Saturday, 22 December 2012
2012 Reflections of the Year- Part 2
See, I promised a happy Part 2!
There was a point where I didn't think I'd be able to look back on any of the early of events of this year and feel good about them. The only thing that seemed good to me at the time was the epic night at Reptile for New Year's Eve. I'm the type who likes to find omens and meanings in the things around me, and I think at the time, I had hoped that the amazing NYE would signify an amazingly happy year. Two months in, I was already wanting to just go hide out on another planet for the remainder of 2012.
But does unhappy really mean...unimportant? Insignificant? Just about all of the bad things that have happened seemed to have had goodness come from them. Hence why the other day, the saying "one door closes and another opens" really has stuck with me. That and the imagery and symbolism of a phoenix, rising from the ashes.
I have not named the tattoo studio where I briefly apprenticed, out of respect to the artists. But I can say that I don't feel distraught thinking about that now. Although for a time, the idea of being a tattoo artist was something I had really latched onto, other opportunities have presented themselves to me, and while that path may well remain open in some form, I am not torn up any longer over what happened. While I still think the shop manager handled the whole thing very poorly, I instead choose to remember the amazing positives that I gained from that time.
For starters, the fact that my portfolio was given such good feedback. Both tattooists liked my work, and the lady tattooist, Caz, actually described me as "lovely", which made me blush. I learned a huge amount about setting and cleaning up work places- already affiliated with the ways of the Dettol (thanks to a mother with OCD ;) ) I don't think I did too badly in keeping everything sterile, and both tattooists seemed pleased with my efforts. I even got to handle some of the machine parts a couple of times, and even poured out ink (without touching the cup!) and little things like that. I absolutely failed at photoshop (and hated it) but I did prepare an extremely elaborate Transformers Optimus Prime stencil for Casper (the same guy who tattooed my uncle) and he was impressed. I later learned that Casper doesn't like to be crowded and the fact that he had insisted I sit right next to him to watch my uncle tattoo was something of a privilege. I don't actually feel any bad feelings towards the artists, and in fact feel really grateful for the time they gave me and the patience they had. I was something of a nervous wreck and convinced I was screwing up constantly, but they were very lovely!
I even bumped into the shop manager at work recently and managed a smile. It was nothing personal, I have to realise that. It wasn't that I had done anything wrong or whatever. It was just poor luck. And I took a lot of knowledge and feedback from the whole thing.
Losing my job may well have been a very good thing. Sometimes I find myself missing some of the good times we had (and despite how unhappy the job had made me, there were some good times) but now I feel like I can look back on my time at Peacocks with some more positivity. I'm still in touch with the people who I enjoyed working with and with the negativity behind me, things are better. At my current job, I have more hours therefore more money. The working environment is far from perfect, but there are more pleasant people in my team than unpleasant, and having the extra money not only means I can put aside my future with my fiance, but also experience a level of social freedoms that I hadn't been able to enjoy before. In the new year, I'm going back to Reptile, and staying over in a hotel- not a big deal for most, but I have honestly never gone to a hotel by myself before, and I'm looking forward to the mini adventure. I have been to London about five times this year, mostly to Camden, but also other parts, and this is something I would have done once-in-a-blue-moon before.
In fact, realising I can look back on the Peacocks years with more fondness than I had expected has made me look back on previously difficult periods and realised I have moved on from those too. My years at college, my ten-year-friendship with someone who went on to totally betray me (what is it with ten-year friendships falling apart eh? lol). I don't feel the same bitterness I did before. This indicates to me that there is hope for the problems I'm dealing with now that are ongoing- my fall out with my former best friend in particular. At this point in time, I am still so angry with her that even though I am convinced I'm doing the right thing, reminders of her make me seethe. I'm hoping this will soon pass, and it seems like it can.
I have been surrounded by a circle of amazing friends this year, who have showed me what real friends are really like. Some are people who I've known for a couple of years and have grown closer and closer to during that time, some I've only met this year. Some I've known for a fair few years and their steady presence in one way or another has shown that even if you don't see them everyday they can still be a part of your life. Some of these friends I mainly only speak to online, a couple I might bump into once in a while. I find myself even more eager to make time for all of them, where possible. I think I'm actually more active than before...I somehow came to believe that texting your mates every week or so asking if they're free for a coffee was pestering or hassling them. They've assured me either by saying outright or just by their actions, that this is not the case. Even more have surprised me by showing just how good friends they are. The support of the redundancy, the cock ups, my mum's illness and also in my successes has made me realise that I have a lot more people I can rely on, and I actually hope that they can feel they can rely on me too, if need be.
A lot of you chatted to me when my mum was ill, left well-wishes and messages of support. A couple of you even kept in contact with me while the paramedic was in our house assessing mum, and while she was in A&E. You have no idea how much this means to me, you know who you are. Thank you x
There's not a lot that really came out of mum's illness that I can say was a positive per say, but I do feel it brought me closer to my folks. I would like to think my folks got to see that I can be a reliable adult. My dad and I, I think, also grew closer this year.
Also forgot to mention, but mum's menopause reversed (skip this paragraph now for womanly medical shit lol). The hormonal treatment was designed to actually kill off her ovaries, as they said Bob the fibroid was basically feeding off them and getting bigger. She was then due to start HRT after the hysterectomy. However, during the surgery, they found the ovaries had totally survived the treatment (to be honest, sounds like it failed, as Bob actually grew bigger during that time) so they left them in. It was something of a relief for her, as she had feared a massive personality change due to the hormonal changes.
I definitely appreciate my parents more, and have been endeavouring to provide them with an awesome Christmas...not sure if I'm suceeding right now, but they seem aware of my efforts and are appreciative of them :)
My anxiety disorder became a slight problem over the summer (for many obvious reasons) but I feel I am starting to take control of it again. I do feel that I becoming somewhat more independant, although I am also around more and more people.
Before moving onto writing, over great experiences of the year have inlcuded *deep breath* going to Camden, interviewing some amazing people for EGL magazine, my first time at a fetish club, spending more time with my friends, and of course, getting my first tattoo! My Black Rabbit of Inle tattoo has so much symbolism and meaning to me, and the more I think about it, perhaps it can even some up this year. It is a rabbit psychopomp, it represents something very dark and scary- but also very necessary. Things must end so new things can begin. I was so scared when I was sitting down to get it done, but I actually kinda enjoyed it, and can't wait for another!
Now onto writing. I really do feel like the move forward into actually getting published has been the best thing about the whole year, apart from all my friends being so amazing and awesome (yes...you! You guys rock! :D). I've been writing for years, always with the dream of getting published, but not really knowing how or when that would occur.
I think things really started in June, when I had decided to enter Fantasy Faction. I totally procastinated until the last minute, and had something like 2 hours to finish the story for the deadline, complete with edits. I was actually going to give up and left a very whiny, self-berating post on Facebook about it. But a combination of supportive comments from friends, and the character refusing to be abandoned, I ploughed on for those 2 hours, edited it as best I could, and submitted it, 3 words away from the limit, 42 seconds before the deadline! It was such a rush, exhilirating, but very intense. I didn't win, but the fact I had completed the work and submitted it on time became a turning point for me.
My good friend Angeline then linked me to several different submissions and before you know it, I was writing my little heart out and submitting this and that. Not everything has been accepted, in fact there are still a couple of pieces of that have not yet recieved any feedback (whether it be a yes or a no), but when my short story "Alone in the Dark" was selected for Siren's Call Publications eZine, I was estatic. It hasn't stopped there. Since then, Crooked Cat Publishing accepted "Candlelight" for their FEAR anthology (that one's in print!) and yesterday Siren's Call Issue 6 went live (for free download) and features "Oiran". I also have another submission that has been accepted, going through beta readers at the moment, and will be in another anthology soon.
I really feel this is the way forward now, but I have to work hard and knuckle down on it. It may not seem like much, but my photo, bio and story are now printed in a physical book, and I will have another one in yet another physical book very soon. And I'm still working on other submissions and waiting on others. But I feel confident that if I focus, I can make some headway on this. For the first time in months I've felt very artistic again as well, and if I'm not writing, then I'm drawing (I've even designed wedding invitations for my aunt and uncle). It may not seem like much, as I said, but you have to start somewhere, and if you'd told me this time last year I would be a published author of even just some short stories by now, I would have just snorted.
I feel like so much is possible right now. I don't even like my job much, but that discomfort also serves to drive me forward, encourages me to be the next JK Rowling or Neil Gaiman. The day I go into a Waterstones and see a book by Laura E Brown on the shelf, I'm just going to dance around like crazy.
In a song by the Birthday Massacre, they say "We'll never see the light till we step into the dark." I guess I've learned that bad things sometimes just have to happen before anything can improve. I do feel that something about me has changed this year. I've gotten so much out of this year.
I have a lot of people to thank. I will try and remember as many of you as possible. (I'm sorry if I forget anyone! Its not a dig!)
Mum and Dad, Harry, Lilith, Angeline, Alana, Kim, Louise, Duane, Flo, Abby, Sophia, Unky Danny and Aunty "Ricky", Brian, Kyle and so many others!
There will be a part 3, more self-publicity type stuff with links and stuff ;) and picture, but its all happy, trust me.
I actually feel like I'm forgetting some other happy stuff. But for now, I move onto my "resolutions".
I don't actually believe in New Year's Resolutions, not really, but as I've come to this point, it seemed only right to think about whats next. Well, obviously, writing and art. I want to get as many stories published as possible, and I also aim to complete my novel that I've been working on for literally YEARS next year. I feel like I can actually do that. I also intend to spend more time with my amazing friends, experience more new, fun things, and one of my regrets of the past year was having to let belly dance take a back seat since September, so I intend to pick it up a bit more from January onwards.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year
(Image is taken from the film, Watership Down- I do not own the bunnies, they belong to Richard Adams. Or rather, Frith ;) . I have that image tattooed on my back now!)