It’s been a while…

Hello my lovelies.

More time has passed since my last blog post than I would have liked, especially as the WordPress format has now changed. Nonetheless I return to you, post in hand – with a cheeky lack of structure! Today’s effort is in ‘Favourites’ style, just a few tidbits that have satiated my interest in the thusly-Month of May.

  1. Tattoo research.

 

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Crucially, I do not have a tattoo, but I absolutely ADORE researching the multiverse of thoughtful art that can be practically sewn into skin. I’m itching to get my first one, and I have a few ideas in mind. None of which seem remotely as delicate and glorious as my research specifies, but I think I need to stop applying nervous pressure to a situation that is at its centre, light-hearted. I love a thing, I am going to express my love for a thing in this manner of permanence. It’s the daunting concept of commitment that I often let push me away from things that I want to do, but I feel at the moment that I may just go for it. I lean towards 1920s art-deco borders and silent film nods, as well as the odd literary quote or nod. Stay tuned!

2. Sukin Skincare

Launch_Event4

Every morn and eve, I have assumed the practice of religiously taking care of my skin. By religiously I don’t mean flagellating with a miniature cat o’ nine tails. Aside from moisturising and SPF-ing the dickens out of my parched legs, arms and chest, I have discovered a range of facial skincare that actually caters to my self-appointed needs. Sukin, an Australian brand, is fundamentally: as natural as possible, non-irritating to my extremely sensitive skin, plentiful with moisture, without a strong fragrance, widely stocked in places like Boots, cruelty-free, reasonably priced, with a decent environmental stance. I am definitely a fan, and this mini routine begins and ends my day with a sense of self-care. It’s generally a combination of this, and Superfacialist products.

3. Samurai Gourmet

samuraigourmet

This show has become my favourite way to spend 20 minutes while I’m waiting for lunch to cook. Based on manga, it is perhaps the cutest thing that has ever existed, and you’ll find the mini-series on Netflix. A 60 year-old retired man (who is frickin ADORABLE I tell you) feels as though he has lost his routine and purpose in life, and begins adventures of discovering delicious local cuisine. Plagued by anxiety and introverted fretting, his spirit guide manifests in the form of a masterless Samurai who shows him how to take control of these situations and enjoy his life. It’s simple, and immensely cute, and it has a wonderful perspective on ageing – you are never beyond the point of discovering new pleasures, and re-living old ones. The sheer look of concentrated joy on Takeshi’s face as he sips on an ice-cold beer is just an absolute treat. Savouring every aspect of taste and environment, he develops such a strong emotional connection to food that helps him to overcome his social anxiety. Isn’t that bloody marvellous? It also helps you to develop a basis of simple Japanese café-lingo, and let’s face it, ordering food is pretty damn important. And the food in this show is just, absolutely incredible, and borderline erotic. Oishii!

 

Thanks for sticking with me on this rambly venture. Until next time!

Rosie

x

Stupid People: An Interview

[NOTES] – Throughout the article please view “In” as “Interviewer” and “Can” as “Candidate”.

RECORDING

In: Thank you for sitting with us today. Are you comfortable? Is there anything we can do to make you more comfortable?

Can: I’m comfortable, thank you.

In: So, I presume you’re aware of why we’ve asked you to attend this interview. Would you like to clarify what this reason is?

Can: I know why, but I would prefer not to say it if that’s okay.

In: That’s okay. Let’s begin. How are you feeling today?

Can: I would say at my usual level. At its most basic, my chest feels a bit tight and I’m trembling a little. I keep picking at my nails, and I’m swallowing a lot as I feel dehydrated no matter how much water I drink. I deep-breathe a lot. If I can exhale without shaking, then I am pretty much calmed, and I’ll be less aware of my heart beating. It’s just nerves. Everybody has their share of rational and irrational. Sorry, this is probably too long an answer…I’ll try to keep it brief.

In: There are no parameters to the length of your answers, they are simply for our records. Include as much or as little detail as you wish. Can I ask, what motivates you to get up in the morning?

Can: I would say…a new chance to get it right?

In: Can you explain?

Can: Just that all of the mistakes I make, I condense into a day. I’m sure a lot of people do. Sometimes I have a quota, sometimes not. Each morning I perceive as a new chance to start again, and try to have less of a negative impact on people. That’s positive-thinking, isn’t it? Trying to make less mistakes is honourable, as surely it means you’re always learning and growing, and wanting to better yourself.

In: What do you mean by a “quota”?

Can: That just means I set myself a limit for how many mistakes I feel comfortable with making. On a good day it can be 10, or 15. It’s not always a clock-rounded number, it’s more based on instinct, and how many people I think I will be interacting with on that particular day. But on a bad day, it could be 5. I organise them into “minor” and “major”, like in a driving test. I know it sounds daft, but if I didn’t have an established system then I would really be struggling.

In: Can you give me some examples of minors and majors?

Can: Yes. Minors we are all more familiar with as commonplace mistakes, ones that do not have a direct impact on the others around us. I can cope quite easily with them, as long as they do not appear en masse on my record. Too many minors in one day, equates to a major flaw, in my opinion. Because why am I not learning from them?

In: You still haven’t given examples.

Can: Ah, okay. You’re right. Minors. Dropping my pen. Letting my hands shake as I go to retrieve it. That’s a minor. Others…pausing for too long while I try to think of the word I need, or somebody’s name. Turning in the wrong direction when somebody calls my name. Letting my porridge overflow the bowl in the microwave. Tripping on the pavement. Interrupting somebody without meaning to, or mishearing somebody. Waking up later than I intended. Bumping into somebody.

In: These are indeed, commonplace. I’m sure there are more significant things to focus on in life. Does this not occur to you?

Can: If you drop your pen, you may “oops” the mistake into submission and perhaps on some subconscious level, address the need to avoid doing it again, at least in the near future. I usually engage in this process, but have to compound this avoidance into a physical task, such as trying to keep myself still and composed. It plays on my mind for too long, but if I try to still myself or focus on one small physical aspect, then I can move on. I think there was a time when I used to laugh at myself if I tripped or displayed general clumsiness, but nowadays I don’t find it funny at all.

In: And what about majors?

Can: Majors are instances in which I struggle to forgive myself. One unit could be the cumulative minors for the day. Or it could be a mistake which I consider to be significant, an error that has caused annoyance or wasted the time of another. It is often a mistake at work. Or I could knock an item out of somebody’s hands. Tripping over my words several times in one sentence. Accidentally misinforming somebody, despite having been supplied with the correct information initially. Giving somebody the wrong directions. Letting my mind go blank, and struggling to say things out loud. Displaying a lack of common sense.

In: How do you forgive yourself for these mistakes?

Can: If I do not reach the limit I’ve set myself, then I can usually brush off the day’s mistakes, and let myself start afresh in the morning – depending on the severity of the worst mistake made. A day with only minors is something I feel in control of, they are merely subsidiaries of a malevolent company. If I reach or exceed the quota, I start to panic a little. I don’t know if that makes sense, panicking a little? It’s like it’s a familiar panic, the case set of nervous symptoms but amplified internally. Basically, something has to be done.

In: What has to be done?

Can: Well firstly, I have to keep track of my daily progress. For ease of access, I usually mark a dot or a tiny line on my forearm in pen. This really helps, as my memory is notoriously terrible. Then when I get some time alone to assess what impact I have had on others, I can decide whether the dots warrant punishment. Please don’t think I’m crazy for doing this, I realise it sounds bad. As I say, if I did not have a system, I think things would be much worse.

In: Can you talk about the punishments?

Can: I’d rather not, but I can show you.

[…]

In: I see. So you have a system, which is utilised on a daily basis, is that correct? I presume you have already asked yourself this question, but do you think the system works? You say that your memory is terrible, do you mean to say that if you do not keep a physical record of your mistakes, then they would be forgotten?

Can: It hasn’t always been in place, just intermittently. There are periods when I don’t find it necessary. The mistakes are always there, always. The frequency has always been consistently high, pre-and post-system. It’s if I feel I can cope with them normally, that has me reverting. Perhaps it’s a fluctuation of hormones. Something basic. Regarding my memory, the physical record I find necessary because it condenses the list into one single day. I do remember my wrongdoings but in the immediate aftermath, I try to block them from my mind. If it pops up in my head on a later date and I have not addressed it, I feel like I have lost control.

In: Why do you think you feel this way? Why do you think it’s necessary to punish yourself for what others might describe as trivial mistakes?

Can: Because in their frequency, I am not learning from them as I should be. They should not be happening as often as they do. In this lies the potential to make huge mistakes. What if I endangered somebody’s life, by neglecting a basic principle of health and safety? How can I ever be trusted with any level of responsibility if I can’t master the basics? What it boils down to is sheer stupidity, and it’s entirely unacceptable to me. Maybe I feel punishments are necessary because I need people to know that I’m not okay with how I’ve let my mind develop. Operating at this level of stupidity is not something I can ever be settled with. So yes, maybe it’s just the aesthetic of guilt that I have aimed for, and it’s all superficial, and all entirely worthless. I am trying though.

In: What are you trying to do?

Can: To be better. To step outside my own head from time to time and see the bigger picture. To realise that I don’t have problems, not at all. Things could be so much worse.

In: Do you not think that your system stops you from doing that? I would think that looking in the mirror and telling yourself every day that you are stupid, is merely perpetuating the issue.

Can: Maybe you’re right. There are so many inconsistencies in my argument, because it’s not an argument anymore. It is purely how I perceive myself, because I see it as fact. Many people have witnessed instances of my incompetency, there’s no stopping that. I have witnessed the incompetence of others, but in my entire life I have never met anyone who is as stupid as I am. I can have a system-less period, and still see it. Someone will ask me a very basic question, and my mind will immediately jump in all directions other than the one I need it to, the one that contains the correct answer, or an acceptable one. It is only later, that I will sometimes realise what I should have said. That is just not acceptable, not at this frequency.

In: Do I take it that on this logic, you think that people who have limited control of their minds and bodies are also stupid, or worthless?

Can: I don’t think that. Please don’t accuse me of thinking that. I can’t even begin to perceive the concept of human worth. We all have a place here. What I find difficult to understand is why I can’t improve, even the slightest bit. On an academic level, I had relatively good grades. That must mean I can apply my mind to some aspect of life? Not the everyday though. The everyday, at least at the moment, is what matters to me. One of my friends once told me that I am the most stupid-smart person they had ever known.

In: What did you take that to mean?

Can: I suppose that I can use my mind to maybe pass a test, or compose a sentence. But I can’t use it to behave competently in life. Bothersome is probably an understatement to this testimony, for I believe it to be true. Essays are tiniest portion of the vast spectrum of life experience. Why can I not stretch my mind beyond that? I am capable of something, why can’t I extend it to what matters to me? This bothers me, more than any aspect of my being. There are so many more flaws in my character, but being stupid is what burrows into my everyday perception, with no release.

In: Do you think you share this perception with any of your friends?

Can: I know that a lot of the people I know are plagued with anxiety, or depression. Their struggles are all so much more tangible than mine. I don’t even have struggles. And they manage to set them aside and be confident, social, intelligent, purposeful, hardworking, wonderful people.

In: Have you spoken to them about this before?

Can:  On occasion. I do find it difficult. I am not known for my verbal dexterity.

In: Have you spoken to anybody else?

Can: Yes. Again, I find it hard. I genuinely believe that my stupidity is something I will always carry with me. I lack good instincts. I mishear people a lot. I stutter. I shake. I have to have a mental pep-talk with myself just to get into somebody’s car, or go to work, or talk to somebody one-on-one. I have no physical skills, I lose at games, and I trip over invisible barriers. I learn too slowly, there are gaps in my mind when I seek the most basic area of knowledge. I don’t understand puzzles, or perceive space poorly when I’m moving around. I misjudge the world.

In: There is a clear picture building. You do seem to be harbouring a severe lack of self-esteem, I’m sure you’ve established this yourself. And you believe you may never improve. So why do you think you’re still here?

Can: I don’t know. Like I said, I try to perceive each morning as a chance to get things right. To make fewer mistakes. To be there for people when they need me. To learn from my errors, and gain fresh perspectives. I am so incredibly grateful to be here. I don’t ever want to leave. There isn’t a day that goes by when I am not inspired by others. I set myself daily goals to reach what I want to achieve in life. All that is different, is that I look at the marks on my skin and remember that I never what to have a negative impact on somebody else’s life, ever again.

In: I think we probably have enough for today. How have you found today’s session? Do you think that you could be our candidate for improvement?

Can: My chest is still tight, my hands are still trembling a little. I feel as though I am in the same place, but I have acknowledged how I am feeling for the first time in a long time. I think this is a good thing. I hope I will be your candidate for improvement. I do hope you see something in me that is worth keeping, no matter how small it is.

END RECORDING.

 

 

Letters to: Danny

I quite like this format of writing little letters to my surroundings. As someone who struggles to tap into her emotions on a face-to-face level, this feels like a stress-free method of showing my appreciation. It’s strange isn’t it, how even the shyest of us find ourselves turning to the side to face the audience and voicing our soliloquys as if our fellow actors and recipient of our words can’t hear. Like you’re cupping the side of your mouth with your hand; it’s easier to say these words to a screen, through a keyboard, rather than to a face, with your voice. Let’s call it the modern interpretation of old-fashioned love letters, pouring out your heart onto the length of a piece of paper to give these captured feelings a sense of permanence. Is the verbal format not convincing enough anymore, or long-lasting? Do I need validation from outsiders that my relationship is at the very least, adequately staged? I hope not! I genuinely just want to share how much I appreciate various aspects of my life, as I don’t feel like I do it enough. I want to pick out these moments of happiness and lay them out on a crisp white bedsheet. This is a format that I find comfortable to work with. So if you can bear this level of schmaltz, then here are a few letters to a man I’ve known for four years.

Dear Danny,

First things first, thank you for letting me stay over many years ago when I drank half a bottle of JD at your flat and passed out on the sofa. Shall we have another round of the Game of Thrones drinking game for old times’ sake?

The bounding. Every now and then when I’m getting on with studying and stressing a little, you will bound into the room and give me a kiss, joyfully announce “STUDY KISSES!” then bounce out of the room and back to your business. You are a happy kangaroo, and it’s genuinely the sweetest little thing. People introduced you to me as a grumpy sort of fellow…I’m definitely getting more of a Tigger vibe.

Your nest. For messy folk like ourselves, our sofa nests usually reveal a lot about our characters. Your nest tends to consist of: Several blankets, including a Deadpool one and a Broncos one, your tablet, your Xbox controller, two pillows, a comic book, many crumbs, a few coffee-stained mugs, often a miniature sword, and a salt and pepper shaker.

The Gaming Face. I tell you it’s adorable, you do not accept it. It starts off kind of soft and mildly concentrated, then you start to bite your lip intently, then once you assemble yourself cross-legged and leaned forward, then it is ON, and the mouth opens in mesmerised determination.

Surprises. I can’t count the number of times you’ve surprised me with something incredibly thoughtful. When I ask you why you’re so bloody lovely, you usually shrug and simply say “I’m not, I just want to do these things. Everyone should want to do these kind of things for people.”

The little brown fleck in your eye. I do suspect it’s the source of all your powers. In the Summer, it looks orange on a clear day. With your long hair and slender figure, there is definitely a touch of Elven in your bloodstream.

Puzzles. A natural problem-solver, it’s bloody brilliant to watch the cogs whirring behind your eyes as you get stuck into something tricky.  I believe you can do anything, and it’s so comforting to see you draw energy from these accomplishments.

I am overwhelmed by your constant support. I don’t expect it, or anticipate it, it just happens, and  you never make it seem like a chore to do. Thank you for organising all of our bills and outgoings, and for finding us our new home, and for picking up extra shifts for me at work when I’m struggling for cash. Thank you for making me smile even when I’m at my most anxious and strained (it’s a lot.) You listen to my nonsensical rants and offer solutions no matter how ridiculous I’m being, or breathless I become. I feel like you’re this wonderful solid mass that props me up when I’m slipping on a sheet of ice, and I appreciate it so damn much, I really hope you know that.

 

Your Rosie

x

(AND YOUR SKIN IS ALL SOFT AND FUZZY LIKE A PEACH ESPECIALLY YOUR BUTT THE END.)

 

 

Letters to: Our New Home

Recently we moved house, and it is by far the cutest little situation we’ve been in. Here are some letters I have written to various objects now that the ‘settling in’ period has passed, and we are in full-swing dwelling mode. The dullities of your every day life sometimes need appreciation too.

Dear Kitchen Windowsill,

You are the shape of an arrowhead and harbour the rusty brass solar system (and a bunch of daffodils) with such class. I want to cool pies on you in the summer, would that be okay?

..

Dear Yellow Paint Splashes on the Blinds Upstairs,

Thank you for making me feel less mortified about dying a small portion of the bathroom floor red after dying my hair. But I will honestly try to treat you less like a paint palette in the future.

Dear Purple Flowers That Have Popped Up Rather Suddenly in Our Mini-Garden

Hello!!! You are the loveliest things to step outside to on the morning. The rate of your growth is miraculous, keep on bloomin’.

Dear “New Home” Cards on the Fireplace

Can we leave you up forever? You make me so happy. Yep, okay!

Dear Washing Machine

I still cannot believe that you can be programmed to come on just before I wake up, and in a mere 30 minute wash you can blitz away all manner of food encrustment on our clothing! You BABE.

Dear Lock on the Bathroom Door

You don’t work very well, but that’s okay. We all have our shortcomings, and sometimes the one purpose we assign to ourselves is the one that we struggle with the most.

Dear Combi Boiler

I think we may have finally figured you out, and after the initial week or so without hot water, I want to give you a hug every time I see your little flame ignite.

Dear Back Garden

You exist!! Our very first garden! I have such plans, SUCH PLANS, including acquiring deck chairs and sitting in you with a cider and a book on fresh spring days, or doing gentle yoga with candles in summer evenings. Nice to meet you!

(and finally)

Dear Congregation of Cats That Live In Our Cul-de-Sac

You like to sit on our drive as we come home from work, and stare at us with the unnervingly placid air of a mafia boss about to dispense severe judgement. One of these days I half-expect to see one of you slowly pull a gun out on us. How can we earn your respect? Let us know.

 

(End)

Rosie

x

TMI of the Month! (March Edition) – P&P, or Periods and the Pill

Hello my lovelies!

It’s time for another healthy dose of Too Much Information. Today I just wanted to have a little chat about my experience on the combined oral contraceptive pill, which I’ve been taking for four years now. When I first spoke to my doctor about going on the pill, I was popping in for antibiotics to deal with a rogue water infection. He was a tad condescending and asked about my job, my hobbies, if I had a partner, how much spare income I’d say I had – and then followed up with “So how would you feel RIGHT NOW if you found out you were pregnant? Right now.” “I would feel…not great?” “Exactly.”

So after some discussion of my options, and a healthy discussion on the risk of blood clots, he put me on the combined pill known as Microgynon 30. Containing ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel (synthetic versions of the natural sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone), this has been the basis of my pill-consuming life for a good three years.

microgynon

Largely, it’s been a good experience. To break it down:

  • PERIODS

I’m not going to beat about the bush, my periods have been infinitely more manageable. They used to be routinely heavy, very painful, and a bit of a battle for a good 6 days each round, with a final lighter day to finish it off. I would struggle to keep on top of tampon changes and live in fear of “The Leak”. Thank you to all of my friends who have been there for me to check the back of my skirt for unfortunate mishaps. There’s nothing more terrifying than the strong suspicion that your period armour has failed, and the boundaries have been breached. (Once at a wedding party, Christ.) Since the pill, my first period was much lighter, still pretty painful, but noticeably different. All subsequent periods (I should start referring to these as breakthrough bleeds) settled out into a very easy-going light flow, painful every few months but generally wonderful. Hypersensitivity in pre-menstrual stages however, remains just as horrific.

  • BODY CHANGES

I was informed that some side-effects such as weight gain may follow. I probably have gained weight in that time but I think it’s mainly down to my love of cheese, more than anything. My skin has stayed the same (always a magical combination of dry/oily/blemished), but what has definitely changed is boob size. A definite cup-up and the need to buy a whole new hoard of bras. It’s not a problem for me other than having to form a makeshift hoist with my forearms when I run up the stairs sometimes.

  • MOOD CHANGES

These have been my nemeses. I’ve always been a very anxious person, awkward and guilt-ridden. And about a year prior to starting the pill, I started having irregular panic attacks. I do not know where they came from or why they would be triggered, but they incited a vicious circle of fear, which probably encouraged them. A few months after taking the pill, I had an immense bout of them, and all I could conclude is that when I felt out of my comfort zone or was unaccustomed with my physical environment, they would come on, or even the pre-feeling of breathlessness which I sometimes found worse, as it could last for so long (or what felt like so long). Thankfully I have very understanding friends and family, and a most understanding partner. At the time he would talk me through these moments and ask me to focus on something, when my mind was concocting all sorts of worst-case scenarios. I also started to have horrendous mood swings, more than I’d ever had before. I would feel so bitter, terrified and uncooperative. I still have ‘down’ moments these days but to nowhere near the same extent – it was an incredibly poisonous feeling, as though I wanted to sabotage everything I had worked for. To this day I do not know whether to chalk my moodswings down to coincidence, or the reshuffling of my hormones.

 

One day I called my doctor to request another batch of pills, and I was informed that they would be switching over to “Rigevidon”, supposedly the same pill (well, containing the same ingredients), just under a different name.

rigevidon-contraceptive-pill

The only difference I feel after levelling out on Rigevidon, is that the days of the week are printed on the back instead of the front, where you pop the pill from. How silly!

 

I’m not recommending the pill by any means, when it all comes down to it this is a process of filling your body with synthetic hormones and overriding your menstrual cycle. It is a most unnatural experience and there are of course, side effects. I’ve considered other options however, and decided that this is the route I want to take at this time in my life, when I don’t particularly want any children in the next few years and I hope to stay with my partner. I try to take my pill at the same time every day, and if I’ve ever ventured beyond the 12-hour window then I’ve either been immensely careful, let my partner know, or used other forms of contraception. This is not something I wish to trifle with. In essence, I’m currently happy with my contraception, but I am still very aware that this is against the natural flow of my body. But then again, the natural flow of my body may want me to produce children on a regular basis and that is simply not my cup of tea. For now I take the synthetic route. I am very grateful to live in an age where contraception is a viable and free option for me, though having debuted in 1960, it is still a project in its infancy. Do the increased risks of cervical/breast cancer, migraines, higher blood pressure, infertility, blood clotting and strokes scare me? They certainly do. The quick blood pressure test and height/weight analysis every 6 months does little to calm my nerves on that front, but its a start. I honestly don’t know where I go from here. Should I have listened to my body as it threw increased panic my way and simply reverted to condoms? What will be will be? Also a scary prospect.

So how do you address contraception, and your body’s needs? I’m interested to hear stories of other methods, and the way the body responds to them. Until next time.

Rosie

x

 

Plan With Me! March 2017

Hello my lovelies!

With a tad more promptness than previous Plan With Me’s, welcome to my March effort. Mascot of the month is this scrawled yet dapper March hare, the design of which I nicked from pub signage. There’s clovers and dots and the pens which I should never use as they bleed unceremoniously over the page, but nevertheless, I must keep reminding myself that my journaling is not about the pretty. It’s about the changes it generates in my daily life. Take Exhibit A, February: All of my  monthly goals barring one (apply for two jobs) were achieved, with minimal difficulty. If I hadn’t set them in stone as time-limited tasks then I highly doubt I wouldn’t gotten round to them unguided. They may not have been particularly groundbreaking (Florals? For Spring?) – but I still felt them necessary. I stretched every evening (or morning), I took the time to read more often, I replenished my savings as best as I could, I got my hair cut after nearly two years of scraggly ends, I went back to the gym after a shameful hibernation, and I dedicated each morning or evening to proofreading and studying. The majority of these I believe I can set as attainable habits.

(I have noticed how particularly scruffy this month’s layout is by the way… I shall blame it on the fact that I was watching The Last Leg as I was designing it, and it ended up being a sort of freehand effort as that show is too damn hilarious to divert your eyes for too long.)

Until the next blog

Rosie

x

 

Plan With Me! (February 2017)

Hello my lovelies!

A super-quickie today. Also super late. I’ve relied rather heavily on my bullet journal this month, it’s been my guiding force in a world full of uncertainties. I feel like I’ve stepped up a gear in productivity. Though I’m still struggling to lower my mistakes and uselessness I’m finding that getting shit done is a suitable distraction. And there are many things to be done, no matter how superficial they may seem – we must be productive, no matter what.

Yes, my February mascot happens to be a kilt, complete with sporran and a practically eye-rolling quote from Outlander. My obsession continues.

Until the next blog, I have some studying to do!

Rosie

x