2018: The Pride, Joy and Gratitude List

I attempted to sit down and write this very post about ten hours ago.
I managed the sitting down part, but what came out was less a reflective, gratitude-soaked, heartwarming tribute to 2018 and more a 1000 word spit-up on why I haven’t posted anything at all in the last two months.
Sometimes you have to empty out absolutely everything before you can find the good stuff. Clear the way, if you will. Unclog any blockages, of which, I had many.
Now I’ve successfully unclogged myself, I can move on to the matter at hand.

REFLECTING ON 2018.

Where to begin…

I thought I’d divide my reflections into what I’m most proud of, what I’m grateful for, and what I’ve felt most joyful about over the last twelve months. Then I realised they all sort of blur into one another, so for the sake of easy reading, decided to plonk them all into one giant list.
Now, inevitably, the gratitude part can get rather repetitive year upon year, but even if I have to repeat myself, I feel it’s worth it, just to reiterate what life’s really about.

Please bear in mind this is a highlight reel, a carefully curated sparkling little series of notes. I’m not going to delve into my heartbreaks or frustrations or periods of anxiety. I’ve spoken enough about anxiety this year and all my other minor grievances seem ever so petty when I put things in perspective. Which I try and do, often. So no whining, this post is about the good stuff.

Right, let’s get going.
THIS YEAR, I AM MOST PROUD OF, GRATEFUL FOR AND JOYFUL ABOUT:

1.) AUDITIONING FOR DRAMA SCHOOL.

Circa January/Feburary 2018. I auditioned knowing full well I would never be able to attend the course should I ever be offered a place. It was a bittersweet experience. I met countless remarkable people, many of whom I’m still in contact with, and as always with anything drama-related, had a lot of fun.

I spent months preparing monologues, seeing plays, attending tutorials, immersing myself as best I could in the world of theatre.
“Audition for Drama School” was on my list for 2017, so I was always going to give it a try, even if I knew deep down, with Maia, it wouldn’t be an option as a full time course.
The experiences were worth it, I’m eternally grateful, and rather fucking proud of all my efforts.

2.) MAIA STARTING SCHOOL, AND THE PERSON SHE IS BECOMING

My baby started school in September. And I have felt nothing but pride ever since. (Pride, and the constant-low-level-hum-of-fear-and-tiredness. Fear that anything could happen whilst she’s at school. Tiredness because she’s a five year old and I am merely human.)

I could list out all the reasons I am proud of my beautiful daughter, but instead I will just say that she’s everything I ever hoped for in a child of mine.
She’s kind, and bright and confident. Funny, smart and wise for her years. One might say she’s feisty, though I think the word assertive holds more weight. Like most children, she speaks her mind and it serves her well. She loves pretty much all the things I love. Singing, dancing, painting, talking, and just plain showing off really. When described as a drama-queen in response to her exaggerated behaviour, I witness how she receives it as a compliment, and I fucking love that about her. We make each other laugh on a daily basis and I love nothing more than lying in bed talking to her about anything at all.
Most of all, she’s a loving little person, with the biggest heart.
I’m proud of myself and I could not be more proud of her.

3.) MOMENTS WITH MAIA AND BEING A MOTHER

It’s draining, being a single parent, but in between the draining moments, there are all these lovely, beautiful, joyful moments, and I feel like the happiest woman in the world. The luckiest twenty-something in the world.

Maia changed my life. And she keeps changing my life, as the years go by because as she changes, I do too.
I have to change to keep up with her. I have to learn and grow and progress with her. I have to figure out how to make sense of the world in a way I can translate to her, when I can barely comprehend much of it myself.
I think she’s making me a better person. I like to think.

She reminds me that life goes by very quickly, and we have to soak up all the good stuff because it might not be there tomorrow.
She barely needs help getting changed anymore. She can do her coat-zip up all on her own, she used to struggle with it. She can wash her hands by herself. There’ll come a day when she’ll barely need me at all. I’m well aware, that day will come.
And this thought is both sad, and humbling. It’s a reminder that nothing is permanent. Today’s joy may just be tomorrow’s fond memory.
So we should strive to make those memories. To live for today’s joy, no matter how seemingly small.

4.) GETTING A JOB AND THE BALANCING ACT

I got a job this year. After years of doing things and not getting paid, I am finally doing something where I get to make some money. It’s a nice feeling. I also happen to really love where I work, I’ve met some awesome humans, so that’s a bonus.

I’m grateful, but I’m also very proud of myself for getting through the last few months, and not resorting to some unhealthy habit like…smoking or overeating. Oh wait no I did do the latter on numerous occasions. No but that’s okay. I’m still proud.

Adjusting to a new job and a new school routine all at the same time has been physically and mentally challenging at times, but we managed. (Even if I did use the 40 minutes Maia was in ballet class each week to put my head down and rest my weary eyes, plonked in the middle of a busy cafe). And yes tempers have been lost on occasion. On many, many occasions. OKAY DAILY.

There is no such thing as the perfect juggling act between working and parenting. I only work part time and I’m still drained as fuck by the end of the school day.
If I’ve learnt anything this year, it’s that you do what you have to do.
YOU JUST DO.

5.) FAMILY AND FRIENDS
How could I write a list like this and not say something about the people who make my life so doable. I’m a single parent, and I can actually ENJOY being a single parent, because of the people around me.

I’m a fucking lucky woman. I get to say things like “I feel alive, excited, empowered, and generally pretty positive about the future, our future….”. And I do, because I know we’ll always be okay.
I know this, because we’ve learnt from the best. They raised me, and thanks to them I trust myself enough to know I can raise someone with just as much love and magic and kindness.

They remind me how far we’ve come, and that anything is possible.

My female friendships continue to enrich my life in the most hilariously weird and wonderful ways as they always have. Highlights of 2018 include the moment dear Emily scraped bird-shit out of my hair with a pantyliner in Soho Square one balmy Summer evening and the day I went to go see Rory dressed up in a vagina costume, singing about vaginas on stage with a ukulele at the Soho Theatre.

Vaginas aside, or not so,  I will forever be grateful for the hilarious/inspiring/ just plain bloody brilliant voice-messages left by the beautiful Aimy at some ridiculous hour (because she’s in Sydney and we rarely get to speak). Thank you for knowing me the best.

*And yes, Isabelle, you take the lead phone-call-wise, you’ve exceeded all others, I’ve officially spoken to you more than anyone else this year.
Because the school-run is an integral part of our day, thank you to Lucy for making mine so hilarious. We seem to have endless topics of discussion and each one as entertaining as the next. Thank you for letting me be the weirdo that I am.

Everyone needs their person.

6.) ACTING

Another short burst on acting and how much joy it has brought me this year.
From auditions, to workshops, to plays I’ve seen or read, to classes I’ve observed, to conversations with friends on script ideas, it all makes me feel like I’ve still got a toe dipped in the water, that even though I’m in and out, part of me remains in that world.
The National Youth Theatre was a springboard for endless opportunities, and I will always see my experiences with them as life-changing and magical.

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So there we go, a lot of pride, joy, and gratitude.
I also read lots of books, travelled to some new places, wrote some words, been on some dates, swam in the sea, tanned a little, ate too much, discovered some Podcasts, saw some plays, saw some musicals (HAMILTON YES), bought some new clothes, took a bunch of photos, made some videos, met heaps of lovely new people, met the odd less than lovely person, felt my feelings, felt them some more, expressed my feelings, expressed them some more, experimented with Insta stories, ditched Insta stories, and generally tried to live my best life as the truest most authentic, most real and absolutely-no-holding-back-no-filter version of ME.

I hope to carry this very attitude right with me into 2019 and beyond.

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