on the eve before another year (& The Greatest Show review)

The past week has been good. Coming home, going to Bristol with my sister and returning home again had that feeling of a revelation being revealed. A revelation in the sense that it reminded me of what are my priorities. Faith, family and education being on the top three. I like to include my close friends in the family category because they simply are like family.

Travelling around England (as frankly, I am unable to afford travelling outside at the moment) is always incredibly refreshing. Particularly because I enjoy that feeling of being on the run. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about soaking in an experience rather than rushing through it. What I mean is that I simply enjoy the feeling of walking through new streets, learning new things about the place, being carefree (by which I don’t mean being careless about safety!) and hopping on and off buses and trains and being able to experience something new no matter how minute it is without having to worry about the usual responsibilities.

London is always great too. And no, I am not going to romanticize it and call it the greatest city in the world. To me however, it is one of the greatest cities in the world but not because of its stereotypes but because it is my niche. The amount of times folks try to scam me here is ridiculous. I can literally see you targeting me, ya know!

Some form of bizarre interaction always happen when I am in London. And that too when using public transport. I always use public transport though as my parents are unable to drive at their age and condition and so we don’t own a car now. I will be getting my driving lessons hopefully very soon.

I returned to London from Bristol in the afternoon of new years eve and then went to catch a movie with an old friend then went home to spend the rest of the night there before leaving for university the following day. I finally learned how to make roti (chapati) from scratch and it was actually fun! My Mother fed me dal and roti (red lentil and chapati) which I was craving and my father bought me chinese noodles for lunch from this little place I love in central London. I had that during the few minutes I stopped by to leave my luggage at home before going out with my friend.

We decided on watching The Greatest Show as we both generally enjoy movies starred by Hugh Jackman. Had he not been a celebrity, I bet we would be best friends! I am not going to lie, I am not a big musical person. But I love going to the cinema and hadn’t been in one since September. Besides, the year my friend and I met we went to the same cinema to watch a movie on new years eve. And that was my first time actually, going to the cinema!

Now, it wasn’t anything extraordinary. Some of the scenes seemed preposterous and it had a few of the cliches of a feel good romantic musical. I am no expert and it might be just me but some of the choreography could’ve been better. Some may even be put off by its societal statement! But I LOVED every minute of it! Dun, dun, dun! Okay, maybe not every minute but definitely most minutes. And I am not about that musical life. I suppose, I just really enjoyed that feel good blast of colours and pompous aesthetic, heart warming happy endings, upbeat melody and an underlying statement relevant to my life personally.  So yes, the critics may have spoken against the movie but I deemed it to be a thoroughly enjoyable watch.

The year has begun and resolutions has been written, will we remain true to it though?

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on taking the time to heal

I am scared. No, let me rephrase that; I am TERRIFIED. There, much better.

With exams coming up in two weeks time…wait, hold on…in less than two weeks time, I am terrified. You see, I am in necessity of a good education. The goal is to finish my education with a first class and graduate with a job that pays well. It could be in a science journal publishing industry or some form of junior laboratory role. Or, there’s another option: doing a masters followed by PhD. If things go unexpectedly well, the plan is to work for a year while gaining caregiving work experience before applying for grad med school. That is, even if I want to go to medical school. But that’s something I don’t have to worry about now because I am not doing so well.

I have issues with breaking out of cycles. As a child, I used to bite my nails but that’s because my mother used to cut our nails as we were children and that experience used to scare me for no good reason. Once I figured out how to use it myself, dropping this habit was a piece of cake. This was years and years ago. Now the habits are more persistent, more destructive and harder to break free of.

There’s this strange patch of skin on the centre of my top lip where I peel the skin of. It’s disgusting, should’ve put a warning beforehand. But it’s an anxious habit of mine and to this day I haven’t gotten round to breaking it.

I also like to shop and eat. Like, a lot. But in reality, I shouldn’t be able to afford this much spending on food and clothes alone because to some extent I have financial responsibilities. Not entirely because I am an university student but also because of reasons I am unable to explain here. Bottom line is, I should be good with money but I am terrible.

When it comes to eating, I have no self control whatsoever. I am an emotional eater and I eat when I am happy and I eat when I am anxious and I eat when I am bored. I eat many sweets and packets of crisp and cakes and milkshakes too. When I don’t have junk food, I eat bread or whatever on earth is edible because I just do not care at that stage what I am eating. Then comes the fun bit: remorse and disgust.

This eating issue come and go but it has ties with anxiety. This coming February, I have an appointment with an eating disorder specialist nurse which my counsellor suggested to me and made the appointment for me. I don’t have serious full on eating disorder but prevention is always better than cure.

In all honesty, I feel incredibly weak sometimes and strong too. I guess, it just depends on what sort of day it’s going to be. It may seem that I don’t try and give into all my indulgences and desires. Au contraire, I have been struggling to keep myself in check for as long as I gained that independence of shopping and caring for myself.

Being hard on myself hasn’t actually worked out. Not that it’s something I do consciously and don’t encourage others to do either. It just never worked out. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be holding myself accountable for my stupidity. Speaking of stupidity, the worst part is that whenever I do something stupid, I know I am being stupid. Like that drink dispenser I got from TK Maxx because I thought it looked nice and was cheap-ish. Used it for less than a week and now it’s stored under my bed. I don’t even throw parties!

I got another scarf yesterday. It’s a beautiful blanket scarf, plain black with faux pearls of varying sizes sewed down on both sides with a plain middle. It was slightly expensive and I realised I have to return it back to Zara. Frankly, because I cannot possibly afford to spend on it at my current situation. Scarily enough, if I did have enough money, I’d actually keep it.

I have other more pressing commitments to think of. Things that make me feel genuinely great when I ‘spend’ on those. Therefore, I am going to bite the bullet and stop myself from making massive mistakes that’ll later come to haunt me.

As for the exams, I don’t know what I am going to do. Fair warning, religious content coming up. As a faithful person, I am going to do what I should’ve done in the very beginning; work my hardest while relying on God. I have not been working at all with the holiday spirit being literally everywhere. I also felt that I needed some time off from stuff and now I am at Bristol spending a few days with my sister. A little get away from everything to heal.

I leave for Lincoln on the 1st of January. I decided to do so because I need to use that whole week to somehow study enough to simply pass. I don’t study when I am at home. The only issue being, I cannot for the life of me get myself to study. I tried and finished studying two power points which took an enormous amount of time but that was during the week before Christmas.

Certain things which cannot be spoken of, there’s more space between those things and myself. I am finding it easier to accept situations and feel increasing gratitude towards life. With time, I am convinced I can change for good, if God wills. And as the new year approaches, I only hope to enter it with contentment and gratitude with a heart full of realistic hope and understanding that everything within its time is beautiful and all we need is a little bit of patience at times.

There is strength with patience.

an evanescent piece of paradise

Life consists of many fleeting moments. None of which lasts for long. Sometimes change isn’t noticeable until we step away from our lives and have a look back at how far we’ve come. The last two or three months, I had to face a few of my ghosts. I didn’t even know they existed.

I began attending counselling sessions available at my university wellbeing centre in November. A year ago, I would not even consider it. I always assumed it’d be of no help. But my mental health started suffering again and I realised I needed to make a change. My grades always suffer when I fall into a low place.

The first step for me was to accept that I had mental health issues. It took me a while to understand that episodes of lightheadedness, shivering, shallow breathing were symptoms for a form of panic attack. I had a chat with my doctor about what anxiety feels like and she explained to me that what I felt was a form of panic/anxiety attack. Of course, it’s good to remember that it’s different for different people. She also highlighted signs of depression for me and suggested some medical treatments for consideration. So far, I am not quite leaning towards medication because I feel that my situation isn’t that serious. Although, I do not believe there’s anything wrong with going on medication.

I like to believe I am not particularly attached to anything and am simply going with the flow of life. Which turned out to be utter bull. I have a hard time moving on from even little things and letting them go. Not for everything but for some moments, life events, memories, pain…residing at the back of my mind slowly spreading its poison to disrupt my peace and happiness.

I’ve cried more this term than I ever did in my entire life. And I say that without the slightest exaggeration. I carry a lot of unnecessary shame and guilt and always forget to treat myself with compassion. Some days, I still don’t believe I am worthy of my own compassion. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t let other people treat me the way I treat myself! But I am starting to accept things as they are and it has made space for more kindness, compassion and possibilities in my heart.

There are some things that cannot see the day of light as they are intertwined with lives that are not mine. So, we’ll talk about things that are lesser in weight. Insignificance is a feeling I struggle with constantly. If you saw me, you’d never realise that. Once, I was in a room and it was full of chatter and laughter and I was smiling too. It was great because at that moment I realised humanity amongst itself is insignificant. That feeling of watching everyone live their lives from the sideline seemed a privilege. I hope, one day I will have that same moment of introspection again.

Whenever I witness happiness or a spark of joy in myself, I cling to it.  And it is the greatest tragedy of my life. I forget the more important things that need my attention. I let that moment define me and when it changes as do most states of life, it crushes me. And I never learned the lesson that broken heart of mine tried to teach me repeatedly. But I do now and it’s this; all moments are fleeting. It’s okay to let things go and have hope in better days. While low moments in life are inevitable, so are the euphoric moments that accompany them.

I also learned another thing. Immersing in joyous moments without looking around. What does that mean? I am to some degree an empath which means I am sensitive to the changes in emotions of the people around me. Which is both a curse and a blessing. I used to not let myself feel joy for something if my friend/family or just the people around me didn’t feel it. I always felt ashamed of enjoying the little things in life. Almost as if life’s not worth being happy about unless the people around me validated my choices.

Things take time and I am willing to be patient. I finally feel that I don’t have to apologise for being the range of traits and emotions that make me, me. Some days, I do have moments that drag me back to all the dark corners I am lighting candles in to illuminate. And other days, there are things beyond my control that blows away those candles…things that are not about identity but are just difficult to go through. Either ways, I have come to accept that in the end it will work out as it always does.

Through it all, let the beauty of all these moments adorn your eyes and curl those lips of yours into a smile.