Laptop stickers is a trend that is not peeling away. I am often struck by the fact that when people glance at the stickers on my laptop they’re making quick judgments or conclusions about who I am. For some time now, I’ve wanted to parse apart these stickers and discuss what each truly means for me. In 2017, I filled my computer with stickers that represent important aspects of my life. Each sticker has both its own individual story and is part of a compellation of stories and experiences that have been definitive for me. In this way, the stickers on my computer are like an autobiography of my life. They’re a snapshot of my values, identities, hobbies, and passions.
In 2017, I learned what I want more of and what I want less of. For example, I noticed I needed more music and more queerness in my life. I took deliberate steps to make this happen such as joining a Jewish a capella group! I realized I needed more mindfulness too and “me time” too. So, I started using a bullet journal and practicing mindful running. I needed to do more things that were motivated by joy than by obligation. I needed less rigidity and to spend less time with people who don’t make me feel worthy and respected. I identified areas in my life I needed to strengthen and aspects of my life I where I needed to let go. In 2017, I started to learn balance and privileged being fully present in my relationships and experiences. In 2018, I will keep searching for ways to balance rigidity and flexibility and obligation and desire.
IT’S ALL SUBJECTIVE
In 2017, I learned two important lessons related to subjectivity. First, I learned that every person’s perception of an event – every person’s understanding of an experience – is their reality. By this I mean, even if two people share an experience, their perception of that experience may be vastly different and whatever they took away from that moment is tangible and real for them. Put another way, meaning making is highly individualized and contextual, but it’s concrete and believable for that person. This is really cool! It’s also really challenging. Communication is one skill I improved on to help me to better understand someone’s experience. I learned that there’s not much use in challenging someone’s reality – what they know is their truth. Second, I learned that it’s possible to change your perspective, but it’s not always necessary. Staying true to your beliefs, but open to hearing new perspectives is important!
ASK ME ABOUT MY FEMINIST AGENDA
In 2017, feminism was important! I don’t really have to say more, do I? Also, this sticker is, apparently, not nearly as provocative as an avocado. So, there’s that! Although, if 2018 is the year of pitless avocados, I might need to get a sticker about it.
SORRY. I’M AWKWARD SORRY.
In 2017, I embraced being awkward. I contemplated the difference between “awkward’ and “vulnerable”. I leaned into vulnerable moments. I had so many uncomfortable conversations! “SORRY. I’M AWKWARD SORRY.” gave me so many laughs too. It was one sticker I saw and connected with immediately and, as it turns out, others did too! There is a certain level of intimacy and understanding among those of us who can relate to this statement. I’m looking forward to more awkward moments in 2018!
RUN THE MILE YOU ARE IN
In 2017 I started practicing mindful running! I got this sticker from Mackenzie Havey – the author of Mindful Running. This book impacted me so much! It was also the gateway to my freelance writing job with Women’s Running – another new development in 2017. Mindfulness and mindful running transformed my relationship with running. I learned two important things through running. The first is, I can trust myself and my body to achieve the goals I set for myself. Secondly, running shifted from an obligation to a need in my life. As this change happened the phrase “I have to run” too on a new meaning. I started identifying as a “runner”. I started realizing I feel my best when I’m making time to run and that there’s so much more to running than distance and pace. In 2018, I will run my first marathon with Dreamfar High School Marathon. I wish you many mindful miles in the upcoming year!
SPEAK THE TRUTH EVEN IF YOUR VOICE SHAKES
In 2017, I committed to telling my story. I asked, “Who has earned the right to hear my story?” Telling my story hasn’t been easy. At times, I’ve said too much and I’ve also said too little. I’ve conflated my words and twisted the truth to make it easier for other people to digest. This mantra was most important as a reminder for me! In 2017, I asked for help, sought resources when I needed them, and told people how I felt – even if it was the most difficult, unimaginable thing I could think of doing. I made my experiences real by speaking them aloud and by writing too! Yes, this was incredibly vulnerable, and it was also courageous, brave, and strong.
LIFE HAPPENS COFFEE HELPS
In 2017, I explored new coffee shops and had both amazing and difficult conversations over countless cups of coffee. I love coffee. It’s integral to my functioning and my social life. I expect more caffeinated conversations and endless hours in coffee shops in 2018. That’s for sure!
SHE WAS FIERCELY INDEPENDENT. BEAUTIFUL & BRILLIANT & BRAVE.
In 2017, these four adjectives were the most important descriptors I used to describe myself. I connected with my introverted self more in 2017 than any year before. I stopped pushing against the social stigma of being introverted and realized I really enjoy doing things independently. I tried a new relationship and struggled to let someone be my partner since I am fiercely independent and have trouble letting people get close to me. Subsequently, I contemplated the right balance between socializing and “me time”. I faced new and old challenges with bravery and determination. I applied to PhD programs. I grew into myself and practiced self-love and body-love. I will cling these adjectives in 2018 and call on them to guide my actions.
In 2017, I grappled with queerness extensively! I was in a hetero-passing relationship and struggled to feel seen and true to myself and my identities while I was dating this person. My queerness is the least interesting thing about me, but in spaces where those aspects of my identity were validated and elevated I felt complete. I noticed I needed to be in more spaces where queer people are prioritized and valued. I started being more open and honest about this aspect of my identity and in turn, I found friends and validation that was so necessary and gave me so much warmth. I identified with #QUEERENOUGH because as someone who is asexual and panromantic I don’t always see myself or my identities reflected in mainstream LGBTQ+ narratives. My identities don’t always fit neatly into the categories ascribed to non-straight people – hence #QUEERENOUGH.
SHE BELIEVED SHE COULD SO SHE DID 13.1
In 2017, my mom bought me a bracelet that said “She Believed She Could So She Did” after I completed my first half marathon. Coincidentally, I purchased this sticker for myself! This mantra is not only applicable to running. It’s a constant reminder that ambition can overwhelm self-doubt and is a quality that is essential for people who want to conquer, seemingly, unconquerable goals. Glennon Doyle Menton reminds me often “we can do tough things” and I think we accomplish these great feats by harnessing ambition and vulnerability. In 2017, I started believing in myself and my capacity for greatness. In 2018, I will harness this energy and continue to set and achieve high goals for myself.
ALPHA PHI OMEGA & UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
On the inside of my laptop, I have two more stickers. One bears the Greek letters Alpha Phi Omega (APO). The other is a picture of Jonathan the Husky XVI and XIII with the words “University of Connecticut” (UConn). Alpha Phi Omega is a National, Co-educational service organization. Our mission is to prepare campus and community leaders through service. We strive to be the premier inclusive, campus-based leadership development organization through the provision of service to others and the creation of community. UConn is my alma mater. Connecting UConn and APO is our school’s mascot. The APO Chapter at UConn takes care of Jonathan the Husky! I am honored to be both a Brother and alumni volunteer of Alpha Phi Omega and so incredibly proud to be a UConn Husky! My story wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the profound impact of UConn and APO in my life.
There you have it! 2017 in stickers.
I’ll stick around (pun intended!) for questions or comments! What do your favorite stickers say about you?