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New Year and all that

Give me your freaks! Give me your loners and outcasts and weirdos and nerds! Anybody in Glasgow who is feeling isolated and lonely tonight, but doesn’t want to be, gimme a shout. There’s various options, including a party hopping one, and bells at mine with a select bunch of awesome folks. Don’t feel you have no options just because you don’t feel like you’re popular – fuck being normal/socially sophisticated. Lets celebrate difference, nerds, introverts or freaks. Want to just sit silently on the sofa but have folks around? That’s fine too. Board games are an option if at least two people want to. Gonna be at mine for sure between 22:00 and 00:30, but there’s going to be others at mine either side, so just shout if you want different timings and we’ll arrange something. Sod folks feeling lonely on tonight of all nights. I’ve been enough of an outcast to know how that is. Gonna be a bunch of us out tonight and you’re welcome to join us.

This year has been great for me both in terms of reconnecting with some of the more nerdy aspects of my personality and getting socially rejected by some normals (work colleagues) and getting ok with it. And turning forty and having an awesome frigging adventure to celebrate it.

Worked too long at one ward, and apparently the wee barbies there have started talking about me behind my back. Not about my work, I am assured. But that I’m weird, etc. And my hair. I can fit in with normals for short periods of time, but any longer and things start slipping out. My habitual keeping conversation focused back on them is impossible to keep up longterm, especially with nurses who tend to be more social than average population. And there’s so much I feel I need to keep hidden from them. Where to start? My politics? My hobbies? My polyamory? Gender/sexuality? No, I don’t have/want a partner nor children. Yes I’m an Anarchist and feminist. I spent my recent days off learning electronics, cycling, geocaching and playing ingress, rather than shopping and watching telly. I don’t look like them. I don’t go on same holidays not nights out. So the snide comments have started, and one of the auxiliaries who’s also an outsider tried to befriend me by telling me that the others were “backstabbing” and “two-faced” and started telling me what they were saying about me, but I said I didn’t want to know unless it was about my work.

Felt like being at school. And that was a shit time in my life. But whereas once that might have really hurt, it did upset me, but not that much. I thought about how awesome my life is. How I do have friends and precious connections. And adventures and hobbies and things I’m genuinely passionate about. How my life is true to me. And really, I found I didn’t care that much about popularity. I don’t actually care that being me makes me outcast from so many social circles. I have tried at various times in my life to be “normal” and fit in, and I was neither very good at it, nor happy. At least with embracing my weirdness I have a life I am happy with, and people can take me or leave me.

I did feel apprehension as I approached my fortieth birthday in September. What have I really achieved with my life? Is it all over / downhill from now on? So I decided to face that milestone with a new challenge, something I’ve long wanted to do but thought was beyond me; cycling from Land’s End to John o’Groats (lejog). Crying out “Hello Forties!” as we freewheeled down the hills we’d labouriously conquered, with all our necessities in our panniers felt incredibly liberating, empowering and sheer joyful. It was one of the toughest and most fabulous things I’ve ever done. So much beauty and exhilaration and long times to think. Can’t wait for the spring to do more cycle touring. I have a bunch of plans for Scottish adventures on my bike. Whilst struggling up tough hills, sometimes crying with how hard it was, especially at the beginning before I had my fitness but was facing Cornish hills, I reminded myself of all the other tough things I’ve forced myself through in the past. And that helped me keep going, as well as brute stubbornness, and now this trip is something that I can use in the future when I need to summon strength and willpower.

Also this year I have learned python, and started learning electronics. Both have been so much fun and satisfying to reconnect to that nerdy side of me that I left behind for so many years after going to Palestine and feeling I needed to focus my whole life on making the world a better place, plus burnout from the corporate horrors of being a programmer in London from 1997-2001. Going to CCC summer camp in August was tremendous, and I plan on getting back into the hacker camp rhythm with EMF this August.

I applied to MSF a few weeks ago, but got knocked back; they said I have all the basic requirements but due to large volume of nurses applying at the moment they’ve decided to make one of their preferences into a requirement now – fluency in French. I still haven’t decided what to do with that. But might spend a few months intensively learning French next year and reapply. Or I might learn Arabic so that I can volunteer in a hospital in Gaza. Or Hindi and go back to India. Or Spanish and go to South America. Its a big decision so not hurrying over making it.

Been trying to work out how to sustainably live between all the different places where I have connections. Mostly between London and Glasgow. Not sure how this will work out. I haven’t figured how to do that yet, without feeling I’m letting people down or setting myself up for exhaustion. Hoping I’ll get better at that in 2016, although my calendar is now full until end of April!

All in all, 2015 has been frigging amazing. Spent a month in India, barncamp and CCC with other geeky types, and month long lejog cycle trip. Plus shorter trips to Norway, London etc. Finally did what I wanted with my hair (blue and long on top, shaved sides and back) and played with appearance in other ways too, regardless of what others might think, and just in reference to what I wanted. Turning forty was tough personally. And those of you who are younger and moan about “ageing” – please stop it as you’re not helping. Also, lets define for ourselves what that means. Its easy to just get absorbed into mainstream society’s ideas about what you should be doing based on your gender, age etc. But lets get beyond that, aye?

Hope you all had a good year too.

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Categories: politics
  1. January 20, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    haha I love how you called them the normals. Don’t let them get you down there are enough dull people in the world too afraid to be themselves. Sounds like you’re on the right track.

  2. January 25, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    gosh, this post i think about it all the time, Must get round to commenting properly. I too am a nurse, and queer and creative and weird. i think about my relations with my colleagues. certainly easier now that lesbian and even trans are not such weird concepts compared to being a student nurse in edinburgh (livingstone) in the 1990s. i love hearing about their regulare white or african working class family lives, so unlike mine in many ways. and i have alwasy been one for carpementalising my life 9from the days when being gay at work was impossible i guess). so i don’t share much with them, nobody knows i’m a film-maker for instance. had a funny, rather prurient gossip with one of the old timer health care assistants about my wife and trans issues, including gender queer and lesbianism and trans ops. and of course it turns out that one of the HCA’s has just decided to try gay life, and the woman i was chatting too used to hang out in gay village way before it was trendy. everybody has interesting tales to tell. also i could tell you tales about my wife living life as a stealth trans engineer around the world! hmmmmm. hmmmmm. hopefully one day i can talk about this with you over a coffee. when you are telling me all about merlin, or msf, or red cross or whatever amazing thing you do next . hoping to move to ayr this year, so its possible. xxx siobhan aka rose bush

    • January 26, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      OMG MOVE TO AYR YES YES YES!!!!!!

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