Anniversaries, of every kind, bring up all kinds of feelings. Looking back on our lives has a tendency to make the good events look better than they were and the bad ones look worse.

Lovers and spouses do this. They recall forgotten birthdays and broken promises and assess if they really should be in this relationship. But they also cling to the special moments when it seemed they were the only two people in the world who really know what love is. If they look closer at their relationship, however, they realize that what is most significant about their anniversary and what that date truly represents is survival. They made it through all of the difficult moments and they remain intact.

The same holds true for communities and organizations and businesses. Today, March 16, marks our second anniversary. The last year has been challenging and exhilarating — sometimes both in the same day — for GA Voice and for those we serve.

From the Publisher: Survival is a beautiful word

Newspapers, both big and small, continue to struggle with dwindling readership and advertising sales. We are lucky at GA Voice. As a local niche publication, we are in a better position than most to weather hard times and to secure the sales we need to pay for newsprint, computers and salaries. 

We have much to celebrate this anniversary. GA Voice is growing by the day and recognized frequently for our talent and our product. See the awards sidebar here. Our website visits and views have doubled since last year. Our Facebook page is frequently visited and people engage in conversations there every day.

The LGBT community as a whole has also taken some blows this year. We lost Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse and Poster Hut (yes, some people care about that), bars have closed and funding for organizations has been hard to come by. The economy is still rocky and has taken a toll on a lot of people. As I look back on the past year I am again most impressed by the simple fact that we, like couples celebrating their anniversary, have survived.

Maybe being grateful for something as basic as “survival” is grasping at straws. I don’t think so. One of the definitions of survival is “to continue to function or prosper in spite of…” Well, we have had a slew of “in spite ofs” in the past year and here we are — functioning and prospering. Examples of this can be seen everywhere.

Brushstrokes, Mixx and Charis Books & More will carry on Outwrite’s legacy and bring LGBT authors to town. Faltering organizations like YouthPride will likely be improved or replaced with a new organization thanks to people who care about our young people. It looks like Gilbert’s might take over the old Outwrite space and, hopefully, 10th & Piedmont will once again be a gathering place. And, who knows, maybe someone is planning a new and improved version of Poster Hut right this minute.

What I have found to be true is that adversity always leads to something new, something better than what came before.  The process is painful but the result, if I simply survive it, far outweighs the momentary agony. Ultimately, it is the result that I remember. Like childbirth, the pain of a new birth is soon forgotten as you hold that baby in your arms.

At GA Voice, we are in the planning stages of several new births which we will present to you very soon. As we celebrate another year with each other, we salute our community for its resilience and its passion. Let’s continue to find our strength in each other and keep ourselves open to what is new and what is possible. Stay tuned.