It’s a little odd to reflect on the second half of 2012 because frankly, it’s not pleasant. It’s when everything fell apart: I received two grant rejections, Matt and I broke up, and my brother died. There’s just no getting around the fact that 2012 has been a terrible year for me. But there is beauty in melancholy, and even a sad year has its happier moments. Here are my favorite photos from the past six months.
July: I flew up to Michigan to visit my family, and I was so happy to spend many hours with my niece and nephew. Here they are investigating my lab timer. I love how fascinated they both look!
August: I am such a nerd. I bought these cute shotglasses with different adjectives; wobbly is how I felt after a long run one Sunday morning. Wobbly is also how I felt during the second half of 2012—much of my energy was spent trying to regain my balance in the aftermath of personal and professional failure.
September: I like this photo for several reasons. One is that I bought my niece and me coordinating dresses (hers is purple with colored stripes), and it makes me laugh to think of us wearing the same dress. Oh, the perks of being petite! The second is that I took this photo on a quiet Sunday, and I remember feeling calm, peaceful, and well-rested. That combination of feelings became so rare this year. Finally, I have great legs. (Check out my calves!) For whatever reason, I made it to adulthood feeling pretty good about my body, and I’m grateful for all the ways in which my body has literally carried me through life. I feel like we’re partners, a team.
October: I flew home to be with my family after my brother Scott killed himself. I was exhausted, sick, grief-stricken, and surrounded by so much love in the weeks after his death. It was a surreal experience, and this photo of the fountain at Detroit Metro airport is one of the few photos I took during that time.
November: I spent much of November revising a grant for a December submission. This Pumpkin Spice Latte was one of many treats that fueled hours and hours and hours of grant work.
December: You see him (or her), right? That little red bird, looking downward. Perhaps she is bowing or contemplating the earth beneath her. I love that I managed to catch this little bird with my camera, this little reminder that beauty is everywhere. You just have to keep your eyes open.
And that, dear friends, is the way I want to feel about this year. There is joy and beauty, even in the dark moments. Melancholy is its own splendor, a connection to the sad, the fragile, the vulnerable. 2012 was the year when two of the strongest men I know showed me their cards, and in those moments I knew: I am just as strong and capable as they are.
What a crazy year it’s been. Thank you for joining me, for being here, and for all the love. You are the best. Really, truly.