May 23

Macondo, Moomins, plays and zines

This post is part of EdublogsClub. This week’s prompt is books and reading.

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.

source: rookiemag.com/2012/02/not-creepy-at-all/

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.

You can download the ebook at Project Gutenberg and Amazon. Or just watch the movie above.

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:

May 21

Lavender

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 here is just an overview, if I broke down the thoughts this post will be huge.

Yesterday was a good day. I can tell by 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.


May 19

Blog prog

This post is part of EdublogsClub. This week is a catch-up week.

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 listtrends 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.

May 18

Cooldown

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.

  1. I should have stayed on leave. I was on leave for a reason, I needed to get better.
  2. 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.
  3. I should have asked for the interview to be postponed. It was short notice, and I was ill.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.