Happy introspection week, as I like to call it! We’re here again in the no man’s land between Christmas and New Year, and it’s time for me to take a look at my goals for 2022, what I achieved, and the goals I’d like to set for 2023.
It’s that time of year again! I love this period in between Christmas and New Year when nobody knows what day it is and I don’t have to do anything at all. What I do usually decide to do is take a little time for reflection and introspection, and part of that is thinking about what I’ve achieved this year and what I’d like to do in 2022. So let’s go!
I have something exciting to announce – I’m changing my name! Okay, so it’s not a massive change, and I’m not making it official yet, but it’s very cool and I’m excited about it.
I’m going from Samantha Rose to Sam Alexandra Rose, because:
- I don’t like Samantha and nobody calls me that anymore anyway, so I might as well drop it to Sam officially
- I’m not a huge fan of Sam Rose as a full name either (perhaps because sometimes people use it as if it’s a double-barrel first name but they’re actually calling me by my full name which feels unfamiliar and unfriendly)
- My full name is only really used at medical appointments (and previously at school), so it doesn’t have great connotations for me
- Alexander was my brother’s name
- Alexandra is super pretty and makes me feel pretty, too (and maybe weirdly more like an actual adult, because the above connotations from school and hospitals are kind of infantalising?)
I get a real kick of seeing my new name in various places where I’ve changed it already, as opposed to looking at my old full name, which feels quite negative. I will change it by deed poll at some point (probably when I have another reason to change my name), but for now it’s enough to be changing it gradually and unofficially. If there’s something you don’t like but you can change it, why not do it? Especially if it makes you feel good about yourself. Our names are our identities and they are important, and this feels more “me”.
I actually used the name Alex as a middle name as a kid when I was making books and fake newspapers out of coloured paper and felt tips, so this isn’t an entirely new idea!
I’m planning on exploring names and identity in my PhD work soon, and how that all links in with cancer and identity – particularly who I am outside of being a cancer survivor – so this is all part of something exciting.
Sam Alexandra Rose, signing off!
After a long week at work, I’ve had the most glorious afternoon catching up with the National Television Awards (NTAs), which took place last night. I was out last night, otherwise I would have watched it live, so instead I decided to treat myself to pizza for lunch and curl up under a blanket, watching with rapture. And it was wonderful.
In light of the news this morning that clinically extremely vulnerable people will start to get their letters this week inviting them to get the covid vaccine, I wrote this little parody – to the tune of Mr Sandman, of course:
Mr postman, bring me a dream (bom, bom, bom, bom)
Make it an invite for the covid vaccine (bom, bom, bom, bom)
Say it will reduce my risk of exposure (bom, bom, bom, bom)
And that the pandemic will soon be over
Postman, I’m vulnerable (bom, bom, bom, bom)
And all this shielding can feel miserable (bom, bom, bom, bom)
Please help me get the vaccine
Mr Postman bring me a dream
Bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom,
bom bom bom bom bom!
I’m slightly late with it, but it’s that time of year when I get all introspective and retrospective and all the spectives, really, and think about what I achieved in the last year and what I’d like to achieve next year/this year. It’s been difficult to get into that headspace this year – even though the time between Christmas and new year is usually my most productive and thoughtful time, it hasn’t come naturally, probably because – well, look at the state of this year.
Regardless, I’d like to have a little think about it, look at my previous goals and set some new ones. So this is what I said I wanted to achieve in 2020:
standing at the back door accommodating
winter in gusts, the clear sharp moon in my throat
and my friends on a screen on my coffee table
but I can’t hear them over the bangs and they
have left their seats already to watch their own
displays. I had run upstairs with Peter and counted
again, at least eight of them, like I did on November 5th.
It’s the first year I didn’t hear a countdown – I always
forget the Hootenanny ignores the coming of the
new year, carries on, and the TV was muted anyway,
but this time, with just the two of us in the house,
at least in flesh, we did not count but we did kiss late
and the bang and crack and light that had been going on
since daylight now overtook the house, everyone’s house
as our web conference brought six of us together in stereo.
Amidst the madness I was grateful for the fireworks blurring
one year into the next because the expectation would have
been too much weight to place on one count, on ten numbers
standing separate and fragile, so instead the community
decided we would have a gradual bringing in of cheer, a blurring
of time, as it had been all year, and watching all the displays from
the back door, the clear sharp moon in my throat made me hopeful,
each blast of light and sound proving that despite everything,
so many of us were standing upright on this earth
and celebrating, still finding some glimmer of joy or hope
and throwing it in the air like a penny in a fountain.
I accidentally extended my own lockdown by fracturing my ankle so now moving off the couch to go anywhere is a hassle slightly reminiscent of recovering from cancer surgery. It hurts less than it did a week ago, though.
Hi! It’s been ages, hasn’t it, but at the same time it’s hard to tell because the world is on fire.
I’m going to be on my local radio station on Friday night, around 7.40pm on BBC Northampton, reading part of a lyric essay and talking about writing and my piece, which of course is about my usual subject.
It’s the time of year when I normally get very introspective (yes, more so than usual) and productive with my writing, and these two things mean I write something about what I’ve done this year and what I want to achieve next year. But having had cancer not so long ago makes that tricky – and the expectations I have for myself that it shouldn’t be tricky, make it trickier. Are you with me?
All the leaves are changing and nothing is changing and maybe everything is changing. My mother sings California Dreaming while she stands smoking at the kitchen window, just the first two lines, nothing more, she doesn’t know the rest – sometimes softly to herself, sometimes with vigour, with an excitement about the sky being grey, whether or not it really is. Sometimes I look in the mirror or catch my own mannerisms, think about my ways, and realise I am becoming her a little and I love it. I talk like my dad. I tell people to pack it in and stop mithering and find myself repeating sayings I assume are a bit northern and explaining it away with as my dad would say. My family is the best family to ever exist and we don’t need to be perfect because nobody is – I can only emulate the best people I know, and they are the best people I could emulate because they never left. Others left and said they had come back but they haven’t, not really.