people > places > things


Jessie Ma2 Comments


I can't even try to make this sound pretty – it's been a fucking SHIT STORM of a year.

I thought 2015 was rough...

But as I tiptoed into 2016, wide-eyed and fingers crossed, hoping for a break, praying for some salvation...

The first 2 weeks of January kicked me in the face.

TLDR version: I moved to LA for a job (writing for a magazine), got fired from that job, went through the 16497385th and FINAL round of THE MESSIEST, MOST DRAMATIC AND TRAUMATIZING breakup EVER, got very very very sick, had surgery, and was bedridden for over a week and spent every night half wishing I wouldn't wake up the next morning.


In retrospect, it's crazy.. but not all that coincidental how all these shitty events took place within such a short amount of time. 

I mean, I was depressed. (To a sad and kind of terrifying degree that my present-self aches to recall.)

Although I didn't want nor actively make happen any of these things, I was somewhat of a walking magnet for tragedy. Because

I didn't care about anything.

And when you don't care, you "let yourself go."

You put yourself in dangerous situations, destructive relationships, and stay. You physically feel your body deteriorating, and just let it happen.

I took hit after hit, spiraled lower and lower, watched every aspect of my life falling apart and thought to myself, "What's the point?"

Giving up seemed not too shabby of an option.


So yeah. The first 2 weeks of January 2016 fucked me RAW. 

Then What?

In February, I got a job waitressing at a Japanese restaurant while continuing to pursue writing through freelance work. (I know, SUCH a typical "LA Creative.") I applied to and interviewed for a lot of different publications, but none of them felt right. I guess I knew that whatever opportunity I did hypothetically take would just be a filler job until I could (officially) work for my dream company... So I kept serving tables. And gogo dancing at gay clubs. I wrote whatever, whenever I could.

In March, I started my full-time position as Editor In Chief of STEEZY. EVERYSINGLEDAY I practice creating quality content, learn about about marketing strategy, meet new faces in the dance community, and (perhaps most significantly/interestingly) get to be a part of a startup company's journey from the seed of an idea to a movement with a purpose.

This year, I went from being straight up unemployed and broke to making a living from doing something I genuinely love. I went from feeling like I had nothing to offer the world, to knowing that my words matter and being empowered to use them to serve others. I went from not being confident enough to even call myself a writer, to collecting the courage to tell the stories of dancers I've admired for years. 

I don't wake up each morning just ecstatic about life and prance around everywhere with a pep in my step. But damn, am I grateful for my job and every opportunity it's given me, every lesson it's taught me, and every sacrifice I feel lucky to make. I know I have so, so much further to go, but –

in 2016, I found my voice and a way to use it. 

In April, I moved back home to the OC to save money on rent. Almost as a prerequisite, I tried to mend my tired, worn relationship with my mom. I fucked up in rather annoying and unnecessary ways, I.E.: driving my car into the garage door lol. I asked for a lot of patience. Received love veiled in harsh insults and nagging reminders. I moved back to LA with not much resolved, but more than enough evidence to support my theory that some relationships operate better with the buffer of physical distance. 

Then, a few weeks ago, I lost my grandma – and my mom lost her mom. I dropped everything and stayed home with her. Held her hand during the funeral and helped her clean out old belongings. I cried with her at the florist. Prayed with her at the cemetery. We shared the grief of losing someone who had given both of us life.

Almost by instinct, almost instantly, almost as if my grandma left us one last gift, everything petty between my mom and I melted away. And both of us, without ever even having to explicitly say it out loud, decided to love each other instead. 

Mamama and I are closer than ever now. 

In January, I let him go. I love/d him so. damn. much. But I'm 1000% sure we weren't meant to be in a romantic relationship. My stubborn resistance to this fact brought us both a lot of heartache until the mold of our incompatibilities spread to and infected even our sweetest of intentions. I hurt him a lot. Got hurt a lot. Stitched up those wounds in a hurry, slapped on a pretty band-aid, and tried not to look back, wincing only slightly when a reminder would brush up against the scars.

In March, I thought I fell in love. Not too long after, realized I loved the idea of being able to love again. My lover was more the object than subject of this story – and while my pride doesn't like to admit it, I think he experienced a similar illusion of love for an illusion of me. We don't talk anymore.

In June, I almost fell in love. THEN ALMOST IMMEJUTLY AFTER FORCED MY WAY OUT OF THAT SHIT because I was so far from ready to feel the full spectrum of emotion that love plunges you into. My PTSD overpowered his interest and my insecurities shone too bright a spotlight on both of our flaws. Triggered AF yet number than ever, I left with a quiet "sorry" and vowed to "focus on myself."

And I did. Until

November – I fell deeply, serendipitously, irreversibly in love. 

And I plan to stay here. 

More – much more – on that, later.

(I love you hehe)

BASICALLY. This year,

I started to grow into who I really am. 


Non-GMO. Dairy-free, gluten-free. LOL jk, but really –

Hitting rock bottom.. mercilessly smashed my carefully maintained facade to a million pieces and forced me to start from scratch. 

Because of this rebuilding, I took a lot of pride in my journey. I literally felt like I went from 0-100 by myself, rising from adversity and beginning to live.

But (with the help of my Lover's observation) I realized that this year was not me starting from shit then blossoming into a happy, healthy, thriving human.

It was survival. 

This realization hit me hard. It also made so much sense why I feel so restless and ready and eager for the new year.

I'd spent the majority of 2016 in a cocoon. Recovering in an incubator, if you will. 

I'm aware that there will always be obstacles and struggle and pain. I'm not striving for immunity from that, nor for absolute happiness, nor for any perfect of state of being. 

I just wanna live. 

This was the year

I learned that the best coping mechanism.. is NO COPING MECHANISM. That you don't really get over pain – you gotta move through it. I learned that temporary stitches deepen cuts and masks of happiness are so comically transparent. I learned to let myself hurt, then let myself heal.

I learned (and tried my best to practice) the elegant power of making the biggest statement possible through silence. 

I learned that perfect loves exist in very imperfect people. And the ideal relationship with them can take a lot of different, unexpected forms. And if you love them enough, the dynamic won't matter as much as the love. 

I learned how to write without stressing about sounding pretty or smart. I learned it's always best to just say what you mean and mean what you say.

I learned that it's possible and much more rewarding to choose to love those who've hurt you. I see it everywhere; forgiveness looks better on everyone. 

I learned that giving is receiving // receiving is giving. And someone giving me help, support, and love is a gift to them as much as it is a gift to me. 

I learned that "I love you" and "I'm sorry" and even "I don't really give a shit about you" are communicated more through actions than through words. 

I learned how to be my own best friend, spent days with nothing but Courage as company. I learned that I complete me. 

I learned that people are interesting because they are interested in things. That your love and passion makes you who you are. I learned to unapologetically do the things that I wanna do, and invite people along for the ride – if they want to join. 

I learned the value of rest and play, that they are not opponents but allies of hard work and productivity.

I learned how to be still. If only for moments at a time. 

I learned that I'm tired of denying myself the love that I know, deep down, I'm worthy of. And I'm tired of denying myself the opportunity to reciprocate it. I'm learning Love with him and don't ever want to stop. 

At the end of the day, people don't really change. 

But at the end of the year,

they kinda do. 

I went from being so depressed I didn't want to get up to pee, to now,

feeling like

there is so much life to live

and wanting to go fucking live it.

Happy 2017, lovers and friends. Can't wait to live it with you.