Everything I need to know, I learned from the year 2014

This is the third EINTKILF [Insert Year Here], and I must admit it is the heaviest one I’ve written yet. I am in no way suggesting that 2012 and 2013 were NBDs, but 2014 held something much bigger. It was a year full of both tragedy and triumph. A year full of Taylor Swift and Beyoncé. Divorce rumors and marriages. Social upheaval and political turmoil. We have been through a heck of a lot.

On a personal note, I went to Disneyland for the first time since I was 3 years old, I got my first big girl job, I bought a car, I had what felt like 40 million breakups, broke my own heart a whole lot, and wrote so much I fell asleep on my iPad . . . twice. Thanks for being with EINTKILF through the last 12 months. I have loved getting to know ya’ll for another year. And I, of course, love Hello Giggles so much.

So without further ado, EINTKILF 2014

1. Hashtags have power.

Though I believe that every year is full of terrible news across the world, I want to be optimistic for just a second. We experienced way too many tragedies in 2014, but we also saw something incredible: our voices united. Hashtags used to be something ridiculous, something we mocked, something we were annoyed by, something people didn’t know how to effectively use yet. But this year was different. This year, we saw hashtags come together for the greater good. Among the most incredible movements, we saw (we CREATED, even) were #YesAllWomen, #IllRideWithYou, #WeCantBreathe, #BlackLivesMatter, and simply #Ferguson.

2. Buckets of ice can make a difference.

Potentially even sillier seeming than a hashtag having any kind of influence, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge ruled the Internet this year. It started small, it got HUGE. Every one of your friends, all of our favorite celebrities, and even former presidents got involved. What does dumping a bucket of ice over your head do for a disease? Well, you were supposed to donate when you did it, but even if you never paid the cash, how many of you knew anything about ALS before the videos went viral? Exactly.

3. “Why not us?” became a mantra. 

I was born in Los Angeles, but I will always consider myself a Pacific Northwesterner. I am a Seattlite tried and true, from the cup of coffee in my hand to the rain galoshes on my feet. This year, our Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl. There are plenty of teams that have won the Super Bowl, but it was an extra big deal for Seattle. Our sports teams never win stuff, and the Seahawks transformed from a complete underdog of a team to champions. Richard Sherman’s name is now always in the news, and we have an actual angel on the Seahawks who goes by Russell Wilson. Coach Pete Carroll is officially everyone in the city’s spiritual dad/grandpa, and together, the team not only won the Super Bowl, but gave us an incredible slogan: “Why not us?” Use it in your real life — I’m sure Wilson and the guys won’t mind.

In other sports news: I know Derek Jeter was a BFD this year. Good work, champ.

4. ‘Feminist’ is no longer a scary word.

Even when I was just a tiny bit younger, I didn’t consider myself a feminist. I didn’t understand that the word feminism means something really simple: believing in equality. I know now I definitely fit into that definition, and am a loud and proud feminist. This year was a wonderful year for female voices and we heard them all the time. Some of my favorite quotes from the year on feminism:

“Fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.” — Emma Watson

“My mother always told me, ‘hide your face, people are looking at you.’ I would reply, ‘it does not matter; I am also looking at them.’” — Malala Yousafzai

“Why is it mischievous, fun, and sexy if a guy has a string of lovers that he’s cast aside, loved, and left? Yet if a woman dates three or four people in an eight-year period, she is a serial dater and it gives some 12-year-old the idea to call her a slut on the Internet? It’s not the same for boys, it just isn’t, and that’s a fact.” — Taylor Swift

Bey doesn’t even need to speak words, tbh. See above. 

5. Women stood up for themselves.

And really, quite a lot of people stood up for women. Women had a hard year, but we also had a year where everyone started to speak out about things that we have just always grown up with. Those “norms” were hardcore questioned. Rape on campus, “leaked nude photos,” the truth about Bill Cosby, gender identification, content in music, women on television. To name a few standout moments specifically:

Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize at 17 years old. Mo’ne Davis, 13-year-old baseball superstar, graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, showing us what “throwing like a girl” really means. Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz carried her mattress with her EVERYWHERE SHE WENT until the boy who raped her was expelled from the university. Jennifer Lawrence, et al, spoke out about the importance of semantics regarding her personal pictures on the Internet, calling it a sexual violation, not a scandal. There are 100 women in Congress for the first time ever. Catcalling was finally, well, called out. Laverne Cox was featured on the cover of Time, and also rightfully won herself an Emmy nomination. Facebook stopped reporting pictures of breastfeeding. Mindy Kaling exists as a person who inspires women on a daily basis. Shonda Rhimes, in general. Beyoncé. Just Beyoncé.

6. Every badass wrote a book.

Speaking of feminism (and I swear I’ll move onto another 2014 topic in a minute, maybe), every woman you love wrote a book this year: Bad Feminist by the wonderfully sharp Roxane Gay#GirlBoss by the insanely smart CEO Sophia Amoruso. CITIZEN by my hero Claudia Rankine. Science . . . for her! by Parks and Rec genius Megan Amram. Not That Kind of Girl by our girl Lena Dunham, and the perfect piece of work by my favorite piece of work,Yes, Please by Queen Amy Poehler. If you have not read all or at least some of these books, put them on your 2015 book list and read them all ASAP.

7. Selfies can (and did) break the Internet.

Ellen DeGeneres literally broke Twitter when she tweeted the most-famous selfie of all time during the Academy Awards. I know because I was obviously trying to live-tweet like the rest of the media-lovin’ general public / everyone on Hello Giggles. Though the Oscar Selfie was my favorite picture of the year, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding picture is officially the most well <3ed picture on Instagram.

Speaking of Kim K . . . I am sure you didn’t miss her Internet-breaking cover of Paper magazine. No hate on my end. Kim K is my girl. (Oh and also North Korea may or may not have broken the Internet, like literally though.)

8. Love is in the aiiiir.

Speaking of weddings this year, congrats to the new officially-wed couples of 2014: Brad and Angelina, George Clooney and the badass human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, Lance Bass and Michael Turchin (guess that means I’m out for marrying Lance), Scarlett Johansson and Romain Dauriac (I never thought I’d be jealous of a man named Roman), Dwayne Wade and Gabriel Union, Kim and Kanye, and Dave Coulier (Uncle Joey!!) and Melissa Bring!

But even more importantly than all of those marriages, same-sex couples have the right to get married in 35 states, as well as Washington D.C. and St. Louis, Missouri. Yes, 35 isn’t 50, but we are clearly breaking down stupid age-old laws more and more all the time.

9. Racism became a sadly familiar conversation.

On a sad note, the word “racism” made a strong and vocal comeback in 2014. No matter what your stance on the hashtags, and the issue of police brutality, public safety, and engrained racism, it is important to recognize that our nation has a long way to go when it comes to equality of all kinds.

Opening this conversation is a painful one, but if we don’t discuss it, it will just keep being deadly. It is crucial to unveil the harsh truths of how our justice system is run, and we’re doing that. To better days, hopefully one day.

10. Loss hurts.

I have to end on a sad note, because talking about 2014 without mentioning the loss we experienced would be unjust. We lost so many this year. We unexpectedly lost Joan Rivers, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jan Hooks, and Harold Ramis. We were forced to bid farewell to Joe Cocker, Richard Attenborough, Shirley Temple-Black, Lauren Bacall, James Garner, Mickey Rooney, and Eli Wallach.

We lost the incredibly bold, absolutely vital humanitarian Maya Angelou. Angelou was, and always will be, absolutely irreplaceable. She changed my life, and I am sure many of you can attest to that for yourselves.

And we lost Robin Williams. In no way am I attempting to rank the losses we experienced. Loss is loss, it is always sad, it is never easy to let go of people we grew up with, people we were inspired by, people who changed the world in whichever way they touched it. But for me, Williams was different. Not only was his death painfully unexpected, but he left us in such a harsh way. His death was one of those that make you stop and think about loved ones; the kind that makes you call your family and make sure they are ok.

On a personal note, Robin Williams helped me through the worst times of my life, so many times, and I know he likely had the same effect on many of you. The thing about Williams is that he really was that good of a person. Countless stories have come out over the months since he passed — his visits to children’s hospitals, the letters he wrote to and for his young co-stars, the stories his best friends have shared, the strength of his children, the will-you-go-to-prom-with-him videos — he really was everything we hoped he was in real life. Losing a great man like Robin Williams — someone who had such an impact on our growing up — changes us. I owe that man a huge chunk of my heart.

Rest in peace to everyone we bid farewell to in 2014 and goodbye to this year.

See you bbs in 2015.


[Featured image via my cell phone, but mostly , via.]