2016: A Year in Review

Like the previous two years, 2016 has been a mixed bag for me albeit a bit better but I’m determined to have an even better 2017 what with the possibility of getting my own flat, hitting the big 3-0 and landing my dream job in animation.

Anyway here are my highs and lows of 2016:


January started with my first trip to Barry Island in Wales (where parts of ‘Gavin and Stacey’ were filmed) for a while. It was fairly decent but I had some amazing sausage and chips (my mum thought they were the best chips she had since 1984) for lunch and was met with some very colourful beach huts. A few days later my great uncle (my paternal grandfather’s brother) passed away aged 81 right at the end of my Christmas and New Year break. I had a fond memory of him when he videoed me partaking in certain home activities when I was a child but I hardly saw him as I got older and as a result I miss him greatly. I spent the rest of the month continuing with my MA course at university and started writing this blog in my spare time where I initially discussed how my autism affected my day-to-day life but as the year progressed I wrote about other topics such as the BFI London Film Festival, the London Animation Club and even YouTube!


February was spent getting to know a new house support worker who had started the previous December but I hadn’t got to spend some proper time with her until this month. While I had an up and down working relationship with her over the next few months in terms of her showing concern for the state of my bedroom and asking me to do something that I was too self-conscious to do, I got on with her better more recently, especially when I told her what final grade I achieved for my master’s degree that I will reveal in the December section. Speaking of university life I started the production of my MA major project, an animated documentary called ‘The Five Senses of Asperger Syndrome’ this month.


In March I went to AutismCon in Euston and although there could have been better signage of directions to make the venue more autism-friendly and I couldn’t get into a talk about coping with anxiety there were still some great talks and a fantastic musical performance by Lauren Lovejoy plus I was reunited with a girl who was in my first year at university and also had Asperger syndrome but transferred elsewhere. I stayed in Newport in Wales with my family over Easter and I felt poorly with a cold but despite this I met my uncle, aunt and cousins’ new addition, Milo the Yorkshire Terrier, for the first time (they bought him to keep their other Yorkie Buddy company) and I was smitten in terms of him liking me immediately when he lay down beside me for a belly rub. I also had a restful Easter Sunday by watching ‘Minions’ and having a lovely roast dinner.


I can’t remember much happening in April with the exception of financial issues and beginning to lose faith in certain people, including the house support worker I was getting to know in February.


In May I stayed with my family again to celebrate my 29th birthday with them. I had a lovely day what with receiving some fabulous gifts and having a tea party with my relatives. I also attended an event at the Roman Baths and Pump Room in Bath where they were given an autism friendly award as part of The National Autistic Society’s ‘Too Much Information’ campaign as well as visit an activity house for adults with autism in Newport that is run by The NAS. This month I also quit my job as an Avon representative after having served as one just shy of five years and soon I started a Facebook-based sales job but resigned after two weeks of signing up due to its similarity to Avon and causing concern for my parents and support staff.


June was my university’s summer show where a work-in-progress version of my MA major project was shown as well as many other works by my faculty. A more in-depth post about it can be found here.


July’s highlights included visiting a health and beauty show at the Olympia in Kensington; and trips to Camden and Holborn as well as my friend’s and her husband’s joint 100th birthday party (their combined age is 100) and starting the BFG Dream Jar Trail. I also had a bit of peace and quiet this month while most of my fellow housemates went on a camping trip to Cornwall, which I might like to go on next year.


August started off in an extremely difficult way. My final MA deadlines were approaching and my laptop malfunctioned so I had to send it off for repair. I had my worst ever meltdown at the beginning of the month and while my laptop was being repaired I found myself involved in a social media situation that I would rather forget about and move on from. Difficulties aside, I got my laptop back and focused on finishing off my MA film. I also completed the BFG Dream Jar Trail.


In September I completed my MA in animation and as a special treat my parents took me on holiday to the Isle of Wight. Highlights included visiting Yarmouth, the open top bus tour that gave me beautiful views of the island and parts of it I hadn’t seen before (I first visited the Isle of Wight in 1999) such as the Needles Old Battery and the Needles Landmark Attraction Centre; seeing the Waltzing Waters music, light and water show; and shopping in Newport. I even managed to vlog the entire trip that can be seen on YouTube. In between completing my MA and going to the Isle of Wight my university had its MA show where the final version of ‘The Five Senses of Asperger Syndrome’ was shown.


In October I attended a couple of meetings about the possibility of joining a work scheme and taking up work experience but so far I have heard nothing further from these meetings. Evidently I found myself having more free time than ever before and I would spend it by visiting different parts of London from Oxford Street to Islington as well as watching ‘Tower’ as part of the BFI London Film Festival and editing and uploading my Isle of Wight vlogs. I also attended a flat viewing and while it didn’t meet my expectations in terms of all the one-bedroom flats being taken, I heard about the possibility of moving to a one-bedroom flat in another nearby block when it opens in the New Year.


November was pretty much the same as October in terms of visiting various places in London such as Westfield in Stratford and returning to Camden but I completed my series of Isle of Wight vlogs. I also got the news that the funding for me to move to my own flat in the New Year had been fully put in place, which I was extremely chuffed about because I have wanted to live alone for as long as I can remember. I also decided to submit my work and CV to animation studios to see what jobs they can eventually offer me.

December was my MA graduation ceremony where I was rewarded with a… DISTINCTION! My mum was so proud she cried tears of joy and I was grateful of her support as well as that from my dad and my sister. I also attended an exhibition at my university about narrative contexts in animation where the cover illustration that I designed for my tutor’s animation textbook was displayed and both my BA and MA final films were shown. I stayed with my family over Christmas and New Year. While I had quite a difficult Christmas Day due to a lot going on around me and experiencing sensory overload, I received some great gifts, saw my brother for the first time all year and had a lovely Christmas dinner. I also received the happy news of my cousin having her baby on Christmas Day. I spent the rest of my break chilling at my parents’ house; experimenting with YouTube more; filming a fun sibling tag video with my sister; shopping in Newport and Cwmbran; and visiting Hay-on-Wye for the first time, which was a decent end to 2016.

Anyway here’s to a far superior 2017!


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