WHERE did this month go? No, seriously, where? If you know, please tell me. Actually, don’t, because there’s no point: we’ve reached the end of October! There’s no going back now. It’s the start of November and (yes, I’m one of THOSE people) I’m ready to get Christmassy! But first, here’s how this month has been…
- On the 2nd, which is so early in the month that I actually forgot we were still in the same month and started referring to it as being “last month” when it wasn’t yet, I saw Kero Kero Bonito perform live. In fact, it was my first time seeing a band play in person! They were excellent. I was worried about a whole host of things – being short and getting squished in the crowd, having to stand up for 3 hours, the state of my guts that evening – but everything worked out okay. I was in the front, so I did get a little squished, but I made that sacrifice for the great view and wonderful atmosphere. I’m not sure I’m going to make concert-going a regular part of my routine, though. It’s more energy intensive than I imagined!
- Later in the month, I went to see one of my favourite comedians do a stand-up show in the city. Now this is more my style. They say laughter is the best medicine, and that’s certainly the case for me, especially when I’m sat down in a comfy seat for the entire 2 hours of the show. Seeing stand-up has become one of my self-care activities. If I’m going through a stressful time and I need to decompress, I’ll book a ticket to a show and go along on my own. When I first started university, it was a way for me to prove that I could do things on my own – I didn’t want to be one of those people that needs a friend with them in order to even leave the house. I wanted to try my hand at being independent, and it was so exhilarating that I found myself repeating the experience. Now it’s become a gift to myself: an evening in my own company, where I can go along, sit back and feel the tension in my muscles ease, and think of nothing but laughter for a few hours. I’m at peace.
- Here in the UK, the clocks went back on Sunday. This always throws me off a little bit. I love the extra hour of sleep (that I always grumble at losing again in the spring) but it’s so STRANGE to see sunrise and sunset shift by an entire hour. But I don’t mind it getting dark earlier. That’s my cue to go home, to curl up in my cosy room, sequestered in a pile of blankets like a dormouse hunching down to hibernate. Blissful.
- I’m running on empty right about now. This month has been so busy, with so many commitments. Uni work! Volunteering! Blogging! Trying to stay healthy! Managing to do basic things like grocery shopping and laundry! It’s just so much at the moment and, realistically, my body can’t take it. I’ve had to take a rain check on the last few social outings with my friends, because – can I be perfectly candid? I think here, of all places, I can – they usually take place right at one of my prime pooping times during the evening, so I run the risk of, er, soiling myself if I don’t do that at home.Then there’s coming out of lectures which will have been hugely mentally draining for me and having to leap right into traversing public transport, figuring out what our group is actually going to *do* that night, (usually while wandering around the city), finding a place to eat… it’s a lot to consider. And the sad thing is that my friends don’t have to consider all of this. They don’t face the awkwardness of having to go “ah, no, I can’t eat that either, sorry” to every suggestion someone tosses out, or try and explain the crippling food anxiety that comes with finding new places to eat. They don’t have to calculate the energy they’ll expend on a night out with friends and whether or not it’ll be worth it to be in bed for days afterwards. I love my friends, and I love spending time with them, but it’s always a stark realisation of how different my life is to theirs, and it tends to make me brood. I feel guilty for being jealous of their health, and guilty for having to be the friend that holds everything up/everyone has to make accommodations around/whatever else. Has anyone come up with a good way to get over this guilt? I’m getting better at self-acceptance, but I’m not quite at that advanced stage yet.
- On a slightly happier note, I’m cooking more and more! Last year I fell into a horrible rut of only having the energy to make sandwiches (sandwiches and snacks, essentially) and it’s nice to take the time to craft a real meal. This month I also discovered that there are some vegetables my gut doesn’t detest: roasted carrots, parsnips and beetroot!! But this took so long for me to discover because, until now, my taste buds did. They say your tastes change every seven years, right? Thank goodness I now have some vegetables that I can actually enjoy. Other favourites of mine include cabbage, brussels sprouts, corn, and sugar snap peas… but they’re all inadvisable for someone on a low-residue diet!
- I’m really excited about my volunteering. I’m going to be a peer support volunteer for a network set up by my university – essentially, people can come in and talk to us about anything, confidentially (as far as safety allows) and without judgement. It could be serious, like you’re worried you might be suffering from depression, or less serious, like you went to the shop for lunch and they were sold out of your favourite sandwich. (The latter is still a complete travesty, though.) In any case, the volunteers are trained in safeguarding and signposting students to the services that can help them, but mostly we’re just there to provide a listening ear. That’s the most important part. I think people underestimate how much just talking about your issues can help, no matter how trivial they might seem. My course of psychotherapy last year consisted of me bouncing into my therapist’s office once a week and then gabbling at her at top speed for 50 minutes straight. I left every day with a headache and a sore throat, but the relief I felt was giddying.
- I had my MRI enterography without any trouble! I was concerned, initially, given the several minutes the nurse spent scrubbing at the veins on the back of my left hand to get them to show up. “This one looks good,” she’d said, pointing to one, “but it just doesn’t seem to go anywhere!” Fortunately, her attention jumped to the vein in my right elbow, which was far more receptive. I almost danced back into the waiting room (where my family had decided to accompany me in what struck me as the most bizarre and – for them – possibly the most boring family outing ever) to declare “look, one attempt! ONE!” and brandish my cannula in their faces. My dad’s answering smile was more of a grimace. My brother avoided looking directly at it. My mum was the only one unaffected, having been the one to reassuringly carry me through my childhood needle-phobia and out the other side. The MRI itself was anticlimactic in comparison, but I’m already itching to know the results. Is two weeks long enough to leave it before I call up and start asking for them, do you think?
That’s about the sum of my October! I’ll leave you all here, before I start to get too boring, with a hope that your October was good and that your November is better! Do you have any plans? When is it acceptable to start Christmas shopping and play Christmas music??? (I still don’t quite know!!) Stay cosy, and I’ll see you soon.
Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash.