Study Buddy

I’ve started my Wicca diploma and let me tell you, I am not a natural academic. I find studying super hard, not least because it is so easy to get distracted.

I often thank my lucky stars I grew up and went to school when I did. Had I had to contend with my phone and the pressures of social media, I’d never have got the handful of GCSEs that I did. Even then it was hard enough, I’m not a good exam taker and my ability to retain information has never been brilliant. That’s only gotten worse over the years.

And yet, this is why I want to do the course in the first place. In addition to learning to be a good, strong witch obviously. It’s about challenging myself. I think I’ve worked hard to believe myself that not all intellect can be measured by a piece of paper. Some of the brightest and most interesting people I know didn’t go to uni and that includes me. I might not be the sharpest tool but I know I have emotional intelligence and that counts in life. Sometimes more than anything.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to achieve academic things though and this online course might not even class as academia itself – but it matters to me.

So here I am. Even the first section of this diploma has not been easy. I’ve read it over several times and have still had to dip back in to answer the questions in my first assessment. I don’t want to do it by halves and it’s okay that it doesn’t come naturally or easily. Nothing worth having ever really does.

I think I’ll be okay once I set aside some proper study time. Plus, cute stationery. I’ve already got a witchy notebook and some nice pens, and the note-taking is coming along swimmingly. That’s the main thing, right? I’ll keep it up because it is very interesting and something I’ve always wanted to learn more about.

I’ll be my own best study buddy, you’ll see. I got this.

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Academics, what’s your creative/study process?

Horror Friends

It is a mistake to fancy that horror is associated inextricably with darkness, silence and solitude. ~ H.P. Lovecraft

neonbrand-A59lWOrZVnw-unsplash
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Ever since I read this article, I’ve been thinking about adult friendships. I’m lucky to have a selection of people I can make plans with when I want to (and who understand when I don’t) – but I realise it isn’t always easy to make new friends or meet people who are into the same things as us.

Ages ago my friend Matt ventured the idea of signing up to the Meetup app and setting up our own horror club because he’d noticed there was a gap in the market in Brighton. We never got around to it because procrastination and Christmas won out but now I’m thinking we should try it again. Why can’t we combine our love of horror with meeting new people?

So I’m going to start looking into the feasibility of doing it. It will be like a book club but with horror movies. I’m thinking we’ll set homework two weeks before each monthly meet and then discuss it in a group in the pub. There are no hard plans. As you might be painfully aware, I’m not a details orientated person unless it comes to writing. I’m happy for it to start light and loose, and evolve into something more solid depending on the response.

I think it sounds cool though. What I am conscious of is that I’m a big follower of several meetup groups on Facebook and so far I’ve been too anxious to attend any of them on my own. So I should probably start being braver about doing those too. I don’t want to be a nervous host at my own meetup!

If you’re part of something similar, a book club, etc – what do you like/dislike about it? What would you like to see? If you’re in Brighton, would you join my club?

Unicorn Store

Unicorn Store (2017)

A woman named Kit receives a mysterious invitation that would fulfill her childhood dreams.

Starring: Brie Larson • Samuel L. Jackson • Joan Cusack

*Minor spoilers*

A real quickie on Brie Larson‘s directorial debut, which appeared on Netflix this weekend. Reuniting Samuel. L with his Captain Marvel co-star, Unicorn Store is as whimsical and abstract as they come.

Kit (Larson) is a woman-child not doing so great. Failing at art school (at least in the eyes of her beloved professor), she finds herself back home, living in her parents’ basement. Her parents are well-meaning enough (played by blog favourite Joan Cusack, and Bradley Whitford) but are distracted by their new pet project and employee, Kevin (Karan Soni).

Adopt me please, Joan

Channel-hopping one day, Kit stumbles across an ad for a temp agency and decides to join the rat race as a new and improved version of herself. One who dresses appropriately for the office and drinks coffee.

Kit does pretty okay at her new assignment, particularly when her quirky nature catches the attention of her (creepy) boss – but her focus soon shifts onto more magical things when she receives a series of mysterious invitations to a secret location.

Someone didn’t get the memo about Wednesdays

At The Store, Kit meets The Salesman (Jackson) who puts her through a series of tasks to prove she’s ready for the ultimate challenge – to care for a real life unicorn. Yep, I told you it was whimsical.

Kit, you see, has been dreaming of this since she was a child and there’s practically nobody else more qualified for the role. Still she has to prove she can keep it fed and surrounded by all the love she can, which means making sure her relationship with her family is in tip top condition.

When she hires Virgil (Mamoudou Athie) to help her build a unicorn stable, it seems like she might be opening herself up for a different kind of connection but how’s he going to take news of the unicorn?

Virg(il)ing on the ridiculous

While this is sweet enough and I did appreciate it, it’s perhaps just a little bit too cutesy for me. I stan Brie Larson so I was on board with the character of Kit – and I do appreciate a surrealist indie. I really enjoyed Virgil too, a somewhat reluctant partner-in-crime who soon gives himself over to the concept of adventure.

Larson’s increasingly flamboyant wardrobe definitely deserves a mention as does Kit’s assistant Sabrina (Martha MacIsaac), who harbors her own dream – to open an Etsy store selling jewellery shaped like miniature food.

Will Kit get her unicorn – or is all an elaborate con?

US is abstract but really it’s about putting away childish things and accepting adulthood – while still keeping just a little bit of magic back. Which is a cool message and one I personally endorse.

⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Old Wounds

As a person who worries way too much about what other people think of me, I often agree to things I don’t want to do.

Nothing crazy, just meetings that don’t really hold any value for either party involved, that are arranged just to tick a box. An obligation box if you will.

That might sound harsh but surely we all do it? I’m trying so hard to be more honest about these things, to only agree to things I want to do, see people who bring me joy – treat my down time as something special, a currency to be used wisely.

This week an old, old friend of a friend contacted me about meeting up as she’ll be in the country in July. I mean, we’re Facebook friends and everything but the basis of our relationship was always my old best friend, the one I broke up with nearly seven years ago. They were in a relationship and I hung out with them a bit when I lived in Vancouver.

When she contacted me it felt rude to say no even though my first instinct was to ignore her message. She hasn’t done anything wrong. But really all we ever had in common was my OBF and she’s not someone I feel like talking about over a pint any time soon. I’m trying to let go of negativity, not rake it all back up.

But saying no does not come naturally. Anyone else the same? It doesn’t mean I’m selfless or saintly, it’s more that need I have to please everyone. It’s exhausting.

But after a pep talk from my friend Darren, in which he made me see I have the right to leave the past where it is, I told her it wasn’t something that would work for me. I told her I’d moved on and that I had no interest in looking  backwards again. And you know what? The world didn’t implode and she doesn’t hate me. We’re still Facebook friends.

A lesson was learnt in that simple action and I suddenly feel quite strong. I’m learning to let go and give myself what I need. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to ever again (except go to work). I don’t have to please everybody all the time. There is always a way to be kind but firm about your feelings and it’s a revelation. Aged 40 I’m still learning to be honest.

Now who else can I cancel?! (Kidding).

Ten

What, just chilling over here with my mirr'r
Wha? Just chilling over here with my mirr’r

I didn’t do yesterday’s 101 challenge because I couldn’t find anything that really got me excited. This may have been down to being at work and having time only for a cursory glance over the Community Event Listings.

I am trying to play better, I promise. I’ve found some lovely blogs over the last few weeks. I lieu of the assignment, I am going to study my navel and ponder the fact that my stepson in ten years old today. Ten!

It just doesn’t seem possible that the tiny boy I first met, from whom I so desperately wanted just one sign that he thought I was okay, has grown into a beautiful, fiercely smart and hilarious bigger boy.

He was four when he first came into my life and I will be the first to admit, although I wasn’t against the fact the love of my life had a son, I definitely hadn’t prepared for it. Of course he lives with his mum so it wasn’t as if I’d walked into a scenario where I was expected to be Mum but still. I guess I hasn’t really thought about how I would handle it at all.

My previous relationship had involved two girls from a previous marriage and I cringe when I think how awful I must have been when they came to stay. Not because I was horrible, though I am sure I had my moments, just in that I was so detached for most of my six-year reign that they must have wondered if the lights were even on (They weren’t).

We now all enjoy a good relationship albeit from afar since they are in Derbyshire and I’m here, down South (minus the horrid boyfriend) so something went right in the end, but I think of that time often and would change the way I was then in a heartbeat, if I could.

With B, it was different. He’s a boy for a start, so an alien (or so I thought). His mother is local, so she’s more present in our lives. Which is a good thing for B, of course, to have us all within spitting distance.

You might know this, you might not, but I have never wanted children. All I can say when people ask me why is, “I just don’t”. It’s not a witty retort to the eternally irritating and over personal line of questioning people assume they have the right to use, however, that’s the truth.

But I do love my stepson.

It has taken us both a long time to get to the point we’re at now. It’s taken tears and heartache (mine). Utter bewilderment and slight annoyance (his) but we’re here; both in one piece.

It’s not easy to give your love to a person who is too young to understand it, who only sees things in black and white. Or share your loved one with somebody else, even when you know it’s a completely different kind of love.

I doubt it’s easy to go and see your dad as a child and have to deal with a woman you don’t even know, for that matter.

Now we have a funny kind of dynamic; I play my role of the desperate Step Mom vying for his affection and he gets it, plays along. And when he shows love, or appreciation, or admiration – I die.

Happy birthday B. You’ll likely never read this but this one’s for you, kiddo!

Adult Visions

Prompt via The Daily Post (23rd July 2014)

As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?

I always thought that when I finally became an adult, I would feel like one. That hasn’t happened yet.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t own my own house or have a ‘proper’ job. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have children or a car. I don’t know. All I know is that it hasn’t hit me yet.

When I was a kid I don’t know what I expected from life. I was a live in the moment girl (I think). I loved music and dressing up but I didn’t dream of white weddings and horses like many of my peers. I suppose I assumed it would just happen and I would do all the things people were ‘supposed’ to do when the time came.

I have done some of it but most of my decisions in life have not been very sensible. I guess I equate adulthood with being sensible then. Although, I’m casting my mind back and growing up the only adults I really spent time around were my Mum and her cousin, Aunty Sine.

Both these women were my ultimate heroes, even though Mum was terribly uncool at times (guys she’s my Mum, of course she was!). I think I looked to them as such because neither of them needed a man to get through. Their situations were very different but they seemed so Can Do and found strength in each other. I think maybe I found strength in their strength (plus apart from them, I was surrounded by smelly boys and Star Wars toys, so had little choice).

Later on, I did turn to men for the things I thought I needed – but give a girl a break, at least I learnt eventually that’s just a crock of sh*t. Ultimately, the only hero you need to save you, is you. *VOM!*

Despite these two ladies dragging us up by the scruffs of our necks, all by themselves, I wouldn’t describe them as particularly sensible. I remember the bottles of wine once we were in bed, guys… Maybe then, being grown up is about strength; about just getting on and doing life the best way you know how?

I’ve had some cray jobs (dating agency, adult material mail order, turkey plucking), went travelling instead of going to University, fell in love with stupid boys (who hasn’t?). I’ve lived alone (for a bit) in a strange foreign city, accepted a free tattoo from a man who lives in a hut in Thailand; all of these things make up the fabric of my rites of passage and the end result is: I’m still just a kid at heart. Sensible? No, not really, but strong? Better believe it!

The most grown up things about me, to date, are: 1) I always pay my bills on time 2) I’ve committed myself for life to another human being and 3) I’ve filed my own tax returns (in 2010 and 2011).

So, to recap: how far off was my idea of adulthood? Pretty far, I guess.

I though 30 was ancient and I assumed I would have kids because Mum did and so did Sine. I don’t think I actually pictured the man I would end up with (and I like to think that’s because then, I didn’t even want one).

I thought I’d have a better job, maybe something creative like fashion designer or an artist, like Dad (shame I can’t draw for fudge). Beyond that, I don’t think I had the normal expectations. I knew I’d see the world, make friends, be happy.

Guess really, I’m not such a bad non-adult adult after all, huh?