Welcome to my next post in the series.
I’m afraid to say that May has been a relatively miserable month for me – I’m still unwell and it’s hard for me to describe exactly in words what or how I feel, or maybe I’m just not ready to put it into words yet, and I’m not sure I ever will be, unless it’s through my fiction work – but a lot has changed for me since the start of January. It’s sometimes difficult to understand or imagine the me that I was, this time last year, happy and wondering around Cambridge with my sister, graduating with my MA and my friends and smiles all around me. I am so very much far away from her, the me last year, in both mind, body and spirit. Being unwell in the sense of constantly experiencing shallow highs and what feels like earth-shattering lows in a perpetual cycle of self-doubt and to a great degree, self-inflicted gloom and misery as a result of negative thought-processes, has resulted in nothing but total and utter fatigue. It’s been tough, and something that I am struggling to cope with, and never have I sought escape from my situation in any shape or form so ardently. Here’s to me hoping that the spiritual month of Ramadan, taking some time off work, continuing with my writing and making every effort to reconnect with the things that are important to me, helps to develop a healthy mindset and set me on a better track in the coming months.
May has been one of those reflective months for me, so I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff – from things that are eons old to a lot of new stuff on Spotify playlists – but overall mostly with low-mood, mellow or melancholy and alternative vibes.
JIMMY EAT WORLD – BLEED AMERICAN
You know you’ve got issues when you’re listening to ‘Hear You Me’ on repeat from morning till night. Also realised they performed at the O2 Guildhall in Southampton a few months ago?! Very sad to have missed it.
Pretty much all of his stuff on Spotify. His voice has a very soothing effect I find.
SONDER – INTO (EP)
Alternative mellow R&B/soul/techno-ish. Just been listening to it during work as it’s quite chill and doesn’t interfere too much with my thought processes. It’s nice.
She’s a Singaporean singer-songwriter who I stumbled upon which I like – she’s different and I like her depressing-mellow songs with techno-type voice.
I’ve been reading a lot this month – from books to online blogs and news articles. The majority has been stuff on politics (quite naturally with the election on the 8 June looming ahead). My Facebook feed has been covered with articles from all sorts of places – not sure if it’s been depressing me or not, but it’s been interesting to see all the fake news, newspapers shifting alliances and advertising propaganda sprouted by the Tories.
ASKING FOR IT BY LOUISE O’NEILL
This book is about rape culture. I read O’Neill’s debut last year, ONLY EVER YOURS, after a recommendation from a friend and I really enjoyed it, so was very much looking forward to getting stuck into this, her second novel. It’s about a girl who gets gang raped at a friend’s party. The whole event is also documented on social media by her four assailants. The book charts the aftermath of the event and the impact it has on her, her family, and unsurprisingly, the lack of consequence and impact on her rapists. The book highlights modern culture around technology, and is actually based on true events that occurred in America.
It struck a cord with me because it reminded me of why so few women come forward in instances of rape – the conviction rate is abysmally low – a joke really – even when the evidence is blindingly clear. I was on the jury for the attempted rape and sexual assault of a 100 year old woman last year – yes I know, the stuff that makes your guts curl and want to vom repeatedly – and what happened? The guy got away with attempted fucking burglary. The evidence seemed so clear and obvious I thought it was a no-brainer. I’ve never felt so angry and utterly hopeless at the same time in my life. Especially since I thought half the people on the jury were total dimwits and completely untrained/not fit to make decisions on matters of law that they couldn’t seem to digest or understand. I know I must sound like an elitist pig, but you cannot expect to put a random bunch of people in a room with zero-minimal prior knowledge of the law, or how it is written, to make such a life altering decision. They need to be trained or have a minimal level of comprehension to understand what accounts for evidence and what does not. I can go on with this rant but I won’t because it makes me angry and it’s currently 3.15am and I need to go to sleep because I have work tomorrow. I didn’t follow up on the case after my time on the jury finished because I just wanted to be rid of the whole experience; it was so horrible. But perhaps I should follow up, because my anger with the injustice that occurred is obviously still there, just beneath the surface.
I’ve also been reading MISSING, PRESUMED BY SUSIE STEINER, WANNABE A WRITER? (yes, yes I do) BY JANE WENHAM-JONES, EAT PRAY LOVE BY ELIZABETH GILBERT, and THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE BY STEPHEN R. COVEY.
I haven’t actually finished getting through all of these this month – I tend to have lots of books on the go – both fiction and non-fiction I am finding lately – and easily navigate through them depending on my mood. But yes, I am certainly enjoying finally getting through my large book collection!
LADY CHATTERLY’S LOVER
I watched this earlier this month; it’s the BBC production starring Richard Madden. I have like a huge celebe crush on Madden ❤ (ROB STARRK OMG) so will pretty much watch anything he’s in, good or bad. I certainly enjoyed watching this, even though his role was primarily a bit of ze rough on ze side heh heh. Defo worth the £2.49 I paid on Amazon Prime for it.
I have a beautiful copy of the book sitting on my shelf so look forward to reading it when I have a go at working through all the classics I haven’t read. My friend did a challenge a few years back where he worked through the classics in a year (sometimes he watched the movies instead of reading the books so kind of cheating there ahem), but you get the gist. I was thinking of setting a similar challenge for myself (but I would read all the books)! Might save it for 2018 though…
This is an independent movie that my sister recommended to me, inspired by the 1779 painting of mixed-race Dido Elizabeth Belle beside her white cousin, Lady Elizabeth Murray, at Kenwood House. The film is about Dido coming to terms with her identity and status in the context of an elite white family at a time when the slave trade existed. The movie charts her involvement with a lawyer, who is seeking justice on a case that came to be known as the Zong massacre, when slaves were thrown overboard from a slave ship and the owner filed with his insurance company for the losses (what a douchebag). I personally think this film had a strong storyline, but because it was an independent movie and budget was obvs tight, it didn’t do it justice really. Also wasn’t sure about the main gal’s acting. I personally didn’t find it convincing enough, and found Lady Elizabeth Murray’s character far too one-dimensional. One dimensional characters drive me NUTS. I simply expect better, I just do. I can’t help it. If I have taken my precious time to watch something, I WANT SOMETHING GOOD TO FEED MY SOUL/BRAIN GODDAMMIT.
I went to both the Mayflower Theatre to watch the very classic JANE EYRE and the Nuffield Theatre (for the first time) to watch THE WOMAN IN BLACK. All I can say is that JANE EYRE was beyond MEH (struggled not to fall asleep – not my fault frankly had a very large and delicious meal with insanely lush dessert beforehand which meant that I had bloated up to the size of a whale in what is increasingly becoming my extra small dress), so sat in my seat most of the evening trying not to burst at the seams or burp. I found the actress who played Jane excruciatingly annoying, and Rochester looked like he was a homeless man that they’d dragged off the streets and forced to play the role against his will. Me was disappointed.
On the other hand, THE WOMAN IN BLACK was SOOO FANTASTIC YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW!! I actually yelped out loud during the play (coz it’s scary and jumpy in all the right parts), grabbed onto Tom’s arm and DID NOT FALL ASLEEP. Which for me, if you aren’t aware of my limited attention span, is a firstttt (this is why I don’t do movie dates loool). Honestly, I was completely riveted, and the show has pretty much been sold out every night – not surprised at all! I think I enjoyed it so much because I didn’t know anything about the story or plot – I decided to go on a whim because a colleague at work had seen it the night before and was raving about it in the office kitchen so I just went off and bought the tickets. It’s the famous production that has been touring London I think – well the posters at the Nuffield were the same as the ones that I’d seen in London anyhow. I find theatre a real hit and miss, so it was really great to feel like it was more than my money’s worth, and just really made me feel great. You know when you see something really good, and you feel good and keep talking about it afterwards? That’s exactly how I felt, and from all the faces of the people who left the theatre I could tell they felt the same way – they were all buzzing about it – so yes would HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you ever have the opportunity to see it in the flesh.
PASTRY AND CARRBBBSSS
Far far far too much. Like every night. Kill me now. PAIN AU RAISIN IS MY BABY RIGHT NOW. I swear I’ve been sleepwalking into Waitrose and buying these daily. I seem to have forgotten about my love of anything with raisins in it – I absolutely loved eating raisins in any manner and form growing up and this craving of mine has totally returned in the past couple of weeks and I have been eating it at every opportunity.
I’ve also been eating any form of carb that my eyes have laid sight on. YAY. FOOD AND MY FEELINGS INNIT.
SKINNY BAKERY GOODIES
I’ve seen these Skinny Bakery goodies all over Instagram so thought I would try them and ended up buying one of everything from the website (where else is ma monies gonna go aye?) and lemme tell ya – they are SO good. They are basically cakes and cookies but made from uber healthy ingredients, so end up being a slither of the cals of normal sugary cakes/cookies. I enjoyed them immensely and plan to order some more in the near future when I am free of ze dietlife ❤
Ramadan has started! By holy food I just mean food that we eat during Ramadan lol. This, for a Bengali household, is what I refer to as Asian porridge, pan fried chickpeas with all the spices on the Asian continent and a large side of fresh cucumber, tomato and onion salad. Oh and delicious thick dates from Jordan. I was planning to go uber healthy this year and stick to fruit and yoghurt as dessert, because last year I gained like a stone over Ramadan, although I did go to Singapore and eat bread and ice-cream non-stop so that may have had something to do with it hmm… Anyhow, my attempt at being healthy failed like on the first day when I ate so much at Iftar I passed out – I’m not even joking I passed out on my bed and swore I would never eat again. Well here I am post my sixth Iftar drinking coffee and eating a white chocolate Magnum so * shrugs shoulders *
In a way this is a follow up to Meet Me in March, but many years on. Tell me if you see the link? I would love to hear your thoughts on them, as these two poems are very close to my heart.
The truth is, I only draw when I am unhappy or profoundly sad. I mean, who draws when they’re flippin’ happy? No one says ‘woop I am feeling super great today! I’m gloriously happy so I am gonna spend my time drawing in my bed! Or trek to a coffee shop to see what form my happy feelings take today!’ No, that doesn’t happen – not that I know of anyway.
Drawing for me is a process of escape (not necessarily a stress-free one however as I still want the outcome to be good, if not better than good), and an extension and expression of my thoughts. So as you can imagine, I have been drawing a lot lately, as this month has been a particularly difficult one for me for various reasons. Although I haven’t managed to finish anything I’ve been working on – I’ve been jumping from one thing to another, just like my reading. I also rarely ever share full images of my work online either – preferring to share bits of a painting, or a corner of something I’ve drawn. My art is private, but I’m trying to be less cagey and more comfortable about it, just like my writing I guess.
LATE NIGHT GYM SESSIONS
I have been trying to go to the gym after Iftar to keep the weight in check with my two sisters. I am certainly a fan of going to the gym late at nights – it’s empty, quiet and just soo much more relaxing than trying to navigate the rush of people during the day. Not so great however, is the fact that we have to go to Puregym as it’s the only 24-hour gym local to us. The equipment is ancient, and the music is loud and shite. It’s so loud I can’t even hear the music on my iPod with airtight headphones on! So far I feel that getting in some movement in my day has helped somewhat, as it’s soo easy to be sedentry when fasting. I’m hoping to keep up the regime over Ramadan and potentially beyond, as we all bought a 3-month pass (we were a bit over-enthusiastic at the start of Ramadan…).
WRITING 100 WORDS A DAY
Starting off small, but decided that this was the only way I am ever going to make a dent towards completing my novel, and all the other books and number of things I plan to write. I need to prioritise this. If I set myself this, then slowly it will build to something. I read that that’s what this one author did (can’t remember his name) who’d written a ton of novels. Just kept ploughing with writing 100 words a day, if not more. I want to be a novelist and poet, and write my shitty heart out, so if it’s important to me I gotta make the time to do it. I want to get to November this year and fully participate in NaNoWriMo and have something meaty to work with, so that’s the aim!