• ANXIETY IN LAS PALMAS

    Normally in my travel posts on this blog, I like to share what I got up to and what I enjoyed in the various locations I have visited. But this post is a bit different, I want to talk about how I felt being in Las Palmas, not what I did. It has nothing to do with the city though, and I don’t hold it responsible for this experience, it was about what happened in the run up to my trip. I mentioned in my last post that, in an effort to “cheer myself” out of my depression (bad idea), I went to London (alone) and it did not go well. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t stop crying and couldn’t listen to music. I ended up coming home early and staying with my parents for a few days. However, I’ve travelled a lot by myself in the past and I didn’t want to not be able to do that anymore. In a way, I was glad that I had booked this trip so long ago. It meant I had an opportunity to get back on the horse, as they say. But I was nervous about it; mainly nervous that it would end up going the same way as my trip to London.

    It was a very weird holiday, for many reasons that I won’t go into now. The thing I want to focus on is my anxiety because honestly it was all consuming. It was so intense, it made it really hard to function. It was supposed to be a relaxing holiday; I wanted to sit on the beach and enjoy the sun. Or rather, figure out if I enjoy such a thing. I hadn’t been on a sun holiday since I was a teenager. For the past few years, I’ve gone on a trip at the end of every November because I work for an American company and get a few days off for Thanksgiving, but they’ve always been busy city breaks. This year, back in May, I decided that I wanted to try and have a relaxing holiday to see if I liked it. In hindsight, I’m really not sure if this was a good or bad idea. Maybe having more things to do would have helped me work through my anxiety. But maybe it would have made it a lot worse. Regardless, there I was in Las Palmas, trying to figure out if I enjoyed the sun and struggling to keep myself from going crazy.

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    I took things really easy. I walked a lot. I sat in my apartment a lot. I tried to write but it was a struggle. I wanted to try to explain how it felt, I wanted to get it out. My mum has asked me in the past to explain what anxiety is like and honestly that question boggles my mind. I don’t understand how anyone could not just know how it feels. It’s so much apart of life for me, that it’s hard to grasp the idea that there are people who have never felt it. When I was deep in it in Las Palmas, I wanted so much to put it into words, to explain how it felt, as if maybe that might help alleviate things; as if putting it into something tangible would help transfer it away from me. But I’m not sure any words can truly convey the feeling, it’s so deep, so raw.

    None the less, I did try and this is what I typed into my notes while I was in Gran Canaria in an attempt to express what my body was experiencing:

    “My anxiety is at an all time high, the not knowing, the uncertainty of it all. It’s like I’m searching for something but I have no idea what I’ve lost. I feel like I’m about to burst, or maybe implode, but either way, I’m going to lose my footing in the explosion. I‘m wandering around, doing things just to do them. Breathing with no goal, other than to just keep going. I feel tired. Tired of carrying all these emotions around with me. The anxiety is wearing me down and I just want to feel calm. I just want the anxiety to stop. But it doesn’t, it ebbs and flows; some moments I can almost feel it start to dissipate, but then it’s back full force and I’m right back in it, every single piece of me. I feel it in my stomach, in my core. It’s so real, so tangible. My brain is trying as hard as it can to convince my body that everything is okay, we are safe. But my body isn’t listening. It’s panicking. Anxiety doesn’t understand logic. My breathing gets a little more strained and I feel it in my chest now. There are all these emotions building inside me, but they’re hard to figure out. I feel full, overwhelmed, but everything is so wedged in that I can’t seem to let it all out. I feel sick, I feel scared.” 

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    I think I was just trying so hard to process so many emotions, that I ended up just feeling completely scrabbled. It felt like 10 radios were playing at the highest volume all at once, each trying to give me important information but I couldn’t distinguish anything from the chaos. The noise just engulfed me and I couldn’t turn it off. But the main thing is I survived. It was hard, but I made it through it. On the last day, I went and lay on the beach for a bit, leaving my phone at the apartment. It was a very brief moment, but I did feel at peace lying there with the heat seeping into my bones.

    If anyone reading this is having a hard time with anxiety, I would suggest taking things as slowly as you need to and holding on to any fleeting moments of relief. I tried to distract myself as much as possible (for example, I researched every single result from my last blood test, what each thing they tested for meant and whether my result was good or not), and that did work a little bit. It didn’t make the anxiety go away, but it did make it more manageable. But there were times were I just sat in my apartment and had to try as hard as I could to simply take some deep breaths, hoping that things would get just a little bit better soon. Hopefully someone can relate to this post and the fact that you are not alone in feeling this way also helps.

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    I feel a bit sad that I didn’t get to properly experience Las Palmas, but I did the best I could given the circumstances. I’d love to go back in the future and truly explore Gran Canaria, as well as the neighbouring islands. Hopefully next time I’ll be able to enjoy my time there and maybe get a chance to see if I actually like relaxing sun holidays or not!

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    If you’re looking for some actual travel recommendations, check out my posts from Copenhagen, Marrakech, Amsterdam, North Wales and Barcelona!

  • DEALING WITH DEPRESSION

    The past few months have been rough. In September and October, I experienced the darkest depression and most intense anxiety I’ve had since I was a teenager. It made me very conscious of the content around mental health on the internet and in the media and I’ve noticed that so much of it, especially tv ads, focus on the importance of talking. And while that is 100% true and we should keep promoting that message, sometimes things are a bit more complicated than that. For starters, some people literally don’t know how to talk about it. That’s something I’ve seen a lot, particularly with guys. I don’t have answers for how to improve that but I think it’s something we need to be aware of. For me the problem is that I can talk about it, but it doesn’t make the sadness go away. Obviously it makes things better in some regards but it’s frustrating when you do the thing that everyone says will help and you still feel like shit. So I thought since I am able to talk about things, I could share some thoughts/things that have helped me handle it, in the off chance someone can take something from it. Everyone experiences these things differently, and I know I have a lot of privilege in terms of the resources I have available to me. But maybe if we share some of the nuances to what we’re experiencing and not just tell people to talk, it could help more people who are suffering from mental health problems, as well as help people trying to understand and support people who are suffering. 

    1. One of the most important realisations that I had was that I wasn’t going to be able to distract myself/snap myself out of it/cheer myself up. This may seem obvious but when you’re feeling bad, you’re just desperate to find something that will make the feeling go away. But being depressed is different from just being a bit down and needing to cheer yourself up. The things that normally make me happy are not going to work in the same way. That’s not to say you should give up everything that normally makes you happy but I think I tried to push myself a bit too far. I was so tired of feeling sad that I booked a pretty spontaneous weekend trip to London because I love London and I normally do really well traveling by myself. However, when I got there I very quickly realised I was not okay being alone. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t listen to music and I couldn’t go a couple of hours without crying. I don’t know why, I was just so sad. So I ended up booking an earlier flight home, asking my mum to come get me from the airport and staying at my parents for a few days (mainly so I could cuddle with my dog). I know not everyone can do that but the point of my story is that the goal shouldn’t be to make yourself feel happy or “normal”, the goal is just to find things that soothe you. Comfort and security are the most important things. For me, I had to accept that trying to make myself feel happy was just setting myself up for failure.
    2. Going to therapy has been one of the most important things for me. I know, I know, it’s what everyone suggests and I know it’s not accessible for everyone, it’s fucking expensive and so hard to find someone you connect with. But if you can go, than I would really encourage it. I’ve been going for a couple of years now and it’s helped me through so much. In this particular instance, my therapist helped me realise that I was, in fact, depressed. I had been so focused on how intense my anxiety was, but when I explained to her how I felt, she was able to put the pieces together. Everyone is different, but for me, having the label helped. Primarily it helped me to feel less guilt; in particular less guilt about feeling the way I did when other people have it a lot worse and less guilt about sometimes not being physically capable of doing anything except lie in bed. It also helps to have someone to talk to who knows how to handle what you’re saying. As I said, I’m able to talk about it with my friends and family but if I’m being honest in my experience most people that I’ve told don’t know how to handle it and haven’t really been there for me. That can make you feel very alone but having a therapist to talk to really helps you work through it all. 
    3. It’s also important to go to a doctor and discuss the medications you’re on, as well as make sure you’re not deficient in anything. (I kinda hate suggesting this because most doctors are so shite when it comes to mental health but if you do have a good doctor or someone can recommend one to you, it’s worth going). Now, I wouldn’t go as far as to say the pill caused my depression, there have been multiple things that have happened in the last couple of months (as well as the last couple of years) that would understandably make me feel sad and anxious. However, I personally feel that my emotional reaction to things recently has been more intense than normal for me. I’ve been on the pill twice now and both times I’ve felt this way; it’s not that it made me feel bad if I had nothing to feel bad about, but when bad things were happening, I felt they were harder to deal with. Again everyone is different but I think going to your doctor and discussing these things is important. I’m going to see how coming off the pill affects me before considering anti-depressants but that would be the next step if things don’t improve so it’s important to start that dialogue with a doctor. 
    4. You need to find a way to be kind to yourself but also hold yourself accountable. This is a fine line to walk. You need to be understanding with yourself and realise that you’re just not going to be capable of doing the same things you do when you’re not experiencing depression. If you need to cancel plans or you’re not eating enough/eating too much for a bit, that’s okay. It’s hard and you need to cut yourself some slack and forgive yourself. However, you need to also be aware when your behaviours become self-destructive. So if you need to spend a couple of days in bed, that’s okay, but if you continue to shut yourself off from the world for an extended period of time, then you need to do something about it. When you’re depressed, you’re probably going to do some stupid things and it’s probably going to effect your relationships, but this is where it is actually important to talk. You don’t have to tell everyone you’ve ever met every detail of your life, but you need to have some sort of open dialogue with the people that your actions impact. It’s better for everyone involved; I read a post recently that said “avoidance is just prolonged suffering disguised as safety”. It’s hard but I guess you just need to try and figure out what behaviours are helping you get through a hard time and what behaviours are making things worse for you. If you majorly screw up, forgive yourself, but learn from it and work on things you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

    As I said, everyone experiences these things differently and I realise none of these things are new or groundbreaking, but maybe sharing my experiences might help one or two people who need to hear these things right now. While there is less stigma around certain mental health issues nowadays, I think we still have a long way to go in terms of understanding and being able to help our friends through these things. Honestly, I felt pretty alone in it all. If you know someone who is dealing with depression or poor mental health, please don’t just tell them you’re there for them if they need you. I had SO many people tell me that, but the thing is, when you’re depressed, it’s hard to reach out. What people who are depressed need is for people to actively be there for them. Sit with them, watch a movie with them, check in on them daily, take them for a walk, ask them what you can do for them. 

    Hopefully this all makes some sense, I wrote most of this post when I was in the thick of it, I just didn’t have the strength to post it anywhere. I don’t feel quite so down these days, but I’m still quite shaken by it all. I hope to write more posts around mental health and my experiences, to hopefully help others but to also help myself work through it all. It’s a complicated subject and so much of it is hard to understand and talk about, but sharing is the only way we can start to change how we handle and view mental health.

    P.S. if you are going through a hard time and need help, feel free to dm me on Instagram (handle: janebmrice).

  • INTUITION

    Today’s post is a bit different for me. It is going to be about intuition and spirituality, so if that’s not your thing, that’s cool, but it’s something I want to share. I recently discovered the “By The Moon” quote book after Claire Marshall posted a picture of one of the pages on her instagram. I love a good quote so I looked up the book and decided to order it. I also noticed they had astrology workbooks so I downloaded the digital version of the current one and ordered physical copies of the next 2. 

    I find astrology really interesting but there is a lot to learn and remember. I thought the workbooks sounded good because they give you information about what is currently happening in the universe and how to best channel it. I know it sounds a bit ridiculous and sometimes I am sceptical but to be honest, something about it all just continues to intrigue me. I’ve also recently started playing around with Tarot cards, and the deck I have explains it like this: 

    Tarot is a language whose vocabulary is our universal experiences as humans, and if you learn to interpret it, it becomes a great tool that helps you develop your own narrative. What you read and interpret is a reflection of your own inner world. Exploring that is so important to self-development. 

    I think that’s the thing, even if you don’t full believe in astrology or tarot cards or crystals, what you are drawn to, what you choose to take from these things, tells you so much about yourself. Even if there’s absolutely nothing to it, does it matter? Even if it’s bullshit, it can help us explore and understand our feelings and emotions. In the last 6 months or so, I’ve really been focusing on personal growth but sometimes it can feel like a bit of a maze. I was hoping this astrology workbook would help me focus in a bit. 

    One of the questions in the workbook was “what does your intuition feel like?”. This was such an interesting question to me. This might not make a lot of sense to people who don’t have a strong sense of intuition but I feel like my intuition is a huge part of who I am. I feel it so strongly. I’m not a fan of organised religion but my intuition makes me feel like I’m connected to something bigger. It’s something I’ve really wanted to work on developing but haven’t really know how to do it. A huge part is working on self-doubt, and being able to distinguish where my feelings are coming from. But other than that, I’ve been at a loss, despite the fact that it’s something I think about a lot. I liked this question before it made me think, what does it feel like? How do I attempt to put that into words? In the past, I’ve described it to people as “a sense of knowing without really knowing why”. And while that’s accurate, it doesn’t really do it justice. It seems over simplistic. And it was something that had come to me when trying to describe it to other people. This question made me focus on what it feels like to me. I started with just some keywords but it very quickly evolved, and just flowed out of me. I will share an edited version of what I wrote, I don’t know if it makes sense or if it seems cliché, but it’s what came out of me in that moment:

    What does your intuition feel like? 

    It feels physical yet impossible to hold, like a deep sparkling ocean in the depts of my stomach; all knowing and mysterious, but impossible to pin down. Sometimes the waves are hard to hear, sometimes the crashing is deafening and I can’t ignore the swaying. Sometimes the water is polluted by doubt and anxiety, but I am making attempt after attempt to stop using plastic stress. I am learning to let the water be and trust it is the right shade of blue, even when it seems too dark, too ancient, too terrifying. I stand in awe, confused yet comforted by the rocking. For me, everything seems to come back to the sea. Impossible to ignore, yet so much of it remains unexplored, an incomprehensible vastness that is vital to life and seems to know more than we can ever hope to grasp. That is what my intuition feels like.

    I wanted to share this because I realised recently that this is not a side of myself that I share very often. I absolutely adore the people in my life but not many of them enjoy or believe in this kind of thing. They are very scientific, logical people. And it’s not that I think they would stop wanting to be my friends for being interested in astrology or crystals or the energy of the universe, but it’s not something I can connect with them about. It’s just not their thing, and that’s cool, but it means that I mostly explore it through the Internet, which can be very one sided. I read about these things and watch people talking about it, but I don’t interact or connect. So this is my first attempt at putting this side of me out there. 

  • WEEK IN REVIEW 19/8/19-25/8/19

    HARD TIME

    The last week has been a rough ride. The word “triggered” gets tossed around a lot these days but that is what happened at the end of last week; someone let me down and it sent me back to past feelings, back to a past life. My anxiety was the worst it has been in a while. Most of the time, it just hovers; it’s there but it doesn’t stop me doing things. Well this was different, this was debilitating. I am grateful for my ability to soothe myself, for my ability to work through those emotions and come out the other end quite quickly. It took me a few days but I was able to move forward and get back to myself, maybe a slightly more battered version, but myself none the less. I’m grateful I was able to have a productive week and I’m grateful I could find comfort in the small things again. But I’m also exhausted, physically and mentally. It’s so tiring having to take hits because other people can’t handle their own emotional baggage. Sometimes you don’t want to be grateful that you made it through, you just want to have not had to go through it at all.

    DOGS ARE GREAT

    I love dogs. That’s all.

    PLANNING AS SELF CARE

    I’ve been doing a lot of planning this week, mainly planning future trips. I have a work trip next week and then I’ve off to Wales do the fastest zip line in the world. The timing is actually quite nice, as I need a bit of a distraction after the last week. I’ve also been planning a big trip for next year that I think I’m going to book next month.

    I enjoy planning. I don’t do it deliberately but I think it is a form of self care for me. It’s important when you take an emotional knock to be kind to yourself; I can be kinda hard on myself when I feel I’ve been unproductive, but I need to remember that sometimes being productive means just making it out of bed. I like to focus on things I enjoy doing as they’re easier to get done and I can start to feel like I’m accomplishing something. I think planning is also good because it forces me to focus on the future, not the past.

    GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE

    I am trying to be conscious of my consumerism so I hate to advocate retail therapy but last week I just needed reasons to get myself out of the house so I decided to head into town and peruse the shops. I’m not really a physical shopper anymore, I mostly shop online. But it was nice to see things in person, get some inspiration and mostly importantly, just move my body and be out in world with other people. I tried on a bunch of stuff in & Other Stories (on a side note, while retail therapy may be nice when you’re feeling down, being in a changing room with a bunch of stuff that doesn’t fit or look good, doesn’t do much to help your mood. 0/10 would not recommend). I ended up just getting these earrings (well, I also bought an umbrella but that was a practical purchase) and I’m very happy with them. After, I went to a coffee shop with the intention of working on this blog, but I ended up watching YouTube videos. I know I could have done that at home but again, there was something nice about being out in the world. I wasn’t quite in the mood for socialising but just being around people made me feel a bit less anxious, less isolated. I also took myself on a couple of walks and while they were sometimes a bit of a struggle with my anxiety, I was glad I did them.

  • PAYING ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS

    I’ve been watching this vlog on YouTube recently made by a Chinese woman who lives in Australia. I don’t know her name and I can’t understand what she’s saying but that doesn’t seem to matter, the point of the her videos is to convey a mood. They are just very calming and focus on small everyday things. She does everything very intentionally, taking time to put flowers in a vase slowly or lay her food out nicely. Her videos have made me take note of the small pleasures that are easy to miss when you’re rushing around and pay attention to the mundane sounds that surround us daily.

    The other day, I sat out on the steps in front of my building in my tracksuit bottoms, with my natural curly hair and no make-up, and just enjoyed the way the light hit the ground. I listened to the cars passing, as well as the silence in between each vehicle. I watched people going by, paying absolutely no attention to me. I felt the warmth on my skin and inhaled the fresh air. It was just a nice moment, it wasn’t spectacular or new or groundbreaking. But it was peaceful, it was soothing.

  • IMPLEMENTING MY NEW YEARS RESOLUTION

    One of my New Years resolutions this year is to be more adventurous. By that I mean putting myself out there more, focusing on trying new things and having as much fun as possible. I know this may seem like a weird time to be thinking about New Years resolutions but this is normally the time that people start to lose sight of them. I was never really one for resolutions until last year, where I really took time to make a list in my bullet journal at the beginning of the year and made a point to check in with them every month. So this year I wanted to do the same thing.  

    For some reason recently I’ve felt such a a strong urge to just do things. I want to explore more, try more new things, have more life experiences. I’m not 100% where this feeling has come from; honestly it’s quite new to me. I never had a rebellious stage, never went through that stage where you go a bit wild and do some crazy things. And that’s okay. Those kind of things never appealed to me when I was younger. I was happy just doing my thing, hanging out with my friends and playing board games. I was probably a bit boring but that’s what I enjoyed. However recently, I’ve wanted to start being a bit more crazy. Now, I don’t mean I want to go completely off the rails. But I want to be a bit less of a home body.

    I think in the past, I’ve sometimes held myself back from being a bit reckless for two reasons. Firstly, I genuinely enjoy being at home. I always have; so it’s never really been a case of regretting not going out, I don’t really get FOMO. But I think sometimes I hold myself back because I don’t have confidence in my ability to do things. I’m generally not great at doing practical things. Or at least that’s how I think about myself, reality or not. I’m not very strong (yet, I have just started going to the gym), I’m not very good at sports and I absolutely freeze up when people watch me do anything, even something I know how to do.

    But it’s a vicious circle because I don’t feel confident because I don’t have the experience of putting myself out there, but because of that I don’t put myself out there and build that confidence. It’s also a bit trickier now that I’m a little older. For starters, I’m an adult with responsibilities. I don’t have kids but I do have a job and rent to pay. I also constantly seem to have errands to run. What is that about? Why does adulting involve so many errands? Also, a lot of my friends are more interested in staying in nowadays. And that’s perfectly fine, it’s just unfortunate that my timing is off.

    So in order to see through my New Years resolution, I’ve been making a conscious effort to do two things. Firstly, I want to try at least one new thing every month. So far, I’ve tried skiing, sledding, a pottery class and ridden on the back of a motorcycle, just to name a few things (some things are better left off the internet haha). I’m also planning a trip to Wales in September to go on the world’s fastest zip-line and hike up Snowden. And in May I’m doing a fundraising challenge with my dad, where we’ll be sailing from Cork to Southampton on a tall ship. I’ve really focused on finding new things to try and actually giving them a shot. The second thing I’m doing is saying yes when my friends ask if anyone is up for the cinema, to get a drink, to hang out etc. Yes, I am here and I am up for anything.

    Jane x

  • DIALING UP THE FEMINISM

    I’ve been feeling so inspired by women lately. They can just be so powerful and badass. I know I keep vaguely mentioning this, but I have been going through a hard time recently and I’ve been trying to expose myself to things that bring me joy and make me happy. Because of that, I’ve been drawn to strength, drawn towards inspiring people, and so many of them are women. And honestly, as my love and admiration for women grows, so too does my frustration with men. I feel like I’m supposed to hold back on my hatred for men, like that makes me one of those radical bra-burning feminists who the media love to focus on to discredit the cause. And trust me, I get it, I know all men aren’t bad. For example, my dad is the best. He’s just great.

    But let’s be honest, in general, men kinda suck. And I feel like the argument that not all men are bad that people like to yell when a woman starts talking about how awful men are, well, it’s not really the point, is it? It feels like a distraction tactic, like instead of focusing on what matters, we’re going to bicker about semantics. But there is this fear of being seen as crazy, as a crazy feminist. It’s ingrained in woman from a young age, that they shouldn’t be too over-bearing. And it’s funny because that idea, of the hysterical woman, has been used for centuries. Even the word “hysterical” comes from the latin for ovaries, that word is inherently female. It’s been consistently used to discredit woman throughout history.

    But of course we’re angry. Of course we’re frustrated.

    I remember seeing the new Blade Runner film last year with my friends and the conversations we had afterwards. To be honest, I didn’t think the movie as a whole was that great. I mean, I don’t dislike Ryan Gosling but there was a lot of him in that movie. Like it’s literally just 3 hours of his face. I can’t think of a single scene he wasn’t in. But my main issue with the film was the portrayal of women. It’s bad. Really bad. I don’t want to give any spoilers but essentially they’re pretty much all sexualised and/or computer generated. When we came out of the cinema, my friends and I discussed the movie and one of my male friends said ‘well aside from the portrayal of women, the story line was good’. And it’s not that I disagree completely, but the thing is, I can’t put the portrayal of women to the side.

    My best friend Aoife and I agreed while walking to the bar, we can’t get past a negative or damaging portrayal of woman anymore. We’re just tired. Tired of coming out of films feeling so hopeless about society. Tired of feeling bad about ourselves even though we know the problem is with society, not us. So, instead of falling even further into that hole of self-loathing, I’m trying to feel empowered by the anger I feel. I won’t let it get the better of me. I will use it to be productive.

    And so, as I said, I feel myself being drawn towards inspiring women. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long, but I suddenly discovered that I love the band Haim. They’re so amazing. Their music is great but I’ve also loved watching interviews with them and stalking their social media. They are confident and unapologetic about who they are and what they believe. I’ve probably been a bit too inspired by them recently and may or may not have spent some time daydreaming about becoming the 4th sister… I mean, I already have the hair, right? I’m kidding but their style is what inspired my latest boot purchase from NAE Vegan. Maybe I was consciously hoping that walking in HAIM inspired shoes will help me feel more confident in my feminism. Plus, they’re ethically made from sustainable vegan materials. What more could you want?

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    I came across the image below on twitter while I was procrastinating earlier today and it really hit home. That’s what I need to do. I have to ignore the pressure I feel to tone it down and not entertain the stupid semantic arguments. Instead, I need to focus on women who are turning up the dial and follow their lead. Focus on how amazing and strong women are, how amazing and strong I am, because that’s the only way we’re going to make waves and create change so that we don’t have to come out of films feeling angry about society and depressed about ourselves.

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    Love Jane x

     

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  • GOING BACK TO COLLEGE AS A POST-GRADUATE

    I never knew getting a masters degree would involve so much free wine. Seriously, at every event the college provides so much wine. It’s crazy. At the last one, they literally gave people bottles to take home at the end because they had so much left. So it’s safe to say, I’ve really been enjoying college.

    When I finished my bachelors degree, the thought of doing a masters was the last thing on my mind. I was finished with education. Done. Over it. But after being away from it for nearly 2 years, I started to miss it. When I was college, my classmates and I talked about critical theory and different social issues over lunch like people chitchat about the weather, and I just assumed that that was how life was. That bubble was quick to burst after graduation and I soon realised that a lot of people didn’t want to talk about Judith Butler’s writings on performativity or Michael Foucoult’s thoughts on the Panopticon while eating their Chinese takeaway. So weird, I know.

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    So it feels nice to be back in a learning space; to be talking about things that I find interesting. I’m really not an academic though. I like being in class and hearing other people’s thoughts and opinions, but I have a terrible memory and I don’t work well on the spot. I also have some learning difficulties, so it’s not easy for me. Despite that, I’ve found being in college oddly comforting. It’s almost a form of therapy, learning about new concepts and talking about different social issues; it really is amazing how powerful that can be. Engaging with things that are bigger than yourself is like chicken soup for the soul. Or vegetable soup I guess, since I’m a vegetarian.

    I’m also really trying hard to be social with my classmates. It’s not a natural thing for me; I mean, I’m capable of socialising but I find it so exhausting. I get so anxious and nervous about everything, especially at the beginning. And I hate small talk. Although, I actually do rather enjoy talking about the weather, I feel like that’s an Irish thing, even if some Irish people won’t admit they actually like it. But I want to make the most of what I’m doing.  I’m surrounded by so many different interesting people from all around the globe: China, India, Denmark, the U.S., Italy, Switzerland. It’s really cool.

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    Being immersed in this new bubble makes me feel inspired and motivated. Well, most of the time I feel that way. I’ve had a lot happen in my life over the past 3 months and it’s been hard. Amongst other things, I had a person I loved and supported in every way cheat on me and just generally be horrible to me, and as much as I wish it didn’t, sometimes I feel that dragging me down. There was just so much pain and confusion, and just when you think you’ve gotten rid of it all, you find a spot (or multiple spots) that you missed. But I have been going to therapy and most of the time I feel like I’m healing. I try to focus on the positives and being back in college has put things into perspective.

    The free wine helps too.

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     Outfit info:
    Jacket – Misguided
    Shoes – Public Desire
    Bag – Matt & Nat
    Dress – Aritzia
    Hoodie – H & M

    Love Jane x

    P.S. This probably only makes sense in my head, but I feel like the coat combination I’m wearing here is the perfect post-graduate student outfit. The coat is professional, while the hoodie reminds people I’m still a hip causal student… Is that a weird way to think about clothes? Yes, yes it is.

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  • THE NEW NORMAL

    It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on my blog, and although I do want to return to regularly scheduled programming soon, I felt the need to address my absence. Not because I think anyone cares or noticed, but because it would have felt weird for me to continue on as though everything was normal, as though everything was the same as before.

    Normal is an odd concept.

    Society thinks that it’s common sense, that’s it’s fact. That it’s always been and will be always be. But the truth is it changes constantly. It’s relative. It depends on the year, the location, the country, the culture, the family. Everything changes. Society changes. Normal changes. In the personal sphere, normal is what’s known, what’s comfortable. What we do everyday. Normal life. But normal changes. Sometimes it’s expected, it’s slow, it’s predictable. But sometimes it’s none of those things. Sometimes things change so quickly it causes whiplash. Suddenly you’re plunged into the unknown, the new. Abnormal life.

    But that’s the funny thing, it may seem abnormal at first. It may seem so foreign and strange. But soon it simply stops. It stops being foreign and strange. Soon it becomes everyday life. And it’ll surprise you how fast that happens, how quickly it all becomes normal: going in and out of hospitals to visit, talking about insurance, joking with the guy in the opposite bed about cancer after finding out that he had the same type several years ago. It’s now the new normal. Things have changed, and not the slow gradual change that most of us experience throughout our entire lives. This had been sudden. A sudden new normal.

    That is not necessarily a bad thing. You learn things; you learn about yourself, about life, about the people around you. You figure out what this new normal looks like; what you look like in this new normal. And thankfully in this situation, things may eventually go back to being, for the most part, like they were before. We may need to make a few adjusts, but at the end of the day we’ll have the same laughs, watch the same quiz shows together, argue the same petty things. No matter what happens, it’ll become normal. It always does.

    I’m sorry this post has been vague, but it’s not my story to tell. I just wanted to get this off my chest before starting to post again. As I said, regularly scheduled programming will resume soon.

    Jane x

  • SUMMER IS COMING

     

    Okay, I know everyone loves summer. The longer days, the sunshine, the heat. But I’m not convinced… For starters, I’m Irish. Do you see how pale I am? I was not made for the hot weather. I can only last about 10 minutes in the sun before it really starts to affect me. I actually don’t burn burn as quickly as you would think, unless I’m around water, but I get headaches and sunstroke symptoms pretty quickly. My eyes are also super light sensitive which doesn’t help anything. And my hands swell up pretty bad in the heat and that can get painful. I told ya, clearly not made for the hot weather.

    All of this gives me a lot of anxiety around summer. I want to love the nice weather, experience it the way other people do, but my body just doesn’t process the heat well so it’s harder for me to enjoy it. I get nervous about doing things outdoors because I know I’m going to over-heat and feel sick. But there’s another reason that summer gives me anxiety. I’m just not happy with my body. I want to be. I’m working on it. But I struggle with how to dress for the heat and feel comfortable. I spent all of last summer trying to figure it out but honestly I just feel so gross all the time. I get sweaty so easily and my thighs rub together which is one of the most painful things to experience.  There’s so many cute summer clothes our there but I know I would just feel horrible in them.

    But I’m trying to be optimistic about it, focus on what I know I like. For example, I love wearing my Birkenstocks. I like wearing flowy dresses with compression shorts underneath to prevent “chub rub”, so that’s what I’m going to look for. Hopefully by focusing on the positives, I can find ways to make myself more comfortable and relieve  some of my anxiety, while also working on how I feel about my body. Sounds easy, right? Urrrggghhhh…. Wish me luck!

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    Jane x