Duality

Every time I want to write about something positive I feel I have to start with a disclaimer, but I decided that from today I’m going to let go of that guilt. After a quick disclaimer of course! I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter recently, which comes with a disclaimer all of its own. Twitter is a funny old platform, it seems to inspire so much hatred and bile in the people who use it. I don’t post much myself, but even the people I follow who post about the most seemingly innocuous things – even flowers – will end up being targets for the trolls.

It can be a mine of information though, if used carefully, and one person I follow is also one of my favourite Instagram people, Michelle Elman. She very helpfully put into words what I’ve been trying to say but couldn’t.

You can see the thread on Twitter/follow her here, follow her on Instagram here, or even go and buy her book here. I highly recommend doing all three.

So yes, that. Just because I’m trying to focus on small, positive things (because that’s what helps me personally) that make me happy doesn’t mean that I’m not simultaneously experiencing a whole load of other less pleasant emotions. Let’s just make space for the good stuff too.

One of my happiest moments from the weekend came in the form of a message from my sister. Newton’s brother’s owners found him through Instagram and sent a message, which I think is possibly the sweetest thing I’ve heard in a long, long time.

I really hope I get to meet him one day! It’s also crazy how their colouring is so different yet they look so alike. Flipping adorable.

Saturday was a good day. I spent the early afternoon in the garden doing a little prep for the evening, as me and the little brother had a plan. We had a dead tree cut down a while ago, so of course a little bonfire was in order.

Whilst collecting old paving stones to make a little fire pit I took my time looking at all the smaller details in the garden. A not-so-small find was a massive earthworm that actually frightened me a bit when I first saw it. I haven’t seen a worm that big since I was a kid. I did what any rational adult would do – put it in a pot, took it to show my brother, then released it back into the wild. He suggested putting it in a pie and feeding it to my mum, which yes, would have been hilarious, but she’d also never forgive us.

Mooching around in the garden done, I went for a small nap and waited for darkness. Fires are always better at night, and in any case I’m bloody loving nap time lately.

You’d think that living together and not going out would mean me and the ‘little’ bro (he’s fast approaching 30 and is taller than me) wouldn’t have much to talk about, but we were out in the garden for hours. Me with a bottle of red wine, and him with a couple of bottles of beer I’d secretly bought him as a gift for this very occasion. I am a good sister.

We’re quite similar in that we enjoy burning stuff (not in the arson kind of way) and we love companionable silence. As such he’s an excellent fireside buddy – plenty of time was also spent just watching the flames and enjoying the warmth. It was a very wholesome evening, especially as I got to play with long exposures. It’s such great fun, and you don’t need anything fancy to give it a go. Well, unless you count having an iPhone as being particularly fancy. Which I suppose it is when you consider the cost…

Anyway, if you take a live photo and then open the picture in your gallery, you can scroll down and choose long exposure. Then the picture on the left will turn into something like the picture on the right.

Or if you happen to have a DSLR handy, you can do something like this…

Cool, huh?

At the end of the night we hadn’t burned the house down so we extinguished the fire (we really got some heat going – it took three large watering cans before it stopped sizzling) and went to bed feeling pleasantly fuzzy.

Drinking alcohol is DEFINITELY something I don’t want to make a habit of during lockdown. I felt really anxious on Sunday and the bottle of wine was probably why, plus I’ve had a massive five pound gain. My next goal is to get into the 14 stone bracket, which is a hefty 12 pounds away now. We absolutely plan make a fire again (I’m going to try to source some veggie marshmallows in the meantime), but I’m going to wait until I’ve achieved that goal first for sure.

It helps me to have structure and something to aim for.

Now we’re in a new week I’m going to spend the entire 7 days on plan and carry on edging slowly towards my goals. I’ll keep you posted.

Take care,

Hayley x

Virtual Reality

Day 5 of isolation, and madness is beginning to set in. On Thursday, for a short while I forgot that I don’t speak French. You see, I watched an entire season of a French show on Netflix. When I watch something foreign I always watch with subtitles-I cannot stand it when it’s dubbed. After 10 hours or so of watching, partway into season 2, I looked away from the screen and thought ‘what the bloody hell are they saying?’

Oh yeah. They’re speaking French! And I do not… It’s happened before when I was watching the German series, Dark. Tell me it’s not just me?

Now for a disclaimer: I’m no therapist. But I just wanted to give you my thoughts on some things. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. None of us have ever been in anything like this situation before, so don’t for a second feel like you should be finding or even looking for silver linings, if that’s not something that helps you.

I’m someone who has been dipping in and out of things. I have so many projects I could be getting on with, but when I get into something I momentarily forget what’s going on in the outside world. That’s great, until I suddenly remember and I get a jolt of panic surge through my body. Then I lose all interest in what I was doing, I stare into the distance for an indeterminate amount of time, then later on find something else to do.

At least, that’s during the day. Night time is spent trying, and failing, to get a good sleep. I’m not going to stress over this though. Normally it’s a problem because it’s important for me to be on the ball at work, but I’m not working so it doesn’t matter if I’m zoned out during waking hours.

We’re all just finding our ‘new normal’, and I think beating ourselves up over not being ‘positive enough’ is the last thing we need to be doing. Feelings demand to be felt, and if we bury them, they’ll never go away. The only way out is through.

Over the course of this week, I’ve been terrified, but also happy. On Monday Newton did an audible fart in the forest which was quite possibly the funniest thing in the world ever. I laughed more than was probably necessary at my wonky nipples (I have no idea how to explain in words what that was about or why it was so funny) and I had a silent disco in my room.

I was listening to classic 80’s tracks which are oh so danceable. In this instance I was listening to ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ by the Communards, which I think we can all agree is a belter.

Other things that have helped me are getting dressed every day and, from time to time, putting make up on. This getting ready time is one of my favourite weekday activities, as I put my AirPods in and bust out some choons while I’m at it. Normally it’s to get me gee’d up for work, but in this instance it was a great mood—booster.

Then I spent several hours de-sequining some things for a craft project I meant to start two years ago, whilst watching an interesting series on Netflix about myths and legends.

Today I made Pea’s healthy food for the next month, which is sweet potato, broccoli, pepper, carrot and kale chopped and frozen into ice cube trays. This supplements her every day organic bird pellets and a couple of sunflower seeds or millet as a treat when she comes out to play.

It’s no big thing, but that was my task for the day and it felt good to be able to say ‘I said I was going to do this thing, and I did it’. I then told Pea that if we run out of food she better figure out how to start laying eggs, but I don’t think she was listening.

How long do you reckon it would take her to lay enough for an omelette?

Since I’m lucky enough to have a garden and the sun came out, I went outside to get some fresh air and take a few snaps.

Then came the news from my old consultant that her group is going to be one of the first in the country to start running virtual Image Therapy. Slimming World are going to charge roughly £2.50 per session, but you can attend as many or as few as you like without having to pay back fees. I told my consultant that if there’s space for me in one of her sessions to count me in, and I’ll also join my regular group in theirs. I’m still not paying any more than I would ordinarily, and I get to support more than one consultant.

Plus it would be REALLY NICE to see some different faces!

I’ve been staying on track with my eating not because of any particular willpower, but mainly through being sensible about using up what food I have. By the time I’m able to go out for supplies myself again, I have no idea what will be available. Another disclaimer: THIS IS NOT AN INVITATION TO PANIC BUY. THERE IS NOOOOOOOO FOOD SHORTAGE. IT IS OUR GREED THAT IS CAUSING THIS SITUATION!

There’s also the fact that I’ve almost completely lost my appetite, and I’m only eating once I feel a bit light-headed, or my tummy rumbles particularly loudly. Then I know it’s time to get some grub.

My only task for the rest of the day is to decide what I’m going to make tomorrow. I have a block of air-drying clay, so I want to decide what I’m doing with it before I open it. I’ll have to work quite quickly to stop it from drying out, so it’s best to be prepared. I’ll update you on that in the next post.

Stay safe, stay home if you can, and don’t buy all the things!

Hayley x