As a teenager, I read sporadically. But when I found something that caught my imagination I became absorbed. I always tried to like cool books; the books that were all about finding yourself but funnily enough I couldn’t identify with the narrator most of the time. As a child I had a few favourite books but I won’t write about them here because I think this post could easily end up an ode to Plop the owl.
I also was going to avoid writing about graphic novels and zines, but I put Moomins and Culture Slut in anyway because I enjoy them. I managed to keep non-fiction out of here. I might write about inspirational journals at another point. But that subject often tumbles into a description of my learning journey.
This first book my adult brain loved was One Hundred Years of Solitude. Though it was a cautious love at first. I was a little bit infatuated with South America at the time and the town of Macondo seemed very vivid in my mind. It took me a few reads to understand the family tree and I still got confused, but there are small details of the story that enchanted me. One Hundred Years of Solitude was the first story I was able to make mine, in my head I imagined the serigraphs of Eyvind Earle and the scent of a showery summer evening.
I took a few quick snapshots of my Gabriel García Márquez shrine. It is more of a Macondo shrine because I loved the atmosphere in One Hundred Years of Solitude. The flowers and assorted bric-a-brac remind me of the magic and lushness of Macondo. And I’ve always had a feeling of “home” when I read Gabriel García Márquez.
The Moomins are latecomers to my favourites. I remember seeing them when I was a child and thinking they were fun, but when I revisited them decades later I realised there were clever storylines and an acknowledgement of darker moods. I particularly like elements of melancholy and anxiety that appear, and some occasional social commentary.
I also really love Ibsen plays. Hedda Gabler is my favourite, but I also love The Wild Duck and An Enemy of the People. I don’t want to say I relate to Hedda Gabler because I know that can sound depressing and/or morbid. But I can relate to some of the things she says and does. As someone that often feels undervalued, Hedda Gabler shines like a beacon to me. Whenever I read or watch Hedda Gabbler I feel a silent scream in my chest, which I always felt she experienced too.
Zines were a big part of my life in my twenties. Over the past five years I have not bought as many I used to – this is mainly due to my only trying to buy things I need phases that happen yearly. I am my happiest when I’m rummaging through a box of zines. The first personal zines I remember reading were Culture Slut and Telegram, and slightly later Your Pretty Face is Going Straight to Hell. I do read a lot of political zines and pamphlets, but the personal zines are my favourites. I just remember reading personal zines and getting excited that I could make one and that people may like to read about my life! I love reading about other people.
You can view two issues of Culture Slut at the Queer Zine Archive. Here they are:
I went out for a long walk yesterday to attempt to clear my head. It has been weeks since I last went on a long walk. I only managed six miles because the sky went grey and I felt too cold. I was disappointed to head home, but six miles is better than sitting on the sofa.
I was talking to a colleague about my tumbling thoughts last month. I’m not sure what the correct (medical?) term for them is but, for me, they are similar in style to cringe attacks:
I decided to try to make a list of the way my thoughts tumble when I’m out walking. It was difficult to do but I noticed that during difficult times my thoughts generally tumble towards a memory from the past and then get stuck on repeat. However, when I am calmer I am able to steer my thoughts better. The thoughts tend to be triggered by things I encounter, and then eachother.
|Trigger||Thought / Memory||Feeling|
|Throwing out mouldy food||Realising I cannot afford to spend on food this week||Worry|
|Previous thought||Thinking about foods I’d like to eat||Happy|
|Passing the university||Thinking about money (again)||Worry|
|Exhibition in the university||Seeing the content warning and acknowledging my state||Alert|
|Walking past my GP surgery||Remembering my appointment||Tired|
|Previous thought||Thinking about returning to work||Tired|
|Previous thought||Thinking about what kind of work I’d like to do||Hopeful|
|Previous thought||Remembering the art technician from my school||Alert|
|Previous thought||Awareness that I am thinking about a triggering time||Alert|
|Boy Racer loud music||Thinking about Paris to Berlin by Infernal||Happy|
|Previous thought||Wanting a Paris t-shirt||Happy|
|Previous thought||Thinking about money and fitness so I can dress differently||Hopeful|
|Previous thought||Thinking about cute head scarves and hats||Calm|
|Previous thought||Thinking about haircuts and hair care||Calm|
|Cyclists||Thinking about Raleigh Cameo||Hopeful|
|Walkers looking fashionable||Thinking about fitness (walking faster)||Alert|
|Previous thought||Remembering my healthiness in 2006||Alert|
|Previous thought||Thinking about ex-colleagues||Alert|
|Previous thought||Thinking of a deceased ex-colleague||Sad|
|Previous thought||Awareness of negative thought loop||Alert|
|Coaches||Thinking about North France||Hopeful|
|Previous thought||Remembering Boulogne||Alert|
|Previous thought||Awareness of nearby triggering thought||Alert|
|Previous thought||Thinking of travelling||Hopeful|
|Previous thought||Hoping to have a job involving travelling||Hopeful|
|Previous thought||Making a plan to visit the museum||Happy|
|The Marina||Thinking about places to live (inc Western Concourse)||Exasperated|
|The car park||Thinking about being able to drive||Calm|
|Previous thought||Doing a weekly shop and living away from Brighton||Mixed|
|Previous thought||Thinking about people and places I’d miss||Alert|
|Previous thought||Thinking about MRes and future career plans||Confused|
|A couple walking||Thinking about Nate and Jeremiah by Design||Calm|
|Previous thought||Thinking about verandas||Calm|
|Rollerskaters||Wanting to do rollerderby||Mixed|
|Previous thought||Thinking about Whip It||Calm|
|Previous thought||Remembering the lady who said I reminded her of Juno||Happy|
|Previous thought||Thinking about the Mouldy Peaches||Calm|
|Food stall smells||Remembering my sister and family visiting||Happy|
|Pavilion Shop||Thinking about museum learning||Happy|
|Lavender pouches||Thinking about lavender field||Happy|
|Previous thought||Thinking about visiting DEBRA||Calm|
|At DEBRA||Bought three lavender pouches||Calm|
Now these are just the thoughts I remember. There were other thoughts I had which involved imagining what I would like to look like and do in the future. Also, each thought described her is just an overview, if I broke down the thoughts this post will be huge.
Yesterday was a good day. I can tell be the amount of control I felt I had over my mind.
I was also pleased to buy three Le Chatelard 1802 lavender pouches for £1.99 in DEBRA. Each pouch was labelled 99p, but the Gift Aid sticker and bar code said £1.99 so they scanned that. My pillow smelt lovely last night.
One of topic suggestions this week reflecting on my blogging experience so far. Normally I don’t take part in catch up weeks – I just backdate my blog posts and pretend I did them on time. But I’m finding that I want to write more (probably due to being home alone and relieving the monotony of constant job applications).
My blogging frequency and style has changed this year. I believe it is because I now have a bit of a history on here. When I started, I felt that everything I wrote needed explaining or context. I guess it’s similar to when you make friends, after a while they know your feelings and your experiences so they begin to understand why something has meaning to you without you having to go into a backstory.
I’ve started speaking to my reallife friends the way I write in my blog; longer and disjointedly ☺
I’ve found myself wanting to talk/write about subjects I’d normally avoid. I used to not like talking/writing for too long; I worried about being boring and/or difficult to understand. I still feel this way but I want to try to communicate more. And I guess I won’t get any better if I don’t give it a go.
I was concerned about whether my blog should have an ongoing theme. I felt I should write about learning or mental health, but sometimes I wanted to write about other things. I worried that too much variation would alienate some readers. Then I decided to chuck in some random giveaways, recipes, interior design inspiration, hair inspiration pictures, a bucket list, a travel bucket list, trends I like, funny videos and poetry. This made my blog interesting for me to read. And once I started enjoying reading it, I wanted to contribute to it more often.
I sometimes go a bit TMI on here. Oh well.
I like writing. And I think about it daily.
Yesterday was a bad mental health day. And I made it worse by not taking care of myself.
But in the interests of turning it into a learning opportunity, here’s what I should have done in five easy steps.
- I should have stayed on leave. I was on leave for a reason, I needed to get better.
- I should not have checked my work emails. If I hadn’t, HR would have seen that I was out of office and notified the interviewers.
- I should have asked for the interview to be postponed. It was short notice, and I was ill.
- I should not have let my desperation for a job override my need to take care of myself. It’s easy to say, but hard to action – I know.
- I should have asked to leave the interview. It would have been risky but my concentration was shot and I could feel myself getting distressed. I was clearly troubled and there was no way I could have redeemed myself in that situation… by staying there, I prolonged my discomfort and theirs.
I never know if I should disclose my health history. It would have been unprofessional but maybe people would understand and accommodate me? I just know that after half an hour I was sweating from pain, my skin was crawling and my teeth were grinding. It was taking all my willpower to stay in the moment. My brain became obsessed with escaping. I wanted to shout. It was a moment that scared me, because normally social interactions calm internal disturbances but this time I was inconsolable.
Today has been quieter. I have managed to leave my head for a while.