The other side

Today’s post is brought to you by Chelsea Peretti* and this deeply relatable tweet:

Sometimes it takes a six line pep talk from a stranger to get you back on track. This one is decidedly Wiccan and I needed it.

Manifestation is part and parcel of the Wiccan faith and picturing ourselves already living the lives we want is a powerful tool – so like Chels says: when I start to feel like I’m drowning, I’m going to visualise my way through it.

Right now I’m struggling to imagine what this time next year is going to look like, and anxiety (hello, old friend) is sending me on the path to pure catastrophe – which isn’t the one and it certainly isn’t helping anyone.

The Other Side, with that in mind, is going to take some training to visualise, especially in relation to the day-by-day ethos I’ve been practising since March. Luckily, I have nothing but time to work on changing my thinking. First stop, what I want it to look like.

I’m sure I’ve pondered before all the things I would do once lock-down was lifted and I’m not even sure I’ve done them yet. I’ve hugged my friends obviously but not as ferociously as I’d like. We’re still tiptoeing around physical contact and it still feels awkward. Plus nobody’s on the same page.

I’ve been to dinner once and the cinema too but I haven’t run into town like a madwoman and I haven’t climbed a mountain or run naked through a meadow (yet). I don’t even know if the things I want are the things I used to love.

Course I still love books and films and wandering down alleyways looking at graffiti, that could never change but maybe I’m less concerned about ASOS deliveries and fast fashion and pubs with people I don’t even really like. Harsh maybe but the last six months has shown me who I need in my life and it’s a smaller, richer pool.

I think if nothing else, this year has reinforced the feeling that I need less but want more. When we’re healed and the economy is back on track, I want to do more with the skills I have. Believe in everything I’ve achieved and get myself out there career-wise.

I want my home and my family and my friends and my cat. I want good food and blankets and afternoon naps and laughter. A decent wage and a job I can stand with people I like. I don’t need three dresses for a tenner or statement necklaces at great cost (even though they’re like, my thing).

I don’t even need holidays or handbags, expensive make-up, festivals. I want a good life and the wind in my hair and to know I make a difference somewhere in the machine, even if it’s miniscule.

You’re going to have to forgive these freeform blog posts for now, they’re the only way I can untangle the mess of my mind and feel better. Yeah I know right, poor me with a job and a roof. But you know what I mean, it’s tough for all of us in different ways.

So that’s what I’ll be working on this weekend and next week: a vision of what I want the other side to look like. I hope it’s simpler, stronger and more peaceful. Maybe it will be quieter too and that’s okay.

What do you want from ‘The Other Side’?

*I mean, not really. She didn’t write the post or anything. Thanks for inspo, Chelsea, love to your husband.

In the air tonight

Autumn is just around the corner, I can smell it. Although, Summer has had one last hurrah the last couple of days by throwing us 27 degree temperatures which makes me want to puke. After work yesterday I had such a bad headache from the heat that I had a cold bath and went to bed at 9.30. The ultimate rock n’ roll lifestyle.

I’m just not built for hot days, it’s the mutant ginger gene that does it (probably). I look around me on Summer days and I envy the people born for those conditions. So effortless and floaty – I’m just angry and red for three months straight.

Luckily we’re at the tail end and Autumn is when I come alive again. It’s such a basic bitch thing to say but it’s all about cosy knits, tights, boots, crunchy leaves – bright, dry crispy days. Fall chic – groundbreaking. For me it’s about rebirth and inspiration – I just can’t get enough.

I do wonder what it’s going to be like this year though while we’re still part-time hermits facing a potential second lock-down. I want to be a hermit, don’t get me wrong but I feel more isolated now we’ve moved out of central Brighton. I’ll continue my campaign to get myself out at least once a week though and we’ll see. I’m hardly going to deny myself leaf crunching in the park while chugging Pumpkin Spice Lattes, am I?

Anyway, I’m currently mapping out Blogtober 2020 which is getting the creative juices flowing and in the lead up to blogging every day I’m going to try and write as much as I can. I might even try seriously committing to NaNoWriMo this year, even though I was supposed to have written my first novel in lock-down and be on to my second by now. I’d really like to do something remarkable before the end of this messed up year. Maybe my remarkable is going to be surviving it in the first place? Who knows.

Work have actually paid for me to do a copywriting course so I’ve got that to focus on before the end of January. When I’ve done that and my secondment comes to an end, I think I’m going to focus on finding a new job. Which might be easier said than done in a recession but stranger things have happened. Ideally I’d like to work in some sort of mental health capacity but with writing involved – I wonder if such a job exists out there, just kicking its heels waiting for me to rock up? Or maybe I’ll have to make it a thing myself.

I guess in all this it pays to still be hopeful that things will heal and get better – that we’ll come through the other end better people because we’ll understand what’s most important to us. In itself it’s a privilege to have the luxury to think like that, not everybody is so lucky.

Anyway, these are just the ramblings of a woman who should be working.

How are you?

The apocalypse is boring

Anyone else just feeling completely fatigued right now? I’m so tired at the end of every day, emotionally drained and feeling like a printer running out of ink.

Sometimes, I just want to sleep all day and that was never me. I’ve upped my napping habits to every day of the weekend and it’s lush and decadent as fuck, but I actually feel I need it emotionally, which just empathises the impact the last six months has had.

And I’m one of the lucky ones who has still been able to maintain a routine, still work and interact with colleagues. My husband has been furloughed since March and now been made redundant, and I feel for him.

Everything is so uncertain and hard, like we’re wading through treacle just to get to the other side – but the other side keeps moving.

During times like this I find comfort in being cosy and if I’m honest, slapping on a positive face. Faking it until we make it. Trusting that everything will eventually work itself out and manifesting a better tomorrow in my mind’s eye. Things will heal and so will we all but everything feels just a little too much now.

There’s not much purpose to this post beyond getting these thoughts out. Despite the stiff upper lip, I’m also trying to be honest about negative feelings where usually I would sweep them away. To accept that it’s okay to struggle and have serious doubts and be scared or numb or angry. To feel what we feel.

I’m learning that dropping a quote about positive thinking is all well and good but that feeling shit is as legitimate. That toxic positivity is a thing and it doesn’t always help the situation.

So, I feel anxious about the future, about jobs and money. I’m still struggling with socialising but at the same time I miss people so much. I miss my colleagues massively and sometimes wonder who the hell I am if I can’t see myself reflected in others. That one is hard to explain.

But we’re all feeling a variant of this, aren’t we? Not one of us has been unaffected by the crisis this year.

I’m just going to own these feelings for now and treat myself, and Glynn, as nicely as I can. Autumn is just round the corner and cosiness is key. We’ve got a new sofa and Autumn is spooky story season.

Blogtober is also on the horizon and I’m hoping a post a day will kickstart my creativity. It’s hard to blog when you’re not doing much besides contemplating your navel and catastrophising.

How are you? (Really)?

Take Up Space

This weekend I tried on one of my favourite dresses, one I haven’t had the chance to wear out yet. Despite my husband’s best efforts and a hefty dollop of elbow grease, it wouldn’t zip up. I’ve already sized up in some items over lock-down and here I am, clearly another size bigger than the larger size I’d already accepted. Read More

The Queen of Self Care

I’ve been feeling out of sorts for a few weeks now and it’s not all one thing, just a culmination of lots of little (and not so little things). Luckily, I’m pretty good at listening to my inner workings and knowing how to make myself feel better. My friend Helen referred to me as the Queen of Self Care recently and honestly, she’s not wrong.

I guess this is a catch up post so I can freestyle what’s been going on. We’ve been in the new house for a month now and I love it so much I never thought I could ever be as happy in a place as I am now. It feels different and we care for it differently. I’ll willingly pad downstairs on a Saturday morning to hoover and tidy – it feels good to be a real adult women finally. My husband has lost his job though so it’s all feeling a little bittersweet. Unfortunately, redundancy has hit the Bass household (as it has with so many people in the UK and worldwide). Basically, Miss Rona is a bitch and we now have to deal with her aftermath.

I can’t deny I’m not worried every day that I’ll lose my job too or that we won’t be able to pay the mortgage – but we have no choice but to keep going and face whatever comes our way head on. The Wiccan in me knows it will all be okay in the end and I can manifest a good future – but for now it’s still A LOT. I still worry about getting sick, losing loved ones, the economy – I haven’t gone back to normal at all. If anything I’ve become even more hermit than ever. I receive visitors like a pro though!

But yeah, I’m not going back out there yet. I’m still going to be careful. I’m waiting for the second wave and worrying about that too. This morning I had a bad panic attack and I can’t be sure what triggered it. The heat (we’re in the midst of a heatwave here) or caffeine? Who knows but it was frightening – I feel like I’m back to being scared of everything again. I do know though that I have to trust the universe – the Goddess – not to give me more than I can handle. I can handle a lot.

We’re staying positive but we’re also feeling our feelings. If we’re having an off day we acknowledge it. I’ve recently read an article about toxic positivity (here) – another thing Helen and I discuss a lot. I know I’m guilty of slapping on a good attitude at work when I might not be feeling it – fake it ’til you make it, if you like. For me that’s how I deal – I’m surrounded with a few people that do not do this AT ALL – but I do think it’s important to be honest about real feelings – so I’m learning how to just be at one with them.

I’m really not enjoying my physical appearance much either, so the self care I’m undertaking is for body and soul. Lots of deep conditioner and face masks – oh and sleep. All the naps. I might even have one during my lunch break in an hour. I can’t stand this heat.

In other news, I’ve been watching way too much Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and it’s starting to have a really negative effect on me. All that arguing! It’s even permeating my dreams now so I might switch to Disney movies for a bit. Comfort all the way.

Anyway, that’s it from me. I feel better for getting this all out. There’s been good news too but some I can’t share yet. I will when the time is right.

How are you?

Home

It’s been a while and there’s a lot to tell but also, not much has changed.

The pandemic rumbles on despite the fact almost nobody wears their masks in the supermarket anymore. Tattooists are opening up next week, and pubs and restaurants are already open again – which is amazing for these industries – but it’s also bloody scary.

I’m stuck somewhere between never wanting to leave the safety of my sofa again and wanting to dive right back into the mix without a care in the world. But I won’t be doing that fully until I’m comfortable and confident so it may still be a way off.

I still can’t believe we’re living through a global pandemic, man. I’m quite proud actually that we’ve got to this point, it’s been really hard at times – there’s been maximum worry and stress, naturally – and we’re not out of the woods yet – but we’re still here and personally, my mental health is just about holding together. Better than I would have imagined anyway. Small victories and all that.
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A brief hiatus

Hello all (Mum & Jill),

I’m taking a brief hiatus from the blog (and the Collab) for a week or so to concentrate on finally moving house.

Yes, we got the house, despite COVID’s best efforts and we couldn’t be happier. I can’t even describe how I feel right now but it’s all positive and hopeful, I promise.

This has been the best of times and the worst of times, actually for a cornucopia of different reasons – but I do feel ready for a new chapter now. And – *spoiler* – this next one is the one in which I finally become houseproud and also, a real adult.

I’ll talk about that more in a general update soon, I promise. I also want to share what I’ve been reading and what Jillian and I have been watching. It’s all good stuff.

Until then, I’ll be buried under the bubble wrap. Oh also, Happy Global Pride Month! This is very important.

Word to your mother.

#blacklivesmatters #translivesmatter #blacktranslivesmatter

Black Lives Matter

So much has been said over the last couple of days by much more eloquent voices than mine about the atrocities happening across the US*. I have wanted to say something so many times, going back and forth on what’s appropriate, whether I have anything new to say – whether it’s even my place.

I’ve sat with my thoughts all week, trying to work out how I – as a white woman – can be an ally to my black friends and black people. I will never have an understanding of what it feels like to be discriminated against for my race but I can use the privilege I’ve been afforded to do something.

While my first instinct has been to mostly stay quiet – and share the odd resource on Instagram stories, donate and read as much as I can to educate myself – I realise silent isn’t the thing to be anymore. I’m angry and now’s not the time to be mute. Also, fuck eloquent.

We all, as white people, have so much to learn about the systemic racism we’ve all benefited from – and even if I get it wrong sometimes – I want things to change, they have to change. I’m going to get out there, march, shout – do what I have to do to support black lives.
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Is that it?

I guess lock-down’s just over then, is it? Judging from this weekend gone and our own ridiculous government, I’d say yeah.

Just the thought of being fully out there again before it’s actually safe is messing with my mind. I’m terrified, not so much about getting sick myself, but of my loved ones contracting COVID from me and not making it through. Maybe that’s a lie, I am frightened of getting ill.

I honestly hope that none of my Lock-Down Diary entries seem flippant because I am taking all this seriously. Sure I’ve leapt at the chance to get out and see friends (once in a threesome)* and maybe I don’t wear my face mask enough – but I understand how much front-line workers have sacrificed and how many people have lost loved ones in the most heartbreaking way. It’s ridiculous to look around our local park and see how many kids (and not just kids tbf) are blatantly flouting the rules. It makes me anxious just to see it.

I literally itch if someone walks too close to me and honestly I don’t understand some of the logic people are using. The thing is, I don’t think we can be held 100% responsible for any confusion. I mean, we’ve been in lock-down for two months and I don’t think I’d pass a quiz on the official ‘rules’. Sure they’ve recently slackened but I’m still not clear. Our own Prime Minister has been so wishy washy in his messaging – “We strongly suggest you don’t go out” – is not definitive enough. How about “You will not go out until I say so.” If my Mum could lay down solid rules when I was 12, why the hell can’t Boris?

Don’t worry, I’m not here to do a political post. I’m just spitballing my feelings. I’m also worried – and this is something I’ve mentioned before – that I’m not worrying enough. For the most part we’ve settled into a groove and it’s working. I do wonder what the future will bring but I’m not thinking ahead that much. One day, one week at a time. I’m content with the small things. My biggest treat is seeing a friend or two during the week and all that really constitutes is a couple of tinnies in the park and a good old decompression session.

WFH has become more normal now and it is nice to have Glynn at home. He’s on Furlough until the end of July which is challenging for him but good news for the upcoming move. He can take on project managing duties for that, which is a relief. If it ever happens – we’re so close I can taste it.

In other news I’ve somehow managed to win the cat over. Snacks have helped but I’ve also started grooming him of an evening – and he loves that shit. It’s embarrassing how much he crumbles underneath my brush. Now he follows me around, even to the loo and we’ve become best friends. I love him so much.

I think he’s going to have a rude awakening when we move him into the new house but ultimately, it’s going to be so much nicer for him. We’ll have a little garden and he’ll have more space to explore. Getting a cat was the best thing we did during the pandemic, if ever – Mittens forever!

So that’s what’s on my mind right now. Not much is happening.

How are you today?

*We genuinely thought it was okay because one of the Tory government said it was in an offical interview. Turns out this was retracted soon after. Guess I didn’t get the memo – see what I mean about confusing?

What advice would you give your pre-lockdown self?

I’ve seen this a few times around the internet and I thought I’d have a go myself.

Things I’d say to my pre-lockdown self:

Hey you!

 

This is your future self reporting back from two months ahead (don’t try to work that one out, just trust me). So much and, in turn, so little has happened over that period.

 

Not all of it is horrendous – but I want to give you some advice to prepare you for entering lock-down. A few little things to make it a bit easier on you, if you like.

 

You’re about to not see your family and friends for months, so hug them tight and tell them you love them. Go and see your mum now and cuddle the shit out of her. You might consider staying there in the cosiness of her flat in Bexhill, where you can all be together but that’s probably not the best idea. Not being able to walk around naked during lock-down will not be an option. Hug her and make sure she knows how much you’re going to miss her.

 

Deep clean the flat. You didn’t do that and it’s getting you down now. This isn’t all your slovenly fault, you’ve just made an offer on a house and you’ve half-heartedly starting packing. There’s crap everywhere.

 

Don’t fight getting the cat. He’s going to bring you untold joy, especially during this time. Try not to get upset when he doesn’t warm to you straight away, he’ll come around.

 

Please try not to sweat the small stuff. It’s not that small I know, it’s life changing and devastating for so many people but you need to stop disasterising. Put your phone down as much as you can and only read the news once a day, it will drive you mad for a couple of weeks, continually refreshing that newsfeed – and it won’t help.

 

Buy a truckload of stamps so you don’t have to wait ages for a load to be delivered. You’re going to send a lot of letters and postcards.


Set up a decent workspace for yourself sooner, by the window where you can watch a quieter world go by. Exercise more. I haven’t done nearly enough because I’ve been too anxious to go outside regularly. Pick a quiet time and power through that shit, because believe me, it gets harder.

 

Don’t waste your time with the Gilmore Girls/Gossip Girl re-watches, just because you can’t mentally handle anything else. They’ll be there still after lock-down – watch Schitt’s Creek instead. You won’t regret that believe me.

 

Call the doctor sooner to get your medication back on track. She’s really understanding and it makes a difference, I promise. Make sure you’re always on top of your prescriptions. Wash your face better, you’re having a break-out at the moment which may also be down to lack of vitamin D. Stock up on deep conditioner.

 

Make sure your loungewear is organised, it’s all you’ll live in.

 

Did I remind you to hug your friends?

 

While we still don’t know how this will look in another month, a year – five years time – you’re doing okay. You and Glynn don’t bicker THAT much – and you’re both well trained for staying in. You’ll be alright in your little bubble with the cat, the gerbils and sometimes your step son.

 

They’ve just permitted us to go outside with one friend at a time so you’ve seen a couple of your besties by now. This has made a massive difference to your mental health.

 

You’ve been working from home and it’s not so bad – an extra hour in bed is heaven. You shouldn’t stress out about the new role you’re in now. You’re doing fine, honestly.

 

Things are not fixed and there’s confusion about when they will be but you’re a smart girl, stick with your instinct. Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll get there, whatever happens.

 

You’re lucky, remember that.

 

Love,

Future you

xoxo

What advice would you give your pre-lockdown self?