Everything I need to know, I learned from 2015

Wow, you guys. We did it. We finished 2015, or at least by the end of this week, we will have finished 2015. This year has not been my favorite. I am not a necessarily optimistic person, but I love the last week of the year. I am the first and most excited to stand up and shout, “Good riddance, and bring on the next one!” Which is probably exactly how you will find me at midnight on the 1st of January. I love EINTKILF and 2016 marks its fourth year. This is the fourth time I have reviewed a year in my column and even though I hated the majority of the past 360-something days, I love writing about it. EINTKILF 2016Things change Did I really learn this lesson during this particular year? No, but you know what I remembered? I remembered the feeling when you learn that your favorite celebrity couple is splitting or when your favorite band splits up. This was the year that Zayn Malik left One Direction, crushing the hearts of literally millions of human beings. Is it a big deal? To the old and bitter, no it isn’t, but is it a big deal? It absolutely is. I remember crying when “Gone” by N’Sync came out because it was very clear that Justin Timberlake had kind of distanced himself from the group and also because it’s just really a sad song, even still.

But things do change. Not only did Zayn leave, but he started fighting with the band and that always makes everything harder. And Gwen and Gavin broke up, and Jen and Ben broke up, and Emma and Andrew broke up, and I personally had like basically 3.5 breakups, none of them quite my choice. Breakups are hard any which way you swing them. I’m 28 and they haven’t gotten easier, they’ve just gotten different. I hold my head up high and I walk away quicker and I don’t try to force something to work if it isn’t working. And I know that Zayn probably felt that way too, and god knows that all of those celeb couples felt that way too, right? Sometimes you just have to let it go.The definition of “squad.” I like “squads” and “squad goals” in general, like the general idea that a bunch of awesome women hang out and that other women want to have similar groups of awesome women in their own lives.Women hanging out with one another is phenomenal. I have “squad goals” when I see stuff like Andrea Barber, Candace Cameron Bure, and Jodie Sweetin embarrassingly dancing in a trailer for Fuller House (one of the many reasons 2016 > 2015) but ultimately, I am happy with my own personal “squad” and I hope you are as well. We miss flip phones. Hey, have you guys ever heard of Adele? She’s like one of the most incredible singers of our generation and we all really, really missed her. Like, a lot. You know what? Adele is one of those people who we all love but I just don’t think we all realized how much we all loved her? Like Adele makes me personally feel like we’re really good old friends. “21” defines a two year long on-and-off again semi-relationship in my life and Adele just totally understood that. When you connect with music that much, it is really easy to feel like that particular musician is speaking directly to you. And little did I know, Adele was speaking to all of us. We had a lot of really popular songs (and hilarious jokes about those songs) this year, but I feel like “Hello,” Adele’s “allow me to reintroduce myself” single was the biggest? I mean, it’s between “Hello” and “Hotline Bling,” right? The song and video for “Hotline Bling” was entertainment forever for us and between the feelings that Adele pulled out of us with “Hello” and the silly Lionel Richie mashups, I feel like they dominated the song world. And that flip phone, man. Welcome back, flip. Never let go.  When I was 7-years-old, before I knew about stuff like television shows being cancelled, I saw a commercial for the last episode of Full House, with the cast bowing and everything. I was immediately inconsolable. I could not handle losing a cast that was basically my family. My mother held me and tried to explain something like “all good things come to an end” or something but I just couldn’t get over it. When I got pretty into Twitter, the first thing I did was follow whoever from Full House was on it. I follow the whole cast on Twitter, Instagram, and I even “like” their Facebook pages. I have been obsessed with this show like nothing else for basically my entire life. So imagine my delight when the Fuller House news was confirmed. I wanted to immediately go back into time and hug my sobbing 7-year-old self, letting me know that everything would get better in 20 years. Sure, the show might suck. Sure, there will be no Michelle. Sure, it might never get renewed for a second season. But for however many hours it takes me to watch a full season of Fuller House, I will be young again. My life will feel familiar and comfortable and safe. I can’t wait for the Tanners to come back to me. Television show revivals are in full force right now and I love it. Besides Fuller House, we have the upcoming Gilmore Girls revival, the X-Files revival, whatever is happening with Twin Peaks, and rumors of a Fresh Prince something-or-other. I cannot get sick of it. I am ALL. IN. for reunions, revivals, and everything else. Bring it all back, you guys. Bring it. The definition of brave.
This was quite the year for gender equality. In my notes, I had written “gender equality strides,” but I am not necessarily sure I believe that, I think I just want to believe it. But what I did love was the Caitlyn Jenner story. I know there has been plenty of backlash with Jenner since she has come out as a woman, but she has handled it all with such pride and class. Jenner did not invent coming out as transgender, but she certainly brought it into a bright new spotlight. There was a lot of disagreement over the definition of the word brave this year. Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the ESPYs this year, inciting some to argue that she is not brave and was not deserving of this award. Bravery can be defined in many different ways. Deciding to be who you are, finally, is a brave thing. Standing up for yourself, loving yourself, making a public announcement that can be very isolating is brave—Caitlyn Jenner is brave, and that doesn’t make anyone else less so.

Tragedy never goes away.  I cannot rightfully write about 2015 and not mention all of the tragedy we experienced this year. Between Charlie Hebdo, the attacks in Paris, protests in Baltimore, the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the WDBJ-TV7 shooting, the Nepal earthquake, the Syrian refugee deaths, the explosions in Ankara, the shooting in San Bernardino, and everything else, this year was hard. It is hard and I cannot promise that it will get better but awareness is so important. Do what you can and if nothing else, try to open your heart and mind to what other people are dealing with on a regular basis. How we look at history can change. There was a lot of discussion about the Confederate flag this year, mostly brought on by the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. I feel like it’s pretty clear how I feel about the Confederate flag but without getting too political, I want to remind everyone that history is literally about growth and change. Old practices and traditions do not have to remain in place if they are no longer relevant or appropriate. History is history for a reason. We cannot take the Confederate flag out of our history, but we can take it out of our lives right now. Sometimes you have to move on
On a less depressing note, though it is still incredibly hard to get over, this year we learned that the ones we love leave us, and not only in a tragic way. Though I am not a fan of his, David Letterman left late night television after something like 33 years. That is longer than I have been alive. Besides Letterman, Jon Stewart, the love of my life, retired from The Daily Show, ushering in a new era with Trevor Noah as host. Jon Stewart means so much to me and hearing the news that he would no longer host broke my heart and my spirit, along with everyone else’s. Besides late night, we lost a lot of great shows this year. 2015 saw the end of Mad MenBoardwalk EmpireCougar Town, Sons of Anarchy, True BloodGlee, Parks and Rec, and Parenthood.  The one that hit me the hardest was Glee because, though it was definitely ready to e n d a long time ago, it was a big part of my life for a long time. I started watching Parks after it ended and I was in the middle of Parenthood when it ended, but man those shows were fantastic and before anyone gets mad at me, I am not comparing any of those shows to each other, I am just telling you where my heart is. I hate when things end, but hey. Maybe they’ll have revivals in 20 years?? Black women just killing it.
But this year, we saw a lot of fantastic displays of Black Excellence. We had Straight Outta Compton, which raked in the dough at the box office for weeks. We had The Wiz Live, which was NBC’s first successful run at the “live musical” thing they have been trying for so long. We had the existence of Zendaya and Amandla Stenberg — two phenomenal young women who give me immense hope for the future. We had that friggin’ amazing series of Apple commercials starring Taraji P. Henson, Mary J. Blige, and Kerry Washington — not to mention it was directed by Ava DuVernay. We had famous Black Barbies. We had Nicki Minaj and Beyonce, just in general.

And we had Viola Davis’ breathtaking speech at the Emmy’s — something that courses through the veins of my heart at all moments of my day, ever since she first spoke those words.

What a year.Love is love. 
This year, after all of this time, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, which basically means that anyone who is in love and wants to declare their love in front of their friends and family can legally do so. I will never forget crying at my desk that morning, watching all of the reactions in real time. Twitter added a little rainbow heart for anyone who used the phrase “Love Wins.” Everyone’s profile pictures on all social networking accounts was changed to a rainbow. The rainbow emoji was in everyone’s most recently used emojis. People were happy, and in love, and ready to express that to the world. My state (Washington) had legalized marriage equality already, but watching the country celebrate that morning was more than my bitter little heart could handle. What a fantastic addition to a year of heartbreak and tragedy. What a wonderful thing for us to tell our children one day. Love wins. I hope it continues to do so. I hope your 2015 was great, or at least decent. I will see you guys in 2016 for a roller coaster of an election year. Fingers crossed that we have more positives and less tragedy and fewer breakups and more crushes and lots of cute pets and tons of exciting trips and new friends and most importantly, love. Thanks for sticking with EINTKILF for another year. You guys keep me sane. Featured image via YouTube.

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