The Things We Leave Behind

Now this is not the end; it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
— Sir Winston Churchill

I hesitated in terms of writing anything today. After all, it's New Year's Day; there will be a thousand thousand pieces out there about the year that was, and the year to come. Who will care what I have to say?

  • Then, at about one o'clock this morning, as I sat down to put fingers to keyboard (and plonky fingers they are at the moment, with five of them in a cast), I had a reality check. I remembered it didn't matter if two, ten, twenty, or twenty thousand people read my thoughts. I write because I love writing, and because if I don't put words onto a page on a fairly regular basis, whether that page be physical or virtual, I will end up gibbering in a corner somewhere, telling stories to the walls. 

So I do not say this lightly when I admit in late 2015, my personal and professional confidence bit the big one, and I lost the ability to write with any passion, coherence, or confidence. Let's face it, I had trouble writing 'the cat sat on the mat' with any kind of authority, even if I could actually see Osky the Spy in front of me, and he was lowering his chubby little haunches onto a rug as I watched. 

This - the loss of what I have always taken for granted as mine for life - the ability to string a sentence together and make it sound at least reasonable - was the equivalent of The Bonfire of the Insanities. More than anything else, it summed up what The Man Who Vaguely Resembles David Tennant referred to in his masterful way on social media as 'an absolute bastard of a year'. 

Because let's face it, kids. 2015 sucked. It sucked big, fat, hairy spiders. It was a year of hate, of sadness, of horror, and of general down and out big fat hairy spidery suckiness. If you had a reverse Olympics of sucky years, I reckon 2015 would be down in the anti-Gold medal position with 1888, when Frau Klara and Herr Alois decided to get on the Riesling one night in downtown Braunau am Inn, Austria, things got a bit zündend under the Federbett, and the result was the unspeakable horror that was Adolf Hitler. 

I don't say this because I personally had a crap year. I mean, I did, but in the scheme of things, so what? I was not in a relationship where I was in fear of my life, unlike so many women - and yes, men as well - of all ages, races, and socio-economic groupings. I was not bashed or emotionally battered by my partner. I was not living in a war zone. I did not experience prejudice because of my religious persuasion. I was not a victim of terror. I did not lose someone I loved as a result of an act of war, of domestic violence, or of terror. 

I did not have to leave my country as a refugee of war and terror and hope for asylum somewhere new. I was not raped, or persecuted, or seen as less than I am because of my gender.

This was the 2015 of the planet. Sure, we had light relief from the peanut gallery - stand up, Donald Trump - and I truly hope, some sanity within the Australian government. Canada has shown the world that government can involve good governance and gender equity without being complete fatheads about it, and apart from the shame that is us, finally nations started saying 'just let people who want to get married, GET married, OK?'

So. 2015. Big hairy spiders of suckiness. But the calendar has ticked over, the fireworks have exploded on the Harbour Bridge, and the world has a fresh page called 2016 to start typing on. 

I just hope we remember that there's only so many times you can press 'delete' before what you are writing stops making sense, and the story becomes the same as before; a tear-soaked, hot, angry mess of confusion and hatred, with no beginning, no middle -

- and a truly bitter ending.

Happy 2016. I hope it brings you joy, generosity, love, laughter, freedom, fun, good shoes, even better books, and great rugby. 

Without a sucky, hairy, or otherwise writing-stealing spider in sight.