At approximately 12:03am on 1st January 2021, there was a period of about 45 seconds where I felt hopeful. Rum was largely responsible for that, but I truly did let myself believe that this year I would once again feel the arms of my friends around me, or experience the riotous communion of violently throwing myself around a mosh pit. Needless to say that hasn’t happened, for a whole plethora of reasons, about half of which were entirely out of my control. I’m by far not the only one, so I won’t test our fraught and traumatised attention spans by listing them all here.
2021 for me and thousands of others was largely about fighting fires, grieving, and trying to purge ourselves of the memory of watching Matt Hancock’s hands slithering over the arse of Gina Coladangelo like a squirrel that just found a coconut.
Normally on New Years Eve, particularly after a difficult year like this, I have been one of those people who has set myself a list of goals fairly stereotypical to those of the rest of the population. Drink less, lose weight, actually finish a piece of writing. Maybe add a vague and entirely unimaginative target of changing every single aspect of my life and personality. New Year, New Me, huns.
But not today. Toxic positivity, frankly, can get in the bin. The inspirational quotes and affirmations littering social media have only ever made me feel more like a square peg in this world. Growing up, it told me I needed to forgive in order to grow and repair, when the reality was that allowing myself to be rightfully and authentically angry was what finally kept me safe. The most healing and most beautiful moments I have had this year have involved starkly real conversations and moments of vulnerability with friends and strangers about what we’ve all been going through. Sometimes those words have been solemn and quiet, sometimes they’ve been hiccupped out through sobs while swaying erratically with a glass of wine, and other times they’ve been howled with hysterical laughter at the absurdity of everything. Often all of those things have happened in the same zoom call.
I don’t know what this year will hold. I expect that, much like this one, I’ll see more horrors as well as wild and unexpected joy. Personal growth is important for sure, but most of us try to do that as a work in progress rather than cram it into the gloomiest month of the year, only to feel we’ve let ourselves down when we don’t quite hit our targets. Or still feeling empty even when we do. I know how I want to feel and I know the people and situations that make me feel like that. Resolutions will only distract me from the real work I need to do for myself and my community.