lessons learned (and the ones i've got left to learn)

This year has been all about learning. When I was assaulted by a voice that scathed "you can't be doing much in your gap year if you're working here" I took a deep breath and spoke in an internal mantra:
I am learning about myself.
And I am. I've kept a list in my notebook under my bed and have added to it each time I realised something.

things I've learned:
1) people and things are generally neither wholly black nor white, people can do bad things and still be good people. You don't have to like every aspect of a person to like them as a person.
2) bad people can be successful. There was a false preconception in school that something bad = bad consequences for that person (not doing work = cheating = failed exams = bad job). Real life doesn't work like that. Someone can be self-obsessed and ignorant but that might not actually ever hinder them. Its shit but its life.
3) guilt is all consuming and it affects every day life
4) time heals most things
5) society has cultivated an engrained inability to say no. Its dangerous and self-destructive
6) self-motivation is in fact a very difficult thing when there is no end goal
7) adult conversation is actually very banal (i.e hows work, how are the kids, oh i listened to a great programme on radio 4 last night, we get vegetables delivered to our front door???)
8) a lot of money can be wasted very easily on going out, drinking out, eating out
9) friendship can transcend time barriers
10) how to do new things and learn new skills and meet new people and be totally at ease with it
11) paying to live in your own bedroom is depressing but also probably quite a good life skill and teaches valuable money management (lol thanks mum???)
12) school actually wasn't everything and life continues
13) being 18 equates to spending money on things you don't want to and realising that you're parents will probably never take you shopping again
14) opportunities come up that you could never foresee and thats fun and exciting so let it all be
15) living up norf is actually very annoying
16) some people think sex and boys is all that life equates to. Tell them to fuck off.
16) how to create a life and a schedule from nothing and how not to feel lonely with only 1 friend permanently at home
17) that doing my own thing, despite the activities of those around me, was totally for the best and has cultivated so much independence
18) Pre-ing on jager is never a good idea. EVER.
19) people will forever find ways to put you down about your achievement ("humanities are easy" shut the fuck up before i take you down) stand. your. ground.
20) ingrown hairs will forever be the most satisfying things to pull out
21) striped t-shirts are always a good idea and no. you can never have too many.
22) how to eat breakfast at 8 and be hungry for lunch at 10 (because I don't like taking food to work lol)

things i still need to learn
1) a totally healthy relationship with food and exercise
2) how not to cry when I don't have many activities on in a day and be okay with average emptiness (e.g. Sundays)
3) how to control the amount of shit I chat when drunk
4) how to have less self control and let myself go (hmm oxymoronic)
5) the ability to go out for 'casual drinks' and not end up in a club vomiting
6) how to love my body, esp my boobs (lmao does anyone else have a really toxic relationship with their chest?)
7) comparison is the thief of joy
8) to finish the 12 packets of tea in the cupboard before buying any more
9) to sew a top
10) there's a 99% chance my headache does not mean I am dying
11) being in a relationship won't actually solve the internal problems (Josselyn wrote a sick blogpost about this once upon a time. I can't find it but check out her blog anyway.  I feel sad on a weekly basis that she doesnt post anymore)
12) how to take outfit pics
13) how to be open and upfront about myself and my feelings and not let them be buried by everyone else's self-centred-ness

Tell me some of your wisdom. My main goal for this morning was to "not waste time on my laptop and be productive before work". 2 hours later, I've spent the whole thing on my laptop. lol. OH well.
I swear there are some less headsy/internal posts coming up, I broke my camera (by forcing a snapped SD card) so I'm just waiting on its repair!

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some thoughts

Its a sunny thursday and I felt the need to write. I spent last night staring at a blank screen trying to transfer my messy thoughts to words on the page. It didn't work but I figured it was a bit depressing anyway.
Spring sun soothes my soul. It makes me feel bright and alive and excited for summer, I just hope it sticks around.  Life has been busy and, in the comedown to reality and return to work, I have found myself feeling lethargic and sad. Its a sort of burning nostalgia that cuts through, a craving for the past, a pining for the future, a desire for anything but now.
It is as though the world, in its unfathomable beauty, exists just out of reach. I can see the beauty but not be a part of it.

I am finding myself thinking about growing up a lot and adulthood and the automatic link my mind makes between this and dullness. I have a (hopefully false) preconception of adulthood that is built upon binary standards, convention, punishing expectation, routine, 'house and 2 kids stagnation. Its a world I don't want to conform to.

Self-love is proving a challenge and there appears to be a war breaking out between my mind and body. I am hoping the caressing touch of the sun will ease this pain. Its sort of exhausting to be built upon so much hate.

Wanderlust is getting the best of me and, whilst my savings are intended for university, I find myself dreaming of splashing them all and booking a holiday. I say this as though I am spending my summer at home. I have 4 (exciting) trips booked (as you can imagine, uni saving isn't going well) but I still long for the adventure of last summer, our interrailing adventure across Europe and the excitement and adventure that ensued. I suppose that's what I mean by nostalgia.
My mind is chasing images of weeks exploring the corners of rustic Italy or swimming in the Mediterranean or wandering the streets of Nice's vieille ville and letting the foreign language slip off my tongue with a fantasy fluency. I sort of want to be anywhere but home.
Maybe I'll explore ways to travel, ways to add another holiday onto the end of my summer. I'm already missing 2 weeks of work (but haven't told them), I guess another 2 won't hurt?!

I've been finding myself feeling fucked off at the state of the world and the nature of humanity. Do we ever learn? The news can become so overwhelming one is rendered paralysed by a sense of helplessness. Its hard to think so big. It also makes you question your own privileged problems. Are feelings valid if people locally, nationally, globally have it so much worse than you do? I then get stressed that I'm putting my first-world stresses on par with global catastrophe. Obviously I'm not but you find yourself in a state of "what can I do?"

The countdown to uni feels as though it has begun, I am inexplicably ready to move on. Life here is comfortable, safe but I need newness, excitement. I crave new faces, new experiences, education. Saying this, I have also realised (disclaimer: sorry to anyone who has exams lol) how blissful it is to not have exams. To know my place at uni is guaranteed, to know I can spend these spring days reading and walking and taking it all in. To know that, for the first time in 4 years, I can enjoy the months of April, May and June and appreciate them for what they are.

The next few days are full of work, cocktail drinking, cake baking, sewing, beach walking and sleep. I'm craving a new piercing and spending my days practicing for my driving test. The key is to cut down on the "fuck fuck fuck" and "what a knob" because I don't think they'll go down too well with the examiner. I want to get  back into photo taking but that requires a new SD card, and that can't happen until payday (because I went a little too hard on spending on eating out/going out this month–I'm actually a bit ashamed). I'm also questioning whether I can justify buying both stan smiths and nike internationalists. The answer is no. But I'm still trying.

And finally, there's some fun new posts coming up. I feel I am harking back to the old days of 2013 but I have a haul and some favourites and some recent reads to share with you all. I also want to do something combining a few pictures and adventures from last summers interrail because I never shared them.
Through the funk I have found myself in, these self-love instas have provided a lot of wisdom:
check them out!

I hope you're all well, enjoying the sun and feeling a little more coherent than me. lol.

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disposables #2

These disposables document the slightly manic adventures of the past few weeks. I wanted to save some photos for this week and my trip away with my family but I just couldn't help snapping endlessly.
At first I was quite disappointed with how this set came out but I then began to appreciate their grainy quality and contrasting exposure. I adore the surprise involved with film photography, immediately forgetting what you have captured and wondering just how they will turn out. Some of my favourites either didn't get printed (I've noticed Boots seem to develop fewer and fewer of my prints every time I take them, I had 27 photos and they only developed 20 which is very annoying, especially as it isn't cheap–I don't know if this is just part of the gamble of film??) or were so under-exposed which is a little sad, especially as there were 2 of me and my oldest friends which I was really excited to see. Oh well.

These follow Oxford, Barcelona and Brighton.

Gracia District on a very wet Saturday, Barcelona


'Bridge of Sighs', Oxford

Parc de la Citudella, Barcelona


La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona


Platja de la Barceloneta

Casa Viens, Barcelona

Me and Maria, Barcelona

Park Guell, Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Rainy gothic quarter, Barcelona

Libby in the lanes

Brighton (Lexie, Dalal, Libby)

Brighton beach

The Lanes, Brighton

This past week has been a blur of nights out and days at work and old friends and wine drinking and long train journeys and the disappearance to my favourite town where I deleted all social media and revelled in the familiarity. It is a beacon of safety. I returned feeling a little anxious but with an empowering sense of re-evaluation, about my goals and self and the things I wish of achieving. I intended on unpacking (for the 4th time in less than a month) but then got lost in catching up with everyone's posts and updating my journal.

Here's an excerpt I wrote on my phone whilst sitting on the beach in the dark.
the sound of the sea at night.
the relentless crashing of waves lovingly onto the shore, caressing the sand with their aquatic commitment.
in a head of torment and a world of hate it provides a ceaseless reminder that life goes on.
that nature continues regardless of the qualms of man.
that everything is as it should be.

musings #3

(I love the earthy yellows and greens of this mood board, offset with delicate blues and pinks–it radiates warmth. It makes me yearn for summer heat and days in the countryside and new places, as always none of these pics are my own and all can be found here)

i am

dreaming of: summer sun, a different body, familiarity, holidays, sleep, being fluent in French, companionship

thinking about: a lot, too much, all of which was written down in a post then deleted because positivity breeds positivity. But in essence: whats the point if it ends? am i a bad person? political disengagement, self worth, speaking out and up and not living alone with your torment, being good enough

feeling: tired, hungover, adventurous, proud, happy, disorientated, loved, unloved

reading: Larchfield (strange)

happy because: I spent a weekend meeting people who are just as genuine and candid and real as their online selves portray, my mum made my bed so I had the heaven of fresh sheets to fall into at 2am this morning, I spent last night dancing

sad because: I am growing up, people change, my room is a mess

spending time: working, a weekend in Oxford, Barcelona, London/Brighton, seeing old friends, getting lost in the drama of familiarity, packing, unpacking, not really stopping, drinking gin, becoming accustomed to wine, buying new clothes, tricking myself I'm ready for my driving test, stroking my cat, wasting on time on social media and hating it

listening to: George Ezra's new album, Tom Rosenthal 'the pleasure was all mine, miguel', Georges Bizet 'carmen: suite no.2'

wishing i could: write, especially something fictional, and not feel so lost and stuck as soon as I sit down to type

refraining from buying: (I've bought quite a few new items recently, maybe I'll showcase them but...) Stan Smith trainers (everyone in Barcelona wore them and ugh!!), a new rucksack, some fancy writing paper, boring (and expensive) essentials (external hard-drive, SD card because mine snapped in my bag– goodbye £100 on nothing)

thankful for: friends, old and new, the excitement of the past few weeks, the money I make because it makes these things possible, my mum, my cat

life is: exciting, stimulating, new, unfamiliar, adventurous, rewarding. But also tiring. I need to sleep for a few days and then evaluate just how cool the past few weeks have been.

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