A Very Alternative Blogmas #4

I had fully intended to write 23 blog posts. FULLY. It just never happened, for a variety of reasons. Finishing up college for term took it out of me more than I thought it would, and I’ve been catching up on sleep and generally relaxing as best as I could. This particular post is about gratitude.

 

It’s been a crappy year all round for most people, but especially crap for me. There was a lot of sickness in the family, I worked especially hard through really tough, heartbreaking schema therapy to get through stuff that had been an issue since I was a little kid, Grandad died, I quit a job…. and going back to college was the hardest thing I’ve done since going to hospital last year. That’s just the personal stuff in the shitstorm of external horror that has been this year. There’s plenty to be grateful for among it all though, and I thought a Blogmas talking about the good stuff would be a nice way of saying good riddance to the year that is just about to feck off forever:

 

Friends. 

I’ve made an amazing set of friends this year. Bookclub, the Big Smoke gang, Mutual Appreciation Society, college friends – so many wonderful people that I was privileged to meet. I’ve always struggled to find a place I fit into for years, and this year I was brought into a literary world of people who’ve thought like me and been like me and just felt the missing puzzle piece click into place instantly. I am grateful for existing friends for sticking around and being with me through the bad stuff as well as the good. I’m grateful for friends I don’t see too often who are always up for a chat.

Himself. 

There’s only so much I can say about Himself without sounding like a soppy git, but I’m ever grateful for his patience, care and understanding. And for his ability to remember to feed me regularly.

Family. 

Extended on both sides. I’m grateful for the chances this year has given me, no matter the circumstances.

Steve. 

I have had him for less than 24 hours and I love him dearly. Who knew that a 2 month old corn snake could bring so much joy into a house?

My resilience. 

I’ve never before thought of myself as particularly brave or strong. Never. I was always weak. Never good enough. These past 12 months have shown me that I’m stronger than I’d ever imagined. I have yet to encounter anything big enough or ugly enough to floor me completely. I have been sad and shaken and devastated but never, ever floored and it makes me think I’m winning the battle against my own mind that I’ve been fighting for the longest time.

My abilities. 

Say what you want – I am a writer. I have been a writer since I was a child and I am a writer now and I will continue to be a writer until I die. It has become more apparent this year than ever that this is where the curve is taking me. It is not talent, as my friend Eilís says, but craft. Writing is not something that happens overnight. It is not something you were born with – it is something you work at. And work at. And work at. You redraft and redraft under the direction of people who know what they’re talking about, and you redraft again. Somedays it will flow and other days you stare at the blinking cursor until you hate yourself, but on those days you just read what has been written before and remember that what you wrote age 10 and age 15 grew into something else age 21 and age 22 and will continue to grow and develop until your hands are devoid of dexterity and you’re dictating the words instead – it never stops, unless you do.

 

I’m sure there’s plenty more to be grateful for this year. I’m grateful that I could go back to college, for starters. Grateful for the new friends I’ve made. Grateful for having a bed in my house and being always welcome to stay with Himself. Grateful that I can travel to other countries and attend gigs and that I can always bounce back after setbacks. I’m mostly happy I’m still alive. My demons might be invisible and imaginary to some, but they’re incredibly, impossibly real to me. They’re always there, in the back of my mind. But every so often, they go quiet.

 

What about you? What are you grateful for now that this year is finally almost over?

 

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