Strathclyde Telegraph

Lou Ramsay’s Open Letter to 2017

Dear 2017,

I have a few things I have to ask of you.

Please be different.

Please be a year of less hate and more love, because so much blood has been spilt in the last 365 days, especially by American People of Colour, and by those running from a war torn home.

Please be a year more people band together, a year hope triumphs against cynicism. Please be a year where inner strength doesn’t just apply to one last burpee in the gym, but instead to remaining compassionate, positive and hopeful. I know that’s a lot to ask and positivity is rarely long standing mental state, but a strength to continually put one foot in front of the other in the face of a negative situation would be greatly appreciated.

Please be a year this fire inside us all is shaped into resistance, into speaking out, into activism and calling up every member of representation we have in that governmental tower and along that street with posh houses and a door numbered 10. (I’ll take the option of email as well, because digital age and that.)

Please be a year we are listened to, because I think we’re shouting louder than ever before. Help us be heard. Make them listen. Please.

Give me strength to lengthen my patience, because we have come to a cross-roads in our worlds. We are divided in two, and we cannot continue to be this way. We have to stay calm, to listen, to calmly explain our side for others to understand. To hear theirs too, not dismiss the views we do not share to quickly. We will not progress as a unit on this planet by shouting at each other, be it over online platforms or across the pubs and clubs.

Be a bit kinder to us 2017. We have all taken a battering this last year, with the world growing shakier every day as a man comes to power that so many of us cannot comprehend. Many of us lost loved ones in 2016, while the world lost so many iconic artists who broke away from the mould. Is it true Bowie ripped the corners of the universe when he left us? It does feel like an alternative universe, but this year won’t be one with ‘alternative facts’. 2017, we want only truths. Facts. We’re strong enough to hear them, so give them to us. Speak plainly to us, no double talk is required.

Be a year of adventure, of trips to different places around this Earth, and be a year of feeling comfortable in our skin. A year of learning, anything and everything that can help us become better people, of health and happiness, of time with family and friends. Give us the determination to fight harder, to love wilder, to shout louder.

In return we will urge voices to be heard. We will urge our friends and family to take a stand. They say ‘a women’s place is in the resistance’ but I think we can make room for men too. Let us be heard, the way you heard our feet march across cities on Saturday the 21st.

In return we will embrace activism. So many things have been set in motion and hashtags may be the place of conception, but marching on the streets makes us more real and tangible than a tweet ever could.

In return we will get educated. Even if it’s just to throw accurate shade in arguments, or win debates at family dinners, we promise we’ll look into the stuff we believe in and reaffirm our moral standing. Education is something we should treasure, especially attending university, and we will put a little bit of time into reading up the latest goings on in the world. Plus, having that winning statistic feels good, doesn’t it? So we’ll work hard on that.

In return, 2017, we will talk more. We will be comfortable taking up room, making conversation and smiling at strangers, because the world might feel scary at times, so a little smile can go a long way. Being honest about how we feel, both as men and women. See also; compliment girls in bathrooms over outfits and give pep talks on being a confident self. That’s like the best part of a night out, right?

And finally, we will be doing our bit for the planet and eating less meat and maybe watch Before The Flood a good few times, because if Leonardo DiCaprio is worried over our planet, I think a few of us can take the time to look into it too.

2017 – in the end I don’t think we’re asking for much. The year before you was a complete disaster, but times like these often bear a time of change. We’ve seen it before. So could you be that year, the beginning of a new age? Please, from us all. Help us and help make it better.