Saturday, 31 December 2016

Year In Review: 2016 - Blimey!

I am pretty sure I say the same thing on these yearly sum ups every Hogmanay. This time though, I think I can say, what a year 2016 has been for little old me. I can’t even put it to words how extraordinary this year has been overall.

I got a degree, amazingly. I wrote a dissertation on my favourite composer then received his autograph 8 months later. I became a graduate. I started paying tax. I went on 17 different job interviews, applied to over 300 jobs. I got three-part time jobs working with children. I handed in a notice to one. I started to promote my freelance musician ‘business’. I was invited to be part of so many wonderful opportunities within music performance. I went on another trip to look for arty statues for charity. I finally had a plus one to a ball and enjoyed it for the first time in my life. I discovered new places and even went on my own little breaks away. I came out, again. I fell in love, again. I got caught in the middle of unnecessary drama, again. I got my heart broken and cried, again, so many times that I had lost count. To think the start of the year, I was probably at the worst level of depression and anxiety, scared of the near future, scared of those who I thought loved and cared for me. There was another spot in November where it was even worse. But I think back to that little girl who was scared to do things for her and how much she has grown.

I really do feel as if this year has been nothing but a gigantic rollercoaster, full of ups and downs. I really put myself out there this year, more than any other year. Probably because I was so scared that working for this degree wasn’t really going to be worth it, even after all of the time and effort I put towards it. That I was going to spend my additional year in Aberdeen in a huge financial debt, wondering what the next chapter of my life was going to entail. I was also still desperately looking for acceptance, trying so hard to make sure I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life alone and that I was going to be stable in terms of work. At least I can say I have started my path in life as a 'mature adult'. God help us all! :)

Every year I set goals to work towards to see if I can achieve them before the end of the year. So let’s see what progress I made on each of these goals:

Receive a 2:1 at least in my Bachelor of Music undergraduate degree
I did it guys, I never truly thought I would get a degree at the end of this journey. But I even got my 2:1 target! HELL YEAH! I thought I would find it too hard and struggle to keep fighting. It was difficult, there were definitely times where I felt emotionally and physically defeated, I couldn’t see me crossing several hurdles, especially in the final two years where the marks counted and reputations had to be made. I like to think I’ve done a lot in the four years I’ve been in Aberdeen and I have met some truly beautiful people in this city who are the most supportive souls ever. 

Start learning sign language at North East College in September
My first BSL class was on the 1st of September. At first, I was scared as we missed two classes due to our tutor being ill. However, we soon got replacement tutors for the remaining weeks. I will sit both assignments in January, which is terrifying. However, I can honestly say I have never enjoyed a class more than I have done these sign language classes. Tutors take my breath away every time they teach us, it is amazing. I know a lot more than I previously did, which was how to say thank you and another saying that's better left unsaid. 

Take a holiday somewhere with Struan & Connie, for their 21st birthdays & my graduation.
Unfortunately, due to family holidays and money worries, we still need to plan our trip together. Who knows, maybe it will happen at some point. Struan and I did visit Falkirk & Stirling in October, which was a lovely trip away. I only saw Connie once this year and that was for her 21st in January. Thanks uni and adult life for making me the worst best friend ever. But I did see both of my best friends, my dear crazy cookies turn 21 this year. I’m lucky to have seen them grow into the wonderful human beings they are.

Save money for a flat in Stonehaven
Money has been a tough situation for me this moment in time. But my Stonehaven dream is still a possibility, maybe for 2017/18. Of course, it depends whether I’ll still have these jobs after the summer as they are term time. I think it will soon be time for me to have a flat of my own. I adore living with my best friend but our lives will soon be going in completely different paths. I would love to have a home of my own. Stonehaven is my happy place so to find a home there would be amazing, however my life took an unexpected turn with offers for postgraduate courses. So who knows where I’ll be this time next year… quite weird to think about.

Meet Harriet & Shelley
This is still a goal I would love to achieve, but I would need to save money and need to feel safe travelling all that way to visit them. So it will take more than a year to be able to achieve that. Of course, Shelley is expecting her second child which makes things difficult in terms of travel anyways. However, both girls are still incredibly supportive and sweet, especially this year with my birthday wishes and graduation. I love my honey bee and gorgeous seashell, keep being brilliant and being an inspiration to your children.

Get a Disclosure so I can work with children in the future
I’ve been fortunate to start new jobs this year that both work with children in schools, in youth work, childcare and with music, I’ve also had work experience with music tutors in schools. This means I do have my disclosure to work with children and am looking to also join it to work with protected adults. It was tough to get to grips of the money side but I love working with children. It’s hardy, it’s intimidating at times. It’s when a child smiles at you, gives you a high five or enjoys talking with you. That’s the most amazing thing ever. In 2017, I have more exciting projects coming up to look forward to, including possibly studying a postgraduate in Autism.

Fall in love with the right person for once
This year was another year of heartbreak for me, where once again, I had very mixed feelings for people. Ever since I came out, some things have been easier than others. But I knew the person I loved was genuine. I told him about my depression and he was wonderful in giving me hope and a new lease for life. He accepted me and listened to me more than most people ever did, still does. He was my plus one at my May ball, he was the person who phoned me when I was particularly struggling, he was my sunshine. He knows about the trust issues I’ve always had, he heard about the tough times I went through, yet he still smiles and accepts me. When this blogpost goes live, at this moment, I will be spending New Year with him. What else can I say that hasn’t already been said to him but thank you sweetheart for helping me this year, I wouldn’t have been able to get through it without you there.

Get better. :)
It’s been extremely tough this year, as I predicted it to be. I have had many dark moments. Moments where I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t put a smile on my face and have faced more hurt & neglect than I ever have faced before. Things still aren’t perfect but I do have a small supportive network of people who love me for me and keep me going. When someone tries to knock me down and say that I am a waste of space, I can always rely on them to get me back on my feet. I never thought I would be able to confide in certain people as much as I have done this year, after so many years of keeping my dark side hidden behind bars. One thing I have learnt so much this year is how much it helps to talk to people. It helps me to breathe and clear my head. There’s still a long way to go. But I have started employment in the sort of field I want to have as a career, I have amazing best friends, a supportive family and loved ones. I’m incredibly lucky to have the life I have. It’s tough at times but what life isn’t? I have my flaws, always will do. When you have those in your life who still accept you despite of them and strive to make you the person you want to be, that’s worth living for.

So what do I want to work on in 2017?
  1. Pass my Sign language classes in May
  2. Start driving lessons and sit my Driving Test, at least pass my Theory.
  3. Move to my own flat somewhere in the summer
  4. Travel to more places, ideally Orkney & Shetland
  5. Gain more experience in working with children, possibly start postgraduate
  6. Get better. In terms of mental health. <3
In a year where we lost so many great names, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Terry Wogan, Prince, George Michael & Carrie Fisher to name but a few. We lost brave souls in Orlando, we lost our connection with the EU and an egotistical selfish man became President of the world’s biggest country. So it may be bleak sounding year but what we need to do is to keep faith and fight for a world we want to live in.

Well that’s another year gone, as you read this on the 31st of December, I’m currently in Dundee spending Hogmanay and New Year with someone who made my 2016. Who knows what we’ll be doing, hopefully seeing fireworks after the Bonfire Night fireworks were cancelled. Hope you all have a safe New Year’s and I’ll see you all in 2017. 


Friday, 28 October 2016

The Hallowe'en Scrooge... Bah Humbug!

So… I hate Hallowe’en. Yep. I am pretty much Scrooge when it comes to October 31st. Probably weird to those who know me to accept, seeing as they know my favourite season is Autumn/Winter. I love cinnamon, maple syrup, chocolate, sweets. I love the orange and brown leaves on the ground and the cool crisp air. Alternate themed stuff, I also love. Thriller, Monster Mash, Disturbia, Ghostbusters, all of those are absolute tunes. I like films like Nightmare Before Christmas & Rocky Horror Picture Show. Plus I think Bonfire Night & Christmas are the best days of the year. So why not Hallowe’en? Here are a couple of reasons why this holiday just doesn’t do it for me.

1. Scared of scary things – Yes, I am a complete wuss. Jump scares are by far the one thing I detest the most in this world. I will do anything to get out of a jump scare situation. So any kind of pranks, scary costumes, I just can’t do it. So it also means that horror movies are an absolute no-no. Supernatural or sci-fi I can almost handle, but if it’s a story that can happen in real life, that really screws me up and can give me nightmares for days… Also that Scare Mask from the Scary Movies, since I was 7 that mask alone has been one of my phobias. Especially the bleeding ones, why do they exist?!

2. Is Trick or Treating still a thing? – I'm all for sweets & chocolate, I did the occasional trick & treating when I was younger, once dressed up as Britney Spears (yep, it's as embarrassing as it sounds). But in general, it sucked. If you stay at home, you see your parents buy the sweets, hang up the Hallowe’en decorations. Then no-one turns up at the door. No wonder with this killer clown trend that’s happening right now. SOME PEOPLE HAVE A FEAR OF CLOWNS, WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS FUNNY?! Ok, crazy rage mode over (hahahahahaha....). Also, children visiting strangers houses to get sweets, that always seemed a little suspicious to me. I mean, in my home town, a small town in the middle of nowhere, that’s fair enough as everyone knows everyone (who to avoid). But in the city, that’s just scary full stop. I work in childcare & education, not one child has told me they’re going trick or treating. So what do they do for Hallowe’en? School Hallowe’en Disco, then that’s it. Wow, worth it. Suppose if they're happy then that's all that matters. 

3.  Dressing up is the worst – Now I’m going to sound like an absolute saddo (no more than usual) but I HATE dressing up. I’m sorry, I know, I suck as a human being. It’s the disappointment after going through all that effort that took you all day, you wasted all of your money and your costume still looks lame as hell. I can’t be bothered with designing the outfits and trying to act like a different character. I’m boring enough as it is without trying to act boring. Also, when you see a good looking girl wearing another slutty nurse or PlayBoy bunny outfit, it bodes well on your self-esteem. That and ‘couple planned outfits’. Get a room, seriously. During university, if there was anything that involved dressing up, that feeling of dread just put me right off the actual event. Even band rehearsals have a Hallowe’en dress up practice each year and that just gets on my nerves. Because it always has to be a competition, especially with music students. I just want to play my saxophone for 4 hours then leave. I don’t care, I’m sorry.

4.  Another excuse for students to get drunk – Dress up pub crawls. That is literally torture for me. During university, when it was Hallowe’en, there were so many parties and nights out where I just didn’t feel comfortable whatsoever. It’s that awkward stage where they’re not children anymore so they can’t go ‘trick or treating’ or go to school Hallowe’en discos. But they’re not exactly adults either so they don’t have the same responsibilities and can spend all of their money on alcohol. Now that I’m tee-total, I realised how much I enjoy quality time with friends, dinners out. I don’t know what a night club is anymore. I remember walking home from a friend’s flat one year, a show at the theatre the previous year and seeing all the students walk the opposite direction in outfits, drunk out of their mind, screaming and acting like idiots. I mean… really?! People annoy me.

5.  Another excuse for shops to make money – ‘Seeing as it’s Hallowe’en, I’m going to waste money on a pumpkin, pull it’s guts out, make a face, light a candle in it then leave it to rot.’ Some pumpkins cost over £5. That’s a meal! Or at least you can just spend it on a lot of chocolate and eat it, then you would instantly be happier. The Hallowe’en decorations in the house just don’t make sense to me. Why would you want to cover your living room with spiders webs?! Hallowe’en themed products that replace traditional items. I really want a Mini Roll with some green gloop inside, thanks… Also Screme Eggs? How original, well done Cadbury. It’s pretty much like Valentine’s Day, where it’s become a holiday for no other reason than for shops and business to make lots of dollar, dollar bills.  

So yeah, I'm a grump when it comes to Hallowe'en and I can't wait for it to be over, so we can move on to fireworks, turkey & presents. Who knows, if I ever have a family in the future, I'll celebrate Hallowe'en properly but for now, I'm perfectly happy staying at home in my Sulley pyjamas with chocolate I bought for myself. 

I like to think of the Autumn/Winter season almost like a sandwich. Hallowe'en is the first layer of bread, it's pointless really as its usually the non buttered dry side but people still use it otherwise it would not be called a sandwich. Bonfire Night is the tomato ketchup, a sweet tasty extra bonus to the winter celebrations. Christmas is by far the sausage & bacon, whatever tickles your fancy. It's definitely the best part of the sandwich, the reason why you order it in a cafe or make it for morning breakfast. New Year is the bottom bread, you first think it tastes nice as it's the bread with the melted butter. But sometimes with hot fillings, it gets warm and soggy and falls apart which is depressing. That's New Year and January in a nutshell to me as I'm depressed Christmas is over. 

And with that weird analogy, I'm concluding this random post. Let me know if you're celebrating Hallowe'en or what is your favourite time of the year. Happy holidays. I'm so American, seriously I can't stop eating bacon & maple syrup, it's an awesome combination. <3 HEARTS TO EVERYONE! <3