This year, the year I grew large; the year I stopped making myself less, small, translucent. I cry whenever I feel like it now. I make everyone taste my food when I think it’s amazing. I laugh with a wide open mouth, loud, because I hold a lot of joy in my body and it needs a way out. I tell people exactly how I feel about them. I touch people when we talk because I want them to know I love them, and I think touch is a language we’ve forgotten to speak with our friends. I pick flowers when they wink at me; I study their patterns, weep at their colors. I read to anyone who will listen. I say yes to what I want, and no to what must go. I read this about opera and it made my insides swell up like rising water: . “Opera has the power to warn you that you have wasted your life. You haven’t acted on your desires. You’ve suffered a stunted, vicarious existence. You’ve silenced your passions. The volume, height, depth, lushness, and excess of operatic utterance reveal, by contrast, how small your gestures have been until now, how impoverished your physicality; you have only used a fraction of your bodily endowment, and your throat is closed.” —Wayne Koestenbaum . Even as I write this, I question myself. Who cares? Am I talking about myself too much? Is this self-important? Why do I have to share about my life? Everyone is bored with me. But that’s part of what it feels like to stop making yourself small. The old prison still smells like self-doubt. The new air is cold and foreign, but it’s good for your lungs and pulls the blood back into your face. Yeah, this is probably self-important. But when you spend a lot of years not letting yourself be important, you gotta start somewhere.