musings #2

past:
in the past 2 weeks I have: felt relieved that January was over, worked a lot, cried a bit, finally tracked down vegan Ben and Jerry's, done yoga for 12 consecutive days, made a lot of plans, finished 2 books, done a lot of online shopping (and sent a lot of parcels back), started a French class, survived a mob of 20 drunk 16 year olds descending on my house, felt shit and then good and then shit, been to the theatre (to see Ballet Rambert's Ghost Dances–v. good) cooked a lot of new recipes and drank a lot of G&T's.


present:
Its a bright Sunday morning and, despite having work later today and a headache, I have a good feeling about today. Mornings like this are my favourite, when you feel the crisp inklings of Spring. We're going out for brunch this morning for which I am greatly anticipating some pancakes. In this moment, I feel at peace. Its been a challenging few days and I find myself thinking about the future too much but good things are coming.

future:
In the mundane, I am planning to read a lot of books, teach myself some basic Spanish and seek some premeditative therapy because I'm starting to become very, very scared about Oxford and whether I'll cope. I'm also trying to be more conscious about my plastic usage and ethical footprint and its something thats playing on my mind a lot.
In more fun news, the future is -very- exciting and March through to August are going to be pretty fun months. When work is painful I remind myself I couldn't book all the spontaneous planes and trains without those hours of dulness. Planned I have trips to Barcelona, Oxford, Brighton, Suffolk, Paris, Budapest, Corsica and Marrakesh along with tickets to Matthew Bourne's Cinderella and the Guilty Feminist. I'm also hoping to visit some of my friends before easter, if I have any time, because I miss them. Fuck, man. Its gonna be so good. And, whilst my bank balance might be crying, we're still planning another holiday. Oh well–gap yah and all.

I suppose if that mood board is anything to go off, I've been spending my time dreaming of travelling and finding solace in other people feeling as lost and crying as often as me. The musings above are just a few I've found on Pinterest whilst procrastinating–you can find the others here.
I really like making visual boards of the things I've been thinking and feeling and dreaming of over the past few weeks. So sorry there haven't been many photos but idk just not really feeling photography at the moment. Or blogging particularly. But I need to put my thoughts somewhere, update the diary, document the moment. You get the picture


I hope you're all well. I'll be back.

the fire

"Here is a pen, I say. Use them. Write me how it feels"

If your house was on fire, and you had 5 seconds to grab one item, what would it be?


I'd reach my hand under my mattress
and pull out this
my heart and fears and tears and thoughts bled onto the pages of this invaluable notebook.
The leaves of this physicalised copy of my mind provided solace when the rest of the world felt too harsh to let in.
It explores a journey, from my darkest moments to my happiest to my bravest and, as personified objects go, it perhaps knows me better than I know myself.
Tonight, I indented the final page with the lyrics of my mind and turning the cover felt like closure.
A door on the past year of my life.
And now it lies, in the safest place, close to my dreams and rest, as a reminder of survival.

Writing is such a magic form of therapy.
It makes sense of thoughts intangible to the human mind.
It reduces fears to simple letters on a page.
It offers a reminder of the days when it all felt right.
And the days when it didn't.
It offers an opportunity to reflect and hope and connect and explore.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if, in a century this pointless collection of notes was found; what would be discerned of my life? What would they think? What would have happened to me? What could it tell them about life in 2018? What would have changed?

As I turned the leaves of my crisp new book, I knew it was right. I knew this haven of safety was my closest companion.

And so, as the burning flames inhaled the bricks and mortar of my safety, I wouldn't hesitate to save this paper copy of me.

What would you save in a fire?

ugh


A brain dump.
Yes, my last post was an existential crisis. And this one is too. But I feel sad.
So here's my head.
In its most vulnerable fashion.
I feel lonely. I feel socially lonely and romantically lonely.
I feel bleurgh about the fact I have so few friends in this stagnant city, that they're dispersed across the country and are living their separate lives and I feel shit about spending my nights alone, even though I sort of enjoy this. I also don't want to make new friends in this city of mine because I'm so ready to move on and away but then also do want to because I need newness. I feel fucked that my gap year isn't "fucking wild" but just sort of life and that's not what its supposed to be (this is, in fact, what its supposed to be because its just another part of life but societal expectations etc)...and that other people have so many friends and are having so much fun and hey shouldn't I be doing that? (shouldn't I be getting smashed every night to prove I'm having the time of my life, whilst simultaneously filling incessant gaps in my mental health? Shouldn't I be spending every night out loving life? Will I ever feel like I'm loving life?)
also.
WILL PEOPLE STOP FUCKING ASKING ME IF I'M "uhm travelling in your gap year?" GET OFF MY BACK BEFORE I CRUMBLE INTO A PILE OF SELF LOATHING.

(*deep breath* (vulnerability)) I am craving romantic engagement, I am lusting after investment and interest and someone just to talk to. I fear commitment and attachment but also just want something. A recent event (which has been documented in detail if you know me well enough) sparked the teenage thrill that A-levels diluted and created a desperation for idk??? Fuck not a relationship because #freewoman but someone interested in me. To understand how I truly feel about about this topic read Zoe's post because she talks about what I'm too lol awkward to talk about and I'm shit at openness beyond existentialism.
Yeh. I feel very alone. 
Okay. Katie, stop with the italics.

But I also know for the good bits (trips to Budapest, Manchester, Paris, Barcelona, Birmingham, Brighton–yes, self recognise there's so much good happening) the shit has to happen, you have to work to have money to survive to have fun.

I know these are just January blues. And they will pass. But they also feel like they are plunging me into an abyss of darkness, under a cloak of stagnation, as though nothing around me is changing. Where do I meet new people (that don't live 10,000 miles away from me who I can only see for 3 hours every 3 months) who are fun and save me from loneliness but also not too invested; I descended into a sort of pathetic sporadic mess of tears after I fell in love (realised I fall in love much too easily) and then was discarded after the most superficial engagement so fuck, what's the real thing going to be like?

I also feel unwholey (that isn't even a word) unmotivated. In e-v-e-r-y way; I spend my mornings before work achieving approximately 2 things on a list of 10 and this makes me feel like I'm simply surviving and its grating on my mental health. I feel as though I'm pushing up a hill with a massive fucking boulder on my shoulders. I want to read and run and do yoga and mindfulness and write and create and meet people and change the world but I'm just plagued with the nausea of anxiety.
And it wasn't supposed to be like this.

Another realisation: getting so smashed you can't remember what happened isn't, in actuality, that fun, despite forever thinking it successfully removes inhibitions. It just sort of messes up your life for the next few days.

Fu-uh-ck.

some good things: Libby (meeting for a drink, even if only for a few hours), Manchester (a night away with my best friends, feeling so at home in their hearts, having insurmountable fun and drama), travelling (booking a trip to Budapest with said friends, plans to travel to Barcelona alone (!) which is a serious bucket list amirite???, Paris), writing (because it isn't really helping at the moment, but it will), makeup (because its the only thing making me feel marginally good about myself atm).

Even writing this doesn't feel that therapeutic. I just don't feel like myself. In my head, I categorise periods of time with feelings. January will be a bad feeling.

The final panic. Oxford. (yeh I'm so lucky its like the second best uni in the fucking world but I've gotta keep it real and I'm freaking oooout). I haven't written an essay in like 7 months (how do I do it again?) and don't have the motivation to reengage with the subject. I'm also freaking out that its not the uni experience that society tells me I want but I don't actually really want. I crave a mix of clubbing and antics and academia and fun and hard work but am so stressed I won't find it. And I won't survive and I won't meet my people and will hate it (but I'd be freaking out wherever I was going so its ok.)

Okay. I feel so very far from myself right now.
Will these feelings pass.
I feel like I'm going to throw up.


so yeah. someone love me (because i don't love myself) and save me (because i can't save myself)
(yes i can. i've done it before)

(fuck count in this post: 8 (sorry if my profanity offends you))


20:49

ce soir, je me sens un peu seule.
In fact, I feel every emotion.
Except the good ones*

bleurgh.


I am feeling an amalgamation of every fear and every sadness and every loneliness and every trigger is causing me to existentially fret and I think my mind might combust.



And I just want to lie on my floor
and
cry.

current thoughts: gap year (sick of work, dullness, losing motivation, bored), travelling (not happening even tho I want it to and why am I not fucking getting on and doing it), Oxford (not clever enough, not posh enough (even tho I detest that stereotype), not motivated enough, won't fit in, won't make friends, homesickness, loneliness), degree choice (should I be doing English? (no.)), me (am I the saddest human alive, also feeling ugly, stupid), friends (does it matter that my friends don't live in my city?), pressure ("force yourself to stay in your room tonight Katie because its lame to spend time with your family"), January (dark, cold), motivation (lack of), procrastination (not booking French course, based entirely on the fact I don't like phone calls), brain (what the fuck is wrong w me, why haven't I felt like myself for a while), love (will I ever find it), tears (why aren't they coming)...

This is so drenched in repulsive narcissism. But I don't have space in my brain to worry about that.

To save the utter self indulgence of this post, comment below your current thoughts, good or bad.

*(disclaimer: I am fine, just hormonal and prone to bursts of existentialism)

disposables

Towards the end of 2017, I bought a disposable camera and it went on a few adventures with me. A couple of weeks ago I got the pictures developed and I thought I would share my favourites.
They explore a month filled with trips to London and Oxford and drunken nights and celebrations and  a lot of fun.
Enjoy.

Radcliffe camera, Oxford 
Primrose Hill @ sunset with Dalal, London 

View over London, Primrose Hill 
St Pauls Cathedral, London 
Nelsons Column, London
Expensive (and disappointing) cocktails w/ Libby, Old Spitalfields Market, London 
Christchurch College, Oxford
The view from my bed, Mansfield College, Oxford 

Gals

Tower Bridge, London 

Pizza ft. Dalal, London
National Theatre, Londres

My sister, on the train

Gals on NYE
calm country walks 
I adore the washed out, slightly hazy effect of disposable prints and the way they so-candidly capture a moment and its purity. I'll definitely be buying another over the next few months.

In other sightly monumental news, yesterday I received an offer from Oxford to study History. Pretty cool, huh? I was shaking with excitement but then had an unfortunate 6 hour shift at work that slightly dulled my elation. Last night, I felt weird about it all and sort of just wanted to cry but I won't talk about this too much because I am so lucky to have this insane opportunity. I went for a pint with my dear friends who were so happy for me and man, people who share your success are the best (special s.o to Dalal who was unbelievably excited for me, despite her own personal experience with Oxford and their gruelling application process).
SO yeah! Some exciting things ahead, lots to think about and things to consider! Obviously, I'm freaking out but hey, it is me. 

bloglovin - twitter - insta

le nouvel an

This post feels very old school, but I kind of love that.
New Years Eve was slightly anti–climatic but we won't talk about that; I enjoyed spending the end of 2017 with my bffs so I guess thats a winner.
I did, however, love my outfit and makeup and was just really feeling myself. I took advantage of this unusual sense of self love (and the fact that it was NYE) and maxed out on glitter. Something about the iridescent dust that clings to everywhere but where you want, makes me feel indestructible and, with some chunky boots and a shimmery top, I felt kind of killer.
I did, however, fail to get any pics that were really blog worthy or weren't slightly fuzzy reflections illuminated with a haze of narcissism. So this look is a recreation but you get the gist.



Make-up wise (oh wow I haven't talked about makeup on here in years), I have the distinct advantage of a sister who is makeup obsessed and thus was able to experiment. Some notable mentions of this look, for both your interest and my recollection, include a blend of some dark colours from the Naked Heat palette, a purple kiko loose glitter, 17 Tattoo me eyeliner (which is the BEST if you are semi competent at liquid eyeliner) and a collection mascara (which is actually really rather great). I have since worn this eye look to 3 separate events so I guess its a keeper.


And regarding hair, whilst in the photos I am sporting what has affectionately become known as a 'nun bun' (which, after adopting simply to get my hair off my face when working, has become a bit of a go to) for the actual night out I just wore it straight with a middle parting, another look I kind of love.

SO yeh. Despite outfit posts being a bitch to photograph (I tried to coerce my sister to participate but the £2 incentive wasn't quite cutting it) I'm going to try and incorporate a few more on my blog this year.

Hope your 2018's have started well.

Twitter - Bloglovin - Instagram

***

Since composing this post, the top has had to be returned. It kept on snagging and fraying and getting these funny lines all over it which is not what you want. I will be on the search for a similar, more durable version, however.


2017


(forewarning: this post is ridiculously long and after reading Lexie's 2017 review, I realise unnecessarily so. Conciseness never was my strong point)




2017 opened in bed, crying. Start as you mean to go on, they say. I was terrified about the end of exams and pressure and emptiness and lack of direction.
As 2017 closes, I am no longer terrified about these things, I feel (mostly) full and my life feels busy and yes there are cracks and dark corners but I see a direction and a purpose beyond one sole, abusive thing. 
This year has been an unbelievable challenge, academically, mentally, socially, personally. It hasn't been a shit year, that description feels wholly unfair, but it has been immensely difficult and has ensued a lot of pain and fear. 
It has been characterised by 3 simple words: challenge, change, growth
It is a year I never believed I would survive but here I am, at the 31st December, alive, strong and through the cracks of my faulty mind and the challenges of this year, I am glowing with a radiance of survival.
I did it.

In my mind, it is divided into two distinct halves. The first you know about. The challenge. The intense loss of self, an abusive addiction to academia, permanent stress and relentless breakdowns about the prospect of the future. Home was a toxic and messy environment, plagued by depression of a loved one and a raging fire of perpetual conflict.
January to May was characterised by safe afternoons in the library, kind, kind teachers who said kind, kind words, believed in my abilities and listened to my incessant worries, whom I will forever remember for they way they looked after me and inspired me and understood me, days structured with immense precision to ensure both revision and uptight socialising could be achieved, and endless laughs and gossips and jokes. We were bombarded with relentless mocks, in January, in March and almost broke trying to achieve in a school that was falling apart (a failed ofsted, 3 different head teachers). Much of it is a blur. Of tears, of a dressing gown I never got out of, of "I can't do this" to teachers and "yes you can" responses". My dear mum drove me to the beach, repeated nights in a row, to cry, to walk and to listen to my pain. I ignored the dates, hid my calendar, pretended I had no idea how many weeks it was until the end but still repeatedly thought "3 months, its okay thats ages", "4 weeks I can't do this.

June. Fucking June. Here's some snippets of memory.
Geography exam, my first, one I relied so heavily on to achieve. An exam in which the pressure led to a panic attack, leaving the exam half way through, crying into the invigilators arms that "it wasn't supposed to happen like this".
A walk, that same evening, with my closest friends. It was raining and dark. I felt my life was over.
An English exam were I lost myself in the bliss of writing about made up characters and the excitement of an interesting essay.
A conversation with my dear History teacher. "Be kind to yourself Katie", "feed the right wolves".
A day, one of the weirdest of my life, that consisted of 2 goddamn awful exams and a surprise hung parliament???
A week spent solely revising Romantic poetry, days spent in the library losing brain cells to Shelley's depressive narrative and Blake's religious beliefs.
The final exam, utter glee at the questions (presentation of nature in Romantic poetry UHM YES) and the most conflicting emotions.
3 consecutive days of partying, mixed with emptiness.

July was a whirlwind of Leavers' (a night spent clubbing with out English teacher/head of sixth form, all smashed and having a blast), 2 of the most insane weeks travelling around Europe with my best friends, exploring cities and feeling so alive at the adventure, my 18th birthday in the sickest club in Buda.

August is a month of juxtaposition, aching with the pain of grief. I also experience one of the happiest days of my life, opening my A-level results to see 3 A*'s (?!) and screaming "what the fuck", spending the night absolutely pissed and watching the 7am sunrise before heading on holiday that very same day.

And September brought the change, the return of my sister to school, but me not with her, and the loss of my closest friends. It existed as a day by day month, one day it was okay, the next I would creep downstairs and breakfast and just sit in silence, blank faced, crying. But, I survived.

And I suppose the rest is just the after.
And now it feels okay.
Its taken 10 months of pain to reach this place but I've learned time really can heal anything. It soothed my first experience of grief, not towards a person but towards the most reliable and secure element of my life.
Day by day things got easier. I felt less need to fill every second, my life began to feel purposeful, I learned what helped the longing and the loneliness. I busied myself with numerous trips, to Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Manchester, London, Oxford, allowed myself to do more art and create for the pure enjoyment. I applied to uni and experienced an Oxford interview. I spent more time with my family, gave back in return for everything I took this year and allowed the world to be.
I volunteer and I work and I learn and I feel good and life feels as though it has meaning and I have grown so so much, so far beyond anything I could have imagined.
And to get through the absolute shite that, in retrospect, was August–mid November, I wrote and I talked and I tried therapy and I ran and I listened to podcasts and I read and I spent time in nature and I baked and I created and I went on nights out and I reminded myself that it will get better. And it has.

This space on the internet has provided a divine sanctuary of safety. A space that has allowed me to process the madness, to disperse my thoughts when they felt most vulnerable and provided a sense of stability in the turbulence and change 2017.

It has also given me new friends, something I never could have pre-empted, but which cures my loneliness and built my dwindling identity. To them, I really am so grateful for saving this year, no matter how insignificant a part they feel they have played.
I understand myself to an extend I never believed possible, I enjoy my own company, I feel an ability to take on new challenges, I feel proud of my written work and I am so, so much more confident, in trying new experiences, in meeting new people, in talking.

And despite all this deep and analytical talk, there have been some fucking great moments (and just some worth mentioning):
Endless nights out, fuelled by trebles and eager, messy and hazy and complicated but always a blast. The submission of my English and History coursework, the latter causing immense trauma but also producing a piece of work I am overwhelmingly proud of. The introduction of a cat into our house, who I now adore, flute lessons that offered an hour of disappearance from this abusive world, evenings spent with my 3 best friends (more like sisters), where time just disappeared, the annual family Easter trip and days spent revising Soviet architecture on the beach, takeaway nights in pyjamas, a dear teacher who cried at my thank you card (despite me despising geography) and still emails e for updates. A day on the quayside filming for a friend, days at work, often with kids falling asleep, meeting Dalal and Libby in London, endless trips to the beach and walks and the Guilty Feminist podcasts and live viewing at Edinburgh fringe and knitting and probably so much more but this post is already so long.  Fucking nuts politics that saw a general election, the inauguration of an abhorrent president, relentless trauma, in the way of terrorism and fires and an aching country, and so many other global events, the relieving avoidance of a French right-wing leader, the activation of article 50, a faulty government plagued with division and allegation, the rise of the voice of victims, war and coup and an ongoing climate crisis.

And right now, I still miss school in some ways, but the pining has diluted. I am craving education, feeling increasingly stupid but, more than anything, am relishing the absence of permanent stress. I am apprehensive about the turning of the year and no longer having a numerical connection with the academic path and still freak out when I think about growing up. I manage to overthink most aspects of my existence and judge and compare my life with almost everyone around me.
But it's okay. I've survived this, I can survive almost anything.

And, in true melodramatic spirit, some thank you's.
To my aforementioned History teacher for never telling me how much of an annoying fuck I was, putting on extra lessons despite him being sure I would succeed and for inspiring my love for the subject. To my friends, for offering never ending laughs and distraction and withstanding the journey with me, to this online space for offering an unjudgemental outlet, to you all of listening to my incessant crises, to my family for not giving up, no matter how annoying I was, crying every second and the pain a-levels ensued for them all (lol sorry guys, was worth it in the end??) and to my dear mum, for always being there. Always.

Here's to 2018. May it be fucking ace.

*
(okay this post seems so complainy and whiney and privileged–my year was so much better than some peoples and I am entirely aware of this but my mind also tried to ruin me so I guess it wasn't all rosy but this is just a disclaimer insecure me feels is necessary to say I know how privileged I am. Thank u.)


calm amongst the chaos

This christmas has been a weird one–filled with tears and family dramas but also laughs and fond memories and happiness.  I haven't really been able to relax (possibly perpetuated by my total exhaustion) and have a strong sense of undeserving: of relaxation, of calm, of food, of enjoyment. But despite the inner voice, I've relished time spent in pyjamas, with family and copious quantities of delicious food. Another Christmas will come, and perhaps I will be able to pass that one with a little more ease.


In hindsight, my somewhat dampened enjoyment was possibly caused by the numerous nights of 2 hours sleep that have occurred in the past week and this, along with being ill, has caused an overwhelming fatigue–my sleep pattern has been so messed up.

As was the case last year, here are 3 questions and 3(?) answers.
Leave yours below.

Something that makes you smile.
Having my brother home for Christmas.
Cranberry sauce.
New pyjamas, of which I now have numerous pairs and am struggling to find time to wear them all.
A Soviet Spy book I received for Christmas, which encompasses 2 of my favourite things.
Dancing, with old and dear friends and, in a complicated way, the drama that encircles a night out.
The exciting prospects of the year ahead.

Something that makes you sad.
The relentless and internal pressure, a voice that never leaves, that never allows rest.
The future of my brother, in an organisation I neither agree with nor see the appeal of.
That days spent together, at a slow and loving pace, occurring so infrequently.

Something you wish to achieve.
The silence of the internal voice.
Harmony with my sister.
A fluency in the language of love (meaning French, not romance lol)

I am currently suffering from a night out that rolled into a 6 hour family road trip, the start of which I was most definitely still drunk. Last night was weird, it was in one of my least favourite clubs but I think I had a good time? It ended with drama which left today feeling somewhat stressed and caused multiple outcries of "oh for fuck sake", creating a situation in which I feel trapped but, due to severe insecurity, am incapable of denying.
Bleurgh.
Its pretty messy but I feel vulnerable discussing it, maybe a 2018 goal will be to discuss more romantic-y shit. This already makes me feel uncomfortable because, as I am beginning to learn, I am catastrophically appalling at expressing my emotions but hey, you don't grow when you're comfortable.
I should probably also learn to say no as a 2018 goal.
Thats pretty important.

How were your christmases? What answers do you have for the above questions?

today's musing: this podcast, which is so so good. Its about the power of emotions, ways to tackle negativity and feels like a warm and safe conversation with your mum. Give it a listen.