It’s strange to realize I’ve made thirty laps around the sun.
Anyone who’s known me since childhood could doubtless tell you stories of my mothers’ strange, and overprotective nature. That’s not to insinuate she was a bad person in the least; we all deal with fear and trauma in different ways, and her response to any danger was to cocoon me.
Either way, some of you know I had this thing about never making it past seventeen. When I grew up my brothers’ death shadowed everything at home until it felt as though the lights had all dimmed. People are unaware of how such a tragedy can ripple through time, and shape the years to follow.
Perhaps that’s why I was reckless and treated life as a frivolous thing: riding the most dangerous horses, taking the most treacherous trails on my fixie, free climbing. Standing upon the precipice of a piece of living history wound in stone and blood, and wondering what it would feel like to fly.
It’s been a strange year, full of hospital rooms and blood and fire. But it’s also been a year of reconnection, new communication a hope. A year where for every unkind word or sideways glance, a dream came true. For every local chav who shoots dirty looks, someone to converse and laugh with. I’m not a huge fan of new years’ resolutions as I tend to break them three minutes after midnight, but if I had one promise to make it would be to stand beside those who have stood beside me in my battles, and them alone.
Life is too short for fairweather friends and fickle blood that hasn’t bred true.
A year of misplaced trust, and the lessons learned. The mistakes I made and the falls I took only made me stronger and more determined to beat my illnesses and the opinions of others into the ground. I’m grateful to find myself in the company of the family I chose: from Moscow to Texas to Tenerife and India, from central London to the forests of Guam, you know who you are. The people who laugh and cry (and laugh until we cry) with me, who soothe me when I’m on one and the ones I worry about endlessly as it seems I am an anxious ball of hellfire and glitter if nothing else.
There are simply too many people to begin to thank in a simple blog post, but we came through the worst apocalypse ever the way we have done everything: in fabulous style, and if at times life was a mess we made it a glamorous one. The world may have tipped sideways, but we’re used to the vertigo. This pandemic will end as all things do, but the world will have changed.
People have changed.
Everything has changed.
In times like these the true nature of a person shines through, and the cruel and ugly have their own list. One thing I’ve learned is that karma is a bitch, and I wouldn’t want the punch some people have coming.
Putting the last year and all we lost and have to carry aside, in February I begin riding again on some of the finest native ponies in the country. In a way I’ve finally come full circle: in the midst of tragedy and fear I found myself after all, I think the silly cow was probably stumbling about in the dark looking a while. For the first time in my life I feel a sense of purpose, and I know what I want the future to look like and how to get there. It won’t be easy but nothing worth doing ever is.
It doesn’t matter, because I’m lucky to have found my tribe and I know that if I stumble into shadow, there’ll be a sarcastic Russian or London girl wielding a joint to drag me out again. The road ahead is a long one, and it climbs. I work on my leg each day, and it’s hell. I practise the violin each day, and it’s heaven. People build this idea of a perfect life in their head realizing there is no such thing: there will always be adversity, a problem to be solved or something to be conquered. It’s the nature of life.
I’m learning that the secret to a beautiful life is to revel in the joyous moments with wild abandon and let sleeping dragons lie. May this year be full of dreams and new endeavours, hope in the face of despair, sand in the face of fire. May we find something meaningful and pull together to put the world back together.
As for those we’d rather shove in a meat grinder?
As someone I love dearly said, ‘may the bridges you burn light the way’
P.S. My new collection, Dawn, is in the works so watch this space for tantrums and bad first drafts and poet neurosis!