I’ll be taking a brief hiatus for NaNoWriMo this month, but I’ll be back soon! (promise)
I’ll be taking a brief hiatus for NaNoWriMo this month, but I’ll be back soon! (promise)
I’m going to be taking a brief hiatus from the blog – just for a week or two – while I get back on top of work and my mental health.
Meanwhile, please enjoy this picture of a dog going blep:
I had an actual blog post about the links between music and writing planned and half-written…and then this happened.
(I’m assuming that everyone’s familiar with the ‘justgirlythings’ meme?)
I’m trying to be much more open about my mental health, hence…whatever this is. I think it’s so important to talk about the problems we have to abolish the stigma around mental illnesses and make sure that people aren’t afraid or embarrassed to get the help that they need.
I remember reading something once that argued that you don’t blame someone who has broken their leg. You don’t tell them they’re making up how much it hurts. And if they need to take painkillers to alleviate the pain a little then that’s not shameful at all. Why is it any different with mental health?
While in theory I subscribe to this entirely, I still find it incredibly difficult to talk about my mental health face to face with people, even those closest to me – often especially those people. But I’m working to change that, and I hope anyone else who also suffers feels that they can do the same.
So yes, I have anxiety, I have depression, and I’m currently getting help for other problems I haven’t got a name for yet. I have mood swings, hallucinations and psychotic episodes, and those are things I have to learn to deal with. But with the right support and a maybe a little help from medication I can live a normal, productive and healthy life. I’m still learning how, but aren’t we all learning really?
I originally wrote this a few years ago in response to a relationship with a friend that turned sour, although it wasn’t all that sweet to begin with. It’s a little strange, but it was what I needed to say at the time and definitely helped me process what happened; the therapeutic power of writing.
You take up all the space.
You stretch elegantly, feline, filling every corner with yourself. And, like a cat, you have claws for those who cross you.
I feel them as you laugh lightly and place your hand on my thigh, exactly the way you know I hate so much. Your smile says you mean nothing by it, but in your eyes I see the challenge. Say something.
I never do.
I am a chosen one, privy to the barbed wire of your tongue as you spit venom about someone who has no idea they have invoked your wrath. I pity them, whoever they are, but I pity myself more as I hover too close to your sharp edges.
You tell me secrets that you create from thin air to bring us closer and I thank you for trusting me as though they were a sacred gift. All I really want is someone to tell my own secrets to, for they weigh heavy on my shoulders, but my life holds no interest for you and you tell me so. I bite my tongue and wait for the day when maybe you will like me enough to let me speak.
I am lucky you like me, you claim, as though you have an armoury stored away specifically to pierce my heart were I ever to fall from your good graces. I cannot think if anything I have done that you could use, but I strive to be better so you have at least a few less bullets with my name carved into them.
Were you anyone else, I would say I was weak for letting you drag your nails across my skin. But I convince myself it is for your own good, for rather you scratch me than yourself. I will bleed so you don’t have to, and never mind that I’m draining myself dry. If I can stand your poison for just a little longer then maybe your bottle will be empty, and then all it will take is to pour you full of perfume and we shall all smell sweeter.
Then one day you deploy your arsenal with military precision. Which do you want first, my head to mount above your mantelpiece, or my heart to roast on a spit? There was a time when I would have given you either.
You take up all of the space even now you’re gone. The places in me you used to occupy echo with the emptiness, the crumbling ruins of a temple I built for you.
For now I blame myself. Maybe just one more day would have changed things, one more day and you would have smiled at me just once without bared teeth.
But at least now your hand is not on my thigh, and for that I am glad.
The world’s kind of dark right now. It’s not much, but here are some things that are keeping me going. I hope they help.
I hope everyone is safe and taking care of themselves. Sorry that this is a bit different to what I usually post (maybe it’ll become a thing, maybe not); we will resume your regular posting shortly. For now, stay safe.
Ignoring the complete shitshow that 2016 has been (because what else can you call the year when ‘President Trump’ became not just an idea but reality), it’s been quite a year for me. Yes, I am going to use this post to be self-centered and pretentiously introspective.
It’s been my first year living away from my parents, resulting in a fairly…bumpy ride for my mental health, to put it somewhat lightly, although for the first time it feels like I’m making real progress in getting the treatment I need. I met someone who is so kind and patient I struggle to believe that he’s real sometimes. I’ve made new friends in a new city and had some great times visiting old ones. I’ve made some fairly major mistakes, but I’ve also learned how to pick up the pieces and keep myself going.
I don’t know if I could exactly claim that it’s been a good year, but I can definitely say that I’m proud of myself, and that’s enough for me.
So now that I’ve got all thoughtful and broody on you, I’m going to pretend that I’m in any way qualified to give life advice from the things that I’ve learned over the past year.
It’s not much, but it’s kept me going this year. I hope that 2017 is a wonderful year for everyone, and that things won’t seem quite so hopeless after a cup of tea.
I know this is a few days late, but I wanted to finish my last read, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman, before even thinking about what I was going to read next. Those damn Physics books really take it out of you, but I’m back in my comfort zone with fiction and ready to throw myself completely back into reading!
I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the next book in The Firebird Chronicles series by Daniel Ingram-Brown, The Nemesis Charm (if you haven’t already, check out my review of the first book in the series, Rise of the Shadow Stealers). I’m already about a third of a way through this and am thoroughly enjoying it so far. It’s a little darker in tone than the previous book, but includes the same heartwarming whimsical fantasy that I loved in the first one. Keep an eye out for my review of this one!
I’ve had Carry On since Christmas now, and despite having been incredibly excited for its release, I just haven’t read it yet and I really don’t know why. I’ve heard only good things about it, and I adored the Simon Snow segments in Fangirl (along with the rest of it). Also, Harry Potter-esque fantasy with meta-commentary on the Chosen One trope and a well-written LGBT romance, which you practically never see in this kind of fiction? Yes please!
Well written LGBT fiction seems to be a theme this month, because I’ve heard nothing but amazing praise for The Song of Achilles. Which is great because, as a massive Classics nerd, this is right up my alley. Also, as a massive Classics nerd, I know exactly what happens, so I’m preparing to have my heart ripped out and stomped on, which is exactly what I want…for some masochistic reason.
And finally, The Edge Chronicles. I grew up on these books; I always associate them with family holidays to a tiny bungalow right on the coast – possibly the last place in England that ran entirely on gas – where my Mum would read them to us just before bed. I’ve been meaning to re-read them for years but haven’t got around to it until now. I remember the stories being equal parts fantastical and gruesome, and the illustrations were darkly beautiful. The Gloamglozer, a shapeshifting demon who held terrifying grudges, particularly scared me as a child. I haven’t spoken to very many other people who have read them though, so if you enjoy gory fantasy then I cannot recommend these enough.
In other news, I’ve spent the weekend completely revamping the blog (do you like it? Please say you like it.). I’ve decided to start dedicating more time to this, so I’m hoping to introduce some new post styles, a wider array of material and at least some kind of regular post schedule! So keep an eye out for not just more reviews but things like writing tips from an enthusiastic amateur, book recommendation lists and posts about my experiences working in a library (hopefully!) arriving soon.
So that’s my round up for what’s to come in March. Has anyone else read any of these? Or do you have any recommendations for next month’s list? I’m always open to suggestions, even if I do have a TBR pile taller than I am…