today is a day for trepidation and celebration.

Well. Despite having to cut nigh-on 1000 words from it (including the entire idea of society’s fear of women’s sexual agency being linked to the sublime, alas I am still not over this), my Gothic essay has served me well and I have passed the module with flying colours. I’m a mite worried about my other module – Modernism – but the grade for that is in the pigeonholes at uni so I will have to fret about that until I can go get it tonight. How well I’ve done overall this year mostly hangs in the balance of a piece of work I only submitted recently and whether a) it’s as shit as my anxiety thinks it is, and b) whether anxiety with a doctor’s note is good enough for the mitigating circumstances board. I don’t think I have a hope with it, but other people do, so we will see. I would hate to have fucked up my academic career because I was too afraid to hand in a piece of work I considered sub-standard (but was of a higher calibre than others in the class…)

I am now prepping solidly for next year – I have a stack of books, have ordered an even bigger stack of books (you honestly don’t want to know my expenditure on German poetry and Enlightenment philosophy this month – nobody should be spending that percentage of their income on Kant and chums), and made myself a bullet journal tailored specifically to the needs of my dissertation. I have begun my reading with Terry Eagleton and a new history of Germany and am making notes of everything I find interesting in the hope that a question or theme will present itself to me.

To-do

  • Pray / sacrifice / chant to any and all gods for some level of leftish success in today’s GE (if Cthulu wants blood to take away Theresa May, he shall have it)
  • Pray / sacrifice / chant to any and all gods for DREAM JOB to interview me (they said they would announce shortlisted candidates this week)
  • Stay away from the television, news and all but the most superficial social media until tomorrow. It’s not worf it, mate.

Thunder only happens when it’s raining (Freudian Shit)

I have been having very strange dreams recently. Bad dreams, but I don’t know if you can call them nightmares. Usually my nightmares are completely debilitating, strange, and focused on images or aesthetic, and I wake up sweating and in need of reassurance. These dreams are taking aspects of my life that can never meet and mashing them together to create an unnerving experience, and confusing me between the real and the unreal. I am waking up disoriented. Last night, I dreamt that my headteacher wanted to see me after school, but my boyfriend came to pick me up for date night and insisted I could see him after – we ended up wandering through my school to a colleague’s office. In addition, something happened to another member of staff which confused me greatly when I saw her and she was jolly this morning, and I had to search my mind to remember that it happened in a dream.

I hardly ever remember my dreams properly, except for nightmares (because of the way they wake me up), so this is all very new to me and very unnerving. My disorientation has been lasting too far into the morning – thank god I work with children and have a mask I wear in front of them anyway! It’s the children who tend to shake me out of it – by having to pretend to be my hunky dory perky self I slowly become her, and the dreams become last night’s problem. Although one of my students did say I look tired today… and it has been making me sluggish, and distracted.

When I was a teenager we became obsessed with online dream dictionaries, and each morning my friends and I would search for some symbol which had been there in last night’s dream. Mine were always deeply specific – not just a snake, but a snake in a glass case with an apple in its mouth, or some other thing which wasn’t there – and darker than my friends’. No joining ginger pirates on adventures for me! As such, I’m a little sceptical of Freudian dream analysis. I can well believe that dreams are the guardians of our subconscious, and that they are the key to understanding our worries. But I don’t believe these symbols can be the same for everyone – how can my experiences lead me to have a cake symbolise the same things as it would to a German scientist 100 years ago? How can teeth be the same thing to me as to my friend? And what does it mean when my dreams are no longer symbolic, but linear? The pseudo-Freud that all of this simplistic dream analysis falls apart, surely. But since I can’t afford to see a proper analyst on the regular, one who knows I’m obsessed with having white, straight teeth and have a crippling spider phobia, shit Freud will have to do.

To-Do

  • Finish introduction to Eagleton’s ‘Ideology of Aesthetics’.
  • Pick crap up off bedroom floor.
  • Write a poem.

Manchester x Ariana

There will be no tags on this post, because I do not believe in capitalising on tragedy. I do not believe that I have anything to say that has not been said, nor is it my place to say. But there are words – there are always words – for my thoughts and feelings.

Manchester is a glorious city; it’s like a second home to me. It was a constant of my childhood almost moreso than Leicester where my parents live, because every summer we would live there for my mum’s work. I went to shops, museums, gigs… Manchester is where I learned to be alone. A few years later, it’s where I learned to have a good time, as my friends and I trekked up to the gay district for more gigs, or I went to theatre shows with my folks (and had more civilised drinks). Later, my brother-from-another-mother moved there for university, and still lives there – I have spent four years not visiting him enough. In Manchester, people talk like me. They’re proud of their music, their history, their working classness. I love the city.

I have all of Ariana Grande’s albums. I wouldn’t let myself attend the Dangerous Woman tour because of my commitments, but I wanted to so much. I follow her on insta, my boyfriend loves to make fun of me for liking her. I like her music, and I respect her as a person – she is vegan, feminist, has attitude, and is kind.

She is my age.

As I listened to Ariana on my way to work this morning, having woken up to a notification that my brother had ‘marked himself safe in the Manchester explosions’, I was trying to digest my feelings.

These are people just like me. But that doesn’t make it worse, it just makes it more obvious to me. We, as a nation, have killed children as young and younger than attended that concert in Syria; in Iraq, we have systematically killed doctors and politicians and office workers just like the ones that were there last night, and their lives are not worth less. It is my firm belief that pacifism is the only way to stop these deaths, that we as people in a position of power need to stop abusing that power in brutal ways, and being surprised when people fight back in this war that we declared but do not understand.

I cannot condone this. I cannot condone anybody looking at a good time, at children or young people, at people – people just like myself – who meant no harm, and saw a violent act. A point-score. Revenge. A way to attract a beautiful celebrity’s attention? We don’t know what happened, and yet we are already condemning the ideology of the attack.

I cannot condone what the media will do to an already marginalised group when we find out who committed this act. Make no mistake, it will be a marginalised group: their ethnicity, religion, mental health status or citizenship will be punished by the press, regardless of whose action it was, and we will all mourn, and condemn, and forget, collectively. We will gripe when there is increased security at museums or schools or concerts. We will not address the problems that caused this terrible, terrible act. We will not acknowledge what we as a group have done wrong – yet individuals like Grande and the parents of the dead and injured will blame themselves forever.

The final word, though, should be ones for the fans at the concert. Ones that will heal, ones that will be an anthem, ones that the young dead would have approved of and enjoyed: we’re gonna be alright. I love you, my thoughts are with you. But for the grace of god it could have been me along with you.

Descriptors I Would Never Have Used For Myself

Last night, one of my friends called me a perfectionist. It made me stop and look around for a moment, and realise that maybe sometimes other people see me with more clarity than I see myself.

ferris bueller

I began to understand that when I was in therapy – my therapist made me see myself in more complex ways than I did before I saw her, but that’s her job. When one of your friends says something that reflects on behaviours that they have seen enacted multiple times, and therefore know as an aspect of your personality, it makes you stop and take stock of who you are. Your identity can be as much tied up in what other people think of you as how you define yourself, and I think her assertion was fair as well as surprising.

Here is a list of things I would not use to describe myself, but other people would definitely say about me.

A Perfectionist

I just like things to be as good as they can be, OK? But when you decide to flunk and redo uni modules because you think one of your essays is a 2:1 rather than a first, or massively freak out because your rice is cooked but your stir fry isn’t going to be done for a while then maybe you have to accept that your obsession with things being the best is coming from a different place than most people’s.

A Picky Eater

I would not have called myself picky. I love food! I love to cook, and I love to eat different cuisines and foods I haven’t tried before. BUT. There is a long list of foods I don’t like or won’t eat (from meat to mushrooms and from cucumbers to capers) and some of my requirements are quite specific (I like cashews but I don’t like their texture so they have to be cooked, I only like lemon in sweet things and never eat it savoury). I have been called picky before, and may have to accept that I am at least a little picky.

An Extrovert

This one is difficult. I do not believe for sure I am an extrovert, but I am definitely extroverted – I smalltalk well, I make friends quite easily, and usually show myself to have a lot of energy. Sometimes, though, I just don’t have the energy to deal with other people, and I usually recharge by myself or with one or two trusted people. It’s most noticeable in a morning – I like mornings, but if I have to speak to or engage with anyone for the first hour I am awake it makes me disproportionately grumpy. The whole introvert/extrovert thing is complicated by my anxiety – am I an extrovert with social anxiety? Am I an introvert with extrovert tendencies? Maybe it depends on the day. But you would be justified in calling me extroverted.

An Animal Person

I definitely wouldn’t call myself an ‘animal person’ – even though I (really) want a cat, I am more pleased by animal gifs than most people, love to walk along the portion of the canal path that goes through London Zoo, and follow more cat pages on social media than somebody who does not like animals would do. In addition – I’m a fucking vegetarian! My thoughts on vegetarianism are more complex than just ‘aww the floofies’ (I support the rights of Mexicans in America too, without having much curiosity regarding Mexican culture or defining myself as ‘a Mexican person’ – you don’t have to be interested or invested in something to want there to be less suffering in the world), but it adds up to the reasonable inference on the part of other people that, yes, fine, I might be an animal person. I don’t think they’re very interesting, though – just cute.

Lion-cat-cutest-cat

Timetable. Go away.

Whereas my last essay I had plenty of time to go off-schedule and have it take me longer (and it took me about a week longer than I wanted), with this one I don’t have that luxury. The timetable I’m going to set out is achievable, but cutting it fine so I absolutely have to stick to it.

  • Tues-Fri 9th – 12th – get to 500 words. Read all critical sources (which is mostly done already). Re-read Great God Pan. Washing up. Practice German. Go to work. Get some sleep.
  • Sat 13th – get up at 8am. Go through The Shining for quotes (but just the folded-down pages). Get to 1250 words.
  • Sunday 14th – get up late. Be ready to go out and work from noon. Get to 2000 words. Cook, and marinate something for the next day.
  • Mon-Fri 15th – 19th – read over and primp what’s done. Finish any mostly-finished paragraphs. Get to 2500 words. Go to work. Tidy room. Practice German. Get some sleep.
  • Saturday 20th –  Get up at 8am. Work in coffee shops not library. Reach word count of 3000. Proof-read and make sure it all makes sense. Hand in 1st draft.
  • Sunday 21st – Check citations. Proof-read and primp. Ask a friend to proof-read.
  • Monday 22nd – Go to work at 8am. Final proof-read over break ready to hand in for noon. Do not panic.
  • Tuesday-Friday 23rd – 26th – Work. Social events in the evening. Y6 evening.
  • Saturday 27th – Half-term. Sleep for a week.

I will not be doing anything that isn’t on the plan until the things on the plan are done. One might argue that my washing-up, for instance, doesn’t need to be on the list (that person has definitely not seen the state of my house right now), but I want to be able to include living like an actual human in my crazy week.

For context, this blog post is almost 300 words and I wrote it in a 20-minute break. Although it is much easier to write than formal language structured to make a point, I will have lots and lots of 20 minuteses, and not one day requires more than 750 words. This is possible.

Wish me luck.

To-Do:

  • Sleep.
  • Touch up roots.
  • Stop reading reviews of Ivanka Trump’s book (it wastes time, and anyway this cannot be bested)

For those people who were worried about the throbbing vein in my eye.

I do not have diabetes! I am not dying! I have not developed psychosomatic eye problems! I have early signs of optic nerve inflammation, a 90% chance of that not developing, and a stronger glasses prescription in the bad eye. She also recommended I get computer lenses –  admittedly whilst telling me all about the medical community debate about whether they actually work or not – because of the strain I’m putting my eyes under and because I don’t need them for distances.

I’m actually quite glad about this – it proves that I a) did the right thing by choosing the optician rather than my GP. They did several tests on their fancy machines and she instantly knew the symptoms and the recommendations for if my symptoms worsen (actually saying go straight to the eye hospital if so, which is concerning). They’re having me back in a week for one more test. It also proves that b) I am not imagining things, my mind is not creating bigger problems than the ones that already exist (this is a BIG load off my mind – I do not need to be seeing spiders where there are none again) and I can trust myself to take my actual symptoms of my actual problems to professionals, who can actually help me work them out. In actuality.

I’m not thrilled that I have to get new glasses – not only is it expensive (even for cheap ones), it’s a shame to get new frames as I currently have two pairs of cute, vintage-y tortoiseshell ones that everybody seems to like. I was quoted £110 to have these ones re-lensed by Optical Express, which seems frankly excessive, but may have it done by an online-only company (as if they can’t do it cheaper from a warehouse not in London and mail them back).

I’d also like to say a big thank-you to my Englishness, as the eye test was free (thanks Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert Dot Com) and I doubt I would have gone had it been necessary to shell out for it. God knows how anybody in America is diagnosed with anything, and my sympathies as it only gets worse for young people and ordinary working people and anyone who isn’t a very rich white man or Ben Carson.

Basically, hooray for no diabetes! Although, I am currently drinking my first Starbucks in about a century, and if they get their way I will definitely be diabetic soon. #sugarcoma

(My new look? Vote for your fave.)

To-Do:

  • Proof-read and primp Modernism essay
  • Persuade everyone I know to listen to You Must Remember This
  • Buy the Lush face mask that will get rid of my gross zit face (according to the lady on the Nars counter)