2014 a Short Review

I have not blogged in almost 10 months, shocking I know. Life has been rather busy and went from being very hard to being very wonderful. I had a month of work early in the year and now I am back on track and trying to finish the PhD. I have four wonderful pets, Daisy the dog, Aslan and Willow the cats and Karl the bunny. Most importantly I have my lovely girlfriend.

 

Enough mushiness now. I am going to re-start blogging so I just wanted to start with a quick recap of the time I’ve not been blogging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Things that Made the Age of 23 Special

Next week is my birthday and I turn the grand old age of 24. So I thought that this would be the perfect time to have a look back over the previous year and what has made it special. Not that all these things were good, or fun or really interesting, but they made my 23rd year what it was and that is special in its self.

Depression: I thought I should start with this as it started very soon after my 23rd birthday and has dictated much of what has happened this year. From my relationships with people to how I look at my life and myself. This is one of the things on my list that was not in anyway pleasant but like I said it made this year what it was and I am now looking at ways to overcome it and help myself to not relapse.

Depression
Choirs: This is a wee bit of an unusual thing I guess but my year could be split into choir events and occasions with different choirs. This time last year I had just joined my first choir Songbirds. I stayed in this choir until June this year and it was a fabulous adventure which sadly ended in June this year. Songbirds helped me find my place in Cardiff and I met some truly wonderful people and found a love for singing. I tried out another choir called Affinity at the start of the year, this one wasn’t for me.  Finally in June I joined Sororitas which is my current choir. I am having a fabulous time with these ladies and I hope to be a member for along time to come. Also some of my friends and I are organising a weekly sing-song which is beginning to get of the ground.

Songbirds
Some of the Songbirds at Corals Coming Out anniversary

 

Sororitas
Sororitas girls and Chris performing at a wedding in Brecon

Friends: I have many wonderful friends both in Cardiff, Glasgow and further afield, they make everything 100% better! I also had to cut a very good friend out of my life earlier in the year when we got into an argument about equal marriage. At the time this really hurt but I now feel very liberated by it. I am very grateful for all my friends and the many adventures they bring into my life and this week I get to spend my birthday with my Life-Wife in Wales which will be exciting.

 
My Coming Out: At 23 I came out to my parents. I was like letting out a breath I had been holding for just a wee bit too long. I am very pleased I have and both sets of parents have been wonderfully supportive in the last six months. My mother and step-father have even met and really like my Lady Friend (if over skype).

 
My Lady Friend: She is pretty awesome.

My Lady Friend and I

Dating: This ended very well with lovely trips to the beach and awkward hugs with lead to myself and the LF having the “So are we dating?” conversation at midnight in Penarth. But the first half of 23 was a minefield of online dating, written courtship and bad dates. The worse being a 3 month long affair over text and internet which was going pretty well until we went on holiday together, a foolish move when I look back on it, in which I realised she was not the one for me (and that is me being nice). But I did come back from Poland with a feck load of vodka which I ended up drinking on the first date with the Lady Friend.

Work: My PhD has spent most of the last year at the forefront of my mind. Driving what I do in my life and recently what I dream about. I went to several conferences this year traveling up and down the country to talk about science. My favourite was the Human Papillomavirus Meeting in Windermere. This was a nice small meeting with a load of lovely people and I got to present my work in the conference hall (or barn) which was awesome.

Participants of the First UK HPV Meeting
Participants of the First UK HPV Meeting

Moving House: So for my 23rd year I have lived in three houses. A few weeks after I turned 23 I moved out of the student accommodation I lived in during my first year in Cardiff and moved just round the corner with Davina and Anna. This was a very nice and busy house with some great memories attached. Alot of time spent with great friends and the Lady Friend. And then in July this year I moved into a wee house with my friend Suzy. I love this little house with its kitchen/livingroom, large bookcase in the hallway and hamster in the purple cage.

So on the whole 23 has been an interesting year with alot of changes. It was wonderful!

Religious Awakening

I wrote this as part of a workshop entitled Relaxation and Reflexion. We had to look at different aspects of our character and write a piece about them. I chose to write about faith and my current understanding of my faith.

Faith

What is faith? How do people have an unquestioning hold on it and not let if float away like a name written in the sands erased by an encroaching ocean. I wish I had that kind of faith the type that is solid and unmoving that neither time nor tide could erase.

Or if you could buy it from Tesco;

“Two for one 24 hour faith. No logic required, scientifically tested in a can.”

Pure Faith.

Sadly life is not like that. Before my depression began, more than 6 months ago, it seemed simple. BANG! Fast-forward a few billion years through evolution and you find me.

Then the questions arrived like a rush of the tide from the sea. Suddenly faith sneaked in, unexpected and uninvited. It sounds crazy but I was bloody terrified, my belief or lack was stripped from me. I was sanding waiting to cross a road when the thought struck, “There might be a God?” A creator, a father, an all knowing and powerful.

Thankfully cars missed me in my slight religions haze, I should have made a cardboard sign for such occasions:

“Possible convert walking. Mildly to moderately depressed. Approach with care and send to the nearest religion institution”

I have learned from this folly and now carry a sign at all times to warn passers by of impending and occurring moments of religious awakening.

Now, six months on I am the 1 in 4. Diagnosed with a mental illness even though I consider myself physically fit and healthy. But the thoughts, questions and ideas are still there. Its up to me, crazy-but-now-medicated-me, to make sense of these thoughts. Look inside myself and out.

But one thing has come out of this so far. I’ve stopped calling myself an atheist.

Amen.