Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Firework (Bring On The Wonder)

Hello all,
The end of the year, to me, has always been a celebration of the previous 12 months. It’s the time I bid a farewell to the events and moments that have shaped my life, consigning them to the memory box in my head. Admittedly, this is a neat idea, which doesn’t really have any true basis in reality; the events we remember most and wish to say goodbye to are the most monumental, the ones we can’t forget even if we tried. There is no way to simply consign them to memory, but I like to try.
   That’s why at the end of every year, I create my best of lists. It’s not simply to act as a list of recommendations of things which I liked and think other people would enjoy. No, it’s far more than that. It’s a way of acknowledging the importance that these pop culture artefacts have had within my life within that year. That’s why I call them my favourite shows. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the best. For example, Grey’s Anatomy was one of my favourite shows this year, but I couldn’t say it was the best show I watched. On the opposite scale of things, True Detective was, objectively, one of the best things I watched this year, it just wasn’t my favourite. It didn’t have anywhere near the same sort of impact on my life.
   Let’s use Grey’s Anatomy as an example. It was a show I started in January because I’d heard it had good music and thought it was alright, but I kept putting the rest of the series aside. That was until July when my boyfriend, Finn, was admitted to hospital. The same week I found myself similarly sick and bedridden. Unable to help by visiting him in hospital and feeling more useless than ever, I didn’t think anything could help. And then, when I was feeling a little better, I saw the second season of Grey’s on my shelf and thought that it might help. I don’t really know why (my working theory is that it’s about doctors and the bae was in hospital) but I put it on and it made me feel better. There was still that lingering sense of uselessness but this show made me feel better because it gave me a reason to get emotional. With its deeply upsetting storylines (Denny Duquette, for example), I finally had a reason to cry. I had a time to allow myself to deal with every emotional thing that happened to me over that and the following months.
   Because in a lot of ways this year hasn’t really been easy. I began more depressed and emotional than I’d ever been before. I doubted and hated everything about myself, from the way I looked to the way I felt and the awkward way I moved. It felt like there would be no respite. Chaos in family life was represented by a chaos in my own mind. Nothing went right, but I every day I kept putting on a straight face. I kept pretending to everyone that knew me that I was okay, that I wasn’t breaking inside. Somehow, I felt that would make me a burden and I’d lose every one I’d fought to become close to. And then finally, without warning, something snapped.
   I let it go. I let the pain free. I let people know that something was wrong, that I was on the precipice of doing something horrible to myself and that I needed people to pull me back, because I was afraid of my own mind. And I know it worried the people who cared for me, but I also know that they would prefer it this way.
   I could never have imagined what happened next. When I was at my lowest point, I got drunk and told the guy I’d had a mild crush on for the past year that I liked him. Looking back on it, it’s not exactly a romantic story, not something to tell the grandkids about without plenty of eye-rolling, but it’s also weirdly fitting. Me, this awkward, broken person who refused to let anyone in, to know the real pain deep inside my soul, was finally able to let go when I was drunk as hell. It’s certainly not a cliché. Multiple Passionate Man Kisses, perfect dates and sexy shenanigans later, I ended up with a boyfriend, who made me happier than a puppy in a pit of tennis balls (never letting it go).
  I’m not going to make this a ‘boyfriend’ post. I’m not going to talk about all the perfect moments we’ve spent together or about how much I love him or how he’s made me a more confident, braver and all-round better person, because you already know that bit. I’m not even going to talk about the hard parts of love, like how he’s there for me and loves me even when my mind goes all kamikaze.
   Other things did happen apart from getting a boyfriend, a lot of other things. Dad got physically sick which caused him to end up in hospital with a mental breakdown brought on by his bipolar (his first major one since I was very young), something which he is still recovering from. I turned 20 and realised that I had no idea what I was doing with my life. I had writerly doubts so severe that I seriously considered dropping out of my Uni course, something which continues to plague me (hence, the lack of blog posts, sort of). And those doubts spread to full-on super-sadness, only alleviated when I was with Finn but made 12 times worse when he wasn’t there, which made me finally realise that I needed serious professional help.
   That last one’s probably been one of the more personally challenging. While I’ve seen a succession of counsellors over the years, each one failed to help me deal with my problems (because that ain’t a counsellor’s job and because I wasn’t mentally ready to do that), because it was far too terrifiying. I had no support system to catch me and remind me that there is more to me than being broken. But then I got a boyfriend and he told me that I was amazing, perfect and he loved me no matter what, and I suddenly had the freedom to confront years of emotional trauma. In a way, that’s what this blog has been, talking about my crazy, crazy mind in a more general sense. But with this support in place, and knowing that I had to do it in order to actually move on with my life, I began facing problems, not hiding them, not bottling them up. I began to confront the one thing I’d never wanted to confront; my diagnosis with Asperger’s. This has been the year I finally started working towards becoming a mentally healthier individual.
   So, while it hasn’t been an easy year by any measure, it has been the best one I’ve ever had. Which is a bit weird, because for most people I know 2014 has sucked. Hell, each member of my family basically wrote the same thing on one another’s Christmas cards (ie; this year has sucked, but I believe next year will be better). But for me, it’s been my most important year.
   Like I said earlier, though, this year can’t be simply folded up and put into my box of memories. There are loose ends, lingering things that are going to continue to become more and more important as next year progresses.
   It’s hard to know what 2015 will be like. It’s my last year of Uni (excluding honours if I get the opportunity to do that) and the one where I have to decide what I’m going to do with my life. That doesn’t mean that my plan won’t change, but I need to have some direction. I’d also like to work on some flaws of mine that have come out since dating Finn (judging people, being bossy as hell, being unorganised in every way, not eating enough), but that might be pushing it a bit.
   I like to think that at the end of 2015, I’ll look back on this post and realise how much I’ve changed. I’ll take a moment to linger on the past before looking forward to the future. That’s what this time of the year means to me.
   So, I’d like to take a moment to extend my personal thanks and gratitude to Feminism for making me see the world in a new light, the two laptops, phone and website that have died in service to me this year, Belle for being an awesome friend, Colin for liking me before it was cool, Simon for being the most interesting person I’ve ever met, Sabrina for being there for me and giving me so many opportunities, this blog for being a place to get my voice heard and everyone who has ever read this blog. Just knowing that there are people who like and are touched by my silly, badly worded, awkward musings on my weird and emotional life makes me so happy.

What the hell’s going on, Jim?
Well, Steve, we’re back by popular demand, that’s what!
But why, Jim?
I think it might be because I sense David G.B. Watson’s heart swelling. I can sense...
What can you sense, Steve?
Well, I could be wrong, but it feels like...
Oh no, it can’t be, Steve.
I’m afraid it is, Jim. David’s post is about to descend into SUPER, SAPPY EMOTIONAL BOYFRIEND TALK!!!!!!!!!!
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Steve, we have to stop this!
Oh, do we really? He’s been so good. He didn’t even mention him heavily throughout the rest of the piece. Can’t we just give him this one indulgence?
No. No boyfriend talk.
Fine, then you can just skip forward a couple of paragraphs. I’ll let you know when to come back. You’re so unromantic, Jim.
You love me.
Shut up, Jim. Now, with him gone, we can descend into the tunnel of love. Oh, don’t worry about Jim. Not everything in this blog has to mean something to everyone, sometimes it’s more important to do something that means everything to just one person...

   So, Finn. I’ve said so many things to you this past year. I’ve told you I loved you and I adored you and that you’re perfect and the most truly amazingly beautiful person I’ve ever known. There’s nothing I can say here that I haven’t already said in the eight months since when we started dating (especially, considering the two short essays on the cards for your birthday and Christmas). I don’t even know what to say. When I used to I look at you, right into your eyes, I had to turn away. The honesty was too much, the beauty and the perfection was just unbearable. Now, I can’t turn away. The mere thought that someone as amazing as you could love me still seems a little odd in (what appears to be) moments of clarity (when they’re actually moments of evil mind) and I still don’t know why. But whatever is you see in me, I am so glad you do, because every time I see the way you look at me, the way you hold me, the way you kiss me, the way you love me, a little piece of my heart starts liking me a little more and loving you a ton more. Some of the most perfect moments I’ve spent with you are the quietest ones, but few of them are as awesome as making out to Slipknot’s ‘Snuff’. It was the most perfect moment I’ve ever had and the happiest I’ve ever been. But in truth, every moment I’m with you is joyous. You’re perfect and I’m crying while writing this cause happy tears. Before you, I cried tears of pain. Now, I cry with tears of true, complete freedom and happiness. You are a miracle and I love you. I love you so, so, so, so much. I can’t wait to see the new year in with you and to spend the rest of the year and beyond with you, my love, my everything. You are the best thing that’s ever been mine.

Do I notice a tear there, Jim?
Not at all. Far too romantic, silly, Steve. Silly.
Yeah, right. Anyway, for all you readers, normal service is now about to resume. Don’t you worry about us. We’ll be back very, very soon. Until then, Jim and I shall be doing unromantic things together.
Will you shut up, Steve?
Make me.

Those two are always interrupting, but they will be coming back, as they said. Next week, they’ll be hosting the second annual NSV (formerly TMT) Awards. Over five days, I’ll be talking about my favourite music, books, television shows and films I experienced in 2014. Next week will also see a couple of special announcements which I’ve been working on for a long time, but more about that soon.
   My plans for this blog moving into 2015 are slightly different than this year. While I aimed to write a blog post every week (which worked for a while), it eventually became impossible with events becoming too personal to talk about in a way that I felt would do justice to them. That’s why in 2015, I’m aiming to instead do at least one blog post a month. If that proves successful, I may write one every fortnight, but that will depend on how busy I am.
   For the moment, however, I shall wish you farewell. I hope you have a safe, happy and amazing 2015 and I hope my blog will be part of that journey.

Love and thank you all,
David Gumball-Watson

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