Well hello there…
I know I disappeared for several months, but I assure you all I am still alive. My family just had some major stuff to get through, including a severely injured cat, sick husband and job upheaval for myself. But – with the help of various doctors, managers, vets and medicines, we are all still here and looking forward to seeing the back of this year!
There were some good bits. Like going to see Queen, and Jools Holland. Like going back to LARP for the first time in over 5 years. Like getting into some new TV shows, most notably Downton Abbey, Sens8, Castle and Gok Wan’s How To Look Good Naked. Like getting shortlisted for the Jeremy Mogford Prize and publishing two more poems in collections from Lost Tower Publications. Like writing the first 20,000 words of a novel and also writing 71,000+ words of fan fiction to many reviews and general acclaim and support. Like seeing hope of a revival in British politics with the election of Jeremy Corbyn to becoming Labour leader. Like finally winning my PPI claim after 7 years of trying. Like running the first ever themed call for submissions on Project Shandy for mental health awareness week and receiving some stunning pieces of writing.
But on the whole, this year was not a success. Or at least, here at the end of all things, it doesn’t feel like one. Too many heroes died, including (but not limited to) Christopher Lee, Terry Pratchett and Leonard Nimoy. Too many horrors dominated the news, such as the attacks on Paris and the flooding in the North of England (not to mention the election of a Tory majority government…) Too many things conspired against me, like the threat of redundancy and a stupid NHS professional who would not listen to my wishes/reasons regarding my health care choices.
This year saw concern for my own health (although I now have a therapist and some working drugs again), worry over my beloved husband (who has now accessed the specialist help he needs to work on improving his mental health) and worry about my darling pet cat (she’s fine, although three legged these days). It felt like the reasons to worry never let up, throughout the good times and victories, and that has left this year with something of a sour taste overall.
I am hopeful that things will improve from this point forwards.
As is the case every year, I’ve spent the last few weeks mulling over my choice for Song Of The Year 2016, and there were several strong contenders. Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark‘ had already been highlighted as my ‘song of the week’ earlier this year. Rachel Platten’s ‘My Fight Song‘ saw me through some rough times. I was even tempted by The 4 Non Blondes’ ‘What’s Goin On‘ after a particularly poignant scene in Sens8.
But eventually, it all came back to me and my boys – good old Take That.
I first heard ‘Let In The Sun’ on the radio when I was driving back from… I don’t know, somewhere. My working area has been so large this year I’ve lost track. I had to pull off the road and cry. Things had been starting to go downhill and this song just managed to capture everything, how it felt, how things were slipping away and how I felt like I was losing sight of the things that were most important to me.
“You found yourself alone in a room
In the darkness you must enter the code
Crack the combination all on your own”
That was around the time I finally admitted I was losing track of my life and I wasn’t coping very well with everything that was going on. It was time to go back down to the core, admit to my doctor that I needed some help and support and start digging my heels in until I got some.
“Pick yourself up and search for the light
Hungry for a new start
It’s your chance now to stand up and fight
Take the next step now a day at a time”
I have been down this road through the National Health Service a few times now. I pity anyone who has to navigate it for the first time on their own without experienced guidance. It’s not easy to articulate what you need/want in a way that will hit the right notes and get results in this system.
However, by the end of this year, I feel like we’re getting somewhere now. Not just stuck in the same old spiral of ‘try this… try it again… try it for a bit longer…’ No, you know what? Can we skip the basics and assume that we have tried, and indeed that we are persevering, with all the level 1 steps and methods? It’s time to bring out some big guns and not just hope that this goes away.
“Good to see you with your feet on the track
Waiting for a restart
Leaving all that once what was holding you back
Want you to see the sun rise as fast as you can”
So come on then 2016. What you got for us? I won’t say it can’t be worse than 2015, because I know it could be. But if you even TRY that 2016, I am going to shake you by the neck. Play nice now. Let’s see how this new and clean slate pans out.
It’s time to Let In The Sun. And here is this year’s Song Of The Year 2015.
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