Day 2: The Unholy Trinity

The Unholy Trinity

————

The way they make your life difficult,
hair raising on the back of your neck when you hear them approach.
Every second as they stroll towards you feels like a nervous countdown.
Underneath all that pale, blank exterior,
no one really knows how they do it.
How they make you question your very self in that moment,
or how they strip you raw,
leaving you out to dry in the sun.
Yes, it is scary.
They leave no trace of damage but they make sure you’ve felt it,
reeling from the shock.
I lose my sense of direction.
Nevertheless, after all of it is over, I am always okay.
I have people who care to anchor me to the land of all that is real and living.
The second the shadows have left, it’s like the can of lead paint in your stomach has dissolved.
You’ll see, one day. or maybe you won’t.

—————-

fin.

Day 1: ex-ante, realisation, ex-post

ex-ante, realisation, ex-post

—————————

ex-ante:
it’s easier to avoid than face reality
will i ever learn?
then i beat myself up over it.
and then we start again

realisation:
their backs are against each other, there’s three of them
when your brain doesn’t stop moving
and your stomach is turning inside out
and you feel like you can’t hold anything in
and when you want to stop everything
it goes on for hours and days
it’s relentless and there’s no reprieve, no sleep
on the last day, you feel really sick

ex-post:
the pain in your stomach vanishes
but it’s important to rehash and critique the last few days
because that’ll really help

—————————

fin.

“Left Out”

The feeling of being left out from a group situation, makes me feel like a small child again. Small and lonely inside. A friend of mine held a get-together / party on Friday, and it seemed that she invited everyone on the planet but me.

To be honest, she probably just forgot to invite me. It’s a perfectly honest mistake, that anyone can make. This particular friend of mine is sometimes scatterbrained, when it comes to remembering my presence in a group setting. It’s happened in the past. She’s quite the social butterfly and has a lot going on. So, I understand the context, perfectly.

But this niggling sad feeling has been bugging me all weekend. My brain continues to work on it the entire time, trying to conjure up potential explanations for the situation. These imagined scenarios almost all involve something that I’ve done wrong (e.g. “what if I’ve offended her?”,”what if they don’t like me?”). I’m quick to put the responsibility on myself, which is not necessarily constructive.

It can all get quite demoralising and it’s clear to me that is a very destructive path of thought.

I want to working towards learning how not to dwell on these kinds of thoughts for very long. Questioning these thoughts, when they enter my mind, would be a healthy way of processing things.

It’s not fair to sentence myself, before I even understand the full nature of the situation or whatever happened on the other side. Hopefully, letting some of this out will lead to better closure on my part.

As I am now an “adult”, I now often lead myself to believe that these kinds of feelings aren’t valid. But that’s really not true. One day, I hope to become better at acknowledging the legitimacy of all of the feelings I experience. I suppose this is all in tune with the greater aim of being kinder to myself.

Tracks:
Love Runs Out – OneRepublic
Blame – Calvin Harris
These Days – Take That

A LETTER TO MYSELF (#8): 2014

Hey you,

You’ve grown up a lot in the last twelve months. This is what you saw. The turning point for you was November and I want you to always remember why. You fell apart in November and you put yourself back together. I’d like to think that’s made you stronger.

Ten concrete PROJECTS for the new year (note – these are PROJECTS and not resolutions)

1. Read 20 books to widen your mind – ten fiction, ten non-fiction. You’re turning 20 in 2015, after all.

2. Lose ten kilograms. Even if you get 50% of the way to this goal, I will be so, so proud of you.

3. Do some form of physical activity every day this year – whether that be walking, cycling, running, or yoga.

4. Learn a new skill. Entirely new. Cannot be something you’ve tried in the past – that Ukulele is still sitting there and you have yet to learn.

5. Pick up a skill you’ve lost – that Oboe’s been haunting you, or try German again.

6. Volunteer over the summer – maybe try WRAP in the business park?

7. Enjoy university and get involved – there’s only a year and a half left. What a scary thought. Try three new things at LSE.

8. Record your mental and physical progress in that notebook you’ve started. Don’t be scared to write down what you’re feeling.

9. Talk to your dad on the phone at least once a week – he needs to hear your voice too. Try calling him at work? Need to work out a time for that.

10. Get organised – structure your day and week better. Limit yourself to what you know you can do.

Have a good 2015 – you can make it what you want.

Letters to my Future Self #7: New Year

Sunday 28th December, 2014

Dear Future Self,

Thursday marks the start of 2015. And, Future Self, I want to do things differently in 2015.

The normal resolutions have run through my mind, of course. This year, I could resolve to be more healthy, active, productive, kind, patient and wise. However, I’m just going to ask one thing of myself for now. I want to start being nicer to myself.

In November, a counsellor I spoke to at university made an interesting observation. She made it clear to me that I had been almost bullying (or even torturing) myself, through layers of self criticism and doubt. I tend to expect a lot out of myself, more than I can ever really reasonably manage. Apparently, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I often blame myself for things out of my control.

At first, I had been kind of stunned by this realisation. It made me feel really quite scared and vulnerable. I would never have treated another person like this. We must note that I did not even know that I was doing this.

Not to say that this resolution will be easy. I am sure, that I will struggle almost constantly to turn my brain off. But, if I devote enough time to my own well being, I am confident that I will be making a strong step in the right direction.

I’ve recently learnt that I like cooking for myself, so maybe that’s something I can do more often. I find real peace of mind, when I am making food. Our family’s Christmas dinner was essentially my own hard work, might I add.

Small steps for now.

Hope you’re doing well, Future Self.

Letters to my Future Self #6: Self Reflection 2014

Dear Future Self,

It’s coming towards the end of the year. I thought I’d do a bit of that self reflection stuff.

I am –

a sister
a daughter
a student
a second year undergraduate
a Hindu
an adult (still got some way to go on that one)
a blogger
an in-the-shower singer
an avid reader
a Whovian
a nerd
a tourist
a traveller
a home-body
a Peer Supporter
an insightful thinker
a planner
a klutz
a runner (sometimes, and not too fast of one)
a sensitive human being

Sometimes, I feel –

scared
frightened
lonely
confused
angry
happy
sad
agitated
sensitive
hopeful
depressed

I like to –

walk along the canal and in the park
read
go and watch film, regardless of the cost
spend time talking to people
learn new things
spend a lot of time on Tumblr
know about the world around me
take steps forward in building a career for myself, even if I may not know where exactly headed

This year, I have learnt that –

1. Perseverance really does pay off – I was able to run a 10km race and that truly was the highlight of my year
2. My family is the thing that can really ground me in this world, even when I’m lost
3. It’s okay to feel lost and out of control – but it’s about understanding what goes on internally
4. It is easy to compare yourself to other and end up losing yourself
5. There is nothing more important than living in the present – but that’s the scariest freaking thing ever
6. The suggestion ‘be realistic’ really pisses me off, it’s easier said than done. Instead, please consider the following alternatives: ‘consider…’, ‘maybe think objectively…’, ‘try… ‘. It’s about working towards something, people.
7. I have to treat myself the way I treat others – with respect and consideration.

I may not set myself resolutions for 2015. We’ll see. But I need to do more of what makes me happy in the time I have during a given week. Nothing I do is less valid than something someone else does. It’ll take me some more to realise that.

Hope that you’re having an okay Christmas, future self.

Happy holidays.

Letters to my Future Self #5: Run to the Beat

Monday 15th September, 2014

To my Future Self,

I had the most amazing life experience yesterday and so, I wanted to record how I felt in that moment. Yesterday, I ran my first ever ten kilometre race. This race is unique in its nature, given that it gives you opportunity to listen to different current music acts along the running route. More than the music though, I want to remember how happy I felt during the race.

My story starts six months ago, when my friend asked to me sign up for the event. Naturally, I was rather apprehensive (as I am about anything this big) but I agreed. Over the summer, I trained reasonably regularly, trying to increase my distance and pace. My favourite places to run were the canal in the early morning and in the park. Now, as I am sure you can recall, I am not the most athletically minded person; the training was a big challenge and I owe a lot to my mother for pushing me out the door. The week leading up to the race was especially busy, so I’m surprised I even m
anaged to fit in those last two practices!

So, then, race day arrived. I was number 6444 in the Red Wave, which started at 9.55 am. There were over 15,000 competitors and the entire place was buzzing. The route would take me round to Preston Road, Kingsbury, Fryent Country Park and quite a lot of Wembley. It was quite hilly (I had trained on relatively flat areas) but for each climb, there was a downhill section provided to relieve my tired legs. Three things that I realised, namely: kilometres are a lot longer on race day, it is possible to run through the pain, and the presence of the public can really uplift you. Overall, I did not walk at all. In training in the last two weeks, my feet had been cramping a lot (blame those flat feet) and walking it off had been my only option. By the time I had passed four kilometres, I realised that if I hadn’t stopped already, I was unlikely to in the remaining distance. I crossed the finish line in 1:33:50, a time that I am immensely proud of. The organisers hung a medal round my neck and I couldn’t stop beaming.

For my first race ever, I have to say I did pretty damn well. I was on my own for the entire race and not once did I feel lonely or tired or emotional. I was smiling and happy, revelling in the camaraderie of the running community. From this experience, I have learned that I can commit to something for a long period of time and succeed in my goal. I need to apply this lesson to other parts of my life and not let things hold me back. It’s been a really enlightening time.

Have you continued running? I can’t imagine ever doing a half marathon any time soon. I know that I’ll definitely do a race like this again next year!

— Srshti

Eight Ways To Feel Healthy Without Really Trying

1. Drink an unbelievably large volume of water per day. I’d suggest about 1.6 litres per day. It clears up your skin like nobody’s business, flushes out unwanted stuff from your system and has the added bonus of keeping you alive. Some people recommend sipping water constantly over the day, but I need a more direct approach. If I have a bottle of water on me in my bag, it can stay unopened for days. I have made it a habit to make sure that whenever I do feel thirsty, I drink two glasses in one go, just to make sure. It’s difficult enough to remember to do this, so work out the best way for you. Of course, other fluids do work like juice, tea and coffee. Concentrated fruit juices (which are usually also sweetened) can sometimes be bad for your teeth, so watch out for that.

2. Walk everywhere. Going to university in a city means that I am constantly on my feet. I have made it my goal during term time, to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. When I started doing this last year, it used to be the case that my feet would feel like falling off. However, I guarantee that it is a great way to build in movement and exercise into your day, when you’re already quite busy.

 

3. Take the stairs, wherever possible. I mean it. In my halls of residence last year, I lived in an annex building right on the fifth floor. There was no lift and I had to climb over a hundred steps to get anywhere. Add in a heavy bag and all that walking I just mentioned, you’ve got a free fitness routine without having to fork out a fortune.

4. Use sweetener instead of sugar. I can really go to town on the sugar, especially when it’s in ready supply. In my tea now, I add sweetener (maybe two or three…) and it tastes ten times better. Maybe it’s more satisfying because I’m not just swallowing empty calories.

5. Find whole foods that really, really fill you up. My mother got me started on this massive dried fruit and nuts kick. At the moment, I am absolutely in love with almonds, pumpkin seeds, sultanas and walnuts. All of these taste good with chopped soft fruit (like bananas) or just on their own. I like to add them to plain yoghurt and add a generous splodge of honey on top. Not only does the assembly of my snack feel artistic, but I end up being insanely full.

6. Incorporate as much fresh fruit as you can into your diet. They’re naturally sweet and go well with everything. A good helping from a punnet of blueberries goes well over oatmeal for at least three days. Vegetables, apart from maybe the salad kind, really require effort (AKA heat) to prepare. A lot of fruit can be stored outside and then it’s always there just as you’re heading out the door. Whenever I ran the out the door for lectures in halls last year, I grabbed either a banana or an apple. 

7. Avoid excessive snacking. I know it’s easier said than done, but anything can be enjoyed in moderation. I am guilty of doing this so much and it’s part of the reason why my weight fluctuates so goddamn much. To be honest, I can devour a pack of Jaffa cakes in as much time as it takes you to blink. And let’s not even start considering my Doritos comsuption rate. I’ve been working hard this summer to really shed some of this junk food weight and I am only now feeling confident about myself. At any rate, convert to snacking on healthy stuff that’s just seasoned well. 

8. Do not sit in bed all day with your laptop five inches from your face. I have learned this the hard way. My core and lower back have been suffering lately from the Netflix marathons I’ve subjected myself to this summer. I am guilty of this particular crime even today, but I’ve realised the value of a good chair and a supporting cushion. You feel less sluggish, more productive and actually don’t get distracted by having your laptop in front of you. 

Honestly, these are things that have taken me a long time to learn. I do not claim to be a healthy lifestyle expert, but as an acne prone adult / teenager, I know what clears up my skin and makes me feel more lively and productive. I don’t follow all of this all of the time, because I have the willpower of a sloth and the attention span of a fruit fly. But I know that acting in a healthy manner really boosts my body confidence and makes me feel more mental clarity. 

I’ve been trying to train for a 10km race that will be taking place in less than two weeks. I do not move very fast (again, I look to the sloths for inspiration), I have to get my mum to motivate to get me out of the door since I love my bed too much (see above), and the results have been slow. My race t-shirt arrived the other day though and there’s a number and everything! I’m so freaking pumped and can’t wait. My time should be under two hours hopefully and I will probably be dead for days afterwards. Running bloody hurts and my knee and sides have not been very grateful, but I literally do it for my pride and the endorphin rush (so good). I don’t want to walk too much, but so what if I stop occasionally or slow down? It’s the trying that really counts. Completing this race will be the best achievement ever. 

— Srshti