What's this? Clouds is actually acknowledging the existence of Christmas?!
Erm. Yes. Hi.
Those who know me know that I'm not the greatest fan of Christmas. Actually, that's an understatement. I feel about Christmas the way most people feel about the shrieking small child on a long-haul flight who kicks the back of your seat and pukes everywhere. Between 2004 and 2013, I experienced a series of absolutely dreadful Christmases, featuring the death or prolonged absence of close relatives, family illness, or recent life upheavals. I know it's not Christmas' fault, but I resent it anyway.
So why mark it this year? This year has been one of the worst years of my life. It began really well. I had a new job, a relatively new relationship, I'd finally moved out of my parents' house and was feeling pretty optimistic about life. I lost the job in March. My health - physical and mental - suddenly went south, and the relationship imploded spectacularly in the late summer. I have had two mental breakdowns, the latter of which I'm slowly crawling out of now. My employment prospects are shaky; my health, more so.
In past years I'd have approached Christmas with my usual dread and ill-humour, but this time something inside me is rebelling. I've spent so much of this year feeling completely miserable, and I just don't have the energy for it any more. I'm not going to suddenly wrap myself in tinsel and start howling carols through a megaphone from the rooftops, but I'm trying to ride on some kind of positive wave for the rest of the year. I'll spend a few days with my family, I'll eat good food I haven't had to cook, I'll drink good wine, and I'll relax a little. And then, in just 30 days, this year - this wretched year which has almost killed me twice - will be over, and the arbitrary marker will shift, and maybe I can start to hope again.
I don't know if this is going to be a series. We'll see. I just want to broadcast something other than despair, today.