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Kristin Armstrong Column March 2021

The columnist reflects on 17 years writing for the magazine and offers gratitude to readers

As Tribeza celebrates its 20th anniversary, I want to pause, mark the moment and celebrate too. I’m always happy for a reason to raise a glass of bubbles and reflect, and since I have contributed a column for 17 of those 20 years, I feel like part of the family.

This magazine has changed about as much as our fine city has in the past 20 years: different looks, different editors, different artists and illustrators, different stylists, different advertisers, different themes and perspectives on the culture and vibe that is uniquely Austin. Whether you are a visitor or prospective inhabitant looking to get a feel for this place, or a longtime resident looking for familiar faces in photos, new places to check out or what to wear when you go—there is something for everyone. Tribeza always hails to the creators, and creators have always been drawn to Austin. Musicians, artists, chefs, architects, filmmakers, authors, craftsmen, designers, techies and entrepreneurs alike find their passion and their people here. That spirit is exactly what brought me here, and found me my real home, way back in 1993.

This magazine is gorgeous; it captures our life and community with an artistic eye. And after a year like 2020, perhaps we can all appreciate the elements and subtleties of art and beauty more than ever.

My art is writing, my medium is words, and my canvas is the page. Yet I have learned over many years in my craft that my deeper, underlying gift is as a translator. I love taking feelings, encounters and awakenings and translating them into a universal, shared experience and understanding. When that happens in spoken or written word, I can feel the exquisite pleasure of connection, and the spark illuminates the channel between my head and my heart. I am in my zone, in flow, completely ushered into the present moment. For one second or several, I lose track of time and the awareness or encumbrances of self and I transcend. I wish everyone the blessing of work that feels less like effort and more like joy.

“There are as many milestones as there are miracles, for the eye that is looking for them.”

There is a sweet spot where passion and purpose align, where giving and receiving intersect and alchemize our experiences into mutual healing and collective meaning. This is where past heartaches become comfort for another, past loss becomes shared gain, past pitfalls become a communal springboard, past mistakes become collaborative wisdom and past joys multiply and expand.

I am grateful that this publication is not only lovely to look at, but also a welcoming place that invites deeper connection. For almost 20 years, I have had the good fortune to share my craft and my heart with you. I have been free to explore themes and ideas that really matter to me—things that grab my attention and hold it, things that have broken my heart and mind wide open, and put me back together again. I tell my kids, my friends and my clients that whenever we are together, this is sacred space. And sacred space is also what I share with you here.

Allow this milestone to serve as a reminder of how important, even crucial, it is to mark the moments and milestones in our own lives. Not just the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and funerals. I mean also marking the private, personal moments of growth, healing and release.

The moment you realized you actually could love again. The last wave as you pull out of a college dorm parking lot. The instant you recognize that you did, indeed, respond differently this time. When you realize you just held a memory lovingly and loosely, without the agonizing clutch of absence in your heart. When you notice you received a compliment without shrugging or shrinking. When you figure out you can own a mistake without identifying as a failure. When you savored a sweet moment of success and felt truly, completely worthy. There are as many milestones as there are miracles, for the eye that is looking for them.

For all that we have witnessed together, please accept a deeply held thank you.

I look forward to the adventure ahead.