I brushed my teeth for a particularly long time because I was thinking about this

At the moment, I’m unemployed and I have no partner. That’s not likely to change anytime particularly soon and in our cultural climate of competition and comparison and with the “what do you do?” atmosphere, it can be hard to deal with the expectations and judgements of other people.

I’m not as bothered as I once was that I’m not “succeeding” in the conventional way in my life as I once was. I graduated around two years ago now and I’ve been off sick ever since. This post isn’t about my PTSD though, so I’ll move on.

I guess, what I’m reflecting on here is how it’s made me rethink how I value myself and how I find meaning and engagement in general without occupation in a “work” sense.

I think I’m quite self-aware and that’s something I let myself take credit for. I know that I’ve had to actively try to build a sense of self-worth over the last few years partially due to my negative experiences. I do value myself pretty highly now and I look out of myself as much as I can.

I also think that I’ve gained a sense of perspective, and although I can have low mood swings and feel utterly shitty sometimes and pretty sensitive, I know that I can get through things, I often find myself saying to myself “I’ve been through worse, I can do this.”

Making a conscious effort to find good qualities in myself has helped me, I recognise my compassion and my ability to nurture and trust in strong friendships. I also think I’m quite thoughtful and imaginative πŸ™‚ – it sounds odd to say such things about oneself sometimes, because I don’t think many people are raised to actively accept and acknowledge pleasing traits in themselves, but I think it’s a helpful thing to try and learn to do.

Physically, I’ve also had to make this effort. I remember being dissatisfied with my appearance at various points in my life, like a lot of people are, and how, now, I love myself whether I think I look good or not. I’ve come to realise I’m under no obligation to any one else to look good and I found that to be freeing.

I’ve said to myself in my own head, when I saw something I didn’t like or if I took an awful picture: “I still love you”, y’know. And I might’ve mentioned this before, but when I had CBT a while ago, one of the main things I took from it was the notion that I should treat myself as I would treat a close friend, because I deserve that and I’m glad I do that now. (In the past, when I’ve had something pretty difficult to do, like a really stressful phone call or something, I’ve written little lists to break it down and signed it with something like “love ya babe ❀ ” – and it actually helped, I got a little flicker in my heart once, almost as if someone else had said it, haha.)

Regarding the whole “other people” issue, because I support myself now (and let my close friends help) and I know that I’ve improved, I no longer give as much of a shit if other people are unimpressed or bewildered by my current no-job status.

I’m sure I’ll find a bit more of something soon, and even thinking about this – and listening to some Mariah Carey (Touch my Body if you’re interested πŸ˜‰ ) has helped me feel a little more hopeful about the next few days and weeks, as things have felt a little heavy lately.

P.S. Love ya babe ❀

See, it’s nice isn’t it. πŸ˜›

It’s been nearly 6 months

It’s been almost 6 months since I started posting on here – and I just thought I’d do a little post to mark it.

I still love doing this – it’s one of the only things I genuinely enjoy, as bleak as that sounds, haha.

But, I’m still amazed about how different the writing experience can be day to day and post to post.

Sometimes I write so much in a day, that I feel awkward posting everything I’ve written and have to let them bleed out gently over the next few days or weeks, and other days the mine is empty and I either don’t touch this at all, or I edit something I’ve done previously.

I wrote a 100 and odd word poem in about 15 minutes this afternoon (it is a bit of a silly one mind, just something sort of playing with rhyme, with a nursery rhyme sort of rhythm), but this morning I was thinking today was gonna be one of those days where I just feel like the blankest blank as soon as I open my laptop. I also had an idea for a (very) short story, that I wrote the first part of whilst squeezed in the dusty crevice between my bed and the wall.

Part of me feels like I should go back and attend to previous work, I’ve started that I intended to follow up, but haven’t quite got round to. (e.g.Β https://headdome.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/experience-what-ive-learnt/)

I’m not entirely sure what’s stopping me. I feel like I’m always lured in by the freshness of starting something new and clicking on that “Write” button.

(NB – I’ve just followed that link and realised part of what might be stopping me – just the fact that I’m mildly embarrassed by what past me has written/ how I’ve worded certain things. I don’t think that’s helping, because I feel reluctant to go back to something that makes me cringe even the tiniest bit.)

Maybe it would help if I found the previous parts, printed them off and bashed down some ideas by hand, instead of relying so comfortably on my laptop and what I can pull out of my head. I definitely feel like editing and annotating comes more naturally when I can scribble all over the page in different colours and things.

The other post that I feel has slightly got away from me is “NPC” – which was supposed to be a short story, but, at the moment, is just in the form of one actual post and one sort of side post which is a poem of a few of my notes on it compiled. I also have a couple of locked essays in my Drafts folder: one’s an unfinished reading of one of my favourite musicals and the others have escaped my memory at the moment, haha – must be good then, eh?

I feel like I’m learning all the time and I love the pool of work I’m exposed to here, if you’re reading this, thanks for your time :). Again, as with most of my prose posts/ notes on my poems, I’m not entirely sure of the purpose of this, except for a bit of a record of my thinking I suppose. Not everything has to have a proper purpose, right? And this is my space to write, so I should probably stop second-guessing myself, as I come to the close of the final paragraph liiiike this. (full stop.)

I’m off to sleep now :). Night :).

H

Sentences stacked on top of each other, talking about why I do this.

It’s late, but I just thought I’d reflect on why I’m doing this – why I do this blog I mean. I really appreciate having a place to put my thoughts, and to have a reason to have a creative outlet, it feels really freeing to write here. I sometimes used to feel like it was a waste to write things just for them to sit around totally unread and untouched in messy notebooks. I find it really satisfying to have an idea and then write a poem, type it up here and then see it all neat and in black and white on my screen, all together with others.

I’m really happy I decided to start properly posting and sharing something, I’ve grown in confidence in the months I’ve been writing here and I feel a little buzz whenever that orange dot comes up on the bell in the corner and I know someone’s interacted with me or with what I’ve done in some way.

This feels like a really supportive place, where a new writer’s confidence has a chance to grow. I don’t have to feel too nervous about commenting on other people’s posts or about posting my own and that gladdens me. Other parts of the internet can often seem so callous and frightening for people, particularly for someone as sensitive and easily agitated as me, considering my current mental health position as someone with PTSD and the self-doubt and self-worth issues that surround that for me.

I think it’s hard to tell whether my writing has actually improved since I started, just because I write so much now, whereas before I started this blog I only wrote occasionally. I’m not really sure how to compare poems that I posted early on, that had been sitting around in folders on the computer for months/years and I threw out there worriedly, to the ones I write now, which, for the most part, are not dwelled on nearly as much, as I grow in confidence and shrug off my inhibitions.

I feel like I’ve become a lot more playful in tone, but maybe some of my more recent poems might lack the emotive nature of my earlier work. The earlier poems I wrote tended to be more confessional and autobiographical, some of my more vivid memories written down – but now, I practice escapism a little more and tend to enjoy experimenting with imagery and just seeing what comes into my head when I sit down to write.

Anyway, I think that’s quite long enough, and I’ll try and publish this with as little restraint and fear as I have when posting most of my poems now, although I find prose posts like these considerably more revealing, with fewer places to hide – and therefore I’m more hesitant to press “Publish”, but I’m doing it anyway.

H

 

 

Music I’ve been loving lately – Syd and Ray Blk

I just thought I’d share a post about some of the music I’ve been listening to lately, I tend to revolve in the same musical space for quite a while because I just get so happy existing there. Also, just a note, I write about two artists here, but I give them quite unequal word time, that’s for no real reason, other than the fact that I’m just quite unmeasured and if it flows for longer then I just let it πŸ™‚ .

Listening to new artists, although exciting, is not always something I’m in the mood for. It’s a bit like starting a new TV series, having to get to know all new characters and story-lines etc. I like to find media I wash myself in to be of comfort, that’s why I like familiarity a lot of the time, or perhaps I’m a bit lazy in this department.

I have to be in a very particular mood to start listening to a new album for example.

Anyway, I’m rambling. Let’s go:

  • Syd’s most recent album – Fin

I love Syd’s vocals, attitude and stage presence – she oozes sex appeal for me and makes music that I want to move to. Her music could so easily be the soundtrack to eye-fucking someone on the dance-floor, letting the darkness and the drink make you liquid.

I particularly like Dollar Bills, Know, Body and All About Me.

It’s such a smooth album, that really wraps you up in it.

  • Ray Blk’s – Durt

I keep coming back to Ray Blk – I first heard her sing 5050 and it just made me look for more of her work. It just sounded like it might have been some old classic that I was failing to recognise and I was surprised to find it was an original song – I’m not sure what felt familiar about it, but the point is – I loved it.

I love her candour. And the emotion she conveys so gracefully in her voice, I find the content of a lot of her songs to be so touching and real.

My favourite songs from “Durt” are My Hood and Gone (which features Wretch 32)Β – Chill Out is also so listenable.

Talk To Me and 2am are also great tracks that I listen to on repeat.

Her voice is so expressive of pain and sometimes bleakness, but she combines it with touches of lightness and humour. Her references to pop-culture really make them real by setting the lyrics in time, the details paint such a vivid image for me.

The first verse of 2am shows that detail perfectly:

Β ” […] no no, cartoons on the telly,

cold spaghetti in my belly.

I laugh loud, nobody can hear me,

Zoidberg, Carlsberg, I’m feeling merry”

I appreciate the rhymes and half-rhymes and the lonely picture she paints with humour. That clarity of bringing the scene to life, I think, is a real skill.

Also, I love it in Talk To Me when she says “Hope you hit it last, Kanye not Ray J” – I find it really beautiful and candid, by using this image – she expertly avoids cliche and to be honest, it kinda gets my heart a bit. On top of that, as in a lot of her songs, the pace of her deliverance propels things forward so pleasantly and with such great rhythm.

Candour, honesty and directness are things I admire and love to hear so much in music, the personas in her songs speak a kind of truth I find really emotive, she shows us so many things at once, her vulnerability, her sexuality and her drive, as well as her creativity in expressing those feelings.

I just love her story-telling basically and the effortlessly cool frame in which she places it, and now I’m gonna stop gushing, it’s feels a bit out of character, haha.

I just love hearing complex female voices in music and Ray Blk and Syd, I feel, give us just that.

H

 

Experience 1: A lot of people on dating apps are awful. Part 1 (Intro)

This is just the introduction to the first listed thing in Experience: what I’ve learntΒ :).

I’ve been using dating apps for a couple of years now.

I’ve tried:

  • OK Cupid
  • Tinder
  • Grazer (Basically Tinder for vegetarians and vegans)
  • Zoosk
  • Her
  • Plenty of Fish
  • Fem
  • Happ’n

And possibly some others that I can’t remember :).

The one I’ve stuck to most closely and have actually, wait for it, paid for is OK Cupid.

I find it’s generally reliable and I quite like how it’s all set up and it’s not too expensive (think it might be around Β£25 every six months for “A-list”, something along those lines).

It’s more than just a scrolling stream of photos with minimal bios like Tinder and Grazer, where I feel like I haven’t got enough information to decide whether I do or don’t like someone. Also if I’m feeling a bit indecisive, I often feel like I just have to end the application rather than make a decision about a person. And then, they can keep coming up every time I log back in and I still have no clue what to do – there’s no maybe pile.

You get to answer questions at any point, it’s all multiple choice, and from that, it assigns you with a range of qualities.

As an example, I’ll read you what it says on my current profile.

OKC describes me as :

  • Less Ambitious
  • More Compassionate
  • Less Arrogant
  • Less Sex-driven
  • More Polite
  • More Love-driven

than the average bisexual woman of my age on OKC.

(I must confess, I am less inclined to actually answer many of the sex-based questions on the app, mainly because I don’t want people who may want to creep me out to know any particulars of what I like or don’t like in the bedroom.

I don’t want to give certain people “ammunition” if you know what I mean – you can just imagine it …

OKC question: “Would you rather be tied up during sex or do the tying?”

OKC answers: “Be tied up; Do the tying; Neither thanks; I like both.”

Person A: Be tied up πŸ™‚

Message from Person B > Person A: Oh you like being tied up do ya luv? *rubs knees*

You understand. I just like to keep some of the information to a minimum because I don’t trust everyone that could be witnessing this information to not use it to taunt or threaten or insult or shame me.

Therefore, perhaps OKC’s conception of me and my sex drive is slightly skewed. Although I don’t know I haven’t asked a sample group or anything.

Anyway, based on your answers to these questions, and what answer you’ll accept from a potential match, you are given a percentage match score to compare with every other member of the site.

Obviously, the match score can do little in terms of conveying how chemical you’ll feel in real life, but, I feel answering questions in this way does help get to know some basic things about a match.

For example, once I “liked” a match (gave him a little star) and he gave me one and we started chatting, he was a fellow vegan and from his profile and pictures, he seemed like a lovely smiley guy, bit of a free spirit.

We exchanged a couple of messages each, I complimented his pies (you can link to your instagram), and then I thought I’d have a quick look through how he’d answered some of his questions.

I found that he still seemed OK, we had quite a high match percentage maybe somewhere in the 80s or 90s.

And then, I got to the sex section…

One of the questions there was: “Would you ever film a sexual encounter without your partner knowing?”

And he’d answered yes.

I know.

So, basically, I feel for this sort of thing it can be really helpful, because if you have a few deal-breakers – you can weed them out without even having to actually chat. As much as I dislike the idea of commodifying one’s search for love or measuring the effort you may have to put in, if you’ve been on dating apps as long as I have you’ll know how difficult and time consuming it can be.

A couple of my friends and I who were all on it at once at one point, called it admin, because it often felt like a job – a risky, sometimes exciting, sometimes disappointing, but most often, extremely tedious job.

You often find yourself having quite similar conversations with strangers until one of you decides you’re not really fussed about talking anymore, or you meet, and then decide the same thing.

And then there’s the struggle of dealing with the titular awful people you can come into contact with, of whom there are different types. I’ll talk about some of these in more detail in the next section.

(Sorry there’s been quite a bit of convoluted describing of the landscape of the app here, I just felt I needed to give a bit of context and background info to start with and I’m not the most concise writer.)

H

 

 

 

Experience – what I’ve learnt

Right, right, right.

I need to talk about this.

I’ve only recently started this blog, and since doing so, my confidence in sharing my content has grown.

I feel pleased when anyone takes the time to read what I’ve written and it still feels somewhat of a novelty to have anyone’s eyes on my work, other than my own.

When I started, I was very reluctant to tell anyone I knew about it, but over the past month, I’ve actually been surprised about how willing I am to send close friends the link.

And I’ve had some positive feedback, which is nice. It’s so lovely to do something I enjoy, that feels helpful to my well-being, and to have people respond to it in such a way.

So thank you if you’ve ever read any of my poems or pressed the little star on anything I’ve done – I appreciate it every time I have a little orange dot on the bell in the top corner.

It’s the 28th of April today and I actually started properly posting on about the 8th or somewhere around there, so it’s not been long.

Sorry, this post is a bit of a mish-mash – I’ve already gone on quite a tangent, from what I was originally posting. (Also, just to interject again – I really like really short paragraphs as a reader, so that’s why I do them as a writer, I find it just makes it more readable, I think my attention span’s got shorter in recent years, so short paragraphs are a blessing I find.)

Anywayy, when I scrawled the beginnings of this post in my notebook, the intention was to share with whoever may be reading this, some things I’ve learnt.

I don’t think my perspective’s incredibly important or anything, but I don’t think it’s not important either and this is my platform, right? So I have to stop apologising for sharing things.

(It’s a bit like when I was a teenager and I was deathly afraid of posting a picture of myself anywhere because I felt like it somehow wasn’t my place, or that people would think I was vain or self- involved or something. When really, no one really cares, so now, if I want to put a picture of myself on my social media – I bloody well will, and there’s no need for me to make any excuse other than “I wanted to”.)

Anyway (2nd anyway), moving on from my own discussion of my writing/ sharing self- confidence issues, I’m going to jump right into this short list of a few things I’ve learnt about life over the past few/5ish years/ as I’ve become an adult human. (I’m 23 now if that helps haha.) Just a few.

Here we go:

  1. A lot of people on dating apps are awful. Awful. (These people also exist in real life as well – but I come into contact with them more regularly through the window of my phone screen and some of them may be more brazen or heinous with that barrier of course.)
  2. Β It can be really difficult to exist in public, when people think you (or the people around you e.g. a partner or a friend) are anything other than cis and straight.
  3. I’ve noticed a strange, but regularly appearing thought pattern amongst people I’ve met concerning the boundaries between sex and other romantic intimacy – a sort of worryingly common notion that divides the two in a way I find, at best odd and at worst disturbing and even dangerous.
  4. A lot (a lot)Β of people have mental health issues and I am by no means alone.
  5. The meat and dairy industry is deeply bleak.

I want to explain these in more detail but I’m already around 556 words and I feel like each number deserves a post in itself – It could take me a while though, this feels like heavy stuff and I am not keen on heavy – not with these skinny arms.

I’m not sure if I should include facts and figures and do research, or if I should just tell you what I’ve personally experienced through anecdotes and potentially screenshots etc. (They’ll be particularly useful on the one about dating apps, as I’ll be able to provide examples of awfulness).

A bit of time might pass between now, and the next post on this thread but, please bear with. I’ll make it blatantly clear in the title and they’ll be in the prose category, in non-fiction.

H