Sunday, 21 September 2014

Punk Rocked.


Would you believe it, once upon a time I was a wannabe actor with stars in my eyes and a lump in my throat... I studied A Level Drama, at Sussex Downs Park College in Eastbourne, two trains away from my sacred sweet little hometown, in unknown territory that I would wake up at 5:35am to get to each day. I studied English Literature, French, Drama and Sociology. I desperately wanted to do Photography, but had already allowed myself one frivolous fun subject of study – Drama – so a second was out of the question. I just lived vicariously through my friends who were brave enough to take arty A Levels and not back them up with a safe academic discipline.
Drama was my outlet – eventually. I wouldn't have known it on my first day. I was running late, lost in a tiny three-storey building, and as far as I knew the entrance to the black box theatre was through the double doors on the Learning Centre ground floor. I ran politely and timidly up to the doors before gently pushing them open; a ring of sixteen year-olds wearing jeans and hoodies sitting on the shiny black floor turned to stare at me as I dithered awkwardly in the doorway. A woman with a sleek dark bob – one off-blonde highlight streak near the front – wearing a massive skirt and stripy shirt plus some decidedly retro beaded jewellery looked up from a heavy folder lying at her knees, fire in her eyes, and spat at me: 'You're late, and the entrance is round the side door. Move.'
I burst into tears as I ran, somewhere between the Law classroom and the Photography corridor, and my many bracelets and bangles (which went all the way up to my elbows and inspired a blog URL) jingled and made me sound like a sniffling reindeer – ludicrous, as reindeer live in the North Pole, so surely they've adapted and never catch a cold. I slid into the circle of students on the floor – literally, my jeans burned my butt as I puffed and panted and hoped nobody had noticed me. I'd adopted a new personality at college in the past week: invisible commuter chick with average grades. A new stance: head down, hands in pockets, lips tight. It was working – I was on top of my homework, I had no needless dramatics, no worries, and... No new friends. It wasn't an ideal personality or stance to be present in a black box theatre twice a week, but oh well.
We left the room an hour or so later, bewildered by yet ready for the year ahead. I walked to my French class in the Tyler building, following an armoured boy who I was vaguely aware had sat near me earlier on in the theatre. He became my best friend. He'd pass me notes in French, not in the language just as a distraction from learning the language in class, and partner up with me eagerly in Drama lessons. I was honoured he even looked my way, as he was one of the best actors in class and the coolest guys in the group who hung out in the conservatory. He even had a motorbike, for goodness' sake. He'd actually ask me for girl-related advice quite a lot – nowadays of course, he's swanning about London dating regulation hotties left right and centre, and he hardly ever requires advice, just a shoulder to cry on and an ear to rant at when they turn out to be demented cuckoo birds wearing too much eyeliner. Bless him.
That snappy Drama teacher, sarky Essex girl-turned Royal Holloway graduate dating a genius playwright who refused to buy any clothes from mainstream high street stores, opting instead for pre-owned charity shop bundles, and had a teensy generic star tattoo on her upper arm, the epitome of underage rebellion... She became my idol. I worshipped her; I kissed the ground she walked on, I ordered the coffee she brewed and I read the plays she'd mentioned, even in casual passing, even in utter disdain. I just wanted to be her. I wanted to hang out with her outside lessons – once or twice I even accompanied her round the back of the building when she needed a 'sneaky fucking fag break'. I just stood there and let the smoke waft up my nostrils, coughing subtly over my shoulder and then sucking in the fresh air before turning to face her again as she imparted her infinite wisdom about the world between drags. After my English Lit exam retake I walked into the theatre, into the midst of everyone getting prepped for a performance exam, in a complete daze as I was brimming with certainty that I'd failed Lit again. Nicola locked eyes with me, raised her eyebrows when she saw my panic, and I told her I was sure I'd fucked up. She dropped her many folders and ring binders and pulled me in for a hug, stroking my hair and saying over and over that I couldn't possibly have fucked up – we'd had a few hugs by the end of the year, and they were always just the best possible medicine. I'd never realised that I'd always needed a teacher like her.

My sister started college recently, the same college I went to way back when, and she has had trouble with the adjustment transition nonsense – understandably! It's hard moving to a new place, two trains away, to study things that you want to pursue and get experience, get to grips, especially when the kids who are studying with you have all lived in that place for their whole lives and know each other from primary school at the latest. All I could think was: she needs a Nicola, and a Pugwash.

To the point! After expressing my sisterly concerns and indulging in many nostalgic revelries...
Tonight I found out (via Twitter, my source for all news, TMI moments and general hilarious quips) that my uni's esteemed performing arts society are putting on three shows this year; a musical, a play and a devised performance. The play is Simon Stephens' 'Punk Rock'.
I performed in this play at the end of my AS year at college. I read the script in the weeks when my teacher was busy casting us all in three plays (all Simon Stephens, all mind-blowing). Much as I'd love to tell people I would be starring in 'Pornography', I wanted to be a smarmy school kid in 'Punk Rock'. So badly. With every fibre of my being. I figured I'd get passed over, though. I'd be the grandma in 'Port', or the poor chick who gets shot through a pillow in 'Motortown'. 'Punk Rock' was too hardcore for me.
I was cast as Cissy Franks, girlfriend of the closet-gay school bully Bennett Francis and a prissy bitchy queen bee. Outspoken and outrageous, trodden down by her boyfriend but putting up a sassy front for her classmates. I was instantly out of my depth.
'Cissy. Cissy? CISSY, though? Are you kidding?'
'I think it'll push you.'
As always, she was right. Partly because I was so stupidly worried that my Drama peers, specifically the others in the 'Punk Rock' cast, all of whom were magnificent actors and so good-looking, would see me as the 'weak one', the crap cast member who dragged down the production, someone who'd been given a part as a shameful handout... All of that. Little did I know these cast members would become important friends soon enough. One was already on my side – my new found bestie. He played Chadwick Meade, the school punching bag, the 'absurdly clever puppy' who knew how many galaxies there were in the universe (about a hundred billion) and was a little too quiet at times. I remember the evening I was poring over my script in my bedroom at 8pm, cutting the parts our teacher had deemed unnecessary (it could only be fifty minutes long, sadly), when I came across the page on which a lot of bullying is taking place, Chadwick is being made to wear a classmate's lipstick and is relentlessly teased by my character's boyfriend, then I saw I'd have my very first onstage kiss* with this poor boy. I called him and we laughed about it over the phone.

*not that shocking, as my only onstage experiences before this were high school Christmas pantomimes in which I played dancing apples and surfer chicks.

I was having one of those bullshit 'student review' appointments with my idol/teacher in her office, while my cast mates rehearsed next door in the dance studio. The magical lady told me I had infinite potential and needed to let myself dream; she also said I just needed to put a rocket up my arse before the final performance. Having taken inspiration from this, I marched back into the studio, threw my script dramatically on the floor and as the pages scattered all over the place because I hadn't stapled them together yet, I rehearsed the dreaded kiss scene for the first time. Big moment. One of the things I took from this, was that it's very hard to kiss someone who can't kiss you back. And on the night, the most important thing to me was that I didn't slip and fall in my rolled-up pleated skirt as I strode confidently across the entire breadth of the stage. Also, more importantly perhaps, I realised what I could do and the kind of person I could be. I didn't need to be consistently invisible, put myself in a box and just get my grades; I could let myself go and always reach a little higher. Although I ditched the dream of becoming a full-time actor and writing alongside as soon as I walked into my first Drama lecture at uni, deciding instead to stick with my guns and write forever while acting occasionally for a giggle, I still wouldn't change the experience for the world. Any dream, even a dream that fizzles out eventually, mustn't be ignored.
Something I've learned recently, too – it's okay to revisit pleasant memories, and to dwell, just for a little while. I can also always inject a shamelessly cheesy moral at the end when telling stories.

Dear Performing Arts Winchester, please do right by that excellent play, and make it a rich and beautiful experience for the cast – maybe they'll come away with some awesome stories, unlikely friends and enlightened perspectives just like I did.


I leave you with my favourite line of Cissy's.
'Teachers shouldn't have sex. They're too old. I find it really unnerving. The idea of it. All that old skin... Wobbling about.'

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Och aye.


The only opinion I have on the Scottish referendum which took place a little while ago, other than the obvious fact that I'd miss friends I'd made at uni not to mention their delicious accent should they suddenly detach with their homeland and float away out to sea – which is what I imagined happening should the result be a definite 'yay' for independence – was that the words they chose to vote under were not thought through, or thought through perfectly well and used to sway some voters, perchance. 

The Scots could vote simply 'Yes', or 'No'. The affirmative, the positive – or the negative. The latter was the issue, the presence of negativity in the voting.
'Yes' and 'No' are emotive. You feel like you're going against what's best or what the people want by voting for what you want, voting free, voting No. No is just as positive, it can be for some – and most, as it turns out. Yes is a bully, arrogant and assuming, making an ass out of you and me, getting off unscathed. Yes guilt-trips and doesn't apologise. Voting Yes supposedly says 'I am positive, I am for, this is happening, we're headed upwards'. Voting No allegedly means 'I hate change, I'm pouring my sense of adventure down the plughole, I'd rather have things the same forever; fuck ya, country that brought me up.' The Yes voters also seemed much more vocal about their decisions and while they didn't necessarily force the Yes upon others, they definitely discriminated against – by deleting from social media friend lists, or indirectly tweeting mostly – the braver No voters who came out of the closet and let the world know they'd be voting that way. No voters seemed to keep quiet for the most part, which is a shame as surely having 98% of the country's population register to vote means they are proud and happy to have a voice and to use it...? I'm not on any side as this isn't my country, in fact once upon a time my family wanted to visit Scotland and I protested so much (because I was very young and thought Scotland was simply a wet, freezing, bare monastery that stretched out for miles with only the occasional pub or kilt store to punctuate the ugly nationwide boredom) that we didn't go in the end. I'd happily go now – okay, maybe not right now, I'll let the rioters riot and the quiet ones be quiet for a good year or so first – as I know more about the place now, and what I don't know I want to. Let's just hope that the Scots will make peace, the 45 will join hands with the 55 and it'll all blow over, they'll hit the pubs for a knees-up and have so much Scotch they'll forget what they were resentful about.

C'mon, Scotland. You got this. 

Friday, 12 September 2014

IRL.

As a (desperate, wannabe, Upper Second Class BA Hons degree-holding yet still clueless) writer, I often fall into the same trap time and time again - before too long people in my life become characters in a story. I look at my friends, family, enemies and acquaintances, and I see them as people I can pen.

Whether it's my closest and oldest friends who star as my innocent charming protagonists, my teachers and lecturers who appear as parents, managers or general authority figures, or the random individuals I see walk by each day who will be supporting ladies and gents - everyone finds their place in a tale of some kind.

I'll admit that sometimes I have a sick desire to release some burning feelings of love, hate or anything in between, so I create characters and channel that into them. It's like being eleven years old and making a family on the Sims which consisted of a virtual me, the boy I fancied that week and a couple of playground besties, moving them into a mansion and having them shun their neighbour who was invented as a tribute to my classroom nemesis. It's like having that neighbour nemesis go for a swim and then removing the ladder into the pool. It's like having virtual me and the boy flirt-flirt-flirt-joke-joke-joke, kiss-kiss-kiss-Woo Hoo! It's therapeutic and satisfying beyond belief. If I'm angry with someone, I can just put them on the page and put them through it. If someone I care about is having a tough time and I can't help, I shower them with support and affection, and make good things happen to them on paper.

Mind you, sometimes I don't want to be too blatant. I'll base a character on someone I know, but not in such a way that it's glaringly obvious to anyone reading who may know said someone... For instance, someone I create who lives by the sea and has faded dip-dyed red hair, or someone who writes, pulls pints and loves macaroons, or  someone who has terrible taste in girls and rides a yellow motorbike. Subtle enough that select few will get it, others will just breeze on past it. 
However, sometimes my peers deserve more than just a gentle nod in their direction. Only once or twice I've actually named a character after a peer, made sure they look just the same, and given them similar or identical traits and interests. I always panic when doing this, though, because surely if I'm too specific I'll be watched like a hawk, and if I get something wrong or the character goes through some shit, I'll get some flack. Also, I worry that there are some people in my life to whom I could never do justice. There are some magical individuals I could never capture in mere adjectives and actions; some despicable idiots I'd never convey my disdain for convincingly enough. 

When writing my ECP, a piece of YA fiction entitled 'Everyone Else', almost every single person... Was a real person. The story came about on its own, with a little helping hand from reality. My protagonist could easily have been me, although the idea was that not enough about her was revealed so nobody can ever know for certain; a sweet introverted barista came into her life when I met my boyfriend, a mysterious too-cool colleague of hers actually would work shifts with me most nights, an art school student friend she'd only see once in a while for peppermint tea was a girl in my GCSE Art Textiles class, and a cocky playboy antagonist was of course a culmination of several men I've encountered in the past few years. 

+++ When I handed in the finished product, the weight falling away as I walked to the bar for my victory latte, it occurred to me that I should really set about creating an online presence for this piece. Not only do I love my blogging, but I'd also have the chance to create visuals of my characters - I could actually ask friends of mine, some of whom the characters were based on and some of whom had the perfect look, to pose for photos! So over the course of a week or so, I was frantically snapping and papping my beautiful and helpful friends who agreed to be my models. Before long after they were immortalised, they were edited and uploaded. I can never thank them enough.
http://and-everyone-else.blogspot.co.uk/ (Siรขn, Beat and Cole are who they are; Nett and Theo are interpretations - much more gorgeous than the original people, mind!)

I think every character I've written in the past has been (loosely at least) based on someone in 'real life'. Either that, or they are the embodiment of my deepest desires or pet hates. I could never just pull a whole person out of thin air, give them a generic name and simple appearance, and send them on their way. I agonise over naming characters - still caught in that classic childish minefield of not wanting to name them after people in my class/lectures/workplace unless they are meant to be that person in some sense, and not wanting them to have too-boring or too-obscure names. I'd also hate it if I finally settled on names, then kicked myself as I saw that they in fact echoed another piece of work myself or someone else put out there (in a piece I am currently writing, I named my two main characters Thomas, Thom for short, and Summer, Sum for short, then realised I was letting my love of 500 Days of Summer seep into my own work - also Thom and Sum are a strange pair of names when said together - damn it). 

Creating people, making characters, is one of the biggest perks and most underrated delights of being a writer. We get to invent our own worlds, universes, and populate them with our own beings. Although I personally cannot create without a little real-life inspiration - be it how things are, how I wish they'd be or how I'd hate them to be - some people have the power to bring things out of the clear blue, or out of the dark... I only hope that someday I can do that, too. I still have a way to go. Until then, I'll carry on creating my way.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Timehoppin'.

This app is a true friend to social media, and to those of us who love to revisit and revel in past events. The handy straight shot portkey to the past, right there in your pocket. However, sometimes certain past events need not be revisited. They need to be left to rest, put to sleep and brushed under the bed. Some characters in our stories needn't be given more screen time, and some days don't need a memory recall.
Put simply, Timehop breaks my heart. Ninety-five percent of the time, it's a kick to the gut and lemon juice on the wounds.

Five years ago, I wrote vague Facebook statuses about boys and the classic fifteen/sixteen year-old struggles. The worst part? They were all in third person, as I assumed this was how you did Facebook. Some gems included: 'has been listening to The Beatles all day, and now knows why you can't be friends with boys', 'needs to get out of this town like RIGHT NOW', and 'is attempting to do some homework'... Gosh, it's horrific. How naive she once was, eh?
Both four and three years ago, I was almost always travelling. I cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge, I visited family Down Under; I saw surfers, I climbed the hills, I played the slots. All good memories. I feel like they're thrown in my face now; I remember them as happy blurred tales, I needn't know the exact day. Four years later, on the day I cycled the bridge, I was working the second shift of my twelve-hour day at work, it was raining hard and I had toast for dinner. I fell asleep wistful - the wanderlust returned.
Two years ago, I was a second year. In the awkward period between party year and pressure year. Enough said. One year ago, I was inordinately excited about the end of summer. I'm dreading the first semester flashbacks for the next couple of months, but looking forward to November onwards. I turned it around last Christmas. So that's something.


The most upsetting thing about Timehop is when the app greets me as I wake up in the morning and shows me some photos of what once was. I see these photos, and they systematically bring me down. Nine times out of ten, I don't see the old me and feel happily nostalgic. I see who I was and remember what went on in my mind. I see the decisions I made back then. I see what happened right before, or right after the photo was taken. I see what started or ended, I see the events that led to it, and the events that unfolded for a long time after.


I don't see our swingin' sixties style homage; I see too many drinks, a hip flask of Jack, sitting opposite sweet memories and new hatred, taking care of the waster girl, hearing the worst version of the truth, being let go, storming out abruptly and crying in my housemate's arms. I feel the funky green trousers rip as I walk. I hear myself screaming in frustration on the pitch the next day, after being criticised. My head hurts as I recall the hard months afterwards, hiding, tiptoeing around and letting myself snap far too frequently.

I don't remember the sweet taste of my double, or the sight of the boldly pink hair hanging in front of my eyes. I vaguely recall the sheer thrill of running down the path towards the cathedral, holding my shirt in my hand, wearing a warm coat of booze and not caring what anyone thought. I then feel the sting of betrayal and the relentless stream of bitchiness and downright psychotic behaviour that came my way not long after. The taking advantage of awkward kindness, pushing it too far, tasteless Pinot Grigio, and childish immaturity.

I heard drunken rambling confessions in the toilet as the princesses applied lipstick, I saw people I thought I knew through different eyes, I felt like an object in blue. The dress was a surprise; taking it to the counter to hear the price had gone down to £5, wonderful considering at the time I had precisely £8.46 left of my overdraft and refused to go sober that night. I'll never forget the taste of doughnuts tinged with blue WKD, or the harsh jibes I received when I brought out my DSLR and tried to make pretty memories. I also think about how much it cost to colour my hair that yellow.

My heart breaks as I say goodbye to my happy school days; from now on the only time we'll be crossing that threshold is to sit on hard chairs and lean on wobbly tables as we scribble out hours of last-minute revision. Later that evening I rub magic marker off my arm, wash red spray out of my hair and climb into bed, smelling the fresh linen and sensing the end of an era. My school friends will move down the road, I'll be two trains away. I'll be forgotten. Someday I'll realise I was brave, I made a good decision, but right now it just hurts.


I cough as I battle a chest infection, I inhale menthol from across the table and stutter as I speak. I hear the line 'dressing up just to get undressed', and wonder if that's how you saw me at night. You're jealous, because something good is happening to me. Someone good is happening. Instant coffee is my enemy, as are my feelings and as are you - I'll realise that later. Things will quieten down, I'll be at sea, and pretty soon awkward bumpings-into will be all we have. And that's okay. I write poems in my mind, and they'll soon be cluttering up my blog. C'est la vie. I should have said goodbye, then.

This one can never have sad connotations attached - well, the only sadness I feel when I look upon this street is obviously the deepest yearning and surprising homesickness for the marvellous magic of halls, my first year, my time as a Fresher. Granted, shouts of 'Oi Fresher!' were unwelcome at best, but I'd go back in a heartbeat. If only for a day (and a night, perhaps). Terrible decisions were made, ugly truths faced, friendships fell apart every other week; realisations came around fast, skies cleared, parties kept us going. This photo is super-imposed on my bank card, and is a fail-safe screensaver. I long to go back to visit, and yet know it could never be the same. Bittersweet.

Okay, so maybe there is a sneaky five percent of the time, when the Hop does good. When I go back to a good place, it's always long-awaited, hotly anticipated and fully appreciated. Just as I make that decision to delete, to uninstall the offender, something beautiful comes along. Timehop Abe is like a fickle friend who delights in passive-aggressively torturing me, bringing up the past and acting innocent as he does so, but then every now and again he'll throw me a bone. I can't stay mad. He can stay, for now.


Also, I'm half-dreading, half-sickeningly excited about Timehop this time next year. That is, if I haven't trashed Abe once and for all by then...

The good, the bad; The bright, the sad.

Something I've learned recently, among a heckton of medical terminology and physiology paraphernalia... Let yourself feel whatever comes to you, but look for the bright side wherever possible.


Bright Side #1.


My surgery left me bed- (or rather, sofa-) ridden for a few weeks, and I was on some mighty steroids before and after the op - both of these combined led to me gaining weight, so now I have the most immense and unshakeable feelings of insecurity and even hatred whenever I look in a mirror, be it the cute cupboard mirrors in my friends' bathroom or the full length monstrosity in my bedroom. The bright side of this? Yes I have got a little bigger but it's made me want to work harder and eat healthier - it's a project, if you will. 'Project Back to a Ten'! Size that is, not rating, because let's face it, that won't happen any time soon or at all.
Weight gain also makes me that much more aware of my body, whereas a few months ago I was poisoning myself in more ways than one and not caring in the slightest. I can only get better, now. I'm well on my way already, being back in a very hilly city, living a fair distance from town and working like a demon at two jobs, plus eating fairly sensibly every (other) day... My steroids are slowly but surely wearing off, too. People are commenting on my drug-chub face slimming down, which makes me want to dance madly. 



Bright Side #2.

I've had to come off my contraceptive pill, and am currently looking into going back on it. Coming off for three months obviously brings on ALL of the unpleasant girly business; for instance my pill banished breakouts and shrunk my waist as well as calming down the dreaded hormones, and now I'm spotty, swollen, sore, chubby and grumpy. 
My doctors' surgery I've been registered with at uni saw me last week. The receptionist was dismissive and a little bitchy when I arrived early and asked whether anyone could see me a little before my scheduled appointment slot - then when I gave my name, panic crossed her peachy complexion and she flustered all over me, apologising for her utter failure in finding me a doctor who could see me a few minutes prior to my allotted time, asking if there was anything else she could do, if I needed anything while I waited... That has to be my bright side. Being greeted with respect and perhaps the cutest little dose of fear when I cross the threshold of my doctors' surgery, home to the doctors who didn't believe me several months ago when I first told them about my twitchy useless arm or take me seriously when I showed them my half-frozen face... Oh, if only they'd been right. Still, this little victory is stupidly exciting for me.


Bright Side #3.
'No, I can't remember that... It must have been taken out of my head!'

Sometimes, in fact a good ninety-something percent of the time, I'll joke happily at my own expense partly because it's hilarious (ofc), and really to remind everyone it's a-okay to giggle - Tumour Humour is encouraged.
Honestly, it's better than fawning sympathy or one too many intimate questions; while I'll go on forever telling my story and throwing in amusing anecdotes for those interested, poking fun and bringing about some laughter is always going to be the preferred approach to my insane issues. I'll laugh along when someone makes their own joke, every time. Make the most, people! Because I don't take much fun-making about anything else; for years my love life, my accent, my hair or my driving have been the subject of barbs and jests, and I'd actually rather hear a comment about my 'defective' brain be met with uproarious laughter.

My friends also actively encourage me to 'play the tumour card'. Whether it's just for when I get tired and need to sit down, when I don't fancy going to a party or night out, when I don't want to have sex (a ludicrous thought) or even can't be bothered to do a shift at work. 
Now, I've used it twice and immediately regretted it - but it has got a few laughs. Once, my best friend pointed out that I hadn't gone to his birthday party; I responded with a panicked shout of 'I was in hospital!!' He then thought for a second and then said 'No, you weren't! This was months before!' All our friends standing with us laughed so hard it echoed, and I felt awful but relieved it had gone down better than expected. 
Last night, I didn't like a card I'd drawn from the pile in a game of Cards Against Humanity, so I put it back and picked another, which is technically flouting the sacred rules - my boyfriend caught me, reprimanded me, and I timidly said 'Oww, my head hurts...' And brought a hand up to my scar. I was excused, and laughed at. 
So while funny at times, and maybe even deserved, I will not play the Tumour Card. I'm off the sofa now, and able to walk again, people shouldn't have to make crazy allowances for me - letting me off work or fetching cups of tea for me whenever I want.


Bright Side Wanted.

'It's just The Sads. Nothing to worry about.'

Now for the most frustrating (and apparently taboo) effect my operation has had, the one that took its time to take its toll...
I get The Sads. Every now and again I am seized by this agonisingly slow-moving, most unwelcome overhanging black cloud... I loathe the likening of sadness to a cloud, it doesn't do justice to the more elegant cumulus beauties or the superb violent stormy badboys, but in this instance I am forever in lack of a better word. It happens over the course of an hour or so most of the time, although sometimes it will last a few tearful minutes or a slump-filled day. I'll go quiet, most unlike me as I'm a champion chatter, shrink away from social atmospheres whether that means inching up the sofa a little or leaving a building completely; I concentrate on my breathing and any mundane everyday thought possible, I hang on to something comparatively concrete - myself. My mind is only so-so, it's vulnerable, flawed and weak, so despite my total lack of body love right now, sometimes running my hands over my ribs, feeling one leg shift against the other, or connecting my chin to my chest... It all helps.
It could be because I've thrown myself back into work at two jobs and distanced myself from my secure family home - apparently pushing yourself too far one day can set you back two weeks, and I've been pushing just a little too hard, maybe. I admitted to a physio recently that I may have 'jumped off the sofa too early'. In my defence, I love my jobs and the sofa life drove me mad with cabin fever. 

I've been told to 'find my feet' which helps relax you; I've heard soaking crystals in water and drinking will release the positive attributes of the stones; I've been advised that we are always in control, we humans. Sure, sometimes something comes along and knocks you over pretty damn hard, but at the end of the day the way we deal with it is all in our control, and can make it all better. It's naive, a little too simple, but ultimately it works. Remember whatever happens happens, and it's all meant to be. Take solace in the fact that you can embrace what you can control. You can turn a situation around.

I sometimes worry that my life will become an endless stream of this stuff. Everything will be hashtagged #postop. 
Then I realise that this little blip on my radar doesn't define me, not by any means. I'm not having an almost-quarter life crisis. I still have so much of my life to look forward to, so many incredible experiences that haven't happened yet, and some of the best days of my life still lie in wait. All I have to do is make it through this tricky stretch, and it'll be worth it. It's the same with anything - guys, have hope! 
Okay, pep talk over. I promise I won't dedicate this blog to this one big thing, and my next few posts will be much more upbeat. Cool? Cool. Coolcoolcool.
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