With 2016 all said and done I can honestly say that it was not my year. To be completely honest, 2014 and 2015 were not my best by a long shot either, but 2016 seemed to be a particularly painful kick in the tits as I had higher hopes for the year where I graduated from university and decided to follow my dreams and move away from my hometown. The disappointment that I feel with 2016 has transferred to a shameful disappointment in myself that I cant let go of, and this feeling has, unfortunately carried over to 2017.
2016 started with me working too hard just as I had been doing for the past three years. I was trying to complete a English literature directed study, work full time at the cinema, and also work a heavy part time and my note taking job for the university disability services. I enjoyed all of these things, but in terms of the note taking and working at the cinema, I feel that anything done in such large amounts becomes tiring and you lose perspective, I know I did. As for my directed study, I was stuck with a supervisor who did not give a shit about the directed study, or about me. This was a major issue which caused me to become angry as I did care a whole bunch about the content of my directed study, after all this was the topic that I had chosen at the end of my whole degree to focus on, this topic wasn’t just bullshit to me, it was everything.
I was burning out so fast that I didn’t see it coming.
At the start of 2016 I was living with my girlfriend (now ex-girlfriend) and as much as we have always loved each other a lot, it has never been a good love, it’s a destructive one. So living with her meant that everyday some kind of emotionally challenging situation was taking place. In the end I moved out one day when she was at work feeling completely unable to handle a second more. I am somewhat proud of my decision to give up in that situation though because I usually push and push things, I have trouble letting go.
So I finished my directed study and decided I would move to Auckland, a move that I had always wanted to do. For me, Auckland always had this magical feeling and whenever I had visited the city I felt as though I might be able to become my true self. Originally I was going to start my masters in English, but my directed study had taken my confidence, and with it, my passion for my subject. Instead I decided that the fastest route out of academia would be a year long teaching masters. So I headed to Auckland to live in student accomodation without even being accepted into the teaching program, hoping like hell that I would be, but only as a route of escape rather than passion. This was my first mistake.
First and foremost, before I go darker than an insomniacs under eye circles, my flatmates in Auckland made my life one thousand times better every single day. I lived with two New Zealanders’ who were a couple called Katie and Liam. As much as these two were unusual, I’ve never liked “usual” people anyway. Liam and I had the same sense of humour and he made me laugh and relish in the warm feeling of a kindred spirit. Katie was amazing, she was out of this world, like literally, sometimes she was completely removed from it. She had her own very unique life force, which included her own business selling succulents out of various funky jars and even out of toy dinosaurs with their backs carved out and then spray painted silver. Katie was a positive force always.
My other two flat mates were international students: one from Sweden and one from the United States. Ebba was from Sweden and we hit it off instantly, she was so confident and clever and was the first person in ages that I actually felt younger than. I could really talk to her about things right from the start and she was invaluable to talk to when I was feeling bad about my body, she was powerfully feminist. Kevin, had he stayed in New Zealand, I would like to think would be my best friend for life. We did not hit it off instantly because he was too shy and I’m not good with shy people, they bring out my inner shyness and then literally no bonding takes place. Once we got over that though we were so close, we had a lot in common, and I love him a lot. There is less I can say about Kevin. I just love him and even if I never see him again I will never forget him.
I have separate essays for every flatmate, but for the purpose of this one I will say that these four people are the only things that make me not regret moving to Auckland.
I showed up to my first day of my Masters of Teaching course and it was nothing like I expected. Embarrassment. That was the overriding feeling of my first day. We had to dance as ice breakers, and that’s just not how it works for me. The ice already has to be broken in order for me to dance in front of people. A lot of other weird things happened in the first day which just added to how overwhelming the whole situation of being in a new city and knowing no one and nothing was. By the end of the day I could not even hold it together enough to make it off campus before ending up in a toilet cubicle crying in a deep, guttural, life will never get better kind of way. I think I should have known then that it wasn’t for me.
But I carried on like I always do, I have never been able to justify dropping a university paper, let alone a university course. This was the longest four months of my life, everyday went by as slowly as the next and each day I became less enthused and more tired. My bulimia came back in full force and consumed my whole life so much by the end that I could not think or leave my room. This became one of the biggest reasons why I chose to leave the program for a year and move back to Hamilton. I thought that I would get a job, join a gym, eat healthy and become the best version of myself. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find a job and so the rest of these best-version-of-myself dreams have become almost impossible. I find myself questioning at the end of all this: Where does my true self reside if not in Auckland or Hamilton?
So 2016 was not the best by any stretch but if I was to look at the positives they would be that I learned that living my life at such a fast pace is not actually necessary, that it’s okay to slow down. I also realised that it is okay to take time out just for you even if my taking time out seems to have backfired to the point of me living ten meters away at all times from my mother. I’m sure this part will improve itself if I ever get a job. In 2016 I also admitted for the first time that my eating disorder was taking over and that I didn’t want to live like that anymore. The best thing was meeting all my new friends in Auckland, they kept me sane and positive and I am forever indebted to them for that piece of magic.
Looking forward to 2017, these are my resolutions (transcribed from my journal):
- Radical self-love = radical self-justice
- Write unapologetically
- Say “yes”
These are so simple, but simple is all I can do right now.
p.s I’m sorry this is written to badly, as yet, I can’t seem to articulate logically the year that was 2016