Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Claire's Review Of 2014

Hello and welcome to Claire's Review Of 2014!
<cue lots of cheering. Shoot anyone looking sad or bemused>
In the next half hour (or however long it takes you to read it) I will reveal the awards for the most outstanding contributions to the last 12 months of my life!
<cue lots of cheering. Shoot anyone leaving their seats for any reason whatsoever - even if it's to go to the toilet>
But, first of all, I have to thank Mark Zuckerberg for inventing Facebook without which this review would not have been possible!
<shoot Mark Zuckerberg just because>
Then I have to thank all my friends who kept in touch with me, supported me and kept me sane.
<Put armed guard around my friends just in case anyone tries to get at them for keeping in touch with me, supporting me and keeping me sane>
So now, without further ado, lets start giving out the awards!
<Light fuse on bomb and retreat discreetly. Shoot anyone who follows you>

Album Of The Year - Angélique Kidjo's Eve

In the running were also Future Islands's Singles and Robert Plant's Lullaby And The Ceaseless Roar but Angélique Kidjo's album won out because it just made my jaw drop and my body jiggle - even though I don't understand a word of it!

Film Of The Year - 12 Years A Slave 

In the running were also Paddington and Pride but 12 Years A Slave won out because it was the only film that made me go vegan this year (it's all to do with slavery!). Sadly, my morals weren't up to much and I quit the vegan diet after only one month!

Walk Of The Year - Wirral Coastal Walk

In the running were also Europe's First Ever Trans Pride March and The Walk To Work Everyday but the Wirral Coastal Walk won out because, between myself and Pauline and the generosity of our friends and family, we raised approximately £500 for the British Lung Foundation which is just amazing!

Pride Of The Year - Trans Pride Brighton

In the running were also Manchester Pride, Liverpool Pride and Sparkle but Trans Pride Brighton was the clear runner because, unlike the others, it made me feel extremely proud to be part of it and, after all, Pride should make you feel proud, shouldn't it?

Most Ridiculous Personal Accusation Of The Year - 'Claire Is A White Supremacist'

Also in the running were 'Claire Is A Hero' and 'Claire Made My Birthday Party A Spectacle' but 'Claire Is A White Supremacist' won out because it had absolutely no basis in truth! To my mind, a white supremacist is a member of the BNP or Ku Klux Klan not someone who stands against them and other racist organisations like Britain First and UKIP. The accusation still bloody hurt though - largely because it was so unjustified!

Saddest Day Of The Year - 17th February 

Also in the running were 5th April and 3rd August but 17th February won out because I didn't see it coming. I expected to be upset on the anniversary of John's death (5th April) and our anniversary (3rd August) but not the anniversary of when John was taken into hospital for the last time (17th February). I managed to hold it together whilst at work but was in floods of tears by the time I got home. Next year I will be prepared.

Medicine Of The Year - Progynova

Also in the running were Decapeptyl and Co-Amoxiclav but Progynova won out because of the changes it brought about within me. It has been a much happier ride this time, (but, frankly, is it any wonder I found trying to cope with unemployment, hormones and a dying husband all at the same time a bit too much last time?!!), even if it has, in all likelihood, been the cause of me passing out twice this last year! And the boobs still have some room for improvement too but maybe that'll come with the increased dosage.  

Holiday Of The Year - Rhodes 

In the running were also Scotland (Glasgow, Glencoe, Edinburgh) and Brighton but Rhodes won out because it was exactly what I needed at the right time! My house was being redecorated, I was still shell-shocked by the Most Ridiculous Personal Accusation Of The Year and I just couldn't relax so thank fuck I saw sense and took myself away from it all to relax and chill out (in 84 degrees!) for a week! It meant confronting my fear of flying but it was totally worth it! 

Social Group Of The Year - Merseyside Non-Scene LGBT Social Group

Also in the running were the Wirral LGBT Friday Afternoon Drop-In and The Merseyside LGBT Book Group but the Merseyside Non-Scene LGBT Social Group won out because it introduced me to Steve who is a lovely, caring, man who also introduced me to several other groups in the area and I also got to meet lots of other lovely people in a relaxed, non-threatening, atmosphere. 

Workplace Of The Year - (Voluntary) Community Action Wirral

Also in the running were Intact and Tomorrow's Women but (Voluntary) Community Action Wirral was the clear winner because they paid me! No, really it's because I feel like the luckiest person on earth living within 10 minutes walking distance of my place of employment, working with the loveliest bunch of people I've ever worked with in the most satisfying job I've ever had! Every (working) day I get to feel valued and loved and come home knowing I've made a difference to the community! It's just awesome! 

Most Pivotal Moment Of The Year - Being Introduced To Clare Campbell

Clare Campbell is CEO of Big Love Sista. She is also a whirlwind of positivity and it is my utmost joy that I got sucked into that whirlwind this year! I was introduced to Clare by Tony Griffin at the Navajo awards and I was initially scared by her bubbliness (bubbly people make me wary) but she handed me a pack of Goddess cards and invited me to the next meeting of the women's circle groups she ran in Huyton. I went to the meeting and it was a very empowering experience but, for one reason or another, I didn't go to any other. Then I heard about the Big Love Sista Choir and I went along and it was such a joy. Then there was the Big Love Little Sista Festival that the choir performed at and that is probably the most awesome day of my life to date! And next year I'm gonna get to paint my own Goddess in one of Clare's painting courses! So I am absolutely delighted that I now know Clare Campbell! (Also in the running were Starting Volunteering At (V)CAW and Starting Aqua Zumba Lessons) 

Most Pivotal Decision Of The Year - Taking Courses In Mindfulness At Wirral Mind

The first half of the year was tough and by May I was heading rapidly down a spiral of self-loathing and depression. So thank fuck Tony and Julie Griffin encouraged me to look at the courses that Wirral Mind run! I chose three that were run by Graeme Waterfield and they all turned out, in one way or another, to be about Mindfulness. My life significantly improved after taking those courses - I finally accepted John's death and I managed to equip myself to cope with further attacks of depression so that when they hit, as they did in August and December, I was able to handle it and stop myself from descending down that spiral of self-loathing. And, when I think that I was able to ride through them in a matter of days rather than months or years, taking those courses is without doubt the best decision I've made all year if not, in fact, my life! (Also in the running were Reaching Out To Friends and Coming Out As Trans Again) 

Most Fun Of The Year - Big Love Sista Choir

Also in the running were Claire Day 4 and my birthday celebrations but the Big Love Sista Choir won out because every week I have the most fun with a bunch of amazing women even though I can't sing! Being part of the choir also lead to being involved with the Big Love Little Sista Festival and performing on stage and actually enjoying it! I've really missed it this Christmas break and I can't wait for it to start again! 

Most Generous Person Of The Year - Tony Griffin

Also in the running were Julie Griffin and Everyone Who Donated To My Wirral Coastal Walk but Tony Griffin won out because not only did he invite me to be a co-founder of the Merseyside & Cheshire Transgender Family Support Group, allow me to speak at Liverpool's Transgender Day Of Remembrance, invite me to the Navajo awards and credit me as a Navajo assessor (even though I hadn't done any assessments the preceding 12 months), introduce me to Clare Campbell, take me out to help me choose flowers for John's birthday, invite me to the most beautifully cooked roast dinners I've ever ate and lots of other things I've probably forgot (and some I haven't) but, most valuable of all, he invited me over for Christmas Day for the second year running (and sorted out a turkey dinner for Mia too!). So there really is no contest - Tony is my Most Generous Person Of The Year!

Person Of The Year - Julie Griffin

Also in the running were Tony Griffin and Clare Campbell but Julie won out because, well, she just does! There is no one like Julie! She has been a shoulder to cry on, she has been someone to ask for advice, she has been someone who made me laugh like no other, she is the person I feel the most at ease with and she doesn't take no crap from me neither! She is just the most awesome friend I could ever have hoped for and my world is infinitely brighter for having her in it! Thank you, Julie! xxx

Animal Of The Year - Mia

Also in the running were... well, nothing actually! Mia wins paws down! She has been my salvation! And also a cause for stress and tears! But that's what happens when you love someone (even if it is a cat!)! It's been mutual love at first sight - despite what she might tell you! So Mia wins the star - and one and only - prize of a handful of Dreamies! Well done, Mia! xxx

And thus concludes my Review Of 2014. If you're upset that you've been neglected in any way, take consolation in the fact that I've not put you on my ever growing list of People I Don't Ever Want To Meet Ever Again along with many others this year! And, if that doesn't do the trick, well maybe you'll have better luck next year!
Ta ta for now!

Claire xx

<After bomb has exploded, check for casualties and shoot any survivors>