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Sliding Headfirst Into 2017 After a Bad Month.

Lately I’ve been following my inner queen and it turns out she makes terrible decisions, so I think I’m going to abdicate the throne. I’ve decided that 2017 is going to be my year; I’m going to find that illusive needle in the shite-mare haystack that is life. I am going to be better; I am going to win. Or, at least, I am going to try.

I lack the requisite words to describe the relief I’m currently feeling that the festive period and New Year are both over. I’m not a massive fan of Christmas; I mean, I like seeing people happy and smiling and getting gifts, but I feel as though you can be kind and loving any day of the year, so why blow gargantuan amounts of cash in one crazed shopping spree? Just seems a bit ridiculous.  As for New Year, well, it’s the most fake social event of the year. A long cultural tradition of raging insincerity, that’s how I’d describe it. Everyone shaking hands, hugging; delivering ‘heart-felt’ messages to each other. Proclaiming they really hope someone has a ‘great 2017.’ Whenever I am approached at the start of a new year by someone, who then proceeds to give me a hug and wishes me well, I have to fight the urge to physically recoil. I know all this happiness and well-wishing should be warming and comforting, but really it just feels more like a hostage situation. That’s all over now though, so I can focus on bettering myself and setting myself up for the following year of hurdles, aspiration and whatever else comes along.

When I wondered into 2016 I was determined that I was going to change large aspects of my life. 2015 saw the birth of new personality traits; aspects that would allow me to take risks I’d never have done before. These traits gave me opportunities and I knew that during 2016 I had to capitalise on them. At the start of the year I was very much in a different place. During 2015 my mind resembled the attic of a crack-head hoarder with toddlers; it was a tapestry that had been clawed at by angry kittens. During 2015 I went into therapy (again) to try and resolve the unresolved, find a way to let the anger I’d felt for the last three years go and hopefully move on. 2016 was the blank canvas on which I could rebuild. At the start of this year I suffered a meltdown down, brought on by the recurrence of obsessively negative thoughts, dreams of suicide and a sickening feeling that I was somehow trapped. I decide that I wanted to switch medications. I’d been living on the same ones for years and it had gotten to the point that every day I either felt like a zombie, or felt like I didn’t belong on this planet. I visited the doctor and I explained my situation; I told him my needs and what I’d like to be like, how I’d like to feel. Two weeks later an almost apocalyptic plague of emotions reaped havoc with my life. For me to start a new medication, I had to be completely weaned off my old ones. My paranoia at the time was, looking back, both ridiculous and hilarious, but living through it at the time wasn’t so funny, because as ridiculous as it now seems it was then my reality.  Eventually though it quickly became apparent that switching medication was indeed the right thing to do. I could write again,  I was able o feel feelings again – not the watered-down, flavourless kind I’d been sucking on years prior. This impacted every aspect of my life: Work, personal, fashion-choices, my love life…these suddenly changed and it was like I was learning to feel again, because I hadn’t felt anything properly in so long. Due to this I learned a lot during 2016; both about myself and other people.

Some of the smaller gems of knowledge I’ve dug up during the year include beauty tips: I’ve learned what products stop my skin looking like an oil-field. I’ve learned what to ask for when getting my hair cut, so I can get it the way I want it – affording me the massive relief of not having to google a picture and say ‘this please’ to my barber, who always looks at me with bewilderment before doing something completely different with my hair. I’ve learned that eyebrow maintenance is akin to godliness. Groom your fucking eyebrows, but don’t fight the shape too much. At the start of the year I only had one eyebrow, but now I take great pride in photographing these twins. I’ve learned that you can’t tell someone how to be a good person; it has to come naturally – and that more-often-than-not people aren’t inherently good or interested in your life or happiness unless they want something. I learned this through a few failed romances that occurred during 2016. A year which saw me embody all the emotional finesse and responsibility of a hormonal 13-year-old girl (only on occasion though cause most of the time the guys were in the wrong.)

I’d describe my romantic endeavours of 2016 as a poorly curated museum of bad choices. I fell for three different guys over the course of the year, none of which worked out (obviously.) I don’t know why it never works out? I mean, it always starts well then they suddenly lose interest when they realise I’m actually a nice guy and that I’d probably make them happy. I don’t know why I attract the type of guy I do, because it never works. Perhaps they all thought they were being deep by getting with someone that has a squint? I don’t know. The only thing I know for sure is that the feeling I got with each one of them was synonymous with the feeling I get when I reach for that fifth slice of pizza. I don’t need it, it’s excessive, not good for me, but by God do I want it. I learned a lot through the romantic mishaps of 2016, but perhaps the most important lesson I’ve carried over into 2017 is that certain words are all too easily associated with, and unfairly thrown at, people – particularly the word ‘slut.’ So often, we fight with our words and don’t fully consider the impact of them. I’ve used the word slut in the past, quite often, but it wasn’t until I was branded one myself that I truly understood the impact and hurt it can inflict upon someone. People are so quick to use the word flippantly; but don’t realise the real power it can have. I’ve learned that most people label someone a slut if they have sex with a handful of people; a slut is anybody that has sex with numerous partners, right? Wrong. We swing this word around because we are insecure or envious. I’ve been called a slut because I’ve had sex with someone that somebody else I know wanted to have sex with – and that’s not fair. How is having consensual sex with someone justification for calling someone a slut or to just judge someone? To me the word slut is only used when someone wants to slide someone down a peg, and themselves up one. Those are the type of people I am leaving behind in 2016.

Another word I’ve been called is ‘crazy.’ Oh, I am sorry! I didn’t realise that it was crazy to express my feelings, my opinions or call someone out. I have an anxiety disorder, I’m prone to frequent and haphazard panic attacks. I have also a brain that, on occasion, severely dislikes me. I’ve acted out ‘crazy’ behaviour sure. I’ve been the ‘crazy’ one that called a guy again to find out why he suddenly stopped talking to me or why he suddenly, after getting what he wanted, grew cold. Is trying to be visible and noticed by someone you’re into crazy? Is wanting an explanation for someone’s deplorable behaviour crazy? Is getting upset that you’ve been lead on, spoon-fed lies and blamed for something that wasn’t in any way, shape or form your fault crazy? Is being torn up that I was used for sex crazy?  No, it is not. How easy it is to stigmatise someone with a mental health disorder, or someone that is simply expressive. I’ve learned that people can be so dismissive toward me whenever I am telling the truth, loudly. Oversharing tends cause the weak-minded masses to scatter quicker than they disposed of their morals. Other words I’ve heard used nonchalantly whilst describing me are: Rude. Bitchy. Whore. Ugly. Unstable. People only use these words when they have an agenda. Whether that was a vendetta against me or the fact they can’t handle how honest I am about things, I don’t know. All I know is that every time I heard or read those words in the same sentence as my name I took it as a cheap shot; a way for someone to frame me, to put me in a box, just so they could feel better about themselves. Topher is ugly. Topher has a squint. Topher is a bitch. Topher has slept with loads of people. (Side note: I really worry about the way information circulates in the gay community.) You’re only pointing out these cardinal sins so you can feel some sort of victory. When really, you’re just resentful because I embody traits and aspects that you’re uncomfortable, perhaps even envious, of. Here’s a word for you: Coward. Anyone that partakes in finger-pointing is, in my opinion, an asshole. I hope you enjoy trying to gain an audience at the expense of someone else.

During the closing months of 2016 I dreamed of a new life in 2017. One which I make it as a writer, that I get a book deal and enough to cash to finally get a mortgage or to relieve the crippling burden of financial despair. I dream of escaping the shark-teeth of retail employment and no-longer living the cliché of being a starving artist (starving creatively more than psychically.) I’m hoping I’ll finally be able to shake off this depression, which even right now is whispering into my ear how fugly and worthless I am. Do you know what it’s like to wake up every single day and really, really hate yourself? I do. I can’t recall one single period during the vast span of 2016 that my first thought in the morning wasn’t one of negativity or self-loathing.  I’d spend the first hour or so doing something that would help kick that feeling in the balls. I’d exercise, I’d write, I’d eat healthy and I’d finally reach the point where I felt I could leave the flat without wanting to hurl myself toward in-coming traffic. Then someone else would come along and sucker-punch my already fragile mood into a thousand little bitty pieces. I’ve learned during 2016 that people will not be held accountable for their actions. They would much rather ram their head into the sand like a demented ostrich that’s trying to avoid the gaze of his ex-wife. People will do and say things that hurt you but not always too hurt you.

The main lesson I’ve ran into 2017 clutching is don’t let the actions of others poison your day or your mood. Don’t react to their bull-shit behaviour, don’t entertain that toxicity for anything longer than the moment it happens in. After that toss that mother-fucker to the side. DEFLECT; Because man, the stuff that sticks with you, sticks with you. So, make sure it’s only the good stuff.

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