So, it’s the start of a new week and the start of the first full working week of the year. And also the final time that I am going to get reflective about the year that has just passed. So I’m going to talk about the 5 good things that happened last year.
1) I got a pay rise – It seems kind of ridiculous that this is the thing that tops my list, but it happened twice this year and so it is. My job is my main cause of stress and this year it really ramped up, especially over the last quarter of the year, so this almost makes it worth it. Almost.
2) I went on holiday – An actual honest to go holiday where I didn’t have to do anything. I spent a week just lazing about and eating and getting some sun. Just truly taking some time off and get way from all the stress just felt really good.
3) I saw Hamilton. Twice. – That happened. I’m pretty sure there was a playlist at some point in 2016 where it was effectively all Hamilton songs. Part of me had resided myself to never seeing it because there was a part of me that didn’t think it would transfer over to the West End and then it did. And of course the tickets went on sale when I had to go into a meeting. But my mum got tickets in the pre-sale and so we went for dad’s birthday and then R got two pre-sale tickets for the 30th and so I saw it back to back Saturdays. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. It was a delightful to close out the year.
4) Exercise – I really upped my game when it came to exercise this year because it felt like my only release from the craziness that was my life and it became a really useful tool for me to try and calm down on occasion and get back to myself. This year was rough mentally for me and things felt kind of helpless for a couple of months, but when it all went tits up I had to remind myself that exercise was there for me and it was always a way to remind myself that I am stronger than I think.
5) Reading – I surpassed my reading goal for 2017 and it felt good. To be honest, it never really at any point felt like I wasn’t going to do it. Yes, there were two books that I wanted to read last year that I didn’t, but it was no stress for me. I read 53 books last year, which is just about more than one a week. I love reading and I love that I got to do it so much last year.
And those are the 5 things. What about you? What are the things that liked about 2017?
So, this is my 700th post on this blog, and it continues to sound crazy every time I think about the fact that I have written that many posts on here. The fact that I’ve committed to it for this long just blows my mind because, I know I’ve said it before, I just didn’t think I’d stick it out. And yet 4 or so years later here I am.
Like I have done in the past when I have reached a milestone post I am collecting a bunch of my faves (5 to be exact) together. Although this time, they are all going to be from my writing page (and then also this one), which you may have noticed has been renamed Scribble, Scribble for reasons that I honestly do not understand. But I’ve done it, and there we go. My 5 current fave things that I have written are:
Vicissitude 4 – I had to choose between all of them and for some reason this one stuck out the most for me.
You Say Me Name – I love this piece so much and I kind of forgot about it until it came up on Timehop. It came at a time when I really needed it to as well, and I loved it for that.
Poison – This was the first thing of mine that was inspired by a Disney film/fairy tale and it is maybe my favourite thing I have ever written. I just really like sticking fairy tales in a slightly more modern setting and I really might start doing it more often.
Emerald – I forgot about this one, until I was looking at it just now. I love this one as well for the same reason as the above. Something about reimagined fairy tales.
Snapshot 34 – I obviously couldn’t do this without including something from this beast. This has come up because it was the one that sparked me doing a whole month of stuff using these characters and it’s mainly because it was the first time that this got away from me.
And those are some of my faves and so concludes my 700th.
There comes a time when all of a sudden you hear a song that you have a great familiarity with for the millionth time in a whole new light and it changes your view on everything. It makes you wonder how you never heard the song like before. It alters your very relationship with that song irrevocably.
This happened to me on the 30th June at around 10pm. I was sat watching Jeremy Jordan totally crush it and crossing something that was unknowingly on my bucket list until I bought the tickets off. The opening notes to his combined version of Santa Fe (which I am pretty sure at some point I have included in a playlist) started and by the time he reached ‘where does it say that you gotta live and die here?’ my relationship with the song had been changed for good (let’s not go into the epiphany that I had with that song one day that led me cry for a good 10 minutes a few years ago).
I don’t know exactly what it was (and I am aware that we are now nearly in mid-August) that caused this. Maybe it was because at the time I was on day 2 of some rare time off work (which is my own doing I am very aware of) and I had just had time to myself to reflect on…well life. In my head it felt like there were some puzzle pieces a settling into place. They haven’t formed a full picture by any means yet, but it felt like something settled.
I mean this happens with a lot of songs. Defying Gravity for example is a definite one for me. Recently I’m Here from the The Colour Purple really fucked me up good and also gave me some kind of kick up the butt to stop being so fucking hard on myself. It’s not working, I’m still too hard on myself and I’m still way too far in my own head all the time, but whenever I need to just kick myself out of that, even if it’s only for the duration of the song, I just click play and it is done. There a few Beyoncé songs that have the power to make me feel like a total bad ass or mad at a boyfriend I don’t even have.
There are some songs that I can sit on for ages, and by ages I mean actual years, and then a lightbulb goes off and they become staples that I go back to when they are most needed. They are reliable and welcoming in a way that only music seems to be. My days right now seem to be me seeing new songs in a totally new light and having several epiphanies that make music so worth it.
Basically, behind literature, music is like the the most important thing to me. Ever.
So today is kind of a milestone for me (actually there a couple of milestones that fall in this week alone). It’s now been two whole years since this happened:
Yep, I graduated 2 whole years ago and was officially ejected out of the reassuring womb that was the education system. And as such I’ve found myself getting all reflective about shit aka life in letter format. Because why not?
Hey 21 year old me,
So, a big thing happened today. You finally left education, actually managed to pull a 2.1 out of your ass, walked across a stage in heels you’d never actually stepped foot in before without falling flat on your face in front of a cathedral full of people, actually fit a cap on your head, blagged the top of your bra being visible, didn’t get the pastel dress dirty. You somehow managed to do it. There was that super long time where you didn’t think you would, but you did it.
Saying that things get better from that odd clusterfuck hole of you don’t even know what that you’re in now would be both a lie and the truth. I mean it lasts a whole year and that sucks, it doesn’t really feel like it’s making you any stronger so that whole saying seems more and more like bullshit the more you repeat it to yourself. You reach breaking point…again and will cry more than you ever have in your life. Everything just seems sort of pointless and to be brutally honest you spend a lot of time sitting around wondering why you didn’t listen to people when they jokingly suggested that getting an English degree was pointless because ‘what can you do with it?’. It’s soul destroying to be honest, the continual cycle of applying for any job that you can find because you just want something but hearing the word ‘no’, or worse not hearing anything at all. It leads to a pit of despair and an ever growing black hole where nothing feels right or good or like it will ever get better. Stress is pretty much the only thing you can rely on to always be there every single second of every day. That and feeling like the most useless thing ever.
But through some stroke of fate you get a job. It’s bit like falling into a familiar dream only this time there is no evident ending, which is both a blessing and something that feels almost like a curse, but mainly a blessing. It means that you no longer pass days in a blur of This Morning, sitting around for hours on the sofa doing nothing and just sitting in a Starbucks to try and pass a few hours not in the house. It means that you almost feel a bit like you have a purpose and it also creates this weird lipstick addiction that you always knew a thing brewing in the background of your life but it never came to fruition because you were broke. Also the book buying thing that is already an issue for you? Yeah it’s a bigger issue now, I didn’t think it was possible, but it is. Trust me. It’s great, because it opens up a realm of possibilities and new worlds and you’re always discovering new things, but still a problem.
There are things that you are good at, you are efficient (when you finally get down to it), answering the phone still causes a surge of panic but it’s manageable. You get through the day. And a lot of the time that is enough. You get out of the self loathing, never ending black hole of unemployment but it doesn’t go away completely. The anxiety gets worse, some days it feels like it might crush you. Small slips up eat away at you for days and panic attacks seem to be always looming. You’re pushed way out of your comfort zone but have to pretend that it’s okay and just push on through even though there is no time to take to yourself and just get back to a place where it doesn’t feel like you’re drowning and reset. It’s a weird mix of you’re doing fine but also feel like you might crack and then shatter.
However somehow in all of that you find even further solace in writing and reading and creating. It injects a new lease of life into that, which yeah also takes multiple hits over the next two years, but they disappear for less time the more you come to depend on it as an outlet to just not be on anymore. Being social gets mildly (and I mean mildly) easier with those at work as you lower the wall just enough to not seem like a totally closed off bitch. The commutes, although sometimes hell, give you an hour a day where you can just get lost in a book and everything seems fine as you discover so many new favourite pieces of literature.
It’s all a strange rollercoaster sort of thing, it gets easier. You’ve already learnt all the coping mechanisms and ways to try and not go completely off the rails and over to the dark side already, I’ve just learned how to make them work easier and hopefully quicker and in a way that ultimately involves way less actual crying then before. It gets easier and mostly better. The bad days don’t last for months anymore and that can be nothing but a good thing
Oh yeah final thing, you finally join a gym and don’t totally hate it but the insomnia is still very much a closest friend. Good thing you work surrounded by coffee.
Now I mentioned in Thursday’s post that there was one more slightly reflective post left coming from me. And here it is today.
What I’ve Learned From Blogging
Well first off all I’ve learned that if not taken care of properly it can take over every aspect of your life. Seriously. Every area of it. Watching TV, thinking about blog posts. Having a shower, thinking about blog posts. Trying to sleep, guess what? Thinking about blog posts. It’s kind of everywhere.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing per se, but there are times when I just don’t want to think about anything really. Least of all a blog post that then involves me after to locate one of my planners so I can figure out where it can fit in my schedule.
Talking about schedules, blogging has also taught me how to be better organised. For a long time I was flying by the seat of my pants (that’s such a weird turn of phrase) and figuring things out at the last minute. It lead to irregular timing for the posting of things and honestly, there was a lot of messiness. Even when there were was only two posts week on here, there was a lot of messiness. Upping my posts was the first step. Getting into a regular posting time was the second one. And then slowly, slowly I actually started thinking about things more than 5 minutes before I started writing things.
I mean the majority of the rest of my life is chaos (ya know the time that isn’t structured by my job) but my blog finally seems to have an element of structure to it and that’s just been learned by doing the thing. And I think I am getting better at the doing, so that great.
I’ve also learned that it’s fun. I mean I didn’t go into this thinking that it would be a drag or anything because that is kind of crazy. But when you’ve been doing it for a while anything is easy to get kind of run down by it. And I definitely have had that happen a few times, there have been times when I kinda wonder why I still elect to do this and I am pretty sure I have talked about this whole struggle multiple times because it is a recurring thing for me. But at the end of the day when the last thing I want to do is write a blog post or even acknowledge that this blog exists something hits me and I remember why I found it fun in the first place.
One of the main reasons for that is because I find something inspirational within the blogosphere and that’s the most fun thing. Discovering new blogs is a great way to pass the time. Discovering information about things you didn’t even know you were all the actively interested in is fun. Knowing that you aren’t in this whole crazy blogging thing alone and that the idea is probably gonna get out onto the page somehow is kinda fun. I mean it’s a crazy kind of fun, but it’s a bit fun nonetheless.
And that’s the most important lesson I think I have learnt from this crazy endeavour that I elected to take in many moons ago. There are so many other blogs and bloggers out there that offer support, sometimes without even knowing it and it’s nice knowing that it’s out there. Which isn’t something that I was all that aware of when I first started typing away.
And also, if it’s not fun, it’s not worth it. That’s a lesson I’ve learned along the way too. Some posts just don’t wanna exist and sometimes the brain just doesn’t want to look a blank screen. That’s fine. Taking a step back won’t end the world (or the blog).
Two more reflective little blogs are acoming, including this one. But the second, and last, one won’t come until Monday because that is the way the blog schedule has worked. Today I am gonna be talking a little bit about the things that I would like to improve on my blog.
First of all I kind of need to get better at sharing my posts on social media and maybe stop ignoring Facebook. Or more likely to happen, just utilise the ones that I do give a shit about a bit better. I am not awful at it, but I could probably be better.
Secondly I need to do some more work on the look and feel of this blog. Featured images are 100% a thing that I need to work on. And in doing that I also have to make a decision about whether or not I want to add featured images to the posts that already exist on this blog…which as of today now amounts to 301 posts. Which sounds like an insanely huge task, and I know that the longer that I spend thinking about it and what I want them to look at I am creating a bigger number of backdated ‘image free’ posts. So I need to make a decision on that sharpish. I also need to utilise all my old pictures and add things like captions and stuff to them. I have been doing that a lot more recently which is useful and I am not a too concerned about taking on that second task. The first one is instilling fear in me.
Another thing that I really need to do is tighten up my editing of posts. They go through about 3 edits most of the time and it turns out that is not enough. I write them the night before (usually, sometimes I get super organised and get most of that shit done on a Sunday) and then just push schedule and wait until I see it being posted the following day. Then typically I give it another read through before I re-share it later in the day and I catch far more issues than I would like (this happened with that Alive based post last week). So I need to tighten that up a lot. The problem with that is that I risk over editing it, I can keep picking issues at things until it ceases to exist anymore which defeats the purpose of having a blog. So I also need to find the balance between the two.
And finally, which is something that I have definitely been getting better at this year (evidenced by the fact that I have two diaries/planners dedicated to dates and a blog schedule) and that is being organised. I need to be able to see what I have planned for myself and maybe in doing so I will then avoid falling into a writer’s rut, (so I can avoid those two weeks that happened in January where everything was just below par). I am currently blog scheduled up for most of March and all of April (and the rest of this month) so I am doing well so far. I mean that is also terrifying, but it is reassuring to know that I have things planned.
I am sure there are other things that I could probably improve on here, but it’s all about baby steps and these are my current baby steps.