Just Saying Hi

So it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. Even longer since I’ve written a post that wasn’t a book wrap up! Radio silence all summer. But you’ve got to assume I’ve been doing something, right? We all know how bad I am for staring at walls and letting life pass me by! However, I think I’ve done quite a bit this summer! But I’ve missed writing posts so want to ease myself back in. Today, I thought I’d give you a quick overview of what I’ve been getting up to recently in everyone’s favourite form: a list!

I completed a week-long readathon, reading seven books in total.

Did a run in the rain. (Thanks, British Summer)

Met my friend and did tequilas at 5pm on a Monday.

Watched hours of a Devil May Cry Let’s Play on YouTube with Danny. (Mainly assume Danny’s with me for most of the list so I don’t have to keep typing his name!)

Tried to eat at two pubs on a random Wednesday and was told there was no seats so settled for a chippy instead with my nan.

Finally completed a 750 Harry Potter jigsaw after a long ten-week slog (we thought it would be a piece if cake, how wrong we were). Thanks Dad, Claire, Neil, Jules, Keith and anyone else for your help!

Opened an ISA to buy a house cos I’m an adult.

Sat up chatting all evening with my sister. Mainly about her upcoming wedding!

Went to The National Gallery in London and realised, damn, art is stunning.

Did a morning run in Hyde Park.

Went to so many London book shops including one on a boat!

Met a couple of friends for a drink in Camden and then went to an arcade.

Played board games for hours at Draughts.

Went for a fancy tea and drinks with my family and listened to live jazz with espresso martinis.

Celebrated my mum’s birthday by baking loads of cakes.

Rearranged my bookshelves!

Played mini-golf with Danny’s mates then drank too many beers.

Saw Feeder play four songs.

Got insanely drunk with Danny and my brother and did karaoke.

Went to Frost Burgers (a vegan junk food place) in Liverpool and wanted to cry about how good the food was.

Drank more beers with Danny’s friends and played board games.

Watched Love, Simon then Rambo: First Blood immediately after, you know, for variety.

Walked around Ogwen Lake in the Wales with Danny and my dad. Then we visited every takeaway in Bethesda to create the ultimate combination feast.

After camping overnight we went to Penrhyn Castle and Gardens and it was amazing, go.

Did a run after a two-week break, we almost passed out.

Had a big nap.

Read loads as I was doing a month-long readathon and after 19 days of August had read 1 of my 9 books!

Went for a walk on Crosby beach with the Iron Men.

Danny made me a Katsu Curry from scratch.

Went to Birmingham with my sisters for lots of wedmin (Wedding Admin).

Made a set of cupboards for my dad that had the absolute worst instructions I’ve ever seen in a flat pack. Got treated to a Pizza Express for our efforts!

Made another cupboard and wanted to jump off a cliff. (Still one to go!)

Won my first ever game of Blob (it’s a card game.)

Went back to Frost Burgers.

Saw Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

Downloaded an app called Libby that let’s you rent all the e/audiobooks your local library has to offer!

Drank more beers and played more board games with the Wirral Boys.

Finished my ninth book of August on the last day of the readathon.

And there’s my summer! I hope you enjoyed the endless scroll there.

How was your summer? I’d love to hear the most bizarre thing you did. If you’re sad that summer is over, just remember it’s autumn now and that’s even better!

Soothsayer – Of Monsters and Men

people are inherently good

So I’ve been trying to write this piece for almost a year. I’ve started it about eight times and every time I’ve stopped. This post has quickly become the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. And it’s because I want it to be perfect and I know it never will. But it’s happening this time. And I’ll try my best to articulate my feelings.

2017 was the worst year of my life. To anyone who knows me, this will be no surprise. It tested me in ways I never knew I could be tested. It broke me, quite frankly, and I couldn’t really be bothered to continue participating in the world. I sat back and just existed. Just barely. It was an abyss of grief I didn’t think was ever going to reach an ending. I still don’t think it will. But I’m at least navigating it slightly better than one year ago.

Over this past year I have been gifted such generosity and kindness and love. And often I wasn’t even able to return it. But I want to try and say thank you. To every person who has shown me tenderness and friendship and patience these past twelve months. Because even the smallest and simplest of acts – that you may have thought completely insignificant – blew me away and made me feel so loved. I’m so fucking grateful to share my life with the people I do. And I need you to know that.

I think people are inherently good. Now even in the most pessimistic state I’ve ever been in I can still appreciate that. People piss me off on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a minute. I live in the night time because it’s quiet then. Peaceful. And because I don’t have to deal with the thunderous waves of other people’s garbage lives and problems. Yet I believe people to be inherently good. Paradox? Probably. But I think it’s the truth. When you need them, people will drop everything for you. They will put aside their problems or experiences to be completely there for you.

I think of the strength people have shown me and it blows my mind. To the relative stranger, who on that fateful day, put aside your own heartbreak and managed to keep me from falling to pieces.  Your strength baffles me. Completely. You were efficient, kind and caring. I hope I will be able to do the same for someone someday. Although our paths may never cross again, I will never forget you. You will always be my samaritan and I fucking thank you.

To the friends I’ve known longer than myself, where to even begin. For taking me back out into a public place when I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to again, thank you. For gifting me endless vegan treats, thank you. For getting me drunk when I was ready to, thank you. For allowing me to fall apart in front of you with no judgement, thank you. For understanding when I didn’t reply to a message for months on end, thank you. For still messaging me to check in, thank you. For writing me beautiful letters that I will cherish forever, thank you. For supporting me when I made big, somewhat irrational decisions, thank you. For getting me an avocado when I left my job, thank you. For keeping my mind busy, thank you. For giving me things to look forward to, thank you. For making me laugh even when I was determined not to, I thank you the most.

I’m not the same person I was a year ago. I feel harder and more cold in someways. Sometimes I just feel empty. Numb. But other times I feel more free than I ever have before. In ways I’m more reckless and spontaneous because you might as well be. And on some days I have moments of euphoria and extreme happiness and that’s because of the people I get to call friends. The people who I will fight to keep in my life forever. The people who put up with me. I’m positive for the future, you have to be. Otherwise what kind of future would it be? So I’m excited. I’m excited for the future adventures I will take with old friends. I’m excited for the memories I’ll make with the new people in my life and the happiness they have already brought to my days. I’m excited to be alive. And I think you should be too. Don’t ever forget that this world would be a terrible place without your light. And I’m here for you, just as you were here for me.

———

I’ve decided to add in the previous incarnations of this article because although none of them will ever have endings I think they all have important beginnings. Also, now you can see I really wasn’t kidding when I said I could not for the life of me write this fucking post. If you’re still reading, I love you.

———

Some people live to drag you down. But most are inherently good. It takes a hard time in ones life – possibly the worst you’ll ever have – to realise people really do care. Family, friends, loved ones, colleagues, acquaintances, strangers. People exude goodness, it’s natural. We are not wired to pit ourselves viciously against each other (that’s propaganda) (but maybe that’s just the vegan in me). We are beings of compassion, love, kindness. We feel empathy. We feel people’s pain. We crave to fix people’s problems and make them feel better because we need them to know that we care. We need them to know we’re there even if we’re geographically not. Small texts, cards, care packages, chocolate, flowers. Just something small. Something to show our love. Just letting you know I’m thinking of you. Don’t feel obliged to respond. Is there anything I can do? If you need space that’s okay. Feel free to message me whenever. I’m always here. For normal or abnormal.

I don’t know, people are just there. They make you feel less alone when you’re so deeply lonely. And sometimes there’s nothing they can do but sometimes there is and they’ll do it willingly. Even if it’s just getting you drunk. If it’s what you need they’re in. You should trust them more. They can deal. Try and stop holding it in so much. Release it. If you don’t voice it you won’t work through it.

———

I believe people come into your life for a reason. I don’t believe in God, Allah, Buddha, the Messiah, Saviour, Coca Cola, Apple, the Skinny Jean or the Iced Coffee. But I believe in people and what they can do for your soul. As Jake Peralta says, ‘I’m in. Eyes closed. Head first. Can’t lose.’ Let’s go.

But seriously, this isn’t a jokey post. I want to thank everyone who’s helped me in the past few months more than they know. So here goes. 

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But what makes people inherently good? Is it different with everyone or is there a general rule? I think it’s probably both. I think people have their own little quirks that make them them. Whether it’s getting you pissed because you ask them to, talking about the issue directly or tagging you in homemade cocktail videos on instagram. They’re showing you in their own way that they care. And that gives me a warm feeling inside. It makes me feel special, loved. It makes me feel important which is all humans really crave. 

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Right, I’m giving this post another go cos this is getting ridiculous. You’ll experience many people in life. People who push past you in the street, cut the line in a shop, demand all the energy from a room because they exude self-importance and don’t respect other people’s existence. But I’d like to believe these people are a minority. The world would be a terrible place if you left the house every day expecting to be annoyed or disappointed. Life is too short to spend it angry. I’ve definitely learnt that recently. Now, at the time in my life when I’ve never been more angry.

But you’ve got to choose to be happy. No one’s going to do it for you. They can definitely try but if you don’t feel it it’s not substantial. It won’t last.

And people aren’t all bad, in fact, I think they’re inherently good. Family, friends, even strangers will constantly surprise you. They bring goodness to your life and sometimes you don’t always get to thank them. Or you don’t know how. Whether it’s something as simple as saying good morning to you in the street when you’re having a rubbish day. Or your friend coming home with your favourite flavour of pringles just because they saw them and thought of you. Or maybe they were there for you on the single worst day of your life. People take control of the situation and inject happiness, calmness, safety even action. Whatever the situation calls for.

I’ve thought a lot about the moments in my life recently where people have shown selflessness. Where they’re shown compassion, love, generosity, and kindness. People drop everything and instead just give you everything you need. Even something as simple as holding a door open – they’re halting their day and where they need to be just to let you through the door.

———

So thank you.

release toxic people from your life

Now this week’s self-care task will probably be quite challenging but I promise that it will make your life better. It will give you more time to focus on what is important to you and it will make you feel emotionally lighter.

You need to release the toxic people from your life. People and attitudes that no longer serve you need to go. I think the Kon-Mari method of tidying up can totally work for people too. And why shouldn’t it? I think that just makes sense. Efficiency-wise. So the method asks you to consider every item you own, pick it up and ask ‘does it bring you joy’. Now, I’m not asking you to go around picking people up, in fact you shouldn’t be doing that without their permission anyway. But I want you to think long and hard about the people in your life that you sometimes think are toxic. Now it shouldn’t be hard because you already know who they are. You know you do.

They’re the people who constantly make you feel like you’ve done something wrong. Like you should feel guilty about something. Like you’ve let them down. And yeah, sometimes you will fuck up and let someone down, we’re not perfect. But this is if someone is constantly making you feel bad. Someone who gives you backhanded compliments or interrupts you to talk about themselves. When you meet after a few months or even a couple of days they don’t ask you questions about your life or show interest in your wellbeing. They act like they can do no wrong and they victimise themselves to make you believe you’re the problem. But you’re not. And you deserve better.

These types of people clearly have things to work through in their own lives. But it doesn’t always have to be your problem. It’s not selfish to treat yourself well sometimes too. You need to understand that you don’t have to keep every person in your life who you’ve ever met. It doesn’t matter if you’ve known them since high school or uni or even just last month. It doesn’t matter if you have mutual friends. It doesn’t matter if you live in the same city or different countries. You’re allowed to put yourself first. In fact, I actively encourage it. So you have to look at this person and decide if they are greater than the sum of their parts. Does the good outweigh the bad? Because if not, I’m sorry, but they’ve got to go. Release them from your life because you don’t need their bad energy.

Now how you do it is up to you. I mean if you think ghosting them is what you need to do then that’s fine. Because you’ve got to do what’s best for you. What I’ve found is a good way to solve this is to express these feelings to the person in question directly. I know it can be hard, I really hate conflict too. But you have to get over yourself for at least five minutes and try. When you tell the person how you feel and what you need to change they will show their true colours. Either they will consider your words and think okay, yeah, that’s sometimes true. I’ll do better. They may have a few notes for you, which is only fair. Or you may find they are unfortunately exactly the person you thought they were. They’ll yell at you and victimise themselves. They’ll refuse to work with you towards a more healthy friendship. At this point I give you permission to fucking ghost them. Extricate them from your life completely. Don’t you feel lighter already?

I’ve never understood why people always say that you know they’re a good friend if you can argue with them. I’ve always been of the mind that you choose your friends, so why would you fight with them? Maybe it’s just because I don’t like or have no time for conflict. But I don’t argue with my mates that’s why we’re friends. So if someone is always trying to pick a fight with you they may be someone to consider axing from your life.

This may all sound a bit brutal. But it’s not. If they’re good people who care about you then they will fight to be in your life. If they don’t? Well, you quite honestly don’t need them. Instead focus on the people who love you unconditionally and without strings.

Peace.

Yes, Even Stars Break – The Scene Aesthetic

Tattoo Origins: oneeightzeroeight

I haven’t graced your screens with a tattoo origins for ages so I thought it was about time.

Now, in all honesty I’m at this impasse where I cannot for the life of me remember the order of the next four tattoos because they were all done on the same day. This was less than two years ago but I was hyped up on adrenaline and excitement so it’s a bit fuzzy. If I even tried to work it out it would just be a lie so I’m just gonna go in an order that makes sense to me.

But why did you get four on one day anyway? Simple, at uni I could never justify it over rent or, you know, vodka. But in September 2016 I’d been made permanent at my then job and I decided if I didn’t do what I wanted now then I’d spend a lifetime waiting for tomorrow. It’s the little things.

Sarah, hurry up and get to it. What does oneeightzeroeight mean and why is there no spaces? Simple, it’s my PIN number.

I’m totally joking.

It’s a date. The eighteenth of August. On this date in 2014 I ventured on arguably the biggest adventure of my life. At least it was at that point in my life. My first big adventure. I moved to America. George Mason University, to be specific. For my exchange year.

But why does that need to be tattooed on you? Well is was one of the most mad things I’d ever done. Since I was sixteen sitting in IT classes looking at university courses I knew I wanted to do a year in the States. Believe me, I’m super glad it was Obama’s America cos I couldn’t have gone now.

But it was something I had wanted so I worked hard to get myself there. I worked in sweaty kitchens in the summers and I took up any shift I could at the bar during my semesters. It definitely wasn’t coming cheap. Even when my uni said I wouldn’t be able to go if I didn’t start going to lectures, I made sure I was there bright eyed and bushy tailed at nine am for a full semester to show them I was serious. Yeah, some of you are probably thinking I should have just been at those classes anyway. But that’s not who I am. So that was a big thing for me.

When I finally got there there was this huge pressure to make it the best year of your life but what people forget is you’re really just moving your life to a new place, laundry still has to get done and essays still have to be handed in. And man, did I miss my family and friends. So it took a while to adjust but eventually I met some of the most awesome people and then I really did have one of the best years of my life. I won’t say the best cos I’m an optimist. There’s more to come for me in this life. But then I got home, to ‘reality’ and all of a sudden laundry seemed a lot less glamorous. I wrote a dissertation then graduated with no savings and no job and no real idea where my life was headed. And it got me thinking about my year abroad and how I made something happen.

And I had all your usual year abroad revelations. I learnt a lot about myself and I discovered a lot about life. I learnt a lot about friendships and people and I just felt so connected to the world. I felt like I was living a dream, yeah, what a cliche. But I’m just telling you what it was like. It was boss. It was so wildly different from my normal life that it felt like I was living someone else’s if only for a year. And when it ended I knew I needed that feeling of freedom and culture and fascination in my life again. Always, if possible.

So I got this tattoo to remind myself of that. I got this date because it’s tangible and I can touch it. But also because it’s the beginning and I think the beginning is important. It’s to remind me to always chase adventure and that feeling of adrenaline and fun and euphoria. It’s on my arm so I can see it. So I’m confronted with it every day. I can’t hide from it. So when I’m staring absentmindedly at my work computer wishing I was anywhere else in the world but in that office I can see it in my peripherals. And I can remember, oh yeah, I already knew that; I want more for myself. Then I feel a fire inside me to find the next adventure, no matter how small.

It’s also just to remind me of that year and of all the beautiful friends I made. And the fun we had together. I felt so connected to you guys there, and I hope you know that. I love that it’s almost unreadable, because it’s for me not anyone else. There’s no spaces so it’s almost in code. It’s also in numbers to solidify the code. Nobody else knows what this one means so you better all hush!

So, anyway, it means a lot of things. And people think you just aimlessly ink words on to yourself. Pshh.

Ritual Union – Little Dragon