one hundred days

The 100 day milestone of 'rona lockdown sure did hit hard. I cried and napped almost exclusively for two days straight, something I haven't done in a while. 
Last week was euphoric. I wrote in my notes whilst sitting on the train that it felt blissful and delightfully exciting. 

it feels like there is so much to look forward to, and nothing to dread. I suppose I hope it can never get as bad or as strict or as lonely or as scary as it was

(side note: i rlly hate the new blogger, and can no longer work out how to make pics good quality - any tips??)

I sort of wish I'd documented the feelings a little better but I managed to see some of my favourite faces, get drunk multiple times, and visit the place most dearest to my heart. Beautiful highlights include lying in the sun of Hyde Park with my best friend, drinking cider, laughing, marvelling in total awe at finally seeing each other. The sunny botanic gardens and feeling a warmth and freedom. Sitting under a tree in the rain, and then in Radcliffe Square drinking gin in the golden silence, and nearly missing yet another train. Crying to another friend at the overwhelming emotions of it all. 
Yesterday, I lay on my floor surrounded by my miscellaneous belongings and paper and copious books and just cried and cried. I felt so much. I think the last fourteen weeks finally sort of sunk in, what I had missed, how much I adore my friends and how much it hurt that I couldn't spend blissful summer months with them. Visiting Oxford was magical and felt like home but walking into my locked room, left as a total still of the before corona times, felt alien and outdated. I sort of struggle to remember that that life belonged to me. 

I also think it sort of hit home that the elated trajectory I had idealised last week of endless progression just isn't true and life isn't going to revert, no matter how much I sanitise my hands or dream of it disappearing. 

So 'rona is bringing some odd feelings this week. I am feeling uneasy about turning twenty-one, am lost in an odd self-contempt and worthlessness, and I have a lot of thoughts I need to process about endings and beginnings and what it all means. This summer, really, is mostly just work. I have a lot to get through and focus on, and I suppose a pandemic is the best time to do it. I've got a dissertation to research (and apparently 'start writing' by the end of summer to 'front load'), and a plethora of pre-reading to tackle for next term. It is terrifying that this will be my last paper and my last 8 weeks of essays written in 4 days and 400 years of history learned in 2. I need to figure out what might come *next*, and try not to get caught up in the 'not-doing-enough' rhetoric. My degree is enough, surviving a pandemic is enough, and accepting the emotional exhaustion is enough. But it's hard to feel that when everyone around you seems to be succeeding and creating and exploring. I'm dreaming of summer plans that oscillate between illegal and improbable, and exciting and spontaneous. I am trying to exist in the thrill of promise and possibility, and not living beyond next the next seven days, even if I can't stop thinking of Paris. 

Today, I am making bagels, trying to avoid the headache induced by too many hours on my phone, walking my usual route and trying to make progress with Reading Lolita in Tehran. There also remains a mountain of shit to put away, washing to do and hoarded items to part with. 

Has the centenary of corona brought any odd feelings for y'all?

some reading and listening

Long time, no see. 
It's been a lot, these past few weeks. A lot for all of us in so many different ways and to so many different degrees. But it's been an important shift in discourse and privilege checking and awareness. In 'obsessed with I May Destroy You', Sophie Duker refers to the bc* world as 'the before times', before 'the world disintegrated' and I loved this description. But the disintegration is in so many ways important. It'd be interesting to consider whether there was a correlation between activism nd corona – maybe privileged white people (like me) feel they have more time to understand, study, research, are more open to other people's stories, recognise that their liberties have been curtailed perhaps for the first time ever, and perhaps reflect upon this. Of course, dialogue relating to race, discrimination, inequality etc has been going on forever, but maybe corona offered the spark to get white people to sit up and listen. But maybe it's all just a chronological coincidence. 
Either way, I've thought a lot, read a lot, listened a lot in these past few weeks. 

Some really good stuff, of varying degrees of educational zeal, entertainment, culture and generally black voices in spaces where they don't exclusively talk about race (not because this isn't so important but because sometimes feel the mainstream media only thinks it necessary to involve people of colour when its about race) include:

Pose (for the Latino/African-American LGBTQ+ scene in '80s New York - both heartbreaking and heart warming in equal measure), I May Destroy You (for a raw, hilarious, cutting exposition of being a woman, being a woman of colour, being a millennial, culture of consent, micro-aggressions, just what the real world is actually like (there are so many scenes that are just not in usual TV but which happen everyday (and show how fake tv usually is – which isn't always a bad thing of course) – e.g. when she is in the toilet w/ her friend and puts a pad in with no reference to her period), Obsessed with I May Destroy You (BBC Sounds podcast, a funny review of the show and its reflection of the experiences of black women in Britain – also she has some sick guests, and along with the actual show it feels like the BBC is finally waking up from its prude watershed conservatism a bit??), Growing up with Galdem podcast (for safe, real conversations about childhood through a diary entry/letter/text message from their younger selves – there's also an episode w/ Michaela Cole which I need to listen to asap). 
In terms of more academic tings I've read a lot about race in feminism, which has made me realise a lot and think a lot. Piercing the White Silence by Terese Jonsson, as well as Reni Eddo-Lodge's chapter on feminism for current issues in the feminist movement. Hazel Carby's 1982 article 'White Women Listen!' is a very important read for white feminists, and was crucial to the '80s Black feminist movement. All three are easy reads. And finally, I am half way through Reading Lolita in Tehran which, whilst perhaps different in its topics, is still crucial and shocking but so rich and full. It takes me an hour just to read a few pages because every word feels like a gift, and sometimes  I have to just put it down and think about their trauma and their ceaseless search for escapism.

In terms of stuff I want (but haven't yet had time) to watch/read/listen to:
Watch 13th, and alongside that read Angela Davis – both Women, Race and Class, and Are Prisons Obsolete? And I want to read the rest of bell hooks Ain't I a Woman. Some of my good friends have set up an online feminist theory reading group (called Theory4Thotz, open to all (not exclusive to Oxford at all – find it on fb and insta) that discusses some of the major feminist texts. They've chatted about Adrienne Rich's Compulsory Heterosexuality, Beauvoir's The Second Sex, Womanism, Black Feminism and Beyond by Patricia Hill Collins and bell hooks' Feminist Theory from Margin to Centre, alongside others. I've got quite a lot to catch up on but boy am I excited to get more into it now term is done. For some reason I am really enjoying reading academia just for the sake of it. 

I've also watched and listened and read a lot of other (good) but less informative stuff – see: Wimbledon (the film), How to Fail w/ Daisy Edgar Jones, Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan, Portico Quartet Knee Deep in the North Sea for working music. 

In other news, term finished yesterday. It concluded with a coursework practice, whereby I had to write 3 essays in 3 days. Grim. But I am mighty proud of myself of surviving a term at home. I actually have *plans* this week, and am seeing (almost) all my favourite people in a variety of convoluted ways. I remember this time last year writing in my diary that I was the happiest I had ever been. Right now, as I sit outside in the sun with nothing to do and nowhere to be, except to drink in the park with my friends tonight like we are 16 again, I sort of feel the same, but in a very different way. I guess I can finally see the corona light and the thought of seeing my best friend tomorrow (admittedly after a train journey with a mask and a lot of hand sanitiser) after fourteen weeks, and beautiful Oxford in the sun on Saturday, makes me so excited I might wee myself. 
Man, it sure has been a lot!
Please send podcast recs and reading recs, and come to the reading group because its an hour and half of the most enlightening and safe discussions w/ two of the cleverest gals I know.
Oh, and it's nice to be back!

*before corona, obvs

friendship in quarantine

Post-tutorial, I sat on the phone with a friend for a few hours whilst I coloured and we chatted about corona and books and our feelings. She asked me how I'd be finding friendship in lockdown, and I replied that in all honesty, its been a bit odd. So much of friendship is built on shared experience, and obviously the pandemic has put a stop to that. I've read a lot of 'dating in lockdown' articles, which I find generally entertaining, and sometimes perplexing, but weirdly not much about friendship. But it sure has been weird.

The fatigue of Zoom is mounting, and after 10 weeks, I am craving some real-life social contact. A 2D pixilated image just doesn't quite cut it, when all you want to do is hug your friends. I've had some warming and loving hours spent on FaceTime, when I'm reminded just how lucky I am, but after I've closed my laptop and am in my silence, I'm often left feeling just a little sadder that they can't be here with me.
And sometimes it feels I've got nothing left to say, can only ask so many times how someone is or reply with the usual 'oh you know, getting through'. I sometimes worry I've forgotten how to socialise properly. Somewhere I read that you shouldn't ask a virtual chirpse how their day is because 'newsflash: it was probably as boring as yours', and whilst I actually do like this question and the care and interest it suggests, the implicit message that nothing much is happening to anyone carries a lot of weight. And it really doesn't bode well for dynamic conversation. For me, the topics are predominantly either corona or work. Both are undoubtedly of some interest, but god I'd like an hour of post-night-out gossip or hysterical laughter. I feel like I'm definitely not laughing as much.
All this virtual communication has also highlighted just how much conversing exists beyond the language used. Movements, pauses, expression cannot be discerned through a screen - without them conversation can be stilted or endlessly overlapped. With so many of my friends, I love their presence as much as their conversation but silence doesn't carry the same comfort when translated over the internet. Of course, we all know how 'lucky we are' to be in the age of the internet and to be able to see and talk to those we miss and man I couldn't have got through with out it, but boy its also a lot and no real comparison for real life!

I'm also finding some of the expectation of communication exhausting, that the friendship has become virtual and exists solely online can be empty and unrewarding, but that not speaking to them also feels empty and makes me worry I'll lose them. Everyone is available all the time, but such an expectation creates a weird paradox of both being overwhelmed and madly lonely.
Last week, I deleted most of my social media and god it was relieving to just exist in this space. Little feels tangible the moment and sometimes talking to people who aren't really there simply perpetuates this disassociation. But, I then felt sad, because no one had messaged me and the lockdown loneliness ensued. Yikes!
I found a random shitty tweet a few weeks ago along the lines of 'remember who isn't replying to you at the moment and what this shows about whether they care' and I've thought a lot about the expectation this puts on people. Replying can be exhausting and draining and god, sometimes I just want to leave it a few hours or a few days, and really, does it matter?
There's an immediacy and a constancy to lockdown friendship, in a bizarrely transient and distant way. It's both there all the time and not there at all. It makes you feel both full and empty, loved and lonely. And I simultaneously want to spend no time on my own, and all my time on my own. Does anyone else get this?

This madness has, however, also imbued some beautiful strength and longevity to relationships. It's made me reach out to old friends more and spend more hours talking to my g's who I don't get to see, corona or not. It's led to notes in the post, and cakes on doorsteps, and book suggestions and unexpected phone calls and messages saying they love you. It's made me think a lot about who matters the most to me, and what I value in friends.

Last week I had a bit of a meltdown that I didn't think I could see my friends again, that I'd forgotten how to socialise, wouldn't enjoy it, wouldn't know what to say. Obviously, this was irrational angst. It doesn't really matter what I say or do, just seeing them will be enough. But I definitely think there is an unspoken weirdness to friendship in quarantine. An empty intensity that leaves you both connected and lonely, and mostly just reinforces how much you long for something like normalcy.


This week has been a bit stifling. I am, for the first time, really craving independence and freedom. I've always loved home, love coming home, and in my year out I didn't really feel I wanted to escape, even though it was predominantly me and my parents and not much other entertainment. But now more than ever I am feeling the need to break free. I've tried changing my walks, running further and further, to new places, but I still feel confined. Its been 9 weeks, and now I am yearning to live on my own and just be in my own space and thoughts and time. Home is quiet and calm and really very nice, but I just want to be back on my own. I've looked into renting a room in Ox for a month over the summer. I don't even really care if any of my friends are in the city, I just want to be able to walk in the meadows and do my own food shop and ring home with updates, rather than having the same conversations everyday over breakfast. I know living alone in a pandemic absolutely would not be this idyllic, and I'd probably get stuck and lonely and want to come home, but in my head, for 4 blissful sunny weeks, it feels like the dream. So maybe that can happen, although what's the point of planning ahead any more?
I've thinking about the phrase the 'new normal' and how everyone says they want life to go 'back to normal' and how much I really fuckin' don't want normality because now this is the normal. Everything is so known in a totally unknown world and my surroundings feel worn out and overdone. You know what every day is going to bring, everywhere you are going to go, that you'll wake up the next day and nothing will have changed. There are no surprises, just the moment of bliss when you wake up before you think 'for fuck sake' and remember the crisis. I want change and excitement, not anything with a semblance of normality.

So I'm feeling a bit stifled and a bit trapped. My city is beautiful and the moments when I'm out running and its sunset are magical or when we drive to the country for a walk and I'm giddy at the change of scenery, but god I just want something new. I want to be away from my parents (lol) and living my own life and making my own decisions, and I just want something to be surprising. It sure is such a strange dichotomy, that in a world so wildly uncertain, where no sense of the future exists, can feel so fuckin normal and boring. 

Is anyone else feeling this !

the read and the to-read

Mondays have, blissfully, become my days off. Snatched time between panicked essay writing and opening up my reading list to start the next week of work. I do actually have a tutorial and a meeting today, but the rest of the day is for myself. The empty time spent at home is so different to that in Oxford, neither better nor worse. Here it is spent on my own, reading or watching Normal People or calling my friends or walking. At Oxford its almost always filled with the jobs I didn't have time to do (Tesco, washing, post-office) and then probably the pub. I'm trying to see this new slower pace as a chance to catch up with myself.
There's been a lot more time to read, and because my screen time on my laptop has been exponential, I've been trying to make myself do it more. I've read quite a lot of good stuff, and there are a few books I'm looking forward to buying or borrowing when I get a chance. I've also started writing in my books a lot, I think perhaps its fallout from my degree, but its nice to look back and see what I found pertinent at the time. On another note, this post from Eleanor is excellent to find non-Amazon places to buy your books in the time of Corona.

(Brideshead Revisited was sent to a friend to remind her of Oxford, the Go-Between made its way to Italy for my friends birthday, along with a list of things to 'look out for')

Atonement, Ian McEwan – okay, I didn't really like Atonement. I don't even remember it that well. To me, it felt like a diluted version of The Go-Between, with the same almost claustrophobic rising  pressure, culminating in a pivotal and destructive event that will change the whole course of the book. But, I didn't much like the characters and didn't really live up to the reviews ('smoulders with slow-burning menace', 'brilliantly explores the currents of guilt, shame and anger...utterly satisfyingly complete'). In terms of McEwan, I thought The Children's Act was far more powerful and the character development much more evocative.

Girl, Woman, Other, Bernadine Evaristo– oh, I loved this. I'd been wanting to read it ever since my tutor mentioned it and treated myself after my last essay. It follows 12 different (kind of intertwined) black women and their experience of racism and feminism in Britain. It seems to cover every kind of life experience you could imagine, and I love the way they are all subtly connected. I did find some of the characters more compelling than others, but they were all deep and powerful and wildly eye opening. Its one of those clever books that manages to tackle the heavy realities in a readable and page-turning way. Would highly recommend.

Late in the Day, Tessa Hadley - this was another post-essay treat. If I'm honest, I just liked the cover, but it turned out to be so good. Much of the plot happens in the first few pages, but its the intricacies of their relationship that are so powerful. The way she builds jealousy and contempt and complicated spiky connections between people feels so real. As with so much fiction at the moment, it doesn't use speech marks – as a concept, I am apathetic  but I think it kind of works in this? It means you focus on the characters and the sentiment of what is being said so much more than the words.
"...guileless and voluble, transparent in this moods, sometimes he sank deep into himself and needed to be alone for a few hours" 
"...for who would care about their passion in three hundred years?"
"...if I try to imagine eternity, I think it might feel like an English pub on a Saturday afternoon" 

The Veiled Woman
, Anaïs Nin - this was sort of hilarious to read, and sort of amazingly transgressive. Its 4 different pieces of quasi-erotica (?). They were written in the '40s (and published in the '70s) which feels madly radical considering their content, and surely marks some kind of feminist victory. Some are weird and uncomfortable, but others are uncharacteristically liberal and free. I love it for the radicalism of a woman writing so openly about transgressive sex in the 1940s, and the language and description is beautiful. Maybe not one to recommend to your mum though lol.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri - Oh, man I loved this! My mum picked it up for me in Sainsbury's (yeh, I was immediately sceptical), but not only is it sensationally written but its also so sobering. You realise how easy this pandemic is for so many of us. How we're safe at home with our books and our furlough schemes and how endlessly destructive life is for those in Syria and other war zones. I love how it alternates between past and present. Its wonderfully easy to read but the language is beautiful and would totally recommend it, especially right now.
"...when she was sad my world was dark. I didn't have a choice about this. She was more powerful than I. She cried like a child, laughed like bells ringing, and her smile was the most beautiful I've ever seen. She could argue for hours without ever pausing. Afra loved, she hated, and she inhaled the world like it was a rose. All this was why I loved her more than life"
"But what I loved most was her laugh. She laughed like we would never die"
" makes my sadness feel like something palpable, like a pulse, but it makes me afraid too, afraid of fate and chance, and hurt and harm, of the randomness of pain, how life can take everything from you all at once"
"If only we had known what life would bring. But if we had known, what would we have done? We would have been too afraid too live, too afraid to be free and to make plans"

The Flatshare, Beth O'Leary – this is another Sainsbury's buy, but I wanted something trashy – apparently its similar to Normal People. If I'm honest, any kind of page-turning romance will do, but I just want something deliciously addictive and mindless.

Sweet Sorrow, David Nicholls – ever since I heard him talking about this on the High Low last summer, this has been on my list. It's a summer love story of two 16 year olds, an exploration of first love and heartbreak. It doesn't come out in paperback until the summer, which perhaps is a good thing because I'm not sure my brain has the space of a Nicholl's young love story whilst I'm stuck inside, but either way – I love his writing and him in general, so I know it'll be good.

Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race, Renni Eddo-Lodge – i've been wanting to read this for years, but after my tutor recommended it last week in our feminism tute I know I need to get my hands on it. I think it'll be the next socially distant exchange with my friend.

And now I am left with a few empty hours on my hands, and a chai latte to drink. I might knit, my jumper halted a few weeks back when I made a catastrophic mistake, and now I'm not sure I even like the colour any more. Or maybe I'll crochet, I'm trying to teach myself to do something more useful than just make squares, but it'll never compete with Eleanor's, that's for sure.

Let me know what you've been reading, and any recommendations you have!

musings #9

I love the colours of this weeks moodboard. Its funny, I never intentionally save things with a theme in mind, but there sure is a blue-y, spring like quality to these pictures. They feel vibrant and hopeful, which is a nice contrast to the mood of my brain. I especially adore the Van Gogh. It makes me think of summer days abroad and picnics. What i'd do to have one of those on the horizon. Of course, there are also numerous pictures of Oxford taking up my insta at the moment. I still get a warmth in my stomach when I turn the corner to see those layered buildings, it sure does make me happy. I'm dreaming of the day I can stroll along the streets and sit in a creaking library. 

Its been an anxious one, y'all. I've cried and read in almost equal amounts, my days have been spent either working or worrying, both of which feel unfulfilling. My health anxiety is horrifically overwhelming, which makes sense considering the global climate, but it is uncontrollable, especially without access to my usual coping mechanisms. So i've sort of had to just sit and be with the thoughts, which is horrible and scary. But hey, who's really having a ball in this pandemic?
Other than worrying, I've written a lot of letters, painted a lot of watercolour flowers, done the same walk at 11am for 7 days in a row, started Brideshead Revisited to vicariously experience Trinity term, spent hours on Zoom, a night doing a jigsaw because it was the only thing that could put my mind at rest, and not much else. Oh, I've taken a lot of pics on PhotoBooth. I guess to remember all the hours I spent at my desk procrastinating?
This week I really am hoping to get back into hobbies, and want to fill my grey time a little more productively so my brain can't spiral so catastrophically. I'm thinking journalling, painting, puzzling, running, reading. The things I know make me feel good but get neglected in the blur of this madness. 
In other equally mundane news, I've been spending a lot of time on Seol+Gold looking at rings. I really want a thick silver band, but am undecided on design and size - they have too many ! I'm also finding myself being lured into a consumeristic trap, which is difficult when a) most of my clothes are trapped in Oxford b) my student loan came through and c) I need some incentive to work. But I am resisting, and trying to raid my sisters wardrobe instead. I also did a (socially distant) book and puzzle swap with my friend the other day and, not only will it keep me sufficiently occupied for a few weeks, but it was also so refreshing to see a new face. Eek!

Drink up some of the sun and the colour of the pics, soon we'll be out there enjoying it. 

(pics are:
@lesparisiennesdumonde @spiralling_oxford @vangoghmuseum @marcello_velho @charlotte.ager @mansfieldoxford (<3) @seolgold @refinery29 @seolgold @maddierothart

(un)misspent youth

I sat down to do some work, took one look at the myriad of sources I need to read, felt overwhelmed and then gave up. Luckily, this has not been too much of a trend over the past few days. I do find it difficult to know how much work to be doing. Last term was so ridiculous that it became the norm to read and write an essay in 2 days, which obviously isn't good. But now anything else feels too much? And because I have less structural commitment, less need to cram it all in, less excuse to not do it, I feel quite lost and confused. Yuck!

this is as wild as its got people !

Let's be real, quarantine got to me this week. Don't you find it comes it fits and bursts? I had one afternoon of solid tears, and some realisations of interminability. I spent most evenings on zoom, feeling both comforted and distanced. I've ran a lot which has made my head feel free and perhaps offered some purpose, which has been comforting because everything else feels sort of pointless.

I've been thinking a lot about wasted youth, which is melodramatic and so irrational but apparently also quite a common and disconcerting feeling? I was on the phone to my friend yesterday and she said "Katie, I just can't help feeling like I'm loosing my best years", and boy did this resonate.
I suppose its the realisation that these weeks/months/years(?) of freedom and excitement and hedonism are being borne out at home. And that, instead sacking off work to go to the pub, or staying out until 4 or spending all my money on chai lattes, I'm at home knitting, reading and not much else. And I see myself being freed from quarantine and being too old to do all the things I would be cramming my days with now. I am especially overwhelmed with this sentiment when I put on nice clothes and draw on some eyeliner to feel some semblance of coherence, and then look in the mirror and remember no one will even see my orange trousers.
I look at my parents and think "you're life hasn't changed much, your life won't change much, but mine has all fallen away", which is selfish but also quasi-true, in a dramatic kind of way.
I'm scared that the rest of my degree will be spent like this, that I'll never again experience the chaos and the drama and the Saturday mornings gossiping. That it'll never be new or free again, that I'll be burdened by responsibility and adult seriousness.

Now trust me, I see the melodramatic hysteria of these words. That if a vaccine isn't found for 18 months, I'll still only be 22, and even then I can make up for lost time. And there are far bigger problems going on in the world, and really I'm being ridiculous. But I am still grieving the pain of loosing the thing I love most in the world, and am recognising that we all are undergoing some degree of loss - whether its for a person or a life or a favourite place. I feel like my wings have been clipped, after having been spread so wide and feeling so free.
And the interminability of it terrifies me sometimes, thinking of the next 8 weeks, then of summer, and then of the autumn. Not knowing when it'll end.

When I get into these spirals of decadent sentimentality (and trust me it happens a lot, when I think of all the fun I could be engaged in, or hell even just the alone Tesco trips and the nights in with friends) I firstly indulge in it, as I've done here.
I let myself feel really fuckin' angry that I'll be entering the world with a humanities degree and a *fucked* economy, mourn for the nights out and the dates I could have (but absolutely wouldn't have) gone on and disgustingly expensive pubs and the self-destructive intensity of life. I probably rant to a friend about how I feel my prime is being wasted and tbh what's the point because I'm going to be old and haggard when this is over, having never found love.
And then I think rationally. Rationally about the timescale, about historical comparison (every pandemic ever has ended), scientific advancement (every pandemic ever has ended, and most without a vaccine), welfare state (every pandemic ever has ended, and most without a vaccine, and without a free health service) my complete privilege, that at 22 I can still do all the things, and that they'll still be exciting.
I remind myself that everyone has lost something, and everyone is grieving for normality. And I also tell myself that this will end. That yes, the young are going to suffer enormously economically, but we'll can also (mostly) guarantee we'll get through it. So I think of the end. The people I'm gonna hug, and the places I'm gonna go, and how intensely I'm gonna soak up every drop of life.

I know this is ridiculously dramatic, but girl has got to feel! Please tell me someone else has these moments of narcissism?!

things i miss

Man, its been an odd week. I somehow got tonsillitis (??) which tbh feels a bit irrelevant as an illness at the moment, and I spent much of it either asleep, watching Unorthodox (so SO good!!), crocheting or feeling sorry for myself. It was so lovely and sunny outside, and I could see pink blossom and blue skies from my bed, but I didn't really leave that spot of warmth for much of it.
But today I am finally feeling better. I managed to do some work, eat without crying and go for a walk. I've also read a lot, which has been lovely.

Of course, there is the major and inevitable disclaimer that I know how privileged I am to even be able to stay at home (I saw not 'stuck at home but safe at home' on insta the other day and I rlly liked the perspective) and for these things to be some of my most major concerns nd heartbreaks. I really am just taking the piss a bit, they're very small things that really make me realise how perfect pre/post-corona life is/will be. But in a recent episode of the high-low, Pandora Sykes talked about a thread she did of the most meaningless things people missed. Its sort of heartwarming.
So here are some things I really miss, and some things I can't wait to do.

I am sad that:
Libby and I can't go on holiday together and get lost in the sun and do drunk friendship quizzes
I can't have that warm fuzzy excitement of driving into Ox for a new term
I can't lie on the quad avoiding work
I can't sit in the library with the open window rustling my pages
I'm sad that I can't watch my friends being trashed and jump in the river
I'm sad that I can't come home for summer, because there is something so magical about that
I can't go on a late summer walk on the moor with my friends
I can't dance in a dress at a ridiculously overpriced ball with my feminist gals
I can't pack my bag, and prepare my lunchbox

I can't wait to:
Hug my friends, and not let go of them.
Walk on the beach.
Sit in cafes, working for hours on end.
Drink a chai latte and taste the sweet dry cinamonny-ness
sit in the pub in the afternoon sun and laugh and laugh and laugh
walk in fields with lambs
go to an art gallery, oh my!
Sit on a 8hr coach, reading my book, and not even being bitter about the gross toilets
Buy a postcard
Go into a library ! and hear the silence !
Fill up a disposable camera with holiday pictures and get the developed on a dark december day
have my hair cut by someone other than my sister
have someone other than my cat appreciate my outfit
walk around the park on the phone
go to the cinema with Libby, because I've never met someone so enthusiastic about the cinema
have an iconic night out with Evie, and laugh about it endlessly for weeks to come

We're learning a lot, and will continue to find good things amongst it all. I really liked this article that Dolly shared on a recent High Low episode (can we believe its back!!!!), and would thoroughly recommend.
Tomorrow I really really need to get work under control–next week is 0th week, which I had scheduled in an at-home collection (mock exams we get at the start of every term) but that certainly won't be happening. Instead I need to read all of last term's primary sources (that I didn't have time to read) and prep for 1st weeks essay. Yikes!
What things are you guys missing? And what can you not wait to do once this is all over?

working in this madness

yikes, let me tell you, working in this climate is challenging!
I am so distracted all the time, and without access to libraries (eek!) I'm having to rely entirely on the 30 books I dragged home and anything that is online (which is actually quite a lot, but I really dislike reading online...). I feel time disappears, and before I know it its 6pm and I've only done 2 of the things I intended on doing. But alas, we need to be kind to ourselves and recognise our degrees are being done in *very* exceptional circumstances. So anything is an achievement!
Saying this, as would be expected, few alterations have been made to my workload and there is still a lot. So I've been experimenting with how best to go about it, and how to stay productive when you have the whole day and so much distraction.

(i've taken a selfie in my fake library every single day this week; first one features my cliched quarantine hair cut lol)

routine: this has taken at least 4 weeks to master, but I think I'm getting there. I like to get up early and bash out as much as possible in the morning, when I'm most productive. I also like how this means I can break up my hours, with a shower, breakfast or coffee. It also makes the afternoons nicer, and means I can feel more relaxed about procrastinating. Find what works for you, experiment.

get dressed! ! ! getting dressed, showering, wearing my rings all help me feel put together, even when I'm solely oscillating from my desk to my bed

if you can, separate your work and play space–luckily my brother's old room has been transformed into my faux library so I can leave my work in there and shut the door when I'm done. If this isn't possible for you, set aside a space you use solely for work (e.g. your desk/end of the kitchen table) and try not to use it for anything else

work out when your state sanctioned exercise is most beneficial ! I used to think I couldn't function without a walk in the morning, turns out I can! As long as I'm up early and don't faff around feeling sorry for myself, I work best in the morning. My walk feels such a treat at 5pm when the day is done.

timetable - i'm a control freak so I like to know what I'm doing when. For me, it helps keep on top of everything, and means I can see when I need to start essays or particular readings.

leave ur phone in another room - its too easy to be distracted and if I don't have it, I don't pine after it! It's also a nice 10 min break replaying to messages when ur session is up.

recreate online work spaces - we're emulating the library, silent hours of working that hold others accountable !

have days off - in term time, I'm not really afforded a day off (and I also don't particularly pine for one), but the monotony of this, and the lack of future and fun things to break it up, means I am going to need some diversity–i'm thinking Sundays off, I haven't tried this yet but stay tuned

don't become addicted - work has always been my coping mechanism and in so many ways its a lifeline of normality in this chaos - but I also know it'll become too easy to overwork because there aren't any structural deadlines in the day. Hopefully a timetable will help with this, but I'm also trying to stay mindful of when enough is enough 

fit in nice things - I find my day becomes kind of fluid and rather than doing structural nice things I just sort of exist. So I am trying to build in actual time to read, knit, bake, walk etc.

stay in touch ! I know one thing I am going to struggle with massively is missing my friends, popping out of the library to gossip in the crypt, walking home in the evening, knowing i've got a pub-trip as a reward - these things can't happen right now, but they can be emulated virtually, and it does give something to look forward to.

find other people who are working - no one in my house is really working at the moment (my parents can't work from home) so it can be s.o. easy to sit around chatting after lunch or go for a walk in the morning, but it can also be difficult to feel like you're having to leave the fun. Talking to people who are also working (me!) can be so helpful nd remind you we're in it together.

My, its hard! It's kind of crazy that amongst this chaos we're still expected to pick up books and bash out essays, but i'd also feel inexplicably lost if I didn't have it, so swings and roundabouts. Just do your best, don't beat yourself up if it goes wrong, take time off - do what you need. I found a quote that I have since lost about reminding yourself you are working at home in a crisis. It's true, take it easy.
I probably won't be so optimistic in 2 weeks when term starts (yikes) and the essays start piling in. Alas, we move. Stay strong, loves – how are you staying productive (if you need to be)??

days full and days empty

Oh wow, what a week! I haven't cried nearly as much this week (just once when I was saw the cows running across the field and I broke because the world was so beautiful but so empty) and I think have felt a little more positive and at ease with this chaos, if that is possible.
I've done a lot of really lovely things, spoken to a lot of people I really love and had quite a few realisations.

Things I've done:
spent a lot of hours in my dressing gown, a lot of shoulder yoga, painted a bit, collaged a lot, looked at the sunset, knitted in the garden, knitted in bed, knitted with my sister whilst we watched princess diaries, drank a lot of gin, wrote a few letters, worked a bit, felt a love for learning, made crispy cakes, read in the greenhouse, spent a lot of evenings on FaceTime, watched all of Feel Good in a day, felt lucky, felt sad, felt angry, felt nothing. Tried to take a lot of photos to remember it all.

People I've loved:
My mum, for letting me cry everyday, even when she was scared, for telling me her worries, for trying to make it as good as it can be.
My sister, for finally being happy and free, an unexpected consequence of all this.
My friends. Friends who drink wine/gin/tea on FaceTime, friends who colour on FaceTime, friends who check up on you because you disappeared for a few hours. Friends who ask how your other friends are, who remember small details about you. Where an hour and a half can disappear and you've still got more to say. I am blessed. One day i'll write a post about them all. Or a novel.
My new puppy, for the laughs and the light.
Myself. Because the world is scary, and even though I am overwhelmingly lucky, it can still be scary.

Realisations I've had:

That my life was perfect. That I sort of knew it. That it was blissful and I was endlessly happy and very loved. The temporary disappearance of this is heartbreaking, but it is reassuring to know I felt it, and can feel it.

That parts of this are important. That it teaches that nothing is certain, no tomorrow guaranteed, and that it never has been. That in some bizarre ways it might bring the refresh society needed.

That it'll make me appreciate the mundane and the beauty of my life in ways never conceived. Take time to enjoy tea with friends in the evenings, or  phone call with my mum, or a walk alone whenever I feel I need to shake it out.

That my life and the world I inhibit, no matter how much I try to deny it, is dripping with privilege. That I had no idea how much was at my disposal, how free I was, and now how much these things mean to me.

An appreciation of some small but very special things. The sacred rituals I have lost in this chaos. The moment when I sit at my desk, with my coffee ready to be plunged and my cereal, for half an hour of blissful contentment that I save just for me. For sundays of long phone calls home, and repeated stories from my mum, and then my dad. For sunrise walks, to breathe in the freshness, or rush to the library, or stamp out a bad mood, but to end feeling open and free. The 'goodnights' to my friends as we pile into our individual rooms, knowing we'll be reunited in the morning.

I think perhaps I have become more aware, more in tune. Have noticed moments when I've thought 'fuck, that really was quite nice', and how I miss those little things.

That being able to hug my friends in the pub and sit in my seat in the library again and fuckin' go for a walk at any time of day just because I can, will be the best feeling. But that in some ways its worth the wait.

Wow. Some feelings, and some beautiful moments and some really scary ones. I'm not trying to downplay the severity of this moment, or create pity for myself, I'm just trying to get through it, recognising my privilege but letting myself feel at the same time. What a tricky world to navigate.

What have you been doing to keep yourselves occupied/been thinking in these long days??

podcasts and music

In order block to the sound of my thoughts and quieten my catastrophising brain, I have been listening to a lot of podcasts, and a bit of music. I usually listen to the radio when I fall asleep, and as soon as I wake up, to keep me informed and aware. But its just too scary at the moment, and I feel too overwhelmed. Perhaps such avoidance is bad, in fact I know such a concrete ban is bad, but I also feel if it gets be through times when my brain feels too scary to even live inside, maybe its okay.

So, this need for noise but avoidance of the news has led me to a few new discoveries. Whilst dreaming of the day a new 'The High Low' episode comes out, I have really enjoyed 'How to Fail' with Elizabeth Day. It interviews a different guest each week and explores the times when their lives haven't gone right. Like all these things, its dependent on the guest you choose, but I have listened to the Andrew Scott episode at least 3 times, and l-o-v-e the most recent episode with Mo Gawdat about Coronavirus anxiety. It's very calming and rationalising, and something I think everyone should take the time to listen to when you feel ready. I am yet to stop irrationally catastrophising and still look at the current situation in a mad blur of 'what ifs', but even just knowing this episode is there as a calm voice of reason is some peace of mind.

I've also, somewhat tragically, been enjoying 'You're Dead to Me', which is an accessible history podcast with an expert and a comedian as guests. Its informative and lighthearted, and has some really interesting topics. It's also a good way to stay semi-intellectually stimulated whilst I avoid my work in the interest of 'self-care'. I've enjoyed the History of Chocolate episode, as well as the Justinian and Theodora episode (because its the coolest period of history).

I came across 'Table Manners with Jessie Ware' the other morning, when I was in a panic after turning on the news, and was looking for something to listen to before I got up. Jessie Ware basically cooks a meal for a celebrity (with the help of her mum) and hosts them in her kitchen. They chat about everything from work to family and I just think its a really nice informal window into people's lives. I somehow think this perhaps has more 'popular' guests (?? i.e. i've never heard of the majority) than How to Fail, but I fuckin' loved the episode with Antoni Porowski, and actually looking through the episode archive she has a whole variety of guests. I'm looking forward to the Deborah Francis White, Dolly Alderton and Sadiq Khan episodes, alongside a load of chefs (e.g. Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson...)

My essential sleep time (and day time to be honest) listening has been Headspace. In a panic-induced blur I bought a year subscription, but have since used it everyday. I've been doing a course on how to navigate change (quite apt), and whilst I haven't noticed a miraculous change (its only day 3), when the 15 minutes end I dream to remain in that quiet space for the next 6 months. I also did the 3-minute panic attack on the other day, with my head sticking out my window, and it was perfect to regulate breathing and bring a sense of stability.
But, more than anything, I have been loving the Sleepcasts. My friend introduced them to me on a very hungover night in Toulouse, curled up together as well fell asleep. There are 30 'stories' read by the most calming voices that sort of talk you through an evocative and sensory place. One of my favourites is 'Rainy Day Antiques' but I also really like 'Sandy Cove' and 'Monsoon Hour'. They are long enough to allow me to fall asleep before the end, but also just bring a sense of calm and peace. The sea-sounds also make me dream of the days I can walk on the beach again. Headspace have also released a free series called 'Weathering the Storm', aimed at helping navigate this madness.

Other podcasts I love are Rebelliously Tiny (by @ambivalentlyyours), Desert Island Discs and Getting Curious, each of which serve a different purpose but all offer the calm distraction necessary.
Music-wise, I haven't really been feeling my music recently. I listened to Libby's 2020 playlist o-n-r-e-p-e-a-t at the end of last term, and now it gives me sad and nostalgic feelings. Still some banging tunes though. Embarrassingly, my sister has got me into Harry Styles' new album, which is lighthearted and energetic–everything I am not feeling. I have also, of course, been listening to my usual choral as I work or knit or need to feel some calm. I'm hoping I'll come back round to music, because I could really do with it.

Please let me know any suggestions of listenings, music or otherwise.
And I hope you're all okay, its scary and I am exhausted. I have cried everyday since I came home, and I know that's alright but its also not how I want to be feeling. But no one does.
Peace and love x x

après la nuit

The sun is shining, but these days are tough. I feel disorientated and misplaced. My life (along with everyone else's, no doubt) has pivoted exponentially in mere weeks.
I am lost and confused and my anxiety is crippling at times. But I don't want to talk about the bad stuff, because every dinner table conversation and every phone call and every 'how are you?' comes back to it, and for me a reasonable distance and ignorance is necessary to get through. I am scared, and for my anxiety, this is perhaps my worst case scenario. But I know everyone is anxious and uncertain. And only through love and support can we get through. 
Anyway, some good things have emerged, and some good times have been had, even if my horizons and my world has shrunk to the walls of my house (with a few solitary walks to break up the monotony). 

I've enjoyed baking and eating in copious amounts, because if a pandemic has taught me anything its that these aren't worth worrying about. 
I've also enjoyed reading (even if I thought Atonement was overrated), painting at my desk, listening to music to block out intrusive thoughts. I've enjoyed Facetiming my friends and writing letters and silent walks in the morning sun. I've enjoyed seeing everyone come together and the world adapt at an impressive rate. I've enjoyed the permission to be slow and more sedentary. 

It perhaps sounds hyperbolic, but I am grieving for Oxford in summer. For the meadows and the sunsets and open windows in the library, giving a gentle breeze. I miss my friends like never before, walks to college, meals together, nights in bars, and evenings dressing up and drinking wine. The support and the community and the feeling of belonging, the feeling of home. The laughter, endless endless laughter. I was already fearful of how quickly it was disappearing, but now another term has gone. And it is my happiest place and my happiest time. But this is also globally a minor problem and boy is it a privilege for this to be my primary grief. 

Home feels safe and quiet, and I feel I can retreat to my room to the silence and the calm and feel okay. I am dreaming of summer and sea and foreign tongues, but it'll happen, maybe not this summer, but it will happen. 
So for now, I am reading and sleeping and trying (oh, so trying) to be kind to myself. It is just a different phase, a time to be slow and breathe and take time. Instagram is providing a lot of solace (Facebook for sure is not), and when I think of everyone in the same situation, I do feel better. 
And maybe, as Lexie said in her post, something good will ultimately come of this. It is bringing rapid and unprecedented change, and perhaps will, in the long term, offer a shakeout. 
Who knows, we can hope.

Some things I like:
This insta post. 
and this.
and this.

Every single breath you breathe is proof that you are finding your way in this - Morgan Harper Nichols

In times of crisis, we must all decide again and again whom we love - Frank O'Hara 

"And the people stayed home. and read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being and were still. And listened more deeply. Some mediated, some prayed, some dance. Some met their shadows. 
And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. 
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed" - Kitty O'Meara (every time I read this, I cry)

For all of the answers
you don’t have yet,
I hope, tonight 
you can still find rest. 
I hope you can find peace
while breathing deep
even without knowing
what comes next.

Even in the nights
when no stars fill the sky
and neither music
or movies
are enough to keep you
take each breath
one at a time.
And with every second
that passes
you are just a little further
down the line. 
I know the nights have not
been easy before you.
So be gentle with yourself
this hour
let endless boundless grace
shine through. 
Morgan Harper Nichols 
(this also made me cry, and I can't decide if my period is due, or I'm just very sensitive at the moment lol)

Breathe, my loves. Take it day by day, moment by moment. I'm always here.
And expect many more posts like this, whilst I avoid the work that feels impossible to start.
Love and peace <3

(sources of pics: 1) pinterest but I can't find it eek! 2) ditto 3) @subliming.jpg 4) also pinterest 5) @frdgngrs 6) @museelouvre 7) @elwingbling 8) @cosmic.grrl 9) @rupikaur_ 10) @rossie_edenbrow 11) @lesparisiennesdumonde 12) @sweetthangzine 13) @isabellapreisz 14) @a_painting_a_day_ 15) here 16) @subliming.jpg

sun and rain

Thinking about:
When this rain will stop, and when the sun will come out. Whether the red wine will come out of my favourite white jeans. Why I remain perpetually single. Why some of my best friends live so far away. About friends who take you to art galleries when you're sad. About whether the media are scaremongering, and what is true. About the race I have to run despite not running in months. About the chaos of this term. 

Its a very wet Thursday morning. I've got my coffee and my cereal, but something doesn't feel quite right. This has been the strangest week, and the uncertainty is set to continue. On Monday, I was supposed to be going to Jordan with some of my best friends, to marvel at all the things I've learned about this term, and laugh until I cry, to debate, to explore. But now I might be going home, I might not. I might be working, I might not. Trinity term might not even be happening.
But I'm just trying to think in the moment, and in the opportunity. And to learn to exist in the emptiness and the unfamiliarity. 
The sun has come out, I really hope it stays like this. 
Yesterday, after a walk in the meadows, I treated myself to two new books. 
I have had Girl, Woman, Other on my to-read for months, ever since my tutor recommended it, and I finally caved after it came out in paperback. It follows the lives of 12 characters in the UK throughout the last 100 years, and won the Booker in 2019. I will report back. 
Late in the Day was an impulse purchase based entirely on the cover, but it sounds intriguing. Its about 'friendship, loss and jealousy'. The blurb does that odd thing where it seems to give away the crux of the plot (i.e. a friend dies), but I'm sure there is far more to it. I have been thinking about friendship a lot recently, mostly that it feels so momentarily intense but is often so transient. My best and most indispensable friends now might not be by my side in 20 years. So it feels sort of pertinent. 
I'm also currently reading Atonement. I read a rogue McEwan over the Christmas vac and really enjoyed his writing style, so felt it necessary to read his most seminal. I'm enjoying it so far, although I feel I haven't properly sat down and allowed myself to become immersed. 
What else? 
The past 8 weeks have included some of my most saddest and hardest moments, and some of my most happiest. Last week my mood was untouchably happy. Friday was the most peaceful and calm day. I was hungover but happy, it was sunny, I walked along my favourite street, had a challenging tutorial, had a chai latte and a walk with a good friend, played netball and went home. All good things and I remember feeling so content. This week was harder. Being at home increasingly makes me feel on edge and anxious and sort of threw me, and our lack of holiday is making me feel a bit empty. But things will get better and will get more certain and this will pass.

And now its Sunday. Tomorrow I am going home, not to Jordan. It's been an unsettled but beautiful few days of laughter and coffee and walks. Life is disorienting and scary but the thing that makes me most scared is not returning here in 6 weeks. This is my favourite place in the world, and these are my favourite people, and it would break me to not come back. But we thrive and we survive, take day by day, feel blessed at our privilege, and distance ourselves from the news. 

love nd hope to u all x x  

listening and feeling

hey, y'all.
Its a reasonably slow Friday morning. I've got my coffee and my granola and my tutorial isn't until 9 (despite unintentionally waking up at 6:15) so I've finally got some time.
This term has been dominated by introspective reflection, partly because its been tough and chaotic, so we've been helping each other out a lot.
But also because I tried counselling (was a bit shit (very shit)) and am doing this training 'ting which, through 24 hrs of experiential practice basically helps you to be a good listener, get people to talk about their problems etc.

So i've thought a lot about myself and feelings, and how you can best communicate them. Its been quite exposing but very rewarding and whilst it has revealed a lot of problems, its made me want to (and realise I am able to) find solutions.
Here are some things I've learned.

To listen to myself. I am trying so so so hard to do this, to listen to my needs and my body and act accordingly. Rather than brushing off the anxious feeling, or getting angry at myself for feeling like it, recognising it and thinking about what I could do to ease the feeling in that moment.
That no feelings are inherently good, and no feelings are inherently bad, they are just feelings. All feelings are valid.
That just listening really is the best thing you can do. Sitting and being there and they might tell you and they might not, but allowing the space and the time is fundamental.
And that silence is also important. That sometimes that is where people find the courage to open up.
That 'feeling level' questions are so so so soothing, so much better than why or assumptions. How did it make you feel, tell me more about how you felt then.
That having someone present and attentive but entirely non-judgmental, listening and summarising, is so safe and so calm.
That so much of what I do stems from a lack of self worth. That I'm not good enough to be here, not working hard enough, not funny enough, that my friends don't really like me.
But that these thoughts aren't true and they aren't helpful. That I need to acknowledge them and then distance myself from them. That by feeding them, they will only get worse.
That vulnerability and discomfort is scary, but its also the heart of connection. That only when we embrace the uncertainty and the chaos can we begin to find peace.
That 3 hours a week to calmly check in with yourself, with supporting, caring, open people, is a privilege and it is so grounding to recognise how you feel now, and how you felt then.
To be assertive, for yourself and for others. Don't give over more than you can and say confidently but without accusation how you feel and what you want to change.
To be kind to yourself, in every capacity.
That the strongest friendships are built on heartbreak and sadness, by listening to each other and opening up.

I feel like I've learned a lot more than just this, but here are some questions you can ask yourself and some things I have appreciated.
What would you say to someone else in this situation? What would a friend say?
Are things getting out of proportion in my head (yes, yes always yes)?
What could I do that would help me feel better right now?
Am I focussing on the worst scenario? What would be more realistic?
Am I putting more pressure on myself/setting unachievable expectations?
How do you feel? Always how do you feel? 
And this video about vulnerability.
And this insta account (@werenotreallystrangers), but more specifically this post.

Its now Wednesday and I've done little work and been v ill. Being ill here is horrible and tutors aren't always the most sympathetic, but I'm trying to be kind to myself and not overdo it (when I read the start of this post (that I unintentionally woke up at 6:15 after going to bed at 12) I realise why I am ill)).
And let me tell you, distancing yourself from your emotions is hard. But its a learning curve!
This week has been remarkably unsocial (i.e. I haven't been to the pub since Friday), but I'm teaching myself that life doesn't fall apart if I have 5 consecutive nights in. In fact, it might get better. And today I abandoned the library and went for a walk in the parks, which felt liberating and necessary.

How are you all feeling? Take some time to think about it.

just some thoughts and words

These past few weeks have been a lot, and I mean a lot. I won't bore you but I have had more visitors, done more work, slept less and stopped less than I ever thought possible. Its been good and bad, but mostly good. There's been a lot of difficult but necessary introspection, quite a few nights at the pub, a lot of friends, some tears and some kind of hard conversations. 
Here are some highlights, or just some happenings. And some sun. 

Today was sunny, and it felt like spring. I think its helping to lift my blue mood. I played netball, laughed a lot and took a day off.
Here are some things that have been helping me, through days that can feel challenging and moments that feel overwhelmingly anxious. 

Buying daffodils, for my windowsill.
Talking to people about it.
Being hugged.
Listening to rain sounds as I fall asleep.
Lavender pillow spray.
Taking a day off. 
Cafes to work, because sometimes libraries are too much. 
This working playlist, and this one. 
Taking photos to fill up my empty camera roll.
A post-crying hot shower. 
Remembering it hasn't always been like this. 
Plans, and coffees, and seeing different friends. 
Giving myself some leeway with my work; handing in an essay late, only doing half a reading list, understanding that 3 essays a week is unachievable.

Its not that these things have cured me, or stopped the incessant butterflies in my stomach or the feeling of loneliness, despite being surrounded by friends, but it has eased it a little.
Tonight we're having a dinner party, and tomorrow the grind starts again. 
Peace nd love to u all, stay strong. 


Its me, I'm back and what a time I've had.
January has been a lot, but its always a dark and cold month, and there has been a lot of light.

The best bits:
Lying in my friends room, on mattresses pulled onto the floor, laughing in a tangled mess.
Sitting in the sun on the banks of the river in Toulouse, with 2 very dear friends.
Watching Bridget Jones with the same 2 friends, and listening to mindfulness as we fell asleep.
Proving my brain wrong and getting help.
Numerous trips to the pub, and laughs and debates.
A long run, and the gradual realisation that its for the endorphins and the freedom, not the control
Our feminist society's first debating night of term and seeing all my friends.
Sitting in the gladstone link reading Procopius and thinking how much I love my degree
An amazing tutorial at the top of a winding staircase, in a room with slanted eaves and books in every language being pulled out and shown to me in a reference I didn't understand.
A drag night that was every kind of messy.
A walk in uni parks.
Working in cafes.
Daffodils on my windowsill.
A dinner party with my bffs.
Laughing 'till my stomach hurts.
Hearing my best friend sing through the walls.

And there's probably been a lot more, but I broke my phone and lost my photos. Photos are now my only record of events and happenings. I've stopped doing my line a day diary because, after 4 years, it felt depressing to remember what happened when I was 16. No one needs that.

Things I am looking forward to:
Some spring sun in Oxford.
Running in the meadows and not on the dark streets.
A disco night.
My mum visiting on friday.
2 weeks in Jordan at the end of this term, with some of my favourite friends.
More nights dancing, and evenings in the pub, and coffees and walks.

Life is busy, and I am relentlessly trying to make it busier. One day I will learn to stop. But its fulfilling, I am learning to listen better and to support others, I am helping to create a dynamic network of empowered and feminist women* (and men*), I am reading and learning and loving it.

I hope you're all well and January was okay. Today I have a 2 hour class on Procopius' Buildings (luckily I don't have to present so I'll just take notes), my dad is visiting and I've got feminist drinking/debating tonight. I also need to read for my multiple essays, eek!

musings #8

this mood board makes my skin ache to lie in the sun and swim in the sea and laugh with my friends in the open air. Life is rarely as pure and ethereal as these pictures suggest, but spontaneous summer days with good company, books and laughter really can be. I want to drink in the warmth, the orange hues and the light. I want to wear shorts and swan around French cafes with my crocheted bag, taste the salt on my skin, drink coffee and wine with no concern for tomorrow, fuckin' arrange flowers with my cat. Long story short, I don't want to be revising and I don't want it to be January.

Its too late, considering the mountain of work I have to do tomorrow, but I finally feel like I can write, and that is a feeling I have been pining over. I've just got back from seeing Little Women and not to bore you but it is insane and I cried endlessly and I just don't cry at films.  And I went to see it with my mum and my sister and that, understandably, made me cry more.
Lets keep it real, the past few days (?) weeks (?) month (?) have been a bit rough and my anxiety/overthinking-ness has got the better of me. Which I hate, and which feels alien. And it doesn't feel that okay, and let's also be real: I am apprehensive about going back to Oxford feeling like this because its a sensation akin to the claustrophobia of homesickness. I.e. I need to be as close to my mum as possible. And yes, I'm 20 and yes, I still feel like this. But I really am concerned how I will feel in an intense chaotic bubble 300 miles from home, when I just want to cry and have my hair stroked.
But it's okay(ish), we've made moves towards progress and I am trying to speak about things and look after myself a little better. The state of the world is freaking me out, and I wrote an angry and  indignant post about how helpless it felt, but it didn't do much to cure the feelings.

In this messy and chaotic and busy but empty few weeks I have:

Felt: everything and nothing. Like I couldn't leave my bed I was so scared, happiness and comfort at seeing my best friend, a sore stomach from laughter, love, the cold wind on my face, a sense of coming home, restfulness, the power of being alive and active, despondence and fear for our nation, for the world, the ache of anxiety through my shoulders

Read: Queenie (Candice Carty-Williams), The Children Act (Ian McEwan), Let it snow (Sue Moorcroft), Love is Blind (William Boyd), and a lot of 6th century texts about war and prophets. Stay tuned for reviews on the former.

Watched: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (bit meh, no Jane the Virgin thats for sure), Killing Eve (again), Little Women (love!), Sex Explained (on Netflix, rlly interesting!)

Listened to: my top 3 working songs at the moment are: John Tavener: Leroy Kyrie, Thomas Tallis: If Ye Love Me, and Chief: Goodnight (yeh, the last one is a very different vibe, but I'm getting a bit sick of choral)

Used: (couldn't think of a better verb, but I just mean some good new eco tings) a bar of soap that makes my room smell calming, bamboo pants that make me feel breathable (??) nd my new Lucy and Yak trousers that make me look like a carrot but feel like a queen.

Dreamed of: Seeing friends in Toulouse at the weekend, the sun on my face, potential summer travels, a little more time, some calm in my mind

Looking forward to: partying, dancing, beautiful libraries, golden sandstone, planning said summer travels, trains to read on, some TV actually ! (Sex Education, Normal People, Killing Eve)

Loved: my mum unreal amounts, my friends for letting me cry and hide in my room for much of New Year, long walks, Christmas cake, the fire, vodka lime sodas with friends, @charliemackesy for drawing my feelings

Hoped to: feel like myself some time soon

And finally. My queen, @ambivalently yours, allowing me to process and understand, always.

I was ready to face it today. And I did, and it was terrifying. But nothing bad happened. And now we can breathe and sleep.

Peace and love to u all, January is a rough month and ur thriving.