So, 2018 huh?

It’s gone so fast yet feels like it has lasted a thousand years.  Not sure how that’s at all possible, but i’m not wrong. I mean, Black Panther was THIS YEAR. Yup, that’s how fucked up time has been in this, the year of 20gayteen.

It’s been a strange year for me personally.  No, not strange, that’s the wrong word. It’s been….weird? Emotional? A rollercoaster?  I dunno which word fits it best but it’s been a fucking rough year, i know that much.

Back in February, we got our 2 months notice on the house i’d been sharing for nearly 5 years. That was scary because even though the house needed some serious work doing, it had been my home for a long time. I was pretty happy there.  I knew that i didn’t want to house share again, but i knew that living alone was going to be tough for me financially. I could barely make it to the end of the month as it was, how the fuck was I going to manage when my rent went up by £500 a month and the bills were no longer going to be split 3 ways?  Let me tell you, it’s been REALLY tough. And by really tough, i mean almost impossible. In the 10 months that i’ve had my own place, i would say that i’ve run out of money half way through the month 8 of those 10 months. I’ve had to take a seriously long hard look at my money and make some drastic changes.  The first step was admitting that i couldn’t manage and filed for an IVA. It was the only way out of the hole i was in, a hole that was getting deeper by the week. I no longer had the spare cash i used to when i was house sharing. Any money that wasn’t being spent on rent and bills went on food and petrol. I had nothing left.  Still don’t really, but at least i’m no longer living in fear of bailiffs. I know that my IVA affects my credit rating for the next 5 years at least, but it’s a risk I had to take in order to get my money under control. I’ve also had to learn how to budget and live on cash rather than using my card for everything. It’s so fucking easy to spend money when pretty much everywhere takes contactless payments.

It’s super hard living on a tight budget and there are days when i really hate myself for not taking care of things years ago.  I’m nearly 40, i shouldn’t have to be living on a budget of £30 a week, relying on my mother to pay the deposit on my rented flat, or having to turn to her for money when i’m in a bind because i don’t have any savings to speak of.  I am beyond grateful, but it fucking sucks and makes me feel about an inch tall. I hate it. And before anyone says it, it’s not just a case of getting a better paid job. The more money i get paid, the more I’ll have to pay per month on my IVA, so i’ll be no better off at all.  Besides, i really enjoy my job so i don’t want to leave.

I’ve also had 2 cancer scares this year, which has put my life into somewhat of a perspective.  It’s weird because you think it would have made me want to experience more, to see more and to want more.  What has actually happened is that i know feel stuck, trapped almost. I don’t know which path to take or which direction to point my life in. I feel like i’m in limbo. I don’t know my purpose anymore.  I do know that I want to be…more than I am, i just don’t know where to start. It sounds horrendously morbid to say, but having prepared myself for the worst news, I realise that i hadn’t prepared myself for the best news.  Of course, i hoped for the best news, but life isn’t a fairy tale so i was 100% prepared for the worst. And now i don’t know what to do with myself. It’s an extremely odd feeling indeed. I’m going to write a piece about my hopes and goals for 2019, so i won’t go into it here, but I will say that i hope go on some sort of ‘voyage of self discovery’ in order to find my purpose.  Or at least get a vague idea of what path i should be taking in life. And with my 40th year looming, i’d best get on that quick-smart before my clock starts to tick down.

2018 has also been a strange year for my mental health. I feel like i’ve been riding that very fine line between a total mental breakdown and being sort of OK. It’s odd.  I think that a lot of it is tied up in my chronic illnesses and my weight. I’ve completely failed to get my weight under control and thus my conditions suffer. My COPD has got worse because i’m carrying so much more weight, and my arthritis pain levels have pretty much tripled.  On top of that, the doctors can’t seem to decide if i have thyroid issues or not. I started off the year really well by started to exercise and eating so much better. By the end of January 2018 i had managed to shed almost 6 kgs of weight, and I was so proud of myself. Finding the energy to exercise of 30 minutes at the end of an 8 hour working day when you have chronic fatigue is a herculean task.  But I did it and it was working. Then i came down with a truly horrid cold and then a chest infection and there’s no way I could carry on the exercise until that had cleared. By the time I was fit enough to get back on it. The habit had been broken and it was just easier to beach myself on the sofa and eat pizza. And that theme has carried on through the whole year. I start in January as a size 20 and i’m finishing it as a size 22.  I’m disgusted with myself.

I would like to point out that the disgust I have for my current weight is not all tied up in wanted to be skinny because society says I should be. It’s mainly because i know my weight affects my chest, my joints and my fatigue.  The bigger and heavier i am, the more pain i’m in and the more tired I get. You’d think that knowing that losing weight will make my pain better, my breathing easier would be all the motivation i need to get the fuck on it, wouldn’t you?  And that’s where my depression comes in. I have ZERO motivation to do anything about it because apparently i would rather sit in bed marathoning Judge Judy and stuffing a 4th donut into my fat gob. I used to be so happy in my own skin. I fucking OWNED being a size 16/18. I felt sexy and confident.  Now i just feel gross. It’s something that i absolutely have to change and the place to start is going to be my confidence. It’s all well and good losing weight, but if I don’t like the skin i’m in, what’s the point? I remember spending 2015 building myself up and I was really happy. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I actually liked being me. I was happy, confident and sexy.  I miss that person.

I’m not even going to go into the state of the world and it’s politics.  I think that we can all agree it’s been fucking dreadful and hopeless.

2018 hasn’t been all shit though.  The fact that i’ve managed to make it through all 12 months alive and without killing anyone is a fucking miracle. For that fact alone, i’m giving myself a pat on the back.  I’ve also managed to be 1 year and 4 months smoke free, something I never thought would ever happen. I owe it all to the metal in my right wrist and my COPD. Not the most conventional way to give up smoking but it worked. I do still miss it, especially after a big meal, but i’m so proud that i’ve made it past the 1 year mark.

I’ve read more booking this year than i have in the last 5. I’ve fallen in love with reading again and it’s reignited my thirst for knowledge.  In 2019 i intend to self educate on a number of issues.

I’ve been writing again, finally.  I had a crack at NaNoWriMo for the first time in 4 years and I made it halfway. It’s difficult to get into the flow when you have chronic fatigue as most days when i get home from work, i just want to do nothing.  But i think that 25,000 words is still fucking good going. And I managed to get some more of my book written. I’ve also gone back to writing fan fiction, which is something that I never thought would ever happen. I blame a long forgotten 90’s rom-com called Simply Irresistible.

2018 has also FINALLY brought closure on a wound that was still festering. Mt toxic ex, an abuser and gaslighter of many people, not just me, has finally been seen for the piece of shit that they are. It took one incredibly brave soul to speak out, and many followed, finally.  A few home truths were told, drama happened, but it’s out there. And it’s done. I can finally close the chapter of my life knowing that not only was I not the only one, and that others who suffered the same, if not worse treatment, have finally found their voice and their strength.  It makes the fact that barely anyone listened to me or cared 4 years ago when I spoke out a whole lot more bearable. I had been gaslit so badly that I had started to question my own sanity. But no, he’s a cunt and now everyone finally sees him for what he is and i’m glad.

I think the biggest achievement for me in 2018 is that i FINALLY live alone. After 2 decades of either house sharing or cohabiting, I now have my own little rented flat, just me and the Moose.  I’m so much happier. No-one else to share a bathroom with, or a kitchen. No-one else up at all hours of the night, no-one else’s TV keeping me awake. No-one else’s shit splatter to clean of the back of the toilet.  It’s only my pubes in my bathroom, my shit splatter (i have IBS ok, don’t judge). I can piss with the door open, walk around naked whenever I want, and no-one steals my milk. It’s fucking bliss. And Moose is so much happier too. It’s like having a different cat.  She actually comes and sits with me in the living room of an evening to watch TV. Unheard of in all the 16 years i’ve had her.

To sum up then, 2018 has been a total shitter of a year with some rare glimmers of hope.  A shit sandwich of a year if you will. It’s been mostly horrible, but the good things have made it all the more bearable.  I have some hope and goals for 2019 (that’s a separate piece i have yet to write), somethings that may hopefully undo some of the mess that has been 2018.  I hope that anyone reading this has had a better 2018 than I but if not, have hope, dear heart.