See ya, 2017!

My first completed make of 2017


I can’t lie, I did not enter 2017 with much hope at all. After the Cheeto won the election, I had a brief surge of unfettered optimism that we as American citizens would rally together and fight for the rights of disenfranchised communities, not just here on our soil but the world over- everywhere that our capitalist, greedy, short-sighted government could reach it’s murderous talons. And then I went to the Women’s March and had my first (and so far, only) panic attack. I felt overwhelmed and angry and confused. While I have never liked being in large crowds of people, I was more anxious than usual, paranoid and scared; the march just didn’t feel like a safe space for me. I felt simultaneously proud of all the people standing in the streets to make their voices heard and terrified that this movement looked and felt so white- I wondered where the outrage was on behalf of all the women and girls of color who have been forced into sex trafficking, for the disproportionate numbers of black men spending the better parts of their lives in our for-profit prison system for non-violent misdemeanor drug charges, for the shockingly high number of infant deaths in black communities, for all the trans POC who are murdered every year who never get justice, for the effects of police brutality destroying the lives of so many black families all around the country, for the victims of the Flint water crisis.

The election was certainly a cause for public outcry, but our system was broken long before he was elected. And I felt a deep, uncontrollable sadness standing in the middle of a crowd of thousands that I wasn’t convinced would have showed up for people that didn’t look like them. Of course, it’s more complicated than that. The election was a breaking point for many people who have constantly decried the effects that institutional racism has on POC in this country, and there were sooo many people on the frontlines of the marches that have dedicated their lives to inciting change in our government and in our collective hearts. And I am so thankful for them. But on that day, all I could do was feel what I was feeling. Marches aren’t for everyone, and there is no shame in that. Lesson learned.

I started an etsy account where 100% of the proceeds of my memade items went to charitable organizations- it’s popularity has since declined lol, but I raised over $500 in a month!

I got back into therapy. I worked. I made. My creative pursuits continued to be a source of healing for me in a world that felt increasingly chaotic. And then in June I got a call from my Mom that my brother was in the hospital for a common condition that had suddenly and unexpectedly turned life-threatening. My precious, funny, kind 29 year old brother who had only recently become a father, who had married his middle school sweetheart: Nick. I wrote all about that experience here, and if you have been keeping track at all, I am SO SO happy to tell you that, 6 months later, he is recuperating from his last and hopefully final surgery to permanently cover the hole in his stomach, and he is healthy, hopeful, and excited for his future. I am so proud of how beautifully and unselfishly my sister in law and my Mom and my Dad cared for him during those relentless days where every breath he took sounded like it would be the last one, where we sat quietly in his room in the ICU holding air in our own lungs, hour after hour, willing it to fit inside Nick’s body and bring him some peace.

When I think back on how traumatizing the whole experience was for us, each in different ways, how it changed our dynamics with each other, how it trudged up secrets and shame that none of us were ready to confront, I will never forget how one his doctors stood in the waiting room with us as we all sat in chairs, listening to him, grasping onto kernels of information that he was carefully doling out. “It’s a good thing you have those pictures of his family all around the room,” he said. Tori’s mom had printed out photographs of Nick and Tori and Levi, their two year old son, and taped them high on the walls so that when Nick came out of his coma, he would see the best parts of his life beaming light right back at his broken body. “That way,” he chuckled, “the nurses and staff who are taking care of him will know he isn’t just some thug off the street.” To this day I’m not sure how that doctors head didn’t explode on the spot because the venomous daggers that my Mom and I threw from our eyes were enough to rip through more hospital walls than I could count. How dare this white doctor insinuate that my brother, or ANY person in that hospital, be a thug, a descriptor that I am assuming has everything to do with my brother’s brown skin. I thought that the hippocratic oath specifically ensured that doctors would provide the best care that they were capable of, regardless of skin color, religion, gender, ability or class, but here we had proof that this wasn’t so at all, that it was apparently my family’s responsibility to convince the hospital staff that Nick was worthy of the best care they could give. I thought so much of Trayvon Martin’s family in that moment- how I had felt so lucky that Nick wasn’t the victim of some violent crime because of someone else’s racism, but how racism was still playing a part of his life while he lay unconscious in a hospital bed.

Mom, Nick (with his wound vac), me, Dad, Tori, and baby Levi a few weeks after Nick was released from the hospital.

My time with Nick in the hospital is the only occasion I can think of in my life where making didn’t serve as a therapeutic passtime. I packed some sock yarn and needles for the trip but I couldn’t concentrate on what I was doing and my hands would shake whenever I pulled them out, either from the cold of the hospital or the fear of the unknown, I have no idea. I couldn’t manage to spread myself out, I felt best when I was a lump of focused energy aimed in Nick’s direction.

And now, here I am on the other side of what has easily been the scariest year I have ever experienced, and I feel so lucky. Bad things don’t happen to people who deserve them, they just happen, but things could have been much, much worse. As I write this blog post I think about Lladybird losing her father this past year, how sad I was for her family and how happy I was to see her keep on living her lovely life and working through the grief, how my introduction to Renee of Miss Celie’s Pants was a blog post she had written about her mother’s passing and how much I appreciated her sharing her sorrow with me, a random stranger on the internet. People like to talk a lot of shit about the narcissism of  blogging and social media and selfies, but for me, writing and reading and sharing on these platforms is way for me to connect to people, to find comfort and kindness in places that don’t always manifest in my regular life, to remind myself that yes, I was here, and by the way, my hair looked great.

These yellow overalls are definitely my most worn item of the year!

I don’t make new year’s resolutions, but, as I shared on IG recently, I am committing myself to making my living spaces more balanced and pleasant to be in. And I knocked a bunch of things off my list before the New Year even began: I got longer tables in my craft room so that I can have my 4 favorite/most used machines out at once, organized my button stash, logged in a bunch of patterns into my evernote app, and eventually I am going to get some cabinets installed on the other side of the craft room to get all my random craft materials and tools neatly stored away. I built a shelf for the guest closet, installed another shelf in our bathroom vanity, and transported all my #redcarpetDIYs to a portable closet unit in our storage area since they were just taking up space in the house. Hopefully 2018 will give me more opportunities to wear them!

And now, a bulleted year in review….

Best of 2017

  • Seeing my two good friends Alex and Mary get married in Costa Rica. The wedding was scheduled just two weeks after my brother went into the ICU and I was so torn about whether or not I should go, but my Dad told me I should, and although it took a few days to get out of crisis mode, I am really glad that I got to share that special day with them. Remind me to tell you what happened when we heard a scary noise outside our airbnb in the middle of the forest….LOL
  • My friend Carly got accepted into the AFI program!
  • I got to go back to Vancouver to work on a really great show and make new memories in a city that I had once come to loathe
  • I got to hang out with Renee and Jordan in Vancouver (those hangouts are probably why I don’t loathe Van City anymore)!
  • AND Jenny of Cashmerette was there, too!
  • Claire continues to thrive in a job that she loves and it has been so exciting to watch her grow
  • My brother is ALIVE AND DOING AWESOME!
  • My Dad got really specific about what he wanted me to make him for his birthday/ Christmas and those gifts have been some of the most fun selfless makes that I have ever created
  • I taught some people how to sew/reupholster/make
  • MIMI G!!!! My new road dawg!
  • hanging with my nephew, Levi
  • getting my tarot cards read for the first time
  • sharing some political, feminist writing and feeling so supported and encouraged by most everyone who read it
  • the movie Get Out
  • finishing my Octopus sweater
  • learning ASL
  • being a guest on the Love to Sew podcast

Worst of 2017

  • the ban of trans people in the military
  • everything else the government did
  • Claire having to go vegan
  • not enough making/creating time for myself
  • fatphobia
  • so many mass shootings
  • the entire Saga of Nick’s Pancreatitis, obvi
  • my summer hair cut. I loved it for 3 days then I wanted every single inch back. I need to get a tattoo to remind me NOT to cut my hair off every time I want to cut my hair off
  • those goddamn orange corduroy pants

What’s Happening in 2018, Jasika?

  • more shoe making!
  • at least two bags!
  • so many vegetables. so. many. vegetables.
  • a possible secret project with Mimi G! #Mimi&J
  • positive and sustainable political change!
  • pants making!
  • cute workout clothes!
  • Renee said she is coming to visit! Let’s all hold her accountable to this!
  • my first screenplay!
  • reupholstering some vintage dining room chairs!
  • house upgrades/renos (??)
  • getting the backyard garden together!
  • meeting my shining light and inspiration Heather Lou in the flesh!
  • “work work work work work” -Rhianna
  • Camp Workroom Social (??)

As always, I am grateful for your readership, your encouragement, your thoughtful comments and your ability to laugh with me. My wish is that, no matter how your year went, you are looking forward to what 2018 brings. Genuine hope for the future is at once both empowering and soothing; let it carry us into the new year, and beyond!






23 responses to “See ya, 2017!”

  1. Gillian Avatar

    Oh girl, what a year! I’m glad that you and Claire have each other, and that your family pulled together through the hard time. You’ve spread a lot of joy on the interwebs with your creative sewing, IG dance breaks, and thoughtful writing. Here’s to a really great 2018!!!

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      Amen! Thank you so much, Gillian. Happy new year! Can’t wait to see you on the other side!!!!

  2. Andy Avatar

    Love this post!

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      I’m sorry, is this THE ANDY MILLS ON MY BLOG?!?!?! YOU READ MY BLOG???? I’M DEAD. (new letter being mailed out to you on the 2nd of the new year!)

  3. Carla Lissa Avatar
    Carla Lissa

    Knowing your existence and energy was definitely one of my 2017 highlights!

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      You are so sweet, Carla, thanks so much for this lovely comment! Happy new year!

  4. Mary Avatar

    Hi Jasika, I’ve been following your blog for over a year now and I just wanted to say thank you sharing so honestly. As a queer woman with a non binary partner who also loves to sew, it is so nice to see someone like yourself reflected out there and articulating the intersection of making, identity
    and politics. This has been an
    incredibly hard year for many
    reasons, including my dad’s cancer diagnosis, and I’ve lost track of what actually makes me happy among everything going on. But working with my hands makes me so happy, and your blog helped inspire me to go back to it. Thank you again, here’s to 2018 being a better year.

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      Oh no no no, I am so sorry to hear about your dad! That breaks my heart! I hope you and your family are staying positive and hopeful (or not- we all have our days when it’s too hard to be anything but miserable) and I hope that the New year brings you and your dad happiness, health, and healing. I am wishing you all the luck and tenacity you can handle to get through this diagnosis and come out on the other side even stronger and filled with more love. Happy new year, Mary.

  5. Hila Avatar

    Beautiful post Jasika. I am so glad your brother is doing well. You are so strong and inspiring. 2017 has been shitty for me and oh gawd I am so ready for 2018 too. Happy New Year to you and your wife.
    Hila. X

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      HILA!!!! Thank you so much for reading and for leaving this sweet comment. Happy New Year to you and your family! Excited to see what joyful abundance 2018 brings us!

  6. Caitlin Avatar

    Jasika, I found your blog after loving your work on Fringe and Welcome to Night Vale, and I’ve been so inspired by your talent, passion, and politics! I’m grateful to you and some awesome folks in my personal life for the encouragement to make 2018 a year for creating. Wishing you a wonderful year!

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      Thanks so so much for your kind comment! I really appreciate you support and the time you take to read this here blog of mine! Happy 2018 to you, too!

  7. Sherenai Avatar

    I just want to say thank you for everything. I checked out your website a while ago and was incredibly moved by your honesty and kind soul – your comics brought me to tears of both joy and sorrow (in a good way). It takes courage to share and you inspire me so much. You are amazingly strong and sweet – I hope 2018 is absolutely wonderful for you and your loved ones!!!! Emanating a consistant and contagious sense of peace can be a bit tough but idea speaks to my soul… Best wishes for the next year and the rest of your life! Again, thank you for being you!

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      Thanks so much for reading, Sherenai- I am wishing you the very same things for your 2018!

  8. eimear Avatar

    well done on surviving 2017 – and delighted your brother is doing so well, I read an article about 20 years ago which compare how well patients recovered after surgery in both India and N.America. The findings were that either they were equal or Indians fared better, and the main difference was in India, the family sit with the patient afterwards more, visiting ‘hours’ were arbitrary and relations would even cook at the end of the bed.
    I think Nietzsche was right – with what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. After my Dads death I was obviously bereft for a long time, but I have wonderful friends and family (one taught me how to crochet afterwards and I truly think that this was a saviour as I only had to concentrate on one stitch at a time) – and then after that I started sewing again.
    As regards politics, perhaps that there will be a groundswell from the sewing circles ( and craft gatherings etc) – I go to meet up with a bunch of knit/sew/crochet peeps in a pub each week and it has become my touchstone. I love the diversity of the group I meet with, and I think if there was more of it about – things could only be brilliant!

  9. PsychicSewerKathleen Avatar

    Your posts never fail to carry me along in this wave of emotional intensity which is wondrous and painful all at once. I’m glad you’re moving into screenplay writing – your travels were always leading here 🙂 Thank you for another inspiring post – so happy to read your brother is on the mend (I have a baby brother too which gives me a sense of what you were going through – he is gay and I would worry too that he would get the best treatment) and of course I LOVE your bag 🙂

  10. Anneke Caramin Avatar

    Thanks for another lovely post. It’s been a strange year here, there have been some really good things but a big loss and a lot of general angst as well. I feel like everyone around me is having a tough time, and I’m not sure if it’s just part of getting older or because of the state of the world. Probably a combination f both.

    Happy new year to you!

  11. Trisha Avatar

    Thank you for being such an uplifting, honest presence on the internet. I love every single one of your posts.

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      You are so sweet, Trisha- thank you!

  12. Lauren Avatar

    Much love to you, my friend! I hope your 2018 is fabulous and I SELFISHLY also hope that it includes me getting to meet you IRL! <3

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      I HOPE THAT SAME THING! I should have put it on my list but that feels sooo farfetched for some reason?? hahaha But it shouldn’t! Thats a totally realistic thing that can happen! I got my fingers crossed 🙂

  13. Samantha Avatar

    I just listened to your Love to Sew Podcast and wanted to say that I love to hear you talk! Your voice comes through so clearly in your writing, but it was this delicious pleasure to hear the timbre that goes along with the words. Wanted to chime in and thank you as well for all your fabulous making and writing, you are an inspiration, your fearlessness at trying things gives me so much hope. I am glad that your Brother is on the mend. This year was so so rough with all the political insanity, and then my year was capped by the sudden death of my Father. I am happy that ’17 is done, but worried about what ’18 has in store for us. I hope some days our paths cross… Till then I will follow along with your making virtually, and cheer you on from the sidelines.

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      Samantha! Thank you so much for your incredibly sweet and thoughtful comment! I am so so sorry to hear about your father’s passing. I imagine you are heartbroken and I hope that you and your family are coping as best as you can and supporting each other and taking care of yourselves in the process. Happy new year to you and I hope that this one proves to have some exciting things in store for you. Much love from california!

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