So many times, the turning of the year signifies the end, followed by a beginning. The end of bad habits, the beginning of resolutions. The end of Fiscal Year 2013, the beginning of Fiscal Year 2014. The end of a year of victories, the beginning of…well…can’t we just remain victorious? As much as I like to give myself an end to something so that my beginning seems less random, we don’t need to see the end of anything this last year brought us. We saw victory. Love won and is the law for same-sex couples. We saw growth. New GLBT and HIV housing and resource facilities opened. We saw rebirth. Some of our relationships became legally recognized, some of us transitioned from one gender to another, some of us made it through recovery. All of these are on a continuum, sometimes given a firm beginning but not requiring an absolute ending.
A comic recently crossed my screen from Sunday Morning Breakfast Cereal (www.smbc-comics.com) by Zach Weiner that explained in 14 comic panels how we have multiple lives to live, not just one. Our life begins again and again in various ways, every seven years, if we want it to. Seven is not an arbitrary number but it’s how long it takes humans to master something; therefore, if we start at age 11 and live to 88, we can have 7 different lives. How optimistic. How glorious in its reframing. The idea that reinventing ourselves is an option, not a consequence. We can choose to begin a mastery of something for whatever reason, to whatever end, because it’s part of our make-up and ability set as humans. A new project, a new job, a new hobby, a new philosophy, a new relationship, a new reason to be. But, what can’t be overstated is that a beginning does not require an end. Our lives are cumulative. We add (and sometimes subtract) as we construct ourselves and our lives. We can be empowered by the notion that reinvention is part of the equation.
Some of us reinvented ourselves as activists during the past few years in the fight against the marriage amendment and campaign for the freedom to marry. The fight for marriage equality is over in Minnesota, for the most part. The nationwide one wages on…and there’s a vigilance that will probably always have to be considered in Minnesota. E.B. Boatner speaks of politicians trying to revoke rights of different groups in various ways and we have to always keep in mind that such tactics are out there. But, as far as our activism is concerned, we’re still basking in the afterglow…our honeymoon. I was talking to Monica Meyer of OutFront Minnesota at Lavender’s December First Thursday and we both talked about how nice things are at this time, that evening, in our lives. Things are just good. We smiled and observed the moment, but I made sure to ask her, “What’s next?” The fight continues. We continue. And the fight goes on against bullying in our schools, where we will continue to be victorious this next year.
Our Slice writer, Joy Summers, and I have been friends for years. Our beginning was long ago, probably 1999. We began our work at Lavender at nearly the same time, in 2011, and she quickly moved into the role of Food Editor and writer of our restaurant coverage in her biweekly column called “Slice.” Her last column is in this issue, but she will continue her food writing in different publications in the Cities and on the worldwide web, including in Lavender, just not as our Food Editor, but more in features. She and I will continue to work together long into our future, and I thank her as a friend and colleague for her 50+ columns in our publication that garnered back-to-back Bronze MMPA Awards and resulted in so many calories and laughs. I look forward to a new beginning with her successor in our first issue of the new year–not an ending, but multiple beginnings for all of us.
Lavender, itself, continues to grow and advance as a media platform including the magazine, website, social networking, and events. Just wait until you meet and remeet a few of our new contributors in the first issue of the new year, in sports and restaurant coverage. Early in the new year, we’ll look a little sharper in our design and really tighten up our presence. We’ll be offering nearly double the features in every issue as I mentioned last month, and our reach will expand and be more diverse. Our audience–readers, subjects, advertisers–as well as people who have yet to consider themselves to be members of our community will see even more improvement in our product this next year. We will continue to represent this community with great breadth and depth in new and better ways.
I look forward to continuing our relationship. It might be on paper, online, or in person at events. I might see you at a rally or a performance. You might write an email or a comment on our Facebook page. We could run into each other in the waiting room of one of Lavender’s advertisers. We are part of this community together and I am grateful.
Happy New Year.
With continued love and thanks,