Let’s face it, 2016 sucked. It was a bad year. A very very bad year. Even Frank Sinatra can’t persuade me otherwise. I’ve scientifically analysed each one of the 12 months of this accursed period of time and tried to find some positives. The only thing I could think of is this idiot chicken.
But! The thing about bad things is they only really last if you let them last. Which is to say, you should learn from all the bad things that have happened and either try to set them right or ensure they don’t happen again. It’s not the mistakes we make and the bad things that happen that define us; it’s how we react to them.
My bad thing this year has been a feeling of isolation. It’s something I’ve felt for a little while, but this year it really sunk its teeth in, not because of any specific event, just because my years of ignoring it finally caught up with me. So for a long time this year, I’ve felt adrift from the rest of the world: lonely, frustrated, uninterested in the things I normally take pleasure from.
I’ve not fully recovered from it yet, and I suspect it’ll take a little while to do so. I’m shy and introverted, so even at the times where my introversion allows me to mingle with others, my shyness makes it difficult. I’ve improved in some ways this year, and my way of setting things right is to continue that progress. That’s my core goal for 2017.
The missing piece of the puzzle that’s really helped me get on the right track in the last couple of months is embracing communities more. I’m a huge Steven Spielberg fan and run the site From Director Steven Spielberg, which has allowed me to sort of create a community over the last five years. But it’s not easy. Spielberg isn’t a director who really drives a community because his career is so diverse. It’s not easy finding people who love, say, Schindler’s List or Bridge of Spies as much as they do Raiders of the Lost Ark or Jurassic Park.
This year, however, I’ve really embraced my Disney fandom, and that’s worked wonderfully. I’ve always loved Disney, but I’ve never really felt a part of the Disney community. I’ve never really opened myself out to it. I always felt a bit awkward: maybe people would laugh at me? Maybe people would think I’m childish? Maybe they’d think I’m weird for liking Princesses.
Well, maybe they do, but plenty of others don’t and they’re the people I need to concern myself with.
Since talking about Disney more (both here and on Twitter), I’ve had the joy of chatting with some really wonderful people. I consider them friends. It’s a big word to use because it’s difficult to really get to know someone without meeting them face-to-face and, of course, friendship is a two-way street; I’d hate to say I’m friends with someone if they don’t feel that friendship too. But whatever word used to classify it, I certainly hold the people I’ve spoken to about Disney in the same high esteem I do friends, and always look forward to chatting with them about Disney films.
The same is true of Star Wars. Again, I’ve always been a fan, but I’ve never really felt a part of a community: what if I don’t know as much about certain details of the series as others? Would they reject me? Think I’m not a ‘real fan’? Well, hey, if they do, let them. I’ve sought out new people, chatted with them, and found a hell of a lot of joy doing so. Because, despite years and years of my brain telling me the opposite, people don’t find it some great chore talking to me; hey, maybe they even enjoy it.
Across the last six months, I’ve forced myself out of the house more and I’ve gone to a handful of conventions. Even managed to talk to some people face-to-face. It still scares me to my core, but I’ve proven I can do it, and that I need to do it. I’ll be aiming to keep it going in 2017.
So there you go. 2016 hasn’t been very good, but maybe it’s not been all bad. There are bright spots in everything and I’m determined to draw them out. Even if they’re only in the form of a stupid animated chicken.
Sidenote: it’s worth noting that Hei Hei isn’t screaming in the instant after Moana takes the coconut half off his head. So, brilliantly, while she had it on him, Hei Hei forgot where he was, only realising again when he looked around. He’s an idiot. A magnificent idiot.