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-2017 Year in Review-
Before I even begin with my recap of 2017, I just wanted to start with THANK YOU. A huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has supported me from the beginning, and folks following my work only recently. 2017 was a big year for me in many ways which I'll cover below, and it would not have been a fraction of how amazing it has been if it weren't for all of you back home and having the opportunity to meet and be blessed by so many wonderful people in my life. So truly, THANK YOU all!
The biggest part of 2017 was undoubtedly my deployment. This was my first large-scale, overseas deployment involved in and playing an integral role in important operations that are continuing to this day. The life preparations alone leading up to being overseas for such a long time were numerous, as you can imagine, notwithstanding the different tempo both my daily habits and artistic work would have to adapt to.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn first-hand that...deployment wasn't nearly as bad as those more senior than me in my Squadron would make it out to be, haha. Though incredibly busy and with an unforgiving, unpredictable schedule, (wake up at 0300 one day...fly at 2300 the next. Normal sleep pattern or bust,) I'm one of the few folks who didn't catch cabin fever about not being able to go out or venture anywhere, being self-sustaining and entertained by the many art projects I set up for myself. If it weren't for my artwork, I imagine I would have been far more grumpy!
This was the first time, literally since OCS, that I had closed Commissions for any extended period of time. This gave me the opportunity to work solely on my personal characters, something I also hadn't done for a very long time! I was able to complete and start several Reference Sheets and finished and posted many other pieces as well. This especially was therapeutic while being so far from home. I was also able to experiment with and hash out many different techniques and styles, some of which I will be opening for Commissions in the future!
In between personal artwork, I also took time to learn some video editing software as I progressively posted Fursuit Friday dances that I had performed prior to departing. Being away from it for so long, I realized how big a part of my life fursuiting had become! I couldn't wait to get home to attend conventions to see friends again and explore parks as a big, energetic critter.
In the interim, I decided that it was high time that I taught myself how to dance out of fursuit. Quite opposite to the majority of dancers, I actually started dancing straight in fursuit, (digitigrade fullsuit, nonetheless,) and never received any training out of suit. This is something I wanted to remedy, and with a tiny tripod for my phone, I was able to record some nonsuit dances. Though my room wasn't spacious in any sense of the word, I learned A LOT and picked up on many habits that I was able to work on. Experimenting with different moves and reviewing the videos, I also gained a lot of confidence, which surely paid off later in the year.
Then suddenly, BOOM, the year is almost over, and I finally had my RTHP. I was welcomed home on base by some of the most awesome, giving, caring friends on the planet - I still can't thank them enough for their help during and coming home from deployment. Getting my life back to 'normal' was a good and a welcome change, although quite busy as the Squadron as a whole shifted from operational to 'readying,' and we were once more training full time. I found myself finally facing a big qualification board that I had been preparing to for months prior, and the final days to when it was scheduled was intense. But the hard work paid off when I completed it high above average, an appropriate rounding-up to a busy year of flying, and something I'm definitely happy and proud of.
I was lucky enough to make it home and have leave saved up for a couple of conventions! Anthro Northwest (ANW) and Midwest Furfest (MFF) were the big ones, and were both fantastic fun and a reunion with seeing friends again who I literally had not seen for a year or more, since the last convention! Soooo many hugs and catching up, ANW and MFF 2017 are and will be my favorite conventions for years to come - it will be difficult to top these two!
2017 was also rounded up in another way. It was funny to me looking back at last year's 2016 recap, and seeing how similar the two years ended up in this regard. Last year, one of my proudest moments was making into the Dance Competition Finals at Anthrocon, and then at MFF, which would be the last convention I was able to attend prior to deployment.
This year, MFF was the first Dance Competition I made it into the Finals upon my return, which was amazing. But not only that, but I PLACED in the Finals! I made 2nd Place in the Novice Category - the first time I had placed in any dance comp, ever! I was - and am still - absolutely floored by it. When they announced my name, I was overwhelmed and totally had a moment backstage afterward, haha.
The Place is a huge deal for me, personally. Anthrocon 2013 was the first furry convention and Dance Competition I had ever attended - I'd never even seen fursuit dancing before, and went to the comp purely out of curiosity. What I saw there completely blew my mind - I had no idea how people could move like that in those fursuits! Fast forward to MFF 2013 - I HAD to watch the comp! It was amazing, and MFF was the first convention where I made up my mind that learning to dance was something I wanted to do. It was and is pretty surreal to finally have made my first Placement at the first convention where I'd made up my mind that I wanted to dance. <3
What does 2018 hold? Well, A LOT. My 2018 deployment will be here sooner than later, and my goal for 2018 is to make the most of every single moment until then! I want to pack every minute, each brush-stroke, all Commissions, every dance move with 1000x the effort and passion as I've done before, and appreciate every moment I have with the experiences that make me happy and the people that I love.
Happy Holiday Season 2017, and Happy 2018!