Citizens of 2022!
How lovely it is to find you here, right here, inhabiting the very same year as me. I'm feeling pretty chuffed to be sharing the next twelve months, whatever they may bring, with you.
Let's not even start on the shit show of the last couple of years. Let's not even start on how January is NEVER my favourite month anyway or just how much it makes me want to kick the 'New Year, New You' industry in the goolies. I have, after all, written ample blog posts about the absolute absurd pressure of new year and how deftly it swings heavily down on us, crushing us under its bleak, ugly weight. We don't need a repeat of my blog post entitled 'The One With The New Year Rant'. No, my friends . . . let's move into a more colourful place.
You might deduce from my subtle (!) undertones of displeasure that New Years Resolutions are not my favourite thing either. And you would be right.
But that's not to say I don't love me a bit of good old goal-setting. There is little else as powerful in the world as deciding you REALLY want something, and then moving towards that thing with supreme tenacity (you'd only have to watch Little Lad hunt for a bumper bag of sour Skittles in Tesco to see what I mean). I just think it's better (and less toxic) to set your goals as and when your life determines them to be useful, at a time when you can make them specific, exciting and relevant. When you can really get your heart behind them.
I don't have any New Year's resolutions. There. I said it.
Instead, I am moving into each moment with a heart as tuned in as possible to what really matters to me. And when I went to the hairdressers the other day, for my umpteenth application of pink and purple hair dye, I realised what one of those things was. Colour.
A few years ago, I had ice-white hair with a bold, blue streak through it. A little girl who was sprinting around the playground at school pick-up time caught sight of it and stopped dead in her tracks to gaze up at my barnet. Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open and she asked me bluntly, "Why is your hair like that?"
And the first answer to tumble out of me, without any thought or reasoning, was "For fun."
She promptly closed her mouth into a massive grin, nodded happily at me and dashed back off to play with her friends. And I thought to myself, If that answer was good enough for her, then it's good enough for me.
Colour = fun.
Don't you find that some of the best ideas are the ones you don't think too hard about? There is a horrifying abundance of 'wisdom' out there about what types of goals we should be aiming for, what kinds of things we should have in our lives. Me? I'm not interested so much in those, but more in the lovely, bubbly ideas that float effortlessly from my heart to my head and pop into a brilliant, rainbow burst of awareness once I've given them the time of day.
So I'm making things more colourful.
And yes, January is a challenging month to inject with colour, not least because its greys are clinging so tight to our skies and our souls. But I'm doing it. I don't care what anyone says.
How? Here's how . . .
Aside from my hair, the next easiest thing to brighten up was my nails. The state of my nails would most likely have the world's best manicurist running for the hills, but that doesn't mean I can't slap on some nail varnish myself.
Like most people, I use my hands constantly, so seeing my fingertips flash with flecks of rainbow throughout the day is a little gift to myself. I get a tangible thrill when Zoom meetings are brightened by the gesticulating colour-wash of my point-making hands, or when the devoted wrap of my fingers around my nightly cocoa dapples the mug in vibrancy. Even the chipping and flaking of my bargain varnish doesn't put me off. I just squint my eyes and the colours take on a dream-like quality. It's all good.
For various boring, life-admin reasons, the hubby and I recently decided we needed a second car. This second car would be small, cheap to insure and most definitely a bit of a banger. Funds would not permit much else.
But was I going to let my day be darkened by the fact that I couldn't afford the car of my dreams? (disclaimer: I don't have a car of my dreams. I have better things to dream about) No, I was not. I was going to take my meagre budget, and I was going to inject some colour.
And now finally, after 21 years of driving, I have a car that adequately suits my personality . . . bright, sunny, slightly wonky and in need of constant improvement.
She's called Yoko. What do you think?
Since becoming an author, I have taken to reading books like a Tory MP takes to the idea of an office party . . . I simply cannot get enough of them. I always knew reading was important to me, but since I released the #LifeIsYoursTrilogy I am devouring other people's words too.
I got through a fair number of books last year, but this year I want to get through more. So, the other day I gathered the obscene amount of books that are yet to be read, and dumped them next to my bedside table. As long as they were on the bookshelves downstairs, they were never going to make an outing. Now they are whispering to me each night as I flick through their spines with my rainbow coloured finger-tips, pick me, pick me.
And the most delightful thing about this bookstack? It's so bloody colourful! The books and their gorgeously garish spines have brightened up my bedside no end and I feel elated about reading them now.
Granted, in January, there is not always a lot of light to get excited about. The sun doesn't want to grace our skin with her delicious vitamin D, and the clouds win out most days. However, if you've got the same kind of empathic tendencies that I have, then light might be something that you often notice.
I notice light everywhere - from the utter joy of the diamond-white fridge light pouring from its open door during a midnight snack attack, to the way the Netflix logo shines cheekily off my glossy coffee table-top, seductively red and lurid. Light makes me feel stuff. Lots of stuff. And when it makes me feel good, I've learned to bask right in it.
Even a square of pearly sunlight on a cushion can be enough to throw colour on an otherwise grey day. That's what made me want to take this photo today, anyway.
Speaking of light, during recent edits to all three of my novels, I realised that as an author, I may have a slight obsession with it. Different types of light are referenced EVERYWHERE. Jess, my main character enjoys how light makes her feel as she moves through heartbreak. And during my edits, I figured I couldn't really deny her that now, could I?
So, on my social media this month, I made sure to include some of my book quotes about colour and light. Here's the one I shared this week which is from the third book, Everything Is Yours.
Have you ever noticed how, once you've decided to do something, that the universe joins in eventually? I have. Lots of times. Another blog post for another time, perhaps. But for now, I wanted to share with you what happened the other day.
Before Christmas, a lovely lady called Emma won all three of my books in a Facebook giveaway. This week, she posted about the first one, Life Is Yours, on an online book club. What I loved most about her enthusiasm for the book, was that Jess's story had encouraged her to start journaling again.
Journaling is powerful stuff. I don't care how hippy shit it might sound. Scribbling down your thoughts and feelings can be incredibly cathartic and I have personal experience of that, which made it onto the pages of Life Is Yours. Emma picked up on that idea and ran with it . . . and by the looks of things, she ran headfirst into a celebration of colour.
Just look at these beautiful journal entries! How can you not smile just by looking at them? Colour wins the day AGAIN.
Once you've decided you'd like more colour in your life, there are millions of ways to invite it in. You could:
Buy or pick yourself a bunch of flowers
Paint a wall in your home
Wear daring colour combos
Nick the kids' crayon box and get creative
Put ribbons in your hair
Use felt tips for work stuff
Choose more colourful foods (Little Lad can sort you out for sour Skittles)
Rearrange cushions, pillows and throws so they clash joyfully
Colour-code your shopping list
Simply look around you and notice the colours that are everywhere, actually
The trippy artist, Wassily Kandinsky apparently said: 'Colour is a power which directly influences the soul.' And whilst there are times when I want to not just embrace blackness but curl up inside it and let it fold over me in soft, dark ripples, there are also times when I need colour to unleash its power and claim my soul as its own.
And in these dark and uncertain times, at the beginning of a new year that promises fuck-knows-what, THIS is one of those times.
Tell me lovelies, how do YOU feel about colour?
P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post then make sure you sign up to get ALL Abigail's bookish news as and when it happens. You'll also bag yourself a FREE book of poems called 'What About Now?' - 16 poems rooted in mindfulness and fired by love. Sign up here
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