What a difference a year makes…

“Let’s face it. We’re undone by each other. And if we’re not, we’re missing something.”

–Judith Butler

Those of you who know me in real life won’t be surprised that I started this post with a quote from (my fave) Judith Butler. These words are highlighted and underlined and heart-framed in the book from which they come, they are the first to appear in the “Quotes” section of my Facebook, and they are the words I come back to, again and again, when times are hard and when times are soft. 2013 un-did me. I was undone in profound ways, and then rebuilt and undone again.

Reflecting on the beginning of 2013 to the beginning of 2014 requires an exercise in candor that I have been avoiding. That is to say: things have changed. In big ways. In order to protect the privacy of people in my life, I don’t want to go into detail, but I will say this: since the beginning of last year, I received my PhD, got a job, moved across the country, lost my grandmother, ended a long-term relationship, started living alone for the first time in my life (and living without a cat for the first time in almost a decade), and began my first job as a real “doctor.”

What a difference a year makes.

I could say a lot more about feelings. (Because I had/have so.many.feelings about all of this). But, again, some things don’t need to be shared with the world. I will say this though: I’m okay. Most days, I’m better than okay. And I have high hopes for 2014. I’m honoring parts of my identity and pieces of my heart that make me deeply happy, sort of regardless of circumstance. It’s a huge accomplishment for me have a sense of stability in myself in a way that makes me less anxious about all the external stuff.

As far as the blog goes, I am re-recommitting to putting the “rebel” back in RGK. This year of tumult has lead to some unhealthy eating and body image-related behaviors, but it’s also given me immense perspective. For example, eating gluten with a friend because he says it’s the best vegan sandwich I will ever eat did not make me gain ten pounds. And it was fun. Also, baking vegan gluten-free Christmas cookies with my mom is superior to not doing so because I am afraid of sugar. Also, I’m not perfect and I still struggle with this stuff, but as I inch closer and closer to 30, I just don’t have the time or energy to obsess about the fact that my stomach isn’t as tight as it used to be. (Let me rephrase—I don’t want to spend time and energy on that, but sometimes I still do, and I’m hoping to use the blog as a way to hold me accountable to spending that time and energy on more positive things).

I expect the blog will continue to be home to: recipes, health and food-related political rants, cute animal videos (because duh), and workout/yoga talk through a body-positive, feminist lens. Ideally I’ll get a post or two up a week, including the beloved Friday Five.

So there you have it. 2013 was a year of major growth and I’m eager to charge into 2014 with my battle wounds and experiences to guide me through. I hope you’ll join me. xoxo

11 thoughts on “What a difference a year makes…

  1. FoodFeud says:

    Wonderful Raechel,
    I am excited for new and better things for you, and you have my sympathy for the not so great things that are in the past (though part of us they may be.) You are a strong, intelligent, kind person and have so much ahead of you! I know how hard and oftentimes seemingly impossible it is not to dwell on certain issues that bother us but we just have to have faith in ourselves and move forward with open hearts and minds. Don’t be disappointed in yrself for not feeling like a rebel all the time, or for worrying about body image like almost all of us do – our vulnerabilities are what make us human. And that’s good!
    I love yr Judith Butler quotation at the top – I actually haven’t read Undoing Gender. I’ve been having a bit of a rough month myself but the quote reminded me of one I read today that made me feel oddly better: “If I commit suicide, it will not be to destroy myself but to put myself back together again.” We are constant works in progress :)
    Happy New Year, and happy everything to you.

  2. twitchysister says:

    Girl. You’re just amazing. You’re a a total warrior right now – I love that you’re honoring parts of your identity that make you whole and happy. 2014: the year of rebels!


  3. Gabby @ the veggie nook says:

    These are such good and positive goals for the year- I myself need to remind myself of these things. I took this past year to really take a break from obsessively focusing on health and probably swung too far in the other direction. Which is ironic considering I’m going to school for holistic nutrition- I guess I was quite the REBEL this year ;) This year for me is all about finding a balance between the 2 worlds.

    • raechel says:

      Balance is always the goal, but I think if you’re going to swing too far in one direction or the other, erring on the side of being not at all obsessive is probably the way to go. : )

  4. Natalia says:

    Oh man girly, 2013 sounds like it was really out to test you. I love your attitude, your strength and honesty in this post. I am so looking forward to continuing to follow along this year – giant hugs and All The Wishes for good things to come your way in 2014! You rock xoxo

  5. Gena says:

    Hey lady. While I’m an old pro at living alone, I do recall a year not too long ago when I switched careers, left my hometown for a boyfriend, embarked upon an academic journey that promptly put me to shame, and then watched my relationship with said boyfriend fall apart. I remember sitting in my tiny basement apartment in Georgetown wondering how the heck I’d gotten into such a strange situation–one in which everything I’d ever taken for granted about myself and my abilities seemed to be untrue. It was so hard, but I will say this: I emerged from the tumult so much stronger, and in a strange way, much more in touch with my authentic self.

    There’s a Katie Roiphe quote that comes to mind, regarding her separation from a partner: “There is something that happens when you burn your entire life down, which is the release of a strange, jittery energy. The feeling is raw, close to the bone, jangly, nervous, productive…there are consolations to this kind of unhappiness; there are strange, felicitous side effects. This is one of the very few times in adult life when you get a chance to reinvent yourself. There is in the furious nihilism of losing someone, in the depths of how destroyed you are, a sense of terrifying opennes, of absolutely possibility.”

    As for the food stuff…well, you know what I have to say about gluten, and sugar, and the body not combusting if you’re not following rules. Continue to be generous to yourself. And I for one cannot wait for more rebellious matter here on this blog. XO

    • raechel says:

      Gena, thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment. You know, I actually tend to have some issues with Katie Roiphe’s feminist politics, but I have no issue with that quote…It’s perfect and I can already feel relate to the truth of it. (Also, I appreciate that you noted that you were in a basement apartment…I’m in the basement unit too, and I swear it makes things more depressing!)

      As I’ve said before, you are always an inspiration for upping the ‘rebel’ and downing the…well, orthorexia, really. Thanks for the support!

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