Each annual installment of UB has been like an album cycle.
In 2014, I launched the site (my debut).
In 2015, I offered a fresh, informed perspective of men’s fashion (a prolonged promo cycle for my debut).
In 2016, I tackled snarky, irreverent pop culture commentary (my sophomore slump).
My mission in 2017 was more ambitious (my experimental phase). I sought to tackle timely, universal issues through a personal lens. There was a conscious cloud hanging over my work, and given the politically tumultuous times, I didn’t feel I could write anything else.
Now, looking ahead to 2018, that conscious inclination is still there. There’s a lot of truth to speak to power, and there are plenty of new angles to explore. But I’ve also realized that I want this year to be about being the best version of myself.
Sound selfish? Think of it this way.
Yes, there are lots of things happening out there that upset me, concern me, scare me, and excite me. The thought of looming nuclear war with North Korea leaves me worried about our nation’s future-both literal and figurative. My heart breaks for those losing their homes and belongings, and in some cases their lives, in the California wildfires. I’m inspired by the #metoo movement and all the courageous women railing against the toxic patriarchy of Hollywood. I’m angry about the prevalence of bigotry and racism, and the harm it causes so many people of color and the LGBTQ community, and about those who can’t speak up or fight back. I’m livid about the Trump administration, and its seemingly relentless protection of the upper class. I’m awake, I’m aware, and I’m tuned in.
But I can’t spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week outraged. I don’t have it in me. What I can do is protect and improve my health, so I can stick around longer to have a lasting impact. I can finish and publish my novel, and ensure an important story about queer POC reaches the masses. I can build up my content offering, to keep a meaningful conversation going year-round. I can be the best me I can be, to make the biggest impression possible.
I can’t do those things if I’m losing sleep over breaking news or fuming about the latest piece of ridiculous legislation from sunup to sundown or ailing from any number of conditions, caused by self-neglect. I spent a lot of 2017 in doctor’s offices for digestive issues, muscular injuries, and even the flu. Originally, I’d set out to publish an essay every week and really boost my content to the next level. But the further into the year I got, and the more complex my health issues became, the less I was able to stay committed to UB and to producing my best work. That won’t be my story this year.
And really, what can any of us do if we aren’t at our best? How can you change the world if you can’t even change yourself?
Thus, 2018 is about being the BEST I can be. For the greater good. For those I hope to influence. For my family. For my friends. But most important, for me.