On the shortest day of the year.

Geez, this year. Amirite? It’s been a bad year to be a woman, of colour, poor, disabled, transgender, non binary, pro-Europe, pro-migration, or anti-homeless-people-literally-freezing-to-death-in-the-street. The sadness was unrelenting. The landscape was precarious. Uncertainties at every turn meant it’s felt hard to settle. 2017 was a slag heap of a year. To build owt solid you need strong foundations but with the ground shifting so quickly and ferociously it’s been impossible to lay these.

But for every uncertainty 2017 threw up, there were pockets of excellence. For every Brexit there was a Stop Funding Hate. For every feeling of inadequacy there was an art exhibition or publication. For every Weinstein there was a Saffiyah Khan and Amika George. For every hour spent recounting sadness in a lawyers office there were two hours of laughter and love. For every Trump there is a ‘When they go low we go high’. For every heartbreak, an Internet dog. For every Charlottesville, a community owned arts venue. For every Manchester attack, a Manchester benefit concert.

For every injustice, there is somebody out there discovering their voice and speaking out for the first time. One small voice alone isn’t going to make a difference, but hundreds of small voices? That’s a fucking chorus mate.

The winter solstice ushers in the longer days and lighter nights. A time to shake off the bad vibes, dust down the cobwebs and start anew. The air feels fresher and full of hope; it’s difficult not to get caught up in this excitement. I feel hopeful for the spring and new shoots, hopeful for a new year and new chances, hopeful for a break from the omnipotent darkness that has crept into every nook of 2017. The sun is coming out, slowly, and she is looking beautiful.

Next year I hope to be braver, be bolder, and be kinder. I also hope to learn to love vegan cheese but that’s a long shot. I hope that we, as humans, can spend the next 12 months being excellent to each other and filling our own corners of the world with love and joy that lasts long after those spring shoots have bloomed. And I hope we enjoy the sun, for every moment we can.

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