GingerSass

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2012: A Year in Review

Tonight is the last Friday night of 2012, exactly one week after the world was supposed to end. A lot has happened in 2012, and I decided to highlight everything significant that happened to me this year, month by month.

gs2012

It’s been one heck of a year at GingerSass.

January

Not much happened in January. I turned 22, which was actually a better birthday than my 21st. My friend convinced the bartender at a local bar that I should be given a free bottle of champagne because my 21st coincided with a blizzard and I didn’t get to celebrate. I received a stuffed unicorn and zebra print seat covers from my parents. I, once again, pleaded to Ellen as to why we should celebrate our birthday together and she ignored me. Ya know, the usual.

February

I made it onto PostSecret for the first time. Whitney Houston died and I was devastated so I wrote a poem. Ryan Murphy pissed me off so I wrote him an angry tumblr post turned into a letter, which he never responded to.

March

March was a very important month for me– I STARTED GINGERSASS! (All of the posts posted before March 25th were transferred from my tumblr site.) Fun fact– GingerSass was started because I was pretending to be an investigative reporter at the Sex, Love, and Dating Conference. Also, Adrienne Rich died, which devastated me. A lot.

April

April freaking rocked. Highlights of the month include:

-volunteering with NOH8 and later being featured on their website
-meeting Frank Warren at my first PostSecret event
- saw an opera and a concert in one week
-my Poefy (poetry-wifey) was fantabulous in The Vagina Monologues and I wrote about it

May

May was a good month for me. Obama came out in support of gay marriage. I won an award. I graduated college. Life was pretty awesome to me in May.

June

June was an interesting month. I started it out writing about suicide after finding out that the partner of my friend who had committed suicide also committed suicide. I wrote a bunch of 10 Minute Musings for a grad class and reconnected with myself. I came out to my family as a blogger, with the support of Cady McClain, aka Dixie from All My Children. I even inspired her alter-ego, Suzy F*cking Homemaker, to create an internet meme. Suzy also encouraged me to write a post on why I want to be a celesbian…so I did. I also  booked and performed my first paid poetry gig, which was pretty darn awesome.

July

July started off with a roadtrip to Massachusetts with Poefy to the wedding of Taylor and Mike. I basked in the glory of cheeseball goodness. (This post is still one of my most-visited posts, btw.) I fell in love with my job over the summer. I also figured out What Obama Taught Me. I indulged in Restaurant Week. Then I got serious about my blog, invested in an actually site host, got free magnets, and was overwhelmed by the idea of going to BlogHer. I also posted about teacher dress codes, which is also one of my most-visited posts of all time.

August

August started off with me going to BlogHer’12 and MY LIFE CHANGING FOREVER. I made so many blogging friends through BlogHer, and I’m going to (eventually) categorize them on her so you can so who I’m reading. I also won a happy hour party in August and celebrated with wings and food at a local bar with my friends. Woohoo! To top August off, I started my new job, got an apartment to go along with it, and ruminated on why Res Life will always be a part of me.

September

September was an emotional, crazy month. I had an awesome first week of September. I was a national runner up to be the next Verizon Ultimate Insider, mentioned on AfterEllen, and yogurt was on sale. I made it through the one year deathaversary of my friend’s suicide, and I participated in yet another walk for dead people. September was emotional, tough, and trying, but I got through it.

October

October started off with me reflecting on how much I love my car. I also met Jack Hanna, which was a childhood dream come true. I had a kickass lesson on bullying on National Coming Out Day and fell even more in love with teaching. I went to the Dodge Poetry Festival for the first time as an educator, and I helped my students fall in love with poetry. I met Geena Davis and she told me, “You’re changing the world to be a place I want to be in. Keep up the good work.” I saw Melissa Etheridge in concert. I survived Hurricane Sandy, was really upset that Sandy canceled Halloween, and was upset by the whole Sandy experience.

November

November feels like such a long time ago. I participated in NaBloPoMo for the first time and wrote about how I’m a Jersey girl, how Sandy domesticated me, and what Obama’s win meant to me. I also talked about bacon, ghosts, and just how important it was that I found my voice again by going to poetry open mics. I cut my hair, took silly webcam pics, and thought about my future. I ended my first NaBloPoMo experience by being grateful for stickers, and really having peace in knowing that I’m on the right track for what I want to do with my life.

December

December flew by. I think the biggest thing that happened to me this month, right before my student teaching internship ended, was that I realized why I want to teach. I arranged for an assembly for my Creative Writing students, and  it really changed my relationship with them forever. It taught one student to not be afraid to be who she is, and this, in return, encouraged me to come out to her. She then wrote me a note and made me cry. Then the Newtown, Connecticut shooting happened and it hit really close to home, as it was the first school shooting that has happened since I began student teaching. My students asked me if I would take a bullet for them, and I was able to respond honestly and say yes. Student teaching ended, and I managed to make it to the parking lot after school before crying. I got creeped out by the whole Elf on a Shelf phenomenon, but secretly loved my creepy little elf.

2012 was a year of growth. I rediscovered my writing identity, and GingerSass became a very large part of who I am. I’m grateful for the opportunities blogging has given me this past year, and I cannot wait to see what 2013 holds.

Happy New Year, folks! What are you looking forward to in 2013?

PS I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend or not, but if you’ll be at home this NYE, consider joining in on #Tweetin13. There are prizes, fun people, and it’s hosted by two of my favorite ladies. Get on it!

Rainbow Graduation

Wednesday was an emotional day for me. I attended two memorial services (one interfaith ceremony for all students who have died at my university in the past year, one for my cousin’s other grandma) and I had Rainbow Graduation, which honors the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer identified undergraduate and graduate students and acknowledge the challenges and triumphs experienced in their careers at my University.

Every year, awards are given to a handful of seniors. The LGBT Taskforce Award is given to student leaders who have been devoted members to the LGBT community during their time at the University. Three of my friends won this award. Yay!

On Monday afternoon, I received a phone call from Jenny, the Director of our University’s Center for Soocial Justice Education and LGBT Communities saying that I was the 2012 recipient of the Lionel Cuffie Award for Activism and Excellence. I was a combination of super excited, super shocked, and super guilty that my other friends hadn’t won. As per the Center’s website, “Each year this award is presented to a graduating senior who has been selected from among a number of nominees for service to LGBT communities on-campus and off-campus and who has maintained a grade point average of at least 3.0.”

Jenny & I at Rainbow Graduation

Finding out I was receiving this award was mind-blowing. I wasn’t allowed to share this news with anyone (okay, so I called my mom and then my Professor Mom, who has known me for 4 years, I’ve taken class with her 7 times, and she has written me dozens of letters of rec over the years). On the night of the ceremony, I still couldn’t believe I had won. Even more surprising? Professor Mom came to the ceremony! She lives in Brooklyn and going to Rainbow Graduation was completely out of her way. However, her hubby actually told her, “You’ve known Kailynn for awhile. I think you should go.” I was completely shocked to see her at the graduation ceremony, and even more shocked when Jenny called her up to the stage to talk about me.

I promised myself I wouldn’t cry at Rainbow Graduation. I promised myself I would remain composed. I was doing really well with this until Jenny called Professor Mom up to the stage to say a few words about me.

A really terrible photo of Professor Mom talking about me

Talk about a surprise! I did not expect for her to give a speech. Her speech is a blur, but it made me laugh, cry, and turn bright red. (Yay ginger-ness!) She talked about the first time we had met, how she had helped me edit a poem about my sexuality (which you can see the video poem of here), how I’ve taken class with her seven semesters in a row, and how she’s watched me grow as a person and a poet. The memories got me teary eyed, but what really got me crying were the things she’s never said to me before. “I’ve never told Kailynn this, but she has made me the teacher I am today.” How can you not cry at this?! She concluded her speech by saying, “Kailynn is an ordinary person who does extraordinary things.” That made me BAWL. Looking at my life, I don’t think I do anything extraordinary. I just feel more compelled than most to lend a helping hand or offer an ear. If someone needs help with something, I’ll be there. We’re all in life together, we might as well work together, smile, and make things a little easier for one another.

When my name was called, everyone cheered, woo’d, and hollered like there was no tomorrow. Honestly, I was quite overwhelmed by it all. I didn’t have a speech prepared, and I sort of rambled about Lady Gaga, bubble tea, and how my university has made such an impact on my life. I’ve never been good at speaking in front of crowds who are recognizing me for something, and I definitely appreciate you all for putting up with my rambling speech!

The only photo I’ve been able to find so far of me talking. I know there are more!

Words can’t even begin to describe how humbled, blown away, and shocked I am by the amount of love and support I felt at Rainbow Graduation, and in being the 2012 recipient of the Lionel Cuffie Award for Activism and Excellence. Of all the seniors graduating, it blows my mind that I was chosen for this honor. There are so, so many students worthy of this honor, and I want them all to know how proud I am of not only the Class of 2012, but of all the members of our community. It’s been an interesting four years, with both ups and downs, but at the end of the day we were a phenomenal, amazing family and community. I have found so much love and support in every aspect of life through these wonderful people.

All of the Rainbow Graduates

I know that each and every person who attended Rainbow Graduation is going to go on to do remarkable things with their lives because they are all remarkable people. It’s an honor to know each and every one of them. I’m so grateful to have been a part of this community, and so incredibly honored and humbled to think that others think I’m worthy of being recognized for being me.

     

Thank you to everyone at the Center, all of my fellow Rainbow Graduates, my friends, my loved ones, and everyone who has continued to support me over the years. You all mean the world to me! <3