Eating on My Own

Wednesday 4th October 2017

I am sitting in a restaurant on my own and have never felt less lonely. Why doesn’t everyone do this? Well, I suppose not everyone is introverted – and many introverts would still feel uncomfortable eating alone in public, because of the dictations of society.

When I’m by myself, I tend to feel awkward if I don’t know exactly where I’m going. I worry that someone might steal my bag, and my senses are heightened, as if I’m on red alert. It’s wearing.

So, this is a breakthrough for me. I don’t know why it’s been different today, wandering Continue reading

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I Needed to ‘Pretty Up’

14.9.16

I haven’t been wearing much makeup recently. I’ve been wearing more casual clothes too, and I feel good about it.

There’s something freeing about going ‘bare-faced’ when in the past you would have been reluctant to leave the house without makeup. I should be completely honest, and say that my skin is a little better than it was, which makes it easier.

It’s not just that, though. I am more confident in general. And, unlike my teenage self, I realise that everyone has much more important things to worry about than the state of my face! I now enjoy not wearing makeup – it’s far quicker to get ready, I don’t have to spend ages trying to remove mascara from my lash line, and I feel like myself. Pretty good, I’d say.

This morning, I felt differently. It’s been a rough Continue reading

Being Kind to Yourself Won’t Kill You

‘Today, I’m going to focus on being kind to myself,’ I announced to an empty room, on Friday morning.

What a shame that it had to be said!

I removed a few things from my to-do list that didn’t ‘need’ to be done, and set about writing in my journal instead – little, ‘unimportant’ thoughts and observations.

I had already done my Morning Pages (two pages of freewriting as soon as I wake up) during which I realised that for the past couple of days I’d been Continue reading

What Will I Be At 23?

Mum was going to be 40. Such a big number. It seemed strange to me that she could be that old, because she had been in her 30s for as long as I could remember. It was deeply significant.

I remember clearly one day when I was 13. Mum was parking the car at Morrisons for our weekly shop, and I always went with her – I may have bought a whole can of Pringles to eat in one evening, or a nail varnish, or both. Or perhaps I was in my rice pudding phase!

We were discussing plans for Mum’s special birthday, thinking about what it all meant, Continue reading

My Exam Demons

I’m not bad at exams. I’m good at answering questions in a relevant way and at creating arguments. I don’t usually get overwhelmed when I walk into that room, although I do get a little distracted by other people’s reactions to the environment – it’s fascinating. But my GCSEs went smoothly enough and I did well at AS Level.

It was my second A Level year that threw me off course. I initially decided to take a year out of ‘education’ to follow my interests in an unpressured way, but that idea didn’t last for long. I was attracted to structure and to the ‘fun’ of choosing subjects. I decided to take three A Levels and to learn them at home – Geography, English Literature, and Thinking Skills. Mum dug out the syllabuses and past papers, and bought numerous recommended textbooks.

It turned out to be far more difficult than I imagined, working out what I needed to know – in Geography there was quite a bit of conflicting information. I make it sound like it wasn’t my fault and, in some ways, it wasn’t. The difficulty of the task, my struggle to think and write quickly, my often-bad health, and my low stamina (which is still often a problem), all contributed to the lack of motivation. However, I can’t blame it all on that. Continue reading

Relaxing at the End of My Degree

I’m drinking a latte in a café at the Hidden Gardens. I am not doing any Open University work today, despite a looming assignment deadline and the final exam in a few weeks. I was at Crossfit this morning, I’m here this afternoon, and I’m going to a Passover demonstration tonight. This might seem like a strange approach for someone who is determined to succeed in their degree…

I can achieve a surprising amount in a short space of time, if it has my full attention – far more so than in a full day of distracted effort. I can do two or three hours of academic work (of the focused kind) before my concentration and productivity sharply decline. Sometimes I will push on for longer, filling the later hours with less strenuous tasks. And then I’m done.

I have heard people say, ‘Don’t manage your time; manage your energy.’ This advice has been incredibly helpful to me. I’ve stopped beating myself up when I can’t Continue reading