31 May 2018

The May Edition

May was lovely but it would have been better if I did a lot less crying…

What I did

I did my 2017/18 tax return on our balcony in my dressing gown and sunglasses while I basked in the sun, because what else would I want to do on Bank Holiday? I’m disgustingly organised, yes, but now I know that my money is mine and I haven’t got to think about big tax returns hopefully for a long while, now I’m employed full-time! *opens Skyscanner… ok, clicks on the Skyscanner tab, like I don’t always have it open…*

Speaking of our balcony, we sat out on it a lot this month. The weather has been bafflingly good. We’ve eaten our dinners out there, drank gin out there, and silently scrolled on our phones for hours out there.

OUR HERBS ARE BACK. We attempted to keep fresh herbs too late last summer, so this year we’re on the ball. We have our mint, coriander, basil and chilis on the go and I AM SO EXCITED TO BURY EVERYTHING I EAT IN CORIANDER, don’t @ me.

I had my annual summer chop. Touch my fresh ends. TOUCH THEM.

I finally wore my Petts Wood Runners shirt and represented at a race - The Beckenham Relays. I was absolutely cacking it but everyone assured me it was fun. And it was! I mean, the hills were hell and running full pelt for 2.6mi because it’s a race and you can’t let your team down and there are SERIOUSLY FAST AND SERIOUS RUNNERS THERE made my legs like concrete jelly the next day… but it was still fun!

What I thought

It was two years on 22nd May since Ryan’s mum passed away, so there was obviously a lot of thinking back to that time, and of her and the family, and feeling sad but oddly hopeful… and curry ordering and more gin drinking and telly watching. So much has happened over the last two years that I’m angry she had to miss, but she’d be so proud. Anyway, fuck cancer.

One Tuesday night when I got home from work, I burst into tears and didn’t stop crying until I was on the train into work the next day. It was… quite something. I just couldn’t stop, and I don’t even know what I was upset about. Nothing had happened, I’d had a fine day at work. But I did have to put my book down on the train home before I sobbed my cold heart out, so I think that was the catalyst. The main character was going through an upsetting realisation and was talking about loneliness a lot, and it stabbed me in the soul. I haven’t felt like myself over the last few months and my self-esteem has been shot. I can't think straight. I feel like I can’t talk to people without them thinking I’m an idiot, and I’m beating myself up after any conversation. I don’t feel creative or focused, or just that I’m a nice person. I’ve convinced myself I’m actually a horrible person who does horrible things and treats people badly. Wherever I am, I feel like I’m not wanted. I’m retreating and keeping quiet in some self-preservation tactic. I’m convinced I’m not liked and that people think I’m rude or fake or undeserving. I'm over-analysing every word I say and every move I make. I haven’t been Louise. My personality, which I always quite liked, has been locked away and taken over by this anxious, sad, self-hating ghost. It's rubbish.

After I had that big cry, things have been a bit better, like all my emotions had a big shake-up and realigned themselves. But then I had a big cry again the other night after Ryan fell asleep. Out of nowhere. I couldn't stop. I don’t really know what’s happening. Somebody said that starting new job, no matter how wonderful it is, is still a big life change and can turn you inside out a bit so I should give myself a break. Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's hormones, maybe it's my diet. But maybe there's no real reason. Maybe this just happens.

Where I went

We went back to Essex one weekend so I could get my haircut (I don’t dare get my hair cut by anyone in London because 1) £££, and 2) get away from me with those scissors, take my hair on a date first), and get my mum to help us do the herbs. 

In Essex, we did Hockley Woods parkrun which was bloody hard but really lovely. It finishes on a hill and I dragged myself up that fucker so I finished without stopping. I ended up 1st in my age category and 8th female finisher!

We did Highbury Fields parkrun after Jess, my friend from uni, said she was coming up for the weekend with her mum - both keen runners. Jess was one of the first people to recommend parkrun to me when I started Couch to 5k, and she was the only person to tell me not to do the London Marathon last year. She thought I wasn’t ready, which was totally fair enough and I respected and trusted her honesty… but it did just make me want to do it more, so I did and she ended up super proud of me. We’ve been trying to do a parkrun together for years so it was great to finally do it! I also got a colleague out so we had a proper little gang.

For the Spring Bank Holiday we went down to Portsmouth to see Ryan's family. We did Queen Elizabeth parkrun (notoriously hard course) where we debuted our 50 t-shirts, watched Ryan's dad in a play, visited family, went to Bognor Regis (if you don't look it in the eye, it's actually quite nice) and ate a lot of food. 

What I read

I finished Power by Naomi Alderman. I didn’t like it and was quite disappointed. 

I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. What a book, man. Five stars. Amazing characterisation, fantastic writing, a heart-wrenching but hopeful story. You might need to put it in the freezer two-thirds of the way in, but it’s worth it.

After reading it, I happened to stumble on this article by Emily Baker about loneliness in your 20s. It’s a great and true read. 

A friend shared this blog post written by her friend who has ovarian cancer and it’s a blisteringly fantastic piece of writing. Such a well-crafted, funny and poignant blog post about something so personal and awful. I love Rosa, I want her to be my friend, and I never thought I’d be so entertained and engaged by a stranger’s cancer diagnosis. 

This column by Ella Risbridger on dealing with grief in a digital age is beautiful and true and tough.

What I watched

I got my hands on some cheap(ish) Kinky Boots tickets and took my best friend Ash to see it. We’d both banged on about wanting to see it for ages, so we were chuffed! We only usually see each other at each other’s flats where we cook for each other and drink gin, which is lovely and chill and cheap, but we deserved to treat ourselves. And it was great! Admittedly, not as great as I’d hoped, but still really great!

We watched Gifted on Sky Go. Great film, highly recommend.

Our monthly cinema trip took us to see Deadpool 2. THE BEST. It was better than the first, imo, and that never happens.

Like everyone else, we watched the terribly-scripted-but-for-some-reason-we-still-watched-it Safe on Netflix.

We caught up on every episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, despite it involving Clarkson. I loved it. I love Who Wants to be a Millionaire. I’m mildly obsessed, like when I was mildly obsessed with Deal or No Deal when I was, like, 15.

What I was thankful for

Friends who can cook. We went to Ash and Ben’s flat for our standard monthly dinner date but man, those two are culinary geniuses and put us to shame. They look us a Middle Eastern feast and made cocktails that we drank on the roof at sunset like true awful millennials.

Ryan. The end of May will always be a tough time and I love him a lot and think he’s great. And that’s as gross as you’ll get from me.

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