Respite

The twenty-ninth erotic journal challenge prompt is retreat.

I took summer off, and worked from home as much as possible (mainly to save money but also due to the prickly heat). I wrote a few personal essays, and started planning opinion pieces for Blogging Students which amounted to nothing because I learnt that I’m too stressed out to have to navigate student politics. I spent time chatting to some of the folks involved in the Alliance for Care Experienced People in Higher Education. I slept a lot. I threw my schedule out the window which may have resulted in haphazard work hours, but it reduced stress and increased positivity. I practiced interview and presentation techniques for a couple of job interviews I am going to in September. I read up on counselling skills for my next course.

I got sunburnt in North France and visited family in Yorkshire. My hair grew long enough to wear in a ponytail (albeit scruffily). I painted posters for National Care Leaver’s Week and Estranged Students Solidarity Week. I got angry about how hard it feels sometimes to make a difference, and felt like my posters and emails were futile.

I stopped beating myself up about my seeming lack of progression. And I ate a perfect sundae.

Positions

The twenty-eighth erotic journal challenge prompt is position.

You know how I said earlier this month that I’m going to try to stop going off-piste? Well, that was short-lived.

I am applying for another teaching-adjacent job in academia in September. Yep. Potentially back to university for me. And doing presentations as well. Why do I do this to myself?

But, in truth, this one feels different. It’s similar in structure to Student Support and Guidance Tutors, so it covers academic and pastoral support (with some learning technology thrown in).

I’m also applying for a higher education officer role in a local college the same week!!!

Today

The twenty-seventh erotic journal challenge prompt is today; namely what do you love most about your life today.

Aah. I wish I could write about something other than mental health at the moment, I feel like a broken record. But, it touches every area of my life so it makes sense that it’s the core of my reflections. Especially during times of change.

Anyway I decided to make a collage because while I was waiting for the washing machine. It’s also worth noting that I was listening to Forget by Twin Shadow during the making process. Slow is my jam.

Erotic Journal Challenge reflections on today

Erotic Journal Challenge reflections on today: My favourite days begin with a cuddle and a cup of tea. They smell of plants. And have no plan. They are put together like this collage. Bits and pieces of what make me happy. Mismatched but satisfying. Room for growth and space to breathe.

 

I promise

The twenty-sixth erotic journal challenge prompt is vows.

Brigit always gives such great prompts in this challenge, and encourages participants to interpret the prompts however they see fit. I wanted to write vows for myself and, by extension, my partner – because I want to be the best person I can be.

I promise

I promise to love you
And I promise to love me
With the same ardour

I promise to be open
To talking and to listening
I will need your help with that

I promise to keep fighting
For my health, for my survival
So I can spend as long as possible by your side

I promise to stop hiding
Or running when I feel sad
I promise to show you what is real and here

I promise to keep dreaming
To keep taking risks
And trying to make a difference in the world

I promise to create
Because it keeps me sane
Even when I’m close to losing hope

I promise to be me
Because that is the person you love
My life is my gift to you

Hormones and moans

The twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth erotic journal challenge prompts are hormones and mental health.

One of the side effects of my mental health, and related medication is that when I do have moments of unrest I never know the causation. I did wonder, over the past year, if I may be perimenopausal but the GP doesn’t think so. I have no family history of early perimenopause. I did point out, as I regular do, that I don’t know my biological family so my family history is unknown rather than negative so by writing off conditions based on the fact no known family member experienced something is actually putting my life at risk (for example, if I have a symptom that is associated with a hereditary illness I do not get referrals based on the fact I don’t know my biological family. If a person who do know their family, had the same symptom and there was a family history of specific illnesses they would be treated differently). Anyway, I digress – I’m just annoyed at biocentrism in medical care – especially as I expect someone with a science brain to acknowledge the difference between no and unknown.

Also, because I’m obese everything is attributed to my weight. Change in hair growth, location and density = lose weight. Fatigue and anxiety = lose weight. Worry about auditory hallucinations = lose weight. Finding sensory stimuli overwhelming = lose weight. I ain’t even joking.

So between being fat and not knowing if I’m genetically predisposed to certain illnesses, I’m a bit stuck.

Puberty came early for me. I remember being in the final year of my junior school because when I started bleeding my mum thought it would be helpful to tell the teacher so I could change in the toilets by myself during my time of the month. My body had already started changing before that point because I have clear memories of a birthday party at a swimming pool the previous summer where friends asked to look at my body in the changing room (if it sounds a bit weird now, rest assured it didn’t feel weird at the time – just annoying). I also remember having a mustache from age six onwards which I thought was a clear indication something was up with my hormones. Obviously my GP disagreed because members of my adopted family were also hirsute (Hello!? I would have challenged my GP but my mother said it was rude to argue with him.).

A few years later my mental health problems started getting diagnosed. Two decades afterwards, professionals are still disagnosing them. But now, there is an openness (in me) and awareness (in them). Things that were originally thought of as growing pains are being reexamined.

The reason why I have given so much history here is to show that (undiagnosed) mental health issues were around earlier than I anticipated and puberty arrived before I was mature enough to understand it. I was navigating both of these fields before my friends, and due to the nature of my upbringing relatively alone (my family were very old-fashioned so depression was pretty much seen as weakness and laziness, and body changes were not talked about… and there was a general uncomfortableness about early puberty because they were not ready for me to grow up).

And let’s not forget that mental health medication is widely associated with hormonal changes (good and bad).

So, how do hormones and mental health impact me? Gaaah! I don’t know. They are so fully intertwined in my life that I wouldn’t know how to seperate them…

But I do know chocolate helps 🙂