Monthly Archives: January 2016

David Bowie

I wasn’t going to write about David Bowie or his recent death for a couple of reasons. I was too distraught for a while to write anything other than “WHY?!” That’s the main reason.

Another reason is I didn’t feel like contributing to the post mortem. There were two types of writing that came out in the days after Bowie’s death: think pieces and feel pieces. I tried reading some think pieces but they sounded like rung bells in my head.

Many of the nostalgic ‘feel pieces’ I’ve read are wonderful. They all contain kernels of truth for me that reflect my experience and how I’m feeling. I am comforted by the idea that I was not being silly or overemotional when I couldn’t stop feeling about David Bowie and his death. Or at least if I was, I was in good company.

Through David Bowie and others like him, those who choose to – I was going to say ‘live their lives through’ but I don’t mean that – dedicate their careers to the arts, I have learned that where there appears to be no meaning or purpose, those things can be created. A half formed quote about an unexamined life is milling about in my poor brain.

I always assumed David Bowie was immortal. Only now he has gone have I recognised I was not alone in that assumption. He seemed so much healthier and happier as the years went by. The Ziggy years, the frightening Thin White Duke period; you look at him and he is a character but you see that the man is fragile, thin and pale, sometimes barely there, and you wonder how he made it out. I guess I figured if he could get through that, he might actually live forever.

Many of his later interviews, still more than 10 years ago, were filled with happiness and humour – he was so funny – and he spoke of how much he loved aspects of his life, particularly the parts we were not privy to. That makes me happy. His private life was and is none of my business but I like the idea that one can grow into one’s self and I’m glad for him that he found peace or whatever it was that gave him that easy smile.

Now, we are left with his music and his art and his films. There is an illusion of immortality there, too. Anyone who is blessed with the gift of creativity, so long as they do create, can live a little longer. It is some consolation. Not much of one in the end for the individual, I’m sure.

For the people who go on artistic journeys, the art is always there to go back to again and again. Even if, eventually, it is necessarily bookended.


January 1, 2016

I liked 2015. It was a nice, balanced number. I feel indifferent about 2016. It doesn’t look like a particularly auspicious number. Happily, I gave up on any kind of superstitious or magical thinking a long time ago. Looking at it though, I don’t like the number 6. I’ll just have to deal with that as best I can.

2015 was not a good year for me. To be frank, it was really rubbish. I’m struggling to come to grips with the idea that nothing I wanted to achieve at the beginning of last year came to fruition. Failure is tough. It hasn’t been good for my self esteem or sense of self.  2015 was a year of trying new things and those new things just not working out for me at all.

 

Stuff I Tried That I Was Terrible At:

  • Formal social groups
  • Project Management
  • Co-hosting a radio show
  • Volunteering
  • Compassion toward idiots
  • Putting up with idiocy
  • Not judging people as idiots
  • Leaving the house
  • Being more assertive

 

However, there are a couple of things that saved 2015 from being utterly bereft of hope.

 

Stuff I Tried That Worked Out:

  • Making new friends
  • Listening more
  • Moments of spontaneity
  • Being more assertive

 

That ‘being more assertive’ appears on both lists is no mistake. It’s a work in progress. I’m getting used to speaking up, speaking my mind and making sure I get what I need. I’m also reacting a lot more, especially when people say or do inappropriate or offensive things that relate to me having disabilities. It’s trickier than it might seem and I’m trying to figure out how to be assertive without feeling like an arsehole.

‘Stuff I Tried That I Was Terrible At’ taught me a great deal about myself. Mainly that I am very good at sabotaging my own success and I have a weird perversion that makes me gravitate towards things that do not play to my strengths. Also, I need to be pickier about what I involve myself in long term because even the smallest of projects can derail other more worthwhile, satisfying and meaningful plans.

Perhaps the biggest lesson I can take away from last year, if I must, is that when people begin to pull back on what they require from me, or I feel like nobody needs me anymore, and people’s expectations of what I am capable of diminish, I can’t just roll with it.

It can be soul destroying knowing that people don’t expect as much from you as they once did, for whatever reason. I have decided to expect more from myself to combat the feeling. I have to really think about what it is I am capable of and go for it. I have to believe in myself and my own capabilities and decide to do better, not because it might make others think better of me but because it will absolutely make me feel better about myself.

‘Stuff I Tried That Worked Out’ might be a shorter list but I’m pleased with it. In a year that was, on the whole, one of my worst, there have been little rays of light that make me hopeful for 2016. They are all things I can work on and that make me look back and realise 2015 was not a total disaster.

It wasn’t a good year but it is entirely possible I’m a better person for it. That will have to do.