Actually, let me start.
Fuck you. I remember at the start of 2010 thinking “2009 sucked. 2010 will kick ass.” I can’t even remember why 2009 sucked so much now, such was the order of magnitude that your suckiness dwarfed it by.
Let’s keep score, shall we?
I started the year in a job that I wasn’t sure I wanted to do—an ill-advised return to school teaching on the suggestion of several people who thought I’d be good at primary school teaching, and that it might be less stressful than the horrors of secondary education.
They were wrong.
Given that the school I worked at was in what can politely be termed a “difficult area”, there were plenty of what can politely be termed “challenging pupils”. Most notable among them were a child who decided to spend one early morning Guided Reading session lying face-down on the floor screaming “PLEASE STOP THE PAKISTANI INVASION! PLEASE STOP THE PAKISTANI INVASION!” in a school that was probably made up of a good 60-70% of ethnic minority children, and the kid who liked to tear down wall displays, run out of the classroom and climb trees. It’s amusing now. It was less amusing at the time, and it should be pretty obvious that those kids have no place in mainstream education.
Also at the school, I went through an OfSTED inspection, where the school was judged to be “failing”. This is because it was judged on the same criteria as schools in affluent areas and therefore, unsurprisingly, came up somewhat short. I was referred to as “inadequate” by a person who had spent approximately ten minutes watching me teach, and I knew that I had to get out.
Fortunately, an ideal excuse for getting out came along in the form of PAX East in Boston, MA. I had never been to Boston, and I had never been to a video game convention. This was also going to be an opportunity to meet a huge number of the Squadron of Shame members face-to-face for the first time. I wasn’t about to pass that up, so I bought a ticket even before I’d quit my job.
I quit said job just in time to avoid having to go on a residential trip with the kids I’d come to resent so much and spent a blissful few days amongst my fellow nerds at PAX East and can honestly say that there are few occasions that I’ve ever felt happier than when I was there with my “people”. I wished it could go on forever, but sadly it couldn’t. And things were only going to get worse from hereon.
I worked for a few scattered days doing supply teaching, but wasn’t enjoying it at all, least of all the whole “get up early just in case there’s any work” arrangement, where every day led to the weighing up of emotional wellbeing and financial stability.
In late April, I turned 29. I was not in a good place mentally, so I didn’t feel much like celebrating at the time. I still don’t. Then in early May, everything changed. The one thing I thought I could count on—my home life, my marriage, the love I had—went away. There were many reasons for this and at this point it doesn’t do anyone any good to assign “blame” either way because things on both sides led to this point. I wish they hadn’t, but it seems that some things are supposed to happen, however painful they are.
And painful it was. The experience damn near destroyed me. I had whole days where I was completely unable to function. I had plenty of times when I wished everything would just go away, that I wouldn’t have to face these things any more. I went through all the however-many-stages-of-grief-there-are several times and am still jumping back and forth between them now. I resented everyone who told me that it would “just make me stronger” and put on a brave face for the public (and this blog, which I kept plugging away at even through those dark times) but appreciated those people who showed themselves to be true friends more than they could ever realise.
And all through this I was no closer to finding a job. I interviewed for a job I didn’t want and did well (though didn’t get it) and for a job I really did want and didn’t get that either. Eventually, the money ran out and I found myself having to move back home, an act which however you dress it to me and however necessary it was still feels like a punch in the face every time I wake up of a morning.
The holiday season came, and I spent it in the States with my brother and the rest of my family. This turned out to be a positive move, as I had the opportunity to meet up with a bunch of people and do what is commonly referred to as “professional networking”. I scored some freelance work out of the whole arrangement—freelance work that pays money, even.
Then I came home to discover a huge bill from the taxman thanks to some uncompleted self-assessment forms which I had no idea I was supposed to do and a podcast to edit whose audio files were ruined beyond repair. A final slap in the face from a shitty year? Let’s hope so.
During 2010, despite all this, I made some great friends through the #oneaday initiative, through Kombo.com, through The Big Pixels and through Twitter. I also successfully completed the Couch 2 5K running challenge, and have posted every day since the 19th of January on this blog. Those parts of the year I wouldn’t change. The rest can go F itself in the B.
2011 has a lot for me to look forward to. More freelance work, which I really enjoy, even the rewrites. The all-new One A Day Project, which I’m doing my best to co-ordinate. Hopefully a full-time job. And I’m praying for a lift out of the black pit that I’ve been sporadically stuck in since May. Can you be sporadically stuck in something?
Tonight I’m going down to Southampton to spend New Year’s Eve with one of those true friends I mentioned earlier. 2010, I shan’t be sorry to see you leave. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
Actually, do. I’ve installed a spike on it, at just about ass-level. I hope you enjoy it. You cunt.