Week Fourteen

Hoorayyy. As week fourteen draws to a close I cannot help smiling. I’m off to see my Dad and my sister as soon as I’ve hit publish and I’m so looking forward to a roast dinner.

It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve made so many amazing memories. In the true spirit of chapter five, I’ve chucked myself head first into everything!

Since I last wrote, I’ve been to see George Ezra at the O2. HE WAS AMAZING. I’ve been to a 1920s themed Speakeasy Festival in a big old house in Cardiff and then literally walked down memory lane, towards the city centre, bare foot, with my heels in my hands. I went along to see one of my best friends perform with her fabulous Technicolor choir and enjoyed a good boogie with her and the choir afterwards. I’ve had numerous pub lunches and dinner dates (my favourite things). I went along to a uni friend’s hen do and partied two nights in a row. TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW I TELL YOU. (And I was exhausted come Sunday… how my 18 year old self ever coped with freshers I will never know.)

Most of these things were in the diary and in the approach to all this craziness I felt apprehensive. I wasn’t certain I was in the right frame of mind. There’s still lots going on that I can’t share with you all and I’m still spending a lot of time feeling the impact of it all. I’m so glad I pushed through though. I could easily have opted for a night in my PJs or a day with my head in a book. But as much as I love nights in and book worm days, sometimes getting out of the house and spending time making brilliant memories with amazing friends is what’s going to get you through.

These few weeks have been about me remembering that you can allow yourself to get out and enjoy yourself, without feeling guilty for ignoring the stuff you’re feeling sad about. In fact, it’s really important to compartmentalise. We all need to remember that. Being able to go out and enjoy yourself doesn’t mean you don’t care enough: You’re not ignoring things, you’re just putting them to the back of your mind when you need to. Because parts of your life can be fantastic while others fall apart. That’s just how it goes. And if you try to feel everything, all the time, sooner or later you’ll explode.

To infinity and beyond

Drinking tea and hoping that with tea comes much blogspiration because I’ve no idea where to start.

If you’re a close friend of mine I’ve probably had a rant or a grumble at you this week. Its been one of them weeks. I’ve oozed negativity. So much so, when it came to yoga on Wednesday I was excited as ever, but just couldn’t get into it. I spent the whole class feeling awkward and tense. You’ll hopefully be glad to hear, that right now I’m feeling chirpy and wondering what on Earth I’ve had to moan about.

The highlight of this week has to have been my afternoon spent in London’s Sky Garden.

That’s where things started to take a turn for the better. I highly recommend a visit. It’s free of charge for starters! They advise that you book in advance to skip the queues, that’s all. London looks so beautiful from up there. It doesn’t take much to bring out the cheese ball in me and being up there definitely did. Looking out at St Paul’s through the massive glass windows I felt all gooey and happy and grateful. I remember when working in London was something I dreamed about and now, it’s my every day. Eek!

I spent Friday night celebrating a friend’s birthday at Dinerama, Shoreditch. I highly recommend a visit to Dinerama too. It was AWESOME. Converted to suit winter with a ceiling and walls and heaters, this collection of street food stands and pop up bars catered for everyone. Music, food, drink and lots of friends made for a fab atmosphere and a super chilled, very fun evening.

I guess I have to admit that it is probably no coincidence that my new found positivity arrives just after Dave and I spent a whole day together yesterday for the first time in a long time. I’ve sat in enough counselling sessions to know that your happiness should never be dependent on the presence of another human being and I’d like to think I’d have turned things around anyway, but yesterday just helped… A lot. And hey! As I get older I believe more and more that most of time, the best advise any one can give you is that you should just cut yourself some slack. If you need someone else or to be somewhere else just for a little while, to make yourself feel strong again, then sometimes you just gotta embrace it.

Until further notice

I’m the happiest of Bronwens today. Autumn simply is the second most wonderful time of year (Christmas being the most wonderful time of the year, of course) and I’m so happy it is here.

What’s not to love? Good TV. Jumper weather. Beautiful crisp colourful leaves. Monthly reasons to get together with friends and family and have a good time in the form of Halloween and Bonfire night and Christmas (oops I said it again). Yes, it’s too soon to talk about Christmas, I know, but we all know that really that build up starts here. HOW EXCITING!

Time is flying by. I can barely remember what happened two days ago, let alone what happened in the time since I last wrote so bear with me.

Tuesday night just gone, Dave and I went to see Foo Fighters at the O2 and it was unforgettable! My goodness what a night. If I didn’t already think they were an incredible band, I do now. They are mind blowing. They all have such presence! They’re all so talented and they’re innovative too. They’re growing all the time. They’re concert was the perfect mix of old and new and even featured Rick Astley! In the flesh. Singing ‘Never gonna give you up’. No word of a lie.

Work is great. Absolutely love it, but love to hate it too. Love to hate it first thing on a Monday morning and during the 2-3pm daily slump.

In fact, speaking of work, I helped out at a couple of Alzheimer’s Society’s memory walks this month and I’m so glad I did. I was so overwhelmed. I attended the Watford walk first. The event site was at the bottom of a hill and we’d barely finished setting up before people started emerging over the top in blue memory walk t-shirt after t-shirt. They all looked amazing and even more so when they eventually headed off on the walk itself. I had a lump in my throat for the duration of both events. So many people and each one there for the same incredible cause and all with names and pictures on their back. All remembering someone. It was simply amazing.

Today I have no plans and it is glorious. I do not remember the last time I had no plans. I’m making the most of it. I’ve had a lay-in. I had a pinterest binge. I’ve painted my nails. I’ve had a cooked breakfast. I’m blogging. I’m calm and balanced and happy and all things bright and beautiful.

Now, big news. I’ve had an epiphany and I’ve got a kind of a plan for the future, dare I say it.

Leaving my parents’ home and moving out. Moving away from my home town and starting a new job. It did all throw me off balance just a little bit. I’ve been tumbling through. And, hey! I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with tumbling through, but for the first time in my twenties so far, I kind of know where I’m going. Or where I want to go. I think. And it feels FAB.

The wonderful thing is that for now, I think that for starters, I wanna stay exactly where I am. I’ve always been a floater, thrived off change. I get bored quickly, but as much as the change does good things for the part of me that is always seeking the new and exciting, each and every change drives the butterflies in my tummy into flutters.

I feel very lucky to be where I am right now and I know that with enough determination, I can get to where I want to be, starting from right here. I don’t need to jump head first into another deep sea full of unknowns and drag my mental health down again with me.

For a little while I’m just doing more of the same. And I’m so excited for all of the joys staying put will bring.

After that? These lips are sealed I’m afraid. Until further notice.

Let go of the familiar and embrace the new

I was super happy and excited but goodness I was nervous. A small part of me was just rationally worrying about the new job itself. Whether I’d be able to do it, whether the people would be as nice as I hoped, whether I’d impress like I wanted to.

I was also having nightmares about being late on my first day. Nightmares that varied from stressfully realistic and scarily weird. I had one in which I kept trying to get through doorways but random people in my life would be standing in them telling me it wasn’t safe and by the end I was shouting (luckily just in the dream) at the top of my lungs that they had to get out of my way because I had to get to work! You don’t have to be a psychologist to figure out I was very scared I’d be late.

Most of me was simply just terrified about the change from unemployment to employment. Even with 7 days a week free to do as I pleased I felt like time was going too fast and there was never enough of it. How would I cope? How would I find time to do the things I love? How would I keep in contact with all of my friends and family? How would I sleep and eat enough? How would I live!?

Commuting for the first time was a strange experience. When I walked onto the station platform singing quietly to myself at 8am, I felt like I was walking into a school assembly late. Everyone looked miserable. Everyone was sat or stood in silence. Everyone seemed to glare at me as I walked past. Pretty girls looked me up and down like I didn’t belong.

Of course, half the issue was that I was so tense and uncomfortable. The minute I walked onto that platform I forgot all about where I was headed. All I knew was that I felt small and unsure and this was all new and I wasn’t sure I liked it and a big part of me wanted to run back home to bed. I was more nervous than I knew and it didn’t take much to knock me off balance.

However, from the moment I got to work onwards, my first day ROCKED. Everyone I met was super lovely. I really enjoyed the work I did and the more I found out about my role the more I knew I was going to love it. My team took me out for lunch.

There came a point when I realised where I was, both physically and just in life and suddenly a big goofy smile spread from cheek to cheek. I was in my favourite city, working in one of them fancy office buildings, wearing fancy office clothes and doing a job I already took pride in and loved. This change didn’t happen gradually. I didn’t go through a period of adaptation. Maybe you aren’t supposed to. Maybe the reason I’ve struggled with change so much in life is because I’ve always had too much time to think about it. This time was like no other. I’m not being dramatic. Literally, one minute I was panicking. I felt like I was spiralling, losing control, time was running away with me. The next minute I realised I was calm and I settled into the swing of things and before long it was like nothing had changed at all.

I’m another 5 commutes down now and its not strange anymore. If the pretty girls are still looking me up and down I’m not seeing them because I’m too happy and confident to notice. Or my head is in my book which I’ve already mastered the art of reading wherever I am.

It doesn’t feel like I’ve just been through a change. 3 days into the job and everything is second nature. It honestly feels like I’ve been doing this for years and that is strange and wonderful all at once. Life never fails to amaze me.

An honestly good week

I set the bar high with the honesty thing and I’ve been fretting ever since. Every post that popped up on my Facebook timeline this week, had me second guessing myself. An article titled ‘What anxiety actually is, because it’s more than just worrying’, had me closer to pressing delete on last week’s post than ever.

There are people who suffer much worse than I do. Maybe I’m being dramatic. I’m such an attention seeker. What if I am just stressed? What do I know? What was I thinking posting that? 

Before I go on I just want to thank the people who reached out to me this week with words of encouragement. You restored my faith, made me feel incredibly loved and I cannot tell you how grateful I am.

So, here we are. The post is still there and I’m taking a deep breath, flopping with a cuppa on one of our blow up chairs and I’m writing another one. If I’m being honest, it’s actually been a really good week. HOORAY.

Dave and I headed back to our parents’ houses last weekend.

Sunday was my Granny and Dave’s Dad’s birthday.

First thing in the morning I joined my mum in the kitchen. I sat on one of our kitchen stools, drinking tea and chatting happily away to her while she fried bacon for sandwiches. I was so happy to be back, to have slept back in my old bed, to see mine and Dave’s parents, to see the rest of my family, to have caught up with a couple of friends. I felt grounded again.

Mummy Maggs cooked a beautiful roast and we all had a slice of beautiful birthday cake and then my granny gave me a lot of invaluable advice on living on my own and cooking for two. (BIG TIP – Bulk buy meat, separate it into freezer bags and then freeze it in perfect portion sizes for defrosting and using whenever you like). She made me feel so much better about everything.

I stole as many hugs off everyone as possible and then later in the afternoon I headed over to Dave’s to wish his dad a happy birthday and to join him and his parents in time for the EFL cup final.

Sunday night was when the nerves caught up with me again. It was time to face another week at our new flat.

Monday was actually a good day. Last week I’d let my perfectionism make me obsessive about cleaning. For the majority of this Monday, I banned myself from housework, I sat with my lazy clothes on, watching films and successfully chilling out.

Tuesday my dad came over. He was a star. He got straight to work on setting things up for us before I’d even put the kettle on. He did lots of technical stuff and all I know is now all the light bulbs in the flat work, I can have a shower without the water going cold, we have TV and internet, we’re all set and I’ve started searching for and applying for jobs! My dad and I had a great day and playing the host made me feel more at home than ever.

Wednesday I made my first trip into town. I got horribly lost trying to find the car parks but managed to stay fairly calm despite the confusing one way system and all the buses I nearly collided with. Once in town, I was in my element. I bought a few bits and bobs we still needed, grabbed a costa coffee and then headed back home feeling accomplished.

Thursday one of my bestest friends came to see me. I spent the morning sorting and cleaning, had a proper breakfast and lunch for the first time all week and then embarked on a stressful journey to go collect her from the nearest tube station, in a place where it appears London drivers like to whizz round beeping their horns willy nilly. Once she was here, having her here made me so ridiculously happy. We made more travelling plans, booked our eurostar ticket and booked into our first hostel, watched gossip girl, caught up on life and then I cooked an AMAZING lasagna. The second drive back to the tube station was much less scary. It’s amazing what a little familiarity can do.

Nearly there, I promise…

Friday I enjoyed my first ever proper relaxed lay-in in my new bed and I knew I was making progress, starting to feel properly settled. My auntie came over for the day. We caught up over a cuppa, a maintenance guy dropped by to take a look at one of the windows, we headed into town for lunch and all in all, had a wonderful day.

This weekend has been Dave and I’s first proper weekend in the flat together. It’s been fab. We ordered takeaway on Friday night. Last night we cooked steak and made sweet potato wedges and shared a bottle of red wine. We did a food shop. We made a want/need list of things we still want/need for the flat.

All in all, it’s honestly good news. I am bounding forward into my new life and I don’t currently want to run back in the other direction.

I’ve already rambled on too long, but before I finish up I just have to say that the also honest truth is that good week, or not, I battled with anxiety every day. But that’s okay… For me, a big part of living with anxiety is accepting that it will be there with you every day for the rest of your life. That there will be times when it effects you more, or less, but it will always be present. I used to spend every day trying to overcome my anxiety all together and it always left me feeling disappointed and weak. What gives me hope right now, is that I’m here at the end of another week, smiling hugely, living on despite it, actually enjoying myself and feeling strong and proud for that reason.

What I’m saying is, if you fight a fight of your own every day of your life, be proud, stay strong and keep smiling. You’re a hero and you’re not alone.

No rest for the wicked

Or so the saying goes. Luckily for me, wickedness aside, I’ve finally got a day off today.

I’m sat in my room with the curtains closed because it may only be half four but it is dark outside already! I’ve lit candles and I’ve got Spotify shuffling through my favourite playlist. I’ve eaten a cooked breakfast and a roast lunch. I had a lay-in and a short nap this afternoon. I’m living a life of luxury for the day!

One of my best friends and I are making exciting travelling plans. Watch this space. I’ve started drinking Twining’s Christmas Tea again already. Couldn’t resist. I’m still reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban again. I’m finally nearly caught up with the Walking Dead. I watched the first episode of Season 7 yesterday. Gobsmacked.

Speaking of gobsmacked, Donald Trump is president of the United States. I was terrified when the result came through. For a morning I considered gathering everyone I love and migrating to Iceland. I had a discussion with my dad about the likelihood of nuclear war and he brought me back down to Earth. I cannot understand how Trump won so many votes. Now I’m just hopeful that he’ll pleasantly surprise us all. If he doesn’t, here’s hoping his powers are restricted.

Planet Earth II’s on tonight. After last week’s epic episode I cannot wait to see what else David Attenborough and the team have in store for us. Cosy evening in front of the tv for me at the end of a thoroughly relaxing day. Feeling rejuvenated and believe it or not, a little melancholy. Enough of nothing. Looking forward to the busy week ahead.

Monday’s the new Sunday

Sun’s shining. I slept in until 10. I’m still in my pyjamas. I’ve done my washing and tidied my room. Other than that, I spent the morning lounging in bed reading and I’ve spent the majority of this afternoon watching The Walking Dead. There’s no roast dinner cooking. That’s the only way I know it’s not Sunday. Just cooked myself up some pasta though and although it’s nothing in comparison, it is pretty yummy.

Life’s a little crazy. Last week, my only day off was Thursday and this week I don’t have a day off. I’m back at the restaurant waitressing tonight and the days that I’m not there this week, I’ll be at the school. The days are merging into one. Weekends are a thing of the past. First week spent properly working two jobs and for now I’m feeling positive. I’m not grumbling! I’m happily busy and whenever I do get a moment to chill I’m making the most of it.

Working at the restaurant is great fun. There’s a real team spirit and no matter how much I complain about my feet hurting, I really enjoy myself while I’m there. There’s so much to think about, I don’t dwell on anything else either.

I’m so excited about getting back into the school this week too! I enjoyed my last week there so much and hope it’ll get better and better moving forwards. With half term behind us, I’m looking forward to the lead up to Christmas too.

For a while there I thought I was crazy to take on more work; I wasn’t sure if taking a waitressing position was at all the right thing to do. I’m an easily stressed person, creating an easily stressful life for myself BUT I am glad I applied and so glad they hired me. I stand by the fact when it comes to life, there is not right or wrong thing to do. It’s all a matter of trial and error. I tried and I’m a happy bunny and happy is all I really ever want to be. No stressed face yet. Here’s hoping the smile sticks.

The Common Cold. Cough, Sniff, Sneeze, Repeat.

Last week was great. Exhausting, but great. I was at the restaurant all day every day except Thursday, training along side a really lovely team of people who I already feel like I can be my weird and wonderful self around. I still can’t carry plates or trays confidently, but hey, everyone else seems confident I’ll get there. I hope they’re right. That aside, all’s well and I can’t wait to get stuck in again this week. Friday night we went out as a staff team and all had such a good time. I’m so excited for the restaurant opening. As well as a little nervous, of course.

Thursday, Dave and I and his family went to see Manchester United play at Old Trafford. They played much better than they did against Chelsea today, thank goodness. It was a really great match, well worth the trek up there and back. We won 4-1 and a couple of the goals were absolutely brilliant!

Yesterday was a lovely day. I caught up with one of my best friends over coffee. We had fish and chips from the chip shop for dinner. I watched Strictly live, for what will probably be the last time this year. (Saturday nights will be spent in the restaurant from now on.) Dave came over later on. We stuck Bicentennial Man on my TV, managed about ten minutes and then fell asleep.

All that’s great and wonderful aside, I’ve got the worst of colds and I feel very sorry for myself. My head literally feels the size of Jupiter. Seeing as, for the near future, I’m going to be working in a school and a busy restaurant, I’ve a feeling I need to get used to fighting off the common cold. Problem is, every time I have a cold I’m convinced it’s the worst one I’ve ever had.

This one is the worst. Honest. The pile of tissues next to my laptop is pretty sizeable. All day I’ve been devoted to mission 101; get rid of cold before training week number two. I’ve drunk lots of coffee, water and orange juice and I’ve eaten and eaten and eaten. Here’s hoping I’ve done enough.

The only way is up

I’m in the kitchen with my mum. Bacon’s in the frying pan, I’ve got a cup of tea in hand, I’m a happy bunny. I’m wearing my roughest jeans and a hoodie and I’ve definitely got that Sunday feeling.

Work last week was better than I ever could have imagined. I went back into the school on Monday a nervous wreck of a Bronwen, but when I left that afternoon I’d found my confidence again. Honestly, just like that. It was like something clicked and I finally got over the fact it was all new and it started to feel familiar. Nothing’s more comforting than familiarity.

I knew I was comfortable when I found myself singing everywhere I went.

This week’s my training week at the restaurant and I’m so excited! Will be great to meet everyone more than anything. Feels so productive to be working again.

This evening I’m off out for a curry with some old friends from school. My brother’s home from uni this weekend and I’m stealing as many hugs off him as possible before he leaves again. My mum’s still promised me a teeny tiny roast at lunch time. (Can’t ruin my curry but don’t wanna miss out on roast either. Especially when roast lunch is going to be a whole family occasion.)

My mum found out she’s finally got the job of her dreams this week. She’s wanted to be a LSA for as long as I can remember, but she’s had the worst luck. I was so happy when she told me that this time, the position is hers.

I’m more addicted to The Walking Dead than ever, so studying has kind of gone out of the window. In a way though, I felt like I was studying all week at the school. At the risk of sounding like a complete nerd, I couldn’t help thinking about the ways Music Therapy could be applied everywhere I went.

The butterflies only flutter occasionally now as if to remind me they’re still there, but they’re manageable. Peace has been restored. Everything is on the up.

Inhale confidence, exhale doubt

It’s Sunday. Dave’s popped home again. We’re sat watching the football having had the yummiest and biggest of full Englishes this morning. The sun’s shining, but it is really chilly so I’m curled up on the sofa under a blanket. It’s October! Can you believe it? Time’s flying. Not going to lie, I’m excited about Christmas already.

I had three job interviews this week and they all went really well, which I guess is a really good thing. More decisions than ever to make now though. One of the interviews was for another position in a school and I’m going to work a few days there this week. Gives me time to figure out how happy it makes me and them time to figure out if they want me on board. Excited and nervous all at the same time.

It’s been a really good weekend. My mum cooked an amazing casserole on Friday evening. Friday night I was out with friends in town. Saturday morning was a lazy hazy one. I met one of my best friends for lunch once I got moving. They’ve just opened a brand new John Lewis store in the town centre and when we got there the wait for food everywhere was at least half an hour. In the end we jumped in my car, retreated back out of town and headed to the pub instead. Turns out Hunter’s Chicken is great hangover food. We went all out and ordered three courses. It was pretty wonderful.

Lacking confidence going into this week. Hoping all goes well. Just need to remember that this week could be a complete disaster and all would still be alright in the end. Can only give it my best shot and that’s what I’m going to do. Not sure even singing will make these butterflies go away.