Reflections on 2019

In 2019, I played Dragon Age. Like…. a lot.

That’s it. That’s the post.

(That’s not the post.)

In a way though, it kind of could be. I can honestly say that Dragon Age changed my life for the better this year and I didn’t even mean to start playing it. We were just supposed to be doing a reread of a trilogy as a promotional project for a friend’s new book and it somehow became playing these video games and so much more? (More on the more below.) I didn’t know how much my heart needed a new world to love until I started playing these games and fell in love with Thedas and then, after Dragon Age II, was all in on the heartbreak and emotion. These games gave me feelings. Like… a lot of feelings. I’m somewhat surprised that I only wrote two essays about them but then again… I did tweet a lot. And wrote a lot of fanfic. And brought it up in conversation to basically every friend I saw this year. (Sorry about that.) (I’m not actually sorry.) Dragon Age brought me so much joy even amongst the heartbreak and I’m so grateful to have finally dived headfirst into this fandom. I’m doubly grateful that everyone has been so welcoming, from people on Twitter who watched my livetweets to everyone I met at the meet up at Dragon Con. I still have the five novels to read and the fourth game will come out eventually but until then… I’m so happy to have found Thedas and hi yes I live here now.

Aside from Dragon Age, the biggest new thing for me this year was once again comic book related but this time, I wrote words that were published inside of them! No, I didn’t write the stories but I was asked by Marvel Comics to contribute essays to some of their Star Wars: Age of series. The first one was about Jango Fett and the last ended up being about Rey. I’ve talked about getting to work on this project before but for now, I just want to say what an honor it was, how proud I am of this work, and how I still can’t believe I got to write them. (And yes, I have favorites from these: Padmé, Leia, Vader, Hux, Rose, and Rey.) Okay but for real: I adore every single one of you who said nice things to me about my work on these essays and I especially adore those of you who appreciated my work on the Hux essay.

The other big thing for me this year was Star Wars Celebration which yes, I also talked about on here before. It was, without a doubt, one of the best weeks of this entire year. Getting to be surrounded by thousands of other Star Wars fans who are all there because they love the same space story that you do is an experience unlike any other and the people are what really make it for me. This was the first time I got to meet some people who are really important to me in person and it was just fantastic. I love my Battlefront family very dearly and I wouldn’t give up the evenings we all spent hanging out in the Marriott bar for anything. I also dearly love my #BrokenHome family who I mostly found because of that reading project above and who was named because of a dessert and an inability to stop laughing about it. The point is… Star Wars is pretty great but so are the people it’s brought into my life.

On that note… Just like last year, I went to ten conventions this year that ranged from a tiny baby con on a local college campus to something as big as New York Comic Con. And yes, I worked all of them in one way or another whether it was tabling for the 501st/Rebel Legion, attending as press, or being a panelist. Honestly, I really don’t know what to do at a convention as just a normal attendee anymore. Maybe I’ll figure it out one day. I did manage to make some new costumes including finally debuting my x-wing pilot and getting it Rebel Legion approved. I also made the crazy decision to make Grey Warden Bethany Hawke in a month. That was a choice. But hey it looked good! On the Legion front, I trooped 36 times for the 501st and 9 times for the Rebel Legion this year. It continues to be one of the most fulfilling things I get to do and I’m very proud of our unofficial local Smile Squad for all the good work we’re doing at the local children’s hospital. It’s also brought the #FalconGuard into my life. (Don’t ask. It’s precisely as ridiculous as it sounds. We have stickers.)

I’m still writing for the official Star Wars site on occasion and hope to do so more next year. The important thing is that I got to write a guide to the Naboo Royal Handmaidens before Queen’s Shadow came out. Both the Vongcast and the Kanjikast are still going strong although the former will be wrapping up early next year. I’m also still writing for Tosche Station even though we’ve been a bit quieter this year. I’m very proud of the column I wrote on redemption and Star Wars through the lens of Del Meeko, Hux, and Kylo Ren though. On the other hand, White Hot Room seems to have finally come to its natural end. We’re not officially closed but… *shrugs* Sometimes, you just don’t have room for certain projects anymore and that’s okay. Maybe I’ll get back to geek fashion again one day.

Aside from that? Let’s see… I went to Canada for the first time and I also went to see Hadestown which is the best Broadway musical I’ve ever seen (and I don’t say that lightly). I started weight lifting. I wrote another novel that I definitely didn’t mean to this summer and then I rewrote the first book I ever wrote during NaNo this year. Also Dragon Age. I really don’t think you understand how much of my life was basically just playing Dragon Age this year. Two playthroughs of all three games PLUS most of a third playthrough of the second game. And fanfic. I read so much fanfic.

What’s next in 2020? Turning 30. That’s pretty scary and happening this week but at least going to Disneyworld at the end of next month with a bunch of friends will help soften that blow some. The plan is to actually move forward with one of those novels next year or else my friends get to yell at me. I’m hoping that I can take a lot of the changes I made in my life in 2019 and build off of them but we’ll see. I’m going to make myself play through an entire video game that doesn’t have Dragon Age in the title and then I’m going to take on a super ambitious costume project that is from Dragon Age and maaaaaybe work on a second one too. Oh. And I’m finally going to make that officer tunic from, like, two years ago. And make this jacket that I have the fabric on my floor for as I write this.

Mostly though, I just want to try and keep becoming a better me in 2020. Will I succeed? Who knows but I’ve been told that optimism is good. So 2020 and my 30s? Bring it on.

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