Certainty

Every Sunday until September I’ll be pulling a (virtual) card from the Universe Has Your Back deck and reflecting on it.


When I lean on certainty and faith I change my mind about the world I see.

It has been a bit of a heavy week. I had a meeting at the start of the week and, I guess, I spent all my pent up anxiety on that day. The next day I was exhausted, and was very unwell in the morning. My partner and I went for a walk that evening and we discovered a sensory garden by our local gym.

I sat down for a while, by some herbs and just felt like my mind was buzzing like a beehive. It was so noisy and busy and crowded. I sighed and tried to let go of the anxiety. I imagined the experience a bee felt as it flies away from the hive on a solitary journey for pollen. The garden was so quiet.

I still felt rough midweek, but I continued taking part in the daily chats I mentioned previously. I stopped taking my iron supplements because they were making me feel sick. And sure enough, I feel better (but more tired).

I continued on an upward spiral, and today I ended up in Tread Bikely with a poem I wrote about cycling in Brighton; Summer Nights.

Stillness

Every Sunday until September I’ll be pulling a (virtual) card from the Universe Has Your Back deck and reflecting on it.


In any moment I can surrender to the powerful presence of love through prayer, contemplation and stillness.

This time tomorrow I will be breathing a sigh of relief. A meeting I am nervous about will be over, and I’ll probably have done OK in my presentation. But it doesn’t stop me from panicking.

I didn’t finish my project but I’ve made another big dent in it and I like where it’s going. I actually sent the draft to a couple of colleagues for their feedback; I originally didn’t want anyone to see it until I had completed it. However, I needed help.

COVID diary 3

A few people I know in the care leaver community have started a project called Care in the time of COVID. It’s a diary project, and one of the prompts is to write about your Saturday. I started writing, and then I deleted my entries because I felt like it was boring/sad. But then I decided to restore the entries because they are a reflection of the time (though they are very dry reading).

I have to declare that these entries are not part of the project, but they have been inspired by the project.

This is a follow up to COVID diary 1 and COVID diary 2.

Saturday 16 May

Urgh. I woke up this morning dry retching. I felt really bad, but I know it’s just anxiety. Intrusive thoughts have been really bad for the past couple of days. My partner took me out for a walk to some allotments yesterday and he went back this morning to look for the person he needs to speak to regarding being put on the waiting list for allotments. That person was on holiday, so my partner went grocery shopping instead. He bought me my favourite cereal.

I saw a book review competition on my student union’s website. I have missed the deadline by two weeks, but I sent in a late submission because it only looks like they had one entry (I am assuming they only had one entry because they said they’d put the reviews up on social media for people to vote for, and to date only one appeared). I thought writing a book review would distract me for a few hours but I wrote it in ten minutes. But I then got an idea for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation writing competition, based on an idea I had after watching Suicide Girls: The First Tour.

I watched a really cute documentary called Please Vote For Me. I was looking for some documentaries about student unions or student politics, and this is one that came up. I had been thinking about standing in the summer election, but I really am in two minds. Firstly, I always feel like I should step aside for more worthier voices. Secondly, I really want to change how the union is run and make a difference on campus. Thirdly, I think student unions haven’t always caught up with current student demographics – obviously they have done a lot of good work with underrepresented peoples but there is a lean towards bricks and mortar institutions. Being a student nowadays is just not all about that; there’s blended learning, there’s distance learning, there’s part-time learning, there’s learning on the job and don’t even get me started on the visibility of HE students in colleges. As a distance learner in my college I don’t always feel seen – in fact I am not even sure my student union see me as a member (because my data is stored on an alternative database to the one that feeds into their systems!!!).

I also ordered a book about Hornsey College of Art’s student occupation in 1968, it’s due to arrive next month so I’ll do a review then. I have been thinking about art schools a lot, and even considered enrolling on the Open College of the ArtsCreative Education short course. I wanted to do the PGCert Creative Education at the University for the Creative Arts last September but I didn’t come up with the funds on time. I have been thinking about art institutions a lot lately. I even made some zine pages today; I can’t remember the last time I made some. My new years resolution was to make a zine a week! I need to get a move on.

For lunch I had avocado on toast and fruit juice. Afterwards I had a shower and used some of my favourite shampoo. I dyed my hair blue earlier this year and the colour is still running; I had been using a colour preservation shampoo but I didn’t like it. I eventually ran out of it this week and decided to start using the shampoo my sister got me for my birthday. My hair is a bit fluffier than I like at the moment, but it smells good.

I spent a few hours of the afternoon looking at some work and tweaking my draft project (again! I swear I could make a second project from all my cut text). Then I went into my bedroom to sit by the window for a while; two of my neighbours were arguing about a yappy dog so I stepped back in case it looked like I was trying to get involved. The dog has been yapping for an average of two hours everyday. Sometimes it yaps when I am trying to work which is very off-putting. It’s also very stressful when I have a headache. But I don’t blame the poor dog – it sounds distressed. I miss my office when this happens. After dinner I had some of my partner’s leftover birthday cake. It gave me indigestion.

I went to sleep a few hours later.

Power

Every Sunday until September I’ll be pulling a (virtual) card from the Universe Has Your Back deck and reflecting on it.


I surrender to a power greater than me.

I’ve been trying to tie up a draft I have been working on for a month. I am about two thirds of the way through. I planned to complete last month but I struggled with it, so I ended up taking a course to help me organise it. It was very helpful, and after an hour of tidying it got to a place I like! But now, the project feels like it’s casting a huge shadow on me; it has taken too long and I feel like I need to make it better to justify the time spent.

The project has actually been stewing in my mind for a quarter now. I worked on it occasionally, in small steps, because I knew I’d get swept up in the user experience of it all. But after passing my probation period in my current role I wanted to finish it to show people. But it has become a phenomenal beast. Everything I write is lacking; but I guess that’s coronavirus anxiety and writer’s block. Focus is hard.

I am waiting to hear back about three writing pitches this month. I am not optimistic, but I felt great knowing that my brain can think of things other than viruses. I had a couple of hours of writing with joy – bliss.

COVID diary 2

A few people I know in the care leaver community have started a project called Care in the time of COVID. It’s a diary project, and one of the prompts is to write about your Saturday. I started writing, and then I deleted my entries because I felt like it was boring/sad. But then I decided to restore the entries because they are a reflection of the time (though they are very dry reading).

I have to declare that these entries are not part of the project, but they have been inspired by the project.

This is a follow up to COVID diary 1.

Saturday 9 May

I woke up early today. I was very anxious and couldn’t stop pacing. I ended up rereading No Big Deal. I don’t know why I ordered it; it’s a young adult novel (the genre makes me cringe a little bit, but I think that’s because I felt too mature for these books as a teenager) but I am glad I did. I read the book yesterday, but I wanted to go back and revisit sections today. I remember being inspired to read the book because I saw a thread in an internet forum where members were asked which celebrity they are most like, and Bethany Rutter was the first person who came into my mind. I don’t think I look like her, but I like to think I have her colourful vibe and I’d love a smidgen of her writing ability. I was going to write about Bethany Rutter for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation writing competition, but I couldn’t concentrate.

I ended up writing a lingerie review. I sometimes do fit modelling for a company that occasionally throws freelance writing my way. I reviewed some high-waisted knickers, which I happened to like. I find this element of my writing difficult to talk about because, I guess, people feel awkward thinking about lingerie – and it’s something that stopped me appearing on the front page of this site! But the process of being a fit model is fun; I’ve always been interested in fashion design so I like seeing the products. I get to try on clothes I wouldn’t necessarily buy myself, and by reviewing the feel/build/texture of clothing you start to see clothes in a different way (not just style, but the sensation of clothing too). Fit modelling is one of my favourite side hustles, and it keeps me writing which I am thankful for.

Another thing about fit modelling is that my feedback influences future design. A couple of years ago I reviewed a range of clothing that was only produced in dark colours. Over the following year, one of my most common pieces of feedback was I’d like to see more ranges in lighter/brighter colours. Obviously, dark colours are favoured by lots of people because they find them more flattering but I was excited to find out that this range I really liked two years ago is coming back in pastel colours.

I redesigned my college SharePoint blog (it’s a private blog which I won’t share here) and gave it a cute background. I forgot how much I used to like faffing around with blog design/layout. I know I have mentioned this previously, but I take part in daily wellbeing chats with Efe – this week I found them extremely helpful. As it’s a bank holiday weekend Efe asked us to think about what we have learnt over the past couple of months. I decided to free write an answer, and I wrote solidly for ten minutes without hesitation! What a result. I can’t remember the last time I was able to free write without self-censorship.

For lunch I had a veggie sausage muffin. My local convenience store does Richmond meat-free sausages. I was a bit suspicious of them at first because there are very few veggie sausages I like. I find most veggie sausages are too dry, or bland, or have a boring texture. These Richmond meat-free sausages were lovely. In fact, they may be my favourite veggie sausages right now (just because they have a more traditional sausage taste which makes them perfect for bangers and mash, toad in the hole, and sausage sandwiches!).

I played Minecraft most of the afternoon. I was trying to tire myself out, but a bat flew into me as I was in a cave and it made me jump. So I quit and watched some TV with my partner. We watched some renovation programmes, then I looked online for flats to buy (I like this one in Sandgate). I flicked through the Postgraduate Research Handbook and listened to some Early Eyes. I trimmed my fringe and then decided to trim it some more. It looks ridiculous now. I skipped dinner and went to bed very early listening to Downriver. I got up a few hours later and played Minecraft into the early hours.