New Year has always brought with it some kind of weirdly anxious anticipation for me because it seems to hold some kind of promise whether that be in the form of resolutions, bigger challenges, and ambitions- there’s a level of mystery. I was as happy as the next to kick 2020 to the curb because that year was hard on so many levels both personally and on a worldly level too.
2020 was the year my Grandad passed away, the year I graduated from university, the year I moved back home and took on a job that isn’t my dream but that is providing me with genuine experiences. Home has always been uncomfortable at times for me especially growing up in a city and area that I didn’t totally identify with but in spite of the angst, it has always been the people that got me through. We all have those people that we would just drop everything for without any second thought to help out. The friends that you know so well when you’re around them it’s like breathing- you don’t have to think about anything you can truly just ‘be’. It’s a soul to soul connection.
For me, it’s impossible to reflect on this year without thinking more philosophically about my life in general (I think my vape has gone to my head)! Speaking to my friend (socially distanced of course) on the bench that’s situated within this slightly anticlimactic area of grass a stone’s throw away from our houses made me seriously deep all that we have achieved. As two women raised by two strong independent single mother’s I feel like we have been lucky to see the world in a slightly different way.
Our neighbourhood isn’t the most privileged part of Wolverhampton but as kids I felt like we had the world at our fingertips. Riding our bikes up and down our cul-de-sac, it didn’t ever feel like we couldn’t be whoever we wanted to be. In an area where there were stabbings, massive drug problems, and poverty there was also huge ethnic diversity and a strange sense of belonging. This feeling of not belonging or wanting to belong home is something I have wrangled with from a very young age and moving back home after graduating was a really confusing transition for me because it felt like I was going backward instead of forward.
New year brings with it the promise of a year yet to unfold, a year of untold opportunities and experiences. For me this is especially more evident as it’s the year I will be leaving again except this departure is now packaged with a greater acceptance and inner peace with the city I grew in. As the months roll into summer I will be hopefully (Covid permitting) be going to Greece to work in a refugee camp an opportunity that I am apprehensive about but also excited for. My complaints and anguish over home are in no way comparable to the kinds of anxiety and confusion that would be felt in this sort of environment where for some there may be no sense of a secure identity at all.
This December I finally pressed send on a master’s application that will see me living in London, a city I have romanticised since my first visit as a child. Previously, I would have been filled with worry over the prospect of being rejected and to be truthful I still am but more so because it cost £90 to apply! A crazy amount in my opinion- it would be the most expensive rejection I have ever had! Whilst I accept I will be upset if I am unsuccessful, I no longer feel drawn to correlating these kinds of experiences with a reflection of my own worthiness.
Here’s to a new year and hopefully a year with greater certainty. Covid-19 undoubtedly took over 2020 and for so many of us had an impact on mental health, grief, loneliness, diet, education, relationships etc. – the list goes on. On a positive note, the pandemic enabled us to come closer together to help each other during a truly unprecedented time. We learnt a lot about ourselves, others and also the government (I won’t allow myself to rant right now) but I feel with all the time I had at home I learnt a lot about myself. More than just myself though I learnt more about my Mom and though she does do my head in we learnt how to communicate with each other as two adults. When you’re back home it can be so easy to revert back into the role of child and parent but now I’m twenty-two I think she’s realising the importance of letting go of the need to always be the nagging mother (progress!)
I’m proud of myself but we should all be proud of what we overcame or just simply what we managed to get through. We were tested but we all did it.
Let’s see what 2021 brings!