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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.


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


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.


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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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!

Res Life is a cult.

I’m an RA (a Resident Assistant). Or, rather, I used to be a RA. However, once you’re an RA, you’re always an RA. It becomes a part of you. August becomes your most dreaded month of the year. You cringe (and sometimes start twitching) every time a phone rings with the duty phone ringer. You critique bulletin boards and fliers every where you go. Discounted office supplies excite you. You feel sympathy for anyone who works a night shift. Housekeeping and cleaning crews become your best friends. You can spit out an icebreaker at any given time. You become really good at thinking of cutesy names for boring events. Anything looks better with glitter glue.

It’s kind of like a cult.

Actually, Residence Life is a cult.

I went through the emotions of my last year as an RA last year. I got teary eyed at my last August Training Banquet. I made amazing door decs and decided they all needed glitter glue at 4am on the morning of move in. I stayed up for 42 hours during August training to get things done. I dealt with being on duty during early move in while Hurricane Irene left our campus isolated from the rest of our University. (I still need to make “I survived move in weekend” tshirts.) I had more serious, tear-jerking resident issues in my last year as an RA than I did in my 2 previous years combined. I TA’d a RA course. I pulled all nighters for the first time in my life. I baked A LOT of cookies. I made creative bulletin boards every month for my 2 floors. I fought fire with fire when residents gave me shit. I used pounds of colorful paper. I had great, meaningful programs. I made a yearbook page for my staff. I freaked out when I realized I only had a few duty shifts left. I felt a sense of mourning (and relief) when I attended my last training session. I may or may not have cried just a bit when we took the graduating Res Life staff members photo, and I felt a lot of Feelings when it came to be May and I went home, not to May Training. I spent a lot of time this past year feeling nostalgic and saddened that my Res Life days were over.

This creation I made in January got a lot of action on tumblr. It made me feel quite special.

SURPRISE! I’m back.

I had been in talks for a position as a grad during the year, but I didn’t know if it would actually happen until August. I was appointed Assistant Residence Life Coordinator in one of the newer buildings on campus, and I actually am living on campus in the brand new University apartment complex that was just built. I’ve been working hand-in-hand with the RLC of the building I work for to help prepare for residents, plan programs, and basically make sure everything is running smoothly. It’s been a nice transitional position, as it doesn’t have a lot of the dreaded RA responsibilities (duty, pulling all nighters during August training, making 60+ door decs), but it has a few of the fun ones: helping plan (and approve) programs, making fliers, making 11 door decs for the RAs, shopping for programs on Res Life’s dime, etc. I’ve really enjoyed it so far, and I’m really happy that I was given this opportunity to stay involved with Res Life for my final year of grad school. (I can’t be a Hall Director [the individual in charge of RAs or buildings] because I’m student teaching in the Fall Semester and it’s considered a full time responsibility.)

I made my RAs some pretty hardcore technology-themed door decs.

Res Life is in my blood, and I can’t get rid of it, no matter how hard I try.

I have my own studio apartment, and for the first time in YEARS, residents will not be knocking on my door when they’re locked out, when they don’t like their roommate, or when they have a silly question. It’s kind of weird to realize that I’m actually someone else’s resident. On my first night living in my apartment, there were a lot of thoughts running through my head that make me think that perhaps Res Life is too ingrained in my soul at this point. Such of these thoughts included “Don’t they realize it’s quiet hours?”, “I wonder who the AA (Apartment Assistant) on duty is,” “When’s the first floor meeting? Do we have a floor social?” or, my personal favorite, “Why don’t I have a door dec when everyone else does? And what exactly is the door dec theme?”

I am probably my AA’s worst nightmare.

Can you imagine being in charge of someone who used to have your job? I really feel for you, AA of mine, whoever you are. I promise to try not to randomly throw cookie nights in my apartment, or fix bulletin boards when they get vandalized. I won’t initiate icebreakers when I hang out with groups of residents in the lounge, and I promise not to document individuals for noise violations. I won’t even call University Police when I suspect someone is smoking pot. I will try my darnedest to not overstep any boundaries, and to be a helpful-yet-not-annoying resident.

I will not, however, cope well with the fact that I am the only person on our floor without a door dec. There are somethings that are inexcusable, and I will be making myself a door dec at some point this weekend. Don’t be hurt when the other residents like mine better because it’ll have glitter on it.

Res Life is a cult…and I love every minute of it!