A month in Australia and I’ve moved into my new place, the location is great, the number of cockroaches who also seemed to have moved in is less great but it’s all part of the experience. I’ve made a bit more of a plan for the next few months which is exciting, Sydney is brilliant but I’m aware there is a whole country to see which I’m looking forward to. In the meantime, I need to earn some money to be able to afford all the travelling I want to do so the job hunt continues, with more urgency everyday.
Being unemployed means lots of time for people watching which I’m enjoying, I’ve noticed there is always lots to take in when you’re in a new place but I think that perhaps the longer you spend somewhere, the more you notice it all. When you’re just visiting, you tend to rush through the days, trying to see everything and fit it all in. But when it’s more permanent and you have the luxury of empty days there is more time to observe the routines and the movements of a place. That being said, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve noticed since being out here, a few things about the movements of the city.
There is more small talk and fleeting connections. When people in coffee shops or supermarkets are asked how their day is going it’s met with a smile and a conversation instead of that subconscious british hostility we’re so used to.
They toast their banana bread which makes a simple but life-changing difference. This is the only place I’ve been where I feel like my love for banana bread is matched.
Bus drivers wait for people, if they see you running they won’t close the doors seconds before you reach them, they’ll hold on a minute. Generally everyone can hold on a minute, the sense of urgency that exists amongst us at home seems more rare here.
Early starts and early finishes. I saw a sign in a gym window inviting people to join a running group that meets at 4.40am. On Saturdays. The days end much earlier too with people eating out at 6 and heading home rather than experiencing the long summer evenings.
Coffees are tiny, it seems like caffeine is there to serve a purpose rather than be enjoyed. They have keep cups the size of espressos and most lattes you can see off in two sips.
The more cockroaches you see, the less fazed you are by them. Slightly concerning because I definitely don’t want to get used to sharing my kitchen with the uninvited guests but on day one I was squirming at the sight and now I’m batting them away like flies.
So a month of not working has been great, it’s been incredible to enjoy the city, but I’m ready for a job now, for more routine and structure and something to fill the days. So if someone could hire me now that’d be great. Please.
Today, by complete accident, I found myself at the beach where my family celebrated New Years Eve back in 2006. It’s funny how these things happen. How you can stumble back to a place or a person from a different time and it seems like a whole life ago. I guess in this case it kind of was, a lot has changed since 2006, expectedly so. It would not be good if I still looked like I did in 2006.
I had the day completely to myself and it was brilliant. It made me think back to two years ago when I was in Cambodia on my own. I found it hard, I’m a sociable person and as much as I could chat to people, I found the fleeting connections frustrating and struggled to be in my own head so much. Today I didn’t have that problem. I read, swam, listened to podcasts, sunbathed, had lunch and did it all as and when I wanted. It sounds silly but when I realised I was so happy and content in my own company, I felt so aware of how far I’ve come and such a sense of self-assurance. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t come to Australia and decided I don’t need to see anyone else, I’ve met some great people and started some friendships but sometimes it’s nice to have a day of complete self indulgence.
Back home, two of my friends have just got new jobs, another is moving into her new flat, one has just finished their dissertation and another has just booked a ticket to South America and it got me thinking about the differences in lives at this age. I’ve found there’s no competition, no comparison, just support, happiness and encouragement. Everyone is just working out their own life in their own time and I’m so pleased we’re at this point. There’s so many options and none of them are right or wrong, it’s a time to do whatever you want without justification or explanation. It’s exciting and something that I found overwhelming a few years ago, like too much time on my own.
Ok, enough with all the cheesy sentimental stuff. Enjoy a few photos from the past week instead.
One final thing I will say about being on your own though is that there’s no one to watch out for sunburn so I’m now the colour of a well cooked lobster. A gentle reminder that we all need other people or a harsh reminder of my own stupidity? You decide.
Day 3 in Australia and this morning I went for coffee with a boy who didn’t have shoes on. He picked me up, drove to town, parked, walked to the cafe, bought our coffees, and it wasn’t until we sat down that I noticed he was barefoot and I thought yeah, I’m definitely in Australia now.
It’s been a long time coming so it feels strange to actually be here, to feel like I’ve been here for a while and to be settling into a routine.
It’s rained all day in Sydney. The heavy hot kind that you don’t mind feeling on your skin and letting it soak you to the bone. It feels cleansing, like it’s washing away the dust and flooding out the city so it’s ready for new things. It’s not like English rain, you don’t want to hide from it, you want to live in it, to experience it. And I feel ready to experience it.
Boarding the plane on Monday I wasn’t sure that I was. It was harder than expected to leave London behind, to leave the laughter and the happiness and the people for the unknown. I was surprised that for potentially the first time in my life, I didn’t want to rush on to the next thing, there was no burning desire to leave my world behind. I know that’s a good thing but it definitely made it harder to leave and made me doubt what I was doing. Why would you choose to leave guaranteed happiness for the unknown? But to think like that means there would never be new adventure or people or places and now that I’m here, I know that actually leaving was the hardest part.
The joy of the past few months means there’s no pressure on this trip anymore. It doesn’t need to be life changing or help me decide who I want to be or fulfil anything that was missing, that all happened before I left the country. I know that dancing around a kitchen in London can be just as good as lying on a beach in Sydney, maybe even better. Thinking about it now, you’ve got to find your happiness in the small stuff, in the day to day, the coffee and the dinners with friends and the dog walks. If it only came from trips to the other side of the world you’d so rarely experience it.
Ultimately, I feel so lucky to have people to miss, to have a life to miss and something to look forward to going back to, whenever that may be. In the meantime, I’ll be here, experiencing it all, throwing myself in, taking each day as it comes, eating a lot of brunch and working on my tan. Maybe I’ll even stop wearing shoes.
A month ago I moved to London. I’m living in a house full of builders and dust and mice. Everything is expensive and I miss Leeds and there are so many people that I physically bump into someone daily. A woman accidentally put her hand in my mouth on the tube and every social occasion seems to involve too much alcohol. But I’m happy, so happy that some days I almost skip to work and in my lunch breaks I can’t stop smiling. I feel very lucky to be here, to be meeting people, to be experiencing it all.
I seem to have a lot of time in my own head at the moment which, for once, I actually don’t mind, it’s giving me a chance to just take it all in and watch it all happen. I thought I’d share some of the random things I’ve been thinking about and taking in…
There is something about a person dressed in black tie that can turn a dreary dark evening into something more like a dream. The possibility of seeing someone in their finery as I leave the office as the light fades and head towards the Northern line is one of my favourite things about living in London. There is such a difference in our evening plans that I can’t help but feel excited for them, to feel curious. Who are they? Where are they going? What’s the event and where will the night take them?
I guess that happens regularly though in smaller ways, I often find myself people-watching and creating stories for the individuals I see. We love to live vicariously through others, to speculate and wonder about the goings on in people’s lives. We do it with those closest to us but when they’re a stranger, you’ll never know how close you are to the truth and I think that’s part of the excitement. Perhaps it is easier to daydream about someone else’s life than our own. To consider all of the options rather than have any confirmed. I think there’s a reassurance that comes with that though. If we imagine all the possibilities of someone else’s life, it reminds us of all the possibilities of our own. Of all the possibilities of a night in black tie.
The underground is probably the only place you will see more than 5 self-respecting adults playing Candy Crush at the same time. Firstly I didn’t know anyone still played Candy Crush and secondly, I didn’t know it was the go to game for commuters. And yet, there is something about the monotonous rhythms of the tube and our compulsive need to distract ourselves that mean as soon as people mind the gap and step onto the train, they are desperate for something to do, they cannot just be, and so out comes their phone and they join their fellow travellers in staring at the familiar grid of brightly coloured shapes.
As people we find it very difficult to just be, we are filling our time with background noise, potentially to stimulate and educate us but maybe so we don’t have to listen to whatever is at the forefront. It’s a daily distraction and I know that most of us have them, whether its TV or podcasts or reading, I’m just surprised by how many I’ve noticed reaching for the same simple game.
That being said, I do see the appeal. There have been a number of times where I’ve caught myself peering over a fellow passenger’s shoulder and almost tutting aloud because they decided to move the blue sweet instead of the purple one.
I have noticed that being in London makes me feel younger again. I’m aware that I’m not old, hence youngER, but I’m surprised. I’m living alone and have my first full-time job and yet I feel younger than I did at university. It’s a good thing, I think there is a sense of freedom and spontaneity that you can associate with your early twenties and after losing that for a while I was worried it was already over. I have a theory about it though. When you leave university, you’re normally one of the oldest amongst your peers and everyone is talking about life after graduation and it feels like a huge step. But then, and I know this won’t be true for everyone, then I moved to a city where I am one of the youngest again and very few people actually refer to the fact I’ve just graduated, they’re not fussed about what I did in Leeds they just want me to do the job. The stage I’m at in life feels far less important.
It’s a nice change, I don’t have to worry about readings I should be doing or essays I should be writing, work stops at 5 and I have the evenings to socialise and do whatever I want. Yes going to work 9-5 5 days a week has taken some getting used to but we’re getting there and it was going to have to happen at some point. It’s all only temporary which is maybe why it’s reassuring, I can have fun adulting for a few months then run away to Australia when it all gets a bit much because living in London has been a needed reminder that actually, when you graduate, you’ve got your whole life ahead of you.
Intern and work experience culture is something being widely discussed at the moment. People are talking about how accessible it is, about a lack of diversity, what you gain from it, how fair it is and as a recent graduate looking for a job in the media industry, its something I’m witnessing first hand and thinking about a lot.
I understand the need for experience, that a degree only says so much and you often have to prove yourself. I know that people need to see hard work rather than just trusting you and I understand that most businesses, especially those in the media, don’t have spare cash floating around to pay you with, I realise I’m not ready to walk straight into the job of my dreams, but there’s a line.
My view is that you should get something out of work experience, the clue is in the name, it should be experience, especially if its unpaid. Ultimately, being unemployed doesn’t mean your time isn’t worth anything. It’s worth skills, insight, knowledge and even though none of those pay the bills, they are worth something. The issue arises when you’re not getting anything out of it, when you don’t feel you’re learning or being productive or bettering yourself or the organisation you’re working for. A lack of experience should not equate to a lack of respect, respect for my time, my intelligence, the experience and skills I do have. If an organisation is taking on interns, they should be sure there is something for them to do (it doesn’t necessarily have to be anything incredible, as long as its something), to learn and hopefully enjoy.
As you can probably tell, I have just done some pretty rubbish interning with a company I was really excited to work for. There was very little for me to do, the tasks I did carry out were very repetitive and uninteresting, I wasn’t given any insight into how the business worked or what each person’s role was or how the team operated. My supervisor clearly resented the fact I was her responsibility and the office culture felt unwelcoming, hierarchical and slightly arrogant. As I say, I don’t mind what I’m doing on work experience, as long as its something, but hours would pass where I was sat at a desk with nothing to do and my supervisor ignoring my messages asking if there was anything I could help with. There was a lack of economic and cultural diversity within the team, and I know that I speak from a position of privilege, but I was reminded of what a luxury London-based work experience is. The week before I started I was told my own laptop would be an ‘essential’ everyday but I know that its an ‘essential’ many don’t have. It was such a shame, a business I’ve loved and admired since I was small made me feel smaller than ever.
My thought is that for work experience to be a success, it has to be a two-way agreement that benefits both parties. There is no way that it’ll work if either the employer or the intern think they are doing the other a favour, it needs to be a mutual exchange. If you are taking on interns, make sure there is something for them to do that helps benefit you, that you have factored them into office routine while they are there, that there is something they can learn before they leave. If you’re an intern, be prepared to be busy, to do whatever is asked of you, to learn and to remind yourself of your value and end goal every so often. Ultimately, only you can decide what that end goal is worth.
There is an unsaid common ground that comes from the bitterness of a morning coffee, something that people who would otherwise be miles apart can find solidarity in. It is the mundane of the daily routine, of the commute or the school run or the library session. It springs to the forefront of people’s minds as they awake to the world. It connects you to strangers, to the neighbour you see through their kitchen window as they finish their final sip before rushing out the door, to the person sat next to you on the train with their takeaway cup as you hurtle towards the city, to the barista you see every morning in all of your moods as they hand over your steaming lifeline.
It’s simplicity brings us together beyond the mornings, past the sleepy thoughts and into the challenges of the day. Into the afternoon meetings, the catch up with an old friend, the ‘would anyone like a coffee?’ at the end of a dinner party. It’s an ongoing feature, a comfort, a necessity, a habit, a treat. Communities form themselves around it as though it’s the heart, it pulls people towards a fleeting shared moment in the madness of their days.
I know I’m romanticising again but I’m in awe of the abundance of something so simple, of the daily presence of it in the lives of so many, lives that are so individual and far apart but not really. I’ve been thinking about this on my morning tube journey, we get the same trains, shop at the same places, cook the same things, read, watch and listen to the same things, drink the same things. There is simultaneously a world of similarities and differences within all of us. How wonderful.
Ah Bali. The land of endless smoothie bowls, extreme traffic and a surprising number of Australians. I can’t believe its been over 2 weeks since I got back from Indonesia, my tan is already fading and I’ve just about gotten back into the routine of home life but I still wanted to write a bit about the trip. We spent 8 days in Java, 16 in Bali and 5 in Lombok. Each island was amazing and it may be because we were there for the longest but its Bali I have the most to say about.
I know Bali is having a bit of a ‘moment’ right now. It’s all over people’s social media (mine included), Brits are taking the long-haul flight for a relatively short stay and on multiple occasions when I told people I was going they said ‘me too’. That being said, it was different to what I was expecting. Perhaps the attention it’s getting and some of the incredible photos I’d seen didn’t provide an accurate portrayal of the island or, I’d forgotten the difference money makes to a holiday. Either way, I felt some parts of the island were (and I don’t want to say overrated because that makes it sound too negative) not what I thought they’d be. It was busy and far more western than I was prepared for, the abundance of brunch places is ridiculous and I hadn’t realised that, unlike other destinations in Asia where you only see other travellers, there would be so many families. That being said, I thought I’d share some of the things we got up to and a few recommendations. There is plenty of information out there online but I think it would’ve been helpful to hear more of a first hand realistic account before we went, hence this post. If you have no interest in what I got up to (which is completely fair enough) I finish with a few more general thoughts on travel so skip away to the end. Also be warned there are lots of photos.
We arrived in Bali a couple of days ahead of schedule and, on the recommendation of someone we’d met in Java, decided to start off in Munduk. Starting there meant we weren’t quite prepared for the busyness of the rest of the island, the quiet northern village still feels very local and had very few other tourists. We stayed in a family run hotel called Swar Bali Lodge which was really nice, the brothers working there were so helpful, happy to give us lifts on the back of their motorbikes and recommend places to visit.
That being said, there isn’t loads to do in Munduk but there is a beautiful waterfall hike. The 5k route starts at Red Coral (Munduk) waterfall and didn’t take long. The three waterfalls en route were incredible, even more so because there were so few other people there. We also visited the Munduk Moding coffee plantation where we were talked through the process and got to try some of the coffee grown on site (for free which was a bonus).
Arriving in Canggu was very different. We were immediately aware of the number of tourists in the area. We had 4 days there which we essentially spent sunbathing and eating, some stand out spots being Crate cafe, Bali bowls and Quince. However, food prices were definitely much higher than what you might expect travelling, closer to a good value meal in the UK. The town is definitely an ideal spot for surfers but unfortunately and unsurprisingly, I don’t surf, so worth bearing in mind the beach is very windy with huge waves that can knock you right out. We did venture outside of Canggu one day to visit the Tanah Lot sea temple which was nice but there were bus loads of tourists there too and because you can’t actually go in the temple, there isn’t lots to do once you’ve seen it. Canggu was lovely but slow paced, just something to be aware of.
We thought Canggu was touristy but Seminyak was another level. Traffic was terrible and the streets were overflowing with people and shops. However, the food here was very good, we went to a place called Shelter for lunch, had brunch at Coffee Cartel and went to Dough Darlings (twice) for the most amazing doughnuts. Seminyak beach is windy too but we did see some baby turtles being released so that was pretty cool. We only had 2 days in Seminyak but because it was so busy it almost felt too overwhelming to explore, we spent most of the time on our motorbike going from beach to restaurant and even though you see things, it all goes past pretty quickly. It’s definitely a part of the island I think I found a bit much but would’ve liked to experience when it was quieter.
Ubud was far more chilled, a good mix of tourists and local culture, it felt like we were experiencing Bali again rather than a western beach town. The Monkey Forest is obviously touristy but a must do, likewise with the nearby waterfalls. The two we went to were very busy and I think if we hadn’t been to Munduk I would’ve been disappointed. The Tirta Emple water temple we went to where we bathed in the fresh spring water and the Tegalalang rice terraces were definitely both worth it despite being busy. We also did a bike tour with a company called Bali Breeze and a cooking class with Paon. Both were great and a chance to learn a bit more by chatting to locals and do something a bit different, the bike tour was downhill (ideal) and the food we made in the class was amazing.
Wandering around Ubud was nice too, we had the most amazing chocolate coconut banana bread at Tukies and managed to get all our souvenir shopping done at the market. I also did some classes at the Yoga Barn while we were there which was really nice but safe to say I haven’t kept it up…yoga in my room in Bedford is not quite the same as in a windowed studio in the jungle with the most ‘zen’ instructor I’ve ever met.
We didn’t do the main Gili Islands but Nusa Lembongan, about an hours boat trip from Bali, was amazing. A beautiful island with a relaxed and beachy vibe, it was almost what I expected Canggu and Seminyak to be like and I wished we’d spent more than a night there. The beaches were beautiful and we went over to the Blue Lagoon on Nusa Cenida which was amazing. Definitely worth the slightly damp boat journey there and back. However, be warned that the ‘roads’ marked on google maps are more like rocky steep crumbling tracks that a motorbike probably can’t handle…we may have learnt that the hard way.
Our final (and potentially my favourite) destination in Bali was Uluwatu. The area is far from crowded with plenty of space between everything, beautiful scenery and a good mix of locals and visitors. There were some beautiful beaches including Bingin beach and Padang-Padang (which features in the Eat Pray Love film) but be warned that quite a few of the beaches in the area are only accessible at low tide. We stayed in a basic but lovely hostel called the Bingin Inn and ate at the Cashew Tree, Loft and Drifter, all of which I’d recommend. The Kecak fire dance at Uluwatu Temple made our final temple experience a bit different, something that is again worth doing, but be prepared for lots of other people.
A final thing I’d say about Bali is do your research, but realise you can’t do everything. There physically aren’t enough meals in the day to eat at every nice place on the island or enough nights to spend at every beautiful hotel you see (I guess you could stay longer but my finances definitely didn’t allow it). Perhaps because it is such a popular destination at the moment I found it so easy to compare my experience of the island to other people’s…yes, I went on the trip of a lifetime and I was still there wondering if I was doing it ‘well’ enough…comparison is very clearly something I need to work on. Travel is tricky, its something that should be for personal reasons (relaxation, quality time, recovery) and yet I find it something people want to share the most, whether that’s posting pictures online or recounting stories to friends for weeks to come (or writing a blog post about it). It’s definitely something I’m guilty of, but maybe guilty is the wrong word, is there actually anything wrong with wanting to share what you’re doing, to let people know you’re enjoying yourself? Indonesia was a long time coming after a very long year and if I’m being honest, I had a bloody great time.
I meant to write this before I came on holiday, but there is a slight madness that comes just before you go travelling for a month so I’m writing it now, as I sit on an eight hour train hurtling its way through rural Java. Before I came to Indonesia, I spent a lot of time thinking about my body, partly because I was unhappy with it anyway and partly because I knew bikinis and swimming costumes were practically inevitable. The subject of body image and body confidence is a bit of a minefield and I speak with no authority, just my own experiences, and what I’m about to say is not to prove a point or seek compliments or educate anyone but to simply share my thoughts and add to an existing and necessary conversation. Ok, thats my disclaimer done.
For context, I am not an obviously large person, I’m a size 10-12 (Although I recently bought a pair of jeans that are a size 6 but that is a whole other issue), I exercise regularly, I like to think I eat relatively well but enjoy my food and drink but I definitely do not have the body I would like. Equally, I am aware that no one has the body they would like, they may have one they are happy with, but I don’t think I have ever met, or heard of anyone for that matter, who has the body of their dreams, who has met all of their goals and who wouldn’t change a single thing about themselves. How reassuring.
Some days I am happy with my body, I’ll wake up and feel there is room within me to breathe, that I am strong and proud of changes I’m making and my clothes are flattering. Other days I will feel so far from this that I cry when trying on dresses for events and flinch when anyone touches my stomach. This fluctuation is one I know I am not alone in experiencing but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. How can I eat whatever I want somedays and not notice a difference and yet be healthy another and feel 5x heavier? Why is there no clear rulebook? Everyone’s body is so different that a clear rulebook would be impossible to follow and I think this lack of logic, and as a result, understanding, has given so much prominence to today’s huge variety of diets and vitamins and lifestyles and routines on offer in an attempt to make us feel better about ourselves. I say this as someone who has tried a number of these and let me just say spirulina did nothing for me except smell and intermittent fasting is essentially just a fancy way of saying you skipped breakfast. Problems with my gut and excessive bloat have lead me to attempt to follow food combining (a way of eating based on digestion time that means you don’t mix your starches and proteins) most of the time and take a probiotic, both of which I ‘think’ have made a positive difference. However, I am aware of the huge likeliness of a placebo affect, of the priority of the ‘wellness’ industry to make money and the huge combination of factors that lead to feeling your best.
Obviously, social media does not help, we have the ability to access images of thousands of other people immediately and see what they are doing and how they look and yet, sometimes that does help. There is a huge online supportive body positive community, there are girls of all shapes and sizes encouraging exercise, not exercising, eating whatever they want, eating healthily, eating cake everyday. Whatever the content you are looking for, it exists, just make sure you are only taking in things that benefit you. Easier said than done though, I have spent many hours looking at body transformation pictures of girls who have been exercising for less time than me, who appear to eat ‘worse’ than me and yet have a body ‘better’ than mine. Life isn’t fair.
In my opinion, the only thing any of us can do, and perhaps should be doing, is attempting to feel our best, mentally and physically. If that is eating a pizza then brilliant, if its having a smoothie then great, if its doing both then wonderful. Your body is yours and yours only and your opinion is the only one you should be worried about. I exercise now out of habit, I don’t get smashed because I can’t handle the hangover and I have severely cut down my potato and milkshake intake since my first year of university. That being said, my sweet tooth remains persistent and if you think I won’t be eating my body weight in noodles and rice in Indonesia and will be bothering to exercise in this heat then you are very wrong. This is my dilemma, I want to eat the noodles, but I am on my way to Bali and I want to feel confident and happy, I don’t want to be comparing myself to the hundreds of beautiful skinny tanned girls and their smoothie bowls. Unfortunately, the two do not go hand in hand (noodles and my confidence, obviously a tan and a smoothie bowl is an excellent pairing).
So we are back to square one, the unsolvable issue, the endless circle and constant battle. I know the answer is balance but I’m yet to find the ideal level and I think I would rather seek acceptance than frustration over myself and a lack of change. Body neutrality is the idea that you are impartial to how your body looks, you focus on the incredible things it can do rather than its appearance, sounds ideal, but I’m just not there. Everyday is different, everyday I am changing and everyday I’m learning. I read somewhere recently (apologies I can’t find the original text) that any weight you struggle to lose is your life, it is the memories. It is the meals out with friends, the celebratory drinks, the takeaway with your family, the brunch on a Saturday and the dessert on a date and let me tell you, I intend to live my life, in the one body I have to do it in.
Side note: I obviously haven’t put any bikini or body pictures in this post, partly because that is clearly not the point and partly because I am not yet confident enough to, either way, it is intentional.
Back in February I wrote an article for Lippy magazine about grief and losing someone. Last week it was published and I wanted to share the article on here as well. I’m proud of myself not only for having my first piece of writing published in print, but for finding the words to say all this.
I am experiencing grief, a loss like nothing I have felt before. It is something that creeps up on me unexpectedly, catches me off guard and throws me off course. My life is permanently changed and yet, no one is talking about it.
In December, my dad died after nine years of cancer and it has been a very strange time, particularly since being back at university. I am more anxious, more indecisive, more emotional, I cry because I don’t know what I want for dinner and laugh at the inappropriate jokes I make. I am sad, but equally, I am so incredibly frustrated.
I know that everyone grieves differently, and that perhaps some don’t want to discuss their emotions, that its too soon to bring up their loved one and they would rather process everything internally, but that is not me. I am trying to keep my dad close, to summon my memories to the forefront of my mind and to feel him with me daily, yet I’m struggling to do so because my immediate circle are saying nothing. They are censoring themselves to the point where they aren’t acknowledging what I’m going through, they don’t ask questions or continue conversations when I bring him up. I don’t know if they are scared of upsetting me, if they think I’m fine or if it slips their mind’s in the busyness of their own lives but regardless, I am desperate for a change.
As a result of the censorship of their own speech, whether it’s conscious or not, I feel like the same is being done to mine. I am scared to bring things up for fear of making people uncomfortable, for feeling like a burden and perhaps I worry they’ll feel guilty for not actually addressing it. Clearly, I don’t want this. I want an open conversation. I want to share my memories, stories and laughter with my friends. I want to open up about my confusion, my anger, my sadness and to encourage them to be aware of their families and for them to understand that it’s ok to acknowledge my dad. He has died but he also lived, just because he is gone does not mean his name has to be reduced to a whisper.
Dad was hilarious and more than anything it is the endless laughter that I’ll remember. He planned the most incredible holidays and seemed to know how to get anywhere without looking at a map. He had three successful careers and ran five London marathons. He could get on with anyone and knew the importance of good relationships. He thought warthogs were called ‘waterhogs’ and got confused between risotto and ravioli. He was rubbish at knowing song lyrics but he was brilliant at knowing about castles. He has made my siblings and I who we are, and I want to tell people about that.
Talking about grief is so crucial to the healing. This sounds obvious and yet many forget. It helps people to process emotions they may not have even realised they were feeling, it can help people feel closer to who they’ve lost, it acts as a form of release and can prevent the immense isolation that can feel so heavy. That is not to say you should put your life on hold and constantly be ready to be there for anyone experiencing it, almost the opposite. By discussing grief we are normalising it, we are making it part of the everyday, it is something we will all experience at some point, so why is it so rarely talked about? We don’t need to always take time out of our day to have emotional conversations, we just need to mention it, even if its just in passing.
Perhaps I should be saying this directly to my friends, in fact I know that I should, but I am hesitant to make that step. I feel as though I am too busy processing my own thoughts and emotions to worry about what their’s are. I know everyone is going through things and I know life has not stopped just because of what I am experiencing. I don’t know how I would behave if our roles were reversed but that being said, I do know the importance of being aware of people’s lives, of acknowledging the experiences they’ve had and those they may be having.
So uncensor yourselves, when someone is experiencing loss, acknowledge it. Ask them questions, bring up death, let them tell you about the person, about how they are feeling, about the things they’re thinking. Do not tiptoe around their grief as though you are scared you’ll set it off. You are not a trigger, you are their support.
The magazines are £4 and available to buy from Balcony and Common Ground in Leeds or if you want me to post you a copy let me know. It is obviously full of great articles by other budding writers.
I spent about 3 hours yesterday evening trying to write something, anything. It did not go well. I struggled to think of what to write about, no idea I had seemed to work and I couldn’t find the words I wanted to say.
I don’t feel pressure to write on here, no one reads it and there is no obligation to post anything. However, I do want to. I want to share my thoughts and recommendations and the goings on in my life. I’m just still figuring out how to. As much as I like to think I have the words to share my thoughts on controversial topics, to discuss body image and feminism and mental health and sustainability and the environment and Brexit, I have no authority on any of those subjects. But, then again, I don’t really need to have any authority, a large number of people commentating society’s goings on are just opinionated. Maybe that is the issue, maybe I’m not opinionated enough. If I don’t know how I feel about things how can I expect to find the words to express myself. I have passionate friends, people who advocate for minority groups and know what they want to do with their career and have already worked hard to achieve great things. I just kind of bob along pretty averagely. I have never protested or written an article about something I disagreed with or started a career project or had an intense debate with someone who thought differently to me. I tried debating at school but would always end up agreeing with my opponent. Not really the point.
There is almost a disparity between the person I am and the person I want to be. The person I want to be writes interesting thought provoking pieces that she would be proud to show potential employers and start conversations about. The person I am struggles to think of anything to write about whilst Bridget Jones is on the TV in the background. She writes about how she can’t write. I don’t think I’m the only one who tells themselves they’re going to do things and then doesn’t, especially at this time of year when uni work needs to take priority, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
I’m done rambling for now, but if you have any ideas on how to get inspired please let me know…..