life

Circe, he says, it will be all right. 
It is not the saying of an oracle or a prophet. They are words you might speak to a child. I have heard him say them to our daughters, when he rocked them back to sleep from a nightmare, when he dressed their small cuts, soothed whatever stung. His skin is familiar as my own beneath my fingers. I listen to his breath, warm upon the night air, and somehow I am comforted. He does not mean that it does not hurt. He does not mean that we are not frightened.
Only that: we are here. This is what it means to swim in the tide, to walk the earth and feel it touch your feet. This is what it means to be alive.




The past few weeks I have: done so much I could cry, actually cried, played netball, been to the botanic gardens, eaten cake, ran a race, got lost alone in buttercup fields, read and worked for innumerable hours, written innumerable essays, laid in the sun, cried into banana bread, cried into my friends arms as she read me the above passage from 'Circe' (which understandably made me want to cry more), read some short ghost stories, eaten a picnic in golden hour, rode my bike, been to a talk about vaginas, paid an extortionate amount to go home, drank cocktails, walked on the beach, felt immeasurably sad, and felt immeasurably happy.

Things really aren't sad, they're just a lot. Beautiful, but a lot.
My brain is drained, but stimulated beyond any conception. I know, come July, I will drift into a mindless sleep for days to allow my mind to catch up.
I am in a liminal space of craving fun, going out, dancing until the sun rises, swimming in the meadows, pursuing the love I am pining, laughing at mess and mistakes, and recognising the academic demand, the books that call me, the revision that needs to happen, but yet doesn't have time to be conceived. Realising that its 4 weeks. That this is the final push.
It is all sensationally beautiful. Golden fields and soothing sun and evenings talking about our pain or love, or privilege. Nights debating and coffees and runs in the park and the realisation that this is like nowhere else, this life like nothing else.
I don't want to leave, but also crave time to doze in the sun and read for pleasure and write and think and just breathe.

Fuck man! I need to sleep, but I needed to grace my presence, exams are imminent (but 3 deadlines first lol!), and then a summer of pining for the return, and adventures and processing this madness.
Update me, I'm a complete mess atm and can exist no where except in the present but try and ground me in some reality.

friends


I took today off, an announcement that elicited all forms of "what the fuck, you?" to "i'm proud of u", which perhaps embodies my approach to Oxford and to life.
But it's been bliss and I think, really, I just wished to document the beauty of friendship.
Friends that message you, bring you care packages of flowers, and dark chocolate, and tea, that take you out for cake, buy you cocktails, stroke your hair, hold you when you cry into your lunch because a petty misunderstanding triggered the descent.
I am blessed.
Last week, I walked into the kitchen sweating and announced that I had had a quasi-religious experience with nature. I had been on a run that had taken me along country lanes, through parks, through the city centre, along a canal. I'd seen ducklings, deer, sunsets.
And I just thought, the whole way round:
I am the luckiest person alive.
And there are moments when it feels ceaseless and relentless, and futile. When you realise its pointless, that 8 hours in the library isn't going to change the world.
That I'm paying £70,000 to read.
But there are moments, so many moments, when I am consumed by an inexplicable awe.
And really, I just feel so fucking lucky to have friends to catch you when you're falling, reach out when you're disappearing, who lessen the burden.
Who make you laugh, cry with you, hug you, give you reason and purpose, tell you it'll be okay, and that they're right there.
Next time I'm disappearing in my work, plugging the holes with work to make the internal voices a bit quieter, when I feel like I can't do it, feel so unbelievably stupid and academically inferior, I'll take myself to the meadows at sunset to be marvelled by nature, or think of candlelit cocktails, or tea with friends.

(i really feel like i can't fukin right at the moment, i have so many draft posts and nothing i write is!! right!! so this is really just something to ease me in!! peace!!)

spring

The soft golden light and the meadows of wild darts of colour and the sandstone that blends into the hues of the spring evening sky. Canals and rivers, and walks doused in the thick smell of warmth, and laughter and panes of rectangular sunset reflected on the walls. Old libraries flexing in the light, cloudy mornings of promise.
Oxford, in spring, is idyllic.


Its a monday night, the first of term. I am very tired, and quite overwhelmed, but also happy. I've had a magical weekend of pubs and pimms and singing and running and friends and warmth and reading, much needed after the brutal shock of 6 hours of exams.
But perhaps that explains the cold drag of today.
My brain is so tired I can't think of words. I've spent an obscenity of today reading and thinking and writing and, frankly, it has been too much.
But I also played football in the sun, and called my mum to rant about the laughable workload I have, which pains/stresses/scares/annoys me so much I've bored myself with thinking about it.
My friends cooked me tea, and went to Tesco for me and I practiced self-care by not cramming in any more.
Fun things are coming, and summer's on its way, even if I am yet to solidify plans. But that's okay. My existential angst has been quiet these past few days, for which I am grateful for, and attempting to maintain.


And some things I've loved, or am loving.
Jane the Virgin, because its just ridiculous, but what I need.
Samuel Barber: An American Romantic (I'm not even gonna apologise for liking choral music. I've been mocked enough. But u know, this is really actually v good and I like it for working)
Sally Rooney Conversations with Friends, became almost painfully mental, I felt inside her torment, but so skilful and heartbreaking and easy to read
Dolly Alderton Everything I know about love, because its quick and its abrasive but wise and funny and very fuckin' apt and true and ridiculous
Jodi Picoult A Spark of Light because it made me think about abortion and women's rights and how ironic pro-life arguments can be but also so skilful in presenting unbiased, uninfluenced ideas, she's really good at this kind of book
Coconut yoghurt
Summer
Cream jeans
Evening walks


Stay sane peeps. We've got this (even when they throw 12 essays at u in 6 weeks then exams lol!)

What a liberation to realise that the 'voice in my head' is not who I am. 
'Who am I, then?'
The one who sees that. 



exam care

Checking in! Because who knows the next time I will!
My days are just disappearing and I don't know where they're going, I sit down to read, procrastinate and eat and then suddenly is 7pm and I've achieved zilch. 
I have done some fun things tho.
Caught up with my friends over spilled vodka lime sodas, a week in the place of my childhood dreams, joined a running club and ran a lot, anxious trains but a day of drinking and laughing with friends, and seeing Dalal and Libby.Also consumed some gud things (will expand) and made some sick cakes (will also expand).



Exam season is coming up, which I am a bit scared about but also not really thinking about. I feel remarkably chilled about work atm, which is in itself slightly stress-inducing. I have a fuck tonne to do but am of the mentality that doing it isn't going to reduce the amount I have.
Strange logic.
I've taken today off from workin', mostly because I'm nursing a bad hangover, traipsed to the foodbank to volunteer at 9am (without my car sad timez) and have really just had a fuckin' good day and don't want to spoil it!
I also know I will be back on the diligence tomorrow, because my brain just can't help itself.
This exam season is gonna b different. I'm a mess in exam/revision times lmao, in the 6 months up to A-levels I just cried as a coping mechanism and didn't really exist.
But you already know that.
This one is different for several reasons. 1) I'm away from home (which does induce some anxiety as my mum is my rock (in case u couldn't tell)), 2) I've got 6 double-essay weeks preceding exams, 3) they don't count, but sorta do, 4) I don't care that much, but sorta do (a lot), 5) I have to wear a twatty outfit (see here) and a specific flower lmao.
Anyway. You all seem to be working hard, I am too, and before the bliss of summer (see last post), we have to beat these exams.
SO. Here's how we're gonna get through.



1) Snacks (but with some health substance bcuz I'm gonna be sedentary nd need my brain to work) recommended: dried mango, dark chocolate, these cacao golden berries (but only when my mum posts them to be because ££££), choco leibniz, a lot of squash
2) coffee (black, with soya milk, with hot chocolate mixed in, anything)
3) sleep
4) trash reads (Harry Potter is gr8 for this)
5) fun things (I'm factoring in pubs, clubs, events, talks, netball)–I've got so many good things next term that exams physically can't consume
6) exercise (yes mum! We know!), walk around the block, or do some yoga–especially exercise in the morning to set up well for revision!
7) rant to other people, but avoid them when they make u stressed
8) take time off (my tutor drilled this into me when I turned up to a solo tutorial with a sub-standard essay and a very apologetic speech that I had "burned out" and spent "the past 3 days crying because I'm so tired" (the latter was implicit))–I'm gonna go home, go to my grandparents, take at least one evening off and stay in
9) surround urself with other people–it's great having people who are going through it, but its also great escaping it and living a normal life
10) cafes and cake
11) a nice working space
12) remember a life outside, do other things, don't let it become ur world (because when it disappears its very fucking difficult, see blogposts circa june 2017 for evidence)
13) do nice things for friends
14) timetable, for marginal stress reduction
15) pics of summer and sun
16) avoiding burn out, because we want to peak 9th week not 5th week
17) parks, for revision, for picnics, for headspace
18) letting some things go (for me its gonna be negative food thoughts, becuz they're just a hindrance)
19) treats–I'm thinking tulips, coconut yogurt, berries, new pants, a yoga class, a Frankie magazine–u know!
20) things to look forward to–the first thing I do when I get back to ox is book a fuckin holiday and that will be my drive !
21) drinking wine

So bitches, hopefully we will avoid burnout and achieve enough. Because being enough is enough. And exams aren't a measure of anything really, and education is only one aspect of life, and its just a step onto the next bit.
And let's hold each other accountable. Make sure we are surviving.
Peace!! and take tonight off!!

eternal summer

I cannot stop thinking about summer.
When I'm sat in the library, attempting to centre my mind on the Haitian revolution, or late Antiquity, or understand what these absurdly complicated words mean, I find myself wandering down the sun-drenched streets of an ambiguous European city, eating fresh bread, drinking sweet nectar.
And I blink. Forcing myself back to the words on the page.
"...this concept of culture has been the development of a doctrine of cultural relativism", I feign to read.
But still the hint of summer glow burns inside. And dancing on the pages are fresh alpine lakes and the fading richness of Rivièra maisonettes, and tanned skin and golden hair and hours spent devouring fiction, drunk off the abundance of sun.
I cannot stop thinking about summer.
Endless possibilities and googled flights and penciled dates and vague plans leave me with a summer that could be impossibly busy, or empty and yearning.

Take a second to drink the golden warmth of these pics.
Ah.

there is nothing left to worry about
the sun and her flowers are here
(Rupi Kaur, bit overdone but apt)


This summer I hope for: picnics with friends, days spent drinking and eating into a blissful indulgence, swimming in port meadow, allowing the stress of exams to disappear, days and days and days spent reading and sleeping, eating fresh bread and nectarines for breakfast, listening to foreign tongues, churches, galleries, sunsets, spontaneity, barbecues, English coastlines, Sevillian sun, Italian gelato (except not), Adriatic sea, and just days with friends and days alone and to absorb the orange warmth that summer brings. Maybe I'll volunteer in Greece, maybe I'l float around Italy, maybe we'll actually make it to Spain. Time and money are both limiting (even tho I've been skimping and saving like a bitch for summer) but even looking at the pictures gives me a warmth.

So many of these memories and dreams are idealised, and summer is also filled with exams and stress and the worries of every day life, and I'll have to work (reality check!), but it does feel a little better.
And just the rose tinted hope of such days is enough.

Hope ur all well. Currently sat in the garden in the sun, feeling accidentally quite hungover (questioning why I feel ill then remembering last nights double vodkas), mustering the discipline to cycle to the library.
But just 5 more minutes of sun.

(pics are either from pinterst (see here), cutouts of Frankie magazine or just some photos from holidays gone)

small eco things

My biggest g-o-a-l for 2019 was to be more *eco*.
I've become hyper aware of plastic–I'll be in the bath and all I can see is the amount of plastic that surrounds me. Or in a bar and everyone's using plastic cups and plastic straws and all i can think is 'this shit isn't going to go anywhere'.
Oh man, being in Tesco is the worst.
I've taken a few easy (and probably, on the scale of human destruction, relatively ineffective) steps to try and cut it out, and hey maybe my single actions won't do that much, but at least I'm doing something.
Plus these products are actually generally better for us because who knew, plastic is actually quite toxic.
I'm still on the look out for more alternatives and there are still so so many things I could do to limit my damage on the world (i.e. cut down on chewing gum consumption) and be more conscious, but this is a start. And we have got to start.



Shampoo bar
I mean I never really know what to say when I write these. Other than these r gd. I haven't used this specific one before, however my mum bought me a green one for Christmas and it left ugly green slime all over my shower. So I figured this might be a better bet. Shampoo bars are great because no plastic, nd (despite my preconceptions) they actually do the job!

Conditioner bar
My mum posted this to me a few months ago and I'm yet to use it. But I'm hoping for good things. And its got even less packaging, wowee. My only question with these bars is its transportability. I don't want them to sit in a sludge in my shower. I think the lush metal tins could be the answer to such a conundrum, however its all experimentation.

Period pants
My mum was on an eco hype at Christmas. We were inundated with eco alternatives–and these were one such example. I'm not fully fully converted, purely because of the washing issue (I don't do enough washing at uni to use them for a full period) but they are super hassle free (u just rinse until all the blood has gone then wash 'em) and so comfy and liberating to just wear a pair of pants and nothing else. Well, trousers. But u know. So, whilst I think I need a little more practice, these are a winner. Especially if diva cups freak you out (thats me).

Cotton pads
Whilst I have been deliberating and testing out the pants, these have provided an eco alternative. Also a very healthy and necessary alternative. Lets be real–bleached, synthetic pads and tampons are not good for your vagina and, environment aside, we should all be using more natural stuff. These are 100% cotton and biodegradable (inc. all the packaging) which is ace for days when period pants just are not an option (or when I haven't done any washing in 3 weeks lmao). They are pretty spenny (like £3 for 10) and so deffs not viable for everyone but a) I think if you can you should, b) if we don't show there's a consumer desire they won't reduce in price (capitalism y'all!) and c) the above pants, whilst are expensive for the first purchase (£15ish), are (almost) entirely cost free after that.

Keep cup
I'm such a keep cup knob in the library but boy do I love it. It means I can procrastinate by making a coffee, get money off and just feel way more put together than I actually am (not when its sat unwashed in my bag for 4 days yum). But slowly the world is coming to realise single-use coffee cups r just not the one. It's a small change, but undeniably easy.

Bamboo toothbrush
I think this might be my fave. A plastic toothbrush takes 400 years to decompose. And u don't even think about it. My mum has tried many a bamboo toothbrush (lol) and I can vouch that these are like actual toothbrushes, they just feel normal but also natural. Get one!!! (they can vary so much, the best ones we've found are 'banaboo' but i can't find them anywhere online fml)

Obvs these things won't change the world. But if everyone takes small steps, like these, it might actually make some difference. There are still so many things I do which are detrimental nd I'm still hunting for alternatives, but we're slowly beginning to see.

happy (and a bit sad)

Its 2 weeks since I last wrote and wowee has a lot happened. I spent a week crying solidly, being hugged by my friends, eating pancakes, crying a bit more, adoring history, and wanting to go home. I've also come home, had the happiest 4 days, slept, binge watched flea bag, made exciting plans, missed my dear friends, hugged my cat, ran, cooked, eaten, written, avoided work, drank gin, seen George Ezra (guilty pleasure ok), loved my mum and booked a lot of train tickets.
It's been quite a whirlwind.




I think I exposed some of my vulnerabilities to my friends for the first time. I mean I didn't have much option, because I just couldn't! stop! crying! but they were ace, and its the dream for people to love you even when your eyes are red and snot is running down your nose and you crumple in a heap on their floor.
I'm not quite sure what happened. I think I was just too exhausted and had too much work and I was (am?) going through a rough patch with self-worth and fuck man it just culminated. It wasn't sadness, or blueness. Just unsettled, on-edge tears.


But that wasn't the point of this writing.
The point was: happiness.
Because fuck! These past few days have been blissfully happy and I just carry on waking up thinking "I feel nothing!" (its usually: oh shit, I need to worry about that) and "I'm so excited for today", to waste my days doing whatever I want. Its just been euphoric to read and sleep and walk and be alone and drink coffee and binge watch trash and listen to George Ezra on repeat (seeing him rekindled my love nd I adore his aesthetic nd just general aura).
I've got an extensive 'easter vac fun' list. A key one is: write in my journal every day.
I feel remarkably out of touch with my emotions and, this vac we r on a mission to love ourselves, bitches.
Last term was spent with too many destructive thoughts nd nights drunkenly crying and tbh just days crying.
Which is weird bcuz it was a really good term. But I couldn't stop being invaded with destructive self hatred which led to hurting people I adore.
These thoughts need to stop, because I don't much like the me I am when I'm drunk and insecure and angry at myself and bits that can't change.
SO. Daily I'm writing to try and find something. Or at least to write a list of the good bits. So when I am drunk and insecure and angry, I can remember that I am not alone. Or worthless.


What else is on the list?
See my friends, in London, in Manchester, read (I treated myself to Everything I know about Love and Conversations with Friends today), blog, write, send letters, run, see some art, watch the new series of Jane the Virgin and remember I am enough and the world is okay!
Anything else?? I think that's it!
(i also promise PROMISE my next post is actually putting something good out into the world rather than narcissistic privilege !)
(also listen to budapest just to take u back, bc u know it will)
Peace!! Don't forget to cry! And laugh too!

gratitude

hey bitches.
Today I'm feeling shit. I can't stop crying nd just really wanna go home.
But its okay because I don't feel like this often, and I've learned that such days and toughness and tears are sort of a cyclical release.


After having suppressed tears through the entirety of a Tesco trip, bought myself a mango, nd cried in bed and on the phone to my mum and did some yoga, I composed a gratitude list.
Because life is generally great and these days are hard but they don't last for ever. And even in the moments when I just want to sleep or cry with my cat, there are still  beautiful things. Like the view out of the window, or the sun, or the silence.
So a gratitude list.
The sun.
Golden hour.
The quietness of Oxford.
A completed essay.
Laughing.
My friend Vassia.
Pubs.
A mum who listens and soothes.
Fresh sheets
Nice cereal.
Interesting talks.
Quiet libraries.
Silhouetted trees.
Coffee.
Post cards.
Picnics.
Early mornings, working.
This feeling. Emotions are important.

It's the next day. Still feeling a bit weird, but I'm going to hide away in a library a try and avoid people for a while because I think that's what I need.
Hope ur all okay! And not being as emotional fragile as me! Tears are good, right?!