I believe that attempting to force restart your life 6 days after Christmas when you’ve probably got a tax return to start is a bad idea. Setting New Year Resolutions is setting yourself up for anxiety leading to depression. Unless, oddly, that’s your resolution but then if you fail and become depressed aren’t you nailing it so…? Anyway, I used to buy into this concept until I saw it simply wasn’t working for me. “This year I’m losing weight! … I’m not loosing weight yet … Well I’m just a big fat fail whale … binge eat time” Maybe it works for you. There’s 8 billion variations on what it is to be human and so it is entirely possible resolutions work for some. For me, no.
Instead I set a theme for the year. A guiding idea to give focus without causing anxiety and depression. Previous themes have included;
- 2021 – Year of something else
- 2022 – Year of courage and connection
The ‘Year of something else’ meant that if I got to 31st December 2021 and I had read a new book, been somewhere new, tried a new beer, attempted to manage depression in a different way, any of those things then 2021’s theme had been useful.
2022’s ‘Year of courage and connection’ was… tricky. Had I have gone for ‘Year of courage’ I’d have been fine. In 2022 I wore my old clothes and presented as boring old masculine me maybe twice, in the UK. Ignoring issues in Croatia I wore my new non-binary wardrobe every day. Skirts, bold tights, blue lipstick, nail polish and I got better at eye liner. I even wore a dress on the hottest day of the year to walk to the lake I swim in. I got some looks but c’mon, it was 35 degrees c. I needed something light to wear. I had moments where I wasn’t courageous. Moments where fear took hold and I did retreat. Some were due to autistic overload. For all my good intentions I forget that I have a limited amount of resources, different to others, that can sometimes be used up by 9am. Suddenly an activity I enjoy becomes a waking nightmare. A year of forgiveness would be healthy.
The ‘connection’ side of my theme feels, and this could be my depression trying to claw its way out, like a failure. My Twitch stream failed to grow in 2022. Eventually quit because I wasn’t growing my audience and often streaming to no-one. In a way it’s all practice for when you have an audience but my word it is soul crushing for someone like me. It’s a shame because Twitch has a wonderfully diverse community. While I’m no public speaker I found I could happily chat to people in a way that I can’t do in the real world. Twitch enabled me whereas chatting in a bar disables me. While I found joy in that I lack the ability to build a community. Connecting with people is not in my wheelhouse. I can happily chat about special interests but building and growing connections? That does not come naturally to me.
Depression loves events like that. “Oh I’m failing at this… and this… and also this… and I’ll die alone.” So you should counteract it with evidence to the contrary. Unfortunately I could put this newsletter in there next to Twitch. I have all the technical ability to create but lack the “human” ability to connect. Both Twitch and HelloComputer failed to grow in the slightest in 2022. Completely my failings.
I have to stop there before I work myself into a depression. Instead let’s just accept that there are problems to look into. Depression is at its worst when it preys on your fears. These are hopefully fixable problems given the time and tools.
“The year of courage and connection.” These yearly themes aren’t supposed to be something you can fail at, to purposefully avoid triggering depression. I was courageous but did I fail at connecting? Maybe, in some areas, but not in others. I connected to a train wifi that took me to Paris which meant I could connect with people in Paris. I connected with a new client in 2022. Also I connected with the queer community in a way I never have before because the word ‘queer’ was never a part of me until recently. In 2022 I was at times courageous and connected. Year, done.
Year of Queer
2023. Year. Of. Queer.
I decided that in 2023 I would like to learn more about queerness. I spent a portion of 2022 trying to learn what the queer gaze in photography is. I’m comfortable enough with the word that I would happily describe myself as queer. There’s a sticker on my laptop that says “Queer all year!” by the artist Sophie Green. I would like to learn more. My understanding is that ‘queer’ is more than sexual orientation. If I had to explain it… I can’t? For some it is all about sexual orientation and for others it’s about being different. Well this newsletter is all about being different so it seems like a good theme for the year.
Would you like to know more?
- 9 LGBTQ+ People Explain How They Love, Hate, and Understand the Word “Queer”
- What Does the Word “Queer” Actually Mean? Experts Explain Its History
- Queer Definition: What It Means to Be Queer For 11 Young People