Get moving

I feel like the past year has just been a lot of collective breath holding. The world is on fire. We’re all stressed out and panicked and scared and lonely and bored and grumpy and in a damn funk. And I get it. I’m right there with you.

But today we’re gonna say no to all that.

No.

NO.

Not today.

Instead, today we’re gonna dance. We’re gonna get off our lazy backsides and we’re gonna dance it out. (Okay, I’ve been binging a lot of Grey’s Anatomy recently and that might be influencing this post. But Cristina Yang is a fucking marvel and when she says dance it out, you dance it out.) All you have to do is get up and move. Right now.

And I get it. Showing up is hard. Showing up for yourself and your wellbeing is often not fun. It’s challenging and real and sometimes traumatic. But today if you show up for yourself I PROMISE you that it will be fun. So up you get.

Are you up?

Okay, good. Now turn on your music. Your music. Whatever that may be. Whatever is gonna get you moving. You turn it up loud and then you dance.

If you need a jumping off point, here’s a few of my faves:

1. Good as Hell – Lizzo

2. Music To Walk Home By – Tame Impala

3. 9 to 5 – Dolly Parton

4. I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross

5. Thinkin Bout You – Ciara

6. Nature Of The Experiment – Tokyo Police Club

7. Norgaard – The Vaccines

8. Ain’t Got Far to Go – Jess Glynne

9. Jackie And Wilson – Hozier

10. Inbetween Day – The Cure

(Don’t try and analyse my music taste cos you’ll never make sense of it. Haha!)

I feel like I’ve done a post similar to this a few years ago but honestly I’m too lazy to check. If I have, I’m sorry for recycling content. But if I have, I’m prescribing it again. Because it works. If only for a second. If only for the time your music is on and your limbs are grooving. I guarantee you will smile. The rest? Well, we’ll deal with that after. But for the next three minutes, half hour, hour just enjoying the dancing.

Disclaimer: If you are not sweating, you have not danced long or hard enough. Get back to it.

Movin’ on Up – Primal Scream

This is a check in

I think when our minds are busy and our lives are busy we often forget to take care of ourselves. We forget to check in. I’ve got some exciting things happening in my life right now. Big things. But they’re taking up a lot of brain space and I’m a bit consumed by them. However, even when the situation is a positive one, it’s important to take a step back occasionally and just see how you’re doing.

So this is me checking in.

How are you? Are you hanging in there? If you think you can’t do it, whatever it is, you can. I’m telling you you can. You just have to hang in there. Are you taking care of yourself? I find when I get wrapped up in something, good or bad, I stop doing the small things that make me happy in the day to day. Doing yoga, reading all nightlong, dude, why do you think my blog posts disappear for months on end? We constantly feel ‘busy’ or we just don’t have ‘time’ or we’ll do the thing ‘tomorrow’ after we’ve just got this ‘done’. But you blink and that’s your life. Are those really the words you want to be remembered by? Busy? Tomorrow? Come on now, no you don’t. So maybe we start changing the words to ‘now’ and ‘slow down’ and ‘free’.

You may think I’m about to tell you how you can move in this direction. Unfortunately, I’m not. Because I don’t have a goddamn clue how you achieve that or even begin to. I’m deeply flawed. But I’m also aware of that fact. So my advice is linked to these two things. It’s simple and it’s all I’ve got for you today.

When you start noticing you’ve stopped taking care of yourself, that’s when you need to start taking care of yourself again.

And hey, maybe in the future we work on knowing this is happening before we completely burnout. But we’re also millennials, so that’ll probably never happen. But right now, this is enough. When you become conscious to the fact that you are neglecting yourself, don’t ignore it. Your brain is stopping you short and saying ‘hey, can you pay attention to me for a sec!’ and at that point you’ve reached your peak. Or you rock bottom. Like I say, I think this can happen when we’re filled with ecstasy as well as dread. Looking after yourself should always be your number one priority. So try not to forget that so often.

But anyway, this was my check in. This was me getting outside for a very windy and cold walk this morning during my break at work and listening to Folkore and just thinking, huh, this is the first time my mind has been somewhat silent all week and hey, I haven’t written a blog post for ages. I’ve barely read a page of my book all week. I’ve been eating mindlessly. I’ve not been present in my own existence. So then I started writing this blog post in my head. All you have to do is notice.

When are you going to notice and what are you going to do about it?

Peace x

circle the drain – Soccer Mommy

Once and never again?

Do you re-watch the same television shows? Do you have a certain book that you read every year? Have you got those couple of movies that you’ve seen more times than you count? Are your walks to work dominated by the same few albums? Do you consume media and then consume it again?

I hear some people don’t do that. Who are these people, I wonder? I’m a big re-watcher/reader/listener.

But I’ve been trying to work out why. Because, don’t get me wrong, I love discovering new things. I mean, you’ve heard I like books, right? And I’m always taking Netflix show recommendations from my mate and listening to songs my brother sends me on Spotify and watching, what I can only imagine at this point is, the eighty-seventh Rocky movie with my partner. But I also have personal classics that I’m always coming back to. Or thinking about the next time I get to hang out with them. And that’s when I realised it.

Returning to things makes me feel safe.

I think that’s what it comes down to. I like to feel safe. And comfortable. Like I’m among friends. And they’re helping me with my problems. I like to wrap myself in a big warm cocoon of songs I love and words that make me pause and movies that break my heart or make me laugh so hard I cry.

They’re my history. Each little piece of them tells a tiny tale that all weave together to become the whole of me. I remember sitting cramped around our first family computer on uncomfortable chairs with my siblings watching The Day After Tomorrow. I remember the first music video we ever saw was Murder on the Dancefloor by Sophie Ellis-Bextor (squished around that same computer). I remember making our parents sit painfully though our dance routines to the Vengaboys that we were so proud of. I remember hours of car journeys each getting to choose one CD in turn out of our big black case. Sometimes U2 or Blue or S Club 7 or The Kooks. I remember memorising every line from the movie A Cinderella Story because I watched it every day after school on my portable DVD player that I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to get for Christmas. I remember watching High School Musical in 10 minute snippets on Youtube and feeling exhilarated that I’d cheated the system. I remember discovering streaming sites and watching endless hours of Heroes and Prison Break in my room hoping I didn’t accidentally get a virus on my laptop. I remember the reading group me and my friends had in our ICT classes, constantly swapping around Sarah Dessen books. I remember singing every word to The Scene Aesthetic with my friend during our edgy adolescence. I remember watching The Breakfast Club for the first time in my room because a guy had come around to put new carpet down on our stairs and I was stuck upstairs alone whilst my family all watched Neighbours downstairs. I remember watching Neighbours every day after school with my siblings and my mum. I remember watching What Lies Beneath at a Year 6 sleepover and being absolutely terrified. And I remember night after night working bar in uni listening to the same trashy pop songs every night and rolling my eyes but then shouting the words the next Friday when I was there myself, wasted.

Whilst many of these examples are not my favourite things or ‘safe spaces’ it’s still interesting to recollect. So many moments in my life link back to a book or a band or a movie. And I kind of love that. It’s like sensory memories. And I find those really satisfying. People remember what something tasted like or smelt like. But what were you listening to? What were you reading? What melodies were vibrating through your heart and what words were swirling around your head?

I know that on the beautifully silent, early morning summer paper rounds I discovered and fell in love with Snow Patrol’s album A Hundred Million Suns. I know that when I was home for Christmas from my year abroad in America, Brooklyn Nine-Nine kept me company during my long hours of jet lag. They helped me sleep again a few years later when my mum died. I know that my favourite song from last year (Old Friends – Pinegrove) came from a mixed CD my brother made me and we played on loop whilst we (and my boyfriend) hung out and drunk beer and talked about life. I know that Legally Blonde has got me through just about any bad mood I’ve ever had. All the way back to when I bought the DVD with my teenage part-time job wages and dreaming of the day I’d be as excellent as Elle Woods. I know I spent my childhood quoting School of Rock and Mean Girls endlessly with my siblings and feeling so loved. And I know I sat in a Creative Writing class at uni in America reading Autobiography of Red and Dept. of Speculation and Citizen: An American Lyric and We the Animals and realising that writing could be so much more that I had ever realised. And I don’t know, when I revisit these texts and songs it gives me a floating sense of connectedness. At least, I sense of floating that grounds me.

Do you have moments like that? Are you an avid re-watcher/reader/listener? Or have you just read all that and thought, ‘what the fuck is she talking about’? Either way, thanks for coming on the journey with me! This is what happens when I start writing about something without a clear idea in mind, haha. But what I was thinking about mainly is returning to things now that we know and love. I think it’s a kind way you can support yourself in 2021. It’s respite from the dystopia we’re living in. It’s a good way to feel content. With that said, I’m off to start season three of Grey’s Anatomy (again). Wbu?

Mind Mischief – Tame Impala

Sarah to Zero Pt.2

What the fuck is Sarah to Zero? I love books and I buy a lot. Over the years I had accumulated hundreds. This was my overambitious intention to read them all. Every single one.

I started 2020 with the goal of reading 100 owned books. For some reason in about March (actually right before the pandemic became our every day) I did a small culling of my shelf and was left with around 185 books. I decided, fuck it, I’m gonna read them all.

And I did.

I somehow actually did it. I finished last year having read 206 books and with an empty shelf. (Just kidding, I already have 25 books on my shelf. HAHA! I received some lovely books for my birthday and Christmas that I didn’t include in my challenge and will calmly read throughout this year.) I still can’t quite believe that I completed the challenge.

How did I do it? Oh, well I did absolutely nothing else for a year. Simply put.

Here’s some things I learnt from my mad year reading 206 books:

– It’ll take a lot of time.

– I am not a quick reader. But I am a quick listener.

– Audiobooks are life.

– You become more equipped at knowing instantly if you’re going to enjoy a book/gel with the writing.

– Not every book is a winner. And that’s okay. Some are still worth reading.

– If your mouth is not open speaking to someone right that moment, then you should probably have an audiobook on.

– I buy a lot of books I think I should read. (Thanks, English Literature degree, you bastard.)

– I no longer read books I think I should read if I’m not feeling them.

– There is a lot of holes in my reading and my diversity of author, subject matter, even genre. I’m excited to explore more.

– Readathons will really get you there.

– You have very patient people in your life who love you and respect your hairbrained schemes. (Looking at you Danny, you the realest.)

– Damn, there is a lot of incredible books out there. And you have just a tiny sliver of them.

– Reckless determination can really take you places.

– Reading in the garden is really lovely. Reading in bed when you’re tired will not end well.

– You’ll watch way less Netflix/Youtube, but in a good way.

– There’s some pretty fun people on bookstagram and taking pictures of books is surprisingly addictive.

– You find links between books everywhere. I think it’s because you’re still living in a book world but catapulting yourself into another before your brain can adjust.

Would I do it again? Absofuckinglutely not.

I honestly had a really fun year and I’m glad I did the challenge and I’m still gobsmacked that I actually completed it. But one of my main motivations for doing the challenge to begin with was so that I could have a more chill reading experience moving forward. I had just accumulated a lot of books, from like ten years of buying more than I was reading. Whenever I looked at my shelf I felt excited but overwhelmed and when I purchased a new book I felt guilty and would put it aside to pick up an older one. Dumb, I know.

Goals and intentions going forward:

– Keep my physically owned tbr to under twenty books.

– Join some online book clubs and seek out new, fun readathons.

– Read diversely. Prioritse BIPOC and queer stories and authors.

– Take more time reviewing each book.

– Do buddy reads with my friends.

– Read more new authors. I used to read mainly backlist but I’m really excited by new authors recently.

– Read every memoir in existence. Or, you know, as close as you can get.

– Read every day in some capacity. Cos you love it.

I reckon that’s enough to be getting on with for now! I set my reading goal as one book this year and I’ve completed that. Feels really freeing to just see where the year goes now!

What are your reading goals for the year? Did having to stay home during the past year mean you read more than usual? Did you find any new favourites? Do you want to make reading a bigger priority for yourself this year? I hope so, cos reading is boss!

Happy reading!

Chinese Satellite – Phoebe Bridgers

Journal Prompts For Nurturing Hope

For today’s self-care post, I wanted to follow on a little from Wednesday. I talked about how I think it’s important to be hopeful right now. But just saying that as an abstract is one thing. Not easily achievable. So I wanted to give you a tangible way to explore this deeper for yourself. Like, it’s not a switch, right? We can’t say, ‘ah, I need to be hopeful today cos I’m feeling too down’, then snap our fingers and will it into being. I’d love it to be that easy. But it’s not. So we’ll work with what we can. I won’t lecture you on my thoughts about journaling today. Cos I feel like I’ve done that to you enough and you’re probably sick of me. But I think writing down your thoughts and feelings can be magic. When you let the pen flow or your fingers tap, ideas and thoughts and wisps of somethings flood out of you. Often things you didn’t know were there.

To feel hopeful, I think we need to learn why we even want to. What do we want to feel hopeful about? Who? When? What will it bring us? Will it improve our quality of life? Will it help us breathe? Feel less stressed? More connected to our loved ones or the world around us? And once we find a little bit of it, how do we hold on to it? These are not always easily answerable questions. And it could change every day. But that’s why we constantly explore. We come back to ourselves and we put in the work. Because we are worthy of our own time and love. And I think whilst drowning in this burnout culture we’re living in, it’s easy to forget that. But sitting down with yourself and your thoughts is paramount to knowing what you what and need. It gives you time to reflect as well as plan. The matrix doesn’t want you to live slowly and peacefully. So doing just that is quite liberating, don’t you think?

If that hasn’t got you itching to try journaling to nurture some hope then I’ve listed below a couple of juicy prompts for you to try and get your teeth into. Happy writing, kids!

1. What does hope look like to you? (Okay, getting a bit philosophical there right off the bat, ha! But I think it’s an interesting one. It’ll help you answer the questions above, help you find your ‘why’.)

2. How did you improve somebody’s day today? (People find it difficult to give themselves complements even when they’re warranted. This will be a challenging one. But I dare you. I also think doing something for somebody else helps you feel less alone. Breeds solidarity.)

3. Where is the place you feel safest? Describe it. Paint yourself a picture. (When you feel overwhelmed in the future, or like you’re spiralling out of control, return to this place. It will allow you to centre yourself and help you fight another day. This place could be real or imaginary. It may also change over time, let it be fluid.)

4. What are you grateful for today? (Even in a day where you feel nothing good/positive/happy/fun/mildly mediocre happened, there is always something to be grateful for. Could be the teeny tiniest thing. I have a black t-shirt I really like. I had a decent coffee earlier. A song I really like came on shuffle before. There is always something; do not allow your brain to convince you otherwise.)

5. What is something you’re looking forward to? (This could be tomorrow, next week, in five years, someday. Having something, anything, to look towards can help drag you out of your current circumstances or mindset. We do live in the now, and that’s important to acknowledge. But if the someday keeps you going then use it.)

These won’t always be easy. But they’ll always be worth it.

ICU – Phoebe Bridgers

twentytwentyone

I mean, how do you even begin this post? I love writing these yearly posts but this year is just hitting a little different isn’t it? I don’t want to spend much time speaking about the elephant in the room, cos at this point we all know what’s up. I’m finding that constant mention of the pandemic is making my heart race. I’m sure it’s the same for many of you. So instead I want to just keep this post short and hopeful. Short because I don’t have much hope in me right now. Hopeful because we can’t exist without it. Whatever the situation, no matter how deep into it you are, no matter how much your mental health is holding on by a fraying thread, no matter how much you want to give up, no matter how much you’re dying for a hug or a proper pint or a maskless breath of fresh air, I think there is always hope.

Every single thing that happens in your life is temporary.

Read that again.

Every single thing that happens in your life is temporary.

I’m obviously not talking about death (etc.) here, don’t try and get smart with me. But what I mean is that every feeling and mindset and set of circumstances you find yourself in will be fleeting. Your world twists and turns and evolves constantly. Often quicker than you can keep up with. (2020, am I right?) A lot of things in our lives will feel out of our control, and honestly, a fucking lot of it is. But a lot of it isn’t. And that’s all we’ve got. So that’s what we should focus on. That’s where we find our hope. Make it tangible not abstract. Regain autonomy of our lives amongst the madness and fear. So I think that’s what we should all work on this year.

Just take a deep breath. Right now, go ahead, I’ll wait.

Okay. Push out of your brain all the things in your life right now that are unchangeable. I won’t list any because we all know the things that relate to ourselves specifically. Now I want you to let the things you can control float to your mind’s forefront. What is there? Maybe make a mental list. For me, a couple of things popping up are what I read, what activities I give my spare time to, how I nourish my body (mental/physical).

These are the things that are going to give us hope this year. So spend a little time thinking about what you would like from them. Maybe you’re into resolutions so you quantify your thoughts and write a list of goals. Maybe you’re not and you just think abstractly for a moment. Whatever works for you. But what I want you to do, any time over the next few months that you feel overwhelmed or hopeless or that you’re spiralling. Just stop. Everything. Pause for a second. Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. Then circle back to this little list and think of one small thing you can do that day to develop one of them. Could be a walk. Could be putting a frozen pizza in. Could be watching your favourite tv show. Could be a nap. Could be as simple as getting yourself a cup of water. The things we’re controlling this year are not big. They’re the inconsequential every day, that all link together to become the most important parts of our lives. You might not be flying to Bali this year but you might give yourself ten minutes each day to journal and that is equally magical.

So what am I focussing on this year? A couple of little things.

  • I want to move my body more, however that feels right each day. Could be a run, yoga, some pilates. Could just be a walk. I’d like to incorporate more walks into my week, something positive I’m taking out of 2020.
  • I want to drink more water. I used to drink a lot but I’ve noticed now I’m usually sipping a black coffee. Oops!
  • I want to start working on my novel again. I didn’t touch it at all last year. Yikes. But I’m starting super small with just reading what I have and fixing any typos. You can have bigger goals but just break them down and down until they’re achievable little actionable tasks.
  • I want to read widely but slowly and intentionally. I had a very intense reading year last year, and I’m glad I did it and I had a lot of fun. But it was a lot. This year I want to find some new favourite books but I also want to fit in some tv, haha.
  • I want to connect better with my friends. I’m a famously bad messager but I don’t want to be. And checking in with people is so important, even more so now. So I’m working on it.
  • Oh and I want to buy a house. That’s not small but damn it, it’s happening!

So this ended up being a medium sized post. Turns out I had more hope than I realised. I hope you do too.

If you need help, reach out. To somebody, anybody. Could be me, doesn’t have to be. But don’t suffer alone. We truly are all in this together. And we’re surely reaching the home stretch now.

I hope your twentytwentyone is sublime.

Peace x

Kyoto – Phoebe Bridgers

Having a bad day

Oh hi! Did I say I’d be back last Friday? Err. This Wednesday is the same thing, right? Forgive me. I have no excuses.

This past Monday, I turned 27. I know. I’ve joined the club. But let’s hope I don’t actually join the club.. I’d like to see 28 please and thank you.

And I had a lovely day. I received some kind messages, thoughtful gifts and I felt wrapped in love by the people I love. I find birthdays a weird one, I like other people’s but not really my own. But, regardless, I actually really enjoyed this one. It was simple but perfect.

So I wake up yesterday, Tuesday, and I just spiral. About everything. And about nothing. Why? Beats me. Dude, if I knew how my brain worked (or your brain for that matter) then we’d probably be much more stable humans. (Making assumptions there, you might be a stable human, pssh, stop showing off.) But anyway, it was a shit one, tbh. Just could not shake it. Couldn’t focus on anything all day. Was just in a funk. Which felt endless. Sometimes I feel like a machine that’s ran out of battery and is just sat there staring forwards waiting to be plugged back in. Numb. Is that too much? I think actually being off work this week just didn’t help either (haha said nobody ever), cos I had nothing but time to just sit and think and unravel.

But you know what? That’s totally okay.

See you have to feel your feelings as you have them. Biggest hypocrite saying that, because I often bury emotions and pretend they don’t exist. But like, I definitely wouldn’t advise it! And if I can help you by making my own mistakes and learning from them then I’d like to share my experience. I’d like to help you get through a bad day. Cos we all have them. So I’d say the first thing: stop for a sec and just acknowledge that you’re having a shocking day. Just breathe for a minute. Like close your eyes and take deep breathes. Tell yourself that you’re going to be okay. Because you are. It probably won’t feel like it in the moment and it’ll probably be the last thing on your mind. You’re frustrated. You’re sad. You’re empty. But try and say those words out loud: You. Will. Be. Okay.

And then there’s no one-size-fits-all here. Maybe a little cry will help. Maybe a little journaling will help you physically work through what’s going on. Maybe you need to scrape that hair up, get those workout clothes on and go for a run. Maybe you need to go and take a nap. All of these are good options. But we’re trying to drag ourselves back to ourselves. Like we’re trying to find some balance, right? So I don’t mean ignore the feelings, but I mean do something that’s going to let you get to the other side, today that might be actually addressing some thoughts you’ve been having, it might just be that you want to cheer yourself up. Personally, yesterday I ate a delicious Oreo cupcake that my brother and his girlfriend had baked me and I watched Legally Blonde. Because, honestly, there’s not a problem in the world that can’t be eased with some Elle Woods. At least, I haven’t found one yet!

That made me feel a lot better. I also journaled a little. I also think, if you can, speaking to someone can just be the best medicine. I tapped my fingers together for hours yesterday waiting for my boyfriend to come home. But then just getting to talk things through felt like a huge relief. It put things in perspective. And I felt my mood picking up massively. And you know what? I woke up today feeling renewed and refreshed. (It won’t always happen that way. It might take days, weeks, fucking years. But stick with it. Because the world needs you here.) Any explanation why today is any different than yesterday? Absolutely none. But it is different. Because every single day of your life will be different.

And isn’t that kinda magic?

So we kinda snuck a bit of a Self-Care Friday into a Wednesday there. Cheeky. But like, we don’t rigidly follow schedules here. Or follow them at all.. Either way, I hope your Monday was good. I hope your Tuesday was great. I hope you’re having a boss Wednesday. And will have a fucking fantastic Thursday. And if you’re not, that’s okay too. You will be okay. You’re not alone. Ever. So reach out, to someone, anyone. My DMs are not often monitored (as my friends know, heyyyo sorry!) but they’re always open if you need them.

Take care of yourselves out there.

Peace x

Old Friends – Pinegrove

Some midweek ramblings

So my blog schedule (I know, I’m hilarious. Can we even call this a blog at this point?) dictates that Wednesday’s posts are themed ‘miscellaneous’. Basically a free-for-all, if you will. I’ll let you in on a secret, I have this list of post ideas on my phone that I’ve been adding to for years. The funny thing? I never write anything from it. Why? Who bloody knows. But hey, at least I attempt to make this a real blog. I have good intentions, I promise! Anyway, I wanna try and start writing some of them for you cos like, I obviously think they’re somewhat interesting haha. I mean some of them are completely out of date. For example, I have one that just says ‘ode to 2016’. It was gonna be this silly ‘fuck you’ to 2016 (it was gonna be a poem, it was this whole thing I was envisioning, Keatsesque you feel me?) cos, whilst I graduated that year, I kinda felt like collectively it was a pretty shocking year, cough Brexit cough. Cough Trump cough. Like, when a year starts with the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman in the first two weeks, you really don’t see it being a good one. But then it gets worse somehow. Immeasurably. Do you remember when that’s as bad as we thought it could possibly get? LOL. Well the years have just gotten progressively worse haven’t they? 2017 was the worst year of my life. Then 2018 was the worst year of the world’s life. Then 2019 was the worst year of the world’s life. Then 2020.. Er. Don’t even know how to articulate that one. Do we even want 2021 at this point? Genuinely asking. But anyway, that’s how long I’ve been writing these ideas down! What can I tell you, if procrastination was a career, then christ, I’d have a much better career than I do now. A few others: ‘this is us pilot review’ (I’m pretty sure this is on like season 4/5 now? I’m still comfortably in mid-season 1); ‘lessons I learnt from hermoine granger’ (Yikes! How timely, that one’s been binned, we don’t support terfs here); ‘red lentil pasty recipe’ (Wish I’d written that one down cos I remember it being good and that’s about it); ‘100 poem project’ (HAHAHAHAHA is all I have to say about that one tbh. I love the unsubstantiated confidence that old me had for myself. Can’t write a blog post in eight months, but 100 poems will be no problem). But you know, there’s a lot on there that still looks fun and I’m excited to write them for you.

Anyway, I was going to actually pick something off the list to write about today but it seems I’ve just written a bunch of other shite instead. Baby steps, people. Shall we see if I can make it back here on Friday for Self-Care Fridays? Wouldn’t that be a novelty. Fingers Crossed!

Peace and love.

Disappear – Dear Evan Hansen Soundtrack

Nostalgic for a time that hasn’t been

Let’s resurrect this blog, shall we?

If you’ve forgotten who I am, that’s okay. Cos I have too. This year has been… This year has been. Right? Let’s leave it at that. We all know what we’re doing here. Though if I’m honest, it wasn’t a world pandemic (take a shot) that ceased my writing as it’s clear I’d fucked this blog off in January. I don’t know what it is. I love writing. With every fibre of my being. I feel alive when I write. Yet I don’t write every day. Certainly not here, but also not to myself via my journal. I don’t always feel the need to, or feel I have anything to say. Which is okay. You don’t need to bash out three thousand words of a novel every day to be a writer. You don’t need to post a new poem to Instagram every other day to be a writer. You don’t need to write for three years to be a writer. It should be fun. There shouldn’t be pressure. So it’s okay if you haven’t written in a while. I’m telling you this but I’m telling myself too.

Sometimes things happen that are a shock to the system. We feel lost or baffled or sad or elated or fucking fantastic. The feeling doesn’t matter. What matters is that sometimes you just need a second to process it. And I mean like in your brain. Some writers process everything by actually writing it down. But there’s no one size fits all here. If you journal when you’re sad but let things slide when you’re having great day after great day, then that’s excellent. Go and enjoy the right now. If you ignore the bad because you don’t want to ever look back on it, but like to blog the happiest moments of your life, that’s boss, go do that! Just do what you need to do. The words will be there when you need them. Respect them. Don’t force them when they’re trying to rest.

And maybe you’re sat there thinking, Sarah, please, I write every single damn day. Five thousand words for my novel, an insta poem, morning and night journaling and oh, I then usually have fuel to write ten blogs posts a week too. Well, friend, that’s perfect. You too are valid here. Life is not a contest. But you should also feel pride when you accomplish personal goals. I envy you, that you have so many words up there in your mind. Honestly, sometimes I’d love that for myself!

So what are we doing here today? Dude, I don’t know. I haven’t written anything outside of a journal for like ten months. I don’t know how it works. I guess part of me wanted to check in. How are you doing? I’ve been wanting to check in but a lot has been happening this year, covid (take a shot) being just the tip of the fucking iceberg. And I want my words to be authentic and genuine. I don’t want them to appear reactionary. And I fucking certainly didn’t want to be another voice in the shout to make a loaf of fucking sourdough (take a shot). No diss if you made sourdough during lockdown (take a shot). Good for you, looks like a lot of work but seems to have delicious results. Personally, I just fell head first into reading. (I’ll update you guys on my yearly goal at some point but let’s just say we’re doing unbelievably well, don’t jinx me.) I’ve read and I’ve read and I’ve read, books that is. I’ve been trying to avoid news as much as possible because no good can come from it. (I’m aware that’s a very privileged thing to say. But honestly, the news is overwhelming even pre-2020 (take a shot). Just be kind to yourself and know what you can handle.)

But yeah, I wanted to see how you were. How are you? Has anyone asked you that recently? More importantly, have you asked yourself that recently? Have you told someone you love them recently? Have you told yourself? Have you drank water today? Have you taken time to do something rejuvenating? Have you moved your body? Have you eaten a celery stick? No? Thank god, don’t. Have you eaten something comforting and nutritious? Have you eaten a donut? Have you smiled? Have you decided you don’t want to smile and therefore not let anyone change your mind (fuck the patriarchy)? Have you spoken out loud today? Even to yourself. Have you gotten away from your desk and danced around? If you spend the majority of the day on your feet, have you sat down and rested your weary body? Have you worn your goddamn mask? Have you had a coffee? Have you admired the beautiful autumn leaves? Have you had a staring contest with the sun to express your annoyance that it doesn’t allow an autumnal climate in your area? Are you happy? Do you know that if you’re not happy you won’t always feel this way? Say it to yourself right now. Out loud. I don’t care where you are. Whisper it. Have you had enough sleep? Me neither. But one day we’re gonna have to learn to survive without five coffees. Have you blasted a good song today? (My brother sent me a song a couple of months ago and I’m now obsessed with the album it’s from. It’s called VHS by CASTLEBEAT.) Have you showered today? Have you brushed your teeth? Have you asked yourself how you are recently? Did I already say that? Oh right, that’s cos it’s an important one.

These are the questions that have been floating around in my head the last few long long (take a shot) months.

I know the end does not seem to be in sight right now. And if anything, it’s looking worse than a couple of months ago (take a shot). And I won’t lie to you, that’s because it is. But. We’ll get through it. You’ll get through it. You’ll be happy again. You’ll smile. You’ll make daisy chains with your friends and dance around the office. I’m joking, you’ll never do that. But, we’ll one day get to feel that sweaty aroma of the commuter squished up against you on the train. You’ll get to shake hands with that person who just sneezed before they saw you. You’re get to minesweep a drink off the side of a bar from an unsuspecting patron (shut up, you know you’ve done it). You’ll get to open the door of a public toilet after hundreds of gremlins before you have opened it without washing their hands. This is the future we’re dreaming of.

Okay, yeah, it’s totally not. But it’s still funny. I was talking to my friend before and I mentioned how I felt nostalgic for a time that hadn’t happened yet. And I think that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling for months now. I just didn’t know how to articulate it. But that’s it. And it’s okay to feel that way. And it’s okay to dream of future holidays and cocktail nights with the girls and date nights with your partner eating endless salt and pepper tofu and taking your nan for lunch and getting a train to work without feeling physically anxious and dancing all night in a club. It’s okay to want that. And you’ll have it again. Don’t lose the faith. We’ve just gotta get through the right now together.

So I just wanted to say hi. And whatsup. And howdy. And sorry. And hang in there.

You should all be sufficiently drunk off those shots now so I’ll leave it there for today.

I’ve missed you.

Heart Still Beats – CASTLEBEAT

Sarah To Zero

Hi!

You’re probably wondering what the heck ‘Sarah To Zero’ means.

We’ll get to that.

Today, I’m gonna share with you my reading goals for the year! But first I wanted to give you a little review and wrap up of last year.

Last year I had ten goals. TEN. Have I met me? I don’t know why I did that. Although, a lot of them were more just intentions and quite abstract. They weren’t massively rigid. So I think I actually did a good job of hitting them all a bit. I read almost every day. I didn’t allow seven consecutive weeks to pass without finishing a book. I read more women than men. So I’m feeling good about those and they’re habits I’d like to carry into the future.

My main goal was of course, the number of books I wanted to read. I set it at 50 again after a very busy December 2018 reading 17 books to meet my goal. I wanted to reach 50 more comfortably before I moved it up. Sensible, I thought.

WELL.

I only went and read 73 books! I was so bloody chuffed with myself, so it’s okay if you are too. Haha. I comfortably reached my goal in about September and after that I just wanted to see how further I could actually take it. I definitely went above my expectations.

But, you know, I can’t take all the credit. A big shout out has got to go out to my new best friends: audiobooks! For some reason I only started listening to these in the later section of the year. My office thankfully allows headphones and WOW the amount of books I’ve been able to listen to. I’ve really enjoyed the different medium as well, to be honest, and have no idea why I waited so long to try them!

So yeah, pretty solid year I think. I had a lot of fun.

But on to this year. The goals. So they’re ambitious. But simple.

They’re twofold.

I want to read 100 books.

Yeah, don’t question it. It’ll be fine. I already know I’ll be taking part in about three readathons; me and my mate are setting up a book club(!) (did you see my last post?); and I only discovered audiobooks in like October or something and that really boosted my book count so imagine an entire year of them! So I feel like I definitely have the tools to push my 73 up to 100. It’s just a matter of whether I use them.

I want to minimise my unread owned books as much as I possibly can.

This is Sarah To Zero. Get it? This is me reducing my owned unread books to zero. This has been something I’ve thought about for a long time, and actively tried to change over the last couple of years.

I love books.

I want to consume every word ever written. So it makes sense that I’ve bought several books over the years. It didn’t help that in university I lived two minutes away from an amazing second hand bookshop; this is the culprit for many of my books! Couple the buying with the fact I wasn’t reading more than twenty books a year and you are obviously left with disaster and disappointment.

But I want to change that.

And I like to be real with you guys. So I’ll tell you. I started twentytwenty with 214 owned but unread books.

Yikes.

Ideally, I think I’d like that number to be 20.

SO.

We’ve got our work cut out for us. But only I can control this number.

Therefore, making no books a top rule in my no buy for this year was paramount. I picked a 100 books to read because I like to push myself, and also because I think I can do it. But imagine getting to December 31st and only having 114 books left on my shelf. That floods me with relief, even though some of you are probably thinking, what the fuck Sarah, that’s still so many books!

For me, that’s not many.

And what’s funny is I’m desperate to read all the books on my shelf. Otherwise they wouldn’t be there. I wouldn’t have bought them. Or I would have donated them by now. It’s just a matter of slowly working through them. I want their knowledge.

My newfound love for audiobooks is also going to help me out here. I have an existing subscription to Scribd (which is therefore allowed to continue according to my no buy rules) and I’ve already discovered that a massive amount of my physical shelf is on here. Being able to listen to them in work is going to hugely impact my ability to crush through them. Last year I listened to a lot of books I don’t own, because the magic of discovery was so exciting. But this year I have a clear focus so listening to the books that I already physically own will really help me reduce my shelf. So yeah, Sarah To Zero. It’s happening.

And that’s it. Didn’t you see in my twentytwenty post that simplicity is my word of the year? I really mean it.

What are your reading goals for the year? I’d love to hear them! Have you set an unrealistic goal for yourself? Do you want to get back into reading after having a long break? Do you own too many books like me and have a similar challenge to reduce them? Let me know!

Since joining it a while ago, I’ve found bookstagram a really motivating place. It makes me want to read more. So if you’re struggling or needing some inspiration definitely check the world out. My bookstagram is @theunreliablereader 🙂

The Wolves (Act I and II) – Bon Iver