It’s been a strange and unsettled few days. I’d spent the past month living in a blissfully ignorant bubble which was then popped very quickly by returning to the UK to be with my best friend after the very sudden death of her sister. Loss isn’t something I have a great deal of experience with personally, and also with others in my life but it’s a very surreal thing to watch from the outside. There isn’t really much you can say because everyone deals differently, but it’s how you act that makes the difference. I’d spent the days here helping as much as I could, even if it was just the menial things that you tend to let slip when things fall apart. The funeral was yesterday and it was a lovely service for a lovely person who will certainly be fondly remembered and very missed. Her sister was an avid fan of the piano but never managed to learn to play, so Chloe and her Dad decided that she should have a pianist at the service – and they asked me. I was totally humbled by their request because it’s a huge thing that you want to make sure you get 100% right to honour that person so of course I was a little overwhelmed too. We spent a while trying to decide what to play, and they were sort of running out of ideas. I suggested 21:05 by Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm, and after playing it for them a few times they decided it was the right one. I’m beyond honoured that they asked me to be a part of that, and I sincerely hope I did both the song and her sister justice. Today I came back to London to give Chloe and her Dad and the rest of the family space and time. She’s from a very beautiful part of the country, and the contrast between the surroundings and the horrible, awful situation was quite unsettling – it almost didn’t feel real, like something so sad couldn’t happen in somewhere like this. It acted as a very stark reminder that loss happens every day all over the world, and I realised there’s something about the universal nature of death that I can’t get my head around. I feel very guilty, too, and I’m not sure why but I think it’s maybe because I want to take the awful pain away from her but I can’t. It’s just something that you have to let run its course.
I got back mid morning after getting the early train from Plymouth, and I started to wonder how I’d react to being back in London full time. I’d been worried about it while I was away, I think because of the circumstances that I left with the trial and just general negative associations and these were acting as quite a strong trigger for me. Yet, strangely, when I got into London and then continued on towards Clapton I couldn’t find one thing to be anxious or worried about and that was very weird for me when my brain is constantly looking for things to freak out about. Even with my big, annoying suitcase, I was totally fine. I don’t know whether maybe I’m still distracted by this week or whether maybe knowing that we’ve moved house really is having a profoundly positive impact on me but either way I’m really not complaining.
Speaking of the new house, this is really the first proper time that I’ve spent in it and I love it. It’s so nice to be back here in an area that I like, I’m used to and close to all my friends. I do, however, look like a squatter as I have no furniture and all my stuff is still in boxes. I think a trip to my home from home, the spiritual Palace from the motherland that is IKEA is due to see if I can get some things to fit in with my little yellow and grey theme that I have planned. I’m glad to see my housemates too, which can only mean I must have actually missed them! We have a cat who I don’t particularly like, and every year I campaign relentlessly for a new pet that I can like. Previously I’ve suggested a micro pig called Judith or Michael Ham-bon (get it?) and this year was for a Whippet called Cheddar. My idea was of course shot down and they totally rinsed me, but when I arrived home I did see that they’d left this in my room:
I don’t officially start my new job until the 9th which originally fitted in with my travel plans, but now it seems like I have a few free weeks. I will go into work I think, I need to see what my schedule is going to be like with my classes as I’m no longer a 9-5er (or 9 til whatever time the bastards at Armani get back to you because we own your soul at Net) and I want to get a feel for it. Other than that though, I’m going to go to the gym as much as I can because I really need to work on my core and leg strength in preparation and I’ll spend my time getting back into volunteering. I’ve already been to the gym today since I got back and I’ll volunteer tomorrow which I’m looking forward to. I do need to do basic life admin like food shopping and tidying to get back into the routine of reality, and I’ve decided that I need to start being a bit healthier too. I still haven’t smoked which I’m pleasantly surprised at myself for, but since January I’ve been drinking way, way much more than I normally do. I’ve kind of been backsliding into old behaviours and I know once I start that, other things will follow that I’m just not ready for yet so that’s really not a good idea. But, kudos to me for recognising it and planning to change it before it gets worse!
Now that I’m back earlier I can also go and see Arcade Fire play on the 5th which I am SO excited for because I just love them, and going to see them always brings back good memories. I’m also going to see Sylvan Esso after that which should be fun, and if you haven’t listened to their What Now album you really should, it’s excellent and super catchy. I’ve also got tickets for Way Out West in Gothenburg in August which will be a lot of fun, I haven’t been for a good few years and the line up is looking decent. There’s a lot of good music coming out at the moment which never fails to put me in a good mood and gives me something to get my teeth into.
As I’ve previously mentioned in another post, a lot of my anxieties can be triggered by political things like Brexit because it will dictate how I continue to live here. You should probably have heard that Theresa May (who, have you noticed looks like Mr Burns in a wig? Hm) has now announced the plans for the EU Citizens living in the UK, which is if you’ve been here legally for five years by a certain date TBA then you can achieve “UK Settled Status” in a more streamlined approach than the length residency application. Erm, I’m sorry but is that supposed to give us some kind of peace of mind? Not only has this only just been officially announced a year after the decision to withdraw from the EU, but it actually raises more questions than it gives answers. It annoys me that the government think this announcement is supposed to make us feel reassured. I’ve lived in the UK for four years now, I moved here in March 2013 and I’ve worked continuously since then aside from being off sick last/this year and also having a gap in my employment between leaving Net in February and starting my new job soon. But I’ve paid my taxes, I’ve contributed with my national insurance and I’ve never once claimed any form of benefit even during this period of unemployment because I’ve just relied on my own money that I know I do have, so what would be the purpose when there are actually people that need them? And the gap was by personal choice. It really does make me worry a lot and I hope that things can be made much clearer very soon because I’m not just speaking for myself when I say I’m quite panicked.
So, that’s the short term plan out the way I guess but long term? Ugh. You know, I really do love my best friend because despite everything she’s going through right now she still wants to give me advice about what to do. And the thing is, she’s always right even though I hate admitting that. She’s right when she’s says that I’m holding onto things that are actually holding me back in different areas of my life, and it’s time to start moving on. And that’s what I’m going to do, albeit one step at a time. I’ve realised that I’m never going to confront the things I avoid unless I actually try – and I need to stop being in the mindset of its going to be a disaster, because it could be the best thing for me. With that said, it’s time to get back on the horse and get back out there and if it feels like too much, at least I’ve tried for now and I can go back to it at another time. I just need to be careful that like I said, I don’t end up going back to old ways because that’s reeeeeally not what I need right now.