One of the most fun (and time consuming) parts of the new year is recapping my past 12 months in words and pictures (here’s the pictures post and my 2019 in words)! Although while going through it, the year sometimes feels like there are more awful moments than good ones, reviewing and writing about what I’ve gone through the last 365 days often shows me that’s not the case. 2020 has truly been a traumatic and devastating year for countless people throughout the world and I’m extraordinarily lucky that my loved ones are safe and healthy and that maybe for the first time in several years, I have more joyful moments to share than I have sad ones. 2020 was the year I started two new jobs (one of which I am extremely thankful for), took an indefinite break from therapy, developed and deepened relationships with my coworker friends, became even closer with my family and best friends (in both Hawaiʻi and Texas!), lost 50 pounds by choice and hard work, joined the board of Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice, and co-founded the Hawaiʻi Abolition Collective with several of my comrades! I’m so fortunate for this past year, so let’s dive in to the recap! PS you’ll notice there’s obviously no ‘School’ section (hallelujah) so I’m replacing that with a ‘Work’ one!
On the second day of January last year, I started two new jobs—one at the Office of the Public Defender and the other at the Star Advertiser. I’m sure you all remember how completely miserable I was in my last job, which I left after 3 months not only since I got hired at OPD but also because my mental health was rapidly deteriorating to a scary level. Thankfully, the past year(!!!!) at OPD has been a complete 180 and while I have bad days there, the majority of my time is spent doing work I care about with people I quickly and easily learned to love. My supervisor and appellate section in particular are incredibly kind and thoughtful people who always make sure I feel respected, supported, and cared for and I couldn’t be more thankful to work with them. I’ve gained so many friends and although there are going to be people I dislike at any job, the ones I love outweigh the shitty others. Over the past 12 months, I’ve worked in or helped with every section in our office, so I already feel like I am capable of completing any work, so in the future, I would hope to do much more than I’m currently assigned. Overall though, I’m lucky to be where I am and I wouldn’t want to be working anywhere or with anyone else.
2020 has been an important year of growth and development for me! Obviously my post-grad goal of working in Texas and moving to NYC in 2020 wasn’t fulfilled and because the pandemic will last for at least another year, I won’t be moving to Queens or Manhattan any time soon. Last year’s me (2019 I mean) would’ve been devastated by that change, but I feel comfortable and happy where I am right now. I will get to New York when I feel ready to leave Hawaiʻi and COVID is long pau (hopefully), but I don’t feel as rushed to move as I did one year ago. Because I’m much happier in my job and don’t have the same relationship anxieties of 2019, I stopped seeing my therapist during the fall. I was going to weekly sessions for the first half of the year because I had (and still have) a lot of personal issues and past traumas to work through, but after a while, I needed a break. I know that I can only get close to 100% better when I want to, but there are certain emotional wounds I’m choosing to hold onto and I’ll go back to them when I’m ready. My anxiety is still there and sometimes I’ll have panic attacks, but they are much fewer and far between than they were in 2019. Knowing that my therapist is there if I need her helps and maybe I’ll go back one day when I need to. One of the biggest changes I made during 2020 was working on my physical health and trying to lose weight. I had gained an extraordinary amount of weight over my years in college, with most of it arriving in 2018-2019, so I knew I wanted to get in shape at some point. Rachel and I would work out together twice a week our senior year, but because I was barely moving and kept the same eating habits, my size stayed the same. Once I started looking at pictures of myself from graduation and on field with the high school football coaches I wrote about for Hawaiʻi Prep World, I was extremely upset with how I looked. So on June 22nd, I measured my waist, hips, arms, and thighs, and weighed myself and decided to become healthier. I won’t go into any more specifics because tomorrow’s post will be all about my weight loss process, but on New Year’s I reached my goal weight and by today I lost 50 pounds! The other most important part of my 2020 has been my journey to becoming an organizer. Since I discovered a passion for PIC abolition (and wrote countless blog posts about it), I longed for an organizing home where I could develop relationships with other people working toward the same goals and actually put my politics and values to work. One of the main reasons why I wanted to move to New York so quickly was because I thought it would be easier to find an abolitionist organization to join. But back in June I randomly reached out to my now wonderful friend and comrade Leilani after learning she organized in California and she connected me with my other brilliant organizing comrade Laurel, and the three of us became a sort of PIC abolitionist pod. We wrote an article about abolition in Hawaiʻi, which Love and Rage Media graciously published in July and decided to gather 20 other organizers and friends to join us for a Study and Struggle group. Our group developed shared politics and beliefs in those four months, so once the Study and Struggle curriculum ended, we we founded the Hawaiʻi Abolition Collective. Since our founding on December 19th, we created a penpal program with loved ones inside, hosted two candlelight vigils outside OCCC (with more to come), were featured on KITV4, and are already planning an abolitionist pau hana talk story for Wednesday with a candlelight vigil outside the DPS office on January 20th. Several of us also participated in a bailout action on December 1st where we helped free 10 kānaka maoli from cages. I never imagined I’d find a group to organize with here at home, and I can’t believe we’ve accomplished so much in such a short period of time. Organizing has taken up lots of my time and sleep, but I’m ecstatic about my group and where we’ll be in the next year. The last accomplishment worth mentioning is The Hawaiʻi Herald’s feature article about me and my blog (read here or here)! The article was extremely gracious and thorough and even provided space for me to shit talk capitalism, the PIC, and the military! How blessed! I’m lucky that I’ve gotten to spend so much precious time at home with my family and have countless picnics with Brandon, Kaiʻolu, Mikayla, and Parker, and still hang out with Parker and Conor. I also am grateful to Jonathan and Lo for always making me feel included by texting me all day long every single day, FaceTiming and calling me, and sending regular Marco Polos so I can see what they’re doing. They are truly the greatest friends!
In December 2020, This Is Noelle turned 8 years old and I’ve officially blogged every day for the past 5 years! I can get easily overwhelmed with my two jobs, organizing, working out, and blogging every day, but I’m still thankful for this space that has given me more opportunities than I thought I’d ever have and where I can publicly share anything I want to say (which has only brought me a few aggressive fights on Facebook with former family friends). I hope to continue writing and ranting here for many years to come and I can’t wait for the next year of This Is Noelle! Thank you for staying and reading!