People and periods.

It’s genuinely quite frightening the affect that boredom and malaise have on your soul and it wasn’t until I quit my job that I realised the profound effect it had on me. It had sapped my confidence to zero, I found it difficult to enjoy anything or get excited about doing anything, and that was before I ever factored in my predisposition to depression and anxiety.

So, having trudged my way back to some semblance of mental health through an extended period of joblessness, it was quite astounding the effect even a minimal amount of confidence (somebody wanted to hire me, yay!) had on my general wellbeing. Excitement!Ideas!Plans! were all afoot and it was a peculiar yet familiar feeling. One I’d not embraced in years and only emphasised JUST HOW MISERABLE I’D BEEN.

Basically, I’d grown bored with missing out on things because I didn’t feel confident enough to invite friends to events, particularly anything feminist or political. My go-to friend for these sorts of things has moved to Hong Kong, and whilst I love my friends dearly I would feel a profound sense of guilt if I dragged them along to everything I fancied attending and because they’re lovely they’d be too polite to say no. So this new found lust for life has had me extending myself to just saying ‘Fuck it’ and heading off of my own to things I might not have gone to otherwise – and it’s lead to a whole new bunch of incredible experiences that I’m excited to be a part of. As a natural cynic, positivity doesn’t usual sit well in amongst my personality but the past few months have been full of it and it’s nice to be able to admit that.

It all kicked off with attending a couple of days at WOW – I’ve been before to a couple of selected talks but I’d never been for a full weekend of events. It was exhausting in so many ways but incredibly inspiring too. It also got me up off my considerable arse and in the right frame of mind to lend my time in some small way to the advancement of women. I’ll go into more detail on this another time as I’ve met a bunch of women who really do deserve more than a few scant lines, but suffice to say the project I’m contributing to is fantastic and in turn it’s making me a better person.

And so, bolstered by my new found confidence, amazing festivals, volunteering work and so on, I appear to be lending my hands, time and money to whoever will have me. Something that recently caught my eye and made me subsequently rage was an article on sanitary protection for homeless women.

#TheHomelessPeriod initiative have recently been getting some great press coverage – and rightly so. The fact is that homeless women have limited or no access to sanitary products, which means they’re often forced to go without. Where homeless shelters receive some funding towards items like condoms and razors, there is no provision for sanitary protection. More often than not they rely on donations, or siphon funds from elsewhere in the budget to pay for a completely necessary everyday item.

The more I’ve thought about this, the more it enraged me so I decided to set up a small crowdfund. The project were encouraging people to donate towels and tampons to local shelters, and I thought I could bump up my own donation by asking friends to chip in too. Having originally aimed to collect £100, I’ve ended up with over £250, with more donations coming in slowly and surely.

Once more, my usual cynicism was crushed by people being nice.

So I’ve been hitting the shops to spend the fund, enjoying the looks on cashier’s faces when I attempt to buy £90 worth of tampons, and getting stuck in researching projects who might benefit most from this sort of donation. Over the last two weeks, these have all come to fruition and I’ll be scribbling a little more about what I’ve raised and where it’s going, in an attempt to say thank you to my kind contributors, and let them know exactly who their money will be helping.

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Liberated

My need to scribble down my thoughts comes and goes and as it happens, it sure well WENT for a while. But now, it’s back with a passion. I’m doing things, I’m going places, and rather than writing whimsically I’m writing because I have something to say.

2014 was an upheaval of a year, even if with hindsight I can recognise the stress as a cleansing kind of agony. I quit my job after being desperately unhappy for a good two years. I moved back the family homestead and there I stayed happily unemployed if grumpily poor for the best part of the year. I played carer and domestic assistant to an injured grandparent – giving me the quality time with a matriarch I’d not realised I’d desperately needed. I sold all my crap on eBay to pay the bills. I temped. I got sad when they couldn’t keep me on. I played housemaid, I rested, I took some joy in the simple pleasure of being able to walk the dog every morning. I paused.

The unrelenting search for a new job took its toll, but for the most part the horror of being on benefits was bearable compared to the misery of thoroughly hating my job.

Then Christmas came and went and I started 2015 with the realisation that this unemployment could drag on and I could be in serious trouble. And that’s when fate stopped pissing about and packed me off to an interview where I shone and six weeks later was rewarded with pay day, the likes of which I’d not seen for some time.

The new job has shocked my brain in to action, where it had laid dormant for some time. It’s come as quite a shock to realise just how incredibly stagnant I’d become, and how boredom and depression had rotted my (already lacklustre) confidence away to nothing. Finally being valued by an employer seemed to placate my pathetic self-esteem and it’s enabled me to start doing things I’d never thought I’d be capable of doing when I was in the absolute darkness. I’ll start talking about some of this later.

But for now, I’m happy and I’m happy about happy. It’s a novel experience and it’s time I wrote something about it.

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Oui oui, good good.

I made an executive decision at the beginning of the year (no, not a resolution) that I’d be more adventurous this year. That is, go on more adventures. In fact I probably already have a healthy appetite for not just using my weekends for being a pisshead, but I decided that unless I book time to do things, I’ll always find excuses. So book away I did.

A midweek day out in Paris with the girls was a perfect antidote to February misery.

A respectable bunch.

A respectable bunch.

One man and his birds.

One man and his birds.

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It’s nice that some people are in love.

We spent 100 fucking euro on hot chocolate.

We spent 100 fucking euro on hot chocolate.

This was graffiti'd on a wall leading down into somewhere you really wouldn't want to dance.

This was graffiti’d on a wall leading down into somewhere you really wouldn’t want to dance.

Paris. Innit.

Paris. Innit.

Hometime treats.

Hometime treats.

Despite being ridiculously exhausted by the time we trundled in to St. Pancras, it was a beautiful day all round. Full of excessive amounts of naughtiness, delicious things and one of those aggressive bouts of the giggles in inappropriate places, which left me streaming in tears. Adventures are fun, but they’re at their best with fun company.

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Holiday

I’m going back to NYC in May. I’m gleeful in anticipation of reubens, pancakes and peanut butter m&m’s.

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March 6, 2013 · 1:50 pm

Absence

I’ve not dropped by and written anything in quite a while. I’m blaming this on our new work internet restrictions which have blocked anything vaguely worth reading. Including anything WordPress or Blogger based. Ridic.

In the meantime, here’s picture of me and my new friend:

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Learning, Wine, Erotica, Wine, Laughter, Wine.

So, after all that apprehension, it turns out that my Masters is going to be excellent, and meeting people wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I had envisaged it was going to be. Being massively cynical, I went with the nagging feeling I was going to find the whole study school experience to be a bit of a drag. Constant small talk, incessant references to how “fabulous” the online forums are for distance learners and how “useful” the course will be in furthering my career.

Instead, I met some genuinely lovely people, found the course content inspiring and drank a bucketload of wine.

The problem I’m currently having is reconciling all this positivity with my otherwise grumpy brain.

Staying in halls again was weird to begin with. Despite not actually moving into them, like I did in my undergrad degree, it was still awkward not knowing whether to go and introduce yourself to other people. As it turned out, pretty much everyone felt that way.

"Sea" view from my grubby window.

And judging by some of the truly excellent conversations I had over breakfast and wine (although not breakfast and wine together, I do have standards) I think I ended up making up for those awkward couple of hours I spent in my room alone the first afternoon.

The most positive thing was meeting so many people in the same position I am in – those with plenty of professional experience who are limited by their lack of qualifications. That sounds ridiculous seeing as we are all degree-level educated, but that pretty much says it all. Contrary to my usual lazy demeanour, I found myself busy each evening, either with the timetabled social gatherings, or planning a boozefest of our own. The one evening I had thought about squirreling myself in bed, I ended up traipsing through the dark Penglais campus with my partner in bitching, in fits of giggles, trying to find the bar where some karaoke was going down. We were told to look out for the kit kat buildings, which look like this:

I told my companion not to touch the buildings, in case it gave the alien beings inside sort of life force.

After having spent the last 30 minutes lost, stumbling across what sounded like the weirdest dance class ever, we managed the find the bar without being abducted by aliens. A couple of hours later, after soaking in gin/cider and being worried about impetigo, we managed to find our way home. Less convinced that aliens would kill us but more concerned Aber’s many hills would do us in. Either the hills or “us” from the future – but that’s an entirely different conversation.

Essentially, I ended up spending 5 days having brilliantly silly conversations with some excellent people. One of my particular favourites involved this dude:

Dual-language hilarity

A brief comment that the halls we were staying in (Pantycelyn) should be pronounced “Panty-selling” ended up to be a pretty complex story about Allan, the so-called green man, and his monopoly on the underwear industry in West Wales. What we really wanted to find out was precisely why all his portraits were identical images of him making a run for it. I imagine we will never know the full story.

Me and a fellow awesome comedy nerd also managed to scramble together an excellent plan for a romantic comedy on our last night, based on my ridiculous love life and embarrassing driving lessons. It’s going to be the best British comedy in bloody ages, so you probably ought to watch out for it soon. When I get round to writing it. Editing it. Finding someone to make it. Cast it. And all that. But it’s going to be ace, I promise. In fact, we pretty much spent 4 hours exchanging our various comedy ideas. I definitely hadn’t planned on doing that, but it made me ache with laughter, which is my favourite ache of all. 

In a slightly less high-brow moment, this also made me snort with laughter every time I went for a wee:

Flaptastic

I know. It’s childish. But I probably wouldn’t trust you if that didn’t even raise a tiny little smirk. Heh. Flaps.

So, all in all, it was pretty excellent. Even if the department approves of the gratuitous use of the dreaded comic sans. 

On an otherwise massively useful free bag. Hmpf.

I think I’ll get over it.

Please someone point me back at this post and my happy-go-lucky-I’m-so-surprised-about-the-experience demeanour a couple of months down the line when I’m avoiding writing my assignments, or moaning about the cost. Or indeed, too busy writing my excellent screenplay and pre-emptively ditching my Library career.

It definitely feels weird to be positive about something that would usually rile up my cynicism glands (located near the pessimism ducts) something chronic. But I’m taking all the happy for what it’s worth – after all, I’m back to work today.

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