This was going to be a lot more dreary and I wasn't going to publish anything. My life - at least in my mind - has been defined by thinking about the past, living in the past, and trying to recreate the past. I do the latter as a coping mechanism and an attempt at recapturing lost youth. But I digress. I thought about how I often take a pessimistic approach to think about myself and it infuriates me. So I won't do that here. 2017 has been a shit storm; there's no denying that. But for every roadblock, there has been a pathway through and that's a vast improvement on 2016, the Year Formerly Known as the Worst Year of My Life.
Accepting My Mental Health Problems and Getting Help
Being a mathematician at heart, I like to think of things in analytical terms. Using a scale of 0-10, I'd give this year an average of 3 and a variance of 5. There have been peaks but plenty of troughs and it's been hell trying to navigate through them. Anyone who follows me on Twitter will have seen my tweets on mental health and some on my own personal life. Despite this, I find it difficult to write about my life in this form. But here we are. People have often remarked at my cool exterior even in moments where others would feel stress. I never used to notice it but now I make sure to maintain this for my own peace of mind. Unfortunately, all that goes out of the window when I enter a stressful situation where I'm tasked with resolving that turmoil. Over the last few years, I have developed anxiety laced with bouts of depression. I've had difficulty controlling my anger during arguments and stressful situations, resorting to the foulest of comments for which I'm ashamed. But anger isn't to blame. I am the sole culprit. Hitting rock bottom leaves you with two choices: stay there for good or find your way back up. I chose the latter. I self referred back to a counselling service and received CBT for the first time. I'd received mixed reviews on its effectiveness but I knew it was the appropriate action for my problems. I didn't need medications and anything less than CBT (which I got last December) would have been useless. I had a lovely counsellor who listened and gave me the tools I needed and some food for thought: I needed to be more assertive. It's all a work in progress so I'll let you know at the end of 2018 how I've been doing with that.
Learning To Be Comfortable Alone After A Breakup
I started the year with a breakup. It was meant to be The Relationship but it hadn't been right for a long time. I played my part and I'm still haunted by some of my actions. I've reached a comfortable plateau with that after a few torrid months in the middle of the year. But amongst all the mess, I learnt how to be okay on my own. I got my own place (more on that later) and found solace in my own space. I still feel lonely at times but then I remember what certain kinds of company I desired would mean and I came to appreciate the environment I was in. I had time to work on my own projects, make my own meals or order in, go out if/when I wanted to - living my life. It was the first time in my life I'd lived on my own and I wouldn't trade it for anything right now. I don't know what the future holds for my love life. I've often segued into relationships or had long stretches being single but yearning for someone but I've not had that this time. Who knows what 2018 will bring. Again, I'll keep you posted.
Getting My Own Place
I spent the first seven months of the year living with my sister. The change in environment was helpful and I'm so grateful to my sister for that comfort. But I still needed to find my own place. After 6 viewings, I found something 10 minutes from my sister's house and I've loved the place ever since. It's a first floor flat in one of the poshest areas in the city but it's been a dream to live here since I moved. The decor is simple and to my favourite colour scheme: white and grey. It can feel lonely sometimes but it's my home and welcome relief from work. I've laughed to myself more there than I have in years. It's mine.
I'm Certified, Baby!
My job hunt has been a nightmare. I've applied for jobs and been turned down due to lack of experience. So what did I do about it? I gained a Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing from the Digital Marketing Institute. I started the course in July and graduated in October. One of the highlights of 2017 was finding out I'd passed my final exam. I potentially have a job interview lined up for January but we'll have to see how that goes. Alongside that, I also started freelancing and the income came in handy clearing debts and funding my holiday to Lisbon on my birthday (which I'll discuss in the next paragraph). Movements have been slow and steady but with any luck, I'll win the race in 2018.
I Got A Break
Lisbon. What a city. I decided to go after reading about it in a magazine and the week away was the best time I've ever had. I could merge amongst the crowds without feeling like an outsider. The culture and weather were warm and inviting. Nobody bothered me and I could finally "be". Lisbon was a representation of me. I ate what I wanted and when I wanted. I explored the places I wanted to see and I visited the best museums I've ever seen. It was a cultural renaissance and opened my mind to a new world, away from everything I knew. I will endeavour to return next year. That's my new "soul hub".
Could "Pandog Media" Be The Answer?
I've been blogging for years and started Sampleface as a way to discuss hip hop and sampling in music in 2012. A peak was reached in 2013-14 before work and a lack of time saw the momentum slow. I wanted to open up my repertoire and in 2015, I started Cultrface. This year, I started LOG!CFACE (in partnership with friend and colleague Ashton James Brown) and Playrface. But rather than having 4 blogs operating separately, I needed some cohesion. And that's where Pandog Media came from. It's only a name right now but I plan to flesh things out in 2018. Sampleface was created out of frustration of being made redundant from a music label I worked at and all the resulting blogs and Pandog itself have stemmed from similar frustations. The main one now is constant rejections for work. It's often suggested to blog in your free time if you can't get professional experience but that seems to be ignored during interviews. I've also noticed a lack of diversity within the industry. Agencies are predominately white and yet one of the biggest content hubs on the internet is Black Twitter. A place often pillaged for its content, it only emphasises the deep gulf between the true creators and innovators and the lack of corresponding representation. I'm tired of that and I want that to change. I don't know how right now, but I want to find out. If no one wants to take me on board, I'll take them on instead.
So that was my year in review. Will 2018 be better? I can only try but no one knows what the future will bring. But I will continue to take things one day at a time and see how many goals I can achieve along the way.