1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?:
Got registered blind. Used a white cane. Got interviewed for Woman's Hour! Saw pictures of Pluto that are more than four pixels wide.
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?:
I don't do new year's resolutions. I know they aren't going to happen.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?:
Andrew's niece. Here's me holding the two-week-old baby, while Gary the Wonder Dog tries to get my attention.
4. Did anyone close to you die?:
Terry Pratchett counts as "close to me," right?
5. What countries did you visit?:
Minnesota. Wales, for ejbigred
's birthday trip.
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?:
A proper holiday, which I define as more than a weekend long and not involving my family.
7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?:
According to Manchester City Council, I've been blind since the 20th of April this year. (I have a card that says so and everything!) It's marked a real change in my life, how I think about myself, and the services and support I've been gleefully able to take advantage of.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?:
Applying for PIP and being successful. After the years-long nightmare of ESA, it was relatively straightforward now and helped immensely with both the practical and emotional costs to myself of being unemployed.Health work
to get myself registered blind and make use of as much of what this makes available to me as I can benefit from. And I did a lot of hard thinking about careers
and ended up with some great volunteering
gigs (one of which I see I still haven't written about here so I'll try to do that before the end of the year, too).
9. What was your biggest failure?:
I've failed pretty hard at executive function, something that I do for two in this household. And failing at something for which I am relied upon really sucks too. I've been very avoidant of conflict, to the point of making the conflict worse when it inevitably arises -- not conflict like fights, more like not wanting to tell people things I don't think they'll like and then either making it worse when I do of course eventually have to tell them, or exploding with anxiety myself because I know I will eventually have to. Very old and very shitty coping (or, failing-to-cope) mechanisms are rearing their ugly heads lately.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?:
Only mental. And sinus infections.
11. What was the best thing you bought?:
Possibly my railcard, or my CEA card that for the princely sum of six pounds lets me take someone along to the cinema with me for free now that I'm officially disabled.
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?:
You know what? Mine. I dealt with a huge amount of bureaucrazy (that is a genuine typo, but I'm keeping it because I think it's my subconscious trying to tell me something) in looking after myself and an increasingly-poorly Andrew, in going to some extreme lengths to help dear friends move house, in doing some hard thinking about careers and volunteering and stuff. Yeah. I will pat my goddam self on the back this year, however uncouth it is!
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?:
I rejoined Twitter this year which gave me all kinds of new reasons to be appalled. Most politicians in both the country I'm from and the one I've moved to, really.
14. Where did most of your money go?:
Plane tickets, mortgage, boring awful stuff like that.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?:
New Horizons! Getting a Disabled Person's Railcard and bus pass (the temptation to go on completely unnecessary journeys just because they're free still hasn't left me). Going to Brighton/Hove with magister
. My volunteering placement to help visually impaired people enjoy the Museum of Science and Industry.
16. What song will always remind you of 2015?:
Possibly "Ship to Wreck"?
I didn't think much at all
of Florence + the Machine's first album, but I find this song absolutely captivating. Every time I heard it on the radio I was like "I love tthis! What is it?" and when I finally found out I was surprised as well as happy. Nearly bought my dad this album for Christmas, because I know how he likes his chanteuses.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder? This is really hard to know. Both, maybe?
ii. thinner or fatter? Slightly thinner, if the fit of my clothes is anything to go by. Even unintentional weight loss like this can be really hard on my mental health so I'm having to be careful not to think about it too much.
iii. richer or poorer? Andrew got a bit of a pay rise, for being such a hard worker, around the same time I started getting benefits, and the combination of these just about equalled the minimum-wage I'd likely be bringing in if I were working, so I feel a lot richer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?:
Reading. I miss reading.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?:
Procrastinating. [I said this last year too. I think it's probably going to be the thing I wish I did less of every year forever.]
20. How will you be spending Christmas?:
Same as always: with my family in Minnesota. Mom is dropping ominous hints that this might be the last year Christmas Eve is where it's been every year of my life, though.
21. Did you fall in love in 2015?:
Not with anyone new.
22. How many one night stands?:
Oh gods my life is just so not set up for one night stands to ever happen.
23. What was your favourite TV programme?:Doctor Who
. I said this last year too, but I've enjoyed this year even more than last.
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?:
Probably Donald Trump, because not only is he completely awful but he's also personally responsible for the increased dread and terror a lot of my friends -- any POC, anyone who is even a little bit different or weird -- is living with in the U.S. these days.
25. What was the best book you read?:
After Terry Pratchett died I read or re-read a lot of early Discworld books, and was delighted to discover they're as good for me even with the sadness of knowing there will be no more than they were when I read them with an anticipation of a new one to buy Andrew for his birthday each year.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery?:
I think it was quite how hugely music affects my mood, and how I need to be careful with it because of that: rather than just listening to things because I like them, I can and indeed should tailor them a bit more when I'm not doing well. I've found ambient/space music incredibly useful for calming me down when I'm anxious, which is handy because I do also enjoy listening to it (though Andrew heard me playing some without headphones once and thought the noise meant my computer or the fridge or something must be broken). My favorite source for this at the moment is this
, though if I'm in the mood for even more space in my music, I also like Mission Control
which plays Apollo audio -- wonderfully mundane stuff about cameras and checking levels of things -- over the music.
27. What did you want and get?:
A diagnosis for the pain and misery Andrew's been in (he has psoriatic arthritis, apparently, which at least is very treatable; treatment should happen after Christmas).
28. What did you want and not get?
A holiday of more than a couple of days. I had a couple of nice weekends in London and one in Brighton/Hove, but that is not enough
, especially considering how demanding a year this has been otherwise.
I also wanted a lot of stuff changed/improved in and around the house that did not happen, due to lack of executive function as much as lack of money.
29. What was your favourite film this year?:Mad Max: Fury Road
and The Martian
. So pleased I got to see them both in the cinema.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?:
I'll be 34 on Tuesday. I've no plans. But I've already had some completely amazing presents: a Night Vale hoodie ("mostly void, partially stars"), the KATI tea-brewing system
from Katie who swears by this herself, Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?:
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?:
I bought a few pairs of black combat pants and seem to wear them all
the time. It's good to be able to keep everything in my pockets.
33. What kept you sane?:
Sertraline and beta blockers. Hugs and conversations.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?:
I...don't know? I used to say Peter Capaldi, but he's too good at being the Doctor now for me to fancy.
35. What political issue stirred you the most?:
Most of them! UK general election results (and the resulting "shitting on the poor/disabled/brown/foreign/etc from a great height"), #refugeeswelcome. #blacklivesmatter. Bombing Syria. I've tried to balance combating the FUD about Donald Trump (who I'm convinced cannot be President) while acknowledging that just by getting the oxygen of publicity he's doing damage even if he doesn't get near the election.
36. Who did you miss?:magister
, of course -- we'd see each other most weeks, but some of those weeks in between seemed awfully long. mother_bones
don't live around the corner any more, and I really miss that/them, while acknowledging that their new house and everything about it is otherwise superior in every other respect. It's been a year of me and trinker
particularly missing each other, too.
37. Who was the best new person you met?:
I met SurvivorKatie
before this year, as a rarely-seen friend of friends, but this year we've really gotten to know each other, found we have a lot in common that we don't necessarily have with many other people, and basically always had a completely awesome time in each other's company.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:The exact flavors of bullshit that drive you crazy are the ones that keep you alive.
39. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?:
My parents and James, I imagine.
40. Quote a song that sums up your year:
Under starry skies we are lost.
41. What was your favorite moment of the year?:
It's very hard to choose a favorite of a whole year.
42. What was your least favorite moment of the year?:
Hearing a name and voice again that I'm really much happier without.
43. Where were you when 2015 started?:
Brighouse, I think?
44. Who were you with?:
I don't remember. I probably wasn't very awake.
45. Where will you be when 2015 ends?:
Brighouse, if we're up to it after flying back home earlier in the day.
46. Who will you be with when 2015 ends?:
Either Andrew or Team Brighouse or both.
47. What was your favourite month of 2015?
August was pretty good: enjoying my volunteer course, looking forward to my placement, did a couple of Prides.
48. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2015?:
On occasion, but overall less than previously.
49. Did you do a lot of drugs in 2015?:
Only caffeine and sugar and the aforementioned booze.
50. What are your plans for 2016?
Get British citizenship (via a Kickstarter book I still haven't kicked off, oops).