The Teresa Jusino Experience

Create Like An Activist

Tag: New Year’s Resolutions

My New Year’s Resolution (and Happy Fourth Blogiversary!)

January 1st, 2014 is the Teresa Jusino Experience’s fourth blogiversary, and I can’t believe I’ve been keeping this up for four years! Thanks to all of you for reading, thanks to WordPress for being so easy to use that even a non-coder like myself can use you, and thank you, blog, for being the place I go to hone my voice, get my thoughts out, and connect with the world.

Happy Fourth Birthday, Teresa Jusino Experience! 

My new year’s resolution for 2014 started making itself apparent toward the end of the year when I found myself posting a slew of articles about gender representation and feminism. It wasn’t the amount of articles, nor was it the content – it’s content I believe in. It was the fact that it all came from a place of being angry. Of being anti-something.

Don’t get me wrong – the anger is legitimate.

And it wasn’t just feminist content, it was other stuff, too. Stuff about classism, racism, transphobia…stuff I’m against. The internet makes it really easy to be vocal about things you’re against. The problem is that most people use it that way. Too few people use the internet to be vocal about what they’re for.

Be the change you want to see in the world. It’s more than just a great quote for cards and bumper stickers (one that’s erroneously attributed to Ghandi). It’s easy to point out what’s wrong with the world. It’s harder to propose solutions. It’s harder still to live those solutions.

So, my resolution this year is: I will be (and create) what I want to see.

Rather than complaining about how there’s not enough representation of women and/or minorities in media, I’m going to create that representation through the stories I write. Incredible Girl is already a step in that direction, what with two female leads and a story that attempts to make room for a spectrum of sexual and gender identities, but I want to do more. I’m also going to make it a point this year to seek out films, TV shows, and books/comics that were either created by women/minorities or that have female/minority protagonists, and I’m going to talk about them. Rather than talking about how no one talks about those stories…I’m going to talk about those stories. 🙂

The same goes for other areas of my life in which I want to be more of an activist and live more ethically. Rather than talking about the things I’d protest (they get too much attention as it is, which is part of the problem), I’m going to talk about the alternatives and what’s possible.

I’d like to create a special section of this blog that would be devoted to being a resource for people who’d like to make those things a priority. Like, a page listing recommendations of female-created stories, or local farms in CA from which people can buy meat ethically, or businesses that should be rewarded for going out of their way to be inclusive. Stay tuned – I’ll figure it out.

The point is, rather than focusing more light on the stuff I don’t like in the world, I want to try putting out the stuff I want more of and see if I can get that to stick. As a writer, it’s my job to create worlds out of thin air. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? 🙂

Looking Back On 2012, Looking Forward to 2013

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First of all,  JANUARY 1ST, 2013 marked the THIRD BLOGGIVERSARY of the Teresa Jusino Experience. It came and went with little fanfare, as I spent my New Year’s Day enjoying the company of friends hosting an all-day New Year’s Day Brunch-a-thon with my roommate. Still, it’s kind of cool to see how this blog has grown in three years. Here’s hoping the upward trajectory continues!

I’ve been doing a Year In Review post since 2004 (you can stalk keep up with Teresa History by checking out 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.)

This year, I’m keeping it short and sweet for reasons I’ll make clear later in the post.

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WRITING LIFE:

  • I’m still a writer at Tor.com and PopMatters.
  • I gained a new outlet by being taken on by Al Dia, a Spanish-language newspaper based out of Philly. Expect more from me at Al Dia Cafe in the coming year. (You can check out the pieces I’ve already written HERE.)
  • I gained another job when I started writing about comics for GirlGamer.com, but found out on New Year’s Day that they can no longer use my services. Bummer, but them’s the breaks. Still, you can check out what I’ve already written for them HERE.
  • I’m still a writer on RETCON, and have been helping to produce the pilot. We had an IndieGoGo campaign this year, where we raised enough money to shoot the pilot, which is happening this month! Very excited about that, and about the possibilities for the show after the pilot’s done. I’m very much looking forward to writing episodes for the actual season!
  • Tumultuous, but ultimately successful trip to GeekGirlCon 2012 in Seattle. Tumultuous in the getting there and getting back (I’d rather not rehash that story, but it involves being stranded in Oregon). Successful in that my panel on “Moffat’s Women” in Doctor Who was filled to capacity and I got so many compliments from strangers on it afterward. Thanks to Miley Yamamoto, Alan Kistler, and Natalie Reed for being such amazing panelists!
  • I was published in two Doctor Who-related anthologies: Chicks Unravel Time (Mad Norwegian Press) and Outside In (ATB Publishing). Very proud of the pieces I wrote (both about Classic Who), and loved the editors I got to work with. Both books are on sale now!
  • Started a Grimm spec, and started talking to a friend about a possible pilot we’ll be writing together, but my tumultuous living situation this year made it difficult to focus on writing that didn’t pay me, so my TV stuff was sadly very much on the back burner for much of the year.

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PERSONAL LIFE:

  • I’ve actually been dating this year! Fancy that. What’s more, I’m seeing someone now. And for the first time in the ever-ever, I had a date on New Year’s Eve. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the Mayans really were right about the end of the world. Or, at least about pigs flying or snowballs in Hell.
  • I’ve met even more wonderful people in my new city. I constantly marvel at the caliber of my friends, both old and new.
  • 6-year anniversary of my mother’s passing.
  • Visited New York over the summer for the first time since moving to L.A. Had an amazing time with friends (and pulled off an epic birthday surprise on my bestie!), but also confirmed that moving to L.A. was a good decision. At least for right now. I still get really nostalgic and homesick for New York and the people in it, but I know that moving here was the right thing. Shout-out to Matt for flying me out there! Would never have been able to visit home otherwise last year.
  • Celebrated my 33rd birthday in San Diego attending my first SDCC. The cast of Grimm – Sasha, Bitsie, and Reggie in particular – totally made my SDCC experience!
  • Had a tumultuous year financially and with regard to my living situation. After a little over a year spent couch-surfing or staying in people’s spare rooms (or that one time where I THOUGHT I had a permanent apartment, only to have it pulled out from under me four days in), I finally got a permanent apartment with a friend in October. We signed a two-year lease, so for better or worse, I’m living in Hollywood for a while! It’s nice to have a permanent address…and now, to work out my finances.
  • Got a new day job through a good friend. It’s the most flexible job I could’ve asked for to make rent when writing doesn’t. Great environment and I’m working with really good people. Also, it often involves going to events and getting free food, which is a plus! 😉
  • After a year of working for the best jefa ever, Chastity and I both decided that it’d be best if I leave my assistant position with her. Eh, I’m happier to have her as my friend rather than my boss anyway. 🙂
  • Devoted ALL of October to the Obama campaign in this year’s Presidential Election. You’re welcome, Mr. President.
  • As for The Fray Project, I focused less on that than I might have liked. Though, I have lost weight this year, and I have shifted my thinking and the way I do things, it was more gradual and less structured, which overall might be a good thing. It means things are actually sticking.
  • Had a great Thanksgiving week in Denver hosted and attended by wonderful and inspiring friends. Shout-out to Cathy and Matt for flying me there for the holiday, and shout-out to Angela, Heather, Lauren, and Joel for being awesome!
  • Became Molly Bloom in December. Said yes.
  • Was sick through Christmas, but had a wonderful and relaxing end of the year. Except for that rough patch at the end there. But for the most part, yes. Relaxing. And wonderful.

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And that’s that. My report on the year. And I’m keeping it simple for a reason…

Something that’s been hit home to me a lot this year is that I have a tendency towards huge gestures. Like The Fray Project on my blog, for example – pretending that I “need” to talk about things publicly to give myself motivation. The truth is, all of my Big Plans are just me procrastinating. Procrastinating….and a little bit me getting scared of what might happen whether I succeed or fail. I know “aspiring,” but I don’t know getting there. I feel like a part of me focuses on the big pronouncements of plans for things, rather than on the actual getting to the hard work, because I’m afraid of seeing things through. Why? I don’t know, but I don’t want to be afraid of that. I want to see what happens! So, this year is gonna be a lot of me keeping my head down and just doing the fucking work. I can make big pronouncements when I have something to announce, and I shouldn’t worry so much that people will forget me or about what they’ll think of me if I’m “too quiet” about what I’m doing. This year, I want to talk about what I’ve DONE rather than what I WILL do.

And standing here at the beginning of 2013, after a year of being scattered in the wind, I finally feel grounded enough to do just that.

Here’s hoping that all of you reading this find whatever you wish for yourself this year. Happy 2013 everyone!

L.A. Year One: Resolutions, and My Second Blogiversary!

I don’t know if it’s the cross-country move, the start of a New Year, or what it is that, for some reason, makes 2012 feel more full of possibility than any year before it. For the first time, despite some moments of depression in recent months, I have not only a general feeling that my life is mine to shape in any way I want, but the fortitude and confidence and drive to do it and shape it into something good. There’s something strange and sad about the fact that this is the first time I’m feeling that way, but I’m not going to let that make me sad or second-guess my ability to create the kind of life I want. There’s no reason why I should shuffle along being content, when what I want (and deserve), is to be happy.

 

But first thing’s first. This here little blog, THE TERESA JUSINO EXPERIENCE, turned two years old today! Huzzah! *throws confetti* To those of you who’ve read, commented, given feedback, and linked to me – THANK YOU! I enjoy having a platform on which to both entertain and through which to communicate what’s important to me. I hope you enjoy it, too!

Secondly, in an effort to do that happy living I mentioned above, I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to go about doing that, and I’ve come around to one main resolution I have for the year:

To live more consciously and genuinely.

 

That sounds so broad, doesn’t it? Also, sounds like something obvious – something that one should be doing all the time, not just as a one-time goal or resolution. I agree. The thing is, it’s something I’ve struggled with, and most of the time, it’s a struggle at which I lose. I’m someone who’s “on” a lot of the time, being cheerful and upbeat even when I don’t feel that way so as not to bring anyone down. I’m someone who has certain ideals and dreams for this world that you’d never know from my actions. In the interest of not “being a party pooper,” of not inconveniencing anyone, of making others happy, and – I’ll just come out and say it – of being loved, I’ve held a lot of myself in. I’ve held in good things, and I’ve held in bad things. One problem is that withholding the good things deprives the world of them, when I could be using my enthusiasm and talent to better it. The other problem is that holding in the bad things does nothing but make them turn inward, hurting me, and that manifests itself in all sorts of ways; ways that I wasn’t fully conscious of until very recently. Like I said, it’s been a struggle, and while it would be great to just wake up one day and say, “I’m going to be a better person,” the fact is that it’s not something one can do overnight, and it’s the kind of thing that’s so big, it would be easy to throw up one’s hands and not bother, thinking it too big a thing to accomplish.

So, manageable chunks. It’s going to be something I focus on this year. I’m not thinking about the rest of my life, or the kind of person I want to turn into, or even 2013. I’m focusing on the next 365 days and how I, in those 365 days can live more consciously and more genuinely.

What does that mean to me? Well, by living more consciously I mean engaging with myself and the world every day. I mean actually thinking about each decision I make, rather than just doing things out of habit. I mean not sleepwalking through my life. By living more genuinely, I mean putting more of myself out into the world and not being afraid of what people will think. I mean being equally honest about when I’m happy and when I’m sad. I mean trusting the people who love me when they say that they prefer it when I’m honest, and “real,” and “not on.” I’ve had several conversations with people recently to that effect; times when I’ve been so depressed about something that I haven’t been able to hold it in, and my friends respond not with the boredom or distaste that I’m afraid of, but with love and the idea that they’d rather see me being genuine. They appreciate my humor and my boisterousness, sure, but they also appreciate me when I’m not being very funny at all. I need to remember that.

Living more genuinely also means telling people how I feel about them without being snarky or ironic about it. If I love someone, I should be able to tell them so without laughing, making a face, or turning it into some kind of joke. I mean, once in a while is okay – I generally have an ironic, sarcastic sense of humor – but it’s gotten to the point where it’s almost physically impossible not to be ironic. And that, to me, is a problem. If someone does something wonderful for me, I’d like to be able to thank them without qualifiers. There’s nothing inherently good about downplaying how much you need/like/enjoy a thing. In fact, if you do – and I know this from having received it – you make the person giving you/doing the nice thing feel a little bad about having given it to you. Of course they “shouldn’t have!” But that’s the whole thing about gifts and favors – people want to give them precisely because you weren’t expecting it. They want the joy of seeing you enjoy it, and trying excessively to give it back or not accepting it graciously takes that joy away from them. Not only is being honest about how you feel about something better for you, but it makes other people feel good, too.

I plan on living my resolution for the year by focusing on the following things:

1) Living my values – this means being active in my choices as a consumer and a citizen. It will affect where I buy my food, what businesses I frequent, and who I’ll vote for. It also means being more active in my support of things. I will volunteer for organizations I believe in and give money when I can, though it really is more about active support rather than just throwing money at things. I will be more vocal about what I believe. I’ve already started doing that, but I’d like to fight my inner-censor even more. Rather than worry about “bringing the party down” or having people think less of me, if something happens or someone does something in front of me that doesn’t jibe with my sense of decency, ethics, or justice, I’m going to say something and/or do something about it. I’m not going to let the world happen to me anymore. You’ve been warned! Lastly, living my values also means treating people the way I would like to be treated, and not taking the people I care about for granted or assuming they know how I feel. I’m going to tell them. Regularly. You’ve been warned about that, too. 😉

2) Making my outward appearance and actions reflect what I feel/believe inside – This ties into the stuff above. I want people to know what I stand for based on my actions, not just on what I tell them. However, this also extends to how I feel and what I believe about myself. Right now, at 32 years old, I feel better about myself than I ever have before. I am an accomplished, intelligent, talented woman who must be doing something right in the kindness and compassion department if I have so many wonderful friends. Then why do I eat as if I don’t care about my body, health, or well-being? Why do I dress as if I don’t care what I look like and don’t think anyone else should bother looking at me anyway? Why do I try so desperately to hide myself from people under layers of fat and ill-fitting clothing, not wearing make-up (because God forbid someone look too hard at my face), and letting my hair fall lifelessly around my shoulders? It’s the whys of these things that I’ll be looking to address this year. Notice, I didn’t say “I’m going on a diet,” or “I wanna lose __ pounds.” Saying those things has never done anything for me. My hope is that, by focusing on the whys and eliminating them, the rest will fall into place. What I want to do is make the conscious choice every day to present myself in the best way possible and do what’s best for my body, and the only way I won’t is if I have a damn good reason. (Spoiler Alert: there are very few, if any, damn good reasons.)

3) Paying attention to my spiritual self – I rush all the damn time and yet never seem to have enough hours in the day. How is that possible? Shouldn’t rushing mean that I get more stuff done and have more time at the end of the day? What I’ve realized, though, is that a lot of my “rushing” has more to do with what’s going on in my head than what I’m actually doing. I’m rushing, when what I should be doing is slowing down. I want to make time to read books. I want to write in my paper journal. I want to pray more – not just the way I usually do, with a quick thought aimed in God’s general direction, but with purpose. I want to make sure I schedule time to relax so that when I do schedule time to work, that work will be more focused. My mind darts all over the place, all the time, and it’s because I hardly ever allow myself the time to deal with what’s in there. I’m going to slow down. I’m going to make time.

This seems like a lot, but it really boils down to one thing: with every decision I make I will ask myself, “Does __________ fall in line with who I am as a person?” I will try to ask myself that question with everything I do, every day, for 365 days. Starting now.

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