musings #6

if something is for you, all you have to be is you to receive it.


i see the sun, and if i don't see the sun, i know its there. and there's a whole life in that, in knowing that the sun is there.

I am living for the vibrant pastels of this mood board. The warmth and colour it radiates is the perfect antidote to grey autumn mornings. Life is chaotic (amazing, stimulating, exciting, exhausting, rigorous, challenging) and I am trying to adopt a mind set of peace. Living amongst the chaos, in the words of ambivalently yours. Letting it flow.
i may think of you softly from time to time//but i'll cut off my hand before i ever reach for you again
I think Arthur Miller is a fucking genius. I've been reading about witchcraft and the repression of women in the 1600's nd maybe I'll read the Crucible again when I get a chance and try to understand the absolute hysteria.

Amongst the endless deadlines nd hours spent reading nd no sleep, my life has been filled with an abundance of stimulation and excitement and fun and I am immeasurably happy in a way I never thought I could be in an academic climate. My brain is content.
And because everything else is new, there are so many new things I love and life for.

Here they are.

classical music: because I spend so many hours in the library, I've exposed myself to an accumulation of new classical tunez to motivate study and just offer a bit of focus.
Shostakovich Gladfly suite
Shostakovich Jazz Suite no. 2
Gabriel Faure après un rêve
Shostakovich cello concerto no. 1 in E (we went to go and see a performance of this on monday and it was the most inspiringly cathartic experience)
working in blackwells and drinking soya lattes (even though I think they actually make me anxious)
tesco runs
the architecture of oxford
the nightclubs of oxford (because a) they all play abba and b) oxf students actually know how to work hard nd play harder lol)
drinking tea with friends after late nights in the library
walks on the phone to my mum
having an academic focus and purpose
postcards (there's an amazing blackwells poster shop here nd it sells sick postcards)
receiving post
living with my friends
being surrounded by intelligent people 24/7
the mad array of talks and shows and events and music and activities that are on every night
cooking with friends
friends who bring you chocolate or leave you notes or do your washing in the middle of an essay crisis
the sound of the rain in my room
the sunsets
seeing my mum for the first time in 5 weeks but also feeling totally fine when she left

So I hope you are all well and are looking after yourselves better than I probably am. Adulting is hard. Actually decision making is the hardest.
I am, for the first time, allowing this morning off. I am relishing in the comfort of my bed and a slow breakfast and time to write and think and talk to Libby, who I miss.

I hope when I'm home I'll manage to process this experience properly. But for now, I am just living in it. Letting it happen.

(as always, all pics are from pinterest or insta (probs either @subliming.jpg, @bmseventh, @tristamateer or @nobodysdarling) and quotes are @subliming.jpg or the legendary Arthur Miller)

sun

My room is blessed with the soft caressing of evening sun. It graces my wall adorned with photos and post cards and gives a sweet sense of comfort in this unfamiliar space. The room, the city, the people, its becoming more familiar and I perhaps have more of a sense of routine and purpose. Maybe not. But I'm enjoying it (except not right now because I'm existentialisng, hence the retreat to my room in which I rarely spend time).


The sun soothes me. Its warmth makes my body relax, its brightness fills me with life and energy and its a returning reminder that life is good and nature magical. Several days in the past few weeks have been so sunny and I've taken my work outside to be both distracted by friends walking by and to feel its heat as I read.

The sunsets here are also magical. So often I have embarked on a run across the meadows or looked out of the library window to see the sky dusted in a soft pink, illuminated by a euphoric glow. Its magical and I love it.

Today was a bit rocky but I stroked a dog and ate biscuits and drank tea with friends until the early hours and really, it was all okay. Even the bad days now replicate the good days 12 months ago.
I just need to become more efficient at time usage, rely on lists a little more and seek out a few more clubs and societies that offer weekly structure, because a history degree lacks that.
I probably also need to sleep for a few more hours and spend a little more time alone to do the soul soothing activities that are necessary for a happy brain.

So I'm loving this undeserved treat of autumn sun and feeling content with friends and fun and work but also need to remind myself that uni doesn't create immunity to every day emotions. They are still there and will always be there.

a breath

Here are just some pics from the city that is now home.
Its all a bit mad, my brain needs a few minutes of quiet. A bit of familiarity.
Its all amazing and a privilege and astounding and rigorous and exciting but overwhelming and underwhelming and exhausting and maybe I just need to allow days, weeks, months to find my feet.








Of course I do. Everything is so new and stimulating and man, I haven't done this education thang in too long. But I spent last week getting drunk, meeting new people, thriving on euphoria, this week in the library and exploring and seeing Hilary Clinton and running and a little bit of crying. But its good and its fun, but its also okay that bits of it aren't. That bits are scary, that home feels a long way away.
I need to establish a balance of work and fun, routine, re-connect with the bits of my life that are outside this (blog, letter writing, watching trash, reading) because I neglected them and my brain suffered.
So it feels I've lived a life time in 10 days. I need to remind myself that I am here, a sense that will become overwhelmingly real on Saturday, clad in our 'subfusc' (Oxford nd its wankery language am i right?) marching into a latin ritual. Lmao.
But also that bits can be bad and the whole experience can still be good.
It is good. Actually, its very good.
This city is amazing.

Tell me about ur lives g's. I need some familiarity and grounding xox

the end

we did it bitches! we survived the year we never thought we would.

(i love u so much Newcastle, i could write a whole essay about why this has been the best fucking place to be a teenager)

I wanted to write all about growth and healing and time but I can't really process it and verbalising such intense emotions is kind of tricky.
I do know I've bloomed in every way. In confidence and self-worth and belief and rationale and adventure and happiness and learned that exercise makes me happy and the value of socialising and the value of time alone and how to make the nicest risotto u have ever eaten and spend a whole day reading and fill my day of fun things and love myself mostly. I look back on the previous 12 months nd see a different person. And that's exactly how I wanted it to be.
I've learned what I want and what I don't, why I feel the way I do and that its okay, that time heals everything, that my mum is the best, that the bad days roll on and eventually they disappear, that sad insta quotes see u through, that music is good and social media is (mostly) bad,  that writing saved my brain, that nights out in Newc will forever be the best, that I finally found happiness and that earning money and spending it has been a fucking good feeling.

But, growth is also a linear process.
so here are some things I want to learn:
how to hold eye contact
accept rejection, learn that people have the right to say no nd I'm not stupid for asking
return to education with a pma and all the lessons I've learned from this year about life just being fun
fear of heartbreak isn't a reason to avoid it
be more tolerant and less judgemental about the small things
bad foods r ok (slowly getting there with this one yey)
how to challenge the bad things people say rather than being too scared
how to be forward with what I want
letting people finish what they're saying before interrupting (because I've noticed this one is v annoying)
accept that sometimes a crush is enough and enjoy the emotions (influenced by this)
have the ability to watch more than one tv show at once and keep up with the plots
be more emotional and open and tell people how i feel
be more patient, with people, with ideas, with life

And now I am confronted with a long to do list and not many hours to do it in. Lmao, classic. I've finished work (which was a lot sadder than it felt it was going to be 5 months ago, i'll miss the cute kids and the gossip and being in control lol nd in hindsight it was actually really fun) nd volunteering (which had the most elaborate farewell eva) and flute and clubbing and driving my lil car and everything is drawing to a close. Its time, but its scary.

So yeah. thanks to you for sticking around, for listening to the whining and existentialism, for the reassurance. Peace!

summer

"When was a time you were most happy?"
"This summer. Now. These past few months. All of it"

I have been living in the most golden euphoria. In love with my city, my life, my friends, myself (for the most part) nd just living in an ethereal bubble.
Everyone deserves to feel happy nd at peace; obviously there's the yin and the yang and you've gotta have the bad to feel the good blah blah but I think I was pretty fucking ready for my yang.



It has been a ceaseless blur of nights out and days at work and a constant go and busy-ness and so many plans and adventures and trips and I have adored spending nights with my friends and knowing they are there for good and have laughed and reminisced and spent it all either drunk, hungover, at work or in the sun. What a lit way to spend your days. I've hardly slept and definitely haven't stopped but idk, its been sick. And I now have 2 weeks to focus on everything that was neglected, re-centre, sleep and prepare.

best bits:
listening to getting curious in my hungover naps
spending (pretty much) every single wage in the same bar (visited >4x per week lmao)
lying on a scottish beach with my fam in the beating sun
golden light on my wall
walking home too late nd hearing the birds singing nd the sun coming up and realising you're fucked
a night out that will never be forgotten
brunch the next day nd evie on my doorstep at 7am
eating pasta in Buda with my babes
the flight home from Buda (messy)
breakfast with my brother and sister
breakfast with my bffs who agreed to meet at 8am so we could see each other
a weird date and the messy entangled-ness that ensued but also the fun
corsican sun and corsican food and corsican mountains
reading in the sun
eating bread in the sun
sleeping in the sun, especially on the beach
floating in the sea
breaking my self-enforced drinking ban to watch the world cup nd drink beer on holiday
moroccan sun
moroccan palais
siestas by the pool
flying over africa with a sick view and realising how much I've grown
meeting my pals in the pub straight off the train, suitcase in hand, nd their excitement
seeing mamma mia 2 (for free)
a night of a problematic free tequila shot nd sunday nights in our fave bar
discovering the best club in newc (msa for anyone who's wondering)
walking along the quayside hungover nd crying at how much i love my city
a day in edinburgh
a sole walk on the beach
an eve watching shrek and eating takeaways
sitting on the street at 4am chatting shit
cooking pasta with libby and drinking too much gin
exploring nottinghill with dalal
driving nd freedom
seeing an old friend nd feeling happy that she'll be in Oxford to cure my loneliness
running in the evening sun
a day spent in the rain in scotland playing games and eating and not much else
drinking wine in Paris
eating picnics in Paris in the sun and reading
walking along the seine at 3am
monet's waterlilies
finally deciding how i like my coffee (soya cappuccino)
eating mexican food with a friend i haven't seen in years and catching up on the lost time
drinking trebles with my babes 1 last time then dancing to disco until the sun came up
guilty feminist nd the feeling of total safety and warmth and activism that surrounds the audience of that podcast (if u ever wanna feel good about society/need a safe space, go to a live show)

It has been the best. summer. ever.
I feel so lucky because its been so mint but I also worked so hard to make it like that so I guess you reap what you sow???
The nights are dark and cold and its scary but I think I have enough warmth and love from these months of joy to see me through. And when its lonely or its too much or I am returning to the sadistic ways of my previous academic self, I shall return to Jardin du Luxembourg, in the sun, or the Moroccan poolside, or a room full of my best pals and trebles, or my bed with my cat and peace, and remember there is so much more to life than it seems.


What were the best parts of your summer???

If you want more in-depth accounts of my summer adventures (because who wouldn't?!!?) check out this, this and this. Oh, and this.

musings #5

As I write this I am sitting in the library, surrounded by literature of the Reformation, attempting to rekindle my studious streak, after a year of getting drunk and reading trashy chick lit.
I've decided I like libraries, their calm sense of focus. Maybe I am looking forward to the resumption of education.



"remember to be tender"

Life is strange, I suppose when is it not.

"collecting tiny moments of joy to help confront the chaos"

I'm feeling a lot of things, primarily an overwhelming sense of emotional tenderness. Not sadness, just emotions. An episode of Rebelliously Tiny taught me about emotion and openness and how its okay if your innate response is to cry if you walk along the river and are hit by a love for your city, or if you are lying in bed tired from a lack of sleep, or if you hear a song that reminds you of a happy day. So I am attempting to embrace this tenderness, allow it to empower me not terrify me. I watched Sierra Burgess is a Loser and felt sad that my life will never replicate a teen coming-of-age movie and probably need to spend a bit more time telling myself I love myself in the mirror. Because, as What a Time to Be Aone taught me, no one else is going to do it if I can't. Expectation is haunting, and I think much of my expectation is unrealistic. I need to learn to let it be, but this is all part of the self discovery. I have had a euphoric summer (didnt I say?) and have had the happiest months of my life ever (so much more to come on this) and now I've just got to confront the reality that life is going to change. And its a good change and its exciting, but its scary. And that's okay.

"tender hearts work hard"

What else.
I got my hair cut to establish a new self to confront this new dimension, I am unable to picture this new self which is distressing for a brain that seeks to find reason and justification in everything. I've been on some hilarious nights out that have rolled into one mass of drunken memories and have been enjoying work. I've eaten too much cereal, not done enough exercise, spent too much money, laughed until my stomach ached and napped a lot. I am refusing to admit my emotions about university (a blur of imposter syndrome, fear about friends, fear about food, fear about enjoyment, fear about mental health, excitement for new people, excitement for new experiences, excitement for education, excitement for sitting in libraries drinking coffee, excitement for independence) and repeatedly tell anyone who asks that I "haven't really thought about it yet".

"moving forward with uncertainty and enthusiasm"

But really, I'm just rolling with the chaos of life. Understanding that euphoria and fear, peace and sadness, excitement and overwhelm, can exist mutually.
That emotions are dimensional, that I am too.

***
For all of you who are too moving on a new chapter, its scary and its overwhelming and the unknown is daunting. But its growth and its movement and, as this Rookie quote reminded me:
"sometimes pushing yourself leads you to discover a whole new dimension to the world; other times it just adds another item to the list of supposedly fun things you'll never do again. But the thing is, there's no way to predict the result of any leap of faith until you take it".
We are brave and we can tackle this adventure.

paris

Its a remarkably autumnal September morning. The date marks things I don't want to happen (return to work for the final month, September in general, uni) and I'm lying in bed, surrounded by stress-inducing mess, refusing to move until 10:30 and the manic rush to make it to work in time.
I'm dreaming of the past, the 2 weeks of holiday I jam packed with a trip to London, a visit to my grandparents, a weekend in Scotland and a paradisiacal adventure to Paris. The latter induces the strongest longing.






The trip was symbolic; Libby was my gap year g (despite living 300 miles away) nd it was a homage to our experiences and adventures and the challenge and growth of our years out. We were celebrating surviving and conquering some of our most testing days, and where better to do it in my favourite city in the golden sun of late summer, drinking wine and slipping into a faux Parisian life.







It was fucking magical, as though it exists in an ethereal paradise, to which my memories don't belong.
Our weekend was filled with minimal sleep and trains and croissants and coffee and pasta and reading in the sun and picnics in stunning spots and endless photo taking and walking and metro trips and laughing and wine drinking and relishing in the peace of Monet's water lilies and the beauty of Paris and hours sitting on the banks of the Seine in golden hour and indecisive coffee traipses and trying to recreate the most cliched Parisian stereotypes (see: stripes, skinny cigs, red, white & blue) vulnerable and intimate conversations (s/o to Libby for encouraging me to do dis)
and speaking broken French and outfit crises and ice cream eating and feeling very, very happy.





Some of my most treasured memories include:
drinking in our apartment, feeling at ease to be totally emotionally vulnerable and wishing time could stop
opening the shutters to see the morning sun and hear the shouts of Paris waking
our picnic in Garden de tuillieres
walking through the streets of Paris at 3am
our meal on the final night, feeling suave and pretending we could actually afford to eat there lmao
reading with wine in hand and the sun on our faces
the eurostar there, excited nd consuming good-ass snacks

I love Paris and this trip reinforced my adoration. It is undeniably stylish and sophisticated and I could stare at the architecture and walk along the banks of the river and explore the parks endlessly. My next dream is to study at the Sorbonne and I refuse to admit its unrealism. I will. One day.

I owe this girl a lot of thanks nd love for saving my gap year, soothing my loneliness, spending hours existentialising with me and just being the best. And I also owe a lot of thanks and madness to blogging nd this site nd the internet which has given me literal friends for life and provided mad opportunities and just given me somewhere to escape when its is all too much.


reading material

Despite having no money that I can actually viably spend (thanks to expensive uni purchases, spenny trips nd lack of self control) I have managed to accumulate a large number of new books. Alongside an introduction to the reformation and a second copy of The Good Immigrant to give as a gift (because that book is so. fucking. good – informative and shocking, so accessible and rich with information and experience that makes you check every bit of your privilege – check! it! out!), I also picked up these 2 winners.


What a time to be alone – Chidera Eggerue
This has been dominating my twitter feed nd insta lately and I knew I couldn't rest until I bought it. I've been going through a slight life crisis (shock!) and figured some motivational literature about why I am 'already enough' was exactly what I needed.
Chidera Eggerue started the #saggyboobsmatter campaign (advocating for body confidence and acceptance) and she's overall just a badass bitch dominating the internet. What a time to be alone is all about teaching us that we are entirely enough as we are, learning to understand ourselves and our worth and how to deal better with those around us in a way that lifts everyone.
I'm so down to read this over the next few days and learn (hopefully) how to make peace with myself. I am always kinda dubious about self-help books but this one feels much more like a guiding confidante, accepting and acknowledging mistakes and putting the power back in you.


The unwomanly face of war – Svetlana Alexievich
Someone recommended this on insta but it is just my kinda book. Soviet history + feminism, yeh boi. Svetlana grew up in the Soviet Union, surrounded by the 500,000 women who had helped out in the monumental war effort but whose stories were untold. This book is a documentation of interviews she carried out with Soviet women; their experiences in war, the efforts they went to and the utter lack of acknowledgement. It has a strong underlying message that these stories deserve to be heard but that for many years, no one bothered to listen. The manuscript was completed in 1983 but was left unpublished, going against the 'official history' of the war. It wasn't until perestroika nd the collapse of the USSR that the voices could finally be heard. I can't wait to read this on the train tomorrow and learn of the stories of our sisters that went completely untold.

In the final month, before Oxford, before the resumption of education and the chaos that will ensue, I plan to read in every possible moment and, with both these books at hand, I doubt I'll want to do much else.

What are you reading at the moment?