with our second ever couple's costume and went to parties until we finally won a costume contest. Elton John and Tiny Dancer? How could we not win!

    8. WE MOVED! Finally, after four years of living in an apartment complex that we never wanted to live in, we were in a financial situation where we could actually move somewhere that felt like a “grown up” home. As many of you know, we were very spoiled in Boston, as we had a studio in a brand new luxury building, which was financed on student loans, because we needed accessible housing. It also set us up for big, big disappointment when we tried to find an apartment we could actually afford. The rental market in Denver was/is far better than Boston, but since we were moving here with employment pending, it was difficult to get approved for anything, so we took what we could get, moved from a studio to a one bedroom and saved up to get back where we wanted to be! Finally, after years of advocacy and a fair housing case, having an accessible apartment, being treated with respect, and having a home I am proud to have people over, even though the move itself was exhausting, I can finally sit back and say WE DID IT.

    9. TINSLEY MARIE! Even though we got Tinsley in 2018, this year we have watched her grow and shine, and it has been the greatest joy. She has truly found herself, and especially since moving to our new apartment, she is just loved by everyone who crosses her path (except squirrels).

    10. The end of 2019 was spent doing a lot of reflection. In the fall, I applied for a job, that I am totally qualified for, and I interviewed well, and I didn’t get it. Someone else did, who was pretty much personally selected before they began the hiring process. This happens a lot in my field, so I wasn’t totally shocked, but it did open my eyes to a lot of things. It showed me, first of all, that I didn’t actually need the job. There were things about it I wasn’t in love with, and it would have been a new commute, new people, new friends… things I actually didn’t WANT to figure out, especially around the same time that I was moving. 

     This year also taught me a lot about community, and what that REALLY means. There are communities I have accepted I am not a part of. AND THAT IS OK. Because I have other communities I AM A PART OF. And they are amazing. I have friends that make me laugh until I cry eating lunch at work. I have friends that have left work to bring me to the hospital when I didn’t know what was wrong. I have friends that have brought me to the airport at 4 a.m. I have so many friends that I can talk about anything with, serious or silly. We have people we look forward to seeing in our neighborhood, who know us and our dog. WE HAVE A COMMUNITY.

    Now I’m going to get real for a minute. This whole disability thing was never a part of my identity, or my narrative until someone told me it had to be. It made me question who I was and what I knew. There were times in my career it has played a bigger role than others, and I will never say I’m NOT an advocate, but I’m more than that.

    I have a master’s degree, I am a writer, a speaker and a policy professional. I have reached a point professionally, at which, just like saying no, I can decide who I am. I was hired in my current job for my experience with contract management, communications, and understanding of policy.

    Yes, my lived experience helps me have perspective in everything I do, but it’s a part of it. I’m done trying to get into clubs that don’t want me. I’m done being someone I’m not because people expect it of me. I’m done being a one dimensional token. Thank you 2019, for all you taught me, for all the growing you made us do. I’m ready to step into the new year, the new decade, being me. Being more authentic than I have been in a long time. I’m ready.

Now here's a song to take with you to 2020!