It’s Hogmanay, or nos Calan,* or New Year’s Eve if you’re English.
In some previous years I’ve done a big summary round-up of exciting things and powerful memories from the past year. In at least one, I even did a week or so of posts counting down my top five memories of the year. 2021? Nope, I’m not doing that. Not because nothing has happened, not at all, but almost because too much has happened. I moved house twice. I met one of my best friends face-to-face for the first time. I changed jobs. I went for walks on the beach a lot. Most important of all, though, I gained confidence. I gained enough confidence in myself to look at who I really am, what has held me back in the past, and start to sort out some of those things.
So this post, then, is not about looking back, because I’ve spent a lot of time doing that over the past year and I know that I don’t have a time machine. I know I can’t go back to 2003, or 2006, or any other arbitrary point in my life. This post is about looking forward, because in 2022 there are going to be even more changes in my life. Changes that I’m going to take the lead on, be in control of, and that will put me in a position where I can live a happier life.
At some point in the next year I will ramble on about this a lot more, I’m sure, and explain more about where I’ve come from and where I’m going to. For now, to you the reader, this is all unsubstantial mist, I know. It won’t always be. For now, happy new year, blwydden newydd dda, and here’s to a better 2022. I know mine will be better, and I hope yours is too.
* It’s only just occurred to me that the Welsh word “calan”, meaning the first of the month or year, is a direct remnant of the old Roman word kalendae, from which the English word “calendar” is derived.
Last year, of course.
“You’re so ticklish, you giggle when people tickle your aura”
There are probably many more things I meant to remember people saying to me, but the memories have rippled away.
…is a bit of a cheat. Because there isn’t one thing I want to add which would round the year off. There are too many moments which would leave it incomplete. The Cat returning. Someone taking me for a quiet walk in the park, so they could split up with me. Going for a first date with someone else, and watching their last train home pull out of the station because we didn’t realise it was about to leave. Someone trying to kick my car windows in, whilst I was sat inside the car. So many people who have made this year very special—in particular, V-
The Plain People Of The Internet: Hang on, what’s this? You’re writing your Oscar acceptance speech now or something?
There’s no point looking back too much. The best we can hope to do is manage not to repeat too many mistakes over again. I’m going to go out tonight, and enjoy myself, and look to the future…
This is just a short one. A romantic breakfast, in a supermarket in Greenock, squeezed between the railway and the firth. Haar is hanging over the firth,* and the far shore is out of sight. I’m sitting, looking at you, and wondering how many times I’ll be back here.
* except that it isn’t, because – according to East Coast people, at any rate – you only get haar on the East Coast. So any sea-fogs you get hanging over West Coast firths, and towns like Greenock, Rothesay or Wemyss Bay, can’t be proper haar. Any Scots reading feel free to correct me on this.
This one is from back in April. I’m sat in the back of a car, with some people I don’t really know that well, travelling off to somewhere I’ve never been before. I didn’t really know where we were going, either. I mean, I knew what it was – a Social Club – what it was called, and vaguely where it was, but not exactly where. I’ve always been closely attached to maps, and not knowing where I was going made me feel a little disconnected and wary.
I was very nervous, and the other people in the back of the car could tell: knuckles clenched, quietly staring out of the window. We galloped along the motorway, and I tried to enjoy the scenery, trying to overlook my nervousness. It only got worse when I spotted the signs for the exit I guessed we’d be taking: “Netherthong, Wooldale A648″.
I found out later that it was quite a historic room, with all its mouldings and recherché cornicing. Back in the 1910s, when equality for women was all the rage, Sylvia Pankhurst held suffragette meetings there. I didn’t know this at the time, though.
W and P looked each other in the eyes, and kissed, and the congregation burst out into a long, long round of applause, so much so that the registrar was almost bowled away with the emotion. So much so, she started playing the Citizenship Ceremony tape instead of the Wedding Ceremony one, and the room was suddenly filled with the National Anthem.
I did write about W and P’s wedding at the time; but looking back ten months later, this is what sticks in my mind.
Time to do some looking back. Some of these memories will be good, some bad, and none are in any particular order.
We walked onto the dark beach together, me leading, me holding your hand. It was around midnight, nobody was about, and the moonlight was bright on your face.
I led you onto the beach, and looked around to make sure we were alone. I held you tight with your arms behind your back, and felt you start to go fuzzy around the edges. I chained your wrists together behind you, looked into your eyes, and watched your moonlit smile.