by Claire Gillespie
I would like to say thank you. Thank you to 2016. Thank you for reminding me what life could be, and how sweet it truly is.
As this year closes, so does that pain, that sadness, that waiting. I waited for things to get better for so long that I barely noticed when they did. Then, suddenly I’m tapping myself on the shoulder saying, ‘Look at your smile, look how it’s still there after everyone has gone home.’ I acknowledge it with a slight nod and a dismissive wave, ‘I know – you know it’s been this way for a while, right?’
This has always been my favourite time of year. I think it brings out the best in all of us, especially because I find it so encourages declarations of love; from family and friends, to partners, even complete strangers. Everyone is smiling and everything feels warm (so strange that as it gets colder we send out so much warmth). We can take care of each other if we want to, we can tell each other we love each other, if we choose to.
The clinical coldness of a hospital ward and the raging hostility of a mid-winter funeral took all that from me. The isolation of keeping it all to myself and working myself into the ground meant I didn’t feel any of that warmth. Eighteen months of nothingness followed, pleading to feel better and for things to get better so I could feel at all. I could barely taste the food I ate. The thing I loved so much about coming home and I was barely able to stomach it.
Time passed and things got worse, then better, then much worse. Then for a while they went quiet and I just got on with it, I suppose you could claim an improvement but I’ve just been too busy living to make any graphs or charts on the matter. That is feeling better. It is intangible and unnoticed.
So just like that, this year is coming to an end without any incident. There will be no symphony while I walk into the distance, just messages filled with warmth and joy and plenty of good food. Very lucky I am too, to have people to send those messages, to have my appetite back, to have my whole self back.
The year is over and it was everything I needed. I have laughed, and cried, and smiled, and embraced, and kissed, and I have been loud, and angry, and passionate, and so unbelievably happy, and so incredibly at peace.
The year is over and it just happened. It was everything I needed because finally, I am everything I needed.
Claire Gillespie | @clairegillesp
Claire Gillespie, 24, is currently living in Amman, Jordan, but is soon to return back to her home of Leeds, UK. She’s a freelance writer, content producer and historian.