Fear Inc.

Anyone else petrified of everything these days? I’m a grown ass woman who shouldn’t in theory by scared of anything (according to my dentist on account of all the tattoos) but the truth is – I am.

There are a handful of serious things that keep me awake at night, just like anyone but they are circled by a cornucopia of lesser explored fears and sometimes you’ve just got to write a way too honest blog post to get them out of your system.

My fears at the moment in no particular order of scariness:

  • The crumbling of society as we know it due to Brexit (I’m thinking it will look a lot like the opening of 28 Days Later but with a few more people dotted about)

  • The opening of 28 Days Later (and waking up alone in a hospital)

  • Zombie apocalypse because it could happen

  • Home invasion (probably should stop watching HI heavy horror movies)

  • Climate change

  • Paper cuts

  • Paper cuts on my eye balls

  • Birds, literally any bird is the enemy (and the owls are not what they seem)

  • World War III

  • Not living up to my true potential

  • Having to try and live up to my true potential

  • Accidentally Replying All to a serious group of colleagues with the Dancing Ron Swanson gif

  • The painting I had in my bedroom as a child, the one with the eyes that followed you – I know she’s out there somewhere

  • Human statues

  • Dentists (especially sarcastic ones who trivialise your anxiety)

  • Walking to work and forgetting to put on clothes (reoccurring dream, anyone else?)

  • Sharks

  • Everyone finally working out I’m an imposter

  • Imposters

  • Ghosts but particularly mischievous poltergeists

  • Sharks that have adapted to walking on land

  • Falling asleep with my bare feet poking out of the covers

  • Donald Trump

  • Misspelling the world ‘Count’ on anything work related or a text to my mother

  • Mimes

So you see – everything scares me and it might be about time to woman up. Fear is a social construct just like the concept of time and the beauty ideal – and I can kick it in the face if I choose to. And I choose to, just as soon as I get over my fear of not knowing my own strength and finally finding out.

What scares you?

*I wrote this for work and thought I’d share it here too ‘cos it was fun to write.

Amazing Grace

I don’t do enough freestyle posts and I think it’s a shame. When I first started blogging it was very personal, almost like a diary of what I was doing on the daily. At least once a week I thought it would be nice not to overthink things and just go with what I’ve been up to.

Lucky for us I actually went out at the weekend for a change and have something of note to report! I also hung out with the one and only Grace Jones. Well, if you don’t count the hundreds of other people between us. More on that later.

This weekend was Brighton’s own version of Christmas: Pride. The build-up to this weekend has always been immense. All the shops, bars and restaurants put on their rainbow clothes and the whole city is swathed in colour. It never looks better than it does right now.

This year the festival welcomed Kylie (the original and best Kylie OBVIOUSLY) and the crowd went wild. The parade too was a raging success – and I avoided them both completely. I just couldn’t bring myself to take on the crowds this year but I did have quite bad FOMO. Pride has been such massive part of my personal history and memories. This was cured by Sunday and the LoveBN1 Festival, to which I won tickets at work (for this piece).

Honestly, I was in two minds about handing the pair of tickets over to someone less hermit-like but I knew my friends Matt and Helen were going so I tagged along with them. I was promised a much more chilled day that the carnage of Saturday – and that’s exactly what I got. The headliner was Jessie J, an artist I’m not that into (Helen loves her) – but who turns down the opportunity to witness the OG Grace Jones in such a setting? Not this guy!

Along with the House Gospel Choir (who were wonderful), Grace was the highlight of the day and maybe even my year so far (along with Neneh at the Roundhouse). Honestly, I thought I knew what to expect but I really had no idea – she must hail from another planet. She’s absolutely stunning and I loved her set. Admittedly, I wasn’t that familiar with her back catalogue but it’s right up my street, very reggae inspired. She was also a total wit, demanding wine from an assistant, changing outfits on stage while chatting to the crowd – and being scandalous in front of the children (she said, if any of the kids ask if she’s a man or a woman to “tell them I’m a woman, wearing a man” and came out wearing a strap-on).

She hula hooped for the last number which I believe was Pull Up to the Bumper. Basically, she is the ultimate queen and I’m forever obsessed.

Pull up to my bumper baby
In your long black limousine
Pull up to my bumper baby
And drive it in between ~ Grace Jones – Pull Up to the Bumper

Anyway, we had a great time. It was so chilled out, just the three of us. The drinks flowed and it didn’t rain too much – all was full of love. I feel so lucky to have both of them in my life – they inspire me to be freer and do more interesting things but I can also totally be myself with them both. You don’t get that every day.

Now it’s Monday afternoon and I’m still feeling slightly delicate from yesterday. My body aches from the walking and the dancing, I’m sooo tired – but I feel good.

I feel great actually – just like Grace.

How was your weekend?

Mid-Year Resolutions

I actually didn’t make any concrete resolutions for 2019. Not as the bells rang it in anyway. Later I would vow to stop shopping and the less said about that the better*.

But we’re six months into the year (SIX MONTHS WHAT THE FUCK) and I thought I’d revisit the concept of resolutions and change, and maybe set down some small goals for the rest of the year. Also, I saw someone else had done this on their blog and it sounded like a good idea.

So. A few things I’m going to focus my (un)pretty little head on for the rest of 2019.

Clothing

Damn, I need to hang up my clothes. I have so many lovely things and I end up wearing the same outfits all the time because they’re buried deep in the corner of my room. Not only should I be looking after my clothes so they stay nice, I should be letting each piece enjoy their moment in the sun. Who am I to deny any of them?

I’ve actually got a day off today – and I know I should pause Bridesmaids for the 41st time, and go and do this immediately – yet, I’m not going to. I’ll take care of it at the weekend, that’s only a day away. Sorry dresses.

Journaling

A long long time ago, when I was backpacking around Australia and in love with a pretty but terrible Aussie dude, I was obsessed with keeping a diary. I had diaries when I was a kid/tween, obviously but traveling actually gave me something to talk about finally and so did the hot, sweaty sex I was having with Philip (with one ‘l’).

I think I might start one up again, not to record all the sex I have (or don’t, I’m married) but to record moods and important feelings. It’s old school and I like the idea of pretty blank pages paving the way for a torrent of truth. Then again, what is this blog then, if not a journal for my true feelings? Well, I don’t think I have to tell you that although I am candid here, I don’t talk about everything. I mean, I share my anxiety all the time but I leave the depression and the really destructive thoughts out of it. They need an outlet too.

Walking

I really need to stop dropping my hard-earned shrapnel on buses when home to work (or work back home) is only a 20 minute stroll. I’m a lazy toad and I’ve been better lately but I need to follow this goal through.

With fully charged Bluetooth headphones and a library of untouched podcast episodes, there is literally no excuse not to be moving. I feel so much better when I do it – fresh air, a bit of exercise, good graffiti on the way – it’s a no-brainer.

Homebodying

As with the clothing situation, I also want to start being more houseproud. I can be a little slovenly sometimes (ALL THE TIME). Alas – and also yey! – I married a man at the exact same level of fastidiousness as me. This means we’re slobs together and there’s nobody really to motivate the other to do better. Sometimes, this is sheer, messy heaven but there always comes a tipping point eventually. I’m here now.

Eventually, we want to buy a place and I would like to do that as a forty-something woman who has a home ready so anyone can drop by, unannounced. I mean, not literally, that’s totally unacceptable – but in theory. How hard can it be to stay on top of things? I might also start buying plants. FUCKING HELL.

Witching

After I shared this post on social media, one of my best friends in the whole world sent me the loveliest message about how he too has been practicing and finding comfort in witchcraft. Which made me feel really good and solidified all the reasons I want to explore this in the first place. How lucky am I to be surrounded by people who instinctively get me?

So I’m definitely going to set aside time to study properly and really focus on what this practice can bring me. I’m really excited about it.

How are your resolutions going? And, if you didn’t make any – how’s your 2019 so far?

*I actually haven’t been THAT bad, I’ll do a new update shortly. Update #1 is here.

Best Friends Day

I’m thinking of holding an audition for a new best friend.

I used to have one. The same one for fifteen years but the relationship grew toxic in the end and it had to stop. Even though my life has been infinitely calmer and better in the time since, I can’t pretend I don’t miss having a BFF.

I guess honestly I do miss her too. But there’s no going back. Too much water under the bridge, too much life lived.

Maybe I’m ready to belong to someone again? The exact opposite of what I said three years ago. I am very good at being my own bestie. I treat myself better than anyone else ever could, and I know what I need. I’m what they call self-aware.

But sometimes I still feel sad I don’t have that one ride or die. I have close friends, don’t get me wrong. I love them dearly and they love me – but they all have their own best friends.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just the fact it was ‘Best Friends Day’ yesterday and Instagram was awash with lovely tributes but I’m lamenting the topic hard this morning. I’ll get over it soon and go back to the stance that I’m happy as I am – and I am – but let me have this now.

Is true Best Friendship for me like true romantic love? Is there only one big one to be had in this lifetime?*

(I have to be clear this isn’t a reflection on any of my friendships, they’re all important and also, any one of them is eligible to audition for title of Ultimate BFF).

Silly, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter. I guess we all just compare ourselves to what everybody else has. I haven’t been short changed and I don’t need someone to label me to live a happy life. It’s just sometimes, in the dark moments before I drop off to sleep, this is one of the things I think about.

Oh, and things I’m looking for in the ideal best friend?

  • Funny
  • Can keep a secret
  • Non-jealous
  • Understands I’m an anxious wreck
  • Respects my need for space

I don’t mind a boy, a girl or non-binary human being, I don’t care about age. Just a decent person who accepts me for who I am.

Know anyone?

This post is brought to you in part tongue-in-cheek.

*I’m not even sure about this.

Stubborn is as Stubborn Does

Self-doubt is something I really struggle with. There’s almost no situation in which my inner saboteur doesn’t have an opinion. It can be as simple as getting out of bed on a Monday morning and the inner voice will tell me I can’t do it – and for a split second, I usually believe her. It takes a lot of effort to shake it off. However, there’s a big difference between being told you can’t do something by your own anxiety – and being told you can’t do something by somebody else.

OH HELL NO.

I’ve found myself in countless scenarios where someone has doubted my ability to do something. I once did a 300-foot bungy swing just to prove to my Horrible Boyfriend™ that I wasn’t a wimp. He mocked my fear in front of everyone so I felt obliged to prove him wrong. It was the worst five minutes of my life and I hard swore all the way down BUT I DID IT. In fact, looking back, that philosophy could be half the reason I ended up in such a bad relationship in the first place – my friends told me not to date him and were dumbstruck that I’d go for someone so…  unlike me – so I hung on for dear life. How I wish I’d listened.

The moral is, if you tell me I can’t – I’m going to do it.

This stubbornness in the face of doubters can be seen as both a positive and a negative. It can lead as described above to some truly inadvisable situations – nobody needs to swing from a 300-foot height for no reason. Nobody. And nobody needs to date the so-called ‘bad boy’ (LOL) for six years just because everyone’s telling her she can’t. It’s the Romeo & Juliet effect without any of the romance.

But being told you can’t do something and proving everyone wrong can be incredibly motivating too. When people don’t believe in you the way your best friends, mother and the drunk girl in the toilets do, it’s satisfying to wipe the smirk off smug faces. Or rub their stupid smug faces in your success. Anyway, who doesn’t cheer on their friends and loved ones in the first place? This world has enough issues as it is – ones that are getting worse – can’t we just be cheerleaders for everyone we know?

It’s a shame I didn’t have this attitude back in high school when my biology teacher told me I wasn’t smart enough to be a vet, isn’t it?

*Another recycled work post.

Paranoid Android

A quickie! I’m having a creative slump AGAIN so can’t be arsed to get into regular posting at the moment, even though I’ve got shed loads of reviews piling up.

I’ll get to them at the weekend I guess.

It’s just sometimes life is hard and I feel tired and slightly depressed. Not enough not to function but enough to know I’m not myself. I’m also doubting myself a lot and I hate this feeling the most.

There’s a lot to look forward to this weekend though, I’ve got a London trip with eleven girls to look forward to on Friday. It’s not my usual scene a group that big but I enjoy every one of them, so it’s going to be fun.

Last weekend we went to a Mormon wedding and it was gorgeous, so full of love and generosity. And the groom, my work bestie Josh, asked me to be his witness. Hashtag blessed to be part of his history, officially.

I’m trying to hold on to all the beauty in my life. I know I’m loved and I’m lucky and I have my health and a roof over my head. What use is there worrying I’m not good enough? I’m good enough to sign a wedding register, I can get through this week. I can get through anything – the rest of this year, Brexit, global warming – this life. I have to keep telling myself that.

I’ll shake it off and be back to normal service soon. Just give me a minute.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

Juices

Every so often (very often) I become a master procrastinator. I may have a list of 78 things that simply must be done RIGHT NOW but there I am gazing at my navel and wondering who would play me in the cinematic biopic of my life (Philip Seymour Hoffman is no longer with us so I guess… Bette Midler?).

I’m in a creative rut just now and it does not feel good. I am all for being engaged with something that gets those creative juices flowing – whatever it is. For me it’s writing, watching movies (and talking about them) – and reading.

I’m reading a very heavy book at the moment about the Charlie Manson murders and while it is fascinating, it’s also very courtroom-heavy. Who knew when it was written by chief-prosecutor for the trial, Vincent Bugliosi? It’s great and right up my street as a true crime obsessive – however it’s getting me down too. All that murder and mind-control will do that to you.

As a result I have recognised areas in which I can make small changes to pep myself up again and get that creativity back in my life. Which I’ll share now because I need to beef this post up somehow.

Here are a few of my favourite things to do to try and ditch the blues:

Walk This Way

I haven’t actually started this yet because I’ve had a lot of late nights this week and no way am I walking home alone at night in this cold – but now that it’s lighter in the evenings and relatively bright, there’s no excuse not to get stomping from A to B. Or is it Z? I guess it depends how much you have to do.

Exercise is always name-dropped in relation to well-being and the proof is in the pudding. Nothing feels better than getting those lungs pumping and that fresh air in through your nostrils. You don’t have to be bench pressing 120 kgs to be getting the benefits. To accomplish this (which admittedly after a hard days work I’m not always up for), I add another well-being favourite to the mix.

Podcasts

Yes I like a lot of dark stuff, namely horror movies and true crime – but there are other podcasts I listen to sometimes about relationships, books, body image, mental health… to be honest by now there must be a podcast for every topic imaginable (something I must research one of these days).

Slapping on a new episode and leaving the flat on a dry day has wonderful benefits, both physical and mental – plus you get to learn interesting and obscure information you never even knew you needed to know. It’s like college on the move.

Graffiti

This is something that really makes me appreciate life. When I walk around Brighton I’m naturally drawn into the secret corners of the city. If I’m going anywhere by foot you can bet I got there via a maze of unloved alleyways and side streets.

Brighton has amazing street art and graffiti, you just have to keep your eyes open for it. I wish I had even a quarter of the talent these artists have. There’s quite a famous saying that goes something like “Those who can’t, take pictures of it and share it on Instagram.”

Just Say No

This is probably the hardest item of the well-being list to keep to because even though I’m a hermit-at-heart, I also suffer from FOMO. But saying no is important sometimes.

Honestly, I’ve only learnt how to do this quite recently in the grand scheme of my life – and it’s empowering AF. “Do you want to come to a BBQ this week with all my work friends?” ~ No thank you very much! See? So satisfying.

I Think We’re Alone Now

This is so fricking important, I can’t emphasise it enough. If I don’t get sufficient time alone during the week, I turn into Godzilla, fiery breath and all. I just can’t be around people all day every day and yes this can be a challenge when you live with someone. Luckily, my husband understands (and doesn’t want to be around me just as much) so we make it work.

I also take myself on dates from time to time, mostly to the cinema but anywhere I feel like going. It’s the best – and I get to eat all the sweets without judgement.

Nailing It

Self-care in the form of pampering is probably the most recognised form of well-being – and there’s a reason for that. It’s good to take some time out and make yourself feel good – be it a posh bubble bath (with lashings of Mister Matey) or a full body tissue massage – and it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

My Thing is getting my nails done so I feel extra fancy. Luckily my place honours the above point and completely ignores me beyond asking me what shape and colour I want. I LOVE IT. No chit chat – and I’m in and out with new claws within 45 minutes. I love looking at my horrible fingers with coffin shaped talons stuck to the ends- I feel like I’ve really earned them.

Kiss

Not actual snogging (which is fine) but the song Kiss by Prince. There’s a law about not wiggling your butt when this song comes on and it carries a heavy sentence, so it’s best just not to risk it.

See also: Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot, Hey Ya by Outkast.

What do you do to get yourself out of a slump?

(This is a post I wrote for my work blog but I thought I’d share it here too).

Saturday

enjoy-6

I planned to wake up at seven but keep hitting the snooze button until just before 9. I’m supposed to make the first cup of tea on weekend mornings but Glynn does this morning. Only because I’ve agreed to make breakfast. 🍳🍞

I get up and queue up my film. It’s I Saw The Devil, a Korean horror movie. I can’t sort the subtitles so have to watch it dubbed in English. Sadly the dubbing has an American accent and is so goofy it takes all the terror out of a truly gory and tense serial killer thriller.

James messages to say he got stuck in Eastbourne and can we change the time to one. It was supposed to be 12. I’m cool with that. He hasn’t had a chance to catch up on this movie I’m now watching or another on our list (which is handy because neither have I). I continue watching this film anyway, as it’ll come up in a future episode, and I want to see it.

I stop the film to make breakfast, which is bacon, scrambled eggs, mushrooms and toast. It’s delish. Afterwards I take an extra long time putting on my make up. I love it when there’s loads of time, I really enjoy the ritual. The film is horrifying but good, though the dubbing definitely takes the edge off.

After the film I go back to bed with my book. Glynn is still in there, reading. James messages to change to 2. I realise this gives me time to make a proper lunch. We discuss it. Glynn goes to the shop to buy potatoes and tuna. I bake them.

After lunch Glynn drives me to James’. We have a cup of tea and I chat to his housemates while he sets up the mics. We settle down to talk for a bit as we tend to do before we start recording. We decide to record just one episode today, due to time. I don’t mind that either.

We hit record. We riff for half an hour before even starting on our first film. We cover some deep topics like love, death, cryogenic freezing and god knows what else (I’ll find out when I listen to the episode back). In the end it’s two hours long. It’s been very successful. We chat a little longer (off mic) and I get the bus home.

It’s absolutely pissing down and I get drenched. The bus gets packed and makes me feel anxious. I sometimes get scared I’ll get trapped up the back and never be able to get off. I have to take two buses to get home. An old man stares at my chest so hard I have to pull my coat around me. Yawn.

I get home around 6pm and run a hot bath. Glynn is making bolognese. I read while I soak. We all eat dinner together, which is delicious. Beau is here and we watch Pokémon: Indigo League as we eat. Beau goes back to his room to be an almost teenager and we start watching Mechanic: Resurrection. Twenty minutes in we stop the film, it’s too laughable. Even with Statham doing his best frowns.

We go to bed and read together. It’s knackering being creative. I love it though.

It’s still raining. ☔️💦

Sunday’s Girl

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TBH I just love this image

This morning my rut took me out of the flat and walking round the park, talking to my friend Lauren on the phone for over an hour.

Honestly, following the pettiest fight in the history of all fights with the man I married, I was looking to lick my wounds in Superdrug. A basic bitch go fuck yourself to the ‘man’, you know how it goes.

A couple of lipsticks and a contour kit later and I was over my rage and ready to go home.

Time to work on the little by little life plan, huh?

Lozza, on the phone, was talking about sorting out her life and I’m there too, ready to make some minor tweaks to make life a bit more exciting.

Expect to hear more about this. Hell, I’ll take suggestions if they’re good ones, truly.

My first thing is to take myself out more. Me dates. I love that feeling of gently meandering around, processing thoughts, dreaming.

I need to get myself out more on Sundays, that’s for sure. Even if it’s just a walk in the park.

My Week in Pictures – March 17 to 20

PicMonkey Collage

This edition of My Week in Pictures is sponsored by cake, and dedicated to one of my favourite people on the planet, Tatty of tattyfrankland.com who celebrates her 21st birthday on Sunday.

On Wednesday we celebrated her (fake) birthday in style with cake, crown and candles, before she jetted off to Sri Lanka yesterday. I am beside myself with jealousy and have been pining quietly (not that quietly) at my desk all day, while she frolics in the rain forest with the elephants.

Pictures, left to right, top to bottom:

  1. (Fake) birthday #selfie with the Queen Bee
  2. I’ve made a conscious effort to record my Outfits of the Day this week. I personally bloody love an #ootd and I think they can be great for recording the days you feel good about yourself, which I am. So, yey
  3. My beautiful girl, Tatty
  4. This amuh-zing table in Presuming Eds was sending me subliminal (yet somehow not that subtle) messages while I caught up with a work friend over coffee. As we supped our favourite caffeine treats, we made a pact to view each other’s CVs next week. Neither of us are exactly overjoyed about our working situations at the moment, and both need a change
  5. Rocking polka dots for the obligatory bathroom #ootd
  6. This great piece of bizarre and beautiful #brightongraffiti (is it still graffiti if it’s basically a big sticker?)
  7. Tatty making a wish. I wished for cake, and I got it straight after this picture was taken #winning
  8. You can’t really see the print or the colour in this image, but this is my favourite dress, given to me for my birthday by my sister-in-law #ootd
  9. Do-nut criticise me for my love of baked treats, okay?

On the subject of photography, I have fallen hopelessly behind on my #photo101 assignments. But don’t worry. I’m going to try to use this weekend and next week to catch up!

Happy weekend, all!