Tuesday, 30 December 2014

And so, farewell 2014

Right. New Year's Resolutions time. Awesome. These always work out so well.

I pledge to:

1. Give up smoking. OH WAIT, I already did that.
2. Write a book. OH HANG ON. I already did that.
3. Adopt a dog. HOLD UP, I already did that.

Ahhhh. That was nice. A bit of back slapping never goes amiss, even if you're doing it to yourself. Fnarr.

I actually didn't make resolutions to do any of those, as it goes.

I'd already adopted Sushi before the end of last year, I had no faith in myself to quit smoking and I assumed I would fail again to write a book.

Maybe it's better to start the year with zero expectations and then just kind of have a bash as the year goes on?

The ways we can make ourselves feel guilty are myriad. Sometimes I think I am actually Catholic at heart. I manage to feel guilt over pretty much everything. Situations that have absolutely nothing to do with me. All the times I put on a pound. All the times I piss someone off. All the times someone pisses me off. It's a very tedious way to live.

For 2015 (and holy motherfucking shitballs, how did we get to the actual future guys? And how is it so exactly the same as the 1980s?) I pledge to do nothing. Fuck it. I might actually just get into bed on New Year's Day and not ever get up again. Florence Nightingale did it, so why can't I?

Now that Ebola has hit our shores (one case in Glasgow hospital - it is the end times), the economy continues in freefall, I can't make enough money to live in a shoebox and I have no idea what to do with my life STILL, I'm just going to take 2015 as it comes.

Fuck resolutions, fuck beating myself up over not being as good as other people at shit, fuck worrying all the time about the stuff I haven't done, the things I don't have and where the hell I'm going to live and work. It'll all fall into place. Or not. Either way I'm breathing in and out and I don't have Ebola. Yet. So that's a good way to start the new year I reckon.

Merry new year and all of that shizzle to anyone reading this. May 2015 vomit joy and good fortune over your duvet every day. And if not, then just do what makes you feel the least crappy. I reckon that's the best way to go.


Sunday, 14 December 2014


Hey guise, I'm an esoteric dark angel who keeps my heart on Heavens (sic) highway. RIGHT ON YELLING GUY. 


And so this is Christmas...

... and what have you done?

Quite a lot actually John Lennon, and all of it without a) breaking up the band and b) beating up my wife.

That is my least favourite Christmas choon. Who wants to be berated by a hypocritical multi millionaire pseudo hippy at Christmas? And war is not over just because you want it. And talking of multi millionaire patronising types, they do know it's Christmas in Africa Bob Geldof you div so leave that dead horse alone already.

As it's the end of the year, I'm naturally starting to berate myself for all I have failed to achieve in the 12 months preceding.

But this year is a bit different

I've actually achieved some things I have wanted for years. Serious.

  1. I have completed a first draft of my first book. This may not sound much but is essentially the culmination of about 20 years of wanting and failing and half starting and procrastinating and not bothering and doing work instead and a million other things. This inspired me to: 
  2. Write short stories. Actually write them and finish them. My next challenge is to write one that isn't dark and about death and that. One step at a time. 
  3. I have given up smoking. I am a woman with little will power. Or at least I have been. Perhaps I'm not anymore. Because I've actually done it. I stopped smoking. And it wasn't even that hard. I know that's not what you're meant to say, it's meant to be awful and involve vaping and patches and gum and relapsing and shit. And, you must understand that I've been smoking since I was 14. It was my crutch every time I got sad or upset (which is hella lots) and, even though I still want them from time to time, I've come to realise that cravings are transitory. If you don't give into them they pass. If you do give into them they pass. Either way they pass. So you may as well not give into them. 
  4. I have adopted a dog. I cannot, without making you puke, describe the joy she has brought into my life. I can't believe I got so lucky with my pooch. I chose her from an internet photograph and, although I suck at online dating, I can apparently find the perfect dog for me just by looking in her eyes. Watching her grow and relax and show her personality has been a humbling and wonderful experience. She makes me smile every single day and I adore her. 
  5. I have seriously started driving lessons. 
  6. I've had further treatment for my utterly boring health problems and have some definitive answers. They're not the most direct or helpful - there is no path to curing me. The operation didn't fully work. But now I know and I am starting to come to terms with it, rather than resist the fact that I have it. It is my lot in life, and I am so lucky it's not something worse. 
  7. I have volunteered for causes that I believe in, and it has meant I have been privileged, utterly privileged, to get up close and personal with some animals that are more important that anyone seems to realise. Bats are freaking awesome and vital for the equilibrium of our ecosystem. They're also cuter than cute can be and make the best faces when you feed them. 

All of this is probably paltry by contrast. I haven't saved any lives and I haven't had a child or even managed to start a relationship that's worthwhile.

But it's small steps to the life I want and you gotta leave something for next year, right?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A different kind of Christmas

Christmas is weird.

I know that it's not like that for everyone. And I know that for many people it's still a magical, family time where dreams come true and all is well. Wrapped in family traditions and bonhomie, you'd have to be a miserable bastard to not like Christmas. 

For me, these days, it's weird. 

I have no traditions, I have no place to go. Every year I think, hmmmm, next year I'll most likely be in an adult relationship which will put a different spin on things. Maybe I can lig onto his traditions and find some fun in this time of year again. But obviously that never happens. The best Christmases I've spent have been with a close friend, she made me welcome into her family and her traditions and it was lovely. 

So, without a family of my own, or a partner to distract me, it can be a period of enduring rather than enjoyment. 

Since my father died 14 years ago, the magic of Christmas is an elusive beast. It is what it is. No doubt I should be over it by now. No doubt it shouldn't feel like a red hot poker of pain underneath my ribs to think about Christmas and how much I used to love it. It shouldn't make me miss him anymore than I already do. But I'm an imperfect human being who is apparently not brilliant at dealing with grief and loss. So, here I am. Facing another year of feeling itchy and out of place wherever I am. 

I feel apart from it. Like it's a big club I haven't been invited into. I see people getting excited but I just don't feel it. I'm confused at people decorating their houses now. It seems bizarre to me. But it's me who's out of kilter with the world, not the world being odd. 

I have to fight against feelings of envy and bitterness. I KNOW. I shouldn't be saying that. I should be all magnanimous and OK with it all. It tends to remind me of what I don't have instead of what I do have. Which is one of my many issues anyway. Christmas basically is hard. And I'm tired of it. 

So this year, I couldn't quite face a day of emotional numbness in the face of the pressure to have FUN and, instead of wallowing as is my wont, decided to do something different. 

I've never done the whole volunteering on Christmas Day thing. To me, it's something that happens on telly. Or in a film. It reminds me of Claire in Scrooged. I've signed up to the only thing I could find on Craggy Island, which is a Christmas Day lunch hosted by the Salvation Army. I'm obviously terrified of organised religion in all its forms, but if you can't hang with religious people on Christmas Day, when can you? Right? 

So I will be spending Christmas Day with a host of vulnerable people. I'm not sure what that means, but I think the homeless, the lonely, the disparate. A group that I should fit right in with I think. I will be doing whatever is needed, which will most likely be cleaning and a whole hell of washing up. 

And for the first time in, oooh, about 14 years, I'm excited about Christmas Day. 

I might even put the tree up before Christmas Eve this year. Maybe.