space

“space” – noun, a continuous area or expanse which is free, available, or unoccupied.

Space…the final frontier – I’m kidding, sorry.

I work in hospitality – a profession in which I am always surrounded by people. The people I work with and the people for whom I work. Every day is a draining experience for me, not a natural “people person”, and I often feel myself tipping during some of the longer days and wanting to simply sit down and cry. It doesn’t help that this isn’t the job I want, it isn’t the profession I enjoy and it isn’t a position I’m going to be able to maintain for much longer.

Among the many problems of dealing with people all day is that people take up a lot of space, something which I like and need. In recent years, as I’ve drawn in on myself more, I have wanted to take up as little space as possible. I’ve tried to become smaller, quieter, less obtrusive until I can fade into a wisp of smoke to slip between the cracks in the floorboards.

I have placed myself in a profession though, in which taking up space and being visible is almost a requirement. And dealing with other people taking up space is a constant responsibility. This means, that by the time I get home, I’m often freaking out with the lack of space I seem to feel.

This afternoon was one such situation, after a week of long shifts and difficult guests, I needed lots of space and I wasn’t finding it in my disorganised, crap-filled bedroom and so began the Great Empty of 2017. I have had several Great Empties in the past and the Empty of 2014 will always be the day on which I lost half of my possessions – I still don’t know where several pairs of shoes, sets of earphones and books are…

Essentially, over the past few days, I have slowly been organising my various storage units in my bedroom. My bookshelf and half of my drawers were done yesterday and today was supposed to mark the completion of my drawers and the beginning of my wardrobe, instead, I emptied my room. Most of the pictures, cards, letters and memories on my walls have been moved into a shoe box, any items left on surfaces or piled in corners have been boxed and moved into the guest room for later sorting and my room looks barren to me.

I have never been more comfortable in it.

Looking around the room I finally feel calmer. For the past two weeks, I’ve felt like there’s something wrong with me. Like I was removed from my body and then put back in not quite right, like my skin doesn’t fit and my limbs are in the wrong place. While this is a feeling I often experience, it has never lasted quite this long and persistently.

Though I am not back to feeling entirely comfortable in my skin, it’s starting to feel like a size too large rather than a pair of trousers on my arms and some socks for pants. This has come as a revelation to me, already I’ve spent an extra half an hour today glancing around my room, picking out furniture I can get rid of, making lists of drawers and boxes to empty and donate. I finally feel like there is an immediate plan in my head and it’s made me feel like I’m moving forward.

These small things aren’t going to change my life or fix my head, but they’re going to make it easier to start doing so. I will find my space to work in and exist in where I can breathe and see and feel like someone who is almost me and once I have managed that, progress can be made.

Lovely days to you lovely people

x

futile

“futile” – adjective, incapable of producing any useful result; pointless.

If you were to look at a fan’s blades long enough and focus on the individual blades rather than the blur that they become, you start to see a chase. Each blade seems to relentlessly chase the one before it, around and around and around, with no hope of ever catching it. This futile chase is how I often feel with my own head.

I have recently experienced “blackouts” of some kind and lost minutes of my life, of important events and decisions because of these and often notice that my head seems to wander away without me as though it is independent of me and often won’t come back, despite my calls, until it is ready to do so. This is how the idea of a “chase” applies to me literally, however the element I want to discuss in this post is the more metaphorical chase I endure.

I grew up in a family that didn’t talk about their feelings and very easily fell into that same routine and felt that that was the routine I was meant for. Emotions confused me and I am often easily overwhelmed by them so to me, for a very long time, my natural response to feeling something was to ignore it or run away. This is a method that worked (not really, I have serious psychological issues that are probably half caused by these habits) for my almost very situation in my life until recently when something changed in my life that requires me to be able to access and process those feelings. This doesn’t go well.

The problem is not that I don’t want to talk about these feelings, it literally boils down, most of the time, to the fact that I actually can’t. I recently got into a reasonably heated argument with someone because of frustration with myself that somehow manifested itself into pure anger. When I tried to access why I was angry, what I was angry about, what exactly had triggered my anger, I could not find an answer. These sort of situations lead to anger on both sides unfortunately and this meant that I was experiencing a lot of different emotions all at the same time, all of them very strong, but didn’t know how to handle them or how to begin to understand what they even were. This didn’t go well either and I ended up a crying mess under my duvet.

Essentially what happens is that I will be absolutely fine, in neutral, slightly numb or “switched off” even and then suddenly, often for no reason I can sense, it changes and I’m furious or heartbroken or a combination of several things at once and I will lash out to try to show that I’m feeling this way. When I then get asked what has happened to make me this way I have to chase after that feeling, running and spinning to catch it, to feel it, to try to name it as something that I can identify but, like those fan blades, it evades me relentlessly.

This is a cause of serious frustration for both me and people on the receiving end of this outburst. More often than not, the outburst is directly caused by my own frustration at not being able to handle the emotions and all it ever seems to end in now is tears or exhaustion or one of my bad habits and, hopefully, eventually sleep. I recently completely lost my head over a small comment made by someone close to me and it escalated to a point where I was upset and angry and annoyed at things that really didn;t even matter. It kept escalating though because no matter how much I struggled and waded through the murkiest, swampiest parts of my head, I could not figure out what was happening. I had walked into the middle of a war with no weapons and no armour and there were bullets skimming the water around me, shouts and cries of pain echoing through the mist and figures were looming and disappearing as I stumbled. All I felt was absolute chaos and all I could feel was the pressure to search, to chase, to find and to fix.

I ended up wounded and was only dragged out in the end by my tears and someone else’s “bitchy” patience for the mess that I am. The endeavour was futile. Looking back now, a full day later, I still don’t know what pushed me or what exactly it was I was feeling. One day I hope to be able to identify my feelings, to be able to pull out a label and stick it on, preferably with superglue so that the next time I stumble into it there’s a glaring yellow post-it note saying “You’re angry right now.” so that I can begin to put together some idea of how to fix it.

Right now I’m going to start with trying to not run away, I’m going to keep dragging myself through that swamp and hope that I get better at dodging bullets.

x

[Enjoy: Is There Somewhere, Halsey // Sign of the Times, Harry Styles // Happier, Ed Sheeran.]

the little girl and the mouse

There was once a little girl. This little girl was nothing remarkable. She was not a princess or a hero, not “the fairest in the land” or a sword-wielding defender. This little girl, however, was very sad. She didn’t have horrible parents or mean children bullying her, nor did she have to worry about having a roof over her head or food at dinner time. She did fine in school and had lovely teachers and even lovelier friends but still: she was very sad. She drew ugly pictures on herself and refused the delicacies she was offered, believing herself undeserving of such happy things when she was so melancholy at heart. She began to sink deeper and deeper, into a darkness she feared she would not escape.

Not far away lived a mouse. This mouse was an unusual creature. He was smart and gentle and, despite having been hurt and suffered through his overwhelming share of pain, he was loving and considerate to all. While he had his own type of very sad and very dark, he remained hopeful for life and looked to his future with bright eyes.

The first day that the little girl looked into those bright eyes she was warmed. Though they were not yet friends, barely even acquaintances, she looked at him and felt his brightness shine onto her sadness.

Over time, the two of them became friends. Easily finding common interests and endless topics to discuss, they were a pair some envied and others admired. The little girl’s friends liked the mouse and enjoyed his company at their tea parties. Soon, the mouse began to smile at the little girl in a different way.

Now, you must understand, this unremarkable, average little girl was not used to this attention, nor was she ready to believe it. As days, weeks went by she frowned at the knowing glances from her friends and retreated further and further into her sad little mind. Despite this fear of the mouse, this almost avoidance for so long, she could not deny that this mouse had become her confidant, her source of light in her darkness and her dearest friend. Though she was still sinking, still struggling, still terrified of life, she smiled through their time together.

She could feel herself giving the mouse little gifts; parts of herself she didn’t know she had and he accepted each one with a smile. Never criticising or mocking these gifts, never lifting his bright, unwavering gaze from her. She felt that giving of parts become easier as time went on.

However, she soon began to struggle. She had been pulling away parts of herself to hand over but was running out of gifts to give. While she had fought everything she had grown up thinking to trust this mouse to not mock those parts of her, she couldn’t find another thing to give to him. She tried with all her might and searched for hours on end. Little bits of fluff and dust mites swirled in the air of an empty space.

The space was like a loft, all large windows and light wood but there were dark corners. Parts of the room that the sunshine didn’t quite reach. One day, she ventured into one, determined to find a gift for her mouse. As she left the sunshine she turned cold, the shadows seeming to wrap around her, tightening until she was frozen in place. The dark corner fought her search, battled with her poking and prodding. That dark corner refused to relent and attacked the little girl with all it had. It won.

She tried each corner, only edging in before the cold start to seep into her bones again and she retreated to the sunlight. She sat in the middle of the large space, all the parts that used to clutter and fill the room were gone and she sat alone. The sun warmed her and when she shut her eyes she could almost imagine that it was her mouse’s eyes on her, sending soft heat through her and protecting her from those dark corners.

The next time she saw the mouse, he held his hand out, used to these gifts she brought, not demanding one but suggesting to her that another one was okay. She looked at his outstretched hand and looked back up at him, her eyes hopeless and apologetic. He frowned and looked at her questioningly, his mouth opening to begin a question.

“There’s nothing left to give you. Nothing I know how to give.”

Her head dropped as she said it and she saw her mouse’s hand drop at the same time. She kept her eyes to the ground, afraid to look up to see the disappointment in his eyes. When his hand lifted her chin and she was forced to look back at him, she saw no disappointment, only warm understanding.

The next time she saw the mouse, he held his hand out again, she looked at him, panicked and opened her mouth to explain, to apologise. Suddenly his outstretched hand reached for hers. Their fingers clasped and she looked at their hands woven together.

She looked back up at her mouse and he was warmth and light, her dark corners hissing at the intrusion and her own self trembling slightly from the heat.

The mouse did something quite stupid. He fell in love with that little girl with her very sad, dark corners and her strange stories. He was foolish to do it if anyone asked that sad little girl.

But that unremarkable, average little girl will hold onto his hand and probe at those dark corners with his supportive light until they release the parts they have stolen from her. That sad little girl will keep trying and pushing until she can hand over the rest of herself, with a smile and, one day, with love as well.

((This was definitely something different to write. I didn’t plan or edit or try to find my metaphors and poetic devices. I let words run away and let my fingers try to follow, it turns out my runaway words are a bit cheesy.I hope it’s something worth reading. Please feel free to leave comments below. ))

Lovely, warm days to you lovely people.

x

Trust Me

“trust” – verb, believe in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.

The word “trust” is both a noun and a verb, depending on the position in which it’s used. In this particular post, I’m using it as a verb because “to trust someone” feels like something larger than “to place your trust in someone” to me.

 

Five years ago, I went on a three-week 200km hiking trip with my school. It’s a pretty big deal and was possibly one of the greatest experiences of my life and I may well have a blog post dedicated to that at a later date, but there is a particular point I would like to focus on in relation to it.

We were split into three groups of just under twenty girls each and for those three weeks, those other girls and our two leaders would often be the only people you would see for a whole day. This meant that there was a lot of trust required. To travel with close to 20kg backpacks and sleep only in tents or even just under the stars for that long is the sort of thing that you can’t experience together without having a certain level of trust. This meant that in the weeks leading up to our hike, in amongst our various seminars and speeches and “How To Pack a Backpack” workshops, we also had teambuilding.

These team building exercises were mostly harmless obstacle courses and treasure hunts traversing the whole school but on the last day, three days before we went off to pack and prepare ourselves, we had a final day of it and were told to prepare to “Become a Family”. Yet again, mostly harmless and even fun activities, until they pulled out a massive table from one of the classrooms near the field we were all on and were told to jump off the table…

These beautiful creations known as “trust falls” have been a torturous experience for me most of my life and this was no different. I was the absolute last person to go and, though I repeated my fear several times, was eventually pushed up onto the table. My group members had already gathered below, arms crossed and hands clasped right by the table with other girls ready with supporting holds and I stood there for a solid minute before my best friend threatened to come up and push me off. We all laughed and I dropped. It was one of the most terrifying moments of my high school life, right after abseiling down a dam wall or my final drama practical.

But they caught me. And through those three weeks, as cheesy* as it sounds, we repeated to catch each other day after day and that was how we survived those 200km.

As I mentioned, trust falls are not easy to me, and this, obviously, is partly due to the fact that trusting is not easy to me either. There are very few people in the world I trust and, as a cynical being, I am quite happy with this state of being.

Trust has technically been classified by sociologists as a social construct. It’s an entity which doesn’t exist outside of our social reality. There are several similar constructs which trust directly relate to, these include control, confidence, risk, and power. It’s these words that push me to struggle with trusting. I personally agree with those that suggest, as a social construct, we should question if “trust” can be trusted. There is a reason those constructs all link.

To trust someone is to place yourself at risk of betrayal, it’s giving that person an amount of power that I feel nervous to relinquish. That person has the power to control you entirely once you’ve placed enough trust in them, after some time, that trust can develop into dependence. While I know that I didn’t need those girls to literally catch me from falling off a table every day, I did need them to be there for support in case I fell off a cliff (literally), fell ill, fell victim to blisters (one of three people in my group who didn’t actually) or fell to my emotions at any point. At the end of those 200km, our relationships and dynamics within our group had developed and mostly for the better.

Within a week of our return, we had slipped back into the non-dependent kind of trust, which was good. This experience of trust was fairly enjoyable for me if a bit scary at times. This trust was one that was required, if only for a short time. The other kind of trust, the more long-term kind is the type that involves that handover of power and control, it’s the type that leaves you vulnerable.

I am not a person that likes being vulnerable and if I am even willing to be with anyone, that person had better be feeling pretty damn special. I don’t fall off the table easily but I am slowly finding myself trusting people more deeply as I grow up.

Unfortunately, as is to be expected, some of this was misplaced trust which resulted in some terrible consequences. A close friend of mine, who wanted something more from our friendship, was someone I trusted with a lot. After finding out that I was, firstly uninterested, but also now entirely unavailable, he has been responding in poor fashion and is slowly killing me with subtly snarky comments and questions.

I do know what my largest misplaced trust experience was and, “according to scientific studies”, the betrayal of trust early in life by people, particularly family members, in whom you should be able to place your trust, is one of the main contributing factors in a struggle to trust, which correlates. (There were far too many commas in that sentence – I do apologise)

On the opposite end of the spectrum, being a trusting person is one of the “strongest predictors of subjective well-being”…….well shit.

So, essentially, it’s healthy to be able to jump off a table. This is a fact that I’m having difficulty coming to terms with. I am aware of not being a “healthy” person but I had always assumed that everyone had the same level of mistrust I have with most people. The reason I write this post (besides feeling like I need to and not thinking of anything else even slightly relevant or prevalent enough in my life at the moment) is because I am now in positions in which trust is almost essential.

One, in particular, the one which triggered this post, is a relationship with someone in whom I’ve placed more trust than is probably safe or sane and every day I am reminded of how much power I have willingly handed over to this person and feel more and more intimidated and, simultaneously, comforted by this control I’m giving to him in truckloads at a time.

The logical part of my brain has spent the last month screaming that I’m being stupid and need to seriously reconsider my choices and realise that I’m setting myself up for suffering.

There’s a very large part of my brain (and possibly every single other part of me) telling it to shut up and just jump off the goddamn table.

[ Just listen to Stay, Hurts. That’s it.]

((*I am slowly being taught to embrace the cheese in life and will try to integrate it here as well))

Lovely days everyone

x

ennui

“ennui” – noun, a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.

The first time I read the word “ennui”, I thought it was an animal. I was about nine at the time and continued with this belief until I was about fifteen and actually sought out a definition after stumbling upon it again. Someone recently used this word while speaking to me and it stuck its heels in and has refused to leave my head. When I was seventeen I applied this word to much of my life and preferred to think of myself as suffering from this instead of other ailments. I still prefer this word to the other ones with taboo tags.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I usually plan or roughly outline a blog post before putting it anywhere but occasionally (though slowly more and more often, unfortunately) I throw caution to the wind and type instead. Today is one of those days, the caution has been thrown and the journaler within me is raring to go.

There are several events in my life currently which I classify as a big deal. To clarify, the title of big deal is one which very little deserves in my life and when I say these words, it usually means life-changing in a big way.

The first is that Grand Adventure (I don’t remember what capitalised title I’ve used for it before, sorry) but, essentially, I’m moving to a different continent later this year. While this is something I have been excited for for as long as I’ve been dreaming of it (that’s seven years) it has become a subject which I dread. I recently took a trip up to the half of my family I don’t see very often and one of the few topics that are apparently interesting to these members is this Grand Adventure (and the other big deal in my life at the moment, but we’ll get onto that). This means that over the last week, I have spoken of little but these two topics. The Grand Adventure discussion is one that I already don’t enjoy because of the negativity that surrounds it due to the permanent delays (every one of which is my fault which just angers me and makes me hate myself a little bit more) as well as the fact that I sometimes question this decision. I have never questioned my decision to leave this country but now I reconsider the country I’m moving to, the things I want to study, the direction I want my life to go in and, while I know that at my age I “still have time” and “don’t have to have it all planned out yet”, I would prefer to have some form of plan.

This is what links to the ennui. I’ve reached that state of aimlessness in which it doesn’t matter to me that I don’t have a plan and am enjoying this strange wandering around with no real goal. The strange thing about this is that I’m usually incapable of that. Games in which there is no real goal and they just leave that “Explore” suggestion at the top of the screen bother me to no end and I find them an absolute waste of time, which is why me being content with this wandering is odd. I can’t figure out if it’s this particular subject or if I’ve simply lost the energy for tasks like this. There are very few things I bother putting energy into at this point in my life and I am beginning to wonder if this is a choice or if I don’t actually have it in me to get these things done.

This brings me to my other big deal of the moment. I’ve recently entered into a relationship and, while it may be a stupid thing to do between this aimlessness that is pervading my life and the fact that I am leaving the country soon, I can’t find the energy to not be absolutely okay with all of these “problems” and it’s the one aspect of my life that is strangely effortless. While it’s completely terrifying and intimidating to me, he’s also one of the few things that keeps the ennui at bay while he’s around. It’s new territory and constantly nerve-wracking but I enjoy almost every moment of it.

Unfortunately, I’m beginning to find, that the ennui seems to hit me harder when he leaves and it turns this into a strange dependency that makes me uncomfortable and needs to be averted. I hope that this strange drop (unlike any I’ve really properly had before) is mostly due to exhaustion with the huge change after a huge lift from a deep drop followed by an almost immediate drop in one day when I saw him after a week away and then had to say goodbye for almost that long again and not a trend that I can begin to expect or else my Grand Adventure will become a rather difficult task (more so than it already is.)

I hope the expulsion of words will help to let me sleep and maybe let me return to a more stable state of being. I can already feel myself drifting and need to sleep in order to avert any bad decisions for the evening. I hope to be back with something more structured and sensical when I return – hopefully soon.

A lovely week to you all

x

how to clean a makeup brush

People here for my usual content or for the tags may be looking at this post and wondering what the fuck is going on. Worry not, I have not turned into a Zoella wannabee overnight and am here to chat about my normally morbid issues. Just, bear with me for a moment.

I was late to the makeup party and only started using it when I was seventeen but, in the subsequent years, have come to depend on it entirely. I can no longer leave my house without it on. In these years I have slowly learned many things about makeup, the application thereof and the various instruments related. One thing I only recently properly learned about was the actual cleaning of those instruments, that’s what today’s post is based around.

When I first discovered you actually should clean your brushes regularly, it was apparently something I really should have known about and settled myself to Google what on earth I actually needed to do. The first link that came up explained the “bath and soak” method, as I call it and, uncaringly, used this method for several weeks. Essentially it comprises of dropping your brushes into a bowl or cup of warm water with some soap or shampoo and leaving them there. All that this resulted in was a pool of brownish water, a stained coffee mug and brushes that looked no better than before.

I upgraded to using the sink instead so that I could use the “swirl and tap” method: just swirling your brush through the water, using your hands to squeeze out excess water and running it under the tap before leaving it to dry. Unfortunately, I got similar results again.

At this point, in frustration, I turned to where anyone desperate enough turns to: YouTube. After a half an hour long tutorial I found out that my previous methods were better for what was called “spot” cleaning and should be done several times a week, then allowing for a deep clean a few times a month if possible. To those people who follow this schedule: get a life. (I’m kidding, I admire you all and aspire to be like you one day).

So with this knowledge, I turned back to my sink with my brushes in hand, pulled out my new baby shampoo and cleaned my makeup brushes. This was a day of revelations for me and I am proud to announce that this is now a twice a month *cough not really* activity for me. This task happened to fall earlier this week for me and I felt philosophical and found myself an analogy and rolled with it.

Watching a makeup brush being cleaned is a bit of a therapeutic experience for me. For anyone who hasn’t seen this or doesn’t wear makeup and doesn’t even understand any of what I’ve been referring to, a makeup brush starts to collect the makeup and the oil from your face after some uses. Slowly the blush or foundation or powder starts to build up on the brush and the colour of the bristles begins to change, the texture can get uncomfortable for your face and can affect your skin as you reapply the same oils it collected and the same old blush or foundation from last week. When these are cleaned, therefore, you can visibly see these substances swirling down the drain. I’m hoping some people are starting to see where I’m going with this.

In the same way that I cannot leave my house without my makeup on, I cannot leave my house without my mental illness. Every day I cover it up and ensure no one sees it and it may not debilitate me some days but it is always there, no matter what. When I walk outside I can feel it and though I may get used to the feeling, I know it’s there the whole day. I have become those makeup brushes; slowly building up a coat of depression and exhaustion and anxiety and self-hate. As I go through each day, reapplying that makeup, I reapply those difficult parts of myself that slowly cover me and leave me heavy and stained and in need of cleaning. That’s what this post is, really. It’s discussing that very process of “cleaning”.

When I wash my brushes I see that makeup run down the drain. It may begin to discolour the sink and the water runs murky and unclean and, slowly, it begins to clear until there is nothing but water pouring through the bristles. This process, though not as visible in real life, is just as necessary when applying it to cleaning yourself of that depression and heaviness from your own mental illnesses. Over the last nine years, I have tried many such “cleaning methods” and I’m sure many of you have as well.

In the same way that the “bath and soak” and “swirl and tap” methods seemed to help initially before I noticed that they weren’t making any difference in the long run, I tried many things to make myself feel lighter and ‘normal’ to be able to deal with my mind’s faults and attacks. Someone very close to me recently dealt with a feeling that he felt he couldn’t escape and, while trying to help, I asked what methods he had used before which had been successful and he didn’t have any. After hearing about the severity of this way of thinking I felt surprised at the revelation that he hadn’t yet found a way to deal with it but, after some thought, I started to wonder if knew how to make myself feel better when I had a drop or a panic attack or slipped back into old habits and I realised that quite simply: I didn’t know of any successful ones either.

As I’ve mentioned before I have several friends who deal with mental illnesses and, thinking about them, I didn’t know of any ways they dealt with it either. I have one friend who lies on the floor for her panic attacks and restricted her eating for a year but has never mentioned any of this to someone who could actually help. I have another friend who hides in his bathroom from his own thoughts and phones me at three o’clock in the morning in order to hear any voice that doesn’t sound like his own. Another friend who sliced her skin to focus on the drip instead of the numbers in her head. Yet only one of us has ever properly sought medical assistance (it wasn’t me, unfortunately).

When I first started feeling whatever it is that I deal with now (because who even knows let’s be honest) I was too young to really grasp what was really going on and basically spent most of my pre-teen years essentially just hating myself, my life and everything I could. This was my “bath and soak” method. I settled into my routine and let the hate and the unhappiness and discontent soak into me and absorbed all of those negative feelings because it seemed the easiest way to cope: ignore it basically.

In my early teenage years, I resorted to the “swirl and tap” method. I tried to do new things. I restricted eating (without really knowing what I was doing) and actively complained about pretty much everything into a journal I took great pleasure in burning last year. I also tried to kill myself at this point and this segued well into the “desperate Google search” part of my life.

In my later teenage years, I dropped to the methods I had heard of: the self-harm, purging, acceptance of this frustration and desperation. I researched all the ways that people coped with this, the “cleaning” methods and some of them worked, temporarily.

*TRIGGER – Cutting, EDs – B/P in particular*

*I felt clean when I could look under my skin and see red, when I finally felt my stomach was empty and my throat burned, when I went a whole day without a bite and felt dizzy.* I felt like a new person with these new methods I employed and finally felt I had accepted my problems and was “dealing with them”.

I would like to call bullshit on my younger self at this point and could write that person an essay on all the things she was doing wrong. Since then I have found those more positive YouTube tutorials. I now drink strawberry milk or paint my nails or blast my music into my ears loud enough to blow my eardrums or run for kilometres until I’ve run off the unclean feeling or let someone hug me until I can’t breathe or feel anything else. Though these methods are as temporary as all of those negative ones I found when I first started “dealing with this”, and may not seem as effective some days, they are my new step. Though I sometimes can’t handle the seeming ineffectiveness of these methods and may take a big step back to the old ones, I feel myself slowly leaving those older ones behind as I grow older and find new cleaning methods.

I haven’t found my deep-clean scrub yet. I haven’t felt myself pour out clear water just yet and can still feel those old oils and cakey makeup particles in my skin and under my fingernails and sometimes they clog my mouth up until I can’t breathe.

But.

But, I feel myself easing towards that final method and I cannot wait until the day I finally find it. I cannot wait until the water runs clear and I can tap myself and lay out on a towel to dry out and finally feel clean.

x

[Clean songs of the week: Think About You, LÉON / Something Just Like This, The Chainsmokers ft. Coldplay / Love, Lana Del Rey / Fallen Angel, SVRCINA]

appreciation

“appreciation” –noun, recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.

Good day fair people of the world. Today is a bit of a filler post (one much longer than expected, I do apologise). It’s not really a real update on anything, more a quick discussion on something that’s been on my mind for a long time. That topic, obviously, is appreciation. Not just of the “big” things like a roof over your head or the ability to read or running water. I mean the little things as well.

A very long time ago I uploaded a post called ‘my dog’ in which I spoke about staying alive for the little things you don’t always think about; like to spend time with your dog. That post came from a very dark place and this one is sort of similar in that sense but this is more directed at appreciating those small things than simply living for them. (Please note my ironic use of the word simply, I’m feeling ironic today).

So onto a list of, maybe stupid to some people, things that I appreciate and try to live for.

  1. Painting my nails. While this seems silly and superficial, I appreciate this act for several reasons. As I’ve also mentioned before, colour is very important to me and my nail colours mean a fair bit more than most people realise. I spent a lot of time painting my nails black when that’s how I felt, I spent even more time painting them yellow when I was trying to stop feeling like that. At the moment purple is a pretty significant colour to me and that’s why they’ve been that for the past week. Besides this, it’s also a point of interest. I work in a position in which conversation is important and I was often surprised by how many people (notice that I did not say women) noticed my nails and it sparked a conversation. I will never forget the gentleman staying at the hotel who, when checking out, looked at my newly painted yellow nails and said definitively: “That’s a beautiful colour, it brightens up the room”. On a smaller scale, the act of painting my nails is an incredibly calming thing for me to do and I may repaint more often than necessary for this reason. Nail polish is also cheap, it’s not some extravagant object like my makeup or my books that will empty my bank account if I buy more than three in a day. So it’s become what I call a “cost-effective care method” which is important to me.
  2. Pizza. Do I really need to say anymore? While many will argue that a thin base Margarita is “not a pizza”, this is a very small pleasure I take very seriously. It’s been a source of fantastic memories  not only with my some of my best friends in high school but with someone close to me now as well. There’s really no long explanation to this one: it’s a pizza.
  3. Tea. Again, this one may seem stupid, but this one is actually one of the biggest for me. I have a teacup tattooed on my right wrist and, while it is for the wonder that is a good cup of tea, it’s also what tea represents. I was raised by British grandparents in a particularly British fashion. This included at least six tea breaks a day and, for this reason, one of the first things I learned to do in a kitchen (and probably the only thing I can accomplish in the kitchen) is to make a cup of tea. I don’t like to brag, but I am acclaimed for my tea-making skills at work and am proud to say that many people request my tea. Besides this, tea breaks have always been a big deal to me. My aunt and I have most of our conversations over a cup of tea while my cousins are at school and this is when I feel closest to her, making tea for my mum has  a similar feeling, making a round of tea with my Nanna was one of the biggest responsibilities when I was younger and, most importantly to me, my best friend and I became friends through our many, many, many tea breaks while studying. As odd as it sounds, many of my friendships through my teenage years were made during tea breaks in the boarding house. While in matric (final year) my best friend and I spent more time making tea in our kitchen right next to her room than studying and I will always maintain that it was those tea breaks on which we based our friendship that kept me going through that year.
  4. Rescue dog adoptions. Stray dogs are a source of absolute despair for me and those adoption stories and videos break my heart in the best way. We adopted one such dog, she’s had a terrible history it seems, and to see her grow more and more comfortable in our presence and in her new home, is something I can never appreciate enough. Seeing it happen to others is almost as heart-warming and just as smile-inducing. This is something that seems more obvious but I feel isn’t appreciated enough or noticed often enough and felt the need to mention.
  5. Letters. As much as I love and appreciate WhatsApp and Instagram and Facebook for their convenience in staying in contact with my friends further away, a letter in an envelope is something I love to receive, even from people around me who have no reason to do so. Cards and letters and long essay type notes are an instant source of happiness, regardless of content, and I appreciate not only those letters but those wonderful friends of mine who are willing to put in the effort to write them.

The final one doesn’t get a number because this is a big one. This is one that has kept me alive on some of the most difficult of days. It’s a very obvious one this time: people.

While I do mean those lovely people that smile at you from behind a counter and wish you a pleasant day and those kind people that pick something up that you dropped and give it back to you and those wonderful people that help to steady you when you trip (an act that is necessary more often for some of us). Those strangers who can make your day with one action are definitely important and something I do appreciate.

Obviously, though, the people I appreciate the most are those that are directly involved in my life on a more regular basis. I recently lost some of that appreciation for some of these people, one in particular, and felt myself slipping into a drop with no way out. While sitting in the bottom of my well I realised that I had lost that appreciation. I was in a happier place in my life, good things have been happening regularly to me and yet here I was sitting alone in a dark hole and hating the fact that, despite having very little to be sad about, I was. I repeated this frustration to three people very close to me and got varied responses, all pointing out I was not in the wrong, though. One, in particular, stuck with me and his general response to everything I was saying was as frank as I always expect from him.

He is the one I felt I had lost appreciation for. I have known him for four years and, somehow in that time, we lost all forms of barriers. I get the truly wonderful stories of his awkward public boners (interesting backstory to that, another time, though) and his chronic fall-in-love-with-everyone issue and he deals with my increasingly filthy jokes and terrible puns and sits patiently through my existential crises. Over the past several months, something happened that we lost touch but last week he turned around and reminded me why he is as important as he is and I remembered why I appreciated him as I did. I also realised that I hadn’t been appreciating him as much as I should. Which is what sent me on this post. After spending three hours yesterday arguing over television shows and then, somehow, using those shows for dating advice (it was Doctor Who, I don’t know how we managed it either) I turned around and straight up told him that as well as the fact that I loved him and I didn’t know where I’d be without him, blah blah gag gag etc. It turns out, as often happens with us, he was feeling the same way and told me I was a dork and he hated me and I then I told him he was an idiot and that was the end of our sappy moment and I’ve never felt so appreciative of something in my life I don’t think.

So while that was an unnecessarily long story, I just wanted to share my newest appreciation reminder to remind everyone else to appreciate those things that you may not realise you need to. Appreciate that cup of tea your mum made you and that dorky message someone sent you at three in the morning to annoy you when you wake up (out of love) and appreciate people driving to fetch you and how excited your pet gets when you walk in the door and being able to hug your best friend in person and getting changed into your pyjamas as soon as you get home because these are the things you forget to appreciate sometimes but also the things that make life all the more pleasing.

I hope you all have a lovely week ahead x

[Yellow (yes yellow) songs for some listening: Red Blood Stains (Hello Beautiful Remix), Chambers / How Would You Feel, Ed Sheeran / Beautiful  Noise, Daniel Baron ]

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