Saturday, 31 December 2016

Hasta la vista, 2016.

If I'm being 102.3% accurate, 2016 was the worst, and best, year of my fairly short, yet utterly ridiculous life (yes, even worse than that time I lived in a shed). Finally, even though I might be 16 years too late, I can sing along to Ronan Keating's 'Life is a Rollercoaster' with genuine feeling.

It's why, unlike 2015, I won't be reviewing the various 'feedback' I've been given throughout the year. You might think I'm being a tad over-dramatic, and you're probably correct, but think about the moment when you're in 'da club', making out with a 'hot chick'; until suddenly, the lights go on and you immediately realise, to your boner-crippling dismay, that the 'hot chick' is a definite product of incest. Well, a work colleague (at best), dubbed that moment a 'Fell' moment (my surname is Fell, and that product of incest is me, apparently). 

Anyway, this 'classic banter' isn't even the tip of last year's ego-stabbing knife, so that's why I won't be sharing any more of 2016's 'feedback' with you. 

However, despite being emotionally crushed again, and again, and again, I learnt a lot throughout last year, and I thought I'd share my lessons* with you.

*I thought 'lessons' would be a much more pleasant way of saying 'devastating reality checks'. 

Lesson 1: If a pond is there in the daylight, it’ll still be there in the dark. 

Yes, I did fall in a pond.

I'd spent the day in my friend's garden, delighting in all things cheese and rum-based, and in this haze of delight, I'd forgotten all of my friend's eloquent 'mind the fucking pond' warnings. When I was saying my goodbyes, which I always drag out because of my desperate need for attention, I walked straight into the pond. 

The embarrassment of this 'impossible to style out' situation was heightened by the fact that I was wearing flares (again, because I'm desperate for attention). For those of you that have somehow managed to live your entire life without getting your jeans wet, water spreads up denim quicker than chlamydia spreads during freshers' week (which is extremely quickly). And with flares, there's a lot of denim. 

This fatal flare-water combo meant that I had to walk through an entire* suburb of Manchester, on my own, with jeans that were carrying more water than Shamu got to swim in (RIP Shamu). It was like I'd confused the band name 'Wet Wet Wet' for a life motto. 

*By entire, I mean approximately 3.45 streets. 

Lesson 2: People pleasing should be the eighth deadliest sin.

Even if you spend your life doing stuff you hate in a desperate bid to make other people happy, those same people are probably still going to sit there and slag you off when you're not around; apparently, bitching is much more socially acceptable than an uncomfortable silence. It's why you might as well be as ridiculous as legally* possible. 

In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, haters gonna hate. 

*I'm only saying ‘legally’ in case my father ever reads this**
**This is a joke***
***This is definitely not a joke. Or is it?

Lesson 3: Your body is the greatest weapon you have.

Other people might say an education is the greatest weapon, or some (here's looking at you, Rodrigo Duterte) might say the greatest weapon anyone can have is the ability to encourage vigilante murder. But I disagree (yes, I have a vagina and an opinion – it happens, sometimes). 

In the beginning of last year, I was the victim of many terror-inducing attacks. My EX-housemate would spend a lot of her spare time successfully scaring me. There was nowhere I could hide, not even the toilet was a safe space. 

Don't get me wrong, I did seek revenge by hiding the remains of a lobster I'd eaten amongst her pillows (#lad), but even that wasn't enough to quash her penchant for scaring me. The only real benefit that came from carting a dead lobster’s shell from London to Manchester was that her room maintained a distinct fishy smell for a fair while, but that could’ve been her general scent. 

Anyway, after a 'discussion' with a friend, I decided to get my own back by terrifying my EX-housemate with my naked body. 

Unsurprisingly, it was a great success: she never terrified me again. Plus, I now live somewhere else for my own safety, and hers. 

Lesson 4: Hang out with people who live without judgement.

This is especially important to me because a) I'm ridiculous, and b) when I was a child, I was forced to march to God's drum every single Sunday morning, so I'll always suffer from Catholic Guilt. 

What's the big deal with Catholic Guilt? Well, whenever I somehow manage to convince myself that I'm actually an okay(ish) human being, Catholic Guilt will rear its ugly arse, and shit over any self-belief I may have.  

Luckily, I've managed to make friends that love me, despite my incessant stupidity. And even when I'm hella upset (because I've done something stupid, again) and it's gone 1am, my friends will still tell me to come to their place of work (a bar, not a brothel)*. And even though they'll have a literal job to do, they'll still try and mend my broken ego, and they'll even let me listen to as much Hall & Oates as I like (which is a lot). And even when they finally tell me off, which they always do, they'll do it with affection. And then, finally, they'll make me go home, and I love them for it.

*I've only had to do this once, or twice, or three times. I think. Maybe more, maybe less. The year is quite blurry. 

Lesson 5: Partake more in 'La Passeggiata'. 

That's Italian for 'evening stroll', I think. 

If I'm being honest, I don't actually have an anecdote about this; I just wanted to show off my (limited) knowledge of Italian. 

Lesson 6: Candles don't taste as good as they smell.

Long story short: I spent a good twenty minutes of my birthday flossing blue wax out of my teeth after my 'friends' offered me £15 to eat my own birthday candle. It was a definite low point for me, so I'm not really sure as to why I'm sharing it with the internet (mainly because no one really reads this). 

I've also just remembered that my 'friends' still owe me that £15...pricks. 

Lesson 7: Monogamy isn't dead, but it's really fucking rare.

My moral compass might be slightly warped, but even I know that if someone can only snog you in the shadows of a department store, then something's wrong.

This year, I’ve been exposed to more cheating than an episode of EastEnders. And, even if you’re trying to convince yourself (to soothe your Catholic Guilt) that it’s not a big deal, it is. It’s a really fucking big deal. And, if we're being brutally honest, you need to make like Michael Jackson, and moonwalk out of that situation. 


Lesson 8: Bras support torture, not your tits.

No, this isn't a 'burn your bra', neo-feminist statement (and if it was, that'd be cool too): I mean this literally. Last month, I stopped wearing 'proper' bras, and it was the best decision I've ever made (by best, I mean 'only good'). 

Seriously, I haven't felt this liberated since my friends and I ran through Cheltenham* naked. And honestly, who cares if now whenever I move, anyone in the surrounding area is at risk of being hit by my 'bags of sand' - that, my friend, is real freedom. That, my friend, is the real American Dream (and I should know – I’ve been to America more than once). 

*This is a slight exaggeration - we might've only ran to the end of my road, which was a quiet, residential cul-de-sac. In fact, we didn't even make it to the end of the road. When the fresh-air sniper came and shot us with a sober bullet, we panicked, ran home, and put all of our clothes back on, immediately.

Lesson 10: Not everyone likes Cyndi Lauper. 

This has taken me some time to get over (like a mouse trying to mount an elephant, if you will), but it's a harsh truth that I've learnt to accept. No matter how many times you force someone (my housemate) to listen to Cyndi's pop genius, some people (my housemate) are incapable of accepting that girls just wanna have fun. 

Lesson 11: Money will be alright in the end.

Yes, this is mainly a lie I tell myself as I apply for a(nother) credit card, but I genuinely believe it's true (as long as you're willing to put the extra graft in / you have a rich, long-lost relative that dies unexpectedly and leaves all of his/her inheritance to you, for some inexplicable reason). 

Lesson 12: Don't send your parents dark, nihilistic 'jokes'.

Seriously, don't do it. Your parents won't understand your 'jokes' and they will immediately set up a not-so-subtle suicide watch on your behalf, which is terrible when you're not actually suicidal. 

Lesson 13: Think before you 'all-staff'.

Sending an all-staff email, which begins with ‘ONLY FUCK COLD FOOD’ (yes, it was in capitals) isn't the best way to secure a job you're definitely lucky to have. But it does mean you're more than likely to get the best award at the Christmas party. 

Yep, I'm my work's 'HR Ticking Time Bomb', and I couldn't be prouder. 

Lesson 14: Love is cool. 

I grew up resenting the idea of love because I've seen how bitter it can make people, and how it has a terrible habit of ruining people's lives, but I've realised to be a true hedonist (which I obviously am), pleasure is the goal. And love is the biggest pleasure, even if it ruins your life.

Don't get me wrong, I will never EVER post anything on social media along the lines of 'bae did good', unless I'm being MASSIVELY ironic. But, I would much rather have a life of failed loves than a loveless life. #realtalk 

Lesson 15: I'm bored of lessons.

Here's to putting all of the terrible shit* that happened in 2016 behind me (#bebetternotbitter), and here's to a much better 2017.

*I'm mainly referring to the time I accidentally dyed my hair black, and I was forced to spend most of my summer looking like a terrible Ozzy Osbourne tribute act. 


(But not you, guy who took a literal shit outside of my front door - you can have an average new year, at best.)