Monthly Musings, Entry 02 | May 2017

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.

LISTENING TO…

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.

JOHN MAYER

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.

SAM RUI

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.

READING…

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!

WATCHING…

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…

BELLE

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.

VISITING…

THE THEATRE

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.

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Went with my work girlie Francesca! ❤

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.

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Me taking a sneaky picture during the intermission even though pics were banned #rebel

EATING…

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 ❤

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Cakes and coffee – my favourite hobbeee

HOLY FOOD

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 *

WRITING…

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.

DRAWING…

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.

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TRYING…

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…).

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Workin off dat evening pastry

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!

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The Year: 2091

The Year: 2091

The year is 2091

I am old and frail

But I recognise you, still

In the distant morning sun

As I walk down the long garden trail

Alone

Every Saturday

Without stopping

Without fail

 

This time

I take my time, slowly, towards the Coffee Shop at the end

Can it be, after all these years

That I am finally seeing you,

Again?

Through the long grown green bushes, down the yellow path

My heart beats

One

Two

Three

Oh

 

And All I See

Is You

Through my tears

Standing there, with your walking stick

And thin dimpled smile

And white hair

Blowing in the wind, without a care

Is it you, Is it you?

I touch your arm lightly,

And I know you, I know you

I say.

 

and I Smile back

ever so slightly.

 

Hello, Hello

You do, You do

We met over 80 years ago

On this very same day

In fact

 

Today, I left the hospital behind

And came to find you.

I couldn’t stay away any longer

And I know you come by this way

Every weekend, for the past few years, during May

 

I saw you once, you know, when you weren’t looking

You were sitting over there, by the pond

Scrapbooking

And you looked so glorious in the midday sun

Like the day I saw you in London

When you were signing your books

And greeting your fans

 

But you didn’t know, you didn’t know

That I came and stood at the back

All those years ago

Hoping to catch you

At one of your sold-out shows

 

You didn’t see me though

You didn’t see me go

To the tree you mentioned

The one that hangs low

 

I went and sat in the shade

My head against your works, watching the sunlight fade

Under the clouds, on the grass, in the corner of Hyde Park

on a long day, it was, during the middle of March

 

And You don’t know, You don’t know

How I’ve read your words over and over

In the books, and the blog posts

In the comments, and the grey papers

You mention me

All over 

 

In your Art, and Your Eyes

I can see

My green shirt

And Aztec print jumper

In the tall glass building

Where we first met 

Sometime between the summer and winter

I remember, I remember too

Don’t think I don’t

Because I do, I do

 

That’s why I came today,

I came looking for you.

I need to say something

Before my days are over, and everything turns misty blue

And you are beyond my reach

And there are no more chances for us, to meet 

I’m sorry, I’ve never said it before

I never knew, that you wanted more

But here I am, and it’s true

I love you,

I love you too.

Monthly Musings, Entry 01 | April 2017

I used to keep a diary when I was younger, charting in unnecessary detail mundane life events, my feelings and all manner of things that occurred throughout the day, from what I was eating to documenting which sibling had decided to ruin my life that day. I gave up diary writing as I got older however, as life, studying and lack of sleep got in the way, and although I tried to pick up the habit again over the years, it never seems to have stuck.

Recently I have noticed that a lot of bloggers online do Monthly Favourites posts, whereby they share a few of their favourite things that month with their readers. I thought it was a great idea, and perhaps a bridge between diary writing/blogging/keeping a memory log of things I’ve encountered or been inspired by, and in line with my New Year’s goals, what new things I’ve tried.. or attempted to try.

So here’s the first of my Monthly Musings posts. It’s an attempt to show the more ‘cultural’ stuff I do I suppose, things that I am passionate about, experience etc. Hope you enjoy reading them, and perhaps may even be inspired to check out some of the stuff too!

LISTENING TO…

THE 1975 – I LIKE IT WHEN YOU SLEEP, FOR YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL YET SO UNAWARE OF IT

I discovered these guys very recently (like two days ago lol) whilst scrolling through some Instagram Stories of people I follow. They are an English rock band from Manchester, and recently won a Brit Award for Best British Group, so if you haven’t heard of them yet, I’m sure you will soon! I’ve been listening to their second album I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. The style is a mixture of my favourites really – jazz, post-rock, R&B, soul, indie rock and a bit of dance rock. So currently listening to this (even as I write this blog post), and plan to work through the rest of their material. My fave tracks so far are ‘She’s American’ and ‘If I Believe You’. I would give them a listen if you haven’t already 🙂

RO JAMES – ELDORADO

I stumbled across Ro James at work whilst putting a random playlist on play on Spotify. He’s an American R&B/Hip-Hop/soul singer-songwriter. I haven’t managed to work through his whole album Eldorado yet, but plan on doing so. I just like his voice basically. I’ve downloaded the whole album (the perks of being an Amazon Prime member – get lots of albums on Prime for freeeee!!), so will give the whole thing a listen to at some point.

MAX – HELL’S KITCHEN ANGEL

Again, stumbled across MAX on a Spotify playlist and then proceeded to download the whole album on Amazon Prime on my iPod. I’ve only listened to ‘Lights Down Low’ so far, which I liked, but plan to work through the whole album, most likely on my journey to work. Don’t know much about MAX at all – but seems like a newbie.

READING…

FEAR THE DARKNESS BY BECKY MASTERMAN

Took me much longer to finish reading this than I expected to, as I hoovered the first book in the series (Rage Against the Dying). I personally didn’t think this was as good as the first; naturally very well written but felt that the storyline dragged out a bit and was surprised that Brigid Quinn, a former and very highly-skilled FBI agent, didn’t catch onto what was happening sooner. The next book in the series, A Twist of the Knife, came out recently, and I do plan to pick up a copy as I really like the characters and Masterman’s writing.

WATCHING…

DOWNTON ABBEY

As usual, eons behind the times, but as I’ve been sick since the beginning of Easter weekend, all I’ve been doing is lying in bed watching episode after episode of Downton Abbey and sitting up every 4 hours to take a round of painkillers. Grim, I know. I’ve managed to consume 3 series in about 3 days, and now have slowly started to lose interest as my favourite characters have died. But I have immensely enjoyed the show thus far; I have a perennial fascination with a lot of stuff about the Victorians / early 20th century / industrialisation / post World War 1 era. I will aim to continue to watch the show but perhaps less obsessively so. Most likely when I’m walking uphill on the treadmill during a lazy gym session.

GRACEFITUK

She’s a young fitspo on Instagram and has recently started a lot of fitness/life vlogs on Youtube. I think she’s hilarious and she’s also smart too, so have been consuming quite a few of her videos recently. She’s done a whole series on cutting – ‘Summer Shred’ – which are a really great watch if you’re trying to eat healthy and get lean for summer.

EATING…

Far too much afternoon tea (and painkillers) this month! From never having tried it, to having it twice within the span of a few weeks. Not crazy about the amount of sugar but I like trying little bits of everything when it comes to food, so it’s great if you like variety (which I do!).

VISITING…

BLENHEIM PALACE

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything particularly cultural. My best friend moved to Abingdon (near Oxford) for her new job in early April, so when I visited her we trekked to Oxford and wondered around the University, and then the following day visited the gorgeous Blenheim Palace. Everything was extra lovely because it was gloriously sunny! A little too sunny perhaps, and as per usual, I was totally unprepared for the weather with my all black attire -_- .

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The palace is the principal residence of the Dukes of Marlborough, and the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill. It was great walking around inside and learning about the history of the palace and the fashion and lifestyle of a bygone era. I especially enjoyed learning more about Churchill’s life – for instance, I had no idea he was such a romantic, and also a painter – and a very good one at that too!

WRITING…

ART & LYRICS

Been too ill to write anything too substantial, but still exercising my creative faculties as much as possible through my ART & LYRICS series, which I started this month. The project combines my love for art and rhyme, and reflects my desire to express myself and my experiences through those mediums. This is probably some of the most personal stuff I’ve ever created and shared.

You can check them out here:

DRAWING…

POP ART

MY FEELINGS. Joke. Not. At least I’m not eating them eh? Sigh. I wish people realised the impact their words or actions can have on others, or lack of action.

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‘That was a dick move’ – he said.

TRYING…

HEALTHY EATING

I’ve been trying to get back into eating healthy again as I’ve been a bit all over the place since January, so have been cooking lots of soups and meal prepping. This morning I made my first mug cake topped with lots of yoghurt and fruit and it was super delicious! Eating healthy does not have to be boring and I always incorporate treats like chocolates into my day, if I really want it.

GRENADE PROTEIN BARS

They’re expensive, but they’re worth it XD . They actually taste like food, unlike Whey protein bars, which taste like shite.

PODCASTS

I know I am massively late on the scene with this, as with most other things in life, but recently I have been trying to get into listening to podcasts. I thought it would be good to listen to some stuff whilst travelling to work that isn’t music once in a while so I can learn some new things. I love anything on psychology, history, art and literature, but can’t seem to find anything good to get into. Any recommendations? Please let me know!

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ART & LYRICS: Post 3

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I would like to lie under that tree / the one with the blossoms / with you beside me. / And on that day / when we meet again unexpectedly / and you tell me all the things / I never thought you’d say / we can draw our names / in heart shape and form / on the brown bark / with our fingers / intertwined / like in the stories and songs / where you are mine / and I am yours / and where the shadows dance around us / in the moonlight / all night long.