good things to remember for ever and more

28 December 2020

It is not uncommon for me to become attatched to certain quotes, but recently I have found myself relying on two quotes more than others. Niether are particuarly profound, and they may mean nothing to some, but they hold meanings that changed my perception of the world for the better and I believe that to others they may hold the same great resonance that they do for myself. (and what a better time to have some inspirational quotes than on the brink of a new year!)

postcard from here

'Well, maybe we should try not to understand so much, and accept some more' -Matt Haig, The Humans.

I think the attempt to understand everything is to make everything seem a little easier. Hardships appear better when the mechanics are understood, crises seem more bearable when the root problem can be identified, but when has life ever been so simple? Some things should be understood. Understanding emotions can help us better identify triggers, learning how the covid-19 vaccine works provides great reassurance, and I am sure there are a million more things that make life easier when they are understood. But many aspects of life are nothing more than abstractions. They appear and happen and are felt for reasons that can not always be understood and interpreting the reasonings behind such things can only get us so far. As much as some things are simply not able to be understood, sometimes they are not meant for us to understand. Many times this year, I have tried too hard to understand things that are actually impossible to understand, and I have caused myself more grief than neccessary by dwelling on why some things have happened. I forgot the bliss and learnings that can come simply from accepting things. Like I said, life is full of abstractions, emotions and motivations do not hold a physical embodiment so trying to understand them is not always possible. When we come to accept more and understand less, I think life can become a little lighter. It becomes easier to learn from things as we have accepted that the only thing we are able to control and understand is how we react and grow from some happenings. Not everything in life needs to be, or can be understood and attempting to accept more and understand less is probably one of the best things we can do for ourselves.

‘I occasionally experience myself as a cluster of flowing currents…[which]...require no reconciling, no harmonizing… I prefer this to the idea of a solid self, the identity to which so many attach so much significance’ - Edwaird Said, Out of Place: A Memoir 

This has slightly been taken out of context in the way I have come to deeply appreciate it. I first heard it in a lecture about the impact of colonialism on forming an identity and how it affects one's ability to rely on a stable sense of self. This is not to diminish the importance this quote has in postcolonial studies, but I also believe it has great resonance for those experiencing mental health difficulties. Often, when struggling with my own mental health I felt like I was constantly trying to return to being ‘the real me’, but how detrimental it was of myself to view the non-suffering me as the blueprint of my existence. I failed to see the problems of trying to return to a way of being, but this quote helped me to realise that identity is not a stable entity. There can not be a past self to return to because the self is not stable and fixed but instead is a ‘cluster of flowing currents’ that do not always fit together, that do not always make sense, that can never be returned to because the things that make us who we are continuously change. To think of myself as a fluid identity rather than a solid self makes it easier to accept my own adaptability, it makes sense because I am an accumulation of happenings, I cannot return to a way I used to be because that part of my existence never left, it simply changed slightly. I once read something that described our souls as animating the bodies we live in, and what a perfect way of describing it. We animate our bodies, we provide it with action and give it a life; our souls are not stagnant things in our bodies, nor does our soul separate  inside of us, therefore there is nothing ever to return to, no part of us ever gets lost. We are animated, we are moving, we are living, so we should never cause ourselves sorrow by wanting to return to a past self, because the past self is our current and future self. 

So, I hope these quotes provide you with some reassurance and hopefully they help you through tough times like they have myself. With all that being said, here is a final quote to remember : ‘you can get through anything, one day at a time’

musings : body positivity on social media & body acceptance

18 October 2020

In the media, there are accounts dedicated to positivity where attention is always drawn to the hosts imperfections, or accounts with a big following will intermittently do posts that highlights a part of their body which society has regarded as 'not beautiful'. There are women in crop tops who grab there rolls, who write lengthy captions about how they don’t care about their cellulite. There seems to be a long way to go until people can simply ~be~, where photographs that aren’t completely posed will be posted without a caption that gives reason as to why you can see a stomach roll. I also fall victim to it, but it also feels a bit damaging, or slightly, I dont know, less positive? I am sure there are big accounts that post photos of a chubby body/ body with scars etc without a lengthy caption to accompany it, or without reasoning behind such acceptance, but at the moment it feels like publicsed bodily ‘imperfections’ has to be in conjunction with a reason- a reason of showing that such imperfections are okay/ about the history of a battle with food/ a letting go of caring about social stigmas - but why is there rarely a case of women just being that way. It seems intristincally linked to everyday life as well- to tell others of our bloating not in a way to complain of the discomfort but to alert people that this isnt the ‘real size’ of our stomachs. It just all feels a bit out of wack that we are a society so insistent upon changing the perception of women, abolishing the narrative of 'this is how a womans body should be' yet still feel the need to justify our natural bodies.

I know that to achieve body positivity you do have to celebrate things that were once deemed an imperfection, but body positivity just doesn’t always feel entirely connected to real life. Do I have to let people know that I am aware of my cellulite and that I love it? Should I let people know that I am aware of my hairy armpits but just don't care? Does this make sense? Why can't we simply just exist?

(from left-right) image 1  |  image 2  |  image 3 image 4  |  image 5 backgrounds

On a similar wave length of frustration; there are all these posts about the ‘before and after’ of posing and editting, especially from influencers, which are wonderful to see. But then why do such accounts continually post photographs of themselves in an 'after' pose, angling themselves in such a way so that their body does reflect what is idiolised? 
I do love everyone celebrating their bodies, and I like posts that are about ones journey to self love. I just think it isn't right that popular accounts will post a photo one day of their body looking how it normally does and then always posting extremely posed and edited photos on other days. I know self love is tough, and people can be horrible, but I do think people with large platforms and big followings have a responsibility to normalise the way their bodies usually look and to not make self love such an intermittent thing. 

In saying all this, I know body positivity in the media has come a long way, and that lengthy captions justifying a post may be a defence against trolls or simply a celebration of journeys to body positivity. Yet such justifcations and captions don't coincide with body acceptance all the time, as there shouldn't always be the need to give explanation to our bodies. It is just an exciting thing to think about, when bodies will be posted without always being accompanied by an explanation, to simply admire a photograph that doesn’t come with a paragraph about how it is okay to look that way, because soon hopefully all girls will know that it is okay to look any way.

I have found it my mission to find instagram accounts that celebrate healthy and attainable bodies without always being accompanied by lengthy captions. Here are a few accounts I have been following and have inspired a new body positivity within myself, and I hope you experience the same:

@_nelly_london - she also has a youtube channel, but this is just her insta
@thenutritiontea -  less so an example of normalisation but simply reminders of how to live a happy and healthy life 

to be honest, I am sure there are a lot more but @_nelly_london is one of my favourite accounts. Just a beautiful woman loving her body and spreading positivity and acceptance. 

moving into third year

6 October 2020

The past summer has not been a fulfilling one, but for that I only partly have my poor planning skills to blame whereas the main cause has been the bloody pandemic. However, I do feel grateful that my summer was only effected by corona in the sense that it meant summer could not fully be experienced, as opposed to anything more sinister. I'm actually glad that summer is now over, as it feels more refreshing to be back at university and to have begun learning. I often find summer is a time of mental relaxation, or at least a time when the unsurities of life lessen in light of hazy summer days, yet that mental alleviation did not happen this summer. Now, being back at university, coronavirus feels less stressful as masks have become the norm and socially distanced coffee dates prove that friendships can prevail despite the dire circumstances. It all just feels a bit more calm, my first day of online learning was not too horrendous and nothing academic wise has become too overwhelming yet. The threat of isolation and being away from home at Christmas is beginning to get more intense, but I don't know, you just have to think that everything will be okay otherwise it will be impossible to live. 

Despite the circumstances, summer was good. I spent a lot of days working and organising days off so that I could travel up north to see friends. The sunshine in Leeds did not erase the lust for sunny days in european cities, but the trips always came as welcome breaks. I discovered my love of bike riding, and now have a beautiful bike with me, I read many good books, went on beautiful walks along the beach in Newcastle, went pottery painting, embroidered, swam and all in all despite a lack of genuine adventure in retrospect summer was not too bad. Just not the summer that I felt was deserved after a difficult year, but heyho summer will come back and at least this summer motivated me to finally get a bike. 

I am nervous about the year ahead, I fear how the stress of third year will combine with the anxiety surrounding covid. There is some comfort in the knowledge many are in the same position as me, yet the unknowable nature of corona really lessens that sense of comfort. I also feel sad at how my third year will pan out, that many of the good times I experienced in Leeds will not happen again but to focus on what will not happen will only make times even bleaker. For now though, I can rely on the promise of interesting modules, occassional pub outings and an array of wonderful people in my life to help make this year as brilliant as it can be.

there is no photo in this post because i am a trendsetter, and also, my life has been dull and the sights have been rainy, so there is not much to photograph.  

mental health tips for the oldies and newbies at uni

10 September 2020

 -It is okay to not feel comfortable confiding in people who are meant to be your best friends. It doesn't diminish the significance of the friendship,  it just indicates a growth within yourself as you recognise a conversation with that particular friend won't provide you with the catharsis you desire.     

(Everybody reacts to an emotional outburst differently; some people are pragmatic, some let you vent, some tell you to sort yourself out. The responses can be frustrating, you just got to remember that not everybody experiences things in the same way as you! Your behaviours may seem absurd and lack all logical reason to them, making you seem impossible to console, but no need to get upset or frustrated about this. Some friends will let you cry, others will talk it all out. It can take time to figure out which friends can provide the comfort most suited to you, but don't make the difficulty of the search discourage you from talking about your emotions. Even if friends offend/ annoy you in the process of comforting, it isn't due to a lack of care just a difference between the two of you.)

- In saying this, do not become too reliant on friends. Friends will be there for you, but it can be frustrating to constantly provide support for someone when really what they need is a good ol' load of CBT. The NHS get a lot of stick for their mental health services, which is fair because it can be shit, but it can also be great. it may not even be great, but it can provide a place for a structured exploration of your emotions. Look into what NHS services are available early on in your university experience, before things get too tough. I would suggest looking now to be perfectly honest, it can take a long time to be given your first appointment, but you can't always simply rely on yourself- mental health isn't as simple as that.

-Look into your schools pastoral services! They are there for a reason! It was only in second year I started to take advantage of my schools pastoral services, and although it doesnt provide a replacement for counselling, when immediate help is needed, they can give you a comforting ear and some wise words. It's easy to get overwhelmed by uni life, but there is no need for your burdens to be veiwed through a lens of invinisibility and often the pastoral team can help you realise this! You are never alone in the stress you feel, it is well known that unviersity is a difficult place to be and there are many support services you aren't even aware of. Have a look into this before term starts. 

(at unviersity of leeds there are talks, group sessions and so many things about how to plan your time, how to deal with stress, anger, desoluteness. it is easy to disregard group sessions, but they are clearly doing something right as they have been going on for a long time it always better to have some sort of outlet than to suffer in silence) 

-Don't feel bad about  taking a step back from a friendship - just don't do it without an honet converstion about why you need to step back 

- Grades don't define you! Learn from a bad grade, read the feedback. Have a cry and then move on. use the bad grades to motivate you. It can be ahrd, especially if youre used to being a star pupil and getting the top grades, but unviersity just isnt like that. also if you do a humanities subject, one tutors mark of a 2:2 could be anothers low first. it is hard, but it is what it is. just learn from low grades, find a common theme in feedback and work on it. but jsut rememebr as well, grades don't define you. if you get a bad grade, let yourself cry then go and see your friends (once I got a bad grade, cried in the toilets for two hours and was going to spend the rest of the evening being a sad loser girl, but instead my friends forced me to go to filmsoc, I watched Booksmart with my pals and had a wonderful evening! friends can help you out of rutts in the most simple of ways) 

- e x e r c i s e! can not recommend enough. walk and explore your new city, go on runs, workout from home. don't get bogged down in uni work and living a social life. you may not get that serotonin boost that exercise seems to promise, but eventually it will at least help you feel better about yourself. 

- drinking can make you sad! respect your bodys reaction to alcohol and don't feel bad for making this a reason as to why you say no. if i drink more than twice a week I feel awful, i get riddled with anxiety that cripples me and fills with self doubt. at uni drinking culture is such a big thing. don't feel bad about saying no to drinking though, find other ways to hang out with friends. watch films with them when they are hungover, go on walks before they start drinking, spend time with them outside of drinking so that you don't feel left out and so that you can remain in a good headspace. then when you do drink, hopefully the repurcussions wont be as crippling. 

university is difficult for those with and without mental halth issues, but the whole culture of university is very anxiety inducing; having to make friends, the focus of your future, drinking, late nights, lack of sleep. just take care of yourself, be proactive and know that more often than not somebody will be able to relate to how youre feeling and provide you with a comforting presence.

strange and intriguing books

20 August 2020

You ever read those books that are just so amazingly written, but the whole time you read there is a purposeful sense of distance and obscurity - like the narrative indulges in the actions and thought of the characters yet there's still an anonymity?? They're just strange books, and not particualry enjoyable to read yet they are compelling and weird and often feature a commentary on something that is rarely spoken about, which I think is where some of the lack of enjoyment comes from. Or in some it comes from a disjointedness within the text. Either way, I've really been vibing with those sort of books lately, they're interesting because they are paradoxical; they cause discomfort yet its difficult to beat the compulsion to read them. 

The Vegetarian - Han Kang

This novel is about a woman named Yeong-hye who after a nightmare turns vegetarian. Continuous images of meat haunt her and prompt her to will a transformation and adapt to a fully plant-like existence. It is set in south korea, where societal norms are (implied within the novel) to often be adhered to; Yeong-hyes desicion to turn vegetarian goes against this norm. It affects her familial relationships, creating scandal, abuse and an emergence of trauma. Its a three part novel, each part dips into different perspective of those affected by Yeong-hyes descion of turning vegetarian.

Can we discuss how intriguing a synopsis of this text is! When I first read about it on good reads I thought it sounded absurd and ridiculous but I had to buy the book because how the fuck could turning vegetarian inspire an entire novel to be written?

This novel is cool because you go inside yeong-hyes mind, and of her families minds yet never get a feeling of complete understanding, the writing is explorative yet remains mystifying. It's also super interesting to be presented with a depiction of mental illness from a different culture that doesn't seek to villanise mental illness or the struggle of those who have to experience the mental breakdown of a loved one. Also you get a non-explicit portrayal of how accepting societal norms as rules for life are damaging - I find a lot of the time in texts it is always so obvious, yet it is multifaceted in this text, but I can not say more without giving a lot away. It's also super interesting because of the differing perspectives on the attempts of disengaging body and soul.

ps - if you google this after, a lot of reviews talk about turning vegetarian which made me think this was a whack book just about difficulties people face when turning vegetarian. Ignore such reviews, your own dietry choices don't impact a reading in the slightest, nor will this novel change your desicions. It is a wonderful, interesting book exploring mental health, the effects of a simple life and effects of secrecy- don't let the title or reviews misguide you. 

The Oxygen Thief 

I found this book absolutely wild to read- not because there was a lot of goings on, but because I was disgusted yet compelled by the audacious narrator, the acknowledgement of his behaviour yet the continuation of it. I can't lie, I read it a while ago, wrote a banging review, lost the review and now can't fully remember what was in the review, however I shall try to do the book justice. I think half the intrigue of this novel comes from the anonymous writer because it just creates a new dimension to the text, a definitive distinction between fiction and autobiography can't be drawn. Plus, the whole text is just really human and raw, it is not droused in beautiful description but is factual, the limit on depth given to those who appear in the text and everything else continue to create a difficulty in understanding the reason of the anonymity of the author. Also, despite the lack of beauty in the writing, the explanation behind the title just was so real and something recognisable in life but it isn't something you want to be able to recognise. The text is just fucking uncomfortable, at times funny and at times horrible which builds into the realism and reflection of life in its account of the treatment of by people by others

A lot of reviews call it an awful book, but it depends in what way you read it. If you read this book with the expectations of a normal novel that follows a plot and contains well developed characters, you will be dissapointed. It's more psychological than that and there isn't a sense of progression, its mainly an indulgence in misery and contains reflection on the manipulation of women for the sake of personal satisfaction.

disclaimer - this book made me uncomfortable in many ways. but that's what made it get on the list, it was so uncomfortable to read and at times made me so angry, never once happy, yet I could not stop reading despite the awareness and intimdation it caused. 

The Body Artist - Don DeLillo 
I had to read this book for my degree, but oh my fucking god- I think it may be one of the coolest, most well crafted books I have ever read. It's the sort of novel that always leaves you with questions, as everything that happens feels so distant from reality. It is about a womans grieving period after the news of her husbands suicide. It is not a heavy book though in that sense; it does not dote on the suicide but instead how time and reality can separate during periods of grief. It is about the construction of identity and is just a really fucking strange but good book. Also, the novellist writes in a way that so much can go amiss, but if you read with a critical eye you may see why I think Don DeLillo is one of the most intelligent writers in the 21st century.

I feel a bit too passionate about this novel to give it a good review. All I will say is, read it if you want to busy your brain up a bit. It wouldn't be a fun book to read for pleasure.

i have a quick few questions before I go, if anyone can help me out it would be much appreciated
-how can i add a star rating system thing on posts? i wanted to rate these novels out of five stars but couldn't figure out an HTML code that would let me do that. 

That actually is it, my one and only question. peace!

northern adventures

1 August 2020

long time no post! Despite the stillness of lockdown, life has felt busy. Days were initially filled with writing essays and long walks, then once deadlines were met I moved back up to Leeds where fun and adventures with housemates were rife. Then on the long awaited 4th July, I was informed my place of work would open again and days since have been filled with being an excellent barista and fleeting days off which are used to satisfy my constant cravings for aperol spritz. Writing did not feel right for a long time for a plethora of reasons, but after having a wonderful day in York with Katie I remembered how many great things I have experienced because of this blog and to abandon it for a reason as lame as 'a prolonged writing slump' is ridiculous.

apologies for the poor quality, I used an odd photo editing online site. just trust me when I say I have never so deeply enjoyed the magnifigence of nature as I did during some of these hikes. 

things I've been up to:
- I read an incredible book called Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It is about a woman who immigrates to the US from Nigeria and I could not insist you read it enough.
-I also read a really cool book called The Vegetarian by Han King. It follows a family in South Korea whose lives become upturned when one of the members decides to become a vegetarian. Cool read, but also an uncomfortable read
-I saw Katie in York and we had delicious tapas as a poor replication of the holiday in Spain we were supposed to have
- I went to Manchester and solidified a friendship, making it no longer simply be a 'uni friendship' but (hopefully) a forever friendship
- I have enjoyed going to work. Last year I had to quit a job I was content with my managers suddenly became quite cruel and moved on to do some agency work instead, however the male managers were, quite frankly, disgusting. So to not only enjoy my new job but to love the people I work with is a very special thing and I am so grateful we were able to open back up after lockdown.
-I went to a waterfall and paddled in the water on one of the hottest days of the summer
-I went swimming alongside some ducks in a lake
- Said farewell to my home of second year, ending a great year with bevs and a boogie (making the actual move out day incredibly horrendous)
-I played Irish Snap in the sun
-I learnt a new drinking game
-I watched some very good films. BlackKklansman is now on netflix, as is Da 5 Bloods; both I highly recommend.
-I spent many rainy afternoons emboridering whilst my housemate did a puzzle with podcasts on in the background
-Hikes in the yorkshire dales
-Lazy days in the park, using sips of hooch and smirnoff ice to cure persistent hangovers
-Decided on a rough direction for my dissertation, crazy!!
-Moved into a new university home and christened it with a seemingly continuous game of Ring of Fire in attempts to get to know our new housemate better
-Watched Animal Kingdom on Amazon Prime - an excellent TV show
-Had a delightful morning wtih coffee and croissants
-Made some great meals (I'm talking pad thai, I'm talking chickpea pancakes, I'm talking the most excellent low fodmap vegan mash potato, I'm talking sweet and sour tofu)

So yes. Days have flickered between slow and busy and I wish I could find my film camera so that I could share with you all some of the hazy photographed memories I had captured, but alas, I am a mess. Although the uncertainity of covid-19 is still there, I find that the days have a little more hope in them and am ready to begin some work for third year. It feels beyond mad that I am going to be a final year university student already. Things are not going as planned, but it is not all bad.

the big 2-1! learnings and questionings

27 April 2020

(things about to get soppy)

It is pretty fucking cool to be turning 21 and to not feel dread about having existed another whole year. For as long as I can remember, I have not looked forward to birthdays. The celebration of a life I was struggling to hold on to by surrounding myself with people who loved me never provided a brilliant birthday spirit. This year, for the first year in a very long while, the only thing that sparked a sadness about my birthday was the fact I could not celebrate it how I wanted to; because for the first year in years there was actually a way I wanted to celebrate my birthday. A lot of things have changed, and I have learnt how to better cope with many things. It is not all smooth though and many things I wish I could get over I am not sure is possible, but it is a great relief that despite still being unable to imagine myself in the future, it is no longer caused by dread of experiencing it.

So here is to me for:
- turning twenty-one when I never thought I would
- overcoming a lot of things I thought would stick with me forever
- being an absolute legend

apologies if u also follow my insta n have seen this photo twice. 

In usual tradition, I have learnt a lot in the past year. Some things I will say I have not fully completed in learning, but I am getting there and that is achievement enough. I also have things I am still unsure of, and I'm sure as my twenties progress and I am exposed to life beyond that of university and the familiarity of education that the list will only grow. For now though, despite the chaos of the world and that awful sensation that uncertainty creates and the general global bleakness and fear for loved ones lives,,,,, despite all of that negativity I am proud of myself for making it to my 21st birthday and for the acceptance I felt in the build up to it. :) soppy but true! :)

things I have learnt
-green giant sweetcorn tastes the same as frozen sweetcorn
-vegan hellmans mayo tastes like actual mayo, but veganaisse mayo is the best vegan mayo
-to stop thinking of boys as kind for doing decent things
-hanging out in bed with no trousers on is far better than hanging out in bed with comfy trousers on
-hanging out anywhere with no trousers on is far better than hanging out with trousers on
-american tv shows and films lied, it's not actually that easy or realistic for your professor to fall in love with you
-nothing is more attractive than intelligence
-don't trust people who change their actions around their friend when their partner is round - either have an openly flirtatious friendship that has no susbtance to the innapropriate flirts or fucking reel in that behaviour
-that cleaning your glasses with your tshirt isn't actually a myth, you just have to get a good grip on your glasses for it to work
-if the oil in a frying pan catches fire you shouldn't put it out with water
-two pints of water and a couple of painkillers before bed is the best hangover preventative. don't trust other gross preventatives, especially not drinking pickle juice
-there is no need to provide justification for every action
-you can't be passive in trying to fix your mental health
-the confidence to make a separate bowl of popcorn that is just salty rather than sucking up and having a sweet and salty mix
-not to say 'pardon' during sexy times. As long as your partner seems to be havin a good time, there is no need to ask for repetition, especially not in the form of 'pardon'
-how to combat feelings of anxiety and unease surrounding eating in front of new people
-everything tastes a lil better with hot sauce
-to buy juice for the morning after a heavy night
-too many late nights results in a very emotional me that will cry over everything
-how to stand up for myself!!

things I am yet to learn
- how complicated can your twenties actually be?
- how are friendships different in adulthood?
- what you are meant to say when you mishear something in sex
- how to abandon expectations I have for my twenties and just see what happens
- to view my twenties as indivudal days rather than attempting to fathom the next nine years of my life with a brain that has hardly touched a world outside of education
- to make shorter to do lists so that I can experience a sense of accomplishment
- how to not behave like a five year old when talking about sex
- how to not let ironic sayings become a part of my natural vocabulary. (since when do I say dope? why do I call everyone bro? will I ever be able to stop saying dank?)
- how to be open with people who crave and deserve my vulnerability the most
- to be a better texter (sorry to everyone who has ever had to experience my inability to text reliably. I luv you I am just forgetful and quick to get distracted or overwhlemed. also sorry to people who gets brain ramblings that have not been filtered yet)
- how to not be such a wet wipe
- how to always stand up for myself

peace out! hope everyone is safe and well and powering through these ridiculous times. seeing as I am the birthday girl ; I order you to have a beverage or some form of treat and congratulate yourself for survivng lockdown so far x

Quarintine Vibing

14 April 2020

Lockdown is strange and there are moments where the craziness of this whole situation is overwhelming and impossible to comprehend. I have never had a great threshhold for the uncertain, but I am coming to terms with the unpredictability of current times and despite constantly complaining about my uni work load, I am so fucking grateful I have it to keep me busy. Here's some glimpses of my lock down:

cheers 2 coffee , cheers 2 nice mugs 

nice things:

Every morning my Dad makes enough coffee for us both and he always seems to get the coffee to water ratio just right

I smell absolutely delightful thanks to my mum buying good soap

playing bananagrams with my family - my dads dyslexia and ability to create definitions for words he is sure to exist is a frequent source of entertainment

'dad you didn't win, hays isn't a word'
'of course it is.'
'use it in a sentence'
'how much hay do you need? around 20 hays.' (upon googling this it turns out hays is a word in country dancing. but he did not mean it in that context and therefore the word did not count)

recieving photos of my nephew and baby cousin- it is nice to have reminders of unfiltered joy and blissful innocence when everything is so fucking bleak. to see a happiness that is pure is always a blessing, but in these times the unguarded smiles of kids is something beyond special and it is nice knowing that although these times are tough there is still joy admist the anxiety and gloom that seems to have encompassed the world

I am speaking to my friends more than usual

Having a g&t over facetime is more enjoyable than I thought it would be

not wearing a bra and having no regrets because I am not moving enough to feel the discomfort of free tits

my dad has bought an air fryer, and with it he has been making some super tasty chips

I am finding it oddly comforting having an actual cause to blame for my low moods/ anxiety during these times. There is something reassuring about having an actual thing to hold liable for difficult moods, rather than having to decipher every thought and every thing that has happened in attempt to find a reason for a sudden dip in mood.

There is so much time to read for lesiure

The goodnights at the end of a videocall

I find it nice being tagged in things, or sent things online, even normally it feels nice to have been thought about, but when friendships are being strained so greatly through distance it is nice that something ridiculous will still make people think of you

I fucked up one of my eyebrows in the process of shaping it, so at least by the time quarintine is over and I will be seen in the light of day by other poeple, my eyebrow won't be anywhere near as atrocious as it currently is

some nice, some not so nice thoughts:

It will have been a year since I last saw Katie the next time I see her, and although we have only been on holiday twice together it feels like a break of tradition by not going this year. However, instead I will go on holiday to Newcastle and meet her new dog and we can enjoy the British sun together and enjoy the fact we are finally free. I think just the happiness of freedom will be enough to override any feelings of longing for european adventure (in saying that - if it is not sunny and warm and if I am not able to go swimming in natural water I will be a little bit pissed)

I am so lucky to love my University and the people I have met as much as I do. It is sad that second year has been void of so much learning though due to strikes and covid-19. I love learning, I love my course yet the such a lack of teaching makes memories of second year be clouded with dissapointment. I have been robbed of the one experience I was gaurnteed at university- there are so many literary theories and discussions about texts I have not been able to have. yes there is virtual learning, but to sit in a seminar and discuss texts and see the people I think of as friends, even though they are merely people I see once a week in seminars and occasionally in a lecture is something I loved and I am sad to have had such few experiences of that this past term.

The fact I have to begin thinking about my dissertation is absolute wank. I have been denied so many opportunities of learning due to the strikes (and covid-19 just tops it all off but ways are being figured out around that, so the anger about that lack of learning is just aimed at the universe rather than the man at the top of the UOL hierarchy) that to beging thinking about a thing which will define my future so greatly just feels absurd. There has been too little learning time to guide any relevant thought on what I could write 10,000 words about. Perhaps I am just being a big baby (and I am very relieved I am not in final year please don't view this as ungrateful) but to write 10,000 words about a topic from a subject I loved never created feelings of horror within me, yet now the simple thought of my dissertation makes me freak! the! fuck! out!!.
- also I'm interested by so many aspects of literature that I haven't be able to study due to having such little freedom when choosing modules, which is a shame. I have an idea of what I may do it on, but everything just feels so limited.

There is too much time to think and worry about the future and have old memories resurface that fill me with doubt

Productivity is a difficult concept to accept and appreciate during quarantine.

exciting things:

I'm going to bleach my hair, dye it, wax my legs and come out of this looking groovy as fuck

One day soon I will be back in Leeds and I will be standing on the chairs in my kitchen with my pals, and we will be singing our hearts out with a glass of wine in hand and the night will progress into something completley unncessary- but those are the best sorts of nights

I will be able to watch films with other people, and will have hair to play with that is not my own and will be able to judge faces in person to see if they're enjoying the film, rather than have to try and decipher a heavily pixelated image of their face

soon my essays will be less overwhelming, and when that time comes I will find a good work/ leisure balance

my hayfever is at its peak during march/ april, so when freedom comes I will be able to sit in parks comfortably and not be tormented by pollen

'fuck it, should we just get shots and get pissed' will sound a million times sweeter than it usually does

browsing in bookshops will also be a million times sweeter

I won't be told off for swearing

soon come, I will be able to see my friends and when I do I am going to hug each one of them for two hours and tell them how much I love them and will probably shed a tear

summer will be here and I will feel the sun on my face as I dance outside barefoot on grass, with a tinnie in one hand and a cigarette in the other, good music will be playing and when I grab my friends hands I will feel the warmth from the sun on their skin and it will be even better than all the times I have imagined it during lock down. festivals may not happen, but to groove outside with sunglasses on surrounded by amazin pals is all I am wishing for right now and that time will be here. and when it is there will be a sadness that is impossible to shift due to the tragedy this disease has created, but hope will be ripe and I'll be with the people that I love, and have missed so dearly.

quarantine overthinking : how to heal a fractured friendship.

7 April 2020

what to do when your bestfriend(s) hurt you in a way you never thought they would:

- talk to them about it
- stand up for yourself
- don't feel bad about leaving the friendship for a while
- speak to friends outside of the situation for a non-bias opinion
- speak your truth and be up front with your questions
- accept things will not be the same for a while, or maybe ever
- remember that despite other best friends who have hurt you, not all of them will
- allow yourself time to figure out how you feel, try not to enter/ begin a conversation guns blazin on a thought rampage .

what NOT to do when you bestfriend(s) hurt you in a way you never thought they would:

- don't feel ashamed about making them feel bad by acknowledging the hurt they have caused
- don't be petty and tell everybody you know
- don't be petty and make rash descions
- don't be mean, if you feel the need to be mean then reconsider why you're actually hurt
- don't let it affect your ability to trust
- don't hold on to the friendship if you don't think it is something you will be able to get over
- but also, don't end the friendship based off one mistake no matter how much it hurts you.

(side note- there is a big emphasis on best friend here. friends hurt you, friends lie to you and it can hurt. but with a best friend the hurt is different, the friendship has more love and trust in it than a normal one, so it requires more decorum than a typical friendship spat.)

lisboa with my fave - a reminder why it is wonderful to trust n love people without fear !

I strongly believe that losing a friendship is worse than losing a romantic relationship. When a romantic relationship ends, there are other types of relationships that can continue which allow you to remain in each others lives. In fact, without there being romantic love you can realise a friendship is the ideal relationship between the two of you. A friendship is different though, as there is no satisfying downgrade from a friendship, there is not a factor that can be removed to provide a comfortable, alterior form of relationship.

Bestfriends are special, they provide a different form of care and love than any other relationship can. They're the creation of a family that you think you can forever put your trust in. They're an escape from all the other obligatory relationships you may hold. Not calling a romantic relationship obligatory, more a case of there are some things you can’t discuss straight away with a partner, but a best friend you always can. I know people argue their partner is their bestfriend, but there is something different with a bestfriend. You can speak to them about your partner and have an outside voice tell you that you are being unreasonable, they will never have any reason to appease you but just give you 100% truth. I don't know, I just think in a romantic relationship there is some barrier, perhaps an underlying knowledge that they can break your heart, a drilled in voice that one day they can just fall out of love with you; but for some reason that barrier does not exist with a best friend. Which, in turn, makes it all the more of a shit show when a bestfriend does do something that hurts you more than you thought possible.

I’ve been thinking that maybe it is so hard to get over a bestfriend issue because it is a narrative that is rarely spoken about; tv shows and books often make reference to the heartache caused by a romantic breakup, the betrayal felt through such an experience is one we are taught to expect at least once in our lives, yet the splitting up from a best friend is not as often spoken about. We haven’t been taught to expect a nasty end to a friendship with someone we once thought of as a sister, in fact we are taught that best friends are forever. Also perhaps because with a best friend there are no limitations to what you talk about, it is just brutal honesty and to lose such trust is bound to affect you. It is also easier to go through a romantic breakup as they dominate the media. They are the basis of storylines for TV shows and films, somebody goes through a breakup and we get a glimpse of what heartbreak is. We’re taught to expect betrayal from a romantic relationship, to expect an end and are taught various coping mechanisms through books and film. Yet the splitting up from a best friend is not often spoken about, and when it is spoken about the resolution is as simple as cutting them out of your life, but it isn’t that simple. Cutting people out not only forces the rest of your friendgroup to suffer, but also forces you to suffer. There is no easy way to get through the betrayal felt by best friends though, or when you realise a lot of your favourite memories had been built upon lies despite you giving them all your trust. Also, we’re just not really taught to expect a best friend to fuck you over- or if they do it is done in a way that everybody is aware of the hurt that has been caused, rather than an unknown balance of whether things are okay or not.

It has been a solid few months of distancing myself from the friends that dicked me over. In those months I stood up for myself and spoke my truth and I did what I needed to do to move on, but it felt difficult as the majority of advice I was getting was to cut them out of my life. Things are fine now. It is difficult to think about past memories that were once filled with warmth and laughter, as now they are tainted with the fact I was being lied to and being treated with complete disregard. It is even more difficult now to think about the upcoming times we will spend together, as I grapple with desperatley wanting to forgive yet am plagued by resurfacing images and memories that make complete forgiveness not seem possible just yet. The bright side is, I can imagine the friendships reforming, they will not being entirely the same but nonetheless they will exist. The jokes of being poor together and sharing our money to split a singular drink, of moulding our mishapen lives into a tangled mess of adventures will never hold the same authenticity that they once did. However, I am able to forgive because I know the apologies are genuine and I do not want to experience the chaos and fluctuations of my twenties without these two pals by my side.

peace out!

more good entertainment choices

9 February 2020

Call me big headed, but I have always felt part of my charm as a blogger stemmed from not being a conventional blogger. I love reading blog posts from others about what is happening in their lives, I find comfort reading other people's mental outpoors, the personal is what I enjoy to read and thus it is what I like to give. However, at the moment to help my quest for a placement I need to combine the old with the new. I need to bring back the fourteen year old who spoke about fashion and makeup but with a twist. The twist is simply, I now am more conscious of where I spend my money and what I entertain myself with and I hope this translates into my posts.

To be fair, I say all this. In reality, I just want to post more frequently, but to not fill the frequent with the personal, because I have actually made some banging new discoveries. So low and behold, some more enjoyable educational entertainment:

(side note - not all is educational, but from varying persepctives that are not often heard from)

Jacob Hawley on Drugs A necessary podcast in today's society that aims to lessen the stigma around addiction and drug abuse. The podcast comes from an open perspective, yet does not promote the use of drugs. In the podcast he talks with previous addicts, the families of addicts, proffessionals and creates an open dialogue about drug use. In the fourth episode he speaks with parents who lost their children due to taking drugs and in the episode they say that all too often young people are just told not to take drugs rather than being advised to take them safely. Obviously drugs are bad, and the podcast shows this but in a non-didactic way. The episodes are often sad, yet always informative and interesting and I think it is very important to listen because it’s time we became more understanding and less villianising of drug takers/ those who suffer from addiction.

Women Talking - (trigger warning going to mention sexual assault & rape) This novel is based on the real life events of the Mennonite Community in Bolivia where women were repeatedly drugged and raped. Initially the womens reports were dismissed as being the works of evil forces, but then the truth was discovered. Although it's based on real events, it is a fictional response to the arrest of the men, revolving around the different options for the womens survival: stay, leave or run.

Initially I was going to say ‘wow what a cool idea to reimagine history’ but then remembered that it is actually, a common theme in literature. When reading it though, it did feel really unique and very appropriate to read within today's culture. It is heavy in dialogue, reading more like a script than a novel, but a cool form as the author gives the women the voices they were denied when the attacks actually occured. The characters are believable therefore effectivlely demonstrating the inescapable effects of rape on the victims and the families, as well as portraying the internalisation of disgusting patriarchal beliefs. Interestingly, it is written from a male perspective however in doing this it doesn’t take away much from the women. My only issue with the novel is that the speaker is shrouded in mystery initally, yet I believe the focus shouldn’t have been divided between the women and the speaker and also there were some moments revolving love which I believe to have been unneccessary.

(For those who have read the book - I see why the two don’t get married, an act of female indepdence and all, but I think the whole side story distracts from the main dialogue of the novel. Interested to know your thoughts.)

Gotta Get Theroux This Louis Therouxs autobiography was one of the best things I read last year. It was interesting to read as he talks about how his career begun, the difficulties faced, his relationship with Jimmy Saville, how his career effected his homelife. Louis Theroux is such a well loved guy in British culture, and reading this only made him moreso. It was especially uplifting to read as I am in the current phase of intense confusion surrounding future careers, and it is nice to read from such a well established and respected guy that he experienced the same, and that not all went as smoothly as it appears to have nowadays. It is just a great read, you can hear Louis throughout the entire text, you get some cracking photos of him, some insight into the world of documentary making and ah, it’s just brilliant.

(side note- 100% would recommend if you are also struggling with the knowledge your youth is running out, or if you feel like your life is a bit floppy/ lacking a positive structure)

Getting Curious With Jonatahn Van Ness One of the most enjoyable sources of educational entertainment comes from Jonathan Van Ness, in my opinion. He has a lot, and it can be hard to choose, but I hadn’t listened for a while and throughly enjoyed the bottomt two. Although the episodes revolve around injustices and the difficulty of life, they are filled with hope as he speaks with women working from charities who support the topics being discussed. Also, Jonathan is just such a positive and wonderful man, he brings light to everything he does. Top two that I reccomend at the moment:

-How Did Family Separation Affect Your Life? Very sad, but very moving to hear how Diane Guerrero (Lena from OITNB) became a successful and powerful woman despite the deportation of her family when she was only 14(!!). In it she talks about how she got to where she is today and there is a part wehre she talks about herself having to limit her dreams after her parents deportation and man, it is something I never truly thought about- how you can try and sculpt your dreams, rather than letting them actually represent your hopes and fantasies. It is incredibly important to listen to this when you have the chance, I think it’s about 45 minutes long, but not one moment of it is dull.

-What does Planned Parenthood Do To Keep Us Safe? Another extremely important one to listen to in todays culture, not even just for Americans but with the NHS being put at risk it is easy to empathise with what these women go through. Also it’s extremely important as it is an open and honest discussion about abortion, along with many other things, but I find it is rare for abortion to be discussed so candidly. Usually when it’s portrayed on TV shows/ films it shows a woman sadly leaving the abortion clinic/ having to go past protestors, but rarely is there a depiction of what life is like after a few months, let alone a few years. However in this episode Jonathan talks with a woman who had an abortion and now has a happy family, and just gives a rounded view to the importance of Planned Parenthood, and how terrifying the abolition of it would be.

peace out ! see ya soon

second year sweetness + suckiness

3 January 2020

I'm not sure if I was warned about how difficult second year is, it is highly likely I heard the warnings and subconsciously chose to ignore them to save myself from having to worry about it- but fuck me is second year difficult. I'm not sure what it is, but the added pressure of marks counting and the search for placement years certainly doesn't help. There also seems to be a lot more romantic drama this year, we've reached an age where we're willing to get hurt in the hopes of experiecing a glimpse of love but when the hurt happens, no matter how big or small, it creates a crisis in the fear of never getting to experience all that love that relationships have to offer. There is also friendship complications that seem to have appeared out of nowhere, people going against basic rules of friendship and basic rules of respectability. The only good thing is, we're all adults now. We value conversation above pent up angers and we genuinely do not have time for people we don't want in our lives, so there is no risk of fake friendships. We also all love another enough to not let such trials disturb the prospect of forever in our friendships. In saying all this, my semester has sounded very dramatic, but it is far from it for me personally. My biggest drama has been finding out I'm not as smart as I thought I was and trying to use dissapointment as a motivator rather than a prover.

I am more excited for next semester, mainly because I hope to get better grades. I also plan on doing more, I'm a peer reviewer for a journal released by Undergraduates, I hope to write for the University newspaper (mainly for CV purposes) and I just hope to do more academic things to help lessen this fear of the future and hopefully erase all concerns I have about the point of an English Literature degree. Speak it into existence!
soz 4 the photo quality xx

The woes previously expressed in this post have been intermittent, broken up by good films, good gigs, good dancing seshes, good friends and the revival of my love of chess.

Highlights so far:

- All piling on to one persons bed to watch a film
- Girly chats in another persons bed
- Going to a gig and absolutely falling in love with the artist
- Seeing Twin Peaks twice and feeling all the energy and sense of community from everybody in the crowd
- Watching Queer Eye in bed after a night out and falling asleep with my housemate
- Leaving a night out early with the sole intention of making hash browns
- Getting absolutely smashed on an unplanned night to help my friend through her breakup
- Walking back from a night out at a ridicolous time of night and finding a massive tray with a million wheels attatched
- Deep chats on the walk to a party
- Watching Pride
- An impromptu cinema trip to boost my friends' spirit, secretly satisfying my craving of going to the cinema
- Listening to my friend retell a stroy of how she stole a giant pizza
- Games night at my friends house ending in her housemates returning back from a pub night incredibly drunk with a lot of stolen memrobilia
- Walking back from a movie night, slightly tipsy and seeing people in the takeout shop near my house, others running out and stumbling as they walk, all smiling and hearing their laughter through my headphones. I was listening to a perfect song, and everyone just seemed to be in their own bubble of happiness. It was just really lovely.
- Bonding with friends housemates
- Feeling disheartened by magnitudes of work so we booked tattoos to boost our spirits
- Celebrating fireworks night with a homemade bonfire and watching a crappy film
- Finding out there is a fat arcade in Leeds (I haven't been there yet, but god damn after exams catch me there suckers!!)
- Friendships getting stronger
- Wednesday nights when my housemate would get back from her cooking class and she'd show me what she had made and tell me all about it (why is my housemate the actual cutest bestest person ever)
- Swimming
- Going on sandwich runs
- Drinking redbull in the library at times no one should be in the library
- Popping into the kithcen to make a cup of tea and then spending hours with my house instead
- Watching The Boat That Rocked
- Being vulnerable with friends
- Playing chess with my friend only to find out he is a chess professional
- Spontaneous trips to the pub to play pool
- One of my lecturers had a lot of pizazz, always making a Monday morning lecture more enjoyable (but also more dissapointing when it wasn't him taking the lecture)
- Panicking about the strikes and being rescued by my friend instead
- Jazz nights
- Sunday night Planet Earth watching with my housemate
- So! Much! Dancing!
- Watching my friend cook carbonara after an unsuccessful library day and banging out some mad tunes
- Discovering the importance of honest conversation.

In retrospect, second year may be tough, but it has also been very sweet and I am very lucky to have such wonderful friends.

© Libby-Jade. Design by FCD.