Love, Loss and Covid

So as you know by now, I took an unintentional break from the blog as its been a tough few months and I kind of lost my inspiration. On the spur of the moment I decided to write the post about my vaccination experience and my experience being disabled during Covid. It was a brief interaction with the lovely Luisa Christie (find her on Insta here) that really brought it on - she shared something on her story about Covid and I mentioned wanting to write something on it but not put people off getting vaccinated, then the next moment I was writing. After a drought of nearly a year it felt so good to be typing away again. I've still been active on social media but I just lost my spark a little here - so much happened last year and it was a real storm and I just wasn't ready to come back here but I think I finally am.

So first of all, lets catch up.

Last year was a really tough year for so many of us, with lockdowns, losses, work life, even losing jobs, and finding a new balance with things. Its taken me a long time to work out what kind of balance I want in my life, I have also changed a lot as a person in the last few months so taking a step back for me was probably healthy to re-evaluate what I want to do with my life and who I want to be.

I'm still me, still the rambling writer who finds herself a little amusing even if nobody else does. I just had a lot of change and a lot of time to think about who I want to be and who I am, as well as the people I want to spend my time with.

At the beginning of last year, before all this began I thought I was really onto something with someone, I thought we were clicking and I thought that might be it. It had felt like it was a long time coming at that point but it wasn't meant to be, and I now realise that that's ok. It took me time to heal and learn from it all and I tell you now, that Taylor Swift album (Folklore) gave me all the feels. I was so into that album, and when she released a second one (Evermore) I was totally on board. It helped me through so many feelings - not just about that situation but losses, grief and some patches of darkness too. It was the perfect album to get me through, and from what I saw on social media it helped a lot of other people too. It was perfect timing. 

I've reached that point in my 20's that I kind of want things in my life to have true meaning - not an in between or a will they wont they situation. I just want it to be somewhat straightforward. I know life is never that simple but I just don't want complicated anymore. It would just be nice to love and be loved - but time will tell on that and I'm happy plodding on as I am for now. I like who I've become and that's what matters more than any relationship I might have. My relationship with myself has become strong, I know who I am and what I want. I have great friendships and the family that count are wonderful. 

I have missed my friends immensely, every single day and I still do. But I also kept in touch with different people and rebuilt some bridges too in the last year. Its not perfect and there are still people who I'd like to reconnect with but I know some things are set in the past. 

Two of my absolute best friends who help me through

My mental health suffered for a time, I went through some dark patches where I wasn't doing so well. As of right now though I'm coping, if a little nervous about the future with everything still going on.

I evaluated a lot in the last year - having a lot of time alone leaves you with a lot of time to think. I didn't always like who I was, and when I look back I am not so proud of who I was when I was in my college years. I have some great memories but also some that spoil it - all I can say is it made me a better person today because I know that's not who I want to be and I'd like to think I'd handle things better if I did it now. I've thought a lot about that. 

Throwback to 2012, Baby Nici at a Taking Hayley gig - a good memory from that time at college.

I had some rough patches with my Fibromyalgia, and other health issues. My conditions seem to have advanced and my medical treatment has been a little off course, with Covid most things haven't happened. An investigation that began over two years ago, I finally have an appointment again for nearly a year after the last one. Its been really hard having a disability when the world closed off, not only is the isolation difficult, but losing access to important medical treatment has been to the detriment of so many disabled and chronically ill people - not just myself. Never mind access to care for many. 

I fell over because of my Fibromyalgia in my house last year, spent a few hours in A&E, ended up with 5 stitches and a pretty ugly scar. That's the first time I've ever had stitches and it sucked! They did not want to stay in whatsoever, so it didn't heal the best way and I spent a few weeks with a very sore knee. But I've started to embrace the scar and won't be covering it up constantly - its a part of me now. 

I turned 26, and in a few months I'll be 27, I had a bit of a panic last year about aging and being closer to 30 than 20, but I think that's normal and a lot of people have anxiety around it. It was a pretty weird birthday still unable to see people - and knowing someone I loved very much was very sick. 

Managed to grab a cocktail on my birthday

Giant birthday cookie one of my wonderful friends sent me 

I've spent a lot of time in my own head, and a lot of time sad, and disconnected. Last year I lost one of the most prominent people in my life - a person who has always been there for me through everything, someone who meant the world to me. It was crushing. I imagined they'd be with me for many more years, many more milestones, and many more memories. None of that happened and now I face a future without them - but I do my best to honour them every day. 

The person I lost was my Nan, and I miss her all the time. She was a huge part of my life from the moment I was born and she used to call me her daughter too, amongst calling me my Mom's name before my own when she wanted me. Its a loss I think I'll always feel.

My Nan, having a coffee at one of her favourite spots

My Nan was the most wonderful human being, she was funny, loving, she was there for you through anything, she didn't mind my colourful hair - in fact she used to ask what I was going to do to it next. She loved a glass of gin, couldn't drive a mobility scooter (the amount of times she ran into me!), she knew me so well, and always treated me like her own child. I am eternally grateful for her and the connection we had. I'll always be sad though that it was cut too short for my liking.

My Nan's Birthday 2019

My mental health took a turn after she passed away and I sought help from my GP, and took some time away from my job to handle it. It was the best thing I could have done at that time as it gave me the time to process, if not grieve fully with the situation going on behind closed doors. 

I took a lot of time away from my public social media accounts, because I just didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to be. I couldn't talk about what I wanted to talk about, and I couldn't express myself. I broke down and left the space kind of empty for a while. 

As I was trying to cope with this and the many complications that came with it, including disgraceful behaviour from family members - it came to Christmas and it was hard. Then new year things got harder still. 

I lost another member of my family, I couldn't believe it and it still doesn't feel real. They weren't old enough, they weren't here long enough, I wasn't ready, none of us were ready. It wasn't fair, but none of this last year has been fair or easy. 

The second person I lost was my uncle, he was my absolute favourite uncle, he was there when you needed him and asked for nothing in return. He was kind, thoughtful, and would do anything for anyone. When I moved house (twice) he was there helping me out. He even carried an antique wardrobe on top of his car to my new house, it was swaying the car and the passengers were terrified - it was the funniest thing watching them try and get this bulky thing into a tiny bungalow - then a month later me and my Mom smashed it to bits with hammers because it was too big for the room (I tried to give it away for free and nobody wanted it - not even the charity shops). We joked about it a lot, it even came up with my cousins partner after the funeral. Its a memory that sounds mundane but I treasure it. He was my handyman, he put the poles up for my curtains, fixed my bed when it broke (it had been held up by blocks for 2 years before I moved) and was always around to help. I always meant to get him something nice as a thank you, and I never got there. I miss him, his sense of humour, and his kindness.

Me and my Uncle at my Dad's wedding

Both losses are hard to bear, and not being able to be with family during it all has been tough. I'm thankful that my Dad and Step Mom are a call away, I can spend time with my Mom whenever (she's been my bubble) and me and my sister can natter for hours on the phone.

As mentioned in my last post, I've now been vaccinated against Covid, which is a relief, it seems like the beginning of the end of all this. But I'm not rushing back into the world, it'll be baby steps for me and many people with disabilities. I do look forward to a socially distanced pint one day soon though.

I also recently completed on the purchase of a house, I won't go into too much detail but I've in part bought my grandparents house and I'm excited for the future and to give it a new lease of life. I think my grandparents would be happy its still in the family, I'm happy that its not going anywhere and no amount of spiky, nasty floral named people can take it, or anything about it away now.

So to end, there's most definitely a positive there - the house is an exciting new chapter. We are leaving lockdown bit by bit and hopefully we will stay out of it as more people get vaccinated. I'm looking forward to seeing friends, drinking cocktails, sitting in the sunshine this Summer, and seeing what happens next.

I just wanted to talk to you, those who read this little blog and say thank you for sticking with me. Its been a hell of a year. More hell than you could imagine but I'm on my way out of it, and Digbeth Dining is calling me, to meet my friends and keep a bit of a distance but re-join the world, slowly but surely. I just hope my disabled and chronically ill friends have those opportunities to get out and see people in the not too distant future too - stay safe, think of others, and take care. 

If there are any kinds of posts you'd like to see here in the coming months, please send me a message on Instagram or Twitter and I'll see what I can do. This is my space, but its also here for you. So please let me know.

Nici x

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