2014: Selfies, Dungarees, Undergrad Degrees

2014: Selfies, Dungarees, Undergrad Degrees

It seems that around this time of year, everything starts being retrospective. Things we achieved this year, failures we want to rectify next year — and I’m no exception. This is going to be less thorough than last year’s ‘Retrospect and Reminiscing’ series, which covered 2013 in serious detail, but hopefully it’ll provide enough of an overview.

A lot has changed this year, and I’ve had to deal with a lot. Leaving school is a fairly major change for everybody, and I’ve found it quite a lot to cope with. But here I am. I made it.

1797992_10204642349651623_6956651224345310210_nPlus, I own 100% more dungarees than I did at the beginning of the year, so this is an Improvement.

Academic achievements

Academic things sort of dominated this year. In January I was offered a place at Cambridge University provided I got the grades. Despite serious health issues, I took my A-Levels, achieved AAAB, and started studying Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge in October. It’s been a challenge, but that’s what university’s meant to be, right?

20140323_155424Health

My health hasn’t been great recently. In January, after a school trip to Paris, I got seriously ill and spent a lot of the month not making it through school. Various illnesses, flare-ups of my wrist problems, and poor mental health meant I missed quite a lot of school. In about April we found out I was pretty seriously anaemic, and going on iron supplements honestly felt like coming to life again — it made such a difference. My anxiety has been a constant theme throughout the year, and I finally went on medication for it towards the end of the year. I’ve yet to find out if the meds will have any effect beyond making me ill and exhausted all the time.

Performance

Due to my wrist problems, music has been less a part of my life this year, with very little ensemble or solo playing. I did take up the lever harp, although I’m still not very good at it, and began to resume playing fiddle when I joined the ceilidh band at university. From January, I took singing lessons in order to perform in my A2 Music recital in March; I’ve continued singing at university, mostly as part of the folk society.

Ballet has continued to be a theme. I danced the role of the Cat in my ballet school’s production of Peter and the Wolf, and I was also one of the dance students in our school production of Fame, my first time performing in the musical for several years, since more recently I’ve been in the band. I’ve joined the ballet club at university, and I’ll be dancing one of the ‘merry friends’ in Coppelia in February.

I also briefly resumed Irish dance at university, but it aggravated old injuries, so won’t be a lasting hobby. Alas.

Learning to wear makeup was traumatic.
Learning to wear makeup was traumatic.

Writing

Not quite as intense as the first half of 2013, writing was a challenge for me because of the constraints on my time and also my ability to type. However, I managed to write the third and fourth drafts of The Quiet Ones, plus first drafts of Butterfly of Night and Bloodied Wings (both part of a trilogy about assassins). I’m currently working on the second draft of Bloodied Wings, after which I intend to return to book one.

I also self-published three poetry collections, which was a terrifying but exciting step to take. Perhaps because I convinced people to buy Crossroads Poetry as a birthday present to me, it sold the most copies; Broken Body Fragile Heart has had really positive reviews, although it was very scary to publish because it’s so personal to me.

Blogging

I’ve been blogging here and at YAvengers, where I write posts under the persona of Iron Man. I also have a book blog called Miriam Joy Reads, but my consistency posting there has been … pretty rubbish.

The year got off to a frightening start as I came out publicly on my blog. In March, I moved from a WordPress.com blog to a self-hosted WordPress.org site, which was designed for me by my friend John, so it’s been an adjustment period as I tried to build up a readership again. It also means my stats are disrupted, and I can only tell you which posts were most popular from March onwards.

The top five posts on my blog were:

  1. Loki, Gender and Costume Design in Thor: The Dark World — Written in November 2013, this has a lot of hits from Tumblr, where every now and again it’ll be shared by someone and I’ll have an influx of viewers. Sometimes they come from Twitter instead. It’s had about ten times the views of any other individual post since I started this blog.

  2. Fact-Checking, ‘Vikings’ Style — Fandom posts, understandably, get a lot of hits. This is from March, so it’s had quite a few months to get hits.

  3. Flawed Heroes and Heroic Villains — This gets a lot of hits from people looking for the Tom Hiddleston quote with which I opened it. I wrote this in August 2012, but it keeps cropping up again.

  4. Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games — This was a two-part post written in September this year, so it’s the most recent of my popular posts. I’m counting it as one, because most people who read one half also read the other. I can understand the number of hits it got, as a review of a show that’s currently running, since a lot of people would have wanted to know if it was good before booking tickets.

  5. Happy New Queer — My coming out post from New Year’s Day still gets a reasonable number of hits. A funny story about this post is that one of the friends I met at university had actually read this post several months ago, before meeting me, and some time after we became friends, realised it was me.

I’m not particularly surprised by any of these, if I’m honest.

My blog has just recently began attracting new followers, as in the past month has seen a (small) influx. So welcome, and thanks for following!

20140917_190537Identity

2013 was a year of identity crises, but 2014 has continued the trend as I keep trying to figure myself out. Buying new clothes (like dungarees), cutting my hair into a new style, and making new friends as I navigate university have all been forms of figuring out who I am. Sometimes I’m still not at all sure I know, but I keep looking. Everything changes, and sometimes the floor seems to give way beneath me and everything I thought was true isn’t, but on the whole I think it’s been marginally less dramatic than last year. Maybe. Who can tell?

And I’ve taken a lot of selfies. Because these things have to happen.

IMG_20140919_000958As far as I can figure out, that’s most things of note from 2014. I’m probably going to do one more post this year, which will likely be about books — after all, I’ve read quite a few of those this year, but other than that, this is it. If you think there’s anything major that I’ve missed out from this which I should’ve mentioned, let me know in the comments! A year seems suddenly very long at the end of it, and I can hardly remember the beginning of it…

How’s your year been? Let me know in the comments!

 

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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