Happy New Year! Or more accurately, I hope your new year has some really happy moments, less drama, less stress and that you’re healthy and surrounded by people who love you. Oh, and that you hear some really good music.
I have had, by all accounts, a really good Christmas and New Year!! A REALLY GOOD ONE! Turns out that once you accept that the ‘perfect Christmas’ we’re all supposed to be having absolutely does not exist, then you can enjoy your imperfect Christmas so much more. But this really was a good one. Saw lots of friends and family, got completely spoilt with gorgeous presents, treated myself to some new clothes (SEQUINS), went to pubs and gigs and visited people and people came to visit me, ate too much, drunk too much gin and rum and, after years of wanting to, I finally spent New Year’s Eve on the sofa in my pyjamas. So good.
2016 was a rollercoaster. There were some really magical times and some absolutely shit ones. Mental health wise, I had what can only be described as a complete meltdown. I didn’t leave my bed for 3 days straight and it spiralled into a huge relapse. Things that I had been taking for granted suddenly became impossibilities again. I couldn’t even drive by myself anymore, I’ve had to fight and fight hard to be able to drive places by myself again. But as tough as those times were, and believe me they continue to be tough as I try to undo the work that the meltdown did, I had some amazing times too. There were some genuinely heart-warming, tears-of-joy-causing moments, especially celebrating my beautiful friend’s marriages. We gained a new member of the family (Polly, the sheepdog) but I also spent a lot of time dealing with dying / dead chickens as the ex-barn layers we adopted didn’t do so well. Swings and roundabouts. To my amazement, and with lots of help, I achieved lots of things I didn’t think I could do. Two hen do’s, four weddings, lambing season, work capability assessment and consequent months of hassle until my ESA was finally approved. I made some lovely new friends, I bloody LOVE making new friends, people are awesome (unless I’m feeling antisocial, in which case eurgh people). A lot happened last year, and that’s not including things like the Olympics and Paralympics (HIGHLIGHTS of the year for me, love them). And let’s just not talk about Trump / Cameron / Brexit okay? Cool. Denial works…. doesn’t it? I think we should all take note of the ever-excellent Veronica Dearly’s advice, which is simply ‘Don’t be a Dick’ and also ‘just be fucking nice, ok?’ – it’s pretty basic, we should all try it.
Anyway, now it’s 2017 and Obama has given his farewell address and that has made me sad. But I’m actually pretty excited for this year, despite all it’s scary prospects. Today I have sent forms off for permitted work and Self-Employment registration, which basically means I am starting some part time, temporary work from home, and I couldn’t be happier about this. It’s all approved with the ESA people and it means I can get back into working, earn a bit of extra money and all without any extra pressure other than the ‘dealing with the horrible mental illness’ thing. Also, my temporary job title is Music Supervisor, and that is making me very happy.
It sounds such a cliché but I genuinely learnt a lot about myself and about other people in 2016. Here’s a list of some stuff.
- Rum tastes really good with ginger beer and lime.
- The best saying every – “Sometimes, people will mess with your good vibes. You must throw them in the sea and carry the fuck on.” (Veronica Dearly)
- The worthwhile friends will be there. Not like in a film when they can apparently mind read and turn up outside your house with some kind of sixth sense. But if you’re like “mate, things are really shit” and cry down the phone, then they’ll be there. Even if you’re a horrid friend in return and forget their birthday because you’re being self-absorbed and feeling awfully sorry for yourself. You can do the same for them one day.
- Baby chicks grow really fast.
- The world is beautiful, but sometimes you have to really look for it.
- A meltdown / breakdown / shitstorm of a relapse is NOT the end and you WILL get back up and carry on. But it’s okay to hide away for a little bit and cry.
- Dying your hair doesn’t change who you are, but it might make you feel a lot more like who you are.
- Lambing is hard work.
- Absolutely everyone has their own crap going on and all problems are relative.
- Glitter tattoos were one of my best discoveries of 2016.
- Be a fountain, not a drain. I’m not entirely sure what this means yet, but it makes sense somehow.
- It’s important to learn to embrace the glorious mess that you are. I like a glorious mess.
- A friend is basically someone who wants the best for you, and who would never knowingly hurt you. Everyone fucks up sometimes and love and hate are all parts of relationships, but if they want good things for you and aren’t trying to ruin your life then it’s all good.
- Read books. Then read some more books. And if you go to the library they’ll give you them for free.
- Never watch a film called ‘The Lobster’, no matter how good the cast is. Ditto the first episode of Black Mirror.
- It’s easy (but draining) to hate people.
- It’s harder (but equally draining) to love people and to try and fix things when they go tits up. It’s worth it.
- Getting your hair cut may seem terrifying, but it’s just anxiety and it’s a trick and I can totally have my hair cut now!
- Be proud. Of everything, especially the things that seem too small and insignificant to be proud of. Be the MOST proud of them.
- People will surprise you (not always in a good way, but such is life).
- Maya Angelou spoke a lot of sense.
- Stop fighting yourself and start fighting for yourself.
- You can’t make other people feel / realise / see things that they don’t feel / realise / see.
- I went on two hen dos’ and they were great, and my friends are great and my friend’s friends are great! (and I need to work on my grammar).
- I wouldn’t wish a migraine on my worst enemy.
- Garden parties with fairy lights and candles and pimms are awesome and there will be more of these in 2017.
- I love my sheep like other people love their dogs. Like, a lot.
- How To Be Single is a really good film.
- I don’t cope well when it gets above 27c
- Murder Mysteries are super fun and if you’re lucky you might come home with a Reindeer made of logs.
- I love my cows like I love my sheep which is how other people love their dogs.
- I recommend Matt Haig’s book Reasons To Stay Alive.
- A mental health charity saved me after the meltdown / shitstorm time. You never know what’s around the corner, and for me it was the need to be saved by a mental health charity.
- I saw the marquee of my dreams at Jackie’s wedding. From the inside it looked like a rainbow!! I didn’t realise you could have such strong opinions on a marquee.
- Sometimes you need a metaphorical kick up the ass. Sometimes you need a physical one.
- I learnt what a magic mushroom looks like.
- Don’t lie to yourself and pretend you’re fine with things that you’re not fine with. Say something. Deal with it. It won’t just ‘go away’, trust me.
- I enjoyed going to a spa. Who knew?!
- I can go to restaurants and eat meals and survive. Good to know.
- People like it when you let them know that you’re thinking of them. The world needs more of that.
- Dancing is fun and should be done more often.
- Animals are the best, especially for cuddles and affection. Or aloofness and disdain if it’s a cat.
- You can remember the people who aren’t here anymore every day, and love them forever, and do nice things in their honour which help other people at the same time, and it will feel like they’re smiling down at you and you’ll think of them every time you see a rainbow.
- Printing pictures of your bestest people is a good idea. Then forget to put the pictures on the wall and leave them in a box for 3 months.
- Depression is pretty awful, but it gets better.
- Listen to people when they say “don’t paint your bedroom bright pink, you’re not a child” and then ignore them and paint it bright pink anyway and LOVE it.
- Seeing an exhibition called The Knitted Bible which is literally knitted scenes from the bible will be awesome. Especially a knitted Jonah being eaten by a knitted whale.
- Feel it. Everything.
- Fireworks are fun.
- Wear what you want. Including the things that when you ask your mum what she thinks, she says “I don’t know…” and looks confused, and the matching outfit covered with birds in a swamp to your best friend’s wedding.
- Cut yourself some slack.
- Seeing live music makes me so happy. More of that.
- Arts and crafts DIY Christmas decorations are super fun, but you will be clearing up glitter for weeks. Just don’t bother trying to clean it up, let the glitter be (all over the dog).
- Leopard print coats. That is all.
- Choose love.
- Asking for help is hard, but worth it, and you have to learn that lesson over and over again every time you have to ask.
There really is no light without dark, and the darker it’s been, the brighter the light is.
Lots of love from me and the mermaid skirt and here’s to a year full of good things x