Adios, 2016

“2016, the year with a hex on it”.  I read that in Uncut magazine, documenting the crazy list of musicians who shuffled off this mortal coil last year and it resonated with me, I could not agree more.  If 2016 were an article of clothing it would one of those shiny blankets that are given to people after a trauma, or a marathon – both the same thing, I guess.

It’s been one of the strangest, saddest, awful, crazy, life affirming, life taking away, what-the-fuck-am-I-doing years I have ever experienced.  I think I actually could do with one of those shiny blankets? But everything, as they say, for a reason and this is after all how we humans learn and grow and attempt to live some kind of life that’s authentic and right for everyone concerned.  Nobody ever said that would be an easy thing. But I’m still here, my heart still beats, the world still turns.

Here’s what 2016 taught me.

  • You’re stronger than you ever think that you are.  Even when disappearing down into a hollow would be preferable, you are stronger than you think.  Don’t underestimate yourself – not ever.
  • Living almost exclusively off toast and cheese gnawed straight from the fridge is not advisable.
  • Personal weight is a very, very sticky situation and one that I’m struggling to find the right words to discuss it with.  I’ve never had to, I’ve always been pretty much the same weight, just regular.  I don’t know how much I lost in 2016 but it has run into stones rather than pounds, and it’s opened up a world of weird contradictions to me.  The general consensus is thinner = success and good, at whatever cost.  If you’re exercising and eating well then yes, it’s cool, but it runs deeper than that.  I’m a contradiction too because I lost weight without trying, and this will sound weird, but without even realising; it disappeared by breaking my own heart, through tough times and losing myself.  And here’s the contradiction, all that heartache and sadness, but I cannot lie, it’s been SO ace to wear tiny, vintage suede hotpants that this time last year I’d have laughed my head off at, and possibly put on my head.  But most worrying is that Lil said to me ‘well done mum, you don’t have a jiggly bum anymore’.  It upsets me that a 9 year old girl should see getting thin as something to be praised for – unless we are talking close to death, getting crane lifted out of the house over weight (not to mention the fact that she thought I had a fat arse.)  We were however laying on the sofa last night watching a film her snuggled into me, and she told me I was too ‘sharp and jaggy, with sticky out bones to feel like a proper mum now.  She’d like me to be ‘fatter’.  Ha! I should have been offended but it made me happy.  All’s not lost with our media-fed youth, but it’s given me a lot of food for thought, no pun intended, about raising girls and the ever-present issue of body image.
  • I despise Donald Trump.
  • It’s a cliche but you honestly and truly do not know what is around the corner for you.
  • That parking space, the one under the low-hanging tree that everyone else avoided is vacant for a reason.  “Hello, Autoglass, how can we help you?”
  • It is not possible to brick up your heart.  I’ve tried.  I’ve failed.  No bricks, no cladding, no metal willed upon and around it works.  It has a mind of its own, it beats, it calls the shots and it rules, well it does if you wear it on your sleeve like I do.  And that’s probably not a bad thing.  Maybe just consider long sleeves, and a jumper, and a coat. Maybe two.
  • Nothing lasts forever, good or bad. If it’s good kiss it with everything your body and soul contains, hold it so tight you think your ribs may break.  If it’s bad, try so, so hard to remember that somehow, it will pass.
  • A well-aimed motivational quote goes a long way.  I was sent both of these by friends and I live by them, I may get them tattooed, one on each bum cheek (joking) – ‘I am the architect of my own happiness’ and ‘making a big life change is scary. But you know what’s even scarier? Regret.’
  • Don’t give away all the music that makes you, you, keep some back for yourself, because when you need it the most it’s laden with too much memory to give you any comfort. Though this is an excellent way of only listening to new stuff, so that’s not all bad.
  • Don’t take your friends and family for granted, if you’re as lucky as I am then they will be there for you through the good, the bad and the downright ugly.
  • I really like wearing tiny vintage suede hotpants.  But I do want my ass back.

Again, sorry, no recipe.  But here’s a song instead, I like the lyrics a lot.  Incalcuable things are never the big things are they? They are the minutiae that make up our lives, that stop us clean in our tracks when we think we know where we’re going, they’re the things that guide us down the potholed roads, give us courage, and with any luck lead us in the right direction.

Here’s to 2017, I hope it’s  peaceful and kind, to everyone.

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