31 Oct 2020

Three words

In September 2019 (six decades ago, right?) I booked myself a ticket to join Intention Seekers, a guided workshop run by Holly June Smith. She's a life coach and a wedding celebrant and very wise and eloquent and kind. An all round good egg, they'd say.

Intention Seekers is a satisfyingly-worded workshop which helps you to dust off your foundations and reconnect with, or even identify, your values, needs, and wants. I won't go into it all because SPOILERS in case Holly runs it again, but I found it incredibly helpful, wholesome and strengthening. The bit I do want to go into is her final task: choose a word that will ground you for the next month, season, year...

One word? Impossible. I'm a copywriter, I like words, but to pick just one? A nightmare. You couldn't pay me enough. 

So I chose three. Fuck it. Three words to act as a lens through which I made my future choices, dealt with future feelings, and bring me back to my foundations when I was in a kerfuffle. 

Boundaries. Energy. Intention.

I didn't really expect to be using them during a year of break-ups, bereavements and banned-from-doing-nice-things-and-seeing-loved-ones pandemics, but there we are. These three words were truly put to the test and I found them powerful. This is what they mean to me...

8 Sept 2020

Dear Louise, by popular demand...


Hello... how are you? You nearly-40-year-old in 2030, you. *sweats*

I hate to ask but, um, are you still alive?

When I wrote a letter at 16 years old to my 26-year-old self, I never considered that I might have actually died in those next 10 years. It was all future and hope, not death and misery. Imagine not thinking about death, like, 96% of the time. Bliss. 

Anyway, I hope you're still alive.

5 Aug 2020

Weren't we lucky

Whenever we used to visit my grandparents, my nan would come to the door, open it and say, 'No thank you, not today!' and it'd be hilarious and we'd all laugh. 

Grief's a bit like that. Approaching the outside world every morning, saying, 'No thank you, not today!' and laughing at how silly it all is. Because what else can you do but laugh? 

Whenever my grandparents visited and left ours to go home, my nan would roll down the car window, give a royal wave, and call out, 'Bye, Sarah! Bye, Catherine!' and we'd all laugh as if calling us by the wrong names on purpose was the funniest thing in the world. 

I would give a kidney for her to call me the wrong name now. 

My nan, Doreen Joan, died 129 days ago. She was 82. It would have been her 83rd birthday today. I said when I wrote about her dying during a pandemic that one day I'd write about her - just her and everything she was - so today seems fitting. 

Which is an absolute lie, because no day is fitting to write about your glorious, silly, kind, funny, stubborn, childlike, caring, interested-in-anything-and-everything-about-you but now dead nan.

8 Jul 2020

Dear Louise, again...

Ah, fuck. 

10 years ago today, 8 July 2010, I wrote a blog post called 'Dear Louise...'. It was a letter to my future self from 16-year-old me. I wrote it, I published it, and I told myself not to read it again until I was 26. Today. 10 years later. A decade later. 2010 to 2020. It's happened. We're here. Time has done the thing. I'm about to read it and reply.

CAN YOU SENSE THE EXISTENTIALISM. CAN YOU. Buckle in and hold my damn hand.

7 Jun 2020

Luxembourg (February 2020)

It's like Luxembourg City has its own model village

We all know I am not a spontaneous person. I love a plan. I love having a million tabs open, literally and metaphorically, and I love being and feeling prepared. I love feeling like I'm getting the best out of every morsel of energy and every penny spent. So, when I found myself booking too-expensive flights for my friend Claire and I to go to Luxembourg two weeks before we were due to go, that's when I knew 2020 was a true shady lady...

17 May 2020

Sense and flexibility

The holy lockdown symbol, praise be to the banana bread

Every morning my neighbours, in their 70s, run up and down their (very big) garden. Every single morning. In their running gear. Early. They've taken to self-isolation like ducks to water, which is impressive considering they were truly living their best retired life by going on 2,837 cruises a year and were rarely to be seen at home.

Watching them from my bedroom window (creepy) has become a staple of lockdown life. I love watching them run, do the gardening, walk up one side of their garden together with their hands behind their backs to inspect their carefully kept plants, take tea and a plate of biscuits to the bottom of the garden in the afternoon, and hearing the bell that she rings for him to come inside for dinner. It's all oddly idyllic, considering.

5 Apr 2020

She died, I think

They say when someone dies, you want the world to stop. You want everyone to be sad. You want the world as scheduled to pause and reshuffle and not ever be the same again. You want everyone to observe the fact that this incredible, integral, powerhouse of a person has gone, and how dare anyone try to carry on as normal. Why are you laughing? Work? Well, what's the point? Why are you going out, what could you simply want to be doing? Just stop.

My nan died a week ago. She didn't die from coronavirus but did die during coronavirus, and there's no difference. The rules are the same. There are rules, now, with dealing with death.