I met Dionne at The Bramon Garcia Braun Studio. When she acts, you are moved. When she speaks, you are inspired. When you’re in her presence, you feel alive. So here’s my interview/conversation with the beautiful, bold, British Jamaican Dionne!!
Dionne Neish is a graduate from Drama Center, London, England; where she gained a BA Hons in Acting. Previous projects include General Hospital, Peabody award winning FX show Better Things, her stage work includes various productions here and aboard in Aida, Merchant of Venice among many others and her recent appearance at the Hollywood Fringe festival in Must Be Comfortable With......For more news and to watch Dionne's work, follow her on Facebook & Instagram @bustybloom
Birthdays can so easily devolve into mini pity parties with the following guests:
“This isn’t where I wanted to be at x age.” “No one loves me…enough.” “What have I even accomplished?” “Next year will be better. God owes me that. I deserve it!”
It’s a celebration of not-enough, not-there-yet, promises of future generosity only to mask a rooted entitled pride. At a party like this, I will get drunk and cry and then eat 3AM fries with a disgusting amount of bbq sauce.
So let me plan another kind of party that forces me to choose the small victories over the unfilled big dreams, to choose the people who love me over those I have unfair expectations on and to choose Thank You’s over Next! Because I think a heart of courage and gratitude make dreams bigger and more colorful without the chains of a timeline and comparison.
You’re invited. Come with sparkles. Get ready to dance and mingle:
I am grateful for a God who loves me and stretches me to love better.
I am grateful for Joyce who is fighting for the rights and the place of Asian American families.
I am grateful for a family that makes me dependent on God to teach me forgiveness, grace and kindness because I am not those things naturally.
I am grateful for Toni and the most life-giving hours on end hangs.
I am grateful for Kerry who inspires me and who listens to my monologues.
I am grateful for Brandon, Nelson, Watson, Elliot, Oscar, Lola and Lucy for giving me the best home a girl would never have dreamed of.
I am grateful for Janet & Luis for being family and for showing me a marriage I aspire to.
I am grateful for Bianca and her never-ending generosity and fun and realness and for our little podcast endeavor.
I am grateful for Gospel Care and all the friends who see and know me, and give me opportunities to share my gifting in a way that I long: Samri, Hillary, Jaslyn, Sarah, Mark, Caroline, Nathan, Aubrey
I am grateful for Aubrey and our drives to Malibu. Oh Malibu!
I am grateful for those people fighting in the White House against Trump, maybe as spies.
I am grateful for those who have not given up hope in the midst of this administration.
I am grateful for Geoff who works with me tirelessly to make my show better.
I am grateful for an acting studio who believes in me, who believes in actors, who lets me build community in LA.
I am grateful for Chris who taught me the love of plays and rehearsal and monologues.
I am grateful for people like Ben who believe in his students.
I am grateful for the Bible, most of the time.
I am grateful for Faye for trusting me with her and Bobby and for being kind and generous and funny and for making me laugh more than I do with any other couple.
I am grateful for Claudia and our stocks talk.
I am grateful for Jenni for being a mom/friend/mentor/friend.
I am grateful for Olivia for letting me send my mail to her home and for always being down.
I am grateful for Melinda and our walks around the reservoir.
I am grateful for Chiara and her getting-it.
I am grateful for Karen and her kindness.
I am grateful for my family at Intelligentsia and for making Silver Lake feel like home.
I am grateful for SJ for making me love singing again.
I am grateful for Jackson, Chelsea, Hannah, Ngan, and the whole Girls Who Code team for giving me a gig that makes me go GO GIRLS!
I am grateful for a car that works.
I am grateful that I have a city like New York City.
I am grateful for public libraries where I can borrow plays and copy sheet music.
I am grateful for my guitar and for the calluses that are forming on my fingers.
I am grateful for all the friends who have trusted me with their homes and/or pets: Michael, Eliza, Katie, Johanna, Lizzy, Josiah, Lissa, Sam, Sarah, Elyse
I am grateful for 365 Whole Foods.
I am grateful for Joanne and Ruth, that no matter how much time passes, we fall right back into place.
I am grateful for Sophia being the realest mom and for being my future mentor if I ever get the chance to be preggers.
I am grateful for Ol’ Fashion’s.
I am grateful for Jenny and Tam for showing me the long-suffering of following Jesus.
I am grateful for Williams for making me proud of my nerd.
I am grateful for the Boggs Center and the team there that believes in the progress of humanity.
I am grateful for my Passion Planner that makes me excited to do my day.
I am grateful for Tim Ferris, Chase Jarvis and Masters of Scale podcast.
I am grateful for chips & salsa.
I am grateful for knowing that I am not what I achieve.
I am grateful that I can choose to not be a pity party.
I am grateful for the Final Draft that Steve gave me when I first moved to LA 7 years ago.
I am grateful for the two gold rings I stole from my mom.
I am grateful for Salsa & Beer, BCD Tofu, Pine & Crane and In&Out.
I am grateful for the people who show up at St. Francis pantry.
I am grateful for my dad’s 80s denim jacket.
The list can go on. And I know I’ve forgotten so many people and things. Please forgive me. This is the thing with gratitude. It builds. You can spiral the other way too.
For this next year, I do want big things. I expect big things, but anything that comes my way will come because I am surrounded by people that make me want to be better and braver. PARTY TIME.
I knew this town wasn’t my typical audience. I have a one woman show about being a first generation Asian American female from a Chinese immigrant family who grew up in New York City and moves to Los Angeles to pursue acting, and somehow finds God. This kind of show just doesn’t normally fly in a small town in Ohio because wellI…I’m just different. I knew that and I was prepared to see audience members bored, annoyed and worse, shocked. But I wasn’t going to take it personally. This is me before the show.
Then I got on stage.
And it was capital W, WEIRD.
There was one old guy, 30 seconds into my monologue already looking at his watch. That same old guy was opening a candy wrapper 30 minutes into my show. 30 minutes before the show ended, I was certain he was going to walk out even though he sat in the front and knew I would totally see him do it, too. It was a room of people who stared at me. Maybe I’m not that funny, but I mean, I say motherfucker in Chinese a billion times. That’s funny. Maybe my story is so foreign to them that they were still processing the fact that English was coming out of my life, but I mean, I spoke perfect English the WHOLE TIME. Maybe I just wasn’t their cup of team, which, I get.
At times during the performance, during those few seconds when I turned to become another character, I thought, how can I give Tom the sound/light guy a signal to black me out NOW. Let’s end everyone’s misery NOW. What if I just trip and fall and have to end it? I even started editing the piece down while I was in it, so I could get off stage. That was how uncomfortable and exposed I felt on that stage, in front of eyes I felt I just could not win. But I wanted to get to the good part at the end with God, so I trudged along.
Here and there another thought would creep in. You belong here. You have a right to your story. You have a right to be here. Even though I was getting close to zero encouragement from the audience, TOO BAD, I had the stage and I had the figurative mic. And with that, I kept moving from scene to scene and 75 minutes later, I finished my last line and waited for the black out.
No black out.
So I sat there in my chair for way, too, long, waiting for a black out, that never came.
So more staring at me, in the silence.
Okay well that’s the end guys, I said.
I did a quick bow.
There was a polite applause and I walked off.
WTF was that?
I had never experienced anything like that before. I fucking shared my heart, sobbed on stage, stood in the light — and I felt like the audience was impervious to my story. Wait. I have experienced that before. Ha. Ha.
That’s kind of my family story. That’s kind of how I feel sometimes as an actress amongst a crowd of corporate-successful friends. That’s kind of talking and realizing the person listening is actually not listening. It’s actually quite common. It’s familiar but each time still holds a deep sting.
So what I mean when I say, I’ve never experienced anything like this before, was this feeling of pride after my heart on the table vulnerability. And the pride was not connected to the audience’s reception. I was proud of what I did. I gave myself to the room and I let it go. I was me and I was fine that they didn’t take me in. I took up space and it felt good. I’ll probably not be back here again, so it’s all going to be okay!
Then the other 5 white guys who are also performing at this festival and I, go to the bar. One guy thanks me for making him chuckle and making him feel depressed. He says he wants to introduce me to one of his LA producer friends. And then another guy starts telling his story, the most heartbreaking and beautiful and unexpected story I have heard in a long long time. (I vow to help him create a show.) The kind where you realize, Shit Nancy. You have been one judgY motherf-er assuming shit about this guy, and you don’t have a clue. And then another guy shared more of his story and I wanted to say yes. And this goes on.
And there I was, the OSU/Penn State game on and a live band in the background, eating wings with 5 white guys that I thought I knew, but have humbled and challenged me hard. They all have stories that made me care to a depth I didn’t expect. They all are people who matter and care and see the world in a way that matters.
One guy started riffing on his life and asked the group if there was a story in there. I had to hold back my tears because I couldn’t believe he doubted there was a story in his life. Every single person has a story. Every single person has permission to tell their tale. Of course, some will be funnier than others in their delivery, but every single person can use their voice for good and for helping us see a more nuisanced and beautiful humanity. I believe that. My measure for “success” with my solo show is the openness to share their story in those who watched my show. If even one person comes up to me afterwards and talks about their family or life, victory! The movement happens one at a time.
I became a follower of Jesus in 2013. Many people, spiritual experiences and lessons have come and go, but my encounter with God that January Sunday is as palpable to me today as it was that day 5 years ago. I came into church feeling - fuck the world, i hate everyone, the world hates me, i am alone, what am i doing with my life - to knowing without a doubt, i was not alone and that God wanted me, not the future version of me, but that raw messy desperate girl. God wanted me. And the rest is history, in terms of my faith in Jesus. I believe in Jesus. Jesus suffered. Jesus partied. Jesus loved women. He loved men. Jesus had all the feels. Jesus was sacrificial. Jesus loved people as they are and dined, wined, partied with those in society everyone held their noses up to. I love that Jesus.
Back track - I first started attending church group in high school. I was that girl who led Bible Studies and discipled and led worship song dancing. It was my safe place. When I went to college, I found other places to be safe and I no longer looked like that high school Christian girl. I remember coming back and being confronted about how I wasn't looking very Christian in my Facebook photos, that I needed to find a Bible study. I would go to these Sunday services that I used to invite my boyfriends to, and be appalled by the teaching. I knew that God existed but it wasn't this.
I feel similarly now. I know God exists. I know Jesus is and was real. I know that each of us were created in the image of God. I know that we can have divinity in us - the Spirit. I truly believe in these things because I believe in hope. I believe that it is through community we will heal. I believe that if we are truly to give up our comforts and live by sacrificial love, we can taste heaven on earth. I will grip onto hope in this life.
But boy do I doubt. I look at our President and I want to kill him. I look at the shootings and the lack of gun control and I want to punch a wall; and I have punched walls. I look at family separation, the turning away from refugees, the blatant racism against Black and Brown and even Yellow in our country and I think, WTF. I doubt how Christians hold so tightly to their doctrine that they make no room for an incarnation of grace. I doubt the way people use Scripture to force a certain right candidate or priority. I start to question whether these things I had once said were right and wrong are actually that black and white. And I too believe in prayer but how many of us are doing that, praying in our fancy houses with our air-condition, and standing far from the mess but telling those in the fire to "have faith"?
I have more questions than ever about how Scripture is to be applied. I have doubt in how I have chosen to interpret the Bible, how others have interpreted the Bible. How did Jesus attract EVERYONE in society even with this radical AF sayings and explicit truth? How did he draw all? How did Jesus not get DEFENSIVE when the self-righteous and doubters threw hard questions at him? How did he stand with grace and truth in a way that made people hate him not because of how he was living his life, but because of how he confronted the ugly in them? He never doubted the Truth. He was sure of it, so he didn't need to get DEFENSIVE when people questioned his worth. He knew it. So it just left him room to the do the thing we all need: a present love that pursues.
I was really excited for this agent meeting. And it felt really good when the agent looked at me and said, You have a great look. That was the extent of the ease in that meeting. She continues:
You look androgynous in your pictures. It didn't sit right, but I smiled along and said thanks, unsure of what I was thanking her for. I needed to process whether my unease was because it was an offensive thing, or if my ideas of what female/male look like are narrow. I don't know. I still want to look female even though I have short hair. My short hair insecurity journey continues. I feel like I have very female dimples and eyes and cheekbones. But is it a bad thing to look like a guy, too? Is it a bad thing to look a little male here and a little female here. Is it because I identify as female? Is it okay that I identify as female? I don't know. Next spiral...
She goes, What are you, like I know you're Asian, but...What am I? I'm a fucking human. I'm an actress. I'm a person. What am I? What are you? Do people ever say that to you? Do people ever wonder what you are? I doubt it, but I get that ALL. THE. TIME. For a moment, it snaps me out of this reality where I am 100% human. That question brings me into another world, where the spotlight makes me think, I AM FOREIGN. I AM DIFFERENT. I AM A STRANGE CREATURE. What am I? After getting that question for so many years, I know what the question asker wants. They want to know what kind of Asian am I, but what does that get you? What if I said I was Korean? What if I said I was Thai? What if I said I was Pakistani? What do you get from that besides thinking, I must also speak this other language because I am so other that I cannot simply be like you and ONLY KNOW ONE DAMN LANGUAGE. Why can't I be as limited as you and only be fluent in one language? Why can't that be normal for someone like me? Which leads to the final question that actually makes me quite protective of my parents.
Being protective of parents seems like a common trait among first generation children. Often I'm in spaces where my parents are the butt of jokes or the reason for laughs or stares, and I go out of my way to either hide these so they don't see them, or I call these damn motherf*er's out. We are the protectors of our parents because everyone treats them like aliens in this land they know probably better than most. They are probably more American than any of you judgy people, who define "American" as those who work hard and get successful, are. Our parents, our immigrant parents work HARD and they are successful: LOOK AT THEIR CHILDREN. HA. Yeah. I own that. We own that.
Back to this agent. She goes, well, shouldn't you be fluent if your parents speak in Mandarin? Um...look at China. Look at how big it is. It has over 1 billion people! China has hundreds of dialects! Are you serious? Are you serious? Why should I be fluent just because my parents are fluent in their specific dialect? Language doesn't just come to people via blood and birth. You know what my parents were doing so that I could be sitting across the table from you to have this agent meeting? Working their asses off so you wouldn't question their place in this country. Working 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. So yeah, I know enough Chinese from those hours I saw them. I know how to say hungry and bathroom and it's so damn hot and stop smoking in Toisan Chinese, excuse me, but no I am not quote on quote fluent. What is fluent anyways?
I think in English. I dream in English. There are phrases I say that show that another language has influenced my lingo and I have a very "unique" accent, but English is what I'm fluent in. Yes, I am like you: fluent in English.
I left smiling, but I felt unsettled. I mean, I'm still a cordial person. But to this agent and many like this agent:
I know that many people come knocking on your inbox for a representation meeting. But remember this isn't a one way interview. I'm also gauging who you are! You will be, dare I say, working for me. If I don't get work, you don't get paid. And when it's a solid relationship, we truly work together, we work for each other with good communication, thank you cards and text message reminders of auditions.
To my brave and beautiful actors: Don't let people steal your power and your integrity. Have your first principles and hold onto them even when seemingly good opportunities come knocking. Sometimes that might mean letting go of the only person who "seems to be on your side". You will know when people are on your side and on your team, when you meet them. These people see you and believe in you. They see you beyond the skills you can write on a scale from 1 to 3. They see you beyond that blue polo shirt commercial shot. They see you beyond that dramatic monologue you did from "Long Day's Journey into Night." They see a human person who's got something real special and they want the world to see it too. If that person doesn't give you that vibe, honestly it's not worth it. These die-hard people give me reason to keep doing this insane life. Thank you fam.
When you go on a Bumble date and your date kind of sucks, why would you settle for him or her? Same here. I get it. You say, but Nancy, I've been single a very long time. Do you even understand that? And to that point I will say, yes indeed I understand that, because I am probably more single than you and I don't see a change coming in foreseeable future. (God, this does not mean I don't want you to open the door for me and he-who-must-not-be-named. I love this guy. EEK.) But the thing is settling for someone that doesn't fully see you will only make you bitter, insecure and prevent you from finding the better one. Patience young jedi.
There are so many hard things for actors. We come across desperate, sometimes, because, hell, we serve a-holes at mininum wage jobs, work for free 90% of the time, and get fit in this rejection hamster wheel. I know. I know. But don't let others take the integrity of who you are from you. That is what will make you endure and last in this career: Your integrity and the confidence to know, YOU ARE awesome and enough!
You’re so fit. You’ve got strong legs. Do you work out?
I get those comments a lot and maybe in a “normal” person’s head, or in an “empowered woman’s mind”, they would own those “affirmations” and feel really good/proud/happy. When I get those comments, this is what I hear:
You are not skinny. Those legs…yikesSSSSSS. You are so average-sized.
You might judge me and think I have no grounds to complain. Whatever. You're not in my head. You're not in the dressing room with me. We all have our inner demons. I have spent my whole life struggling with body image, most of us have, especially females. There’s a standard of beauty that is plastered all over magazines, internet and in our daily conversations. Being Asian and growing up in America gave me a very confused mapping of beauty. To be a beautiful Asian, I should be skinny, pale and smiley. To be a beautiful “American”, I should not be Asian, fail, I should have a nice bridge on my nose, thought about plastic surgery, and I should make heads turn, I get random cat calls from sketchy people. I didn’t know how to be beautiful, so I just did everything to get to this idea of it.
I am acquainted with many diets: Whole 30, journaling, apps, Master Cleanse, only coffee, Paleo, Atkins, Binge & Starve, don’t eat after 5pm, only eat after 5pm, only eat fruits, never eat fruits, only eat lemons, "be happy and eat"...
I have fallen prey to many diet fads: green tea pill, Hydroxycut family of pills, apple cider vinegar, pills.
I have spent hours googling: How can I get my legs to shrink? Are calves genetic? Are there safe surgeries to make fat genetic calves go away? Do people like women with big legs? Can you be famous with big legs?
I don't look in the mirror and immediately think, damn girl. But every time I look in the mirror, I know I have a choice to make. Only recently have I been able to look, breathe and think how what I see in front of me is the exact me I need to be right now. I look at my legs. My mom has the same legs. She worked in the farms, she worked in the factories, she is a hard working woman. My legs remind me of my mom. My arms are big and dark. My dad is darker than most Chinese people. He cooks in the kitchen for 12 hours a day and even though he’s so skinny from all the cigarettes, he’s got definition. My arms and my color remind me of my dad. My round face reminds me of how I am Asian and how God specifically and uniquely created certain people to have certain features. I have a round face and that reminds me of God’s diverse creations and how even though I am here in New York or Los Angeles, I am somehow connected to a lot, a lot of the world.
I carry in my body, this imperfect, scarred but sometimes soft body, (I do give myself that - I have very soft skin), my history, my cultures, and the breaking of what should be. I am not skinny, and I am beautiful. I am not pale, and I am beautiful. I don’t always smile, and I am beautiful even when I am sad. I might be more beautiful when I'm sad but stand still without smiling.
I don’t feel "small" like someone can easily pick me up. I get nervous that I look like Pillsbury dough boy on the screen because the camera is unforgiving like that. I still want to be skinny, but I can’t stop eating chips and salsa. I just can’t because the crunch, the salt, the margaritas are too damn good. I'm already thinking of my next happy hour.
I am working on respecting the “strong” that is my body. I am working on owning “strong.” When I see other women who are strong and fit, I think they are so beautiful and so powerful. Why can’t I afford that same grace to myself?
I am strong.
Maybe my body is a beautiful gift from God to remind me every day that I don’t fit into some standard and that’s special.
I am beautiful because I breathe.
We all want to be powerful
But what if power means bending down and washing another's feet
Because having power means an ability to meet others where they're at without thinking it sacrifices your own position
What if being confident in your gifts and talents
Means sitting down and giving another person the chance to shine
Because you trust that what they bring will never be exactly the same as what you bring
What if power means standing still in the midst of circumstances
Stripped from this need to prove that you're something when everything seems to be going to shits
What if power means you are
Exactly where you need to be and exactly what you need to be to
Make the people around you feel a smidgen more seen, more loved, more empowered
What if power means a willingness to share
Because even if you invite other people to the table
You realize the table is big enough for everyone
What if power attracts those who are in distress because they know you can bring them out of that stress
What if power attracts the outcasts because they know you know what it feels to belong
What if power attracts not the people who can help you, but all the people you can help
Isn't that power
Isn't that more powerful than refusing to let go of ego
Isn't that stronger than people unwilling to budge because they're too afraid change would affect their worth
What if power is scary because it pushes you into uncharted fields that outside of God
You would not be able to handle
You think you could move mountains without the help of something outside of you?
Then you're dreaming must be way too small, way too human
We want godly intervention
To be powerful is to act beyond your comforts
To be powerful is to see something bigger than yourself
To be powerful is to dream so high that when things happen
All you can do is drop to your knees and
And say thank you
And ask, what can I do with this to serve the world?
I want to be this kind of powerful
Over 20, just since June.
Don’t be ridiculous. I am not talking about sleeping around as in having sex. I actually don’t have sex. Not anymore at least. Well, except for a handful of lonely, often alcohol-lubricated times. But that confession is a discussion for another time because it entails longing and heartbreak; and lots of Jesus, tissues and whiskey.
My sleeping around is literally sleeping around at different places this year. I had planned to go to New York City to attend the Circle in the Square summer program in June. I immediately sublet my room for two months. After seeing that there was no way I could afford a no-financial-aid program, I had to stay in Los Angeles. Except now, I was without a place to sleep.
Whoops. I shared my stupidity with several friends. People offered up their couches, but I didn’t want to be a bother. I figured they didn’t really mean for me to take up their offer anyway. I also didn’t want people to think I was an irresponsible free loader who was living this stereotypical struggling-hustling artist life. What now?
A week before I was going to be without a home, a petsitting gig trickled in. Then another petsitting gig. Then my friends offered up their home because they were going to be in Italy for 3 weeks. The serendipitous and humbling offers kept coming and somehow I pieced together a summer of beds and new pet friendships. The requests overflowed into the rest of the year and into even more diverse sleeping arrangements. I slept on the train to Portland. I stayed with the maker of Beard Balm in Detroit. I nursed a constipated cat on the Upper East Side. I had never been more pumped and proud to see another’s poop. My tale of homes and homies have taught me 4 things:
Ask for help.
I was honest that I was in need. It’s vulnerable to ask for help because it meant I couldn’t do things on my own. It teared at my self-reliance and grew my love for community. It made me sensitive to every blessing and provision that came by way. It helped me see the generosity of others. People want to help. “It is more blessed to give than receive,” Acts 20:35. But receiving grace is difficult.
I want to work for the things I receive so I don’t owe anyone and I can say I did it on my own. Grace can’t be earned. It is uncomfortable. Grace tells us that we are worthy regardless of how much we contribute. Jesus is grace personified. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not for yourselves, it is a gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9. He is a love and forgiveness so undeserving that puts you in the spotlight, gently brings you to your knees and embraces you with wholehearted acceptance exactly as you are right now. Being seen yet fully wanted seems far-fetched, especially when I have to battle the voices in my head.
Address your insecurities.
I am an actress/writer living month to month who shared a room and relies heavily on free food. I didn’t want people to think that I was scheming to save money because, well, I cared so much about what people think. I want people to see me as generous, not needy. I want people to see me as successful, not scrounging for change. I want people to see me as a planner, not a play-it-ear kind of hustler. Being in an situation that made me feel uncomfortable brought up a lot of my insecurities. I had to examine them, accept some of them, and work on others. Sometimes who I want people to see me as isn’t who I really am. I need to be sanctified and come back to a worth not determined by others. Look, people are going to think what they think. Sometimes we really suck like that. I just have to do me in the most generous and honest way. If I can live like that, then I am not run by people’s opinions of me, but led by the Spirit that is in me. That is the only way to live.
Attack life with radical faith.
Only by living a life led by the Spirit can I live radically because the “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control,” Galatians 5:22-23. I want to be marked by these traits. I want to trust in the power of God. This year God provided from day to day. It was scary. I had to be more present to see how he was going to provide outside of the box, in ways I could not predict. My predictions are humanly drawn. His provisions are always heavenly colored. So trust in a perfect timing, with enduring patience. Be present at all times and look everyone in the eyes. No one is merely mortal. Dream projects that if done by human endeavors will fail, but with God all things are possible. Hope for the deepest kind of love that makes your knees tremble. Be exposed because that is the most beautiful you. Besides if people can’t take you with morning hair and bare faced, they don’t deserve you at eyelash extensions and NARS red lips. Life is scary and hard and out of our control, so why not jump and trust in the biggest?
2017, the world flipping on its head aside, I want to say thank you. I default to self-pity, preaching to myself that no one actually loves me, but when I recall the radical generosity I have experienced this year, I know I am loved. I tend to isolate. I think many things are fixed, that I will always struggle with the same thing and always default into anger and heartbreak. Things can change. 2017, you let me sleep around. I have experienced love. I have been humbled. I have become more fearless. God provided through people. More than ever I know that we are called to live in community, rely on community and heal in community.