Monday, February 13, 2012

Bleary Eyed

It's the 14th so I'm probably supposed to acknowledge Valentine's Day in some way but like... that was it. That's my acknowledgment of it out of the way. I've never had a boyfriend over Valentine's Day and I really don't care about it. I'm not even going out of the way to ~treat myself~ today. I'm a busy girl, man. I have work to do, routines to stick to, tea to drink etc.

The first deadline for my dissertation is coming up next week: a 2,000 word extract we have to hand in next Thursday. The writing process is fairly stressful above all because it goes against my regular working habits of doing all of the reading and all of the research first and then writing. That's just not possible when you're doing a big research project but the temptation is still there.

At the moment I'm reading the NBA honoured 9/11 Commission Report (Norton, 2011 edition) and it's fascinating, sad and a little scary. Reading it really provides me with a sense of how the amount of information we're collecting (both as countries and as individuals) is overwhelming us and it's even more necessary than it has ever been to have structures in place to support that information overload. What kind of frameworks do we build to collect and process the information? Most importantly, who do we trust with this information? There's the rub etc.

It's 8am and I've been awake for two hours, mainly reading but also persuading myself to get out of bed (at the time of writing this I've been out of bed for an hour and sitting in this coffee shop). I should probably stop procrastinating and get back to work.

Listening to: Whatever the weird song they're playing in this coffee shop is by Peculiar Music Artist
Book I just finished: Brendon Chase by B.B and Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Chicago 21st: £224.00 (eep. need to get saving. Although for a number of reasons it's technically + £188 but I'm waiting for it to come through etc. It would be nice to bring it up to £412)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


It's been a week since I last posted and in that week I made the final seven videos of my NYR video project and...didn't do much else. I went home, yes, and I got ahead on all of my reading, yes, but there were huge amounts of time when I should have been writing or doing extra dissertation reading or something but instead I sort of collapsed into bed and hid from the cold. Not anymore! It may be 0 degrees outside but it is February and the beginning of 2012. What's that you say? 2012 began in January? Nonsense, how could a year begin with stress and exams? Much better for it to begin with Spring in the foreseeable future and deadlines racing towards me from every direction!

In my last post I noted that "I have to take extra care to be healthy and well and rested and able to jump into every job and do my absolute best" and to be honest with you, for a while it looked like this was not going to be possible. For a while it looked like it was going to be a year of duvets and tissues. I took care to ensure that the only energy I had surrounding me after my dad died was positive energy -- I couldn't deal with negative things or negative people and so in order to protect myself, I removed myself from that. Naïvely I thought that meant I would channel only positivity.

It's not so much that I expected to always be happy, or even to be happy at all, but I suppose I thought it would be much more transformative than it was. In reality, it sort of kept me from suffocating (and so was an important thing to do) and kept me going... but it didn't really nourish me because all I kept giving out was negativity. I kept giving myself negativity too, sort of brattish statements to myself like "I can't do anything" or "I have so much to do that it's all overwhelming and I'm incompetent" or "why do I even bother when I know I'm just going to be sad anyway" blah blah blah. I don't mean to trivialise it -- I was very sad and I am very sad but that doesn't need to be as debilitating as it has been. I'm not ready to fight against all of it, but I'll fight against some of it if it means a little peace of mind.

Blabbering on, as usual. Anyway the point is that it's 0 degrees outside tonight with seriously cold wind and instead of putting on a DVD or reading more of a book, I put on my running leggings and my three layers and hoody and trainers and thick socks (two pairs), grabbed some music, took two very deep puffs of my inhaler and ran for half an hour. This isn't one of those bullshit miracle tales, it hurt like hell. My asthma is bad anyway, let alone in the cold, but I'd taken care to cover my throat and chest in layer upon layer. Generally I've gone from doing pilates over three times a week to doing none at all except the occasional DIY session at home. I've let myself become unfit. Instead of tackling that properly, I've become afraid of confusing getting emotionally better and dealing with everything in a healthy way with becoming a better runner. It sounds like an odd thing to fear but I know a number of people who've gone down that route and it's just sad because in a very British way they're just suppressing everything and then showing it off as the solution to a much more complicated problem.

Even if this is happening, I suppose I'm at the very least aware of it, which must be some sort of plus. And it does clear my head. Anything to get me through the ninety-one days of dissertation and essay writing, really. What do you guys think? Is exercise or any sort of active hobby you have a way of dealing healthily with other problems in your life or just a welcome distraction from them?

Listening to: Last Words by The Real Tuesday Weld
Book I just finished: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Chicago 21st: £224.00 [I cracked open the piggy bank to see my progress -- or, more accurately, opened it with a tin can opener since it wasn't a piggy so much as a tin. Anyway, we're sort of on the way. I'm estimating I'll need around £1,200. I also owe my mum money and I have an overdraft and I will need to rent a flat after graduating. Let's get going!]