(I accidentally found the perfect gif for this situation. For those who get the reference, please take note of how accurate it is. For those that don’t, it’s a ridiculous man excitedly re-emerging from a toilet bowl. What other information do you need?)
So it’s December again, which means it’s time for my annual “I know I screwed up and forgot to post anything for about a year but I swear I’m still alive” post. Break out the champagne! And maybe some Prozac. (It’s been a rough year.)
To be honest, I’m getting bored of apologizing for my absences. And I’m sure you guys are bored of reading those many apologies. And you know what? Apologies aren’t just boring at this point – they’re forced. This year especially, I don’t regret taking some time (read: a lot of time) away from the blogging and reviewing world as a survival tactic. 2017 was hard. For everyone. On a global scale, shit went to shit. On a personal scale, I think every single person I know suffered a daily mental and/or emotional breakdown. Sometimes even an hourly one.
It’s been a year of crying into ice cream and not even caring that your tears made it taste kinda salty. Of stressing firstly about the possibility of nuclear war and then praying for it to just get here, already, because really the end of the world could actually solve a lot of problems, if you think about it. Of being made anxious by the news but also feeling anxious when you don’t watch the news, resulting in a hopeless cycle of avoiding and binge-watching every channel you can get your hands on before pulling out that tub of ice cream and enjoying that weirdly addictive taste of saltwater calories.
Point being, nobody needs to apologise for taking some personal time this year. (Except, you know, maybe Trump. He could apologise. Maybe by resigning.)
It’s decided, then. No more apologies. Instead, I’m magically transforming this post into a giant, messy update on my life. (Which, in a way, is probably just a thinly veiled attempt to justify my disappearance. But I reject this idea. And I repeat, largely to convince myself that it’s true: I regret nothing.)
Without further ado, a list:
THE MASTER-LIST OF SUCKER-PUNCHES 2017 THREW AT ME
- [I’m not gonna include anything about current affairs or the impending nuclear crisis on this list. I feel like we’ve all read more than more than enough about that, and I won’t let it soil this post any more.]
- So I started the second year of my degree.
- You know what? This needs sub-points, because it was such a disaster.
- I have this theory that second-year is objectively the worst year of anyone’s university career. Who thought it was a good idea to keep the same number of courses required for first year (4), but double the workload? Satan himself?
- Also, how were there more deadlines than there were days in the semester?
- Seriously, if you go to university, do yourself a favour and just spend the second year of your degree testing how many bones you can break before you become an amorphous blob of flesh. It’ll be less painful.
- Having learnt from my mistakes last year, I took two second-year courses (English and Linguistics, my majors), and two “arb” subjects which I thought I’d enjoy but promised light workloads (Modern Fiction and Sound Technology). *cue manic laughter* I was so, so wrong.
- I’d just like to point out that at one point I had six essays due in the space of three days. All for English. Two days before those deadlines, I had another essay due for Modern Fiction, and two exams for Sound Tech.
- (I realise that I’m going to return to this section next year and laugh because of course it’s only going to get harder from here. But as of right now, it genuinely amazes me that I made it through the year without more mental breakdowns.)
- But at least I’m still studying what I love, right?
- Guys, I love English. I love reading so, so much. I love writing essays on books, and nitpicking, and critiquing writing styles and comparing brilliant books.
- But when my course requires me to spend hours in the library researching my two most hated authors of all time – James Joyce and J. M. Coetzee – it’s a little depressing.
- Seriously, if I have to read one more book of essays on either Joyce or Coetzee, I am going to fling myself off the fourth floor of the library (which is where those lovely books happen to be located. As if it isn’t bad enough that I have to sift through hundreds of pages of praise for two of the most pretentious white men of all time, I have to climb four floors to do so. Every. Day).
- I got my driver’s license! But this involved sitting in the traffic department for close to 8 hours to book a date, then having to do it again because my driving school’s car was deemed “unroadworthy” on the day of the test. i.e. They failed me on the spot because my instructor hadn’t bothered to check her tire treads. I didn’t even get to climb into the car.
- I was in such a constant state of stress this year that even in situations where I could probably have relaxed a little, my brain started creating things for me to worry about as a coping mechanism because it had forgotten that the concept of free time existed.
- Oh, also my dearest mother decided to terrify us all by having a heart attack. I think that’s the most scared I’ve ever been in my entire life, and I wasn’t even there. Although it did give me an excuse to fly home and spend some more time with my (traumatized) family, which is kinda a silver lining on the clouds forming above a tornado.
I’m not nearly done listing all the terrible things, but I’m sick of complaining. As therapeutic as it’s been, reliving the bad moments of my 2017, I think I’d like to move onto some nice things. Please.
THE (LESS DEPRESSING, I PROMISE) LIST OF GREAT THINGS 2017 GIFTED ME
- I finally read The Handmaid’s Tale, and it changed my whole life.
- I also finally read Watchmen, and it changed everything (read my review here).
- Spider-Man: Homecoming came out and it was everything I ever wanted from a Spider-Man movie and I loved it to pieces and I just want to watch it over and over again because it almost makes up for the nightmare that was Spider-Man 3.
- (This is just turning into a list of books and movies that made me feel better about being stuck in this shitstorm of a year, isn’t it?)
- (Yes. Yes it is.)
- Also The English Patient. And I vow to reread it every year until I die.
- Birdsong (review here).
- Winterlong (review here).
- The new season of Bojack Horseman came out, and it only made me want to die a little bit.
- Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series (the books), which I am still in the process of reading, but which are the main reason I am still slightly sane.
- DC’s Rebirth run of Wonder Woman (which is just… perfect. It’s so perfect. READ IT).
- I started watching Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (written by one of my favourite people, Max Landis), and it is genuinely incredible. Everyone needs to watch it. And love it as much as I do. It’s on Netflix, so you have no excuses.
- Wonder Woman. I drove for almost 2 hours to an IMAX theatre to see one of my all-time favourite heroes onscreen for the first time (we don’t count BvS). I cried in the opening. I cried when it ended. It restored at least a part of my soul.
- The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, which my boyfriend got me for my birthday, held me together in the longest and most exhausting exam period of my life.
- And Guardians of the Galaxy 2!
- And Stranger Things 2!
- I cried pretty much the whole way through The Hate U Give. (It was awkward. I was listening to the audiobook, often in public, and I don’t think passers-by got the impression that I was a mentally healthy individual.)
I’ll end this on a nice note, because why the hell not.
When the semester came to an end, I curled up in bed with We Are The Ants, and read it in under 24 hours. It made me feel like, even if life isn’t 100% better right now, eventually it’ll get there. That little glimmer of hope buried beneath the endless rubble of deadlines and anxiety and horrific news stories is worth uncovering. And goddammit, I don’t want this year to end like a Shakespearean tragedy. I want a sliver of a happy ending, a final chapter that perhaps doesn’t quite resolve all the conflicts 2017 mixed up, but at least promises an exciting (hopefully slightly less exhausting) sequel. If 2017 can’t give me that, I’ll just have to make it for myself – and if that involves staying in bed for the rest of the year, turning off my wifi and reading until my brain goes well and truly haywire, so be it.
If you got this far, congrats! (That’s in reference to both this post and the year in general, by the way.) Have a virtual high five. Go buy yourself a piece of cake. Scratch that – a whole cake. A big one, with tiers and thick, creamy icing. You bloody well deserve it.
(But seriously, I’ll be back this time. Soon, even.)