I’m sat in a local café, ‘cos duh tell you something you don’t know, eh? I think you can take it as a given that I’m always sat in a café when I’m writing a blog post – it’ll save me the embarrassment of sounding like a flat-white obsessed knob. Hey, if the shoe fits.
There’s a weird ass smell in here and I’m wondering, dear reader, if I’m resting in a spot that was once shared with a wet dog. Is it the bearded man wearing pink trousers opposite me, or could it be the pork and fennel sausage roll I’ve just inhaled in three prolonged bites? I’m kinda hoping it’s the sausage roll because in this scenario, it’s the lesser of a couple of evils.
Perhaps it’s a putrid combination of all three, baked together in some kind of sun-drenched hot pot but whatever it is, it’s not filling me with inspiration, fellas. I’ll be honest.
Today is one of those no-plans kinda days, the kind that usually make me feel calm, content and joyfully reflective. But due to having a lot of empty time on my hands lately – cheers redundancy old pal, cheers – it actually makes me a feel a little uneasy when I’m faced with nothing to do.
Soz, you probably didn’t realise you were cordially invited to the world’s lamest pity party did you? But you’re here now so what do you say we sip awkwardly out of a plastic cup and stare at the curtain pole, eh?
Nothing but free time sounds like every employed person’s dream but I can assure you when you’re in the thick of it, it’s pretty exhausting stuff.
Looking and applying for jobs – not to mention sifting through all those darling rejection emails – is a tough gig and there’s not a course you can you can take to mentally prepare you for it.
Nor is there a worldly wizard you can slip a few nifty fifties to so that you can just skip past this part. More’s the pity.
You need the resilience of a bomb-proof cockroach to weather this sh*t storm and I’m not sure how many more times I can keep growing my own head back.
For the sake of being totally transparent with you, it’s quite a touchy subject to write about, really.
It’s all anyone ever asks about because I guess they must know how much work consumes your life, and when you’re off gallivanting around on endless lunch breaks, it’s all a bit of a Disney mystery for the 9 ‘til 5 squad.
They’ll ask if you’ve heard anything more or whether you’ve got anything else coming up. And this happens on repeat, with every friend and every family member at every social event.
They care, of course they want to know how you’re doing and whether you plan to ever work again, or if you’re just gonna say sod it and birth a small child blogger prodigy instead. Lol and lol.
But what they don’t realise is that this very conversation is just one in 157 adaptations you’ve had with the rest of your people, all of which end in the same deflated inconclusive small talk.
It’s been four months since I had a full-time job. Four frigging months. Look at this girl taking an unintentional sabbatical over here. It ME.
I didn’t anticipate that with a degree and five years of digital journalism experience under my belt that it would be quite so shockingly sh*t trying to find a job that 1) pays fairly well, 2) doesn’t require chasing Gemma Collins around against her will, trying to get a story that no one cares about and 3) allows me to have some sort of work / life balance.
I’m fiercely independent and I like the way being useful feels and unfortunately, a lot of my feeling useful came from my job.
Take that away and I think I’m probably gonna have to start walking someone else’s pet hedgehog for free or something. Oh I’ve looked into it, Karen, don’t you worry.
I kid you not, the other day I built two artist’s easels without instructions and I felt unstoppable.
I later landed on a thought-piece somewhere that suggested happiness (whatever that really means) is merely a byproduct of usefulness and that allowed me to understand why it is that I’m feeling a tad disorientated at the moment.
Work can be a right pain in the arse, I haven’t forgotten that. But ultimately, it’s the one thing that enables us to feel that surge of happiness the second we hit pause.
Whether that’s just slinking into your pjs and refraining from checking your emails for an evening or finding some sandy-toed respite in the Maldives, it’s the reason we know how good it feels to switch off.
It gives our lives pillars of structure and in between, we find space in the architecture – be it centimetres or inches – to breathe, to put our tools down for the day and just let the brickwork settle for a minute.
And not working means I’m faced with the opposite problem. I’m permanently switched off and weirdly fatigued by this hazy joblessness.
I mean, granted, this episode could just be the fact that I’m at a bit of a loose end today and ya know, Billy Ray Cyrus’ Achy Breaky Heart is playing and it’s all just getting too much for me.
That happens sometimes. Your temporary thoughts blow up into a blog post and before you know it, bippity boppity boo you’ve made it into this big thing when really, it’s just a fleeting mood.
But, in light of the kind of place I want my blog to be and the open-book content I endeavour to create, I don’t think it’s fair of me to down play the way I’m feeling nor resist it, simply because it doesn’t sound all that pretty on the page, or because it’s not a true reflection of the painfully lighthearted person I usually am.
Maybe the most daunting aspect about writing these kind of posts is that you might read it and think, well that’s not the uplifting Lareese-esque post I came here for *closes tab, never to return again*
But I guess that’s exactly why I should write it.
A year ago, I said this blog is going to be a space where we can embrace the gorgeously messy lives we’re forever trying to dress up – for who we’re doing it for, I don’t know.
I also said it’s going to be a space where, rather than making you feel like you need to have your sh*t together, we can unbutton our jeans and let all of our sh*t – the fat rolls, the break ups, the unemployment – hang out together, without shame and without judgement.
To dangle its ugly head out the window like we did with our Barbies in the car on a dual carriageway of a weekend (just me?).
Most of the time, I am the girl howling at my own misfortune and taking everything in life with a pinch of pink Himalayan bath salt but I have to acknowledge the times when I’m not her, too.
I have to pay attention to those unfamiliar feelings just as much as I would the happier ones, even if they are a tad uncomfortable and alien to me.
There’s a ridiculous pressure for all of us to be on top form all of the time but there’s real strength and grit in being able to hold your hands up and say, hey things are a bit of a sh*t show at the moment, bear with me while I just stick my head in a NutriBullet for a sec.
So this is me saying I’m not feeling all that babbin’ right now but hey, such is the small print of being a human innit.
I’m giving myself permission to feel, regardless of whether I actively want to feel this way or not and I invite you to do the same.
If you’re feeling crap, grant yourself the freedom to feel that way. And on the same premise, if you’re feeling proud of yourself, if you’re the happiest you’ve ever been, celebrate it. Don’t dial it down for fear that you’ll be exposed as a bragger. Those are your emotions, no one else’s.
I’m slowly learning to tolerate the girl who’s not currently at her best, however much of an impostor she is. I know she won’t hang around for long.
And as if by magic now Ra Ra Rasputin, Russia’s Greatest Love Machine is playing in the café and life is picking up quicker than I imagined. I first heard this song in a history lesson circa 2007, with my best friend next to me tickling my arm. There you have it, a little glossy silver lining.
Thanks for reading fellas. I’ll bring my mojo next time, I promise.
Love you bye.
Photography by Olivia Foley
Hat: Topshop, sold out (similar here)
Blazer: h&m, sold out (similar here)
Bag: Matalan, sold out (similar here)
Trousers; Zara, old (similar here)