A Look Back on 2022
In 2019, some of my goals as a writer were achieved, but I'd lived in fear that 2019 would be my best year for the rest of my life. Each achievement then had been accompanied by imposter syndrome: I knew myself to be inconsistent, but I somehow fooled people in seeing only my high points. Going to my first writing residency abroad, I joked to my friends, "What if they find out I'm actually a dumbass?"
Of course, I now realize that a significant portion of my anxieties was induced by undiagnosed ADHD and improperly treated bipolar disorder.
These are the last days of 2022. Admittedly, I'm not in a great shape at the moment. After two months in Malaysia, where I juggled writing my short story collection and my first semester as an instructor while dealing with the global shortage of ADHD medication, I was, in all honesty, exhausted to the point of sobbing through the whole one-hour session with my psychiatrist, and thirty more minutes after. And yet, I have never been happier to be alive.
Last July, I finally graduated in the best way possible, after thirteen years. I passed my remaining units with uno's. I wrote 200+ pages of critical and creative work for my thesis. I wrote short stories that embraced emotions and were enriched with research, thanks to a thesis grant. I received another grant that funded my stay in Malaysia. I got accepted to another residency for 2023. I didn't have a lot of publications, but the ones that were published, I am greatly proud of, especially the academic article, "Malansang Fish", revised from the chapter 1 of my thesis.
This year, I shed my insecurities and anxieties. Medication helped me be more consistent in what I do and more confident in my abilities. I gained independence and security. I learned to trust myself in the present and the future. I learned to communicate my needs and trust others will do the same. In a way, I seem like a different person. Less stuttering, less shyness. More talkative and outgoing. But this is how it's supposed to be, I think. No character is bigger than one rebuilt from shattered pieces of oneself.
2022 is the best year of my life so far, and I look forward to more years.