In keeping with my annual tradition (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008), this New Year’s Eve I’m reflecting on everything that’s happened this year.

Best Media of 2018

  • Best Youtubers of 2018: Natalie Wynn, Ian Danskin, Mark Brown. Natalie and Ian helped me feel like I’m not alone in my political views. Kyeli and I coined the term “creepy lemon” because we didn’t know anyone whose views were similar to ours. Watching Natalie and Ian’s videos gives me hope. *fistbump* And Mark is doing the same for game design! Not only are we learning a ton and enjoying the heck out of it, but he cares and is making the world a better place.
  • Best Visual Media of 2018: Elementary
  • Musical Artist of 2018: Demoscene Time Machine
  • Best Game of 2018: La-Mulana 2
  • Games that inspired me because I enjoyed them and could actually potentially create graphics of that caliber: Darkside Detective, The Last Door, Dream Quest, earlier versions of Dicey Dungeons, and maybe even Minit
  • Games that inspired me because they could have been great if they had fixed some design oversights: Dr. Doyle and the Mystery of the Cloche Hat, Shalnor Legends: Sacred Lands
  • Game that inspires me to create a metroidvania without combat: Super Win the Game
  • Game that proved that a procedurally generated metroidvania is possible: A Robot Named Fight
  • Game that I did not like, but I finished anyway, making me realize what I sucker I am for a surreal mystery: Earthworms
  • Other notable games I enjoyed: Horizon: Zero Dawn, Dark Souls III, Snake Pass, Yoku’s Island Express, Recursed, Rumu,
  • Also played: Hand of Fate 2, A Hat in Time, Rabi-Ribi

My word of the year for 2018 was engage.

In January, Zoloft borrowed my soul. For six weeks, not only did I believe the universe was a meaningless uncaring void, but I believed I’d always felt that way.

In February, my tiny but indomitable internal bird pecked me back awake, and Zoloft returned my soul, none the worse for wear. I made peace with my dissatisfaction.

In March, we lived in Vancouver, WA, as a trial run to see if we wanted to live there. The Couv is just across the river from Portland, and way more affordable. We learned a lot about what we want to optimize for in terms of location, comfort, and friendships. We spent Kyeli’s birthday weekend on the coast and saw whales!

In April, we rejiggered our budget to optimize for the common case, and as a result, bought our new car, Lilith. We had a weekend journey with Amanda. Kyeli relearned that she can’t take the heat in Austin, so we removed Austin from our list of candidate forever homes.

In May, I was diagnosed with ADHD, started taking Adderall, and it immediately solved 70% of all the problems in my life. Kyeli went to Beacon, NY for the summer, to hang out with Kelly’s new baby. I started playtesting Dicey Dungeons.

In June, I joined Kyeli in Beacon for the summer. Being apart for two weeks was nice, but three was too long. We saw Hamilton on Broadway with Dru and a shady, secretive fourth person!

In July, we celebrated Kelly’s 40th birthday by masterhearting with Emma and Christine! I began indie game development (thank you, Terry, for inspiring me!) and started working on Compass Rose – I created puzzle #1. The Great Utensil Shenanigan began. Kyeli had a stroke migraine with aura. In therapy, we discussed how I can support Kyeli when she fragments, and I took too big a stick.

In August, I participated in my first game jam: Ludum Dare 42! I teamed up with Brandon and Sarah, started learning Unity, and together, over a weekend, we created Overencumbered! I loved Unity so much I rewrote Compass Rose from scratch. We decided to move to Seattle instead of Portland/the Couv, because the weather is cooler, and we want to optimize for the long term.

In September, I participated in my second game jam: GMTK(jam)! I teamed up with Jake, Chloe, and Vilinder, and together we created Youhou 01 ~ Eternal Piracy, Breezeless Sea! I got frustrated with tilesets, and decided to scale down Compass Rose to just a puzzle game instead of a puzzlevania. Julica and I repaired our friendship. Kyeli took the stick back.

In October, we started saving for retirement. Kelan visited, and we talked about systemic racism. We moved back to Austin as planned. I explored new ways to manage increased work stress. A coworker asked me a personal question, I answered truthfully, and they used it against me in a professional capacity. I created Compass Rose puzzle #2 of 4.

In November, we started helping Dru out with tuition, under more precise conditions. We asked ourselves, “Why wait to get a kitten?” and we acquired Bastion Hawthorne Weatherwax Smith, Esq.! We stopped podcasting. We decided to research the cost of living in Seattle, and the weather in more detail. We confirmed that the weather was indeed significantly cooler, and learned that the cost of living was prohibitively high anywhere reasonably close to Seattle proper. So we’re going to try Tacoma instead. Tacoma has Seattle weather, but at Couv prices. It’s LGBT-friendly, and it’s big enough to have everything we need and almost everything we want. We’re optimistic – and this time, our optimism is founded on some actual research! Kyeli and I celebrated our 13th anniversary with a double-wide weekend of sporkfoon excellence.

In December, I created Compass Rose puzzle #3 of 4. Amanda dyed my hair pink near the roots and purple at the edges, and it’s my favorite hair color combo ever! I played Pump It Up, and remembered how much I love the game. Brandon and I discussed future gamedev collaboration possibilities. We celebrated Yule with Dru. He beat me at chess, he crushed me at Smash, we discussed politics like adults and he didn’t just demur. It was awesome. Kyeli and I celebrated our 13th anniversary once again with our Probably-Final Cruise. We picked out the past year’s patterns with our minds, held its hard-won truths in our hearts, and let its subtle music sing silently to our souls. We cast our hopes for the next year as a net made of plans into a sea made of dreams.

In summary:
My goal for 2017 was to put down roots in Lansing and engage with my life. It didn’t work, because the culture was not a good fit.
My goal for 2018 was to put down roots in Austin and engage with my life. It didn’t work, because Austin is too hot for Kyeli. But even though the roots didn’t take, I did engage with my life!

Adderall increased my capacity and lowered my daunt. It lightened my depression and smoothed my anxiety, making it easier to take initiative, easier to connect, and easier to get up off the couch and do small self-care things for myself and small sweet things for Kyeli.

Instead of just going along for the ride in NY, I initiated a new hobby – indie video game development – that has now become a big part of my life.

Instead of just deferring to Kyeli, I suggest we not wait to get a kitten, and once we got Bastion, I moved we commit to keeping him. <3

Instead of just sticking with the Seattle plan or reverting to the Couv plan, we kept researching and found a potential win/win in Tacoma.

In addition to engaging with my life, 2018 was also a year of self-love and healthy boundaries.

In therapy this year, I unburied the shame I had internalized about being trans, and began belatedly healing it with self-love and compassion.

In couples, we worked on how to have healthy boundaries when we each have very different needs and very different abilities. Equality based not on how many to-do items we can accomplish, but on how many souls we each have. Complementary.

In 2019, my goal is exactly the same as it was in 2017 and 2018 – to put down roots and engage with my life – except this time in Tacoma. Since my intention is the same and only the location is changing, I’m choosing the same word of the year – engage.

Inshallah, this time it’ll take. (:

Feel clear and confident about your direction in life!


Do you wish you could follow your heart, but it seems impossible? I can help you find the clarity and courage you need.

In other words, I can help you find your path.