Another year down, and what a year indeed. Please pat yourself on the back for making it through it. Actually, give yourself a MF bear hug cause this one was yet another doozy.
I love how going into 2020 we were all screaming, “NEW YEAR NEW ME! SEEING 20/20 CLEARLY NOW!”, then going into 2021 we were all locked up in our homes like “Alright, it’s fine, we’re fine, we’ll be back to normal next year!”, and now going into 2022 everyone is dead silent, with our tails in between our legs, walking through any and all doors filled with side-eye and uncertainty.
Part of me feels like it went from January straight to December, yet part of me also feels like 2021 lasted for years. When did those lunatics storm the Capital? January 2021?! Nah, feels like five years ago.
I was saying to a friend the other day that I feel like I’ve already lived so many lives in this one. There have been so many chapters, and sometimes I entirely forget some of them exist, only to remember “Damn, that happened.”
I hope that I am blessed with the ability to have so many more chapters to write. But for now, I’ll be writing them off-page, as I say farewell to this charming, welcoming, community known as The Daily Feels.
What a gift it has been to be a writer for this page for three and a half years now. I joined TDF after Janis so graciously reached out to me offering me a place on the roster. I’ve known Janis since I was 14 years old. She was without over exaggerating, one of the most remarkable mentors a kid could have had, and working for her at Teen People magazine during such formative years of my adolescence brought so much joy at a time that is filled with such angst, confusion, and awkwardness. Just by being herself, she let me know that cool adults could genuinely care about what little ole me had to say, and that they should because my brain was important and my words mattered. I can not stress enough how vital this is for children to feel and know.
I got to travel the country for work because of Janis. I was a teenager talking to corporate heads and CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies, double, triple, four times my age, and I never felt intimidated because I knew Janis had my back. She wrote one of my college recommendation letters. She was significant in molding me. And years and years later, she reached out again with yet another opportunity I could not say no to.
I leapt at it. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I thought I’d just vomit onto a page and hoped something stuck. Yet again, Janis was in her own way telling me the same thing she told me that little kid: that my mind was important and that my words mattered.
It wasn’t without it’s trials and tribulations. I missed deadlines, had a computer crash, wrote entire articles only to shelve them and begin last-minute new ones, and at times I caused completely unnecessary stress for a person that is so important to me. Letting someone down that you’ve known since you were so young, who is not blood family, is a very specific kind of let down. It breaks your heart and skyrockets your failure triggers, because you almost mentally revert back to being a kid again. Letting a mentor down, someone that you truly both love and ADMIRE, and causing added stress to their already busy life, is something I can say I hate. I’m so sorry for those moments. You just want to scream “I promise I’m not a kid anymore! I promise I’m an adult! I’m sorry that I’m failing at life at this moment!”
But all of us actually still are those kids, we’re just older.
May every child out there be so lucky to have a mentor like Janis Gaudelli.
Three and a half years of blogging later, here we are. I told stories and talked about things on here that I haven’t even told some of the closest people in my life. You all gave me the safest space to be me, to think, and breathe, and yes, dream. You’ve been there for me through some of the best and worst days of my life. You’ve helped me unpack trauma that has been with me through the majority of my life, and you offered me a literary form of therapy in a community of magical beings. You’ve allowed me to vent about the darkness in this world, while also allowing me to bathe in the light of it. There were times when I felt like I was just talking to myself, but then I’d remember that having those conversations with myself is important, followed by me then always being reminded that I am indeed never alone.
From bad dates to soulmates. From my love of fuckboys to my hatred of fuckboys. From childhood sexual abuse to adult sexual abuse to the pride of being a survivor. From a suicide attempt to an exploration of the beauty in this world. From failed resolutions to successful life changes. From sheer loneliness to my love of independence. From my pleas of anger, fear, and sadness about the struggles of being Black in America, to how much I love being Black. From the family members who hurt me to the constant, unwavering, unconditional love I receive and have from and for my glorious mother. From broken hearts to the continual pursuit of love. From pandemic to pandemic to pandemic. From letters to myself and letters to you. From the everchanging, extreme stages of grief to more everchanging, extreme stages of grief. From the devastating loss of life to my world gaining more angels. From working four jobs seven days a week to getting my dream job.
I have laughed with you, I have probably cried with you even more, and you have so graciously accepted my words and sometimes even sent some back. For all of that, I am so eternally grateful.
Even writing this, my mouth has hurt from smiling, while my keyboard is probably annoyed at every teardrop that hits it.
You know the older I get, the more I realize that no matter how many things have gone wrong in my life, that I am so lucky.
I’m leaving The Daily Feels the same way I started it. Constantly questioning life and this world, but still full of wonder at it. Still constantly feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing, but continuing to try and pave my way. I’d love to tell you that I had figured it all out, and that the end scene of this movie was me closing my laptop, breaking the fourth wall, and winking at the camera off to live my happily ever after, as Netflix then immediately suggests a million other stories like mine for you to watch. But that wouldn’t be true. And that’s ok too.
Maybe I’ll be back to drop in at some point. Maybe I’ll have some more stories, some more cynicism, some more dreams. But until then, in typical Peter Dunn fashion, I will leave you with a couple things:
– Take more photos with the people you love. As someone who hates their picture taken, I fail miserably at this, and I have so wholeheartedly come to regret it.
– Be kind. Especially be kinder to children and older people. People are so cruel to the very young and the very old, and I will never understand it. Patience, my friends, patience.
– You deserve happiness. You deserve the world. You deserve to live your life fully and freely. Let go of those who don’t believe that for you.
– You have a fan in me. I am rooting for you, every step of the way, in this wild journey we call life. And if I happen to ever randomly pop in your mind, sometime in the future, I simply ask that you send some good vibes my way. I can always use them.
Thank you, thank you, thank YOU, and most importantly, for now, goodbye. I’ll see ya around. 🙂 Happy New Year, beautiful humans. Xx
Peter William Dunn is a born and raised New Yorkers, who is currently a freelance writer, producer, director and sometimes actor in the city.
His professional passions include: film, music, literature, helping other artists thrive and all around storytelling
His personal passions include: puppies, babies, black and white milkshakes, and attractive men with accents (he has an extra strong track record for attracting emotionally unavailable men, but don’t tell him we told you that, and don’t yell at him for speaking in third person right now).
His current loves are his dog, Domino, a whiskey neat, and in case you didn’t know, his mother is the greatest human being on earth ❤