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The Truth About 2016 And What I Learnt From It.

West Yorkshire, UK 02/01/2017
Everyone agrees that 2016 was a bloody terrible year. UK politics are all over the shop, wars are destroying countries and somehow a bright orange, hate spouting misogynist has managed to swindle his way into the white house. Oh, and not to mention David Bowie died which is most definitely the worst thing to happen to humanity since Jamie Oliver got rid of Turkey Twizzlers.

Last year was quite the shitstorm. 

My safe haven, home with my family.

Personally, last year is a bit of a mixed bag. While I achieved some great things, the general feeling of last year was an unhappy one. I've taken some quite big knocks this year and been through some difficult times. Every time I thought I was coming out the other side, there'd be another obstacle to smack me back down again. Like my dad says "if I didn't have bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."

I don't want to go into too much detail on everything for respect of people's privacy. That and, because, in all honesty, some things feel too raw. But I do want to share some aspects because I've learned from them. They've made me stronger. Wiser. Grateful.

I could have let this year break me, but I didn't. And I'm so, so proud of that. 
Seeing in the new year with the loves of my life.

I got burgled

Technically this happened at the back end of 2015. I'm including it here because the trauma of that lingered for the first few months of 2016.

Around 9pm, mid December 2015, a man walked the perimeter of my home peering into every window. He heard the noise of drunken students in the kitchen; oblivious to the snooper, drinking, shouting, playing ring of fire. We were preparing for a housemate's 21st birthday and would have left the house by eleven thirty.

Somewhere inbetween that time and two thirty, he had found his way into the house, ransacked each and every bedroom and made his way out the house in under ten minutes. He even had the cheek to use our backpacks to carry our stuff.

It took him ten minutes to steal from us, it took me four months to move on from it.

I don't remember finding out. I have vague memories of running around the house to ask people if they had their laptops. I have a vague memory of crying and screaming at my dad on the phone. I have a vague memory of shaking as we sat in the living room, watching this man stalking outside our house on CCTV. I have a strong memory of the violation I felt. I have a strong memory of laughing and joking with my housemates, grateful for the strength of their friendship.
There's a few more of these babes but I can't find an appropriate picture.

After a while, I came to accept the burglary. I'd lost a material possession which I knew I wouldn't be able to replace and that was annoying. But it wasn't the end of the world. I was just grateful that none of my housemates had been home. The thought of that makes me feel sick to my core. Yet whilst I had rationalized the situation, I still struggled to understand my conflicting emotions. On one hand, I was so angry that this person had the audacity to steal from me. On the other, I couldn't shift the pity I felt for him.

Long story short, (and this has been bloody lengthy hasn't it? Whoops.) I ended up working with a prison rehabilitation charity. The whole concept behind their work is to connect victims and offenders. The hope is that it would allow offenders to understand the impact of their crimes and give the victims closure. I never got to meet my offender in person, largely due to time restraints (Prison transfers, hectic university schedule etc). However, it really helped to have an impartial person to talk to and to hear the offender's apology. Without the charities help, I do think it would have taken me longer to come to terms with the ordeal. They helped me to understand my emotions and realise that I wasn't pathetic for pitying my burglar. If anything, the burglar's apology to me only made me feel more valid in my sympathy. They didn't have to agree to communicate and there was nothing in it for them (the charity did not have anything to do with parole). They chose to take responsibility for their actions and the hurt they caused and apologized for it. With that, I finally got closure.

TLDR: was burgled, really shook me up, felt angry and sorry, worked with a rehabilitation charity, got an apology, got closure. Realized I am an awesome, compassionate, empathetic human who can go through trauma and still think of others first. 

There was an accident

This is the one that I won't be going in to with much detail. One, because it makes me far too emotional to think about, let alone write about. Secondly, because they are not the type of person for self-pity and soppiness. Buy them a pint instead. But basically, there was a major accident and a very close family member almost died. Ugh, writing that made me physically wretch. 

I still remember receiving the phonecall; the tremble of my hand, the strength of my mums voice as she tried to console me. The wine that was meant to console me but only made me sob harder. The train journey home to the hospital and how every smiling person made me want to scream in their face. What was there to smile about when my world had just been turned on its head?

Everything's ok now. The NHS were absolutely fantastic and I cannot praise them enough. Things still aren't perfect, but they're fixable. I just feel very lucky to still have them with me and extremely grateful to the medical care they received. This year I realised how much my family means to me. Sometimes I think we can be complacent and take them for granted but when you're faced with the reality of losing them....well, I can't even bare thinking about it. I've learnt to cherish them more.

Fuck. I'm so grateful for this one I've got gratitude shining out my arse. 
One of the most inpsiring and kind women I have the pleasure to call my friend!

I got dumped 

I didn't see it coming.

It was the morning following last day of term. The last day of term of my entire undergraduate degree. I was still hazy in the hangover of the night before. The last Ocean (Nottingham students know) of my entire life and probably the last time I'd be with every single one of my university friends ever again. It was a glorious night, and my hangover was twinged with happy tears and vodka still running through my system.

I didn't expect him to come round. My housemate let him in. 'What a sweet boyfriend, checking up on me', I thought.

Then he dumped me.

I was foggy with the remnants of alcohol, he was evasive in his message. I didn't understand, I pushed him for answers. He muttered something about long distance, it wouldn't work. He muttered something about drunk sex, he mentioned something about my weight gain (that still stings) and said he needed time to think.

He left. I never saw him again.

The first two weeks had a lot of tears and a lot of self-medicating. I became that classic cliched stereotype of the 'psycho ex-girlfriend' constantly texting or phoning him. All I wanted was answers, to be freed from this agonising limbo. He ignored all my messages. I only grew more frantic. By this point I didn't even want him, I just wanted some closure. He didn't have the guts to give me that. 

A year and a half relationship with someone... and they ghosted me.
James and I. Nottingham's finest Classics graduates.

That really stung. He eventually did officially end things, over WhatsApp may I add, but the whole thing really broke me for a while. I was upset that we were over, but more hurt by the way he ended it. I've never experienced such hurt than when I realized that brutal truth: I'd loved someone wholeheartedly for a year and a half and they'd been looking for the exit route. Uni was over and I'd served my purpose, I was the university girlfriend, a simple bit of convenience. I never really meant anything.

That stung for a bit. It made me feel worthless and stupid and completely unlovable. I've spoken about my past experience with MH and relationships. I could rationalize how the previous ones treated me, they weren't good people but he... he was good. He was supposed to be the good one. He was supposed to want me and he didn't. That really made me spiral into a pit of self-hate that I'm only just crawling out of.

Mostly, I'm hurt and embarrassed. I'm ashamed that I may have spent a year and a half fawning over someone who never really liked me that much anyway. I gave away my whole self to that relationship but I wasn't good enough. 

But it's ok now. I've mourned that relationship and I've remembered its flaws. Hindsight is a beautiful thing but there were issues I chose not to see, times I didn't see my own worth. I've learned from those mistakes. I've learned what I deserve.

I am a beautiful woman (regardless of the weight gain). I am a clever woman and should not be patronized. I am an unapologetically political woman. I am proud to be working class. I am not a burden. I am not stupid for being emotional. I am not lazy for being a homebody. I demand communication. I demand respect. I demand time.  I deserve to be with someone who really loves me, not someone who wants me for the short term. The ending of this relationship will not change me. I will go into the future and continue to love wholeheartedly and unashamedly. 

Em aka love of my life & Alec's head.

It wasn't all bad.

I promise! 

I finished my dissertation and essay work after hours of torturous days in the library with my friend Anya. I even scored a respectable 68%. That seems to be my lucky number because... I graduated with a 68% too! Yep, I am Rebeca Marano, proud owner of a upper 2.1 (hons) in Classical Civilisation. I really smashed it out of the park. With everything going on this year and pretty piss poor mental health, I questioned whether I'd even graduate but I did. I'm in awe of how amazing I've done really. I am a strong, capable woman who can get shit done even when times seem impossible! BOSS.

Here are some happy things: 

Making amazing friends that I will love and cherish for life. Boating on the lake with Alec, Anya and Em after our final exam, drinking prosecco as we crashed into the island. Throwing the Eurovision party for my Derby Hall buddies, screaming obsentities at the screen whenever any country dared not to give the UK points. Being part of the Greek Drama group and meeting some amazing human beings. Attending the graduate balls (yes there was two) with the beautiful, intelligent women I have had the pleasure of living with these past three years: Anna, Courtney, Katy and Rachel. Seeing the Libertines at Rock City. Seeing Foals at Rock City. Being published in the Nottingham Post, LeftLion and Parallel Magazine. Being Young Reporter for Theatre Cloud. I got a job after university. Very, nearly almost clearing my overdraft. Seeing Frozen on Ice. Seeing Frankie Cosmos with Georgia. Attending Harry's posh birthday party and infamous wine and cheese nights. Being a group facilitator  for Student Minds. Drinking Pimms with Alice and Anna. Cutting my hair off. Going to Glastonbury with all my university loves, seeing Tame Impala live, discovering Christine and the Queens, falling in love with an old friend. Graduating with my family and my auntie Julie there to watch me. Graduating alongside my first uni best friend, James. Eating my body weight at Annies Burger Shack. Getting sloshed on my birthday with all my best friends. Starting driving lessons, finally! Seeing in the new year with my favourite people on earth.

2016, you've been a bit of a bugger but you've made me strong. 2017... I'm ready for ya.

COME ON 2017 IF YA THINK UR HARD ENUF.

becks xx

13 comments

  1. Girl, that's some tough shit you've had to deal with! But I'm SO glad you've come out of it knowing how smart, beautiful and all round awesome you are!

    I also graduated in 2016 and know how it feels to be struggling with the last year of uni and MH problems at the same time. It's really hard and I didn't think I'd make it either but it just makes me even more proud of myself for achieving what I did under extra tough conditions - I hope you feel the same.

    All the best for 2017!

    Shannon x

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  2. Jeez that's some year to have been through! Well done on graduating with such a good result :) Hope 2017 will be a great year for you!

    Tom
    The Yorkshire Gentleman

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  3. Sounds like 2016 really put you through the ringer. Well done for getting through it. I loved reading your affirmations about being strong and beautiful - we all need to remind ourselves of these facts sometimes! Xx

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  4. 2016 certainly sounded like a rough one. You are beautiful, don't let anyone ever tell you different. <3

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  5. I'm so sorry you had to go through those crappy moments, but I'm so happy you've come from those with the best attitude. Great post, wishing you all the best for 2017 you deserve it :)

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  6. Wow wow wow, your writing never fails to amaze me, your posts are always so well written and captivating. You've dealt with some horrible things, you're so strong and brave for doing so, it's really inspiring. I'm really happy to know you had so many positive moments in 2016 as well, it made me feel really warm inside and I hope you have the best 2017!:) x
    Becky Shannon xx - Life-by-Becky

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  7. Wow 2016 threw a lot at you! Well done for coming out the other side stronger X

    xMeganLisa.wordpress.com

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  8. 2016 was tough on you but thank you for being honest about it all. Especially the break up, I think that's very courageous and I'm glad you've realised your worth. I hope 2017 is great - and well done on the degree result!

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