Merry Blogmas Day Fourteen and a Half!
50% less merry today. This is something I don’t wish to taint the merriment of Blogmas, but I wanted to include as a side-note. To break form and deviate slightly from my standard “Buy These Things” Blogmas posts, today’s has a more reflective air. I have written a list of personal things that I wish to leave behind in 2016. It’s not so much a compilation of regrets, more a vow to try not to take these aspects of my life with me into 2017. The new year is a strange old thing, it doesn’t really mean anything but it acts as a metaphorical reset button for things you haven’t quite mustered the courage to do in recent months. It’s fake courage, but in all honesty I think that’s the closest I am going to get to its real form. It’s also quite therapeutic to look back on your year and establish the patterns of your behaviour. There are of course things that I want to take with me, or even experience to their maximum, but that is for another post. NB: Though they are all mixed up, some of these are traits of the mind, some of these are literally items that I want to throw away. In practice the items will be the easiest to take care of but hopefully will also act as a stepping stone to rendering the others possible. I hope you can bear with me while I prise these self-indulgencies off my chest.
Hello 2017, Goodbye to:
- The fear of leaving the flat. I need to remind myself that my ‘comfort zone’ has rapidly been encroached by various anxieties over the years, trickling in from all directions, and that the comfort zone essentially does not exist anymore. There is no comfort in sitting on the bed, staring at the floor and shaking as the reality of your day kicks in. I have to see people, walk past them on the street, look them in the eye, speak as if I have something worthy of saying, walk without getting in anybody’s way, maintain an expression that will not incite questions, don’t drop anything or let my clumsiness inconvenience someone else’s day, complete tasks in the most efficient way possible without failure, focus on my work or studies without letting my mind wander too far, be enthusiastic beyond a constant level of numbness, be supportive of others even though I am not worthy of giving advice, providing the correct reactions to what I am told. The more I let myself panic, the worse the fear becomes, that’s logical. The more I induce punishment by calling myself lazy and useless, the worse the fear also becomes. What if I am just lazy? I can do these things, I push myself to do them everyday, so they are more than possible, they are commonplace. What I want to shake off is the spiral of fear that sets in beforehand.
- The contents of The Room of Requirement. My boyfriend and I have a spare bedroom, a little box one, which we refer to as The Room of Requirement. The original idea was for it to contain anything we need on occasion, like spare bedding or weights or clothes we only wear on special occasions. This has now devolved into a dumping ground, and the bed is now covered in all manner of empty boxes, receipts we don’t need, scratched 3D glasses and hell knows what else. What if we require a spare bedroom for someone to sleep in? New year project.
- Forgetting to moisturise. In the summer I like to be constantly hydrated, and my skin seems to appreciate the application of coconut oil at regular intervals. In the winter I practically develop scales, and the coconut oil proves insufficient. I do have a skincare routine, but the rest of my body I tend to forget about. For someone so eczema-prone it’s tricky to find a deep moisturiser that also doesn’t make me want to tear at my skin, but so far Dream Cream from Lush seems to be the most friendly option. I just don’t always remember to give my skin what it needs, and something so simple is for me an act of self-care and loving your body that shouldn’t be neglected.
- My job. I am extremely grateful to have a job, and I’m incredibly lucky to have had the same one for 3 and a half years, despite my being entirely useless. However I think there’s a shelf life for a job of this kind, and though I think I would be equally as worthless if not more in another position elsewhere, it’s definitely time to move on. There’s a level of dread that comes on just before every shift that I never used to experience, until the last year. Well actually, it’s sort of been a sliding scale. My first year or so I experienced a hellish period of panic attacks, and though I haven’t had one for a very long time, it still rattles me to think of their onset. Then there was a sort of ‘summer’ of calm in between, when I felt more at ease with my work and my actual life than I had ever felt before. But in September 2015 I had an immensely low day, and there was subsequently a huge dip in my mood, and I’ve been battling to look beyond this ever since. All I can do is look forward, and try to adapt to my environment. This environment is one that I will always associate with anxiety, and though it’s a risk to move on, everything in me is telling me to persevere with job applications, despite the rejections continually rolling in.
- My black and white striped bra. Seriously, why on earth do I still have this? It was comfy and supportive when I first bought it from M&S several years ago, but now it’s sagging, there’s a hole in the outer fabric on the left side, it’s stained with God knows what, it’s fraying and it’s a little bit too small for me now. Move on, Rosie.
- Waking up late and hating myself. Now that my boyfriend has started a new 9-5 job, we are on different schedules. It happens, and when he first started I said to him, “I will be supportive and wake up with you each morning.” This lasted a week, and I am a little bit ashamed. It makes sense for us to wake up together, and I don’t actually work nights, only evenings, so it’s not a struggle for me to do so. I can’t complain that we don’t see each other much if I’m not making a true effort to do so.
- Disorganised reading. I used to adore reading, as it was constant salvation to be able to escape to a different world. I always had that option. The past year and a half I’ve been struggling to concentrate. I still read the odd book, but I don’t get anywhere near as much relief from it as I used to. I even tried to encourage myself to tend to this hobby more by committing to a monthly book subscription box, but on reflection I think this has applied more pressure. The books pile up, and I feel angry at myself for not establishing time to read. I think what I need to do is breathe, and remember that it’s not a test, there’s no quota to reach on books read in a year. I need to walk back into a library, and browse the shelves with a casual air, if something truly catches my eye then I will picture my next day off and if I can set aside a little time to properly appreciate it.
- Self harm. The reason for this is, I am 27. Not that it doesn’t happen to other 27 year olds, but the fact is that this has been ongoing for around 8 years. I don’t wish for it to extend to 9 years, but it’s tricky to establish a definitive way to end it, or even a motivation to end it. Why should I? If you’re a heavy smoker then withdrawing from nicotine can induce stress, moodswings, frustration, but the end product is clear: Continuing with this habit is bad for my body, and encourages my mind to rely on it. Withdrawing from self harm will have similar results, but I am concerned about how much worse I will feel for not having a coping mechanism. I need to remind myself that doing it is not productive, it’s just become a habit over the years. I think the logic is that if I make a mistake and I’ve already punished myself mentally for it, I have nothing else to turn to but still feel horrendous…so it feels natural to remind myself physically that it’s unacceptable to keep making the same mistakes. It’s quick and easy to do, I don’t have to be in a doctor’s office to go through with it, and I can then attempt to move on. But I do understand that it’s just not productive in the long term. So I hope to be able to leave this behind in 2016.
- My bow-tie heels. I last wore these to a wedding in 2014, despite having a chunky heel on them I struggled to walk, they have a slippy base so despite being a vaguely good fit at the time of purchase, my feet kept sliding in them, my feet were in agony by the end of the night, and they go with next-to-nothing that I own. But because I like the little bow-tie at the front, and they have a slightly 1920s look, I’ve held onto them. They do not fit Rosie, let them go.
- My terror of human contact. I’m sure we’ve all had some interactions that we would rather forget, they just didn’t go well, or you didn’t put your point across as you would have liked. For me, this is every single interaction I have. I will stammer, then something switches in my mind and I start to develop a ‘hummingbird’ chest, and everything feels a bit hazy and unclear. I will forget what I intended to say in the middle of my sentence, or I will be hyper-aware of how awkwardly I am standing or the ugliness of my expression, and I will start to feel out of breath, or a compulsion to take deep ones, one after the other. This breathlessness has sometimes continued for days, depending on how ashamed I feel. It worsens if I’m in an enclosed environment, for instance, a car. Lovely people will offer me lifts home, and something will immediately click in my mind, something’s going to go wrong, I will make a mistake and then I can’t leave, so I try to decline as often as I can, despite their kindness. It just sparks instant anxiety. Ridiculous, isn’t it? But it comes as part-and-parcel of the fear of leaving my flat. I will DEFINITELY make a mistake, hundreds, ones I’ve even made before, my stupidity will cause issues for others, my memory will fail me and I’ll need to calm down. This cycle would cause panic attacks in the past. I don’t have them anymore, so I feel the tiniest step forward has been made. If that step has been made, others can be reached too.
So thanks for staying with me for this little talk, and I hope that whatever you wish to leave behind in 2016 is achievable and you can look forward with positivity.
Until the next day of Blogmas!