Saying Goodbye To 2019 and Hello To A Whole New Decade

Posted on 30 min read

final outfit photo of 2019 wearing a Topshop dress and stood in Queen's Arcade Leeds
As I’m deriving my opening paragraph to a condensed reflection in all quarters of the ’10s, I’m on the fifth day of my chronic pain crescendo and have had to put my planned New Year’s Eve publishing of this roundup post behind a day or two or three for my body to catch up and acquiesce respite. Saying that, this is the first time since Christmas Day I’ve been up on my feet – still a melange of cheese and chocolate in the crimbo limbo – but actually, finally, secreting some motivation and not arising from my pit at gone 2 in the afternoon. I could sugarcoat the morass of 2019, create a charade of growth and wisdom; but truth be told, the scrag ends of this closing chapter being an equal train-wreck to the opening is an official certification of how 2019 was The Most Trying Year Of My Life.

I turned twenty six this year and what I didn’t realise is that being closer to 30 than you are 20 will bring a myriad of oscillating feelings in all sentient life forms. Fall short fear. Loneliness. Over-stimulation. Dejection. Taking off but with only one wing lifted off the ground. Feeling overwhelmingly incongruous to the expected norm, with a buffeting emptiness inside that modernity only exasperates. See, still finding your feet in a world going backwards, in a malfunctioning body and a mind which excludes security from every storybook narrative, is testing. It’s tough. And I think 2019 has been the year the perturbed tendrils wobbling and  bubbling under the surface have detonated exponentially.

I have never felt more out of touch and at war with myself than I have in 2019; ostracised from both the quintessence of who I am and those around me who supersede my sadness to self-assurance. Every waking day has felt like climbing up a buttered ladder wearing lead shoes with a ten ton boulder on my back. I’ve destroyed myself with reckless abandon, allowed my overgeneralising in my wanton head to submerge rationality; stress and exhaustion and nonchalance and enervating emotion leaking out in rivulets. The short-circuiting of my actions has been like walking on a constant knife’s edge. As though I’m lost in a minefield without knowing it’s deactivated and I’m the one in charge of cutting off supply. My sanity and stability has been gradually melting; like the remnants of candle wax burning and seeping into nothing, and that’s left me here – belied by a mental burnout, an extra extinguisher beside my fragmented cinders as a precautionary measure for the dampening of the fire still lit at the base of my hollow lungs; thinking back to the beginning, the wishful goals and the mantras I swore I’d adapt and instead dealing with the decimation.

I could’ve easily given this post a miss, added it to the scrap heap of sabotage. My entire temperament at the moment is in the perfunctory vernacular of I just cannot be arsed and what’s the point of welcoming in and being speculative of another unremitting 12 months but when we’re about to enter a new era of the 20’s, it just seemed erroneous to let this opportunity to recall and reflect to the origins of the most memorable circuition of teen to prime adult bypass so carelessly.

For me, It’s near impossible to remember all the valuable life lessons, the positives and the pitfall experiences I’ve assimilated over ten years (I mean come on I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast from one day to the next!). It’s a lengthy rigmarole where my cogs don’t rotate at full speed because the ebb and flow has been structured over time, blocking out the traumas (including the terrible eyebrows); and the truth is, it’s still piloting. But it’s also incorrigible. What’s done has lead the path; fused the past with the present. All I know is I’m not the girl I once was – completely resigned, shrivelled, cocooned, naive, feckless and directionless, the one who’d just lost her dad and failed her exams and about to have her permanence blown apart intractably – and I just need to find myself again. Be affiliated with the strength of character I’ve managed to build on my own from a fragmented puzzle, disallowing the failures to roost.

In the next ten years our lives are bound to advance in someway or another, just like they did the last time and the time before that. I mean, by 2030 I’d like to be a world famous author settled blithely in my private French courtyard with a husband on tap and the faces of happy offspring clouding my view. A little optimistic and too much of a fantasy, I know. But it doesn’t have to plummet panic because life happens naturally and if ever there was a chance to step forward, take charge and control, it’s now. Be the deity of my existence and create another clean slate of happiness; a fresh mindset to abolish defeat – because what I do know is that fixating on your state of mind with crippling thoughts that are never permanent is noxious.

I hate the humanly constructed, traditional ‘New Year, New Me’ motto which is repeated every single year. Not just because if I take note, I end up stationing silly trivial goals that either have a feeble chance of being achieved or just don’t matter in the thick of things – thus setting myself up for fail and kicking off a new year downhearted and crestfallen – but because setting up objectives and ambitions for the glummest month of the year just screams restrictive resolution to me; like if you flunked in the first semester then you’ve failed completely. That’s not the case. It won’t happen instantaneously and you don’t have to give in to a marketing strategy that says it does. You’re not Cinderella and life isn’t a fairy-tale. Nothing is going to magically overturn at the strike of midnight. Time is a strict progression of cause to effect. You don’t need the first date in the diary to implement change. Instead, apply the notion round-the-clock like a relentless record spinning, and coil and congeal with the principles of hedonism. The calendar you’ve choreographed is a continuous cycle and without steamrolling, your journey is crystalline.

I always feel like a philosopher in the making when constructing my recaps but it is easy to slip into that mentality of losing the bigger picture which you’ve painted with steel. Mulling the worst makes you more susceptible to forgetting the best. In my case, focusing on what has precluded development and determent has lulled the warm spark and if it wasn’t for me writing from the realms, then I’d completely dismiss my accomplishments and the preoccupying moments which were able to mute the resonant noise going on within.

So, without being all maudlin, let me briefly leave the lowlights and take you through the highlights of 2019. A year gone in the blink of an eye. A year of personal and political mayhem, soaring highs and paralysing lows. And the year I feel could have really opened up a turning point.

January – March

  • Kicked off a new year executing some new Instagram projects to expedite my efforts. One of those being a 365 day of motivational quotes concept…which only lasted 283 days but we won’t emphasise on that. At least I made it more than halfway.
  • Had a trip to Sheffield with my best friend and fellow The 1975 devotee, Beth. Got drunk on Sourz shots before we were set to leave the hotel. Misjudged the lift and its journey down to the wrong floor. Giggled – a lot. Almost decked a lad for sitting in our seats but then realised we’d actually set foot in the wrong block of the arena. Giggled – hard. Then quelled the mood as they came on stage. Holding hands during Robbers and cuddling after I Always Wanna Die will be a soft memory imprinted forever.
  • Booked my first family holiday in three years to a country high up on my bucket-list of places to visit.
  • Enjoyed a Valentine’s dinner with Mum.
  • Began to really commit myself to Instagram and reaped the results.
  • Met my brother’s girlfriend for the first time after a night out with the girls. Just one of many unwise decisions from yours truly.
  • Took my friend Jade to try out some gifted burgers.
  • Then less than a week later took another two of my besties (and Jade) to another gifted three course and ate and drank until our bellies were excessively content.
  • Remembered my Dad as we marked 10 years without him and celebrated his life with a family meal and a girly afternoon tea.
  • Attended a George Michael tribute night and had to ferry the duty of chaperone for my overly intoxicated Mum and Auntie.
  • Went to the theatre to see Full Monty with a very hungover Mum.
  • Ended the month with another meal out for Mother’s Day with confirmation that food plays the starring role in my day to day activity.

April – June

  • Started a new work from home job as a social media evaluator. Get me!
  • Filmed my first IGTV video with some slapstick outtakes.
  • Had a pub lunch date with Grandma.
  • Had another  birthday meal out which turned into a massive family gathering and the only time everyone’s been together all year.
  • Exclusively experienced Dolby cinema at the brand spanking Odeon Luxe and felt very boujee.
  • Spent some more quality time with my platonic sister at one of our bi-monthly sleepover and pamper nights.
  • Lapped up the beautiful bank holiday weather with some walks in the park, barbecues and house parties.
  • Worked tirelessly all on my tod to revamp my blog completely and fall into a uniform branding!
  • Finally reached my 2k goal on Instagram! Abysmal to some but mega to me. I think of it as 2000 people in a room listening to what I have to say.
  • Encountered the weirdest night of my life at two blog events. One was a sane and relaxed lash and nail makeover, the other was downing cocktails and striking up a friendship with the Emmerdale cast and getting all the insider goss.
  • Saw Full Monty again with my gal Vic on another evening out to Sheffield.
  • Was proposed two amazing sponsored opportunities in the same week. Working on a NHS campaign and taking a train ride to York to promote an entrancing exhibition from a world renowned photographer. I’ve never felt so conversant with my creative streak than during these ads.
  • Checked into my first and only Once Upon A Smile charity football game. Hoping there’ll be more dates on the agenda this year – and that the weather is better!
  • Saw Olly Murs in concert which never gets less entertaining.
  • Entered dangerous territory of Spoons day drinking to mark number one of three June baby birthdays.
  • Relived my childhood at Westlife’s comeback gig and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever felt heady euphoria as dramatic as when those lights went out.
  • Reunited with all my girls and surprised Vic for her 21st which was super cute.
  • Stepped out for stroke for the second time and raised almost another £500!
  • Vlogged the whole weekend.
  • Received a birthday breakfast and complimentary makeup from NARS to start off my celebratory weekend – followed by a family meal at a swanky Italian, a car singalong and a night out with my friends.
  • Flew to Malta for a 10 day holiday which was just an absolute dream come true both for myself and my Instagram feed. Beautiful island, beautiful way to round off June!!

July – September

  • More blog events, more inspiration from like-minded go-getters.
  • Another girls’ holiday to our beloved Gran Canaria featuring many 4am finishes, friendship destroying games of UNO, minor tiffs which turned into gut-spilling heart to hearts and a bloody great tan, I don’t think I’ve ever been the same since.
  • Travelled up to my second home of Manchester for Beth’s surprise 21st party which was such a lovely night.
  • Dabbled into the daily activity of a personal stylist at the John Lewis & Partners Style Studio event. I even got to raid the shop floor and curate an outfit!
  • Popped into town to see and support the Leeds Pride Parade. It’s always a sprightly occasion.
  • Also got treated to Pride themed cocktails at The Ivy and took Jade along with me!
  • Unleashed my inner disco goddess at the 70s outdoor gig. The most fun I had in ages!
  • Laughed my way through a second bi-monthly Beth-athon as she came to stay for the weekend again.
  • Took a road trip to Knaresborough with my Mum and Grandma to make most of the warm weather. Ended up getting stuck in a rowing boat and gathered a quizzical audience. A real ignominious highlight.
  • Trundled down the M62 once again to meet up with everyone for a red hot day of Manchester Pride shenanigans.
  • Wound up being crucified by my own tooth. Wisdom tooth-gate – gone but never forgotten.
  • Was invited to a USA themed blogger night and consequently had a truly entertaining knees-up.
  • Was also invited to a Smartworks Leeds convention to toast their Leeds launch. Never have I felt so empowered and important. I stepped foot in Burberry. Flipping Burberry!
  • Booked to see Sam Fender in March as well as another round of The 1975 in February. My longest yeah boy ever!

October – December

  • Celebrated Christmas early with a three course feast at the Cosy Club – on the house!
  • Featured on a podcast. Little old subordinate me recognised for my health advocacy! How cray. Probably the most off-kilter and nervous I’ve felt drawling my life but I’m glad I pushed myself and persisted with the doubt.
  • Checked out the fascinating installations and projections which Light Night Leeds brought. It’s always the heart and soul of my wonderful city!
  • Devoured more complimentary cocktails at The Ivy to commemorate Light Night.
  • Back to Manchester for a chilled out, takeaway and drinking games night with my girls.
  • Helped with the living room overhaul which made me even more eager to possess my own home. We’re still not done, either. A gallery wall and new furniture is on the horizon for January!
  • Dragged my brother to a local autumnal wonderland for a shoot which in turn fabricated some of my best and most well received content.
  • Braved a solo gig to see Rex Orange County and apart from being a granny amongst an ovoid of teens – loved every second.
  • Said goodbye to my ride or die soap couple and was subsequently locked in with grief for a good few weeks.
  • Kept up the tradition and went along to the collectors Dolls House Fair as an all girl afternoon with my Mum, Gran and cousin.
  • Booked tickets for Dermot Kennedy but didn’t actually manage to get there due to unforeseen friend circumstances. Just another reminder that having the gumption to put the needs of your loved ones before your own desires is first and foremost.
  • Spent the night in the pissing down rain with Mum at the Christmas light switch on. Had a boogie even whilst saturated!
  • Had the pleasure of a winter coffee date with my OG friend Han. Cute and cosy and full of chatter!
  • Discovered I’m a pretty alright baker as I embarked on a challenge to provide a bake sale for the five thousand.
  • Dressed up for my wedding guest status as a plus one and savoured the company of both my Mum’s top work pals and the gorgeous rock-rustic aesthetic!
  • Hosted my own fundraising event for the Stroke Association. Raised another £500+ but come to the realisation I do not have the vocation for event management.
  • Saw Lewis Capaldi live in Manchester just before his voice gave up. Blessed. Moved. Grateful.
  • Organised a cinema date with Mum to see Last Christmas and blubbered like a baby.
  • Spent the day murdering karaoke songs and exchanging Secret Santa pressies with my best mates on our last joint birthday/festive gathering of the year.
  • Visited a piece of history in Bradford in a Hi Vis and helmet. A construction site about to be transformed into a live music venue. Such an interesting day – and ended with the most delightful afternoon tea at an adorable tearoom,
  • Became 80 years old for the day at the best Frank Sinatra tribute in town.
  • Staunchly took part in a Christmas campaign and social media video for the Stroke Association.
  • Got my face painted by Kat Von D and fell in love with a killer smoky eye.
  • Also got my face painted in soft glam by Charlotte Tilbury.
  • And again by an insanely talented artist who made me feel like a million dollars for the Once Upon A Smile Great Gatsby ball. Felt worldly but by 3pm it was more like wildly. I have never been such a pissed up mess and I blame our repugnant government entirely.
  • Was handed a last minute sponsored opportunity where I gained savvy understanding about money with Natwest and which uncannily and officially cemented the fact 2019 was my highest earning digital content year.
  • Enjoyed a chilled out Christmas ready to wave goodbye to 2019 with my middle finger.
  • Completed my 1 Second Everyday project with pride and joy!

In spite of my faltering devolution, it has been a tinny ride. Having the 2019 break down surmounting my breakdown helps to conjure a different perception and I think we can all benefit from the preening. Saying that, there’s room for improvement. For filling in the conspicuous gaps, clambering towards progression and ministering a reminder that it doesn’t just come to you. If I want to make 2020 a chastened trail blaze then I have to catalyse the ideas and the purpose set in stone.

So, fasten your seat belt once again, it’s time to travel through the tunnel of how I want to innocuously instrument a reconstruction of the last decade.

final outfit photo of 2019 wearing a Topshop dress and stood in Queen's Arcade Leeds
Carry on communication

Over the last couple of years I’ve tersely got to grips with tentative talk. I’ve found out the shrewd of authenticity is what brings in an audience and self-assurance but I’ve also found that doing it for yourself is just a titbit in a divided line of conversation. I’ve unspooled my insides coarsely in 2019; divvied up and prompted conversation but I still don’t think the realness has reached its peak. I can do more and I want to do more. As a minority I have the authority and the responsibility. As our generation barrels forwards it’s becoming less about the trivial subjects and more of the fighting, controversial and issue-led matters and I want to slot my oeuvres-from-the-heart devoutly into predominant matters. Come right out and say it with barefaced sincerity, show and share the ugly parts as they occur, keep using my voice and speaking up for what I believe in.

Up my blog game

It’s how I initially launched into this age of hyper-connectivity and it’s how I intend on staying. It’s always been my main outlet and it’s all mine. Nobody’s going to come along and shut the service down unexpectedly and it’s not a shared platform I’m privy to. We’ve come a long way since the world of blogging was a separate and free costing domain trumping your own self hosted site, When it was less career based and more just for fun. When standing in your room and snapping a photo of your outfit was cool. Now, there’s a mansion-sized room of potential. The rise of social media influencers will no doubt soar in this new decade and the evolving switch from blogs to Instagram will prevail but I aim to reverse that. I want to get back to embracing what I enjoyed the most when I started out. Writing raw and on my own accord. Sharing the bells and whistles. Connecting with and supporting a community and hopefully along the way somewhat having an impact on others.

I briefly talked about this on the Creatives In Focus podcast but immersing myself into a project is so cathartic and it doesn’t only bring a feeling of do-gooding knowing it is reverberating off people but it also helps me connect with myself in every sense. In a way, it’s the only time I don’t feel trapped by my illness which physiologically links into me using my story as a foundation for opening new gateways – because without overcoming hurdles and battling through breaking points I wouldn’t be able to utilise my own wavering experience for the sake of society. None of what I do now would have occurred without that uppercut to my ordinary world and I wouldn’t be the mindful, educated, understanding individual I am right now – moving out of 2019 and into a sphere of new beginnings, raring to go.

Welcome change and individuality

If I want to adopt the boss babe image, I have to play by the boss babe rules. Being receptive to the aperture of meandering avenues is bound to elicit culminating change and it’s my own natural aptitude which will allow me stick to that vision. I have to slip back into the customary place of accepting what can’t be changed and looking inward for guidance and validation instead of reassurance from outside sources which aren’t going to monopolise my growth. My aim for this year is to compose with self care and self-challenge! 2019 shone a breakthrough realisation that checking in with myself and coarsening the comfort of my own company is imperative for my preservation and that needs to be the thing in lieu of my reliance on others. When I green light getting back on that stringent independence track in January I don’t just mean stop eating like a pig and shifting the Christmas podge!

Exert a no tolerance rule

The above ties in to this mapped out must. I spent a trifling amount of 2019 percolating excessive and unnecessary energy into people who don’t reciprocate the same and I’m sick of bending over backwards and wasting valuable efforts on those who don’t deserve them. I want to be more selfish, concentrate on, and and be out for myself in 2020; leave what isn’t right for me, refuse to force energy where it isn’t matched, tear hell for leather from the plethora of space in my life saved for unsupportive and toxic one-sided relationships and grant those who do matter priority access to shoehorn their way in. I also want to deposit some of that wasted attentiveness and hand it over to yours truly because it’s better on my shelf of possession than pride of place on those who disregard my feelings, validity and the position I play in their lives. And I want to be honest with it, explaining how that behaviour makes me feel and why I’m getting rid. If they don’t respond in kind, they’re gone.

A hard pill I’ve had to swallow in 2019 is that many people are out for themselves for all the wrong reasons and that extirpating the deliberate ignorance is compulsory to protract your dignity. It’s not healthy or okay to hold on to an unrepentant someone who constantly disappoints and feigns concern for you, who doesn’t salute your winnings and requite your happiness, who wouldn’t flinch if they lost you, who shamelessly shows they’re bored of you and continually and purposefully treats you like you don’t matter nor even exist. As the old cliche goes – stop wondering if you’re good enough for other people and start wondering if they’re good enough for you. I need to take note of that as well as dishing out the guru-like advice!

Say yes and no

Amongst cutting ties with those who no longer nurture my life, I want to learn to say no in general. I have a habit of being too complaisant; people pleasing for the sake of being pleasant. Anxiety creeps up convincing me anything other than of course will have folk firing an askance of disapproval in my direction. It won’t. I’m allowed to reject that offer that won’t significantly bolster my growth. I can count myself out of a group manifesto. If it’s incongruous with my interests then I’m under no obligation to telegraph resounding enthusiasm.

With learning to say no comes ricocheting a yes into existence. My aim for this year is to pursue impulsivity when the coveting match strikes. If it’s possible physically and financially and it’s something I keenly want to pencil in to permanence opposed to paper-thin dreams then I’m going to reach out and grab it by the horns instead of just vacillating possibilities. Saying yes also intricately links with the assiduity of pressing ahead and pushing myself. Being too afraid to begin and too meek to seek is an area of default I’ve gradually conquered in 2019 but I want to keep ripping off that plaster.

Stop striving for conventional perfection

I noticed a derivative pattern in 2019 and that’s me believing I had to synchronise with the march of modern society, It’s micro-chipped into my every move to be on par with pigeonholed popularity, to follow the lead of the notorious gang and believing my betterment is boxed up with theirs.

Sometimes it just hits me how stupidly far I take it trying to one up on myself – like dragging a leaden bag of outfits around with me on a city break that’s supposed to be about provisional retirement and living in the moment, and not just copious posing and photo taking, or spending an hour tautly wracking my brain to form the perfect Instagram caption which turns into an extract of my life. It’s a frontal assault on my originality; fitting in with the cyber-cultural crowd and jumping on the bandwagon. And nobody will blink an eye, either. No-one will care about my reveries or notice my absence if I don’t commit to the latest trend. So, this year I want to implement imperfection. Emerge as an exile. Compromise without compromising myself. Not be the best at everything but being absolutely okay with that and loving my creations all the same.

Work on my hyper sensitivity

The biggest and most inscrutable ongoing issue of mine is being oversensitive. It’s the destructive lightning bolt of the miscalculated hypothesis storm assailing in my neurodivergent head and it’s like wrestling with the devil on a regular basis. I wish I didn’t notice every small switch in someone’s interfaceable dismissive tone or frequency in conversation or wonted attitude towards me and then take it to heart because it A. Most likely only exists in my probing imagination shortcoming with the decode of figuring anyone out and B. Starts to be the fierce antagonist personally affecting my mental health and thwarting my closeness to those I don’t want to lose.

I want to hone in on control of this crippling paranoia. Disarm my scrutinising overthinking and the insecurities woven in the web of dread this hour by hour unscheduled appearance of bitterness and sadness and queasiness brings; because it’s exhausting. Be Less Bothered is my motto for 2020. There’s nothing more freeing than when something I’ve been hung up on becomes an insubstantial matter and it feels like the walls I’ve cemented are cleaved until vanished; but what will be even more freeing is forbearing the structure in the first place.

Believe in myself

Rough housing with the arch nemesis they call my self-consciousness is something I don’t think will ever be dissolved completely. I was 13 years old when I sought counselling for the destruction trail my contemptible self-examining left behind; twice that to present day and any confidence is still overwritten with sheltered shame. Overcoming self doubt with a practically mute sense of assurance has corroded my inner image until emptied out and stamped on. My eyes aren’t trained to see the good. I don’t think I’m particularly talented at anything; criticising proven accounts I am, discrediting the deputies that say otherwise. Without a doubt, the most demanding task I face is convincing the ghost of hatred bolted to my psyche and focusing only on the negatives, that I am worthy. It’s taken years for me to love myself and I’m not even halfway there yet.

Being comfortable with my appearance has its wanky off days, It has improved a shedload, I can now leave the house and showcase my makeup-less face without the panic bile gathering at the back of my throat and I’ve become well poised with appreciating the snags I see in the mirror – but now it’s about tackling the internal rather than the external; reining in the invalidity, the splintering feeling of having nothing to offer. Its about curbing the jealousy and the harsh comparisons roving wild with simmering resentment. And it’s about being proud of myself for making waves, owning my accomplishments, accepting compliments, praising my strengths, spotlighting successes instead of failings, procuring the surety of my mechanism until tears turn to lashings of liquid gold. 2020 is the year of self-love. I can do it!

Proactive over procrastinate

I’m one of those dreadful dawdlers. The pesky procrastinator who prates about desperately wanting something to happen and then growing fed up and frustrated when it doesn’t simply teleport to my living room.  I’m incredibly guilty of settling down with a forkful of fervor to finish a task, purposely distracting myself and then wondering why said thing didn’t happen. At fault for putting things off and then getting into a tizzy last minute. Channelling some ground rules and being the broker in for a penny is required for me to break this bad habit and become a more discerning judge of character with an incentive. It’s no good me planting new soil into existence if I’m not going to let the seeds sow.

Sort my sleeping pattern

I swear I say this every year, an ever-worsening hypocrite of my telltales. But it’s about time I got my butt into gear in 2020. I really have to tune in to the wind down of my diurnal activity and lay the foundations of sleep hygiene practice because my productivity and my mood is intrinsically linked and are suffering for it. I’m not going to promise anything pronto as I know it’s going to take a few rehearsals until its polished. My body clock automatically runs on nocturnal hours and I operate better at night; it’s involuntarily and it’s taken me a while to  become accustomed to the fact I’m not one of those who can spring out of bed at 6am with my wholesome oats and morning jog – and double the dose of brain stabilising meds doesn’t help matters – but I do need to headwind some balance. Working from home means I slack on routine so I’m going to engineer one by training my body to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. My night owl inspiration and rigorous work ethic may transpire at 2am but sleepwalking my way into the day isn’t going to suffice.

Think about therapy

2019 saw my mental health tumbling in my ever-expanding chronicle of tragedy. It was the menace of my general anxiety and depressive disorder diagnosis coming back to haunt me, a scintilla of depersonalisation making an unwarranted return, swathes of heightened disinterest in just about everything nosing up to the dock on my island of gloom and doom. It was so easy for me to just dismiss this as a subdued period of being down in the dumps with varying fluctuations but it took a hard slap for me to perceive what was palpably existing before the very vacant eyes of me. It’s often difficult and frightening to allow the word depression to seep into your frontal field and not just the labyrinth in the distance telling you it can’t be that but I did it and I want to step up on my soapbox, compartmentalise the asymmetric sides and file the wry edges, and ask for help when I feel I dependently need it as a contribution to my happiness.

The protocol for functioning mental health problems does put me off. I saw a specialist psychiatrist back in 2018, opened up, snotty cried into a tissue or ten, and then was told – the girl with agonising phone anxiety – I need to contact call a separate team to arrange a follow up appointment. I don’t think the NHS immediately send you through to referred support anymore in circumstances like mine, the waiting lists are sizeable enough and I can’t afford private care, so this isn’t me pledging to utilise therapy as my only coping tool but it’s to consider acknowledging that suppression is not the answer and maybe I should unchain myself from bottling up my emotions, burrowed behind the pillar of an escape hatch.

It’s not just about hoping for fewer darker moments, either. It’s wanting to wake up in the morning. Having the uninhabited ability to pick myself up and move on fast. Snapping out of disconnect and uncurling the claws on my shoulder. Bringing colour into my vision and not just the curation of clothes I wear. I’m tired of feeling like life is just a survival game and it’s so awfully tough to continuously feel tired when all you want is to feel alive.

Contemplate a side biz

On a lighter note, expanding the accrescent of my itch for hustling in a solitary state has had me toying with the idea of starting my own micro photography business with small local clients who require the odd job like a birthday shindig or a christening convocation. 2019 was the year of ideas and 2020 is the year of acting on ambition. I’m all self taught but there’s nothing I enjoy more than capturing the kernel of a spectacle situation and using my keen eye for detail to awaken someone else’s would be utterly rewarding.

Of course, I’m dubious of whether I would cope and manage with the workload. Questioning if I’m even good enough to compete with trade. Worrying about whether it would take off properly and work out for me as a debilitating chronic pain sufferer. Like what would I do if I couldn’t move from my bed or even hold a camera in both hands when I had a shoot booked, you know? But I’m going into this year with the attitude of you’ll never know unless you try!

Declutter my digital intake

I have over 4000 photos hoarded in my camera roll and over 1000 unread emails screaming at me in notification form. I spend an average 4 hours a day on Instagram. I endlessly scroll just for the sake of picking up my phone and I actually find myself in a dither by how effetely reliant I am on touching base with the on-screen age. My intention for this year is to gradually channel some phone downtime in my routine, leading on to phone free days. To limit my consumption and switch off for a while and to facilitate that with a clean up and clear out of my pictures, my apps, my messages, my following list and my email subscriptions so when my screen is unlocked again then I can appreciate what I see and make it finite. And developing a converge between sensible social media absorption and spending time in the real world may also aid productivity, so it’s a win win really.

Listen to my body

I became estranged with my body in 2019. Not just the mind part, but the physical wellness of what I’m made of. I’d say from my girls’ holiday onward I ignored the warning signs to slow down and paid for it. Sometimes I have to remind myself I’m disabled with limited capabilities and I can’t always shadow the labour and liveliness of normal, able bodied people. And when I say sometimes I mean all times from now on – because if I can be in tune with my durability then I can charter my well-being elsewhere.

Focusing on my mind, body and soul and nourishing as a holy trinity is priority for this year. Paying attention to what my gut feeling is telling me, understanding those intuitions and instructions, and taking action. More walking. More water. More awareness.

And then the little things:

start a novel

If you haven’t noticed already, I love to write. 6000 words plus in this blog post so that means there’s already a few pages written, right?! My dream has always been to devise a published book; whether that be self-told or fictional. The divots scattered and jotted around my head and my iPhone notes section will be pieced together this year, mark my word. Everyone has got to start somewhere.

increase interactivity

At the beginning of 2019 I really sharpened up my Instagram strategies but then I let it slip and fall between my aching fingers. Truthfully, it was all to boost my brand and I reckon it drifted because the interactions were forced and sequentially false. This year it’s all about learning new skills to amplify my content and posting what my creativity desires but also using my outlet as a soliciting community space with others in mind and utilising my creative prowess to big up those who follow my moves. One proposal is to create my own hashtag – something quirky and unique but inclusive too. But most of all I want to modulate the overall improvement on my one-to-one online conversations. Catch up with messages instead of leaving them to fester in my inbox for weeks, be efficient with replying to DMs, comments tweets and emails in due course, stay on track, and just show some kindness randomly; leave an uplifting comment on a photo, respond to questions asked, endorse and engage in people’s work, get involved with their chit-chat – because I know just how much it can make someone’s day that little bit brighter.

get a tattoo

Every instinctive motion in my subconscious is praising the lord for the evaporation of my earlier misinformed judgement of what would make an appealing piece of art permanently inked into my skin. There were some real wacky, cringe imaginations when I reached legal age and I’m delightfully glad I held off a fair few years into logical adulthood. I do want to finally take the plunge though and I have my heart set on something special.

shoot film

I’ve been super inspired by the nifty cool instagrammers purchasing a cheap film camera and snapping away at every given opportunity. It takes me back to the 90s and early 00s and I reckon it’d be a quality way to nostalgically record the year.

expand music taste

I thought I’d strategically prepared my streaming sequence for my Spotify Wrapped verdict this year but it turns out I’m not as hip as I like to think and as a matter of fact I just listen to The 1975 throughout all four seasons. This year, instead of purposely ingratiating the idea of being a Big Daddy, I want to explore the index of music availability off my own back. Gussy up the genres. Once again, swaying from the moral code of universality. I’m already on a mission to ferret out of the edginess and press repeat.

shop more ethically

I was browsing the Zara sales after Christmas and after sparse success, took a minute to reflect and think: an alternate of every basic mass-produced garment compressed onto these rails could most likely be found at a charity or vintage shop if I shopped around. Then I thought, right that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Stop buying stuff pointlessly, shop secondhand, stop instigating faculative fast fashion and prove being stylish isn’t mutually exclusive with buying new and current.

manifest

I’ve fallen into the public pit of curiosity that’s kindled amongst the blogosphere in 2019: manifestation. The scope of spirituality is still an enigma that leaves many discombobulated but it’s a topic I’ve grown to be intrigued by. I understand why it’s sceptically censured but it’s an innocuous route, a fissure between philosophy and reality which leaves room to be plumbed in the centre of cosmic experimentation.  I think, unbeknown to my conscious thinking, I’ve always casually dallied into the law of attraction and putting my thoughts into physicality; like making a wish at 11:11, visualising my goals, even thinking of something or nothing and it appearing like telepathic fate. To be quite honest, I cannot wait to delve further into testing the universe, to asking and receiving and then furtively fist pumping my turnout – it’s giving me the tingles.

be charitable

Raising over £1000 for a cause close to home is up there with my top fulfilment of the year and I want to stick to my guns going into 2020 (I’ve signed up for the Resolution Run so that’s one box ticked 4 days in) but as well as giving back, I also want to volunteer to lend a help in hand to the less fortunate, be the change I want to manifest into the world. I’ve always had compassion instilled in my nature but since selfish ignorance flaring flagrantly from everyday people really came to light during the election it made me want to do more to protect vulnerable people who need humanitarian help; with ensured impartiality to make their lives better. Whether that be donating to food banks and refuges, or offering my service to a homeless shelter and offering a smile a chat and a hot drink to those on the streets, or both!

travel within my home county

I’ve lived in Yorkshire all my life yet I don’t think I’ve ever quite cherished its panoramic beauty to the fullest extent and there’s so many hidden hamlets I’m yet to visit. I spend too much time rooted in the city so this year I’ve vowed to venture into the countryside either by train or road trip, soak up the scenic paraphernalia that frames the picture-postcard canvas, and maybe even create a licensed guide along the way.

That’s it! You made it. Hallelujah.

I have one last foot note and that’s to remember a new year can be whatever you want it to be; the ambiguity is in your hands and you can either play your ace and use new tomorrows as a blank sheet to excel or restore your native timeline. The old you was great and whoever you choose to be post 2019 will also be great because sometimes a complete system overhaul isn’t needed.

It’s a tough time of year – the twilight zone where everyone’s releasing their highlight reels and reaching for the stars because regular procedure hasn’t properly begun yet – but it’s okay to feel like an anomaly. It’s okay if your only achievement this year was the bare minimum; getting out of bed, making it through and staying alive. Everything is relative and nothing is too small. If what you want is to maintain the same level of serenity then that’s enough.

I want to be the one going into this year celebrating every triumph because if what you’ve managed are just small steps to recovery then that makes it a huge win. Speaking from experience – your courage is all you need. You may have thought 2019 was a year you couldn’t survive and make it through but you’re here, you did it. You carried yourself through even when each day that passed felt unpredictably impossible.

I certainly won’t be sad to see the back of 2019. I’m looking forward to putting the year behind me, working my way out of this funk, finding my groove and falling back in love with life. And I’m certainly going to take advantage of participating in sweet FA on the last weekend before oblivion expires and normality resumes – but not before I remind myself typing out 7277 words when it felt like my hand was being lacerated by the devil is bloody wonderful.

Peace out!