Hunnybee, you’ve got a big storm coming…
Where on earth should I begin? Well, perhaps, with some positive news. This year will be a great year for you in many ways, but you’ll be very depressed for a lot of it, so you won’t notice until right at the end, when you sit down to write this letter. So, good things happen, but it might take you a while to fully appreciate them, because the rest of the world is bleak as hell.
First of all, please enjoy your birthday. Treasure it. Stop waiting for your dumb boyfriend to text you back and focus on the people that are in front of you. This will be the last time you see your family for a very long time, and they’ve all gathered together in the food court at Bluewater to celebrate you, so drink that up and don’t worry about some guy that won’t matter in a few months.
Yes. The guy you thought was your soulmate is in fact just a guy, and it will all be over soon. You’ll cry about it, write songs and poems about it, and drink a lot of alcohol over it, but in the end, you survive, as usual, and you find someone much better, just like Brian said you would (I know you kept trying to be delusional about how often the nine of clubs appeared in readings, but you will in fact be meeting someone new, so don’t be stubborn!) and you will learn to trust people again. It will be difficult at first, because you’ll be anxious, you’ll overthink everything, and you’ll basically be monologuing the lyrics of If I Fell by The Beatles inside your head every time you look at him, but it will in fact be fine. Your confidence will be absolutely destroyed, I’m not going to lie to you, and it will not be helped by a disastrous attempt at online dating that makes you feel very unlovable, due to many suitors only messaging you things about your boobs, however, this mess does help you write one of your favourite songs from this year, Swipe Forever, and you eventually find someone who treats you very nicely, and makes you feel very pretty, without being vulgar af, which definitely helps with the confidence.
You do a lot of cool things this year. The thing you’ll be most proud of is a radio show called Diverse Verse. At first, you’ll think you could never be capable of creating radio content, but then you’ll realise that you’ve been making a podcast for several years, and that you do in fact got this, sis. You will meet writers from all over the world while making the show, and you will finally feel like you are really a part of the LGBT community in a meaningful way. You will also say many NSFW things on this show, and then be mortified to discover that your mother is a regular listener.
You release three records (four if you count the live album) that you’re really proud of, and a wonderful book that was pieced together from your pain but means a lot to you, as well as another that you love just as much, but wish you hadn’t delayed for stupid and sentimental reasons. Writing really saves you this year. It keeps you safe from how awful the outside world is, and you feel a much deeper connection to everything you create.
You also write your first song entirely in Spanish, which feels like a big accomplishment. Your Spanish gets a lot better with a little help from your boyfriend, who is not a teacher but is very good at keeping you focused on your studies. You also start learning Scottish Gaelic, which along with your membership of the Scottish National Party should be all you need to apply for asylum across the border when Boris finally makes England too uncomfortable for you to stay. You will be perpetually disgusted by the British Government, but you’ll have a weekly venting session on your podcast, so that helps take the edge off.
I feel I’ve gone far enough without mentioning the big thing. I’m trying to avoid it, because it is a proper downer, but I sort of have to, to be honest… Towards the end of 2019, you see some stuff in the news about a mysterious virus, and you won’t think too much about it, because you’re still depressed about the general election, but as 2020 begins, shit gets… kind of real. Slowly at first, because everyone basically pretends that it isn’t happening, including you. You are in the midst of preparing to release Deus Ex Machina, deeply considering getting a cat, and making the first steps to prepare for a tour to promote your projects. Alas, only one of these things actually goes ahead. Deus Ex Machina comes out in February, as the news warns in the background of some thing called the novel coronavirus, but you’re not quite ready to listen. So, you ignore it, as does everyone else, apparently. To be fair, the prime minister literally jokes about going into wards with patients infected with this mysterious new virus and shaking their hands, so it is actually quite easy to see why most people were unbothered. You wash your hands, as you always do, because you were raised right, and that’s all, really.
Eventually, shit does in fact get very real, in a way you can no longer avoid, when the British Government begins a national lockdown. People are told to stay at home, the shops are rushed by terrified people, toilet roll, soap, paracetamol and pasta become like gold dust, and you’re like “Um, what?” because you can’t really believe any of it is actually happening, but I can assure you, it definitely is. You start working from home, with only a walk to the park every night and the occasional trip to the shops to keep you occupied outside of day to day things, and at first, you don’t mind. You quite enjoy sleeping in because of the lack of commute. You quite enjoy being able to do all of your work from the comfort of your bed (except zoom meetings. I know you won’t know what this is yet, but it’s basically video calls, but, like, cursed), you quite enjoy being able to have biscuits whenever you want, or not having to properly dress up, but eventually, it starts to get to you. You’re lonely, you’re isolated, you’re bored, and you’re starting to be afraid of this virus, as you see death tolls rise and you watch the world change. You do, however, get lots of cuddle time with Marmalade, which helps.
Your growing dislike of being locked up at home is worsened by the fact that the government initially says it will only last twelve weeks, and then twelve weeks becomes a lot longer. It is also worsened by the fact that your relationship falls apart in front of your eyes, and you can’t do anything to stop it. You give it a really good try. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you fight for anything so hard, but some things can’t (and as you will later discover, shouldn’t) be saved. Break ups are shit, but they are even more shit when you are locked in your house and can’t go out and forget about it. You are literally just trapped with all the overthinking, self doubt, self hatred, blaming yourself, hating yourself, wishing that you could have done things differently. On top of all that, during this period, you briefly lived in a hotel for a week, because your kitchen ceiling came down and you had to move very quickly to somewhere else, with the hotel being a little stop gap. So, there we were, lonely, depressed over a break up, in the midst of a pandemic and low key homeless. What did we do? We got the fuck through it. It wasn’t easy, but we wrote our way out of it, we sang our way out of it, we cried our way out of it, and we survived. I really want you to know that we will always make it. There will be many moments, not just in 2020, but probably in the future too, where things look hopeless, but we will always make it, because the world is not done with me yet. Little Muffin certainly enjoyed our brief time living in a hotel, by the way.
You find yourself closer to God this year. It’s probably a coping mechanism, but it helps keep you sane, so I don’t think we should worry about it too much. You go to church via livestream, which is weird as fuck at first, but becomes quite cool, when you realise that you can pause church to grab drinks or have a smoke. You find a lot of happiness in writing, as I mentioned earlier. You will finally stick to writing every day, and it helps you process everything that you’re feeling, even the things you try to avoid. You miss performing, so badly. You really regret turning down performance dates offered in March, for a previous engagement that absolutely wasn’t worth it, and you spend the rest of the year kicking yourself for not having a few more time on stage before it became basically illegal.
You spend a lot of the year considering travelling Europe, which is very bad timing, considering a) the virus b) brexit, but you do make the decision that you’re going to do it anyway, even if it’s more complicated now, and you may need to wait a long time. At some point, you will indeed be Paris bound. The thought of this keeps you going through some of the more difficult parts of 2020. You spend a lot of time, lost to wanderlust, gazing lovingly at the 3D bit of google maps, exploring places you can’t wait to visit when all this mess is over. You have yet to renew your passport, by the way, but you will get on that for sure, at some point.
You do find a little inspiration from this virus mess, and like many artists this year, you create a project that directly references the horror of Covid-19, when you write Ella at The End Of The World. You have a lot of fun writing it, and it does give you an outlet when you need it most. You finally write the zombie story you’d always wanted to write, but couldn’t quite figure out, and it helps you feel a little brighter, as a difficult year rages on.
Christmas is a bit different. You don’t see many people, in a conventional way. There is a family video call, but you spend Christmas with just one of your housemates. It is different, but still fun. You drink a lot, walk to the lake and feed the ducks, and watch Jingle All The Way, while you sober up with dinner. You are currently writing this, in bed, with the electric blanket that your boyfriend got you, to keep you warm when he can’t, and while a lot of the things in your life are uncertain, and the world is a crazy mess, you know you will be okay, and that’s all you can really ask for.