Poor? Bit rich

Since sixth form, I have noticed a bizarre aspect of student culture whereby financially secure students make a habit of professing how they are, and I quote, ‘poor’. Here is a classic example: “Ooo, the small latte is £2.20… but the large is only £2.35…. ah I’m so poor at the moment lol I shouldn’t even be getting a drink at all. Oh sod it, I’ll get the large, it’s only fifteen pence more!”

This annoys me for multiple reasons. Firstly, if you genuinely can’t afford a coffee, don’t buy one. Secondly, if you can afford it, just buy it and enjoy it. You don’t have to announce to everyone around you that you’re only buying it becuase it’s Friday and you’re being ‘naughty’. If you have the money, and are willing to spend it, spend it happily.

But thirdly, and most crucially, I don’t think you should pretend to be poor when you’re not. I am not the poverty police, and just in case any of you start attacking me for things I am not actually saying, here are some disclaimers. I know that a tragic amount of students are genuinely poor. I think students should be able to complain about the extortionate debt we are left with. And I know that you can be rich and miserable.

However, I also know for a fact that if you go on nine nights out a month, you’re not poor just because you also then can’t afford a coffee or a meal out. What you’re actually saying is that you expect to be able to afford everything you want, and therefore believe that having to sacrifice the odd luxury makes you hard up.

I know that jokes about being ‘poor’ or in your overdraft are only said for mild amusement, and are not genuine pleas for sympathy. So perhaps I’m being a spoilsport, but I think that if you are, financially, in a position of privilege, it is better to be appreciative than entitled. Instead of complaining about the coffee that you can’t buy, acknowledge that it’s because you have been able to buy (pre-corona) two festival tickets for the summer. There are already far too many people having to suffer the reality of poverty, be it relative or absolute; the world doesn’t benefit from those who are well-off pretending that they’re not.

 

 

Is it worse to half-do something than to not do it at all?

I am returning to this blog after what has ended up being a year-long break.

The longer I went without writing a post, the more pressure I felt to make my next one so incredible that people felt it warranted its place as a ‘Comeback’ post. And by ‘people’ I am referring to everyone who reads my blog. Otherwise known as, my Mum, my girlfriend, and my Mum’s friend from church.

So, what do I have to say for myself this time round? My gut was telling me that I should return with a ‘day in the life’ post, done entirely from the perpective of my cat, and not address the break at all. But my cat told me that I will never truly understand life from her perspective, so instead of contributing to the world’s insulting collection of anthropomorphic literature, I should write about literally anything else. Fortuantely, my other cat is less uptight, so I shall be doing a post from his perspective sometime soon.

I felt inspired when I recently re-watched the film Julie & Julia, in which Julie Powell blogs the challenge of cooking all 524 of Julia Child’s recipes in one year. I decided that if I were to return to this blog, I would have to do so with a similarly wild undertaking.

To the great relief of those around me, I soon realised I had created a false binary: never write a blog again, or write a blog in such a way that it consumes my entire life. This stems from a mindset of thinking that it is less shameful to never start something, than to start but not finish it. If I do not complete a project to its full potential, I believe I am showcasing a deep-rooted character flaw that proves I will never succeed in contributing positively to this world. 

However, after reaching the age of twenty-one without ever having received a single Olympic medal or damehood, I am trying to reevaluate how I judge my actions. Following some analysis, I have discovered that I had miscalculated my enemy. The nemesis of time well spent is not Half-Doing Something. It is, in fact, Doing Something Half-Heartedly. It does not matter if you can only play three notes on the trumpet. If you like those notes, and you play them with passion, then you are doing something good in this world. If you can only knit purl, and only in straight lines, but can bedeck your family in warm scarves, then those needles are tapping away exactly as they should be. For life does not glimmer because a select few are excelling, it does so because every day people are doing a little more than they need to.

With this in mind, I shall be joyfully returning to this blog by sticking to my previously vague writing schedule. Having said that, if any of you do come up with a challenge for me, I shall consider it… 

Spots

Spots. (Or zits, pimples, backheads and whiteheads, for those of you with a diversity quota). That’s right, you can exhale out of relief because I’m about to give my long-awaited verdict on the buggers.

With the abundance of products and adverts pertaining to this issue, one could be easily forgiven for believing that clear skin is what we should all (strenuously) strive for. The flip-side of this being that if you are granted spots, you should feel sad, self-conscious, and somewhat shoddy in your soul. However, although clear skin has its benefits (namely the fact that it attracts compliments about said skin), those who breeze through life with a naturally clear complexion miss out on one of the most fudamental pleasures in life:

Successfully squeezing a spot.

I know, I know, they’re best left well alone. But very occassionally the stars aline – facillitating a fruitful and non-detrimental squeeze. Pop. Out it shoots, you can almost hear it hit the mirror. The contents of your former spot may be less than a millimeter in size, but the relief of its exit makes you feel about a stone lighter. ‘A natural high’. Stand back and admire your produce for a moment before wiping it away with a tissue. You both made and eradicated that – take pride in your work. Suddenly all the discomfort and badly applied spot-cover was worth it, leaving you tempted to chuck your entire skin care routine away in a bid to feel that rush again one day. You smile as the physical pressure released with the spot miraculously simultaneously released any other stresses in your life…

So without wanting to make my clear skined demographic too envious, can I get a cheer for spots?

 

Back Home Over Easter

I’ll be going back to university in a few days, after having spent three weeks back home for the Easter break. Trying to blend into life back home after adjusting to all of the freedom university grants you can be notoriously challenging. Everyone who has somewhere to go back to over the holidays has their own unique situation and dynamics to contend with, but if you want to talk about your own experiences then you can start your own blog. Or even better, leave comments on mine. Here are some of the things I have enjoyed about being back home for a bit:

  1. Being woken up with a cup of tea only to fall back asleep for a few minutes and end up having to gulp it down in one before it goes cold. My unwillingness to sit up properly in bed when I can instead do an ungainly lean over my bedside cabinet means it dribbles down my face, but that just adds to the experience.
  2. Finally accepting that my Mum will always act as if it’s illegal to use the shower after 10pm. I won’t be able to change whatever reasoning she’s using, so I’ve decided to simply shower earlier. There’s a beauty in acceptance.
  3. Flexing a new recipe I’ve taught myself. “No, the sauce is actually blended cauliflower. Yeah honestly, it’s the future.”
  4. Family gatherings.
  5. Going to church on Easter Sunday. Anything that gets an interesting cross-section of society together, gives them party poppers, balloons, and the desire to shout “Hallelujah” first thing in the morning, has to be a good thing.
  6. Going from being the person with the loudest laugh, to being the one with the quietest. No one at uni believes me when I say my family’s worse… heaven forbid any of them ever have to experience Point 4.
  7. My cats. (You really thought I was going to go a whole post without mentioning them?).

 

 

What is it we’re meant to be doing?

Three of my best friends from school came over in the evening and we all made the most of the fact that as of last summer I have a glorified shed in my garden that we can escape to. We tucked into the feast that we’d collectively produced before I decided it might be better if we got the reclining garden chairs out and sat on them inside the shed. Technically speaking, there is nowhere near enough room for the four chairs to fit, but after a lot of adjustment and overlapping, we did it.

We then slowly all slid down the chairs until our legs were crossed over eachother’s in what one could describe as an abstract star shape. It was at this moment, with a water-filled wine glass in hand (uni detox), that one of them asked if this was what we had pictured doing when we were twenty. Or more worryingly, if this is what we should be doing as twenty year olds. Earlier that day, two of us had been to see our other school friend’s baby for the first time. He was an absolutely incredible baby and our friend looked amazing… so maybe she’s doing what we should be. But then I have another friend who’s rapidly working her way up in the accounting world instead of going to university… so maybe she’s got the right idea. And then there are the friends whose main priority is getting their hands on as many festival tickets as possible. Or those that have gone travelling. Or the ones that are re-sitting years at college. Or changing their course at university.

So basically the conclusion I’m coming to is that it’s an absolute free-for-all out here in your third decade. So as long as, whatever you’re doing, you manage to occasionally find time to cramp up and slide about on some chairs then you should be all right. And if you can do so with company then even better.

Thoughts on my cat when she’s being a pain

I wake up in the morning

to meowing at my door.

You’re meant to stay downstairs,

what you bothering me here for?

Ow, don’t jump on my bed

you’re pressing on my bladder.

Try wriggling over there, that’s better.

Except now you’re dribbling.

My God, I can barely hear myself think.

It’s not normal to purr this loudly,

maybe you should see a shrink.

Alright, you can come in the bathroom with me

but why do you have to jump on my lap while I wee?

It is so unecessary.

Now I’m wearing black trousers,

about to dash because I’m running late

when you make a bee line for my legs

and start doing a figure of eight.

So I’m covered in white fur

yet unable to become irate

because you’re a cat –

you can’t control your emotions.

And in any case,

this isn’t just a one-sided devotion.

 

How to: Make the Best Cup of Tea

I’m just going to get this straight once and for all, as a lot of people are clearly still struggling.

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea:

  1. Concentrate. For the next few minutes this is going to need as close to your undivided attention as you’re capable of giving.
  2. Fill the kettle with as much water as you’re going to need (overfilling is a waste of electricity which in 2k19 we can’t justify).
  3. Turn the kettle on and, contrary to what the old saying advises, watch it like a hawk.
  4. When it has almost boiled, turn it off and pour a little of the water into the tea pot. Swirl it around and then pour it out. (If you want to know why this is necessary then you’ll have to ask my mum – this step is just me doing as I’m told).
  5. Put the kettle back on and while it’s finshing boiling, get the tea bags.
  6. Put the tea bags in the pot (one for each person and one for the pot).
  7. The second the kettle boils, pour the water into the pot. This whole performance should come with a degree of baseline stress, but it’s this step that really gets the adrenaline pumping.
  8. Stir it all around a couple of times.
  9. Put the lid on (and tea cosy if in possession of one) and let it brew. 5 mins appears to be the optimum time.
  10. Get yer mugs ready. Get yer milk ready. Get excited.
  11. Pour a little milk (a bit more if dealing with children, the elderly, or scumbags) into each mug.
  12. Pour the tea into each mug. It should pour like earthy, golden silk.
  13. Check with each person in attendance if it’s the right colour for them. Pretend to laugh if they feel the need to answer with something like, “as long as it’s hot and wet, I’m happy”.
  14. Sit around savouring every mouthful and talk about what a bloody beautiful cup of tea it is.

Additional Obervations:

I have recently had the good fortune of encountering a few people capable of making a cracking cup of tea in a cup. If that’s you, then I’ve no idea how you manage it, but by all means keep it up. However, if you think that’s you but I’ve yet to verify it… you’re on thin ice.

Dancing on a Night Out

So you’ve had your dinner, and then worried about whether you should have had that much dinner, or dinner that late because now you feel like you could just do with another nap and also not sure if you’ve got time for the food to go down properly before you start chucking yourself about on the dancefloor. And then you’ve put on your planned outfit and tried to figure out why it looks absolutely nothing like you thought it would when you were picturing it all day. And subsequently, why none of your clothes look like they should on you. Weird. So despite desperate pleas from your friends, you decide to wear the exact same outfit you always wear. But at least this time you humoured some alternatives.  Then, a few drinks, a taxi, and a freezing queue later… you’re in.

The moment you’ve been waiting for. The beat hits you and you start to move. Some people like to mention how others might be looking at you, judging you. If that sounds like you, then do what I do and take solace in the fact that every single person in the club will most likely be dead in 100 years. The benefit (admittedly not the only one) of having outward-facing eyes is that you can’t see yourself. So surround yourself with sexy people and imagine it’s mirror. If you’re single you have noone to embarrass, and if you’re not then you have no-one to impress. Now that we’ve established there is really nothing stopping you, it’s time to let loose. Dance so much that you sweat so much that your hair’s still wet in the morning. For some inexplicable reason, some people choose to leave their house and enter a club only to become infruriated when they encounter other human beings. Ignore them. Spot the people open to integration and join forces, because without having to exchange a single word you can become one unit, pulsating to the rhythm while the rhythm is the only thing that matters. Tomorrow will bring tomorrow, so for now just dance.

A day in the life… Of me when I have nothing in particular to do at uni

A knock on the door.

Why am I sat on the floor?

I’m not sure.

No, I haven’t done much today

but unlike you, at least I got dressed.

Anyone want a cup of tea?

Natalie?

Yeah I know you don’t like tea,

but one day you’ll say yes.

Is three biscuits too many?

I’ll have crisps instead.

Oh, wait.

I don’t have any crisps.

Anyone got any crisps?

I’ll trade you an egg.

I know I said I’d go to the library

but instead I decided to open my cupboard

and stare blankly

at the exact same food that’s been there for each half hourly

check today.

Cheque to pay

Here’s the money for that Uber.

Yeah, I know I said I was going to the shops

but I got lost in a trance picking at the skin around my nails,

thinking about how I really should get round to painting my nails.

No, I haven’t done my washing yet.

The last load Jessie did came out sopping wet –

you could literally hear her clothes dripping.

No, I’ve not got round to watching my lecture either

I was about to…

But found moisturising my heels too gripping.

 

 

Three Years

Three years.

The most obvious rhyme here is tears.

To say they’ve been three years filled with tears

paints an inaccurate picture

because as always they have been a mixture,

filled with the various emotions

life has to offer.

But through the abundance of laughter,

grieving taught me how to cry until my chest ached

‘Heaving sobs’ sounds like a cliché

from which I’ll try and refrain from using –

easier to abstain from the expression than what it’s describing.

Three years.

As the date nears I sit and plan my journey.

Train times for the cemetry

(I’ll leave my seminar early).

‘Going to see Grandma’ maintains its altered meaning.

Maintains its altered meaning until I allow my mind to wander,

daydreaming about what those words used to mean.

But literally ‘going to see Grandma’ is, and can only ever be,

a fantasy.