Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 15

Dear Autumn,

It’s Sunday.

I used to be the champion of a super lazy Sunday where you just sort of crawl out of bed at whatever time you want, throw on some different comfy clothes that aren’t pjs and then do very little except eat. I had that shit nailed down. Sundays used to be the day where I would just totally reset in preparation for the week ahead. I would go into work on Monday and the only thing I could ever really say was that I did nothing.

Sundays have changed a little over the past month. In fact my weekends in general have shifted slightly.

As I have mentioned many a time on here, I exercise now. Quite a bit. Actually I say that, it’s in total 4 hours a week. 4×45 minutes sessions and 1×60 minutes. The amount of hours I spend a week exercising hasn’t actually changed, the breakdown of it just has, it used to be 4×60 minutes sessions a week. And those 4 sessions were Monday-Thursday with a long weekend rest period. And it worked fine, but then I got bored of it and decided to shake it up a bit slowly but surely.

So I shifted my rest days around and upped the frequency to 5 on 2 off. I knew the increase in sessions per week was coming. I could feel it in my bones. But I knew when it came around to doing that I would have to just shake everything up. And so I have. And that means that I now get real sweaty on weekends.

On Saturdays more than on Sundays but given that I’ve been away for a week and the most about of cardio I’ve done is climbing an awful lot of stairs today will be the sweatiest that I’ve been since last weekend. It’s not the sweatiest I can get, that tends to happen on Wednesdays and Saturdays which are just pure cardio for the most part (there sometimes some bodyweight strength stuff), but it’s up there.

You don’t think that doing work on gliders will really affect you that much and then all of a sudden everything burns and there is a sheen of moisture covering my entire person and making things sticky. Because Sundays are now cardio barre days. In fact, for some reason this is now the only version of barre that I do because I switched my Thursday workout to lifting instead.

Whereas before I used to love just lazing around and doing nothing all day and getting out of bed post noon, I was doing just that. Nothing. Now my Sundays are actually productive. For starters I get a workout in and all the delightful endorphins that come with it. Secondly, it gets be out of bed and out of the house. It forces me to utilise my time better. If I have a couple of errands to run then I do that beforehand and cross them off the list. I arrive to to the studio about half an hour before the class starts and then I get some writing done in that time. I use my travel time (mostly) to get some things done as well. I get things done and then that seems to trigger something in my brain that then allows me to have a lazy afternoon/evening and do so feeling totally guilt free. I’ve almost earned the rest after being so productive.

Plus it now means I have Fridays and Mondays rest days, which just feels better for some reason. Mondays I was my hair and now on Fridays I shall start to foam roll because with this shake up I decided to drop both Yoga and Pilates which means that I’m not stretching as much as I used to and my body is tight as a result.

So after a week off I shall soon be embarking on my cardio barre class, getting a sweat on and then having a chill afternoon that will include eating and Netflix.

Love,

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 14

Dear Autumn,

This week has gone by so damn quickly.

It seems like only yesterday I was stupidly going to bed at 1am only to be woken up in the dark 5 hours later to embark on a 5 hour train journey up north. The train journey was pleasant. It was smooth, it was better than the last time I did it where I ended up stuck in Doncaster for over 2 hours. I did some reading and managed to get halfway through my next book. I managed to do some tweaking of the project I’m working on. It was productive.

I’ve spent a lot of this week being productive.

My week has been filled of extremely lazy days where I do some writing in bed before showering and then doing some more writing or reading, breaking it up with by a walk along the beach for a bit and then eating allll the food for dinner. Before returning to do some more writing, reading or just falling into a YouTube vortex (where I just watched SNL videos all night).

And then all of a sudden it was the end of the week and while on the one hand I started to feel a little dejected at myself that there are things that I had wanted to do this week and haven’t done I do have to sit back and look at the things that I did do.

For one I disconnected and just refreshed myself which I needed so much. Secondly I ended up writing so many blog posts that I hadn’t anticipated writing because it just wasn’t on my radar. What was on my radar was my other project but when I looked at it on Monday morning there was just nothing there. And I wasn’t in a planning mood and so I did something sensible, for once, and didn’t try and force it. I refocused my energy and time on something that I could get in the headspace for, and as I mentioned the other day it will actually put me in a better place come November. So it’s a bonus.

Thirdly I got some reading done. So much reading. I took 3 books with me for the week and made my way through 2 pretty easily. I got to be immersed in new worlds and it felt a little bit fun to go stray away from that list that I created for myself at the beginning of the year. But not as nice as being in a place where I can actually see the end of my reading challenge as being in sight and not sounding so overwhelming.

There’s something about taking a break from your normal routine that seems to make everything move so quickly. It’s hard to explain and it’s a tad annoying because you kind of what it to feel like it’s lasting longer. It’s impressive how quickly you can fall back into your ‘normal’ routine and any time off that you took feels like a distant memory.

I’ll tell you what this year has taught, what with the fact that I’ve actually managed to take a whole 3 weeks off work now. It’s taught me that I should use the fucking holiday that I have because just working almost non-stop for an entire year is a terrible idea and will fuck with your mental health in a big way and cause you to totally shut down.

I don’t imagine I am going to hold on to this totally relaxed version of myself for very long come work on Monday morning, and everything else that comes with working life, but I am going to revel in the fact that this a state I can actually get to these days. I haven’t been able to disconnect like that for a long time.

Love,

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 13

Dear Autumn,

 

I always remain mildly fascinated by the things that I will and won’t talk about . Both on this blog and also in my life. There are very few people that I will talk to about some things.

It took me until this year to finally go and see a bloody doctor about the anxiety that I was told I had back when I was 19/20 but never did anything about. And I only did that because it finally got too much to bear. And only then did I even think to talk about it to other people. To not be scared of talking about it.

It took a while and it was only when I was having my last counselling session that I even mentioned that I was doing that, and it was only because I was having this final session slap bang over lunch time and I needed to tell people why I had to shift that time around slightly. But once I had gotten over just saying it out loud it was fine. Funnily enough nothing really changed. Other than the fact that I felt like a weight had been lifted.

And now I’m saying it on here, because it’s all very well and good me mentioning in passing that anxiety kinda ruined my life for a little while and it seems kind of ridiculous for me to just ignore that completely. I’m not gonna like talk about it all the time or anything, it’s not something I am going to dwell on, but it is something that happened and I don’t see the point in ignoring that.

But the reason for this coming up is that I wrote a whole post about something else for today. And then I looked at it again and was like ‘ooohhh that’s too much information, can’t be putting that out there’ and so I highlighted it all and then pushed delete.

Who knows if I will ever get to a place where I what I said originally in this letter. I wouldn’t have thought a few months ago that I would be in a place to talk relatively openly about the whole anxiety treatment thing and yet here we are. If I ever do then I know that the words will just flow out of me onto the page. The want to say it is there, but the actual ability to let it go out into the world hasn’t quite reached that stage yet.

Love,

 

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 12

Dear Autumn,

I was writing something to do with childhood books on Tuesday and had a weird flashback to being back at school.

At the start of Year 10 (or it could have been 11, I don’t remember. It was a GCSE year for sure) we had to give a book review of a book that we had chosen to read over the summer. For whatever reason I chose to read Dr Jekyell and Mr Hyde. I hated it. I hated everything about it. I hated the fact that I had to read it over my summer and so school work was a part of those 6 weeks off. I hated the way it was written. I hated how I didn’t really understand what the hell was going on for most of it. I hated the fact that it was considered a classic and therefore everybody was like ‘oh it’s good, you should give it a chance.’ Most of all I hated the fact that I would have to stand in front of an entire class of people and give a 90 second (it could have been longer, the details are fuzzy, it was almost a decade ago) oral review of this.

Which I did not finish reading. I frantically (and stealthily) Googled what happened in the book and figured that I could just blag my way through this task. Forgetting one very important thing (although it did play on the back of my mind). I am a terrible public speaker.

Truly, truly awful.

I freeze. I mumble. I talk too fast. I trip over my words. I forget how to read my notes. I get sweaty, I feel like I’m about to throw up. There is no part of it in which I feel comfortable and am good at. None.

If I were a better public speaker I probably would have been able to bullshit my way through the whole thing and raise no red flags that I hadn’t read it. But I did. And so the teacher called me out on it. And then it just got worse. I nothing to give other than I didn’t like the book. Under the pressure of it all I couldn’t even think why I didn’t like it. I just gave vague answers that were mumbled out and rushed and felt my heartbeat pulsing blood through my ears and my palms getting very sweaty.

The part that seemed to strike me the most with this random flashback was towards the end where all I really had to offer was that I didn’t like the book and my time was up, my teacher asked if I could name a book I actually did like. And I froze again. Every single book that I had ever enjoyed just left my head and I had to think frantically about what the last book I read was. I then lied and said I ‘liked this book that my dad had given me that I think was called Black Tattoo’. I was also halfway through that book. The reason I was halfway was because I didn’t like it. I didn’t really understand what was going on that one either. And I don’t think my dad did pick it up for me.

After that whole experience, where I felt kind of embarrassed and a tad humiliated (mostly at my own incompetence) I kind of never wanted to have to study a book and give a review of it publicly ever again.

Good thing I then went on to do an English Literature degree then isn’t it…?

Where I did have to do it again, but unlike in GCSEs were there was a sense of desperate importance in everything that you do, I was way more relaxed about it. In fact I had to do it several times. But it just felt like less pressure. And also by the time uni came around I was much more comfortable in the whole bullshitting thing. You say anything with enough conviction and provide evidence within the text to back it up then you’re golden. The beauty of literature is that it can be many things to many people. And look, the presentations that I did give were still a tad rushed and I still spoke down to the floor and occasionally mumbled with my sweaty palms and thumping heart. But they were a lot less daunting in that situation.

15/16 year olds judge and don’t let things go. You kind of stop doing that so much at uni and even if they are judging you, there are so many bloody people in your year that it’s easy to forget about them and actually never see them outside of a tutorial group. Don’t get that in GCSE, where people can taunt you about that shit presentation you once gave aged 15 for another solid two years…

Love,

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 11

Dear Autumn,

Sometimes, it turns out, my sporadic nature works for the better without my even realising it.

On Monday night, while I was not scrolling endlessly through Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram I found myself clicking over onto my scheduled posts here on my blog. And well, there are a lot of November posts with titles just waiting to be written because for the most part all the groundwork is there. They are books that I need to review and some other little bookish things that only require the knowledge that is in my head.

And well, I found myself starting to write them.

I didn’t really think much of it at first, I needed something constructive to do with my time and it seemed like it would be more productive than trying to read with my tired eyes (somehow staring at my laptop screen was better for those very eyes once I had switched to night mode) and not take anything in properly.

Then I realised that if I end up with most of the month’s posts written it is one less thing to worry about having to write come the month itself (which isn’t actually as far away as I would like it to be, for a reason that will become apparent shortly). The most I would have to worry about is sharing the posts on the days that they were posted.

And the reason that it is important is because I am crazy enough to think that attempting NaNo this year is a good idea. Now I am a total pantser when it comes to this endeavour. I never really go in with a plan. In fact in the cases of a couple of years I didn’t even really go in with a solid idea. This year feels a bit different in that respect.

For one I’m being a total rebel and working on something that already has a solid almost 16,000 words to it’s name (not that it actually has a name, but you know what I mean) which means that it is something that already has legs with me. Because of that, and secondly, it means that I am just treating November as a way to bolster my word count. If I can bolster it by 50,000 words then great. If I can’t then that’s also fine, I will just be happy that I managed to get it up by at all. Because unlike before this isn’t an idea that I just came up with for the sake of the month and thought it might work and I should try and write 50,000 words on it with no real direction. This is something that has sat with me for a while and that I keep coming back to. And in my head it has a clear direction, I just need to actually get it down onto paper and really flesh out all the details.

Which is what I am using November to do. And I guess to allow myself the best chance of success my brain was like, ‘hey you should really write some of November’s posts up so you don’t have to then’. And so, while I’ve got some time to truly dedicate to that (as well as reading and just enjoying being by the ocean again) I am going to do just that.

Love,

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 10

Dear Autumn,

Guilt is a strange thing right?

I have the week off work this week, which makes this my 3rd week off this year and officially the most amount of holiday I’ve ever taken in my two years (well just over) at my job. I actually managed to use up my allocated 25 days of holiday this year, admittedly I didn’t take an extended period of time off until August, meaning that I went two years exactly without taking longer than Christmas off (the anniversary of me starting work happened whilst I was in Greece), but I actually managed to reach my holiday allocation for the year. And it felt weird and I almost felt a bit guilty about it when I just disappeared for two weeks, for reasons that I honestly cannot understand. (Also let’s ignore that I do still have 9 days left of holiday that I probably won’t use this year and so they will carry over to next year…again).

I mean I am entitled to take time off work. And to be honest my job has evolved into something that it wasn’t when I started two years ago. Which is a good thing otherwise I would be bored out of my damn mind as I had almost nothing to do some days. But it also comes with a lot more responsibility and with that a lot more stress. And well, I don’t deal with stress very well. Or rather I didn’t deal with it very well. Because with the stress came increased levels of anxiety and look, I don’t need any more of that than I already have just going about my day to day life.

But there is a part of me that for some reason feels bad when I’m not there. I mean I get over it pretty quickly because I also make a point of disconnecting from it otherwise the whole holiday thing just becomes kind of pointless. If I’m gonna stress about work I might as well just be at work.

But then there are other places in my life where I feel weirdly guilty for not doing something or not being something that I feel like I should be able to. Like if I just do not feel in the mood to go out or whatever I feel guilty. Or if I just stop posting here. Or if I don’t pick up a book for a little while. Or when I don’t write anything for a while. I seem to be really good at causing guilt for myself.

And I’m trying to stop doing that so much. Feeling this unnecessary guilt because it’s kind of doing me no good. I have slowly started to realise this year that I cannot keep sitting on my mental health and act like it’s not a problem. And I’ve started with a couple of other things and so now the natural progression is to move away from feeling so bloody guilty all the time.

Love,

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 9

Dear Autumn,

So I was writing a review for Sweaty Betty the other day (because what I really needed was another pair of leggings and sports bra) and there’s this little ‘about you’ section that you can fill out next to it and it mentions what activity you do and then it levels you in terms of front, middle or back of class.

It was that part that got me.

I’ve never really put that much thought into what part of the room I stand says about me. I kind of didn’t think it really said anything about me. I just always kind of dropped my bags at the back of the room and then turned around and set up shop wherever that was. Which was almost always at the back of the room. I think part of me had convinced myself that it just made the most sense. If there’s a lot of floor work then it makes sense to be at the back of the room because I take up a lot of space and the back of the room makes that easier to accommodate…in my head.

It turns out that it was probably just another level of a confidence thing that I’d never really thought about before. If I’m at the back of the room then it’s harder for me to get called out for stuff or for other people to notice me. Which is both a good and a bad thing I guess. I can’t get called out on my form if they can’t see me properly, or for giving up a little prematurely (which happens less these days, but still happens). However it has also made sure that I work on making sure that my form isn’t shit and really giving up before the set is done is cheating nobody but myself.

But anyway, back to the confidence thing. Turns out it was that. This past week I’ve forced myself to move further forward in the room, and twice now I’ve ended up straight in front of the instructor. Which horrified me in some ways because they were right. there.

Funnily enough though it turned out fine. My body is waaayyyy ahead of my mind in terms of knowing what it is capable of and actually getting it done. I spent most of Thursday super non-excited for my Lift class that night because Aunt Flow decided she was going to be early and it was too late to cancel so I had to do when all I really wanted to do was go home and be a sloth, but come that evening while I was loading up the barbell I felt the endorphins do their thing and the 45 minutes flew by. Plus on some level it was kind of nice to know that if there was something dodgy with my form (which is definitely a possibility as I am still getting used to lifting) that the instructor was right there to correct me if necessary (it was also good to know that even she was a little shaky when it came to some balance stuff).

There was still that part of me however that felt like I was being watched and judged by the people behind me, which I guess is why I always exist in the back somewhere. I hate that feeling. That people are watching me. That I’m somehow the centre of attention even though I know I’m not. There’s a part of me that always wants to make myself as small and as invisible as possible and I can’t do that if I’m standing in front of people. There’s nowhere to hide when you’re up front. That’s a residual problem from childhood. One that I thought I had gotten over, but apparently hadn’t. So that’s my new challenge to myself.

Because I know from experience that no one is really paying to attention to what anyone else is doing unless they are glancing over to try and figure out what the fuck they’re supposed to be doing next and then they are gonna carry on with their lives and pay you no mind. And I got over myself being my own worse enemy enough to put myself in that environment, so I’m gonna get over this thing that I didn’t even really know was a thing until I indirectly got called out about it.

Love,

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