Chapter.

It was like I was reading a really familiar book. One that was unequivocally certain in its narrative, and felt like a comfortable acquaintance. One that would guide me, and subtly and gently place that hand on the small of my back and nudge me where I needed to go.

I knew this book well…word for word in fact. I was able to prognosticate the next conjuncture, the next development and how it was going to be concluded. But I must have got complacent along the way. Assumed I knew how the author was going to tie the loose ends together, and I jumped ahead a few chapters. Skim reading here and there, and not truly paying attention because why should I? I know what’s going to happen.

But now I’m not sure where I am. I’m not sure where the protagonist is meant to go, and whether or not she should be where she is. I can’t skip ahead anymore because this book is nearly finished, and I can’t go back because the comfort that I used to get from the familiar only makes me unhappy now.

I’m confused, having missed pages and the change of character. I don’t recognize her at the moment. The plot is spiraling.

I can only hope that the sequel will rejuvenate and revivify that life inside the pages.

 

chapter
ˈtʃaptə/
noun
 
  1. 1.
    a main division of a book, typically with a number or title.
    “we will deal with this in chapter eleven”
    synonyms: section, division, part, portion, segment, component, bit;

    “the first chapter of ‘Tom Brown’s Schooldays’”
     
  2. 2.
    a distinctive period in history or in a person’s life.
    “the people are about to begin a new chapter in their history”
    synonyms: period, time, phase, page, stage, episode, epoch, era

    “it was the start of a new chapter in the country’s history”

10 things that surprised me about NYC.

1. People were fantastic and proud and incredibly helpful towards three bewildered and bowled over British girls.

2. The subway system was ridiculously hot (some guy shouted at us as we descended into a subway station “Don’t do it girls! You are entering Hell!”, and it definitely felt like we were being engulfed in flames when we were down there) 2.5 It was also ridiculously cheap…take note TFL.

3. Proposals were a daily occurrence, meaning that life in NYC really is a rom-com, and all my hopes and dreams were solidified as potential realities (Top of the Rock, Central Park, Statue of Liberty were just a few of the locations of love), and if I don’t get proposed to in NYC I’m can’t guarantee I’m going to say “yes” if I get asked anywhere else.

4. An NYPD officer slipped me his number and then I seriously felt like my life had peaked as I had lived a real life rom-com scenario and I’m certain that he was the ‘one’.

5. I bumped into someone I knew, as did the two people I was travelling with. THE WORLD IS SMALL! and it was also extremely comforting to be on the other side of the world, without parents, common sense (never actually having any health or travel insurance documents on us) and suncream, yet seeing someone from your prequel movie was there to provide you with a warmth that the subway and summer sun couldn’t.

6. Central Park is bloody massive. We had to get the subway from one end to about half-way through the park because we were too exhausted (and way way too sweaty) to walk the whole thing. Also I read the map wrong and we were on the completely wrong side of the park to our hostel and therefore had to do more walking anyway. karma!

7. We watched the sunset from different locations across the city every night and I’ll never be able to summarise how magical and special that was.

8. Falling in love with hostels.We probably stayed in the most well-to-do hostel, as it came with its own cinema room, herb garden, deli style canteen, chill out room and fab bathrooms. We got to meet so many cool and interesting people in the ten nights we had there, and every single person we encountered became part of our stories and played a part in our lives in the most subtle and sweet ways. Going out for dinner together, going to the hostel bbq, staying up late talking about the Beatles, waking up the 7 other girls in the room to announce that Kate Middleton was pregnant, everyone showing and sharing their purchases of the day and their tips and tricks discovered in the city. It was the best sleepover, despite it being with total strangers.

9. Feeling like I was home. The city was so welcoming and so suited to our needs that nothing ever felt like an effort. It was blissful. The never ending noise, the humidity, the grand overwhelming scale of it all are not usually associated with bliss, but it’s all part of the gorgeous concoction on offer, without it it wouldn’t feel complete. Like a cup of tea without a chocolate hob-knob.

10. Changing my whole entire life plan in order to find ways to go back. NYC is the most intoxicating drug, and I’m desperate for more.

How to Feel Like You’ve Got Your Life (sort of) Together.

I’m a far cry from being able to dish out help and advice. I can’t drive, I can’t cook (won’t cook), I’ve moved back into my family home, and still spend an unhealthy amount of time complaining about things online/looking at pictures of Zac Efron. Basically, it feels like I’m still fourteen (plus to make it seem like I’m in my early teen years even more I still sleep with my retainers in; so glamorous)

But through the power of pinterest and perfect filters I’ve found that a sense of stability can be brought into my doubtful mind. When I look at my tip of a bedroom, knowing my towels that have been thrown damp onto the floor are desperately in need of a wash; when I’m feeling sluggish and lazy (currently I am half lying/half sitting in bed, cup of tea balanced so stupidly and dangerously on my chest whilst I try and type on my laptop, knowing that I could knock hot burning liquid onto my hands and keys at any second, but am too apathetic to move it onto my bedside table…I clearly live life on the edge, and am a natural born thrill seeker) all I have to do is open my instagram account and stare wistfully and proudly, awe-stricken and impressed at the lives some people let us believe are a possibility.

Kate Spade’s instagram account is something I wish my dreams could conjure up. It’s warm, classy and loving, and so polished that every time I scroll down it I can only see my own poor life choices being reflected back at me. I can’t dress for brunch in the city, buy fresh flowers from independent florists (who have equally stunning and drool worthy accounts), wear outfits that can take me from day to night (unless it’s a pyjama day). Afternoon tea is not a daily occurrence and I’m too spiteful towards myself to live by the Kate Spade mantras (despite buying as much of their catalogue as I can) But against all this I still feel calmed by looking at how in control and composed life can seem through filters, natural lighting and a perfectly formed caption.

Sure, I’m just pining potential plans, and liking other people’s lives, but every picture or flatlay is a little piece of perfect to me. I appreciate the time and effort that went into the organisation and creation of making a pose seem like the natural everyday. I love to think of some magical land where life really can be a 24 hour bottomless brunch (but you forever swim between being tipsy and verging on the over-sharing, where little snippets of life and feelings run out of your mouth and into someones mind, but not enough to think “ah, I just told someone about my bowel movements and passionately argued the point that Tinder is the new progressive way to date”. Basically you won’t ever find yourself throwing up in the bath again) I love that it’s all pretend. I love that it’s all an image. I love how life can be devised and fabricated to inspire and to belittle in the same process. To show you what you don’t have, but what you could have. To know that some worldly otherness is dancing around in cities, with no restriction on resources provides a warm magical comfort to me. The possibility of ‘maybe’…’maybe’ I could have this one day.

I am more than happy with what I have in life, and am so lucky to be where I am and to be with who I am. But everything looks better with a higher contrast and a well chosen filter. But too sometimes still feel like I’m stuck in a limbo within my life, it’s a pleasurable thought to know that the darling scenes that I stare at are all thought about and planned and constructed. I love them for their visuals, but I love them even more for the fact that they are artificial. It reminds me that what I see isn’t spontaneity and it’s actually more of a craft.

Basically, instagram I love you. You make me feel like I can get my shit together, even when I have greasy hair and have run out of dry shampoo. You make me believe that I can wear high-heels to go boutique shopping in, and can drink champagne as freely as I do tea. Never change. (No but please, never change. That whole stunt a few weeks ago about having to turn notifications on was not cool…and I like the cool look, because a hudson filter is the best)

Lou x

 

 

 

 

 

Ride or Die

One of the only things that gets words scrambling to the front of my mind, and running hot down my finger tips, is the thought of my future. There’s something so terrifyingly exciting about the un-known, something so electrifying and spine-tingling (and sometimes mentally draining) about the fortune that fate will bestow upon you, because it’s filled with so many what if’s. When thinking about future possibilities, and certain wants and needs that I long to complete, I get the feeling that washes over you when you’re queuing up to board the biggest ride at the theme park; you know that you may shit your pants, but it’s going to be so exhilarating, and you’ll probably get some awful photo to commemorate the event.

Stained underwear probably isn’t the best imagery to use when thinking about the future, but it helps to add to the reality that there’s a chance that things in the future could get a bit messy, but the build up and the fact that you actually finally did the thing that you wanted to do -and it was a success- will be the most extraordinary rush you could experience. You survived, and people will be more concerned with the journey you had, rather than the outcome…and you’ll have some great bragging rights.

You couldn’t fast track this ride that you had so desperately longed for. You waited equals part patient and anxiously agitated. The wait was long enough for you to talk yourself in and out of your situation at least 8 times, you saw the exit signs and thought about ducking out, but knew that you had already committed and were in too deep. When it’s your chance to board the ride you see others who have just completed their journey ablaze with wide refreshed smiles, laughing (and maybe a little damp). You strap in, suddenly worried about your safety and if you’re sure you made the right choice, and just as you’re about to check your belongings are all secure you are catapulted into the full intensity of your decision with no chance to back out. Strangers next to you suddenly become your lifelines, and as you scream internally and externally “FUUUUUUCCCKKKKK” you are too focused on the force that you are currently being propelled at to be concerned about the fact you once had doubts. The rush is so indulgent and consuming and worth so much more than the sickening feeling of indecision.

When talking or writing about your future you become bolder and fuller, you are the active and the dominant creator, and you can control the outcome, and the element of uncertainty coupled with determination makes me feel like some renowned story-teller. I could sit here and say that I will do this, and I will do that, and something about putting words to paper (screen) gives me a sense of responsibility to complete and fulfil the adventure that I had set out for myself in the novel of my life.

I long for something I’ve never had. I long for places that I’ve never been too. I am so excited and challenged by the idea of throwing everything I own into a suitcase, giving my cats one last cuddle and jumping into a plane to go to the other side of the world (also: side note, I would love to one day actually jump out of a plane) but I know I have to be patient. I have to complete my current chapter, and if I skip pages, skim-read or miss out sections entirely then the rest of the book won’t make sense*.

Lou x

(*I learnt that lesson when I skipped to the last pages of The Deathly Hallows and was repulsed and confused by the name Albus Severus, and just rather unbalanced and shaken)

 

Lou v OJ.

I think the moment I realised I would have to be really comfortable in myself-and always pretend I was doing okay- was when sticky warm orange juice, that had been sitting on a table for far to long, got tipped all over me at a wedding when I was nine years old.

My new dress was ruined, I had had my first ever blow-dry for this occasion which was now sticky and crusty with pulp (a sign for my mistreatment and apathy  towards hair care for the years that have followed) and my cheeks were burning red with shame. The waiter was extremely apologetic, and I remember sitting there feeling drips of juice running off my nose and trickling down my neck, and thinking “don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry”. I held it together as strangers who were sat on the table with me handed me napkins and muttered words I couldn’t hear through my damp hair (thankfully the large family photos had already been taken, and digital cameras were not a massive deal 13 years ago, so there is no photo evidence of me sporting the “wet look”)

Despite wanting to sit under the table and pick up pieces of discarded confetti rather than have to show off my sticky shoulders to strangers, I carried on regardless. I know I’m making it sound like I completed a marathon in record time whilst on crutches and suffering from asthma, but I remember my mum and grandma telling me how proud they were of me, and how mature I was for not making a big show or song and dance out of the whole situation (however, at 22 I’d happily try and upstage anyone at their wedding out of jealousy for not having my own)…plus, I knew that the real song and dance was going to be coming later in the form of Dancing Queen, The Cha Cha Slide and The Macarena; which are all guaranteed wedding classics and ones I was buzzing to ‘bop’ to.

I can’t really remember much else from the wedding day of my distant cousins. I know that I effortlessly rocked a hat (see post here about my hesitation towards headgear as an adult) and that my dress was accidentally exactly the same colour as the bridesmaids. But really the standout moment was the entire jug of orange juice finding itself in my lap (for me obviously, not the bride and groom). As aforementioned I was horrendously embarrassed, and this vivid childhood memory (trauma in terms of haircare) has stayed with me. I’ve been thinking about this recently due to the fact that we have been discussing feelings and emotions with the class of children that I work with.

We have come across the feeling of “embarrassed” quite a lot in our discussions, and not one four year old has been able to think of a time when they have felt this way. They are quick to say when they have felt angry or cross (“When mummy wouldn’t let me eat my penguin chocolate bar in the bath”), lonely (“When I have to go to after-school club”), worried (When mummy has to use the map on her phone when I go to swimming lessons”) happy (usually something to do with toys or sweets) but not once, even after detailed explanations of what it feels like to be embarrassed, has a Reception child been able to understand that emotion. These little kids just warm my soul sometimes, and make me feel all fuzzy (not an emotion that we would find on our Feelings Word Mat in class) because they’re such fab little humans. They have got so much personality and seem so sorted with themselves and who they are, that they don’t have time to feel things such as embarrassment. If they get something wrong they simply go “oh” and move on. They don’t get upset that they didn’t know which coins you could use to make 25p, because they’re here at school to learn and they just didn’t quite get it. They aren’t afraid. And I think they would actually laugh if they were to get liquid poured over them at an event (it seems like the new thing at the moment is to hold your water bottle over your head and see if you’ve chewed enough holes in your lid to let the water come out), they’d maybe even feel special about it. So, somewhere between four and nine years old the feeling of embarrassment begins to become part of your feeling repertoire, and I am so curious to find out when. When do you suddenly not want to raise your hand in class for fear of getting it wrong? When do you suddenly blush when you realise your trousers are un-done etc etc.

I’ve had drinks spilt on me on nights out, or through my own clumsiness, and whenever it looks like I’ve wet myself and I have to still parade myself in public/kill it on the dance floor, I just think of how my little kids would handle it, and how I managed to rock the two tone stained dress and slicked back sticky hair when I was nine, I guess I can deal with it now…and plus, vodka doesn’t smell.

Lou x

 

Love When You Yeast Expect It

Today I found myself in a sweet section of Heaven…which also doubled as a fiery pit of never ending Hell for me.

This morning at work I was sent on a bakery run. The term “run” is obviously being used highly ironically here, as although I was mentally skipping with glee on my way to the bakery, there is no way any exercise could counteract the temptations that were throwing themselves all over me when I entered the warm sugary and buttery bakery…despite no gorgeously sinful eclairs or carrot cake wedges finding themselves in my mouth (I was on a mission to feed others, and heartbreakingly it was only my imagination-where I was calculating how many bread rolls I could eat in one sitting-that was being fed) I feel like I gained 5 lbs by just inhaling the air within this heavenly pocket of perfection within my local town.

As I was salivating over cream puffs, dense brownies, cheese melted onto pastry and smothering itself over fresh warm bread, I had to turn and look out of the window whilst I waited for my order, for fear of myself smashing the glass cabinets and shoving as much pastry in my mouth as I could. It was when I was in want of a distraction of any kind that I began to slowly smile to myself (partly out of pain as I was biting my tongue and trying to hold my breath in order to force my senses to stop working, as I could have happily let myself drown in the bakery’s perfume of warm rising dough) I found that I was smiling at the wonderful weirdness and cosy comfortability of the town that I call home that I was watching plod along and play out its daily and well rehearsed scenes in front of me.

From my view I could see the local butcher (who also doubles as the town mayor) chatting to local residents, I could see the 450 year old pub getting ready for the lunchtime regulars, the Church and its blooming gardens, the local DIY shop (called Nuts’n’Bolts..so trendy ‘n’ hip) the town green, the grocers…you think small town, and my home has got it. I could see people stopping in the middle of the street just to coo at babies in pushchairs, friends waving to each other through car windows…there was no rush, no need to be anywhere other than where you were in that moment. It was so calm and so passive, and it warmed my heart more than any sausage roll behind me could have done.

Although I dream of vast cities, with towering buildings and a never ending roar of sound, it’s so comforting to me to know that life in my home town -however slow it is- has this never-ending day to day dreamlike slothfulness to it. It’s a very small part of East Anglia, and an even smaller part of England, but it’s mine to call home, and despite how backwards, boring and monotonous it may same to others, I’m fiercely protective over it…and its homemade pies.

Lou x

Overheard whilst I was in the bakery

Child (talking to adult): She (looking at me) looks like she wants to buy a big cake.

Cry Me A River

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With hot tears running down my cheeks I am trying to write to distract myself. My neck is wet from my emotions, my voice thick and heavy, and the tip of my nose painful from constant sniffing.

My family and I are currently watching the film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and I have been crying since the moment the film began. I feel exhausted by having felt sadness, anger and pain so forcefully in 90 minutes. Having felt emotions so strongly so quickly, I am now left feeling empty (and actually a little bit hungry…but that’s normal for me)

I have a want to write everyday-a need to prove to myself that I can- yet I can’t find the words inside me tonight. My emotions, inspiration and creativity have fallen away from me this evening, and I can’t conjure up the rise and fall of an anecdote, a rolling rant or review or an explanation on how my sister and I attempted a HIT workout today and couldn’t complete it due to our bodies aching with laughter (not aching from over exertion-we never work that hard)

Now it’s not a surprise that I’m crying at a film. I cry at adverts, at phone-in radio segments, when I see a cute cat or baby. I am a crier for other people. I can internalise someone else’s artificial pain when watching them on a screen, or when I see someone else cry when they’re re-telling or re-sharing, but I very rarely, -actually hardly ever- cry about my own problems.

Yet, it’s those horrible and unexpected bumps in the road, where someone decides to jump out of a moving car, despite you thinking that you were both headed to the same destination, and you’re left alone, unsure how you’re meant to drive the vehicle by yourself now that you have to take control, and suddenly you realise you read the map and all the signs wrong, that’s…that’s when I might cry.

If I am left to be alone, because someone realises they’ve got bored of the journey and that they no longer want me as a road trip companion, I will cry about them only once. I’ve cried four times in my life over being hurt by someone, and I’m still not ready to forgive those people for drawing those hot, disgusting, weak tears out of me. I don’t cry because I’ve been hurt a lot, but when I do I know I never want to feel like that again. I’d much rather cry over soldiers returning home to loved ones, families sharing pregnancy announcements or Noah wrapping Allie up in the red blanket when she chooses him, than I would due to someone disregarding me completely. I love happy tears. When your cheeks are aching from holding a smile you didn’t realise was there, and your hands are clasped together out of a want to hold this moment and your emotions in one place, when suddenly tears dance down your face, and you let yourself relax into the pure beauty of those magical minutes.

My eyes are now aching, and are in want of sleep and to dream of something other than the heartache of New York’s history. A deep cry has purged me of emotion and of my creativity. But I’m also glad of it. Sometimes you need a re-start, a cleanse, and a reason to try again tomorrow.

Lou x

Oskar Schell: Only humans can cry tears. Did you know that?

 

Welcome to The OC bitch.

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I will forever be indebted to Josh Schwartz. He changed the game for me (not sure what game I’m actually referring to here because I don’t play sports, and I rarely find myself in board-game related scenarios…but there is a game, and he changed it) Schwartz, you incredible son of a bitch. Your show is the standard to which I match any other teen-drama too, and I have to somehow live my life knowing that no other TV show will ever compare.

My education became temporarily halted when I was 13 because I couldn’t mentally focus on anything other than Ryan Atwood and his god-damn seemingly beautiful and tortured life. I remember intensely day-dreaming in a woodwork lesson when I was in year 8, and was mid-way through using some kind of power tool, and very nearly sliced my finger off because I was too engrossed in the thought of Ryan and Marrisa’s grilled cheese sandwiches and mac and cheese first date by the pool (I mean cheese, a teenage boy who definitely looked 20-something not 16, and a very nearly first kiss; my young teen self just couldn’t take it) I was drowning in obsession, and a want and need to experience everything I was watching on this show.

As TV shows go The OC season one is flawless. Now, flawless might seem like an over used word as of late (see: eyebrows, “her eyebrows are flawless”, application of make-up, “her foundation is flawless”, any Hemsworth brother, “jesus-effing-christ their faces are flawless”) but with the word ‘flawless’ literally meaning having NO IMPERFECTIONS at all, whatsoever, I think it’s pretty fair to declare that “SEASON ONE OF THE OC IS UTTERLY AND WHOLLY AND COMPLETELY FLAWLESS IN EVERY SINGLE WAY/SHAPE/FORM”.  From the first time we see the opening credits, with Phantom Planets California being the soundtrack to Ryan’s removal from the crumbling and third-world-type depiction of Chino, to the wealth and wonders of Newport Beach (wealth being Kirsten Cohen, and the wonder being her absolute dreamboat of a husband Sandy. The reigning supreme of marriage goals lies within their relationship) you know that this show is setting up to give you everything you dreamed of. Because your dreams have always been about a 16 year old boys rags to riches style story, where he can drink 7/7s (still don’t understand this drink, but still long to try one), where he can eat crab and filo pastries at classy and sleazy dinner parties and save the girl next door in more ways than one.

The OC is so glamorous, so perfectly dated in its early to mid 2000’s aesthetic, laden with gooey romance that makes you long to live somewhere other than the more than adequate place you currently call home (due to the fact that home is not Newport beach you will always harbour a little bit of resentment towards your postcode), indulgent heartbreak that keeps you awake at night, Seth Cohen sarcasm, pop cultural references, absolute beauty in all forms (bagels, bagels with cream cheese, toasted bagels…), infinity pools (which I had no idea were a thing before I watched the show, and I still don’t completely understand them to this day), wine moms, surfer dads, gay dads, step-dads, in debt-dads…and yeah, wow, a lot of Dad’s. It’s a show that totally encapsulates everything a teen drama show should have. It’s intoxicating, it’s the right amount of believable to make you think “maybe..maybe this could happen to me…hmm I should go and steal and car and see how far my attorney would really go for me”. Yet, it’s also so beyond your wildest dreams that it’s almost other worldly. It’s magic and mystery and money all rolled into one. It’s got complicated friendships, skinny girls, the Queen B falling for the nerdy guy, sex, drugs, alcohol, lies, deceit, a pool house, Cotillion (again, the show has taught me so much, as I was completely unaware of this completely sexist and dated event, and was pissed that I didn’t get to have one), horses with alopecia, mental breakdowns, a lot of heartache and mis-communication. Oh god, it really is just brilliant. It’s brilliant because it somehow elevates itself over other teen dramas. There’s a cleverness about the show that tricks you into believing it’s just a show for hormonal teenagers, when in fact the writers are able to explore and experience so much more within the show than just “teen drama”. It’s witty, sharp, well written with well formed characters who have interesting arcs and developments that are done with justice (see: The Evolution of Summer Roberts or Kirsten Cohen feat Chardonnay)

As I’ve grown up the show has stayed close to my heart. It’s a comfort for me now, and there are those days when I can just put an episode on and be warmed. Warmed by the sunshine from the West Coast, the glow from Kirsten’s blonde hair and Ryan’s bronzer, and the beautiful nostalgia and longing for the love shared between Ryan and Marissa and Seth and Summer; the ultimate CoreFour/Atomic County heroes.

And the show has been able to become so much more than just a show, through it’s utterly fantastic choice of music.The music in this show is something that needs to be celebrated, because it-like the crab and filo pastries at a pool side party-is the perfect accompaniment to the drama that unfolds between the characters; offering us the last push over the cliff as our emotions drag us to the depths. I often find myself trapped in a YouTube cycle of never ending playlists ranking all the best OC moments based on the soundtrack for that particular scene. Jem’s Maybe I’m Amazed at Julie and Caleb’s wedding still breaks my heart (as does the way Ryan looks in a suit and me knowing that I’ll never get to slow dance with him), Finley Quaye’s Dice makes me grin with excited anticipation (probs most unbelievable aspect of the show is how quickly Ryan tackles those stairs), and the slow-mo shots of the penthouse new years eve party still pleases my eyes to this day, when Anna (what a fab girl) leaves at the airport and gets chased down by Seth to the sound of Nadasurf If You Leave, the Paint the Silence kiss on the ferris wheel scene (and the pain when they bring that song back in season 3)…it’s just all so perfect. The show introduced me to so many great artists and such wonderful music, and it’s just another thing to add to the list of “Thing’s I’ll Forever Be Indebted to Josh Schwartz For” (other entries on that list include Chuck Bartowski -which will make for a whole other blog post entirely- Chace Crawford, the glamorisation of California and New York which resulted in me and my friends travelling to both places in one whirl-wind summer adventure and spending all of my money)

 

I wholly believe that The OC is the best teenage show of all time. It’s my most watched, re-watched, researched, reexamined show (followed very closely by The American Office, but that too deserves a whole blog dedicated to it), and I am so proud of it. When my internet cut out for three days at uni, the tv wasn’t working because we didn’t have a license, and all my housemates had gone home, I was so thankful that the only DVDs I had packed to take with me was The OC season one (much to my sisters annoyance). At 21 I was hanging out with the Cohens and I felt like I was home (Also at 21 I was suddenly so attracted to Sandy Cohen and Jimmy Cooper than Ryan and Seth no longer mattered. I think this is what is referred to as “maturity”) I have changed, but the show will forever remain as it is.

Who are you? 

Whoever you want me to be.

Lou x

ALSO. I still despise you Oliver Traske. You ruined everything. EVERYTHING. Ryan and Marissa were never together long enough to be truly happy and that is entirely your fault. You prayed on the weakness of Marissa, where the thing that made Ryan fall in love with her (her want and need to help lost boys) became the thing that tore them apart, ya fucking waste man. Still not over it.

 

Riding the Waves

I have hundreds of draft posts saved for this blog. There have been so many nights where I have toyed with the temptation of typing out my thoughts. Nights where I have laid in the dark watching the minutes change on my bedside clock; the four green numbers documenting every passing second that will bring me closer to daybreak, and further away from the person who I was that day. I have ached and longed so desperately to re-awaken my connection with words and my desire to write, and I’m content and quietly proud of myself for updating this little white box for the past ten days.

But there are those nights when I’m faced with this refreshingly blank space on my screen and I’m suddenly devoid of all creativity. Although the words that I write are often unplanned (and usually erratic) feelings that dance around in my mind, I want them to flow onto this space with the grace and beauty of a softly rising and falling foxtrot, as opposed to the jittering and jiving thoughts that tap and bounce around inside me. I find it calming to write, and therefore want it to be read in the same way.

For some reason the notion of swimming and water are a constant motif that surfaces every time I put thoughts onto a page, and it is the gentle bobbing of being in the water that I feel when I write. Toes are just pointed onto the tiled swimming pool floor, head just above the water, wet hair fanning on the surface around you; and the soft waves that are being created by the other inhabitants of this shared wet space, pushing slightly against you. The creativity and poise of others words nudges me in the same way the waves do; to reinforce to me that there are others in the water with me, and that they are there to remind to ‘just keep swimming’

In the same way I carried on taking swimming lessons when I didn’t necessarily enjoy every minute of the time spent in the water, is somewhat similar to the way I want to continue urging myself to write. Surely not every moment of me throwing my thoughts onto a page is going to result in me beating a record or setting a new personal best…but surely with every post I am exercising my ability, and although it’s always difficult to let your toes touch the cold water, once you take the plunge the water is the refreshing booster that you needed. The satisfaction I feel once I’ve hit publish leaves me with that floating feeling of being free, when you can let your body touch the surface of the water, head titled back and arms outstretched. Your hearing is somewhat muted, as the thoughts you had swirling inside your mind have now been pushed into the deep end, and away from you.

I am floating with my thoughts tonight, and I can feel myself rising and falling with the current within my mind. My continuous connection to this blog over the past few days has given me a sense of comfort, and I feel free to continue to float above the water, with no concern as to where I will end up. I will continue to write, and the waves will continue to carry me.

 

Yes Please, and Thank You.

What follows is an open Thank You letter to the incomparable, witty and stupendous Amy Poehler.

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It was my final semester at University and I was overwhelmed. My arms were aching with the amount I was juggling; a skill I never fully mastered, despite actually attending a circus day camp when I was eleven. Essays needed writing (the books needed for these essays actually had to be read first), applications for jobs needed completing (and researched, in order for me to try and waffle my way to the top), preparation and planning was underway for the summer camp I was leading in a few months time (and something that still causes me panic dreams despite it being a success), I was busy trying to find time to edit articles for my Uni’s magazine (even wearing my glasses I still missed typos) and attending hours of rehearsals for my third year final drama show.

In the midst of all this I received a gift. A wonderful, fabulous gift, wrapped beautifully in a yellow bow by the Amazon Book team. Knowing how much my legs were aching from treading water my sister threw me a life jacket in the form of a hardback cover of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. I have never in my life been more in need of a book as inspiring, warming and hugely grin-worthy as I was in those final weeks of my degree.

I remember coming home from a long night spent in the media office, laden with bags containing a laptop, unread books, some jazz shoes, probably a packet of biscuits rolling around in there somewhere, and my thoughts heavy, craving only sleep and wine, and the want to be blissfully un-needed by anyone or anything. Stumbling upstairs I found that there was a parcel left outside my bedroom door, and as I threw my belongings onto my bed (as my mental state was reflected on the floor of my student bedroom-a massive mess-and I was quickly running out of space to place things) I eagerly tore open the box. Inside, shining back at me, was the calming sedative I needed. Maybe my sister knew how much I needed to laugh, to bring my emotions to the surface, to feel something else other than my own mental pressures, and I am just as thankful to her as I am to Yes Please.

I devoured Poehler’s book there and then. I kicked off my converse, laid back on the tiny bit of bed space I had left and read. Poehler had been a presence throughout my teen years, be it through watching old episodes of SNL online (because we are denied the pleasure of NBC here in England), keeping up to date with Parks and Rec (again, having to find ways around the fact that it took an A G E to be broadcast in England) and through just generally appreciating women with a “go get ’em” attitude in the Entertainment industry, Poehler had been on my radar, and it was such a treasure to be able to learn more about Regina George’s “cool mom”.

Through reading her book, which is an incredibly open, thoughtful and kind book, I felt instantly healed. Sentences captured the very insecurities I was struggling with, with Poehler declaring that “I think we should stop asking people in their twenties what they “want to do” and start asking them what they don’t want to do.” At the time of reading I was torn and cut up about who I was going to be once I had taken off my graduation gown and hopped into my parents car to be driven back to my family home. Others assumed, as I had so readily let them assume, that I was headed in one direction only. Yet, I knew that at 21 I was not ready to settle for someone else’s ideas of what was good for me, and having someone state so openly how unnecessary the pressure is that can be put on the young, I felt myself slowly start to place my feet back on the ground, and steady myself.

As I dove deeper into Yes Please I found myself wiping away tears that I didn’t realise were there, and laughing at how life has ways of working out. I don’t want to give away Poehler’s words-1, because I feel weirdly protective over them. And 2, because I urge everyone to pick up a copy of the book themselves and read them. Read them in context of Poehler’s experiences, and in reflection of your own. I know by not including words and references to an actual book within a review type piece is very poor writing on my behalf, but if I was to quote my favourite lines I would end up writing the whole book in one blog post, and I’m pretty sure there are copyright issues involved in that.

In Part 3 of the book, ‘Be Whoever You Are’, I had to read the essay titled ‘Time Travel‘ at least five times, and then once aloud to my sister over the phone, because of how magical and spine tinglingly soothing it is.

‘The only thing we can depend on in life is that everything changes. The seasons, our partners, what we want and need. We hold hands with our high school friends and swear never to loose touch, and then we do. We scrape off ice from our cars and feel like winter will never end, and it does. We stand in our bathroom and look at our face in the mirror and say “Stop getting old face! I command you”, and it doesn’t listen. Change is the only constant.’ 

It was words like these that I so needed to hear and understand when I was struggling to make sense of my dissertation and the fact that I was moving back home to absolute cold uncertainty about what my future was going to entail.

Even though months have passed, and my life is focused once more, I still find myself reaching for Yes Please. I remember texting my sister once I had finished the book, asking her if it was weird to feel like words on a page were your best friend, as I honestly felt so connected to the essays I had just sunk myself into. Yes Please reminded me to be strong, to stay passionate, to keep writing, to worry less about others and to love more things about myself. And that maybe by moving back home it would be the kick-starter that I needed because as Poehler tells us, “You have to be where you are to get where you need to go,” and honestly, had it not been for the months that followed graduation I wouldn’t have finally awakened and realised what my future entails-which I found so hard to see over the towers of books I was instructed to read when at University.

In order to thank my sister I sent her a copy of Tina Fey’s Bossypants. A fair exchange.

Thank you Amy, for all of your words.

Lou x

“It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They are the magic people of the world.”-AP