It’s amazing the difference a year makes.

Last year I was at my lowest.  My first December in Portland was perhaps one of the worst of my life.  I couldn’t find work, my art was going un-sold, I was living in a shitty suburb with a trio of slovenly alcoholics, and I had had my heart broken twice.

Then 2013 rolled around.  I entered anxiety counseling.  I got a new job I love.  I got to attend my favorite con.  I eventually earned enough money to finally get my own apartment.  I started getting more freelance work.  And I found new, better love.

That’s not to say 2013 wasn’t filled with failure, disappointment, or heartbreak either.  I had a failed Kickstarter.  I lost my uncle Tim.  And while denial served me fine in Beaverton, all the emotions I had been suppressing for months came out in a rush once I had moved away from there.  I kept pushing it away and saying “I’m fine” when people would ask.

I finally had to confront it.  I was finally forced to say “I’m not fine”.

But something new came from the ashes of all of that: nerve.  For the longest time, I tried to be accommodating what some would consider beyond reason.  I was so desperate for people to accept me and my art that I was willing to do or say anything.  2013 was the first year where I didn’t necessarily burn bridges, but I let certain things go personally and professionally.  I reached a point where I couldn’t take the strain on my dignity and sanity, and I had to take a stand and say “no”.  2013 was the year I decided to stop letting others define me.  I say who Seamus Patrick Burke is or isn’t, no one else.

So am I fine now?  I can’t say.

But I’m getting better.

Happy New Year everyone.