2021 - My Year and More

I've been quite busy this year. I started an online literary and creative arts magazine with my pals from my masters course - which you can find here. This was far from a simple thing as none of us had ever met in person and did the whole thing via WhatsApp and Video Conferencing. (More on that here). We have created three beautiful issues and are currently in the construction phase of our fourth. They remain free to download should anyone fancy a read as they relax over the holidays. We also produced a Anthology of new writing from the magazine which you can buy here. 

For the first half of the year I struggled to write very much at all, but as time went on my block slowly dissipated and I finally got some writing done. I have managed to write a novel and it's sequel in the last few months. Which I'm currently editing. 

 Next year will be all about getting an agent and getting someone to actually publish them. If that fails (It's a hugely competitive market) I'll self publish, which is a tough thing to do as all the PR and Marketing is down to the author and this is not one of my best skills.

My eldest daughter - she would rather this than a more recent pic.

 I also saw my eldest daughter leave home to go to university, that was a very odd experience. For the first week I felt a physical tug, like she was still attached via the umbilical cord. As she settled and I could see she was happier and making friends that feeling left me. Now I'm just happy she is enjoying both the course and the social life. It felt like she missed out on so many rites of passage because of Covid whilst she was at sixth form. She spent her eighteen birthday at home with us. So now, she can actually have a life (omicron withstanding).

The shadow of the Covid pandemic has been hanging over me and my family, particularly before vaccines, boosters etc and still does, no parties again for me this year.  Being one of the 'clinically extremely vulnerable' (a phrase I have grown to hate) has made life tricky and by the beginning of 2021 like the rest of us, I was over it. I felt trapped, I didn't go out and however busy I was, trying to use my time constructively, it had started to be mentally be more challenging than I would like. 

I did Pilates to clear my head, which helped but wasn't the answer. I missed, miss, not feeling anxious every time I spoke to anyone who wasn't in my bubble. I hated every person who didn't wear a mask (still do), I hated that when I did/do go out, people still insisted on standing too close to me in queues, just because I look 'healthy' doesn't mean I am. I slowly stopped going for walks or doing anything that involved leaving the house and even now, don't go out if I can avoid it.

As someone who has suffered from mental health issues on and off for most of my adult life the pandemic as not been my friend. I made my peace with having Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML), I got on with my life determined not to have CML define me. Covid-19 has made that impossible for me and to all the people like me with blood cancers, with auto-immune issues. It has added and additional factor, it has made us 'vulnerable'. I can't pretend I'm not ill and that makes me angry. Beyond angry. Furious. 

That's a lot to deal with. Especially, when you also in the midst of your menopause. But, with my family and friends I remain here. I have managed not to end up back on Prozac. Writing helps, I also keep a diary which lets me vent my darkest and worst feelings, I would recommend it to anyone struggling. Putting your feelings on paper really does help. Just don't let anyone read it as they will be horrified at just how dark you can go. 

This year has been a real mixed bag of highs and lows. But I am conscious that we are always moving forward, time is short and we should enjoy life, be happy as much as we can and try to find the joy in things.

So, Happy New Year - It can only get better (surely?).

I would love to hear how your year as gone, please comment and share. 




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