By: Dani Kessel
It has been a hectic year. We’ve all been through a lot. So, I decided to close out 2020 with a fun, reflective Q&A. I touch on heavy topics as well as positive elements. I hope you enjoy this contemplation about the ups and downs I’ve faced, and what’s to come.
Here we go!
. . .
What’s one good thing that happened this year?
At the very beginning of the year, I finally got my legal name change. This was monumental. I brought an amazing bestie, Jaymie, for emotional support. She tells me that I teared up in pure joy and relief the moment the judge declared my name as legal. I cannot tell you how significant this moment was for me. It reaffirmed my identity, my resiliency, and my right to exist as I am.
What did you change your mind about this year?
I previously was against the idea of podcasts. Audiobooks never really worked for me because they went on for so long, and I couldn’t focus for 40+ hours just to get through one story. But, this year, I decided to give podcasts a real shot. It turns out I love podcasts. Their episodic nature makes everything much more digestible. Plus, some people are covering niche subjects that aren’t as common in other formats.
What’s been your personal motto this past year?
“This won’t beat you.”
What are your top three favorite articles you wrote this year?
Inspiring Girls: Claudette Colvin
Masturbation Pointers for People with Vulvas [NSFW]
Mental Disorders During COVID-19: The Diathesis Stress Model
Though, I am also partial to my Debunking Myths series that has taken place on my blog.
What were the most useful resources you had?
I would say therapy is the most useful resource in my life right now. I’ve spent my year working extremely hard on my mental health. Every week, I’m pushing myself, processing traumas, coping, evaluating boundaries. My therapist challenges my mindset and reaffirms my strength. There is no question in my mind that therapy keeps me going when I feel like I’m drowning and can’t do anything but breathe in salt water. Without therapy, I don’t know how I would’ve made it through 2020.
What did you complain about most?
Oh goodness. I’ve complained about a lot, but I’m going with this answer: BREONNA TAYLOR AND ELIJAH MCCLAIN STILL HAVEN’T RECEIVED JUSTICE! I will not stop complaining and discussing this until after their families can mourn their loss while knowing the murderers have faced consequences. And, no–the cops being temporarily suspended without pay is not even slightly adequate. Black lives matter–yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And it’s important we remind everyone of that fact. We must look into the ways systematic racism, police brutality, and racial profiling all work together to oppress the Black community.
If there was one thing you could stop doing, what would it be?
I’m going for a realistic answer here. Biting my nails. It isn’t as bad as it used to be. I still haven’t broken the habit though.
What good have you done for your community?
I spent many months this year working with the Colorado People’s Alliance (COPA) to implement a gradual minimum wage increase over the next 5 years. I participated in community meetings, interviews, and raising awareness. Unfortunately, Councilwoman Angela Lawson (who continually supported and promised allegiance to the bill) betrayed her community and every single working community member and essential worker by voting the bill down. Despite the heartbreaking loss, I am proud to have fought for my community. And, I met Fatima Estrada-Rascon, a wonderful person that works as the Economic Justice Organizer for COPA. I plan to continue working with her to try to push for social equity in our community. The fight isn’t over just because we didn’t succeed this time around.
What hobby did you spend the most time on?
Throughout the year, I spent a ton of time on my newfound love of true crime. I also started teaching myself to bake during the summer and fall. I was already a decent cook, but I never ventured into the world of baking from scratch until quarantine. Also, and this is only over the past month, I’ve thrown myself fully into improving my video editing skills for my Musical Mondays on the Dani O. Sings YouTube channel.
What is your current favorite song, movie, book, TV show, and podcast?
Song: Little Miss Perfect & Ordinary by Joriah Kwame
Movie: Sleeping With Other People
Book: The Search by Iris Johansen
TV show: The Originals and Gilmore Girls
Podcast: Let’s Go to Court! with Kristin Caruso and Brandi Egan
What’s your hope for the new year?
My hope: that 2021 isn’t a complete dumpster fire and that the COVID-19 vaccines are effective/distributed to everyone quickly.
. . .
Thanks for hanging out with us Girl On the Go writers this past year. We’ve tried our hardest to continue bringing you amazing content throughout the good times and hard times. I hope you will stick with us for 2021.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!