Merry Christmas you beautiful people. Ordinarily, I'd apologise for being a shit blogger and not posting for what feels like forever but, as it's Christmas, I'm going to take it for granted that you're all too cheerful and/or drunk to mind. I know I am. Having had little reason to post for a while, I decided that (just as I did last year), I'd try and compose some kind of end-of-year farewell post, and wish you all a Happy New Year in the process. So. Sit rep. "Where's my life at?" I hear you ask your computer screen. Well...
Drama School auditions have begun again. Having deferred an offer of a place at a beautiful school last year - I'm actually realising now that I don't think I ever filled you in on that, but it's another blog post in itself so nevermind (for now) - I'm back auditioning at a few schools again and am actually really enjoying getting stuck back in to some meaty text. It helps that I've chosen some killer speeches; my favourite of which is a speech by Constance from King John and it just tastes like grit. I'm also working on a new pilot TV thing with an old tutor from Rose Bruford, and am keeping my fingers crossed that 'The Ruby in the Smoke' (the play I did this summer) will go back on tour again in the Spring. I finally fulfilled the classic jobbing-actor stereotype as I'm now working as a waitress in a cocktail bar (that much is true); and I resigned from my other "part time" job at a tuition centre. I'm back living at home again now that the play is over and, in all honesty, I really love it. Being so close to my family brings me more joy than I could begin to describe, and I'm really trying to keep up with my friends and their astonishing achievements. It's not always easy, but it is continually worth it.
A lot of people have said that 2016 has been "the worst year ever" and shouting about how they're "so glad it's over". Aside from the Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Alan Rickman and Emma Rice fiascos, I don't really know how I feel about this year. I don't doubt that there have been plenty of political and societal tragedies in the last twelve months, but I'm starting to learn that trying to view everything from above is hard and destructive. Sometimes, you just need to take stock of where you are at personally. So the question now becomes: how does the end of 2016 compare to the end of 2015? Well, some thing's haven't changed at all. My sister is still growing into the most remarkable young woman and I maintain a huge amount of envy and admiration for her everyday. I'm still in awe of my parents and their ability to juggle life so seamlessly and graciously, and I still drink far too much tea. I still check my ex's Facebook accout to see if he's still with that weird looking girl and I still hate running. I still tweet way too much and I still know nothing about film. I still have the same headshots even though I'm definitely due some new ones. I'm still an avid atheist and I am probably still a little too proud of it. I'm still shit with money, I still drunk call the people I love whenever I drink red wine and my dog still doesn't do anything I say.
So what's new? Well, in 2016 I painted my bedroom a different colour. I started making an effort to have breakast with my mum in the mornings of my days off. I changed my perfume and started learning how to make cocktails. I shared deep political discussions with a real variety of people, and cared more about all sorts of national and international issues than I ever have before. I stayed with a character across 35 performances and wept like a child when friends and family from all over the country so generously came to see the show I was so proud of. I've gave myself a dangerously fast growing coffee habit and I mastered a couple of card games. I read a couple of genuinely life changing books. I started throwing the word "cunt" around like it means nothing, and had the priviledge of seeing some of the best theatre I've ever seen. I was totally showered with kindness by the people of several new and enchanting cities - Edinburgh, Cardiff, Oxford and Brighton to name but a few - and I finally learned what the phrase "instant and unconditional love" meant when my cousin had a baby.
In all honesty then, it looks like 2017 has quite a lot to live up to. I think I'm finally starting to feel like a grown up. I've learned over the last few months that it's okay to mess stuff up. It's okay to not know what to do. It's okay to be overwhelmed, and it's okay to cry down the phone at your mum in the middle of the night after work. It's okay to feel lost and lonely; and it's okay to be single for as long as you like. It's okay not to have an opinion on everything. It's okay to reserve judgement on someone until a few dates in. It's okay to compliment all your customers, because you might just make somebody's day. It's okay to be proud of something and give yourself a pat on the back. It's okay to feel inadequate and miserable and like you're never going to get to do what you love ever again. What I've learned this year is that it's okay to do all these things, because your loved ones will take care of you. As long as you prioritise the health and wellbeing of your family, your friends and yourself, everything else will just happen. As long as you are kind, kindness will find you back.
So here we go. I'm choosing to move into 2017 with a killer Shakespeare speech, a brewing coffee addiction and a reminder that, unlike so many others, I'm fortunate enough to have another year ahead of me; another trip around the sun; another chance to get it right. Wish me luck. In return, I wish you clear skin, financial stability, and happiness. I wish you health, love and joy. Together, let's wave goodbye to 2016 and as we hug hello to 2017, let's christen it the Year of Kindness.
All my love and, of course, Merry Christmas.