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.
Sometimes, in our narcissistic human brains, it’s difficult to consider catastrophes to be anything but a personal attack on our happiness. Thousands, perhaps even millions, of people around the globe are affected, are suffering worse than I am, but it always comes back to ‘I’, and how the affects on this ‘I’ are unparalleled. No one experiences the world in quite the same way as I do.
My time at Cambridge has offered some surreal experiences, from hedonistic balls to formal halls, weird traditions to simpler things like the constant beautiful surroundings. One thing that always seems pretty surreal, however, is rowing.
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.
I started the 2010s as a 9-year-old, and finished them at 19. There’s a lot of books that filled the gap between those ages – a countless amount, actually. When I got my annual notification from Goodreads asking me to start my next reading challenge, I got to thinking not just about what had come the year before, but what I’d just spent a decade reading.