SOMEBODY FUCKING HUG ME already! For the love of sweet baby Jesus (topical) and all that is holy in the world, including mother Mary, and the universe, HUG ME! I’m imagining that this intense desire, deep within a place I didn’t know existed in me, is akin to the craving women get for babies. Am I in the right area? Even vaguely? Ballpark? No?? It’s literally eating at me. I don’t think I’ve experienced anything like it in my life. Ever.
While carefully navigating the overwhelming urge to hurl myself under the nearest armpit and throw my arms around random waists in the street, I’ve also navigated the final stages of the whole sorry Brexit shit show. After four and a half years of nagging worry that haunted my dreams, I went to the immigration office this week and applied for the TIE (Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjeros). I can expect to pick it up after Christmas. It’s almost always an anticlimax, isn’t it, major stuff like this. Like when my divorce lawyer called me up twenty years ago to say my decree absolute had arrived, there was no chorus of angels. The least I expected was a majorette band outside on the grass, when I emerged triumphant with the confirmation letter in my hot little hand.
It’s only down to the goodwill of the Spanish government that we don’t have a more arduous application process, like that the British government has demanded of our counterparts over in the U.K. Or like the one in France. What a sad, sad and completely unnecessary state of affairs. Really. Personally sorted or not, it’s still utterly heartbreaking.
HUG ME! I don’t actually know what to do with myself now, truth be told. I wanted (want) to cry, laugh like a hyena, sleep for a year, hug someone and have someone hug me back (and mean it), kiss the top of my head and say how happy they are for me that it’s done and dusted. I’m sure I’m not alone in that. I’m also sure there are people who just breezed through these last years without a care and I applaud them. I don’t expect anyone to try and understand why it affected me quite as much as it did, you just have to accept. This is my home. From that invitation nine years ago to come and give it a shot, I chose it. My work is here. My home is here. My life is here. I want this life that I started to build at forty to be forever. It’s a huge relief.
So, I can finally relax and start enjoying the little things again, and where better to start than with the holiday season. The timing couldn’t be better. Christmas is coming and the Pank is getting fat. But honestly, that’s got more to do with peri-menopause and my 40,000 calorie/day lockdown diet than the festive run up.
As COVID-19 has well and truly pissed on everyone’s festive chips this year, I’ll be spending my first Christmas in Barcelona and honestly, I’m really looking forward to it. HUG ME!
My tree is up. I mean, fuck it, why not? This year sucks enough and a little bit of sparkle can really lift the spirits. I’ve started sitting in my Christmas jumper watching Christmas movies and drinking mulled wine on the reg. I bought myself a liddle treat from Sephora on Black Friday. HUG ME! When I say liddle, I mean liddle. Touche Eclat was on offer and I hadn’t bought anything for myself all year and Zoom is a bitch, so, you know. I’m looking forward to getting my Christmas shopping done this weekend as that always puts me in the mood and I popped into town just to see the lights.
This year has been an epic rollercoaster of emotions for everyone (probably except Trump and Johnson and any other cold-blooded people with stone hearts) that I hope to say is a once in a lifetime occurrence. I’m not religious, but I pray it is a once in a lifetime occurrence. I’ve cried a lot. More often when nothing sad was happening, like when looking at tubs of Ben & Jerry’s in the supermarket and in the passport photo place. OK, that one was absolutely justified. Seeing my moon face gracing a big screen, visible to everyone, was pretty upsetting actually. I imagine that for the next few festive weeks, there are going to be a lot more tears. Covid numbers, poverty, families separated during the holidays, cute puppies, utter stupidity, lovers in the street, Christmas songs, friends’ new babies and everything in between. I’m just going to try and ride it.
The pandemic has been seismic, enough trauma for any one year, but it isn’t unique in terms of monumental happenings. There has been so much more. It’s been a year of absolute emotional contradictions: I have felt at times, both profoundly connected and painfully lonely, impotent, scared, euphoric and desperate, high, manic and hysterical and useless all at once.
I know I’m not the only one, and it is there that we find our universal humanity and are most intrinsically connected.