I cut myself a lot of slack this year, by not telling anyone my New Year’s Resolutions and therefore creating no audience for my failures. I am cutting myself further slack by not giving up on those resolutions that I have lapsed upon. We have, after all, had a house move which took place within a month of the decision to move and it has been a somewhat chaotic house move at that.
I did however think it was appropriate to assess how I was doing at this stage. You'll have to excuse the irritating nature of my resolutions, but I am a very irritating person.
1. Buy No More Clothes. This was an environmental, ethical, financial, feminist and practical resolution. I was determined to keep my old clothes going as long as possible by mending and re-enforcing them, and that any new clothes I needed I would make myself.
Two lapses, both relating to the fact that I realised that I’ll probably be going to a Christening later this spring, don’t have anything suitable to wear and am unlikely to be able to create an entire outfit from scratch given everything else that is going on. Both purchases from eBay however, and buying second-hand is undoubtedly more environmentally friendly than making something from a new, freshly processed, bit of fabric. And it didn’t cost much.
However, I am quite determined to make things in the future. The environmental and ethical impact of the fashion industry bother me, but also, like a lot of people who with non-standard proportions and very little money to spend, I struggle to find things which fit, are affordable and which are to my tastes. Basically I'm just bitter.
Ideally, I would like to be able to adjust and jazz up secondhand things, but I'm not that hot a seamstress yet, I need to get my skills up to scratch. And we need to do some more tidying up around here before I have the space to work on that.
2. Buy No More Prepared Cosmetic Products etc.. For similar reasons as above. Fed up of getting through plastic bottles of lotions and potions full of lots of different chemicals I don’t know the source of. And itching. Was very fed up of itching.
This was fairly easy as I had already started in the autumn. Still having baths, still washing my hair and I am still perfectly fragrant. Just without the soap, shampoo, shower gel, cleanser, moisturiser etc., etc.. The only prepared cosmetic product I use now is my Lush solid deodorant as I cannot finally do away with the fear of smelling like a human being.
I shall have to write another post about my now disgusting standards of personal hygiene, but this is going perfectly well.
3. Buy No More Chocolate that’s not Fair Trade. This was partly an attempt to eat less chocolate, partly to improve my ethical behaviour.
This hasn’t gone so well. The first lapse was when my mother had some Thorntons chocolates and offered me one or two. It would have been positive antisocial and bad for my mother’s health if I had no obliged (since she would have eaten them all). The second lapse was with my Gran’s birthday approaching and not having had the opportunity or motivation to think up anything original to get her. So chocolate it had to be. I looked all over the internet to buy a box of Fair Trade chocolates – which are available of course, and not particularly expensive really. Only everywhere I looked, in order to get them quickly, I would have been paying as much in postage as I would for the chocolates. And I needed to post them once they got to me.
Time was running out, I was putting an order in for Tescos – which do stock Divine Fair Trade chocolate but didn’t have a box available on the on-line supermarket – so I bought some Lindt truffles instead. I should have gone to the Ethical Superstore, where I have gone before and which would have only charged a few quid postage, but somehow this possibility escaped me.
4. Eat less. Well, you know I’m conflicted about my weight, but I am also a bit fed up of being tubby. Any excess weight is bound to be adding some strain to my already strained system. If I don't make some effort, it is never going to go away.
I am eating less, but don’t appear to be shrinking. Still, if I am to lose weight, it is going to happen very slowly. It is not as if I overeat, or comfort-eat or anything like that and my weight has been stable - stable and heavy - for a long time. I just don’t burn anything off because I get far below average amounts of exercise and although I eat less than average too, I didn't when my activity levels first dropped off the radar. I need to very carefully work out what it is I can eat so I can lose my excess without adding to my fatigue and weakness. It is going to be very slow and I am going to shut up about it now and try not to mention it again.
I guess I resent the part of me who wants to lose weight; I can remember, following drug-induced obesity, being overjoyed to have got down to the size I am now. But I also resent being this heavy given that I don't eat much and when, if I was well, I could just go for a good long walk a couple of times a week and be back to a healthy weight within six weeks. Ho hum, such is life, guess I'll have to bite the low-calorie bullet and see how it goes.
5. Read and Review at least One Book Every Month. I felt guilty about the increasing "To Read" pile. I also wanted to be more disciplined about time spent on passive activities away from the computer and to remind myself what other people's books are like. At the same time, I didn't want to do what I tend to do which is not to read anything for weeks and weeks and then get completely distracted reading three books in a row and not getting anything else done in the meantime.
I managed January, just, but February has been complete chaos; there are very few non-essential objectives I have met this month, so I think I get the month off. I find it quite difficult to read when I'm working on my book - which is, of course, my main goal in life right now - but one book a month would probably be about right.
Unfortunately the next book on the pile is Jude the Obscure. Groan.
6. Be More Disciplined about Time Keeping. This started out as quite a complex resolution, with all sorts of things I would attempt to do a little bit of every day.
Naturally, the fact we decided to move within the first few days of the New Year put the kibosh on this for a while, but am beginning to get back into it now. I want to be able to do all the things I want to do, without becoming completely distracted and then completely exhausted by one particular project or actvity. The more different things I do, the happier and more productive I am. Spending time doing crafty things or music helps me concentrate better on my writing. Only, this does require significant discipline and pacing, including resting properly between every ten or fifteen minutes activity. Which is incredibly tedious, and thus requires effort.
7. Be More Open about My Sexuality. My sexuality is really not a big deal, but it has been a thorn in my side because I am always afraid of how people might react to it – which makes me rather inhibited, in my writing especially, for fear that it should slip out by accident.
Alexander has rocked my position on this, such that I fell right off. Not because Alexander has any more than whatever percentage chance a person has of happening to be queer, but because the possibility that he could be or else might be a straight boy who doesn’t like cricket (does happen) – and the possibility that he might be made to feel as I was made to feel, makes me feel very sad and angry. He won’t, of course, his parents being somewhat groovier than mine and him growing up now, post Section 28, where things are moving steadily towards equity. However, I do have a responsibility to set an example, to be happy with myself the way I am. That way, at the very least Alex will grow up with an example of someone who is confident in her difference, so that he too may be confident in his difference (after all, we are all a bit different).
This resolution has been a tremendous success. I started by subjecting you guys to my tales of teenage angst – tales which I haven’t quite got to the end of yet, you’ll be deeply depressed to learn. This was a real release for me; it was terrifying in ways it really ought not to have been, but now out there, well phew! You didn't all run away in disgust, surprisingly enough.
Then earlier this month I managed to tell my mother in quite explicit terms that I was bisexual (explicit as in such that there could be no misinterpretation, although I didn't use the word bisexual; I don't like the word in any case). It was a split-second decision really, in the context of a conversion about Boudica and the Iceni as it happens (don't ask, I'm not really sure how it came out myself). And there it was. Out. I feel sure she already knew, and I knew deep down she wouldn’t freak out, love me any less or anything like that. But I feel much better because I don’t have to worry about her ever finding out by accident any more.
So in conclusion, not a bad start considering how chaotic things have been. None of my resolutions will be abandoned at this stage. See how I managed with the next two months.