Monday, 18 March 2019

Just to say.

I cannot think of anything big or profound to say. I have spent all week trying to sit down and write a post and everything felt wrong or silly or useless. I used to think that everything I posted should be loaded with meaning, loaded with impact or importance, as if that could always be the case. A little naive, perhaps.

But now I always go back to Norah Ephron when I think about writing posts or about blogging in general. She wrote this:

But the other point I want to make is that getting heard outside the world of blogs occasionally requires that you have something to say. And one of the most delicious things about the profoundly parasitical world of blogs is that you don’t have to have anything much to say. Or you just have to have a little tiny thing to say. You just might want to say hello. I’m here. And by the way. On the other hand. Nevertheless. Did you see this? Whatever. A blog is sort of like an exhale. What you hope is that whatever you’re saying is true for about as long as you’re saying it. Even if it’s not much. 

And it is so reassuring to know that I can just tell you all right now this little thing:

I am sat on the comfiest sofa in the house, looking out through the large glass doors at the garden. The light outside is a greyish yellow, and drops of rain patter delicately into puddles on the patio. All the yellows in the garden seem illuminated by this yellowy light as the sun pushes its way more strongly through the clouds. The daffodils, the moss in the grass, a yellow blossom in a tree at the bottom of the garden, the seat of my old swing. And then to contrast, deep and lovely purples in the flower bed nearest to me. And it is all lovely, and I am really calm.

And I just wanted to share that with you.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

The planet is dying.

I have this underlying anxiety (and anger) that I repress every time I see a news article about the state of the planet and its failing climate, every time it is warm in February, every time I see an image of a dying polar bear, or an empty Amazon rainforest or really just every single time I think about global warming.

I have to repress it because otherwise it is overwhelming. I once heard that if we were exposed to the direct effects and statistics of global warming every day we wouldn't be able to emotionally handle it. I have no evidence to back that theory up, but I feel enough to know that it is probably close to the truth.

I have to repress the anxiety and the anger because as an individual there is extremely little I can do. I can recycle properly, use less wasteful plastic, try and reduce my consumption of products from corporations which contribute the most to pollution and waste, switch lights off, use the car less. I can do that, but I am tiny. My impact is tiny. How do I know that everyone else is doing it too?

That's the other thing, I am so angry that the blame is put on the ordinary individual, that the responsibility is put to the public. How can I be responsible? I am not old enough to be responsible for this! I wasn't there! I wasn't born!

I want something radical to happen. I want these huge corporations forced into stopping waste and pollution, I want universities and companies to divest from oil companies and invest in research into the alternatives, I want governments to enforce sustainable energy sources and ban damaging behaviour like those bloody individually wrapped food items which are already in plastic packaging before you get to them. I just want something to happen.

But I don't think it will. Will it? Is everyone, and by everyone I mean governments and huge corporations, just going to continue ignoring this?

And so I repress it. The anger and the anxiety. They live humming below the surface now I think for most people, the people who have been told off for using straws as if that is the singular issue at hand. Naughty public! Buying into all of the conveniences we sold you at a disastrous price we were fully aware of but kept the truth hidden anyway, look what you've done!

Who is to blame? Where do I go? What do I do? Who am I supposed to scream "JUST FUCKING DO SOMETHING!" at? Who's even really listening?

Monday, 25 February 2019

Last Moments

I am in my last full term of university. We call it Lent term here and for two years it was a tiresome eight week struggle through bad weather and bad essays. Now, I have only two weeks left of Lent term and I find myself wishing it could stretch out just a little longer.

Time works so strangely in this place that all at once it slows down and speeds up so that eight weeks feels like half a year and nothing at all. I am sure I have done a lot this term but I can barely remember. Last week feels about a month ago, and yet each day has gone by without me really noticing.

I have spent two and a half years in this place wishing time would speed up and now I find myself trying to go back and collect the memories and the moments I wasn't thinking about. Why wasn't I thinking about them? I want time to spread out so I can go back and forward to the present and comprehend everything I did, everything I felt. But it has all been so fast and slow and there is nothing I can do about it.

Now I am having Last Moments and they are all tinged with a happy sadness. Almost nostalgia, but not quite. Currently I am sat in my college's beautiful library with its perpetual smell of dust and old books and I am remembering all the times I wished I could leave and do something else. But now I wonder how many times I have left in this lovely old room, and how much I should be savouring it. I know that in only half a year's time I will be thinking back, the latticed windows and high ceiling and uncomfortable wooden chairs suddenly becoming figments of my imagination. Things that only exist in my memory, and not just a walk down the long corridors from my own bedroom.

Of course, these last moments will go by quicker than any other now that I know the finish line is so near and the next part of my life awaits. But, still, I will cling to them even on the sloggish days, even when it rains, even when I really could just do with nipping home for a bit. Not long, now.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Sleep

I am a really good sleeper. Honestly, I am a champion of naps and lie ins. I can sleep pretty much anywhere if it is in the middle of the day. For some reason I am less good at sleeping at night when you are actually supposed to sleep. If I get into bed at, say, two in the afternoon I am out like a light. If it is eleven at night and I am exhausted I can lie there for hours, my mind whirring like an annoying machine.

Perhaps then I am not so good a sleeper if I sleep at the wrong times. Sleeping in the day does have its drawbacks. Such as, ignoring all the tasks of the day.

But, there is something completely delicious about sleeping in the warmth of the day knowing that everyone else is busying about and you are stealing an hour wrapped up in bed. I like to think that this is one of the ways I am fulfilling my status as a student. Apparently day sleeping is frowned upon in the real world however, so I'll have to enjoy the liberty of napping whilst it lasts.

Friday, 8 February 2019

The wind and the rain.

The wind blows so strong and fast today and it rains intermittently. It rains almost exclusively when I am cycling. The wind is so strong and uncertain, coming from all directions it possibly can, and the rain is so cold and each drop feels like a personal assault. I resent my bike and it being my only means of transport.

I want to get off my bike and kick it and then cry. And then call my mum for no reason other than to express my discontent. Why does expressing my discontent to my mother over the phone feel better than anything else?

It is hard to cycle in strong winds because my legs and the bike are sometimes not as strong and neither of us are sure which direction we are pushing against. You have to push harder and today I do not have the energy.

I’m reading a book for an essay. It’s by Ali Smith, it’s really good. In the opening of the book the narrator describes Saturday nights as a child and I feel nostalgic and sad. I remember Saturday nights being long and full of good tv and nothing needed doing. Now everything needs doing all the time.

Why does no one tell you that adulthood is relentless?

Or maybe they do tell you that, but when everything seems long and nothing needs doing it is hard to listen.

Today I want everything to stop and I want to feel like nothing needs doing. The pleasure of ticking something off a to-do list, however, is almost orgasmic.

Most weather is fun in its own way. But the wind always puts me on edge. It’s like there are strong winds inside of me (don’t laugh, I mean in my heart and my head!) and I cannot rest. I feel this almost every time it is windy. Even the sky is restless.

And yet, nothing will stop today. It will be in motion, everything, all day, in all directions. It is hard to move in all directions. So I will stop and try and stand my ground and wait. I think tomorrow, or the next day, when the wind settles, I will settle too.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Equality does not mean entitlement.

It is interesting what equality means to the individual. I do not think I always consider equality as an individual, but as a part in a whole. The whole is varied, intersectional, complex. I am a tiny part, but my participation is valid, everyone's participation is valid. But where I exist in this whole is different from where others exist.

I have more "equality" than others. Meaning, I am more privileged by the social structures I live in than others who are underprivileged, or oppressed. My equality does not mean existing in the exact same way as the most privileged parts of this whole, it means the space I occupy is respected and equal to the space they occupy. Sometimes that means giving up space for another part, or sharing space. Equality does not mean entitlement.

There is a woman and non-binary hour in the small gym in my college. One hour in an entire week to attend without the presence of men. Not all women and not all non-binary people need this hour. But some do. The hour exists because some (a lot of) women and non-binary have been harassed, assaulted, attacked by men in environments like the gym where their bodies are on display. Their bodies are not on display for anyone, but exercise is hot and exercise means movement. Some women would like to exercise without the possibility of being in the direct line of the male gaze. Some (a lot of) women and non-binary feel, because of the messages society sends, because of sexual threat, because of personal experience, that they are not always physically free. Sometimes the presence of men, regardless of their individual goodness and kindness, does not make a woman feel physically free.

Some men (not a lot, but some) have argued that this is discrimination. No. This is equality. This is making sure everyone has the space, everyone has the time to feel safe and to enjoy exercising in the gym. One hour.

The whole is bigger than the individual. No individual is the same. Some individuals have less privilege than other individuals. It is the responsibility of the individuals who have sway, who have privilege to create space for those who do not share those privileges. Sometimes this means giving up the space that you have, because you do not need that space. Sometimes this means giving up an hour in the gym so that those who do not have the privilege to go at any time and feel safe and comfortable can go as well.

The hour in the gym is real but it is an analogy. It applies else where, everywhere. Equality does not mean entitlement.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Responsible blogs.

I wrote an essay this week about the relationship between freedom and responsibility in writing. I focussed on blogs because at the beginning they did, and to some extent still do, represent a completely free and democratic platform for and practice of writing. But I got stuck when I thought about the responsibility of blogs, what is it?

Is it now the responsibility of bloggers to keep themselves free from commercialisation, from advertisements and dominating corporations? Is there a responsibility to maintain that democracy and that freedom which was so exciting at the beginning (when I was a baby)?

Is there a responsibility to a readership to provide constantly interesting content like a magazine or a tabloid? Is there a responsibility to keep up the niche of the blog, to resist straying from a theme? Is there a responsibility to say something of use?

Or is the responsibility to keep writing no matter what? Sometimes it will be useful and insightful and beautiful, other times it will be nothing. But the writing is still there, the freedom is still there. No one has to read it, that's the beauty of it.

Blogging is golden, really. I believe that. And we are responsible for whatever it is, whatever it means, whatever we are sharing with the world. And responsibility is good, I think.