Why are you running?

When I watched the Nollywood film titled Pretty Liars (no relation to Pretty Little Liars), I had no way of knowing that that one scene (you know the one I’m talking about) would go on to become an iconic meme. Today when I sat to write this post, that is the first thing that came to my mind. Why are you running?

See I have been running for a long time now. Running even though no one was chasing. I have always been in a hurry to get through the stages of life. It may have started when I skipped grade 6 and went straight to secondary school at nine years old. I turned 16 in my first term at University, completed all my credits at 19, and by 22 I had my Master’s degree and was starting my career. At university I took summer classes every year to speed things up so I could graduate in three years instead of four. When it was all over, I sat with myself and asked the question “Now what? What’s next? Why were you in a hurry?

The sad truth is that I should have enjoyed the journey more, rather than rushing to the destination. It would have been nice to have taken the time to smell the petunias. At the end of it all I am grateful for everything, and I’m not going to dwell mindlessly on the past; still it is good (important even!) to reflect. Did it matter if I graduated at 19 instead of 21? By the grace of God, we all reached the destination, and it did not matter how long it took. I was so engrossed in just getting it all over with, that I never even stopped to consider what the point was, and what the plan was after everything was ticked off.

For so long it was just “on to the next”. I was ticking things off robotically like I was collecting infinity stones (I only know this reference thanks to social media. I have not watched the film), and when it was done I felt so terribly lost and confused. What now? I had not thought beyond the destination, forgetting that life is not one destination but one long never ending journey with some pitstops. After my final summer semester in which I got the final credits for my bachelor’s degree in summer school, I remember sitting in my room in University, completely overwhelmed by the rest of my life staring down at me. I had reached the end of the race in record time and there was still the rest of my life to deal with. For years I had known what the next step was-midterms, exams, summer school etc. That was the first time that all certainty was gone- there was nothing set for me to do next, the decision was all mine and I was petrified. I was technically an adult now and had to decide what to do next, yet I still felt like a child. After graduation I just laid around and waited for someone to tell me what to do next. That was one of the more depressing periods of my life. I remember one day my mother scolded me for loafing around saying “do you know you are a graduate now?But I’m still a child, I thought. How am I supposed to make all these decisions? In a way I am still that child, and I struggle sometimes with making serious life decisions because I’m just a baby haha.

For a long time now I have been in a rut. Well actually maybe for the past 2.5 years because before then I had professional exams that I was working towards (again rush rush get it all done in one go no resits hello anxiety). These exams were not fun by any means but the stress, anxiety, adrenaline provided something other than inertia. After those were done and dusted, life returned to this long monotonous bore as there was nothing I was working towards or looking forward to. It’s weird that in writing this, I have managed to partially diagnose myself; I need something to work towards and for the past couple of years I have not had that, hence the funk.

I have started implementing changes in my life, and the main one is that I have found a new job. For some people this is not a big deal, but for me it is the biggest of deals. I just could not deal with the monotony anymore and I wanted something fresh. Now I realise that even the new job by itself may not provide me with a completely new fresh lease on life. There are two reasons for this; the first is the feeling that while this is a change, it is still not my purpose. I may never truly feel light and happy with work until I am doing something that feeds my spirit. The second, which I literally just realised while writing this post, is that unless I am working towards something, life is dull and monotonous. So this new job is not going to automatically lift my spirits, because if care is not taken I risk falling into the same rut. Still it is a much needed change. I just have to be intentional about this.

Taking this leap feels scary, but also empowering and liberating. If this job does not work out, I will get another one. Now that I know better, I will try to be more mindful of my life. There is a thin line between doing too much and not doing enough. I want to get a promotion within a year of my new job, but I also want to chill and take everything in stride. The next big girl decision is to get a new place to stay, but with rising costs of everything the situation is dire, and it may be better to just stay put. Still I feel better than I have felt in a while, and for now that is enough.

Why are you running? Take the time to enjoy the journey, admire the scenery, smell the roses. You will get there in the end, there’s no need to rush.

Self care vs Self Destruction

Treat yo self!

Even before Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle introduced us to the Treat Yo’Self day on the hit show Parks and Recreation, social media has been awash with the self care craze.

Tom describes the day: “Treat. Yo. Self. Once a year, Donna and I spend a day treating ourselves. What do we treat ourselves to? Clothes. Treat yourself. Fragrances. Massages. Treat yourself. Mimosas. Fine leather goods…It’s the best day of the year.

I always try to do self-care but thanks to my anxiety I never truly feel relaxed. My laziness also deserves a shout-out because why leave my room for a deep tissue massage when I can stew in bed and watch Netflix all day? I so badly want a carefree day with a full body massage, facial, body scrub, manicure and pedicure, but I end up painting my nails at home and ordering food. Ooooooh food 🙂 That is my form of self-care “You’ve been feeling depressed and anxious lately, cheer yourself up by ordering take-out, treat yo’self!”; “yes get sweets and chocolate, you’ve had a stressful week, treat yo’self!” “Don’t stress yourself cooking. Just order more food. You deserve it. Treat yo’self!” “Don’t worry about all the sugar and the havoc it’s wreaking in your skin and waistline. Treat yo’self!”

In recent times I have been so stressed and anxious that I have treated myself more often than usual, and it all has to do with food. I have not cooked dinner in quite a while now because I have just placed an order on deliveroo or went out to get food (it’s okay treat yo’self!). Even though I try to stay away from sugar, every now and then I get junk from the store (you are so stressed babe treat yo’self!). My stomach has been permanently bloated for weeks and my skin is in shambles.

I am starting to think that perhaps these are not actually acts of self-care but rather tiny acts of self-destruction borne out of boredom and loneliness. Whoa that took a turn. In one of my last posts, ironically also about self care, I wrote about how I started obsessing over Indian food because I watched a YouTube video about it and went and bought a bunch of Indian food. I did end up enjoying it, but I did have a moment when I asked myself why I did that. There I was in bed (where I’d been all weekend) watching telly with a plate of dry biriyani, I did not feel relaxed or refreshed, my self did not feel taken care of.

It is so much easier said than done; but I would really like to have a self care day complete with all the works. A full day with candles, nice smells, perfect temperature, a full body scrub, deep tissue massage, deep cleansing facial, spa manicure and pedicure, culminating in a deep restful sleep. When I awake I want to feel light and reborn. I want to have no worries and stress, and I want my skin to be clear and beautiful.

Yesterday I decided to start living the life I’m dreaming of and actually booked an appointment to do my nails. I am happy I did this and I lurrrveeee my nails. I like them so much that I decided to create a monthly budget for doing my nails and other self-care related activities. As a big babe there is really no reason for my nails to be raggedy and doing them myself is not a vibe. Next stop is booking a facial and body scrub/massage. Then a staycation! All I need is to stop dreaming about it and just do it.

I feel better already. I also went out and got myself candles, diffusers, and nice room sprays. Every time I catch a whiff of the scent my mood is lifted. I was feeling a bit stressed about a decision I had to make but instead of stewing in it and letting it ruin my day, I called a friend of mine to discuss this. She gave the best advice and now I feel more confident and less worried. Henceforth, my acts of self-care must be intentional and result in me feeling better. No longer shall self care revolve around food (unless that makes me feel better which let’s be honest it usually will).

Ah the joys of adulthood.

Make up your mind.

“I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

One thing about me? I am indecisive. It is top ten most annoying things about me. I recently had a job interview and I was asked what my weakness was and without hesitation I immediately mentioned my indecisiveness (of course taking care to emphasise how I am working on it). Funny enough, I had just been thinking about my indecisiveness before the interview so I had my answer ready to go. Nice looking out God.

Yesterday I was fed up with myself and had to ask myself what exactly my problem was. I had gone to get some cookies that I really had no business eating (I’m a sugar addict, send help). Even though this was my third time in a week getting these cookies, and I had been deliberating over the choice of cookie flavours all day before leaving my house, I still found myself at the cookie shop second guessing myself and asking the shop attendant to decide between two flavours for me. Even as she was bagging up the cookies and ringing up the order I had half a mind to ask her to make some changes. I finally made my decision and walked out of the shop completely insecure about my choices. I just felt uncomfortable. After walking on for about five minutes with this sinking feeling in my belly, I said to myself “girl what’s your problem? It’s a fecking cookie for goodness sakes. You’ve been here three times already, you should know what cookies you like by now. Even if you don’t like it so what? it’s just a cookie! Damn. You weirdo!” That’s what what I needed to hear (lol) and I immediately felt better and the sinking feeling was gone.

My indecision is tightly woven into the very fabric of my being and it drives me insane. Everything has to be second guessed. There are times when my heart screams yes! and I don’t have to question anything but those times are few and far in between. I don’t know what it is I am so afraid of. I am afraid of making the wrong decision, that much is clear, but most of these decisions are not even a matter of life and death, they literally do not matter. Yet I waste precious finite time agonising over them. It is infuriating. I need to learn how to manage this. Most of the time when I am being indecisive I am not making any concrete thinking or weighing the options with any intelligence; I am simply just being indecisive and stressing myself out.

What are you so afraid of? What are the consequences of buying a cookie that you do not like? It’s flour and sugar, you will most likely eat it all. If I was a therapist here is the point I would try to make a link between my fear of making mistakes and some repressed trauma from childhood Are you afraid that your parents made a mistake in marrying each other and making you thus injecting in you this abject fear of making decisions out of fear that you make the wrong one and ruin your life and possible end humanity as we know it? For a while my indecision made sense to me; of course I have to spend half an hour deciding what to eat at this restaurant only to end up ordering the wrong thing anyway because if I don’t like my food then I will have wasted my money and not be satisfied. Then I am hungry and without my money. But it just grew and grew and took over my life like a venom coursing through the bloodstream. In many ways I feel like a child who has been ushered into adulthood without any guidance and I need my mummy (or some other responsible adult) to make decisions for me. The fact that it is EYE who have to make these decisions is bewildering.

This also means I have an issue with execution. I want to do something, and I have the ideas but I just let them float about in my head without actually doing anything. For example, I volunteered to plan social events for my work team. I sat with these ideas for ages not daring to make any decisions on my own. I needed someone else, preferably a higher up in the team, to discuss the ideas with and to get their backing before going on to plan the event and notify the whole team. I could not bring myself to decide for the team; if possible I wanted to ask each person what they wanted and get a general understanding before even sending out an email. Again I am like a child that needs mummy to hold my hand. Then I got two emails from other people on the team with their executed social plans: “Hey guys we are planning a bowling outing. Let me know if you’re interested!” Simple pimple. I felt so bad, the way I do when I feel I have failed at a task and someone else has had to take over. I imagine someone rolling their eyes saying “this girl is not forthcoming with any ideas let me just go ahead and plan something.”

My indecision is never more evident than on my birthday. Oh my word. I want to do so many things but will my friends be able to make it will it be convenient for them will they be willing to spend this much money on my birthday will they….? The result of which is that I end up being incredibly stressed out by my approaching birthday and sometimes I find myself with no birthday plans, just alone and depressed. A few years ago my friend said “Just tell us what you want to do for your birthday and we will let you know if we can participate.” Those words have stuck in my mind. I did go ahead and share my plans and they turned up, spent the money and I was happy. The crazy thing is that when my friends have plans I always show up, so I don’t know why I run myself ragged trying to decide on what is best for everyone without even first letting people know what I want.

Recently I went house hunting and found one that was alright and ticked most of my boxes. I could have made a decision there and then but of course I had to “sleep on it” and by that I mean not make a decision and hope the universe somehow makes it for me. It was not until the estate agent called me to say the flat had been taken that I started to have real regrets. I still have not able to find any place as good, and I am completely fed up with my current place. I was not making constructive points about what I needed to know to make a decision about the flat. I was just hmmmmn I don’t know. It still pisses me off to think about it. In this case the reason for my indecision was “What if I settle and something better comes along?” A stupid thought, given that I had been searching for ages and hadn’t found anything.

In the job interview, I said that I am learning to deal with my indecision by first carefully considering all possible outcomes and the consequences of each. In effect, what is the worst that could happen? I also said that I need to communicate more with those around me, rather than wallowing in isolation. Most of these decisions do not need to be made by myself alone, there is nothing wrong in seeking advice and help from others. A problem shared is a problem half solved, as they say. As with most of my afflictions, I know the solutions; it is just difficult to fully extinguish one’s neuroses.

I read somewhere that indecision is a decision, just make a decision and stick with it!

“Having made the decision, do not revise it unless some new fact comes to your knowledge. Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.”
― Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness

The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.”
Maimonides

Self-care

I have started this post so many times in my head, and it is not clear why exactly I find it difficult to sit down and write, given that this is all I want to do. Now that I have finally settled down to write, I don’t know what to write about.

I have been out and about lately; the days of working entirely from home seem to be over, and though at first I resisted this and was so aggrieved, I have to admit that my room had become an isolating prison which I needed to escape from. I spent three days last week in the office, and it was nice to be around other people. The introvert in me is shaken.

When I first thought about writing this post, it was because I was in a much better mood than I had been and was practicing self care (aka eating like a rabbit). I therefore wanted to write about the little acts of self-care that had made me happy.

I came across a BuzzFeed India video on YouTube and then went down a rabbit hole of their videos which largely centre around Indian food. Needless to say, I developed a severe craving for Indian food, particularly Parotta- a supposedly delicious South Indian bread. It looked so good (and stressful to make!) in the videos that I had to have it. I spent the weekend surfing through the food delivery apps searching for Parotta. I eventually found one place and placed an order. Of course I couldn’t just order the Parotta on its own, so I added some lamb biryani and butter chicken- which were also on my cravings list thanks to Buzzfeed India. Well I was on my way to pick up my order (I ain’t paying no delivery fees) when I received a call from the restaurant with the devastating news that they were out of Parotta and would I like some naan instead? Ugh. The only reason I made the order was because I wanted the parotta, now I was stuck with the rest of the order. I went to the supermarket and saw “Paranthas” which are the North Indian version of Parottas. Listen, I only found out about the South India/North India divide (?) a couple of years ago when an Indian colleague mentioned that she was staying with a South Indian family. India is a big country with a billion people so it should not be surprising that there is a vast level of diversity, but it was still interesting to learn about just how diverse India is, especially when it came to food. We are used to saying “Indian food” “Chinese food” without any thought that these popular food items are not representative of the whole country. Anyway I bought the paranthas and went back to pick up my order. There the man told me that I had to call 24 hours in advance if I wanted parotta. I am not surprised because it took an age on YouTube (it has to rest for 8 hours at some point). I went home and tried some of the biryani and found it to be so dry; I tried the butter chicken and did not like it at all. I chided myself for getting carried away by YouTube and now being stuck with food that I did not want. The naan was delicious though. The next day however, I decided to use some of the sauce and yoghurt that came with the rice, and eh voila that made all the difference. For the butter chicken I watched another buzzfeed India video, one of the girls ate a butter chicken wrap, which was the first time it occurred to me that it did not have to be eaten with rice. Just like that the order was saved. I enjoyed the rest of the biryani with the sauce and enjoyed the butter chicken with the parantha. That made me happy.

What else did I do that made me happy? Oh yeah, I went to see a play. I had to go into London for the first in person work training in over two years. I was not going to waste a trip into London so I also made arrangements to see a play and when I checked and saw that the National Gallery was just minutes away from the theatre I added that to my plans as well. The training was dull, but there were nice snacks and lunch was good (never thought I would enjoy tuna but the tuna croquette was excellent) so I was happy. The training ended early so I had time to explore- I spent some time at the National Gallery until it closed and then walked around taking in the sights and looking for somewhere to eat before the play. I settled on Chipotle because I like burritos and was running out of time to eat so just did not need any fuss. The burrito was alright, but the play? It was excellent. Muy bonito. I chose to see Dear Evan Hansen and will maybe do a separate post on it. All in all, I was happy. Happy that I chose to do something fun on a weekday. Happy that the play was so good and worthwhile. Happy that I got out of my room. I also really liked my hair and outfit that day so I was feeling myself all around.

This was maybe two weeks ago now. I should have written the post when the feelings were still fresh so as to capture the feelings. My spirits are still relatively high, but the familiar anxiety and irritation is creeping in. But that’s for another post.

Since you’ve been gone

I want so much that is not here and I don’t know where to go for it.

It has been over a month since I last posted anything, which is wild as I have been through a lot since then. Well not really. My emotions have been through a rollercoaster. One thing about me? I am going to be stressed out over the tiniest of things.

Let’s start at the beginning.

It was my birthday. Nuff said. What is it about one’s birthday to bring out the sadness and dismay in one’s life to the forefront? I realised some years back that birthday depression is a real thing and I think it’s because of the expectations that birthdays are fun and filled with love and presents, and when you’re not fully basking in goodness the whole day, depression creeps in. That is my theory. I also realised that it is solely my responsibility to make my birthday a good one, so I try to make plans. My birthday fell on a weekday this year so I had the option of doing something the weekend before or the weekend after. I chose to go into town to stay with my friend the weekend before; none of my other friends could make it but I didn’t mind. I spent the weekend with her, we ate, and went to the gallery, and saw a play and it was nice. Then my actual birthday came, and though I had technically celebrated my birthday, I still had the birthday blues. I had the day off and had fantasies of getting my nails done, a deep tissue massage, a facial, all the good relaxation things. Of course I did not actually book anything so it was all fantasy. I get anxious and stressed out over everything, and that includes not relaxing as much as I want (or wasting a day off). Though I didn’t make any spa booking, I had dreams of relaxing fully the whole day in bed, finishing up some of the items in my Netflix watchlist. Of course that was not to be. I had to respond to calls the whole day which yay! people care about me on my birthday but also nay! leave me be. Another thing about me? I hate being on a phone call longer than I want to (I hate being on a phone call period). It just annoys me when I cannot get off the phone, or when the other parties cannot take the hint- I have sighed twenty times and said “well I’m just going to go get ready now” thirty times, so why are you still talking? The trigger for my irrational irritation is that I could see the hours hurtling past which meant my day off would soon be over and I was not relaxed at all. My friends got me breakfast and snacks which was so kind of them. Still I was alone in my prison room so there were no festivities and no birthday vibe. I had miscalculated greatly.

The biggest source of my annoyance and stress came from the most unlikely source. A couple of weeks prior while walking to get food, I came across a food truck in town centre and decided to see what it was about. Turns out it was a vegan food subscription service. I am not vegan (or even vegetarian) but I have been in a food rut lately and also trying to be healthy. I thought this was a good opportunity to try vegan recipes so I signed up for this, and went on to get my beef burrito. I then promptly put this out of my mind and ordered some Nigerian food for the week. The first box arrived and of course I was not ready for this so I put away as much as I could in the fridge. Then I went away for my birthday weekend. Imagine my annoyance when I got a notification saying the next food parcel was due to be delivered in a couple of days. Arrrrghhhhh I’ve not even cooked the first one yet! Even more annoying is that given that I completely forgot about it, the company had gone ahead and chose the meal options for me. Now I started to panic; one it’s vegan food which I doubt I will like; two I live in house with other people and have limited fridge space; three I’m wasting food and money. To crown this, my friend decided to get me HelloFresh food subscription for my birthday. Now I was completely stressed. I have no space! I have not even cooked the food I have. This is all so hectic. The hellofresh delivery was not due until the weekend after my birthday so Again I decided to cook the vegan meals in the first package on my day off aka my birthday to free up space and soothe my fraying nerves.

The appeal of these food subscription services is the ease and convenience…allegedly. It took me thirty minutes to peel and dice the butternut squash, and an eternity to put the whole meal together. It was supposed to be a curry but I must have reduced it too much because it seemed too solid to eat with rice. As I cooked it I knew this was not a meal I was going to enjoy eating. I was only able to cook one meal and I was so bloody irritable by the end of it. It was my birthday and I had wasted it on nonsense. Now it was evening time and I had work in the morning and there goes my day off. I was so sad. It made no sense.

The foul mood persisted into the next day. I’m still working from home which is beginning to seem more like a curse, but that’s a story for another day. I was just so annoyed and sad. Was it really just birthday depression? My irritation boiled over when I was allocated a topic to present at a team meeting the following week. Whew. That pissed me off! I hate for someone to just allocate something to me, like I’m a child or a baby staff. I stewed for days off of this irritation, and did not even respond to the message. I vented to my friends and sister about this mood, and I managed to diagnose myself. I came to the realisation that my irritation may be because I am deeply unhappy with my current life. I have been in my current job and house for over five years now and I am just over it all. After years of complacency I finally want to move on. Another thing about me? I can stay in one spot for ages, and I have a high threshold for boredom, but the minute I choose to move on I am completely done and cannot stand it one second longer. I figured that was the cause of my angst- In my mind I had moved on from this job and this house; so every moment that I was “forced” to remain here is torture to my soul.

It is not that easy to move on. In my mind I was already done with this job- every time future plans were referenced all I thought was “I’m not going to be here.” In my mind I was going to get the first job I interviewed for, which of course also stressed me out worrying over whether it would be a good fit and whether I would be going from frying pan to fire. Do I wait until I get a new job before looking for a new place, or do I just decide where I want to live and search for jobs there? I was stressed. Now I know that I worry too much for no reason at all. Every time I worry it ends up being for nought. Still, I worry.

At the start of the month I had to go into the office for a team meeting; rather than being annoyed I was actually looking forward to it. I had just got my hair done so I was feeling myself. I went in twice that week, and enjoyed it. It was good to talk to people and laugh. This brought me to another realisation. Could it be that I, the queen of the introverted introverts, was actually getting sick of working from home? I looked back at the other times I had gone into the office since the pandemic, and it was always a nice time. The bulk of my intensely negative feelings about work started during the pandemic, which also coincided with increased responsibility at work (which is definitely another stress factor). Could it be that despite my constant profession of how much I love working from home, being at home 24/7 was akin to being in solitary confinement which was ruining my mind and spirit? I shudder to think so.

My already fragile mood took a nosedive yesterday when I got an email with my work allocation for the next few months. We were to work from the client site twice a week and one day in the office. See that ruined my mood immediately. Now this was a client that was just assigned to me with no prior discussion. I hate when they do that. Hate it. What’s the point of being in a senior role if I can be randomly assigned clients with no forewarning. Then I found out that a delivery I had been waiting for all day was returned because my flatmate did not recognise the name and told the delivery people that the owner of the package no longer lived at the property. I just could not.

As I laid awake from 2am-5am staring at my phone (terrible habit!), I decided to change my perspective about things. Sure, it’s annoying to have to start going back into the office regularly; having to get up early-ish and get dressed, but perhaps that’s what I need now? I have lived without structure for 2 years, surely that’s enough. Rather than seethe over this, why not look on the bright side? I might enjoy working with a big team again, rather than by myself in my room. I still have two days a week to work from home- it’s the best of both worlds. Like magic, my irritation lifted and I started to feel positive about the whole thing. The positivity must have dried the dark rainy cloud hanging over my head because the rest of my day went better than the day before. First off I went outside to stick a note to the door, asking the delivery driver to call my phone number; within five minutes both packages I was expecting from two different delivery companies arrived and I did not have to stress about this the rest of the day. Work went okay, and now I’m writing this post that I have been meaning to for weeks. Some times all it takes it a mindset shift.

The HelloFresh delivery arrived and of course I panicked a bit. I was on my way to get my hair done so I threw everything in the fridge…or so I thought. Turns out what I thought was the ice pack was actually a pouch for the protein and I did not realise until the following afternoon. Yikes. I threw everything in the freezer (note the coping mechanism?) When it came time to cook, I panicked again- defrosted everything and then put some back in the freezer. It was a mess. Long story short, the meals were delicious, and by the grace of God I did not suffer from any meat related poisoning. I could only cook two of the vegan meals (the second was a fajita that I thoroughly enjoyed because I love tortillas) but I saved the ingredients I could and threw away anything that had gone off. There ends the debacle of the food delivery crisis. I’m glad that’s over with, and I’m sure most people would not have been anywhere as dramatic as I was over nothing.

I cannot end this without mentioning Easter weekend. Everyone is excited about the four day Easter weekend right? So was I. I was going to chill and be productive- clean my room, declutter, apply for jobs, write and explore outside. I did none of these things. I started out bingeing on Netflix as usual, but as the days loomed ahead I got tired of watching tv and just turned it off. Wow. That is not me at all. Rather than enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing, I was so bored by the endless days. The days stretched into each other and I lowkey longed for work to resume. How pathetic.

It is official; I have become a prisoner of my room. I’ll end this with a quote from Sylvia Plath:

“Go out and do something. It isn’t your room that’s a prison, it’s yourself.”

Baby’s day out in London

For someone who only has three friends, I have actually been quite social lately (by my standards anyway). I spent the whole of January and February in my room, only leaving to replenish my groceries and toiletries. In the last week of February, I finally ventured out of my house and off to London I went. I had booked myself a ticket to finally see Cirque du Soleil. I had the chance to go years ago when I was in university, but I couldn’t find someone to go with me (actually, I don’t think I asked anyone) and I didn’t feel like going by myself. I regretted it afterwards. When I saw that Cirque du Soleil was back in town, I decided to go see it, come rain or shine. None of my friends were interested so I booked a ticket to go by myself. This was booked back in 2021, so I was just waiting patiently.

A friend of mine had a birthday in early February and I did not get to spend the day with her, so our mutual friend (and some of her other friends) decided to do a surprise dinner outing. Luckily, it was on the same day as the circus show so I only had to make one trip into London. My show was at 3:30pm, and I was hoping for dinner at 6/7pm so I could be safely back home before it was too late. Alas that was not to be. First we had to decide on the restaurant, and this took a while because we needed a pretty place that was also available to book. Covid restrictions have been removed and everyone is outside! We decided on a restaurant and the friend booked it for 9pm. NINE O CLOCK IN THE NIGHT TIME! Oh my Lord. I saw the message and just put the phone away; a case of see no evil. I attempted to salvage things by booking a Japanese BBQ place for 7pm but it was decided to stick with the original booking. The restaurant was selected because it was “pretty” which is really the primary criteria in booking a restaurant for a birthday dinner. I searched for reviews online and saw a few comments about how the food does not match the decor. I collated these comments to send to my friend to let them know that all that glitters is not gold and to sway them away from this place, but in the end I decided to just go with the flow. You have spent the whole year so far alone in your room, go out and spend the whole day outside. So I smiled and said see you there! and prayed not to miss the last train back home. One thing about me? I will go back home.

The day arrived and I had a mixture of excitement and the familiar nervousness I always feel when I have to leave the comfort of my prison room. I made it to the show in good time and was pleased to find that I had a really good seat. As always I was so happy to be out and about in London, and I took as many pictures as I could.

Before the show started, I thought of a play on words: Cirque du So’lame! and hoped that would not be case. The thing about having expectations is that they are often not met. The show was alright; there were times when I wondered why I wasted my money, and there were jaw dropping moments when I literally clutched my non-existent pearls. I got the impression that this show was much more tame than other cirque shows, and I was a little thankful for that. The performers put themselves through so much and I have seen enough headlines about unfortunate accidents and deaths at shows like this and I was a bit nervous for them. It was interesting to me to see that the performers were also nervous. It never occurred to me that they would have nerves, I just assumed they do this all the time so they are basically superhuman. Watching them take a deep breath before flying through the air was actually endearing. The contortionist was really good (and surreal!), and the best part for me was the one when they flew in the air from one moving ledge to the other. There was juggling and some other alright stuff; there was a whole scenario featuring the clown with a whistle that went on for quite a while. I did not get it. At all. The audience seemed to get it though, judging from the laughter. Maybe it’s because he had his back to my section but it was a waste of my time. All in all, it was alright and I’m glad I’ve finally seen the show.

The show was over at 5:30 ish and I had a lot of time to kill. Thankfully, the line for the toilet was long and that easily killed a good amount of time (sort this out Royal Albert Hall!). As I had a fair bit of time, I took my time and moved in a leisurely manner. I stopped in a few places, including Waterstones, and then made my way to Oxford Street where I could easily waste a few hours. Whenever I go to Oxford Street, I need to have a crepe or bubble waffle. The last time I was there I had a bubble waffle and ever since, crepes (my erstwhile favourites) are no longer suitable. Oxford street is huge and confusing, I felt lucky to be able to find a crepe place and I did not want to lose it while searching for the bubble waffle place so I settled for a crepe. I should not have. It did not taste good. Still, that held me until the late night dinner.

I painted my nails on the bus. Not sure why I even bothered.

I did a fair bit of window shopping by myself, and then walked over to the restaurant at 8:45pm to meet our mutual friend who had arrived early. The restaurant is tucked in and I kept missing it.

The sign is so tiny. I expected a huge sign to match the fuss.

On getting there, we discovered that the reservation was actually for 9:30pm! I sighed deeply, and we went off to do more window shopping. Time flies, and we were soon all gathered together to celebrate our friend, who got emotional at some point.

The food was alright. The food I ordered was not photogenic, although that could be because of the poor lighting and poor camera quality.

The atmosphere was nice enough, but it did not make up for the fact that we were eating so late. I feel that it would have been better at the Japanese BBQ place, as we would have been more relaxed and spent more time together. I had to get the last train at 11:40pm, so I literally ran out of there and all the way to the tube station to get to the train station. I was a mess. I spent more time recovering from the run than I spent running. It turns out one of the guests had her last train cancelled due to someone jumping in front of the train, and so she had to pay for a taxi home. Yikes.

Still, my friend was happy , and so was I. It was nice to leave my house and interact with others.

Even in my haste, I managed to get some birthday cake which was baked my our mutual friend. I had this for breakfast in bed the next day.

It felt good to leave the house, and the next week I was out of the house again for a fun weekend in Birmingham. I’m a real Popular Polly these days. Yay.

Pancake day

I am hungry AF at the moment but not in the mood to cook anything. I am tired from work and still have a lot to do so I decided to write this post.

As part of my choosing happiness and doing whatever it takes to make me happy extravaganza, I decided to partake in Pancake Day. I was also going to give up social media for Lent, but that’s neither here nor there. Unlike the past couple of years, I will not be fooling myself into giving anything up for Lent as it usually ends in failure (though I did actually manage to give up Instagram last year for Lent). Back to the story.

Pancake Day was looming: I was in a bit of a funk, as I often am these days, and was debating possibly making pancakes. I didn’t have any of the required ingredients at home and I was not looking to leave the house. As luck would have it, I had to return a dress I bought and the retailer offered to pick it up and sent over a postage stamp for me to print out. I don’t have a printer so that was annoying, but I quickly got over it and decided to wake up early the next day (the day of the supposed pick-up), and go into the office to print it out. That also covered my exercise requirements so it was a win win. On my way back I did what I always do and stopped by all the shops. Of course all the shops were celebrating Pancake Day and had the catchy displays and advertisements. I had the option of ready made pancakes and pancake mix and after a little delusion about trying to get plant based sugar free pancakes, I bought a pancake shaker mix and moved on. I didn’t have high hopes as I had used a shaker mix twice before and the pancakes were mushy rather than fluffy as I liked. Still, if at first (and second) you don’t succeed, try again. So I did.

On the plus side, I now knew that this pancake mix was more of a crepe consistency rather than a fluffy American type so there would be no disappointment. The first pancake turned out mushy as usual and I rolled it up into a ball and ate it like that- I really just love dough. I was ready to roll my eyes again but the second one turned out well, and the third, fourth and so on. I was quite pleased. At the last minute I decided to make some eggs to go with the pancakes, threw in some blueberries and even considered adding “ice-cream”. Ice cream is in quotes as it is vegan ice-cream which I usually like, and this one has three of my favourite things: cinnamon, toffee, and hazelnut so I expected this to be the most delicious thing ever. However, I only took two spoonfuls before I gave the tub away. It did not taste like ice-cream at all. I realise now that it is made with almond milk, whereas the vegan ones I’ve had have been soy based.

Some pictures:

There’s really no point to this post: Pancake day was two weeks ago on the 1st of March; and I did not really do anything special. However, it was a little act that made me happy that day, and I am for little acts of happiness these days. I have also been pushing myself to write more, so finishing this little post feels good too.

Golden Latte

I took myself out to brunch sometime ago, and while I stuck to my usual pancakes and scrambled eggs, I decided to experiment and order a latte. I don’t drink Coffee, but this “Golden Latte” did not contain any coffee; instead per the menu it was plant milk mixed with certain spices. I was intrigued enough so I ordered it.

It looked good, and tasted really good. The waitress assured me that the main taste was ginger-which made me happy because I like ginger- however when it arrived it was a smack of turmeric. I googled it and “Golden Latte” is not an invention of the restaurant, but rather a traditional Indian drink, hence the turmeric.

It tasted good, and was healthy (I assume so as it’s plant milk, ginger, turmeric) so of course I had to make my own. Off I went to the store to get all the plant based milks.

There are quite a few recipes online and I got weary of searching. Basically I just heated up the coconut milk (as this was what was used in the restaurant and it is apparently the creamiest) and mixed in all the spices, plus honey at the end.

This is what mine looked like:

Not bad…but could be better. I need to get a fancy glass and some rose petals or whatever it was the restaurant put in the glass.

I enjoyed it, but it is so messy and turmeric stains everything yellow! I have only made it twice. Maybe I’ll make it now.

I do like the routine. I long for a gorgeous apartment with lots of light and air, and I see myself waking up with no alarm, stretching luxuriously for ten minutes before I head into the lavish kitchen to make a cup of golden latte which I sip slowly in contentment before I start my day… ah, a girl can dream.

The war will end.

The war will end

The leaders will shake hands

The old woman will keep waiting

for her martyred son.

That girl will wait for her beloved husband

and those children will wait

for their heroic father

I don’t know who sold our homeland

but I know who paid the price.

-Mahmoud Darwish