Furious New Year


We’re now into the second week of 2013. Most years, January is to December is to November and November is to October, and so on. This year, though, is palpably different. There are huge differences in my life now, compared to a year since. I’m coming into the year with a little less optimism, a little less spring in my step. 2012 was a year of facing up to the real truth, and oh man was it scary. The reality of….well, reality, I suppose. It came and didn’t so much take me out of my comfort zone as blow my comfort zone to kingdom come.

There has been a troublesome trend recently to begin a new year with a larger than strictly necessary dose of reality. This year, I spent the lead up to Christmas trying to come to terms with the loss of my Grandmother (Nan Kay, my Mum’s Mum). When my Dadcu passed on in April, it was hard to accept because he had been, perhaps not in good health, but certainly in better spirits than he’d been in for some time. In my memories, he has been unwell since I knew him, but so vital and full of life. Never was there a man with such a cheeky grin when slipping me £5 and saying “Now don’t tell your Grandmother!”.

Then, inevitably, some time later my Nan would catch me and do the exact same thing, “don’t tell Dadcu,” she’d say with a chuckle. I think they both knew, but it was more fun that way. Dadcu was a fisherman and a Navy man. He had flags on his coffin and they played The Last Post as he burned. My Nan Kay, who always knew what to do, took him out to sea one last time, on the lifeboat that he was an avid supporter of. Shortly after that, she  suffered  what at the time appeared to be a stroke, but was actually misdiagnosed [name of rare brain problem that I can’t remember]. Nothing has ever pushed me closer to moving back to Wales, but I didn’t. I sent her cards, not as often as I should have done but it was all I could manage.

The most heart-breaking part of it all was that she seemed to be improving for a while. Then it all changed, the progress she’d made fell away and left her nude and unprotected. We’ll never know if she was in pain after that, or if she was still the same person inside. We will never be able to tell whether it was harder for her or for my Mum. Nan Kay lived until December. I can only hope she’s resting now. She never really got the hang of resting.

Lightning storm image

Fury.

It’s difficult to do so, but looking beyond that I learned a lot in 2012. I learned a lot of harsh truths about friendships and how fragile they can be. I learned what it’s like to work full time in an environment that is really foreign to me (an office), earning enough to pay the bills but almost nothing beyond, and the value of staying because the job, the company and the other people there are all great. I learned that no matter how keen I am about them, stupid ideas remain stupid ideas. I learned that no, not everything IS fair in love and war. I learned a healthy new fury at the current government. I learned that you can’t sit about all day and eat junk food and maintain a size 8-10 figure. I learned I don’t trust people as much as I thought I did. I learned that there’s a proper medical term for the type of insomnia I’ve had for the last few years. Much more besides.

I don’t make new year’s resolutions. I do take the start of the year as an opportunity to assess myself and often, to give myself a good talking to. This year, I was sterner than usual. I may not be starting the new year happy, but I’m fierce. I may not be convinced but I’m determined. I may not be perfect, but dammit I’ve got to keep trying to be.

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Malignant Developments


About three years ago, my Nan Jackie (being my dad’s mother) was diagnosed with lung cancer. Lung cancer is the second most common type of diagnosed cancer in the UK after breast cancer, and its instance increases significantly in smokers and ex-smokers. Nan J was a smoker for most of her life, though she gave up some five or six years back.

My Gran couldn’t tell me herself; it was my mum who made the call to me, and my Nan called an hour or so later to talk about it. I didn’t know how I felt about the whole thing, really. It’s only this year that I’ve ever experienced personal loss, when my Dadcu died, so three years ago I was certain that my family were immortal and would continue being old, curmudgeonly, but unfailingly present in my life.

Infinite, infallible, Immortal.

Infinite, infallible, Immortal.

The detection of the cancer was quite early through the cycle, because Nan J had emphysema and was x-rayed for a check up on that. The likelihood of survival in cases of cancer, especially lung cancer, increases the earlier it’s detected, so for that I am eternally grateful.

After a course of chemotherapy, the tumor was announced to be in remission, and we all stopped holding our breath. Some time went by and I stopped thinking about the cancer. Not having learned enough was my downfall here. I thought that ‘in remission’ meant ‘gone forever.’ Not the case.

I can’t think on the timescale. I’ve always found it hard to keep track of dates in my mind and so things are often not concrete for me.

Regardless of when it was, the tumor became active again. This time, it was harder. The chemotherapy alone wasn’t enough, so they put her on radiotherapy, and she lost her hair. Despite being in her sixties, Nan J still had hair like straw, yellow and wispy. There were bits of grey creeping in here and there around her ears and temples, but for the majority, still blonde. The wig she got was sleeker than her natural hair, darker but with honeyed highlights.

Eventually, the tumor faded into remission again. Presumably, her hair began to return, and the horrible effects of the cancer and the treatments faded away. I have spoken to her plenty but not seen her; the distance from Lancaster to Llanelli is substantial.

Unfortunately, cancer subverts reality and resists true elimination from a person’s body. After a few months of phonecalls which were punctuated by harsh coughing fits, it’s been confirmed again; the cancer is back.

Through the whole ordeal, Nan Jackie has been steadfastly ignoring the fact that lung cancer is the most common cause of lethality in cancer sufferers. Only around 30% of people survive for more than a year after initial diagnosis, and less than 10% survive for five years or more.*

When my Nan started losing her hair, I decided that a show of solidarity would be one of the best ways I could support her, and so I began to grow my hair. Nan Jackie might already have her wig, but there are people out there who can’t get them. The Little Princess Trust is a charity who makes real-hair wigs for children who are dealing with hairloss. At the time, the required minimum length was 10″ and by the time my hair was getting close to that, my gran was back in remission. The idea fell by the wayside.

Now though, the minimum length is 7″ which I’m sure I have. Besides, whether or not my gran is recieving treatment, there will always be a need for donations to worth-while charities.

So the long and short of it is that I’d like people to donate money to my hair-cutting effort so I can give my hair to TLPT and some donation to Cancer Research UK. I’ve made a Just Giving page, Alice’s Page, so it’s safe and secure, and I’ll be writing with more details of the actual haircut soon, but basically, here’s the info – Sponsored Hair Cut.

 

Sorry this post isn’t up to the standard of my usual writing; I was finding it hard to get into writing-mood but wanted to get this up sooner rather than later.

 

*Stats sourced from Cancer Research UK website.

Reasons


Having been off work for such a long time with (what I think is) a pathetic reason, I’ve become quite self loathing. I’ve never particularly had much love for myself, I’ve never given myself any sort of reason to, but I’ve recently come to consider myself a really loathesome little creature. Too scared to even choose a place to eat with Chris, anxiety attacks at the thought of inviting a friend to do something and so little faith in my abilities that I can’t even get beyond the very preliminary thoughts of doing anything worthwhile. On top of that is the overwhelming sense that even if I were to somehow come out on top, there wouldn’t be a place in the job market for a girl with no useful qualifications and a nearly two year gap on her CV. What motivation do I have to make the extra effort required?

My Mother's wedding day

My Dadcu, before he walked my mum slowly down the aisle.

Well, I might have found something. My granddad, my Dadcu, my mother’s father. I’ve never known him a healthy man, but he’s approaching his eighties now and it’s really been showing lately. Not so many months ago gout caused by diabeties meant he had a leg amputated at the knee. Some years before he was rushed to hospital  for reasons that I can’t remember, but I know it was a close thing. Last night, the 29th of March, he had a heart attack. Today, he’s in a medically induced coma, fighting for his life.

In his own gruff way, he has always wanted the best for my brother and me. He bought me my first computer when I had to start writing essays for school. He was always generous with things he thought served a worthwhile purpose and I’ve spent my life drowning in myriad worlds of books and stories brought to me in part through his encouragement and generosity. He would give me the occassional £10 and whisper to me ‘Don’t tell your Grandmother’. He taught me pretty much everything I know about sports but always refused to teach me to cheat at cards.

I’ve seen him overcome so much, and I know he will overcome this latest threat. He wouldn’t leave my gran on her own like that; he promised me he’d look after her. He has to get better. I can’t let him go to the grave knowing his only granddaughter to be a failure. I have to show him I’m worth something, that all his encouragement wasn’t for naught, that the failure I’ve been so far isn’t all I’m ever going to be.

I don’t know what I’m going to do yet but it needs to be something that will make him proud to be my granddad. My Dadcu.

More than 30 years ago.

Henry Ronald Rees, late 70’s

The thought that counts.


I’ve always thought of myself as a ‘good daughter’ without ever exploring what a good daughter is. However, I realised a couple of weeks ago, around my twenty-first birthday, what it takes to be a good daughter. I’ll tell you that later.

In a lot of ways, despite being considered weird by many of my peers, I was a fairly normal teenage girl. I fought with my younger brother, sneaked out of the house to get drunk with friends, played truant from school and fed table scraps to the dog. The living room was always full of my clutter, I kept secrets from my parents, I hated doing chores and I nagged and whined to get bought sweets, clothes and other things.

Nothing particular there that makes me a good daughter, right? In fact, when I look back on my teen years, I can see that I really wasn’t very helpful at all. There are so many small things I could have done and should have done – the smallest things really would have made a huge difference to my mother. The only way she got through the last eleven years is by being a secret superhero.

About a year (at an estimate – the timeframe is very skewed in my head and I can’t be certain) after we moved to Ferryside as a family of four, we became a family of three when my mum ended her relationship with my dad. I remember walking the dog with mum along the cliff in the summer, and she asked me what I thought of the possibility. I was eleven, but understood one small thing about adult-types. They needed to be happy just as much as us kids did. I told mum that if she wasn’t happy then she needed to make moves towards becoming happy. Nonetheless, when I got home from school on a Wednesday afternoon and my dad was gone, I was shocked – I couldn’t fathom why he’d left so suddenly, without waiting to say ‘bye to my brother and me.

After that, my Mum had to take care of two preteens, a happy-grumpy old dog, a small business that often needed her to be in several places at once, and herself, without any support aside from what her parents could provide (which was a lot, don’t get me wrong, but mum needed more than a lot). Over the next ten years, my mum would face many challenges. The business that she worked so hard to bring back from the ashes started to flutter out, her children hit their teens, she had relationships with men ranging from a bit flakey to full-blown violent alcoholic (the guy in question was eventually removed from our lives when my mum discovered his profiles on some very questionable dating sites). As well as the business, the house started to fall apart, too – holes in the kitchen roof, leaky plumbing, decrepid chimney and all kinds of other things. In the winter, we were always cold and there was never enough money. Eventually, our happy-grumpy dog died – he was fourteen, and too arthritic to get out of the way of the vehicle that hit him.

Despite all those problems – despite everything that could go wrong doing just that, we never went hungry. None of the men that my mum was trying to make a life for herself with ever laid a finger on my brother or me, and I’m sure that if one had tried, they’d have been out the door (or window, I don’t think mum would have been too picky) quicker than blinking. Our clothes were always clean. I doubt either of us triggered any warning signs in the eyes of our teachers as kids coming from anything other than standard home lives.

Things have settled down considerably in the years since I turned sixteen. My mum met and fell for Julian and before long he moved in with us. They’ve been married two years now, and while being far from perfect, Julian does seem to make my mum happy. Both my brother and I have moved away from home now and they live together with little dog and the cats (of which there are three), making the house my mum bought with my dad into their own place. My mum even has a regular 9-5 day job.

The thing that made it all bearable was my mum’s ability to hold it all together. Through every scrap of chaos she has had one eye on me and one eye on my brother. Even now, living hundreds of miles away, I can feel it when I’m at my worst – I want my mum to give me a hug and pick up the pieces I’ve dropped along the way, because she has that look in her eye that tells me that there’s no path I could take so far from the right one that will lead me away from her. Even when I leave the path to walk in the trees, she’s never far away.

Obviously I can’t say for sure yet, but I think I learned from my mum that the three most important things to give your kids are love, trust and time. Even though I did plenty of teenaged things to make the first two things hard for mum to provide (did I mention sneaking out the window?), the third thing has always been available, even when it hasn’t. Being in a hurry to get the shopping done never stopped my mum from taking me to lunch when possible. The cost of a phone call from landline to mobile never stopped us talking for hours. The delay between sending and receiving never stopped us writing letter to each other.

The crux of this post is meant to be what being a ‘good daughter’ entails, and the most astute among you might have noticed that I’ve said nothing on the subject at hand. That’s because the day-to-day stuff really matters very little in the end. The important thing in the mother-daughter relationship is that the daughter learns to see and appreciate every inch the mother gives. Every time she carries your jumper, every time she gives you an extra piece of chocolate, every time she drives you to college, every tissue she gives you when you cry.

When I was sixteen, I was selfish and really did focus on myself more than my family (as sixteen year olds often do). Now I’m twenty-one and the thought of spending any prolonged period of time thinking of myself is abhorrent due to my anxiety and depression, I find myself thinking for hours at a time about the other people who play a part in my life. Through this I realised everything that it takes to raise children and really did genuinely puzzle over how my mum managed it all.She is superhuman.

What it all comes down to in the end is that there are no good daughters. There are good mothers, with daughters who will eventually look back and want to apply their own lessons to their daughters.

Then sometimes, there are great mothers.

Downtrodden.


I’ve gone back to struggling. Every time I get into the getaway vehicle, the depression will throw out a stinger trap and stop me in my tracks. Get out of the car, go back to the lot and find a new vehicle.

I thought I was doing well recently, but it seems like I’ve just gotten better at fooling myself. Everything seems to be a short term solution. I’ve started work, as most of you know. I’m a kitchen bitch at Weatherspoons. They have me doing nine hour shifts on a regular basis. It’s very hard work because it requires you to be standing for the entire time. You also need to have hands of fireproofness in order to get up the speed and efficiency that the longer serving staff can manage. I feel useless most of the time, and I just want to quite. I don’t like the job. I’m terrified to quit though, since my friends enjoy going to that Weatherspoons quite a lot, so I’d miss out on a lot of social events because I’d not be able to show my face there. I know that if I quit, I’d be disappointing a lot of people too, people with faith in me, people who believe I can do it. I need the faith of these people.

The job is really exhausting me though, in a way I never thought it would. I leave work after each shift feeling useless and pathetic. I’m not sleeping well again, and whenever I eventually do get to sleep, it’s usually with tears on my face.

Usually, I love Darkside (not so much the music but the people and the atmosphere) but this weekend, after going to the effort of borrowing money off people to pay my entry price, I really didn’t have a good time at all. I felt self conscious about what I was wearing, dancing was wearing me out, and I was very claustrophobic. I usually love dancing, whether the dancefloor is jam-packed, or if I’m the only one on it, but being surrounded by so many moving bodies really made me feel…panicked, nauseous and afraid. I spent some time sitting at the back, sobbing into [info]theglaivemaster . I’m not coping with anything very well at the moment, and I just want to get back to normal, happy, stubborn Alice, who takes everything into her stride. I thought for a while that it would happen sometime soon, but apparently not – this ‘healing process’ seems to be taking a lot longer than I expected.

Another reason I can’t quit the job – I need the money. I need it to live. Going back to Wales and living at home isn’t something I’d cope with. I need to be near my friends and my doctor. I’m on the waiting list for CBT, but I don’t know how much longer I can wait. I’ve been feeling pretty disconnected from my family recently too, not having heard from home very much in quite a while.

All I want to do at the moment is hang out with Sam and Simon and play games and chat shit about nothing. I don’t want any responsibilities, I don’t want any stress. I just want to get better, and nothing feels like its getting me there, nothing feels like it’s helping. I want to be able to curl up at night and go to sleep easily, not to lay there convincing myself that there is something worth waking up for in the morning, because that is getting increasingly difficult.

Anyone who’s interested, next week I’m working Tuesday 12 – 9pm, Thursday 6am – 12, Friday 11 – 8pm, and Saturday 4 – 11pm. This means I will be missing both the LURPS meetings and the social :(.  I don’t know how many of those shifts I’ll get through. Doctors appointment on Tuesday, hopefully he’ll have some words of wisdom for me. (Hopefully those words won’t be ‘man up’)

At least the house isn’t constantly cold through at the moment. Though it’s unpleasant lately, since I’ve been too apathetic to do any tidying for a while so my room’s a shithole.

Also, my rats are vicious little bastards and Peter just bit me on the nose 😦

One step forward, two steps back.


So, I was feeling pretty proud of myself a few days ago. I’ve been feeling a whole lot worse than I’ve felt in quite a long time recently and I think I worked out why. I was suffering for a few days from a stomach upset of some kind, meaning that everything was evacuating my system super quick. This included my anti-depressants, meaning that I’ve had no new stuff going into my system for however long I was ill for, and what was already built up in my system has been slowly reducing in power. That infect was increased by the decongestants I’ve been taking to get rid of the horrendous cough/cold thing I’ve got, which make antidepressants less effective.

So I’ve been very low recently. I managed to hold off for some time, keeping strong and keeping myself safe from harm. But this morning I couldn’t get out of bed. It was an impossible task. I weighed a hundred tons, my insides made of lead, crushing in on myself. So I had to do something. I had to do SOMETHING to make the day possible to face. So I did it. I did something that I was so proud of not doing just a few days ago. And it let me get out of bed. It let me get dressed and go out and face the day. But now I feel so guilty. So small and so insignificant. So pathetic. Worthless and a waste of time and effort. My friends try so hard to keep me happy and sane and I go and let them down this way. I never, ever wanted to do it – I never wanted to let you all down. I feel like a phoney and a fraud for accepting the praise from my post the other day.

So this post is to say sorry. Sorry to everyone I let down. Sorry to everyone who is disappointed in me. Sorry to everyone who tried to help me and now feels like their time and effort have been wasted.

I don’t deserve you as my friends and family.

Sorry.

Dog Hair


I got a phone call from home last night. This may not seem like anything that’s particularly remarkable to any of you, but it did shock me to see ‘Incoming call – Home’ flashing up on my screen. My parents are supportive to the very end, in a passive way. If I phone home, I get all the praise, encouragement, advice and support in the world – my Mum (cookingwithwine) in particular is truly fantastic at making me feel as if I really CAN achieve my goals. However, they are the kind of people inclined to let me get on with my own life, and are very happy that I’ve become independent and in control (to an extent) of my own life. They know I’m having problems and help me with them when I phone, but don’t push their advice down my throat – something for which I am eternally grateful.

So when my mum phoned last night, I had to wonder why. We chatted for a little while, I told her about my new job prospects and she told me about how they spent my stepdad’s birthday. Then came the time to mention the Giraffe. It had been in the room the whole time, but we’d been purposefully ignoring it. My mum started off with ‘I’ve got something rather not nice to tell you’. This was enough in itself to chill me. Last time someone said anything like that to me was the morning of February 11th 2008, when I was on my way to the bathroom. Julian, my stepdad stopped me and told me that Bob, our family dog, ‘was no longer with us’. He’d been run over. Now, I don’t throw up. When I’m ill, or drunk or terrified, it’s just not something that I do, but I really thought that the sob that rose in my chest that day had to be more than just misery and sorrow.

So, my mum had something ‘not very nice’ to tell me. My heart started pounding and I sat down from where I’d been stood in front of the heater.

‘I’ve got something not very nice to tell you about your Nan Jackie. She’s got cancer. Lung cancer.’

I don’t know how many of you have ever looked up certain statistics relating to cancer, but about 107 people per day are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK alone. That’s a lot of cancer. And it’s not even the most common, that being prostate in men and bowel and breast in women. But lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK. Less that 10% of people diagnosed survive for at least five years after initial diagnosis.

So cancer is…prevalent. Common, even. I knew most of these statistics this time yesterday, before I was aware of it being in my immediate family, but it had never crossed my mind, even for a split second, that someone in my family would get it. My Dadcu is a very ill man, he has angina and all kinds of other problems, so it never occurred that another of my grandparents would be struck with an illness that is associated (at least in my mind) with death. I face, potentially, losing two members of my immediate family in the next few years.

This is a terrifying prospect to me. Until now, the worst things in this area I’ve had to deal with are the death of my great auntie Liz to breast cancer about eight years ago, and the aforementioned death of Bob. So I have no idea how something like this would affect me, were it to happen.

I guess I just thought they’d always be there. Facing mortality on a personal scale is a sobering thing.

I certainly thought that Bob would be a consistent thing all through my life. I was young when we got him, maybe about four years old. ‘Bob’ was my brother’s first word. He was a small, boisterous puppy when we adopted him. Labrador/pointer mix, black with a white stripe on his tummy. Certainly the most friendly, dopey, lovable creature you could ever hope to come across. I miss him so much, still. The photos are all that are left now, and the occasional short black hair I find amongst my thing, in between the pages of books and other places like that. I guess it’ll be the same if anyone else I value were to pass away – you’ll never stop finding things that make you think about them.

I will make them proud of me before they die.

I stood on the millennium bridge a few nights ago. My mp3 player had run out of charge, I was alone, it was late and dark and cold. It was the first time in a long time that I thought about suicide while I was actually within real potential of doing it in a long time. I was filled with a morbid curiosity – what would it be like to just jump? Would the water be as icy cold as the air, or warmer? Would it be like drifting off to death, or is it a violent way to go? If there is an afterlife, would I have to spend it wet and full of sand? how long would it take people to notice that I was gone? Clearly, I decided not to try it out just to see.

Theglaivemaster and I are ‘taking a break’ from our relationship. That’s something that I thought happened in trashy novels and soap operas, not in real life. But for us, the decision was reached not through any shouting or arguing or disagreement. It was a sensible, adult, frank and honest discussion. I shan’t delve into reasons here, but we agreed that a little bit of time and space might be what I need to turn back into myself. So that’s what we’re trying at the moment. We both came out of the talk very optimistic that we’d made the correct decision and that our relationship was clearly healthy enough to have this kind of honesty.

I think we’re both finding it much harder than we anticipated. While it’s great to be able to sleep however I like and whenever I like, I do miss the cuddling and the kissing and the little sweet intimate things that happen between couples. We’re staying good friends throughout this break, and when we’re together it’s hard not to hold his hand and other such things. None the less, we must persevere – things are difficult but usually worth it.

I want to start writing but neither ideas nor words will come to me.

Bob The Dog Rees

Fuck it.



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I wrote up a very long, very angst-ridden depressive post about all the crap I’m feeling at the moment, all the anger I’m feeling towards myself, and my parents, my workload, general complaints and moaning and being really upset.

But then I decided that, hey, if anyone cares to read about my problems they’d care enough to ask IRL when they next see me, so I’ll not write a post about all of that stuff.

I’m going to post a nice list of things which have the very real potential to make me happy. Maybe not right now, but as soon as I start to feel better, these will be the things which are most likely to make me smile.

 

My family – this is generally true (though not always), especially my brother Lewis whom I get along with brilliantly well. My Mum and I have always been fairly close too which is nice.

 

My friends – both old and new. Seriously, these people have shaped me into the person that I am today. The newer ones (especially ones I’ve made since the beginning of this year) in Lancaster, I really don’t know where I’d be without them since my break-up with Matt almost a month ago now. A couple of people especially have done their best to pick up the broken pieces of Alice Rees and reassemble them into a person, and to them a special mention (they know who they are). I’m having a hard time of it at the moment and these people are the only thing I can see that are worth going on for.

 

Music – my constant companion. Some songs have lyrics that I can identify with very strongly or which seem very profound, and some just appeal to me aurally in a great way.

 

Escapism –

1.   Role playing – At the moment, I have five characters that I breathe life into on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Jessica Redgrave (ViP), Levex (D&D), Tylmarande (Exalted), Raltia (Dark Heresy) and Gardina (Far Shores). They allow me to escape from my nitty-gritty world of comedy and tragedy and step into their shoes for a few hours at a time and see what their lives are like, what they’re going through and how they’re feeling so I can forget those things about myself.

2.   Reading – a fantastic way to get entirely lost in a new world. You don’t control these people, their paths are predetermined by the authors pen strokes (or key-presses these days). That’s part of the safety net. The characters might get into some sticky situations, but you know that there is nothing you can do to save them, nothing you say, do or think can have any impact on their outcomes. And that’s a very nice thing to feel sometimes – completely blameless. The benefit of reading over watching films is of course the freedom to decide yourself what the characters, their world, their voices, et cetera, are all like.

 

 

Moonlight, Candlelight, Sunlight – light from natural sources is so much calmer and prettier than that of a light from a lamp or a light bulb. I know some people would quibble as to whether candlelight is natural or artificial, but I’m inclined to say that fire is a natural phenomenon.

 

Gigs – an extension of my love of music. The atmosphere at a live music event is intoxicating and once you’ve experienced it, you just want more. The same applies for clubs and club-nights, like Darkside of the Lune and Rock-it to the Lune (once a month at the Phoenix Club). The atmosphere at both of these events is fantastic, and feeling the music thrum in your chest is one of the best feelings – makes you want to dance all night.

 

Long walks and talks – I’ve always enjoyed the company of others far more than I enjoy my own company. Going for a long walk with someone you care about and have a lot to talk about with can be one of the most enjoyable experiences. Being alone with another person can really help me to offload – I’ve been told I need to learn to talk about my issues more, and having the full attention of someone else really helps with that.

 

Thunder storms – you know the kind; the wind is howling, the rain is torrential and loud enough to drown out quiet noises in the house, there are thunder claps and the sky is frequently lit up with lightning. It all depends on how I’m feeling, but sometimes walking in one of them can be just what you need (as they say, when you walk in the rain, no-one can see you cry). It’s very soul cleansing and when you get home and warm up you feel like a small person with small problems compared to the heavens opening up and emptying their contents onto the world below. Sometimes everyone needs to feel small. Other times, it can be the best feeling to be sat inside with a roaring fire (I’m reminiscing back to when we had one) in front of you, a mug of hot chocolate, and good company to talk with or an enthralling book to lose yourself in.

 

Being comfortable – I’m a firm believer that people do their best work when they’re at ease. This is why I kick off my shoes in lectures, or wear my scruffy pyjama style clothes to revise in when I’m in the house. It’s harder to think and concentrate when you’re constantly distracted by a tight tie or an uncomfortable shirt.

 

Sex – There is a lot to be said about sex and all its many connotations. I know that there are people out there who think that girls can only enjoy sex if they are sluts who sleep around. This is, of course, very untrue. There are two kinds of pleasure that can be gained from having sex. Physical pleasure is the obvious one – the feeling, the thrill you get from flirting with someone, the tingle you get as you sense the sexual tension building up between you, then the incredible release of endorphins gained from the physical act of sex is one of the best feelings a person can experience, and of course the after-glow, laying there all hot and sweaty and physically exhausted with your senses on fire. Then of course there is the emotional pleasure you can get from having sex with someone you love and are committed to, someone you trust so implicitly and explicitly that there really is a true feeling of oneness when you make love. The feeling of looking into someone’s eyes as you are as close as two people can get is incredible. Then once again there’s the after-glow, laying in each other’s arms and whispering to each other and enjoying the closeness of the most intimate act of love.

 

There are, of course, a whole bunch more things that I could write about, but my hands are so cold from typing that I have to stop now. I hope this is a nice change from my usual torrents of angst.