2016. For many, this year was one of the worst years in the 21st century – and I do understand why. With David Bowie, Alan Rickman and many others dying, with the US election, with wars and terrorism… there is a lot not to like about 2016. However, if you ask me – 2016 was one of the best years of my entire life.
Every year, my best friend Denisa and I do this list of all the (mostly good) things that happened to us in the given year. Most of the time, I would write down some small achievements – like meeting new friends, working on a theatre festival or even getting a conditional offer from University of Glasgow (ok, this one wasn’t small, this was probably the most epic and vivid moment of my life). However, even though I would always realize that I had some good things happened to me, I needed the list to remind me of it. In this sort of light, this year was… different.
(Warning: Yes, this whole article is going to be very cliché. I love cliché though, so that is not stopping me from writing this. Anyway, if you’re not very fond of words like happy, proud, love, growth etc, maybe you shouldn’t keep on reading.)
When I look back on January 2016, I remember who I was. I was a slight mess of a person, trying to figure out who I was and where I belonged. Everyone thought I was already successful – I had the conditional offer and that was something. I mean, it definitely was; but back then, I still felt small – so small. I remember crying when coming out to one of my friends. Saying the sentence “I’m bisexual” was terrifying from every possible aspect. But she took it well and it was a small step towards me being okay with who I was.
The first half of 2016 was kind of stressful – you know, the offer was, after all, a conditional one. I had to pass my exams, starting with CAE (Cambridge English: Advanced). I managed to get an A, which I honestly didn’t expect. I was so impressed with myself and I finally started to believe that my English is actually nothing to be ashamed of. Wow. I sound like a nervous wreck, don’t I?
Anyway, then I had to prepare for my final exams in school – social sciences, German, Czech and English. I wasn’t scared when it came to English and Czech, however, I was dreading social sciences and German. With social sciences, I didn’t want to disappoint my favourite teacher and with German, I just didn’t feel like I was good enough to get an A.
But my way to the “Exam May” (lol) wasn’t just studying. I got to be an editor for two theatre festival newspapers – which was amazing. I also talked to a friend about my “sexuality problem” and I believe that this specific (and very long) conversation made me realize my sexuality is valid, I am valid and it is okay to be bi. Since then, I made a huge step and I still think this one friend was the one who helped me the most. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Then my exams came. I passed them. With straight As. I know, right? I was so happy – it meant I was actually going to move to the UK. Studying in Scotland was my dream since I was 13 or 14 years old. This was incredible. Who would have expected that 5 years later, it would still be a dream of mine – and, furthermore, a dream of mine that came true.
Leaving to study in Glasgow was exciting but also sad. When you move to a different country, you have to leave a lot of stuff behind – not only your favourite books but also your favourite people. Family, friends. For me, there was a slight advantage to leaving my beloved people – of course, I was sad, but some of my relationships became a bit toxic at that point and it was good for me to get… a breath of fresh air I guess?
Anyway, I did it. I moved to Glasgow and everything was new and scary and exciting. I met some amazing people and made some friends (not as many as I would’ve hoped, but hey, we still have the second semester, right?). I told a lot of them that I am bi and they’ve all been okay. It became a normal thing to say. I also joined some societies and started studying harder than ever.
When I look back at 2016, I see all the horrible things that happened to the world. But I also see all the good things, the things that influenced my personal life. 2016 was a year, in which I finally became who I always wanted to be – someone to be proud of. I became less arrogant, less nervous, less sarcastic. I also became more kind, hard-working and positive. I learnt to accept everyone and, most importantly, to accept myself. I still have a long way to go, but I can now say that I am proud of who I am. I am proud of being me, Veronika, who is a bit nerdy, weird and awkward. I am proud of liking youtubers, of Ramsay being one of my favourite characters in Game of Thrones, of being obsessed with Catherine Tate. I am proud of being bisexual. I am proud of being me, the girl who is going to be twenty really soon, even though it still feels like I am fifteen.
I am proud to be here, today, writing this sentimental and long thing that most people won’t even bother reading. Because you know what? For once, this article is about me. And even if I am the only one to ever read this, it is still the most important thing I’ve ever written.