Recently, as I’m sure you’re aware, time has been a little more free. I’m taking the opportunity to reignite my love for reading, something that – with an English degree equating reading with work – often fades. I’m reuniting with favourite authors, picking up books I bought and never got around to reading, and reading books I always meant to. Today, I want to talk about three authors I’ve recently read.
With the recent sunshine beaming down on the UK, I’ve been finding myself outside a lot: reading, writing, lounging, listening to music. I cover myself in lightweight clothing, and head into the garden. I watch the breeze brush through the bushes, the blossom drop in a puddle around the trees. I get to wear the summer tops – my favourite tops – that I haven’t worn since August. And cardigans and summer scarves and hats and sunglasses. I coat any skin peeking through in sun cream. (Being pale has turned me into a sun burn hypochondriac.) The smell reminds me of childhood beach days, and the sheen on my skin reminds me of last summer and my perpetual, sun cream-induced shine as I travelled through Europe. I like the way the sun hits my cheeks – it reminds me of the highlighter I normally wear.
It’s the summer of 2013, and we are all obsessed with that song, ‘Royals’. I’m sat in my bedroom in a house we just moved into. It’s a nice room, but I can’t help but think of my old one, my childhood one, that’s been left behind.
I’m 13 (still in the midst of childhood, but of the unshakeable belief that I’m at the height of maturity), and I’m starting to feel the weight of the words that Lorde sings – about how, as much as we dream about it, ‘we’ll never be royals’ and I’ll probably also never see ‘a diamond in the flesh’. It’s a weird moment of realisation, and a young point at which to be plunged into ennui as I listen to the sung words of a seventeen-year-old girl from New Zealand – also, in the grand scheme of things, too young to be bored of the world.
Disclaimer/Content Note: I talk a lot about obsessive exercise and calories in this post. I’m not diagnosing myself with anything, nor am I prescribing a perspective or attitude to have, nor am I a qualified authority on anything to do with health at all, as you’ll see below. This is just my experience, one that I think a lot of women silently struggle with. I don’t want to be silent.
Feet pounding on the soft, shadowed mud of my local woods, a song called ‘Can’t Get Enough of Myself’ by Santigold starts playing through my headphones, and I smile. I’ve always cracked a smile when this song comes on, amused by the lyrics but simultaneously motivated by them. I used to think they were funny because they were so audaciously confident, and singing along was an act so far from the truth of how I felt. Singing along was an act of manifestation, of trying to speak into existence. Now, I smile because the words fit.
I vaguely remember, when I was younger, being told by someone – a friend, or a TV show, or a YouTuber – that we should be comfortable with our quirks, because they’re the parts of us that the person we are romantically ‘meant to be with’ will love the most. The mole on your stomach, the birthmark on your hip, the stretch marks on your leg: these things are waiting to be loved by someone.
In my denial at the prevalence of the coronavirus, I kept telling my friends that the novel hasn’t started yet. The dramatic thing that would hook the reader – the Prime Minister dying, the virus mutating after a successful vaccine and killing even those in perfect health, countries turning against one another – is still is yet to happen.
Content Note: This article contains discussion of mental health.
It’s that horrible time of the year where we wake up as we go to sleep: in the dark. It’s a time consumed by demotivation and exhaustion, by the bitter cold and the dreary skies. Sometimes, I find it difficult to get out of bed in the winter, overwhelmed by an urge to stay curled up in the warm sheets. What’s the point of facing a day full of darkness?
How I’m negotiating the pros and cons of my favourite social media platform
I love Instagram. I love being able to collect and curate a grid of my happiest moments and scrolling back through them weeks, months, even years later. However, I am also keenly aware of what it means to curate only the ‘aesthetic’ moments. It makes for a satisfying grid, yes, but it also makes for a warped perception of what life is actually like.