2015 – a reflection

In what is now a little Tessa-Tradition, it’s time to write a reflection/account of my past year. I think this is my 5th now, and will probably be the one that recounts the biggest changes to my life so far.

I began the year 2015 in my 3-bedroom house on the Models in Armley, living on my own with my cat Hendricks, happy in a new(ish) relationship.

I ended my year in our 5-bedroom house in Bramley, living with my Fiancé Christopher, Hendricks, and our not-so-little “kitten” Bessie. But the journey to get here has been far from straight-forward…

My past reflections have tended to focus on my career, which has been going well this year.  I continue with many choirs, teaching in Bradford and at the University of Huddersfield. I have had gigs as far North as Darlington, as far south as Titchfield, East of Hull, in the West of the Wirral and many places in-between. I’ve sung many 1920s songs, taught Charleston at weddings and Birthdays, performed with a Big Band on numerous occasions and enjoyed myself greatly. I also managed to complete my tax return in April (*smug face*), so this January is strangely unstressed, and leaves me looking forward to many more varied and fun gigs in 2016. Teapots and Twirls continues to be ace, and with some extra help, Jules and I hosted our biggest event yet in November.

More than gigs and choirs and tea dances and teaching, 2015 has challenged me in ways I hadn’t expected. It has allowed, and demanded, me to be a strong individual, and a strong member of my relationship with Chris. It has definitely tested my resolve.

All year, I have struggled through coming to terms with experiences in my past that have been difficult, detrimental and defining. I began the year with a realisation that some things are not ok – no matter how long and strongly you excuse them – and are not deserved; that I deserve respect and that I am not at fault. I spent a few months in counselling, and I tried to learn ways to cope with the physical manifestations of these stresses. I also took a related course at sarsvl which was fascinating and beneficial, despite not being able, at this time, to see it through to the end. Through these struggles I made stronger friendships and a stronger relationship, and I am truly grateful for those who have been part of my journey. Thank you.

More literal, physical journeys have been made too. Christopher and I spent 9 days in China this December, travelled in Kenya and Tanzania in April and spent our first anniversary in Poland (it was an anniWARSAWry 😉 ).

It was on our last day in Warsaw that we heard a pipe had burst in my loft and the house had been flooded. Christopher had only moved in 1 month before (February) bringing with him a surprise kitten for my birthday.

Thankfully, our possessions (and cats) were fine, but we needed to move out for the whole house to be dried and renovated; new ceilings, new floors, new tiles, new plaster, new kitchen. After 2 weeks in Africa, we came home and moved out for 3 months to a small house close enough for Hendricks to keep heading back to the flooded place.

During preparations for our return, Christopher suggested we might buy a house together, so we began looking. We completed on September 29th and took the keys of another house that needed completely re-plastering and a full re-wire! 3 months later, and with some paint on the walls, we are very happy! And I don’t intend to move house again for a very long time, if ever.

December brought with it good news and bad:

Christopher proposed, in our new living room, on the 7th – the night before we headed to China. I am very much look forward to the adventure of marriage!

On our return, some bad news from my Sister was delivered. But she’s a resilient type, and I know she’s going to thrive in the face of adversity.

Christmas was a full family affair, with Thai-dwellers in tow making it 21 for lunch – my first Christmas as a vegan; a decision I feel even more confident about each day.

The year ended with the devastating news that my fathers (unoccupied) childhood home was burned to the ground; Woolsington Hall. The incredible location of many a fond childhood memory, it has been as if a member of the family has passed away. I have shed many tears as I try to remind myself that a building’s walls doesn’t hold memories – we do.

And so with that, I look towards creating many more memories in 2016. The year I will turn 30, and the year I will get married (May 29th – eek!)

I hope everyone has a reflective and successful New Year.

Tessa x


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