a lot of feelings


Here are some musings that have been sitting in my insta saved for the past few weeks. I'm loving the rich warmth; it oozes late summer, something the weather isn't giving me much of lately.

Its been an anxious few weeks, riddled with a begrudging, relentless nervousness. Partly, the result of inherent existentialism, partly knowing I need to wind back up for another term, tackle my reading list, fearing I've already left it too late.
But I have found myself waking up in the middle of the night in a delirious and untameable fear. And, it sounds lame and perhaps virtuous, but I think much of this stemmed from a sort of sense of global disarray. I saw this post by Finn Harries, talking about 'eco-anxiety' and I resonated deeply with the helplessness and confusion. Recently, everything about the world has been making my stomach drop, inducing the claustrophobic nausea that colludes with my anxiety, and has made me panic. I've had to walk away from several dinner table conversations because I simply can't face the fear it ignites.
For me, 'eco-anxiety' is just one part of a much tighter ball of dread. Brexit, vote of no confidence, general election, Trump, Boris Johnson and his cabinet, anti-abortion laws, the protests in Hong Kong, the Epstein case and questionability of the judicial system, and everything else. 
Even writing this is making me sweat.
Maybe its my naturally restless disposition. I'm not kidding myself, I know there's little I can do, but it appears this feeds much of the monster. A sense that its crumbling, and there's nothing you can do. But also nowhere to hide.
It makes me most nervous because I don't understand it. Have so many questions, so much of it doesn't make sense, and I can't find simple answers. I feel helpless, query everything. The judicial system, the power of wealth to pay away allegations, the strength of democracy, the accepted 'goodness' of law enforcement.
I suppose I'm interested in how people are facing this? How are they managing to actually do something to change it, without hiding in the graceful pages of an oh comely magazine, or the indulgent mindlessness of trash tv and pretending the world doesn't exist. Perhaps avoid the news? But then I feel out of touch, in denial. I've been running a lot, which does quieten my head, as do my morning walks. Talking about the chaos helps, sometimes perpetuates.

Is a denial of tragedy and disarray worth a quiet mind, or do we all have a duty to participate in an awareness? How do you help the helplessness? Does everyone feel as lost and anxious as me?

Woah and breathe. That was a lot–I've been feeling a lot, and not really knowing what to do with those feelings. I've also been running a lot, spending a lot of hours at work drinking hot chocolate and gossiping, been day tripping despite having neither the time nor the money, and greatly anticipating my trip to Cologne next weekend.
Please answer my thoughts!

*
pics r from (left 2 right bitches): // @anne.art // @momsgardenart // @evazurig // @mansfieldoxford (ok shameless plug of my college but LOOK!) // @sophievstheuniverse // @m_d_n_f // @ambivalentlyyours // @walter_7.3 (literally no idea who this is but i like the pic ok) // @depressingfridgepoems // @rossie_edenbrow // @charlotte.ager // @wearehundredclub // @we_are_food // @scottdunn_travel // @we_are_food // @ladyylivv

life

The rudimentary life lesson I am yet to master is slowing down. Too often I have almost burned out, from cramming in too much, and I have to tell myself to stop. Have to take any time off I can to breathe and catch up.
Such a mistake left me crying in my bathroom today, eyeliner streaming down my face, 10 minutes before I needed to run to work. I have already booked in a solo self-care day, dedicated to slowing down and recharging.
I say this as though I haven't been doing the sickest stuff, haven't been exploring new places, drifting on trains, indulging in art, sun, pizza. With good friends, good books, good music.
But it has been a lot, I think perhaps too much. I found I was so full on culture and sights and excitement I couldn't fully appreciate it all, felt almost numb, transient, exhausted.
A fiscally necessary return to work will no doubt ensure such a reversal, and I will be pining for something interesting in no time.



what i've done:
drank vodka lime sodas in my favourite bars after work, saw Vassia last minute, hated being a woman, sunbathed, failed at sudokus, drank wine, ate more tomatoes than my body could manage (ditto watermelon, bread and sorbet), caught 8 trains in 2 days, got stuck in the Venetian rain, fell asleep on my friends lap, drank €3 prosecco on the banks of the Grand Canal, ate a very expensive pizza (and complained about it profusely!), felt my absolute happiest in the Tuscan sun, got eaten by mosquitoes and played cards by candlelight.
Also spent 2 hours at home, travelled to Oxford, drank, swam, ate in copious amounts, laughed and cried on my train home.
Amazing, overwhelming, expensive, exciting, adventurous, indulgent, delicious, exhausting.


what i've read:
I finished Circe, of which the last 2 pages were beautiful (the rest perhaps didn't live up to expectation, but still v good), read How to Build A Girl (which was quick,  easy, risqué and exciting; perhaps a little too profane, but good fun) and Normal People (devoured in a day) (loved: soft, gentle and delicate compared to Caitlin Moran, compelling, challenging, consuming)
Also got my first Oh Comely in ages, and remembered how much I loved it, and began reading Eat Pray Love. Evidently I'm loving my femme-coming-of-age/self-discovery novels this summer.


what i've listened to:
some excellent stuff.
Max by Rebelliously Tiny; an informative and sensitive podcast on disordered eating. I thought it was fab; delicately negotiated but massively informative about their experiences, the realities of body shapes and weight, the perception and presentation of food (especially on social media) and the need to surround yourself with people who have good relationships. For me, it came at the time it was most needed, and contributed to a lot of thoughts I've been having about how we discuss and portray food and body size. Whether you have a good or bad relationship with food or ur body, would 10/10 recommend this, or any of her podcasts.

Also rlly enjoyed The High Low  which, despite covering current affairs and (mostly depressing) topical issues, remains super light and entertaining. They talk about such a variety of events and ideas, and is such a nice change from my usual radio 5 lol.

I also loved Hannah Witton's 'Dating Advice and Social Media Ettiquette' (from Doing It!), mostly because it told me I haven't found the 'right person' becuz I'm not ready which tbh just served to validate my adamant independence for a little while longer.

Also devoured Libby's spotify playlists (especially 'new shit good shit'), to dilute the choral music I still can't stop listening to lmao.

what i've seen:
stunning Byzantine churches, beautiful sunsets, an amazing exhibition on black women in art, a lot of sea, blurred landscapes, tourists looking at 'famous' art I couldn't see, clouds, narrow streets, orange buildings.

I could write more, but this is already enough.
Man am I yearning for some time alone. But also am I bursting with gratitude, and a confusing anxiety. Also, the above sounds idyllic and euphoric. It was, but it was also tainted with arguments and sleeplessness and a lot of anxiety, just like all aspects of normality.
Life is weird, and good, and a ceaseless mix of the two!

the summer list #2

Last year, this post was written on 17th June, when my days were spent working and partying, without responsibility or commitment. 17th June 2019 was spent surrounded by paper and files, at my seat in the silent library, gazing onto the quad, and dreaming of the end.
Things change, but there's still a lot I wanna achieve this summer. Especially after receiving a reading list longer than my arm, and an onslaught of essay titles that I will undoubtedly avoid until September. 
The first 2 weeks of this eternal 3 month break were consumed with 14 hour shifts, days of sleeping and recovering,  blissful moments under the Spanish sun. But now the real flow has begun, and I don't want to waste this delicious freedom.


(some magical moments ive already had this summer !!)
So here goes:
1) an art project (I don't know what this should be !! Maybe knitting? Sewing? Collaging? send ideas!)
2) draft ideas for our to-be feminist society (again, send thoughts!!!)
3) journal, try daily, because a challenge is good 
4) run 15 km 
5) read the books on my summer to-read
6) make ice-cream 
7) write poetry/fiction/essays (non-academic obvs)
8) begin drafting ideas for after 
9) more days napping on the beach in the sun with old friends 
10) play tennis 
11) swim once a week 
12) art galleries (both in places I'm travelling, but also local)
13) read in (new) cafes 
14) find new bars 
15) go to York/Edinburgh/Durham for the day 
16) wild swim somewhere 
17) go down to Oxford, to tick off all the things I couldn't do in term time 
18) have a bbq in the garden 
19) make bread 
20) drink wine in the garden 
21) make a lil film 
22) sign up for another race 
23) go on a day trip to the countryside 
24) lie in the sun 
25) fill up a disposable camera

I'll add more ideas to this as they evolve. 
Much of my summer is taken up travelling and working, the former blissful and idyllic, the latter necessary, if a little dull. I want to spend time with friends, and time alone, enjoy the peace, and, most importantly, breathe. 

Hope ur all feeling free and summery!!!

twenty


but now, right now, i know this is the happiest i have ever been. 
This was scrawled in indecipherable handwriting in my diary on Monday 8th July. It was an overwhelming sense of contentment. Balance, flow, peace.
I even wrote: i am so indestructibly content, my yin and yang are in balance, life is flowing, I am at peace.
Maybe its turning 20 (fuck MAN), maybe its the resumption of normality, maybe its coming home, but this buzz of fulfilment has diluted into an uncomfortable blur of confusion.
I feel lost, my identity in crisis, self confused. Who am I.
Through the wisdom of 5 days, I'm laughing at 19 year-old me, i think i gradually know what i want, what makes me happy, what keeps me sane, and perhaps slowly, who i am. 
Wrong! On this slow Sunday, busy with a need to be busy, this feels fabricated, false, feigned.
I feel quite lost.
Home is small and stuck in the past, a mix of comfort and familiarity, and claustrophobic nothingness. Busy but also empty, mundane work which is both blissfully easy and exhaustingly monotonous, friends who feel safe and bring total ease, but also who force the past, conversations consumed with stories of years gone. Where I feel different, lost.
Fuck man, its confusing.
I like home because its safe and its comfortable, but I also feel different and outgrown. It feels as though the people here exist in a world of similarity, relatable experience, and my sphere is so distorted, expanded, different.  It's scary, but also exciting and kind of lonely. Where do I belong?
Nothing feels quite right, as though I am forcing the entertainment, doing it because I knew it used to be fun. Maybe its because I haven't actually relaxed yet. I've worked, travelled, slept, but haven't had days of nothingness.
Or maybe its maturity, age. Maybe 20 prefers pubs, bars and slow conversations to drunken 4ams. Maybe it sees a shift in people and activities, a fundamental 'out-growing' of the world I used to occupy. This makes me sort of sad, and at this moment, feel a bit lost. Where is home? Who are the people with whom I belong? Does it matter that my life is so different to these people?
So, I'm 20.
I knew I'd struggle with the realisation, knew it'd feel uncomfortably old, that it'd mark a shift in worlds. That I can no longer be in an unnecessarily bad mood with my mum, that the £100 battels I forgot to pay are both my issue and my financial commitment, that I have to work to exist beyond basic function, and that some people don't, and that that is shit. That I have to wash my own clothes, fill my own time, make my own decisions.
Its a blissful independence, where I can drink wine at lunchtime, sleep in the afternoon, travel, work, grow. It is also the rudimentary reality of growing up, the shift and the change lonely and confusing!
So who am I? What do I want to do? Why do I (eventually) have to be thrown into the real world?

In other news:
I'm back from a few days in Barcelona, which is perhaps where this existentialism began. I've got a week at home, of working and seeing friends, and then am going to Italy, for 10 days of swimming and travelling, and art. I've read crazy rich asians (pt 2!) which was deliciously trashy, and 'the new me', which got inside my head and made me feel uncomfortable, and question the purpose of life. It also made me fear the mundane, again perhaps the trigger for these emotions. Tonight I am going for a sauna, hoping to sweat out this existentialism and resume my peace. I hope it works. AHH!

summer books

I started writing this post in 6th week, sat in Waterstones, after hitting 'submit' on my final essay of term. The legacy of the Haitian Revolution. Interesting shit.
I grabbed 2 books on my way out, in an euphoric (and caffeine induced) flurry thinking i totally deserve this. 
4 weeks later, I apparently deserved a lot more reading material, and have since had to rearrange my shelves just to accommodate it all.
But I've got a long summer, an increased reading speed, and a substantial amount of travelling, so perhaps entertainment was required.
I'm well excited to sit down and read them, in snatched breaks between work and sleep (both of which have been occurring in borderline-ridiculous amounts), on trains and planes, and lying in the garden in the sun.



Here's what I want to read:
(conveniently not actually rlly the books pictured)

Circe, Madeleine Miller (see this post for an excerpt, which will make u want to cry)
Normal People, Sally Rooney (loved Conversations with Friends, apparently this is better)
Crazy Rich Girlfriend, Kevin Kwan (balance bitches!)
The Prophet, Kahil Gibran
How to build a girl, Caitlin Moran
The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods, Emily Barr
The Parisian Affair, Guy de Maupassant
The Waves, Virginia Woolf
A Spark of Light, Jodi Picoult

A nice mix of classics, trash, nd best sellers. Just what I like. I am pining for a day on the beach, under the caressing sun, drifting between reading and napping, feeling the sweetness of summer. I fully feel I've earned some relaxation, and thats an ace feeling.
Let me know what's on your reading list.

ethereal happiness

The blankness of this page intimidates me. How do I break a silence not previously endured, in a busy-ness not previously experienced.



How do I explain a happiness or a pining or an exhaustion, when even my brain cannot comprehend the emotions.
I am back.
I am lying on my bed, with the golden June light dappling against my walls. I'm so glad I've caught early summer evenings here, they are my favourite.
I've got a mountain of shit downstairs I need to sort, clothes to wash, things to put a way, a life to resume. But today I've napped endlessly, and next week I'm working (no rest 4 the wicked), so one day...
I came back home last night, sunburnt, exhausted, but filled with a bittersweet happiness. Happiness at finishing my exams, at knowing I will be returning to the most ethereal world in the autumn, at knowing I have months of reading and travelling and being, but sadness at leaving Oxford, my dearest friends, the most beautiful city.
I suppose I can't really comprehend it whist in the midst of its magic, other than knowing I belong and that these years will immeasurably be the best of my life. That it is a place like no other. Incomprehensible, unless lost in its madness. It ceaselessly demands everything, feels relentless, but stimulating, exciting, rewarding, motivating. I suppose all experiences are intangible and subjective, but the beauty and the madness of this world is unfathomable unless you are immersed in it. It does not make sense unless you live in it; in the tradition and the intensity, in the pretension, and the debunked stereotypes, in the intelligence. It is the most blessed privilege.

And, after 9 weeks of essays and revision and not much sleep and a few tears and lots of partying and love island, walking out of my last exam to my friends, who'd travelled just to celebrate (thank u exams after term has ended) to be trashed, swim in the river, drink and eat in the sun, man was it magical. I don't even want the shaving-foam scent to disappear from my hear, because I know that is the end.
And now I have 3 months, and a lot to achieve.
I want to read (reading list coming up), sleep, run, write, work, travel, lie in the sun, listen to normal music and just be.
I can't wait to write on here, resume my different worlds, and forget about academia for a bit.
Enjoy some pictures of the most magical place in the world.
Hope ur all well, v happy to be back nd writing nd thinking.

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!!)