What A Difference A Year Makes (A Personal Style Review Of 2015)

Hey Readers As I look back on the year we are just about to consign to the history books I honestly believe I leave this year a different woman than the one who welcomed it in. I think I can trace a significant number of the changes back to late spring/early summer as my life became a lot more female focused. By this I mean I became a lot more involved in women’s campaigns and attending the launch of the SNP women’s manifesto was one of the highlights of what was a great election campaign for Scotland’s women.

Picture 1 Women With A Message.
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It was at this event more than other I have ever attended I realised that when women fight together we really are unstoppable. After the election, I made two decisions which would impact on me to a far greater extent than I realised at the time. The first of these was to become an active member of Women For Independence I had been a virtual member since the groups formation during the early days of the independence referendum campaign and in the aftermath of post election success of the SNP was I thought the right time to get involved in my local branch of the movement.

Being involved with such an empowering group did wonders for my self confidence and after a few quiet months we are ready to go in to the Scottish Elections making sure that all political parties will know what Scotland’s women want us to raise as issues of importance in the fight for a more equal fair and socially just society which we demand for the women and children of our nation.

The other decision which changed me for the better was to participate in as many blogger chat groups as possible. This was a very positive step for me as it tended to bring out the maternal side of my nature and having friends and contacts from the other nations of the British isles many of whom were young enough to be daughters brought my gentle side which was especially handy was some hard-line unionist was expounding their theories on how Scotland was in their opinion too wee, too poor, or too stupid to run our own country. Personally, I think these people if I have to call them that, have such a deep seated self loathing and inferiority complex that their real problems lie not with Scotland’s abilities but their own and the too wee, too poor, too stupid syndrome isn’t what they think about Scotland but rather what they think of themselves. Honestly there are times when these people would, but for my naturally kind hearted disposition send me in to a full blown virtual rant. Fortunately however my blogging bairns know me well and know when to step in and get me out of these potentially difficult situations.

Indeed it is through my involvement with the blogging community that I have gained not only new friends but also style advisors and a deeper understanding of the hopes, fears, and concerns of both individuals I lucky enough to know and their communities and localities.

With regards to my poetry 2015 has been a year of both progress and changes. At the start of 2015 you could predict with a fair degree of accuracy that I would be spending most Thursday afternoon’s leading The Tollcross Writers Group and I would spend my Thursday evenings at Glasgow Writers Group at the Gallery of Modern Art. Now Tollcross no longer exists and and my visits to GoMA have become a lot less frequent than used to be the case.

In what was an easier decision than I thought it would be I decided to pull Tollcross because someone who did not have the authority to make such decisions was going about telling their friends that the group was moving to another venue and that I had better tell them when the group was starting back after the summer break. To say I was furious at this petulant attitude would be putting it mildly so I decided to cancel the group for the foreseeable future as a lesson to certain people not to get above themselves. This decision tough as it was to make shows the difference between the woman who saw in 2015 and the women who is getting ready to embrace whatever challenges 2016 may bring. You see last year I would have procrastinated over such a tough choice and probably soldiered on but this was the year I took action to show that if you tramp on my toes or seek to undermine me in any way there will be consequences and they will be entirely of your own making.

In another change to the poetic landscape of the city it was time to say goodbye to Bards in the Park which died of natural causes as nobody seemed to want to turn up anymore. This was also a year of change for Words and Music. Little did we know as we celebrated 25 years in the wee back room and that by July the Sammy’s we knew and loved would become Lebowskis but fortunately as we get ready to bring in the bells the event is still going strong at least it is for now.

However, as one door closes another two or three open to take their place. My Saturday afternoons which were once the preserve of Bards, have now been taken over by T-Time a trans related event which I find to be a great source of peer support. Thursday afternoons at Tollcross have now been replaced by Wednesday nights at the Blue Chair cabaret.

Picture 2 Some Of The Girls At T-Time
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Picture 3 The Team At The Blue Chair
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As for my greatest achievement in the year just passed I would have to say it was taking and successfully completing the NaPoWriMo challenge in April where I had to write 30 poems in 30 days. This and I have to say it was a challenge and a half but the reward I got from attempting it was a fantastic buzz and that made it all worthwhile. Still on poetry I let some valued friends suggest a topic for me to write about or suggest a title for an already written poem to assist me in the creative process. This idea was spread throughout the year and not just used for NaPiWriMo Particular thanks in this endeavor goes to Audrey Marshall, Becky Bedbug, Bob Leslie, Caron Lindsay, Jenny Lindsay, Jenni Pascoe , Jodi McKenna, Kirsty Nicolson, Margaret MacMillan, Morgan Horn, Samantha Hands, Saffron Dickson, and Stephen Watt for their help and support

It goes without saying that Election night was also a highlight for me with my party doing not too badly in Scotland but for me despite my party’s successes the real highlights of 2015 were not political nor indeed were they poetic. No on this occasion my favourite moments of the just ended were actually very personal and the last ten days in November summed my 2015 brilliantly as I attended trans women’s cultural event in Glasgow Women’s Library, the reclaim the night march protesting at male violence against women, and Girls Day Out Show at which I enjoyed one of the best days
of my life. So as I look back on 2015 I really believe its a stronger more confident woman who faces the future than was case last year or at any time in my life. So here’s to 2016 and whatever it may bring us. I hope it’s a good one for you and those who matter most to you and you continue to read tartan tights throughout the coming year.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

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