Something New, Something Blue: A Decade in Review

"This is not a devaluing

of your pain but a dethroning.

An adjustment of the microscope’s lens.
Look up. The fireworks have started."

Happy New Year, Sierra DeMulder

So, where to begin.

First, a brief background: The short of it is that I was not supposed to let my old domain go. It's been with me since 2005. But I've been having issues with the host since July (too cumbersome to explain; I’m still getting it fixed but it’s taking a while). So in essence, is basically stuck in limbo right now.

Which is devastating, but also, in a lot of ways, surprisingly freeing. It’s the first time in almost fifteen years that I’m starting a new blog.

I don’t even know why I’m doing this again. I feel like over the last few years, I’ve forgotten how to write. Or rather, I’ve forgotten what it means to do it. These days, every idea, every thought, every emotion I feel like sharing is already out there, albeit condensed in 280 characters.

But that's precisely the problem. I never get to think my thoughts through anymore. Often, I just send them out to the universe right away, in order to get them out of my chest, or to make myself feel better and just move right along. Which isn't at all bad, I guess. But it stops me from taking the time to pause, reflect, and write something more meaningful. Something that does not condense every feeling to a mere joke or a punchline. Something that would actually help me heal.

The thing is I cannot say that the last decade has been entirely difficult, because so much of what I am right now was because of the triumphs I've achieved in the past ten years. I graduated from college, I got into law school, I survived the bar, I became a lawyer. These are such huge accomplishments that make up about a huge chunk of this version of Karla.

But my heart has known so many shades of sadness in the last few years too. I've lost six family members since I was thirteen; two of them died in front of me. I almost flunked out of law school. I underwent a major operation that took away some parts of my reproductive organs. I was diagnosed with PCOS. I confirmed that the relationships I grew up seeing were not out of pure love, but maybe just out of convenience.

When I really think about why I started drifting away from blogging, it was because I was always so hesitant to acknowledge the heartaches I had to go through. I felt they were too small, too insignificant compared to the highs of every year. Or at least that's what I forced myself to believe. If I choose to look at the silver lining, the blues should not outweigh the bright reds and the sunny yellows.

Yet, healing isn't a zero-sum game, apparently.


Funny I was asked by a friend on the last working day of the year: "Why do you like Ariana Grande so much?" after the nth time that she entered the room with me blasting the Sweetener World Tour live album.

The easy answer is because her vocals are amazing, duh. And her songs are bops, obviously.

I think - no, I believe - though, it's because I identify with much of her sadness. Dealing with guilt over the Manchester bombing, grief over her grandfather's death, shock and trauma over Mac's passing, anguish over her broken engagement with Pete. All this magnified to a hundred because she is going through everything under the public eye. I guess I saw myself in a lot of what she was singing about. Trying to be fine, finding ways to feel attractive and whole, putting a front of being "dangerous" when all you really want is a hug.

For some of us, putting on a happy face and brushing off our feelings - actually the easier choice. I'd much rather deal with just the positives than focus on things that bring me down. I'm not faking being happy at all; I really choose to sweep off the grief and the sadness and the heartache.

But that's not really ideal, is it.

Because true, what happened to me were not life-shattering, tragic events; life went on and everything is fine. But just because the good outweighs the bad doesn't mean I shouldn't address the latter. I have to stop reducing these things to just mere "lessons." They were difficult, and they are still things I have to deal with right now. My actions are colored by the trauma of these things, and I have to reconcile that with my desire to move forward.


Recently, the Disney Pixar movies I've cried to the most are Coco and Inside Out.

Coco, because it deals with grief, and losing cherished family members. I bawl my eyes out every time Mama Coco remembers her papa shortly before she passes away. And Inside Out, because it really forces you to look at emotions individually: they each function for a purpose. Even and especially Sadness. We cannot appreciate the joys without the blues.

It all sounds like a simple enough message for kids, until you grow up and realize you're twenty-eight and having a very difficult time navigating through all your anxieties.


The truth is: the last decade has been kind. I forged new friendships, renewed old ones, joined a profession I've always dreamed of, gained sisters, traveled a lot, found great, brave love. I am grateful, and happy, and appreciative of the universe's generosity.

But I guess it's okay to admit that the last few years were rough too. After all, Classic Blue is the color of the year. Maybe it's okay to not be okay. Maybe healing means accepting that it all happened and not leaving it all behind - just acknowledging the many ways pain can transform you into something different, something better, something bolder.

As the Sierra DeMulder poem goes, "this is not a devaluing of your pain, but a dethroning." Just a little adjustment of the microscope's lens.


Spotify confirmed it for me a few weeks ago: Ariana is my artist of the decade. (Carly was my most played though!) There's good reason for that.

"But the hard times are golden
'Cause they all lead to better days.

We gonna be alright."

Be Alright (Dangerous Woman)

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