Where and how do you start writing this one?! As much as I’d like to forget it and move on – it has been a year which changed everything and those numbers 2020 are probably going to live longer in our memories than any other.
I also appreciate it’s been a while since I last wrote something and being completely honest, it’s mainly because I have found this last part of the year really difficult. And it’s not one particular thing, I think it’s a collection of adjusting, catching up and in some cases, just over thinking. I’ve thought about how I should do this… shall I just give you the best bits, shall we just gloss over the crap (!) but no, I think being raw and transparent is the best way:
- Update on the unwelcome guest in my head: I had my 9 month scan in November and great news – my tumour has not grown and is stable! I can not tell you how big a result that is – that is firmly a win. What does it mean – well it’s simple, I don’t need to have surgery, I don’t need to be opened up to have a biopsy, I don’t need to start chemotherapy or radiotherapy… quite simply put, onwards and upwards we go!
- Falling in love again: I’ve fallen back in love with so many things, my family, my music, my love for God, my passions – not that I ever fell out of love with these things but they now hold a new meaning in my life and they firmly sit as my highest priorities…
- Family: strong & sacrificial – I have an amazing team behind me and I’m so grateful for their never ending strength and the continuing sacrifices they make to give us the best of everything.
- Music: I think this is the year I finally stopped chasing the wrong things about music and concentrated on what I love about music. I’ve chased what the world defines as a successful musician rather than appreciating that God placed something special within me which I love doing. And so now I write for me – not for what is expected of me or what I want to gain… I write because I can and I want to. I’m not going to sit here and say the opinions of other people don’t matter, of course it’s nice to receive praise and recognition for something you’ve worked hard to put together, but I’m not defining my music on what other people say, rather by how much joy it brings me – and while these fingers can move, I will keep playing! One of the things I’ve also really loved about rediscovering my passion for music is sharing it with my daughters – they love watching me play the piano, they love sitting in the studio and seeing me piece together a new song and this pandemic has meant that I am their music teacher now!
- God: I know the subject of religion is subjective and this is not a sermon – but I should really start by saying I don’t view ‘God’ as religion… I view its as a relationship. My friend, father and saviour – and I’m in constant dialogue with the big guy all day long. It may come across as strange to say this but I really am not worried about the tumour itself – through this process I’ve learnt to just trust him and hand the tumour over to him… and I’m really at peace with the situation. I have a bible verse I live by these days: “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13
- Passion & Purpose: you always think you’ll get tomorrow to work on ‘other things’ – but there’s nothing quite like a life changing diagnosis to kick start the process! The soul searching has been fun and I’m discovering things I didn’t really know about myself (I’m also learning that I can’t take on everything the world has to offer!) – but I really hope to show you some pretty cool things in 2021.
- Leo (our dog!): I wasn’t sure which category to put Leo under because as I write this he’s just decided to pee on my living room floor! But in truth he’s been a great addition to our family – even though Arya may argue differently! I think he’s been a great outlet for all 3 ladies in my house in their own ways – Chindhu is totally besotted with him and he’s a great distraction from the world, Avaana is his best friend and just so proud of him and Arya is just pleased somebody else makes more mess in the house than she does! As for me, we have a respectful relationship! But I do kinda like it when anyone comes to the door and Leo is barking away by my side as my own personal protection 🙂
- Fitness: I never thought fitness would play such a pivotal role in my life but boy I love it! I think I’ve accepted I’m never going to have the body of an Olympic God but the positive effect doing a workout has on my mental state is incomparable and I just love getting that sweat on and pushing boundaries.
- Friends: I’d like to think I’ve always had good people around me – but this year I was able to rebuild some important relationships… it gave me a chance to apologise for things that had been weighing on my heart and it gave other people a chance to show me what I meant to them. All I would urge anyone reading this is not to wait to apologise/rebuild/sort out a relationship, be it friend or family. Go do it now!
The Bad (my apologies slightly tough read ahead!)
- Effects of the unwelcome guest: little bit harder to assess… I think the effects are what have been really difficult to deal with more recently – the main one being protecting my children. Since my diagnosis in February, I’ve had a couple of seizures, which have put me and my family in a difficult situation. Just laying my heart out, I’m really conflicted – I’m not sure how I go about being a dad (the thing I love the most), but also protecting my girls from me (or more specifically protecting them from seeing me go through a seizure). My family don’t feel comfortable leaving me with the girls on my own, and I completely understand that – I don’t ever want to put them in that situation again. But am I selfish for thinking that I can do it and I need that chance? Or do I just accept that I’m going to need to be supported all the time? It’s a really tough situation that has caused a number of disagreements because no-one has any bad intentions but no-one has a solution that works for everyone either. It’s a really horrible thing to say but it feels like I’m on supervised time with my own daughters and everyone has to rearrange their own lives so they can babysit me. I know everyone does it with pure love and I don’t want to sound ungrateful because I really am not, but being completely honest, it’s something I really struggle with. Ultimately I think I’ve just got to bite the bullet for now and keep protecting my girls in whatever way I can even if that’s difficult for me to accept.
- Feeling claustrophobic: I don’t think I’m the only one! Anyone who knows me will know I’m not really someone that finds it easy to sit still in one place! So this year of sitting still has been tough enough without the addition of the tumour, without being able to drive, without being able to do the school run, without being able to look after the girls, without doing live gigs, without being able to freely see friends & family blah blah blah – my space just seems very tight right now! And I want it back!
- Feeling lonely: it’s weird because I’m anything but lonely – but I sometimes feel very alone in my thoughts. I know everyone is doing their best to try and understand what I’m going through but it’s really tough to explain it – and sometimes it’s just easier to keep it within myself and deal with it. My fears are a big part of what drives me forward because I never want to experience that sadness or touch that loneliness again. I just want to stay frozen in the moments of laughter and joy – but sadly that’s not the deal with life, it’s all or nothing! And that’s when I realise I’d much rather take it all and fight for my right to be here!
- Tablets and diet: you know you’re on a lot of medication when you need a dosette box to make sure you don’t forget anything! I’m not a big fan of the skittle style pill popping I’m currently doing but I’m just trying to remember this stuff is all helping me and so I’ll keep popping those pills! I have to admit I am slightly struggling with some of the dietary changes – none of them are bad but they just take getting used to. For example giving up red meat and limiting white meat to twice a week – I love a steak, I love a mutton roll! This has been the tough part but again if making these small tweaks are going to help me have more time with my girls then I’ll keep doing it! Doesn’t mean I have to do it with a smile – but I’ll do it!
I just read that back and whilst I sound like a whiney git, I feel like I just needed to get that out! And now that it is out, time to get working on 2021! 😜 Seriously though as tough as this year has been, move the negativity to one side and just take a second to look around you and keep things simple: 1) be grateful for what you’ve got 2) work hard for what you want 3) turn up & try every single day – no excuses 👊🏾🤘🏾🙏🏾