2014 is one of those years that I'll remember forever. It was full of really positive moments and really low lows. I made some difficult choices, and some that came naturally.
The year started with a huge career upheaval. Some of my dearest mentors moved on, and were no longer around as often for me to talk with. Many folks made huge changes in their careers, some by choice, and some not. It seemed as if everyone around me was leaving, and I was stuck on my own. As I look back, I'm glad everyone made the moves they did. Several of my friends chose paths that positively effected their lives, and I am proud of them for taking the leaps they did.
By taking a job with Tekzilla, I too made a leap of faith. Tekzilla brought me new opportunities, and helped me expand my knowledge. It also inspired me to work harder, and I felt much more self confident with my career. I learned that I shouldn't sell myself short, and I shouldn't always say 'yes'.
This was the first year that shows I worked on were canceled, or I had to leave. It was hard to deal with that change, financially and emotionally, but I embraced it. The change brought the power of independence. I'm now completely free to choose what I do, with no strings attached. While I'm still feeling some of the negative impacts of those changes, I'm also growing my own self-worth, through the power of being my own boss.
I knew that even if I felt like I had hit rock bottom and would have to live out of a car, I still had support from the people I love. A couple of years ago I learned that taking negativity at face value was worthless, specially if the ones saying things are complete strangers. 2014 was my year of embracing the people that mean the most to me, and leaving others behind or trying to see their comments outside of the box. It was the year that, if someone said I was wrong, I'd discuss it with them. Oftentimes the person (another human being!) would apologize for an attack or appreciate that I wasn't ego-driven. It meant more for me to relate, than to just berate back. 2014 meant not caring if someone online still looked at me as if I'm just the 'pretty girl on Hak5'. I advanced my knowledge so much this year, that hearing things like that no longer mattered. I continue to be a woman in the tech industry, and as hard as some might go to see me fail, I'm not going anywhere. This is where I belong and where I want to be.
Women dealt with some weird stuff this year, myself included. From dealing with a real-life stalker, and filing a complaint with local police, to having an almost famous nerdcore rapper sexuality harass me at a pool party in Vegas, to watching celebrity women deal with obvious breaches of their own private information - (why women still have to deal with being objectified is beyond me)... But after dealing with objectification hundreds of times since I started working in online media, I decided not to 'smile' anymore, and make sure others aren't afraid to speak up. I want to be someone that little girls can look up to and be inspired by,and I'm glad everyone from toy makers to the US President are breaking down that gender barrier. Women are standing up for themselves when it comes to sexism, and I'm choosing to be one of those women. We are outspoken, strong, and logical.
Personally, I made some amazing life changes, like getting married to my amazing husband and choosing to go completely freelance for work. I focused more time on making memories than shopping, and saving more than spending. I traveled a lot, took amazing pictures, and spent time on hobbies, working less on the weekends. I spent less time on my phone and more time on myself- learning recipes to cook at home, taking day trips to local hop spots and spending time with friends.
I learned, through getting married, what friends care most about you and which ones care more for themselves. Marriage is amazing! Planning a wedding is stressful and time-consuming (that's a whole 'nother blog post!). I started being more open with my views, especially on things like religion and politics, and learned a bunch about fellow humans' personalities based on their reactions.
In the end, I'm glad things happened the way they did. There were a few instances, like when Tekzilla was cancelled or my friend moved away, where I panicked and thought 'I'm so fucked!'. Other times when I felt like I was most peaceful and found my stride, with new hobbies and obsessions (like couponing and building electronics). I don't care if people find my passions annoying or weird. I don't care if a stranger thinks my hair cut is weird. I love my passions, and they make me happy! I like the direction my life is going. There were so many paths I could take this year, opportunities and gut feelings. I'm making a new path, leading and not following, and I kinda like it that way.