Feeling like a slug on a rug

Nothing like spending a New Year Eve’s alone to have you feeling like a piece of shit. On New Year’s I want magic. I want a kiss from my soulmate. I’m sure the ball Cinderella attended was held on New Year’s Eve. Fairy Godmothers. Pretty dresses. Impractical shoes. This is what New Year’s Eve should be about. Life should change the moment that clock ticks over into a new year. Sparkles should fall all around you, transforming you into a better version of yourself.

Does it ever happen? No. Some years, knowing that such disappointment awaits has made me sulk and refuse to participate. Yes, cleaning my kitchen cupboards can be more fun than that slow, sinking realisation that tonight isn’t the best night of your life. Other years I’ve tried to drown that disappointment in booze with sprinklings of MDMA. The smile gets to my lips but it tilts as badly as the Titanic. Whatever we do for New Year’s Eve, we’re meant to be overwhelmed with positivity, enthusiasm, and happiness. A wry kind of happiness as we wave goodbye to a shit year is allowed. Ideally though, we should shine with a joy so bright we can’t even catch a photo of it for Instagram.

In recent years, I’ve gone down the self-improvement, self-love route. Instead of going out and getting hammered (always more fun when you accidentally end up traipsing the streets at 4 am towards a house party) I tend to have a bath, do yoga, meditate, and try to wish into existence a perfect new year. This year it’s taken me a bit of time to feel inspired to do this. It’s hard to feel motivated and ready for a clean new year when it’s cold, wet, and grubby grey outside. Can’t we agree to let each country have their new year when it’s their spring?

This year I did kind of have plans. When I got let down it hit me hard. Old feelings of inadequacy resurfaced. I’m an inconvenience. No one ever wants to spend time with me. I was taken back to years hiding in the toilet during the countdown so I’m not the only person with no one to kiss when it ends. I felt like the only person in the whole world alone. Everyone else was out partying, laughing, making bad decisions and doing what good people are meant to do on New Year’s Eve. (Got to love a bit of black-and-white catastrophizing) It was shameful to admit that I’d been let down, like admitting to some deep personality flaw that means people just don’t like me. Ahh, shame—that old friend that turns you into a slimy, ugly, fat, slug. The kind that passes for a cat poo first thing in the morning. My solution? Well, first I had a drink because that’s what you’re meant to do on New Year’s Eve. I watched some Frankie Boyle, letting his dark humour indulge my bad mood while also pretending I was trying to stop acting like a petulant baby. Then I went to bed by 9.30 pm. One thing I’ve learnt over the years is that when I’m tired things always look worse, so going to bed is normally a wise decision.

Over the next couple of days, I couldn’t shake the wallowing. Why isn’t life magical? Why is it such a drudge with the same issues repeating? The grey skies and nights dropping down at 3 pm didn’t help my mood. Only one thing for it. A mindless scroll through Pinterest for pictures of Austin Butler. His smile and shyness are a ray of California sunshine slashing through dull suburbia. There I came across a quote that stuck with me. (Of course, I didn’t save it). It was something about how magic is inside you and not an external thing. As that concept percolated, I realised that was where I’d been going wrong with New Year’s Eve and winter. My gaze is external, wanting someone or something to make turn me from average into a beautiful princess, to make life exciting and less of a slog: a flying carpet, a talking rabbit, a fairy godmother, a tree with a new land at the top of it every month, a prince. The quote was right though—there is magic in me. I have made things happen. I have performed miraculous transformations. Personally and professionally, I am not where I was five years ago. If I can do that, then I can perform more magic tricks. Reminding myself of this got me out of my slump, eager to review the year past and make some plans.

My goals for 2022

  1. Doubled my income from writing — done
  2. Find and complete a marketing course – done. I also read two books on marketing principles
  3. Edit Cuckoo – I did a massive rewrite of this, which is now marinating for later in the year
  4. Publish short stories – I didn’t do this. No one’s perfect. What can I say?
  5. Research cults for my next project—nope. I ended up deciding on a different project and have been researching the Victorian Era

Achievements not on my list

  • I went to three gigs.
  • I sorted out my anxiety peeing issue, which deserves a huge round of applause
  • I went on two holidays. Travelling and exploring were a couple of my favourite things to do before anxiety came and kicked me in the head. While on the plane to Ireland, I had the most perfect moment of calm and inner silence. It was like finally taking off a pair of ill-fitting shoes after trekking 1500000 miles in them. So beautiful. So wonderful. So hopeful 
  • I saw three plays. Something I was scared to do before in case my anxiety pee problem kicked off and made me need to leave mid-act causing all sorts of embarrassment to me, and inconveniencing and enraging other theatregoers
  • I helped out at London Book Fair
  • Technically I got my job last year (Dec to be precise) but it still feels like a win for this year because I’ve been learning how to deal with my social anxiety, say no, and not be scared of challenging situations or people. Some days I’ve felt such intense fear that I’ve been shaking on the way there, my IBS has played up, and I’ve felt like throwing up but I still made it in and tried my best. That is another big win for this year.  
  • There have been twelve blog posts
  • I have completed twenty beta reads

All in all, I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself. No longer I am a big dull slug but one in a tutu with sparkly deely bobbers and a fake moustache from a Christmas cracker.

This year I’m adding in some personal goals because my wallowing taught me that I need to have more balance if I want to make deep connections with people, maintain the ones I already have, and not spend another New Year’s Eve feeling like billy-no-mates. For me, 2023 is the year of creating foundations for the future. Here’s my list.

  1. Write a first draft for my new novel
  2. Start driving lessons
  3. Go on two dates
  4. Publish 4am
  5. Sign up for a course on writing Historical fiction
  6. Re-read Cuckoo
  7. Leave my home county to visit friends at least twice

I hope you’re feeling ready for 2023, too. If not, Pinterest is a great place to start.

Photo by Alain Snel on Unsplash

Like this content? You can show your support by buying me a coffee @ https://ko-fi.com/amvivian or by buying one of my books (The Waiting Usurper, Asphodel Meadows, The Family Care). They can also be borrowed via Kindle Unlimited.

Extracts are available on my website A M Vivian


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