May Day. (Also known as 13 days before I have to start real life.)

I should be writing a dissertation right now. In fact, I should actually be writing three dissertations right now. Needless to say, I’m taking a break. Who knew that it was actually possible to do work over a fortnight before it is due in? Crazy. I used to be able to write an entire essay (or two) the night before hand-in, now I’m getting excited about the fact that I’ve managed to write 1,000 words in a day. What a nightmare.

Naturally, now that it’s got to that point in my degree where I should be “knuckling down to hard work” I actually just want to do everything else. I’m procrastinating by thinking about the future – however scary (though exciting) that may be – and have started watching television (the BBC) religiously for the first time in three years. Admittedly, it’s The Voice, which, until this week, has been a brilliant concept. Judging people on their ability to actually sing rather than how they look is something that I feel massively strong about. However, introducing the whole now-the-audience-get-to-vote-to-save-people thing is horrible. There’s no other way to describe it. And on top of that, they have a terrible presenter. Anyone who can say, on live television, to the first person to be voted out “I don’t know what to say to you…” should really consider a different profession. Don’t get me wrong, Holly Willoughby is probably a lovely person, but that was shamefully tactless. Despite that, I’m hooked. Talented musicians always get a smile from me. I can’t help it. Music junkie right here.

In other news I’m officially losing my mind. Apparently sitting surrounded by books (you haven’t read) and trying to create a coherent academic argument on their narrator’s unreliability/presentation of reflection in children’s literature/fetishizing of the suffering human body is enough to drive you to destroy your sanity. I rock a lot more than I usually do. I’m frequently shouting at inanimate objects for their refusal to co-operate. I’m almost at the overdose point in my daily caffeine intake. I’m giggling. I don’t giggle. Ever. It is beyond bizarre. Having said that, it’s also excitingly inspiring. Just not in the dissertation-writing sense. It is however making me want to create crazy theatre that is basically an extension of my current mind-set. I keep finding myself down a path in my brain that I haven’t found before, in some terrifying little hole that’s crammed with exciting (terrifying) blinking eyes and black glitter and millions of post-its and bottles of laughing and tears and fear and dreams. It’s bloody odd, to say the least.

At least I know that I want to do things when this dreaded fortnight is over. That’s got to be worth something. Sitting doing sweet F-A doesn’t seem like my ideal future. But I have to get there first. And that, of course, is the challenge.

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Internal Monologue: Public Transport Made Me Do This

It would appear I’ve just been hit with all the anxiety I’ve been repressing for the past two and a half months. Typical really. That it would strike whilst I’m on a train. On a train with nothing to read and no headphones. On a crowded, warm train with nothing to read and no headphones. Fan-fucking-tastic.

Being left alone in my own head for the first time in god only knows how many months is an odd feeling. Having not had a minute to think about life or anything other than theatre it’s a bit alarming suddenly having space in my head. Both the musical and my degree show took over my entire existence this past term. In fact, thinking about it, the musical has pretty much occupied my mind for the past year – it was exactly this time past year that I had the sudden ridiculous thought that I could direct the show. Crazy really.

I’m remembering why I tend to throw myself into things that completely take over and don’t give me a minute of piece in my mind. It’s a scary place to be. Just thinking. And not really thinking about anything specific, but just thinking. I’m realizing that train journeys are horrendously claustrophobic-inducing, especially when you don’t have an endless supply of music to lose yourself in. I’m remembering why I usually sit in the row of 2 as opposed to the 4-person table seat – families coming and sitting around you is intrusive at the best of times, but when you don’t have a book or music to shut out the world? Gah.. I’m appreciating why people may have methods of relaxation or stress-relief. Just pausing to ponder a specific word I’m tapping out inane rhythms on the keyboard and my leg jitters have a mind of their own. I finally understand why people say I never sit still..

I’m currently unsure as to whether or not I’ll actually post this. I have another good two or three hours of traveling ahead of me, and will quite possibly decide against a rambling of nonsense as my first post in several weeks. Alternatively, I will quite possibly post this, and if I do I’ll leave this paragraph in. An example of the indecisive, babbling, mess that is my mind.

The family that rudely intruded on my under-lying panic attack decided to move. The daughter was reading over my shoulder, (always appreciated) and quite possibly determined that I’m a crazy person. Probably a wise decision..

Although, I have now calmed a considerable amount. I could probably write a book on methods to prevent public displays of panic or anxiety.

Step 1: Drink water.

Step 2: Focus and regulate your breathing – blowing in counts of four onto your thumb works, as does shutting your eyes and breathing in and out to counts of four. Something about counting is ridiculously soothing.

Step 3: Sing. I know not everyone is a natural singer, but that shouldn’t matter. Singing is another way to regulate breathing, and focuses your mind on something else, thus causing you to forget your panic. Anything that gets your mind off the cause of panic is a good thing, this post for example has so worked wonders. But singing is actually a good one because it does genuinely calm your breathing. Even something as simple as the alphabet can prevent a fully blown anxiety attack..

Step 4: Go to your safe place. This may sound ridiculous, but everyone has one. For some people it’s a place in their thoughts, for others it’s a physical place. In my case it’s a public toilet. I know, grimy. But there’s something about sitting in a toilet cubicle that calms me the fuck down. And hey, if it works who am I to question it.

Step 5: Get fresh air. This is actually one of the hardest ones for me, as a lot of my anxious feelings creep up whilst I’m on public transport or stuck in a place that I know I can’t easily leave. But often just a few breaths of fresh air can completely calm me down.

Step 6: Talk to someone. Either in person or on the phone. Whether you tell them you’re freaking out or not, just knowing that there’s someone else there can work wonders.

Step 7: Sugar. A small square of chocolate, or something fizzy and sweet can help calm your nerves. Of course you don’t want to rely on this one, especially if you regularly panic, as you may find yourself piling on the pounds or needing to visit a dentist! But a little bit now and then, I find, can massively help to stop the shakes.

Obviously these don’t have to go in this order, and they’re not listed in order of importance either. Just a few steps that can prevent a public display of panic. Or even a private display of panic..

Weird. This is not how I saw this post going. In an effort to prevent a panic attack, I ended up writing about how to prevent one. Crazy. I’ve also just clocked how many words I’ve managed to write (I’m a student, it’s practically an ocd..) and all I can say is I hope my dissertations (yes, plural) are this easy and fast to type.

Face-planting and A&E.. Oh life.

Today’s been an interesting one. An achy, hungover one that ended with 3 hours in A&E. Thrilling.

I may possibly have face-planted the pavement last night. Fell out of my shoe and met the floor with various body parts. It was painful. And I now have a beautifully purple hip, a fairly mauve knee, scraped arms, and a hole in the leather jacket.. Massive fail on my part. Massive.

I then took a rehearsal today. Clutching coffee and sporting last night’s makeup. Yep, I was *that* classy girl on the bus. The one with bed hair and a slept-in jumper..

And finally I ended up in A&E. Actually the reason I ended up at the hospital isn’t all that interesting, and I felt like a massive fraud in comparison with the guy that had been hit by a car, the girl with appendicitis, and the man that had trapped his hand in an electronic dumbwaiter. Believe me, I felt massively lame sat next to them..

The wait was almost worth it when my foot was bandaged up by cute-doctor-“I’m-Owen-by-the-way”, who then proceeded to throw plaster tape at me with a “shh, they’ll never know”. Charming cute-doctor-Owen. Also have massive love for the housemates who came for a road trip to keep me company and brought inappropriate-for-the-hospital snacks. Bless their little hearts.

I do however feel it necessary to question the hospital on their inappropriate nature of road signs..

Seems a tad insensitive really..

That time I fell out with Public Transport..

After panic attacks, being the ‘weirdo-on-the-train’, hours of delays, fatalities, a million bags, children with suitcases, an out-of-battery phone, and a whole tube of fruit pastilles, I’m avoiding public transport for a while..

Yesterday was quite honestly a nightmare. Picture the scene: -A hurricane of clothes decorating my room as I attempt to pack logically. -One MASSIVE suitcase plus 2 fairly heavy arm bags weighing me down as I trek half way across Brighton and up the mammoth hill to the station, I swear whoever built that place didn’t ever consider that people have to walk. With suitcases. -An exhausted, pale girl with too many bags slumped in a corner of the station unable to breathe or focus and trying not to cry (Hellooo Panic Attack, you beauty..). -A stupid amount of people on the trains that are normally empty at that time of day. -That fantastically insistent beeping of an iphone telling me it would like to die soon. StupidLackOfBatteryOnAnOtherwiseBeautifulPhone. -An hour and a half (at least) delay at Reading station, because somebody was hit by the train I should’ve been getting on. -*That* child with the bright pink suitcase who got between me and the train doors. Of the first rescheduled train back to Oxford. Thus preventing me from getting home for a good extra hour. Also making me feel as though I were essentially living ‘Sliding Doors’, and could have just missed a beautiful Scottish man, aka Mr John Hannah.. -And finally, sugar rush. From the banana & choc. chunk cakes with homemade-marshmallow icing I’d been chowing all morning, not to mention the entire tube of fruit pastilles I’d inhaled in a wacky attempt to curb the panic attack. There was a serious case of the sugar shakes going on..

Luckily, I managed to resist the urge to clobber the small child (and her pink suitcase) that prevented me from catching the closing doors of the train. Which is really probably a very good thing because I don’t think my stress headaches could deal with some sort of asbo/restraining order/formal complaint/arrest. But I mean seriously, let’s be honest, any day that begins as beautifully bright as yesterday was, and then has to be spent packing, is always going to be a failure.

The kitchen floor is comfy. Deal with it.

People often get confused when I blabber on about how I work better under pressure. SLASH cope better under pressure. SLASH actually kind of like being under pressure. It was only today, whilst sat on the kitchen floor drinking tea (as you do. Actually if you spend any time in our house you’ll realise that that’s actually *all* we do. Despite our kitchen being the size of a broom cupboard. A particularly small broom cupboard..) that I was able to fully get my own head around why that is..

I’m basically a massive control freak. Huh. It’s slightly weird saying that out loud. Because I did actually say that aloud.. Obviously. I guess it’s the same with most people, you like to know where you stand? In life generally. Or in a specific situation. But I just find that you always know where you stand when everything’s going on. When life is stupidly stressful. And you’ve got your list (also known as manic mindmap) of everything you need to deal with/sort out/do. It’s easier to clear your mind, after a good cry (or three), and deal with everything that keeps piling up and up and up.

When everything’s going right, I tend to panic. Be constantly dreading the next moment, knowing that it can’t last and that something has to go wrong soon.

That’s why I like the stress. The pressure. The massive weight of everything on your shoulders. Because you know where you stand. And what’s going on. And what *needs* to happen in order to sort it out.

Basically I’m a massive control freak.

You know the other thing I cleared up for the housemate tonight? I don’t like being relaxed. I know! I’m practically inhuman.. But yeah, I dread that feeling of total relaxation. It makes me immediately panic. How very fucked up is that? I prefer this ridiculous constant feeling of anxiety and uneasiness. Why? Because, well, because I’m an insane individual.. The idea of a spa or a massage literally puts me on the edge of blind panic. In the same way as how I woke up this morning and was immediately filled with dread at the fact that I had literally nothing to do today. I had a day off. AND WAS FILLED WITH DREAD.

What. The. Hell.

When life decides to be a bitch, dark chocolate always helps. Especially when it’s man-bought dark chocolate.

It’s been one of those kinda days. The kind where you end up making friends with the lady in the launderette, or at least end up on the receiving end of her pitying smiles as you trundle back and forth with wash-load after wash-load and practically spend your life savings so that you can have clean clothes. Yep. It’s definitely been that kind of day.

But it’s okay. I discovered chocolate in the wardrobe. The good kind of chocolate in the wardrobe discovery. Not the kind that results in massive cleaning bills. It was a dark chocolate discovery. Beaut. I love dark chocolate. Especially the super super extra-dark kind that you can only eat in tiny amounts.. One of the bestest things.

On the happy side of life, I went for lunch with my ex-drama teacher yesterday. Which was, as is to be expected if you ever met her, FANTASTIC. She’s one of the best people alive. No joke. In fact she’s basically me in a few years time.. If I suddenly decide to become a teacher. Which, y’know, is always an option..

Also on the vaguely happy side of life, my room now smells like a launderette. The washing powder/fabric conditioner combo is probably one of the best smells in the world. That and paint and wood smoke and the-morning-after-heavy-rain and my Mum’s perfume.. (which, coincidentally, both my housemate’s wear.. Odd.)

In the bleak mid-winter..

I know, I know. It’s the 13th of November. And so, technically, it’s still autumn. But wow does it feel like winter, aside from the whole rain thing anyway. The leaves aren’t crispy enough for it to be properly winter. But that’s besides the point.What my point was I’m not actually sure, but the crispiness of the leaves was certainly not it.

Oh yeah, I know, I know. It’s the 13th of November. I don’t care. Christmas is on my mind. It *is* Christmas in my mind. Oh my mind’s a fantastic place to be. So, to all you scrooges and people of the ‘you can’t be thinking about Christmas in November you weirdo’ way of thinking, y’know what I have to say to you..? *pokes tongue out* Nerrrr.

Ha. I showed you.

It’s possibly the fact that as a musician (HA. I use that term in the lightest possible way) you have to start preparing for Christmas, months in advance. Well, like, two.. But it does mean that you get that Christmassy feeling. That amazing, warm, snuggly, Christmassy feeling. And funnily enough, I’m not gonna complain about that.

My school always have a Christmas Carol concert in the last week of term, and family etc were invited along to listen and join in. It was, hands down, my favourite assembly of. the. year. Bloody awesome. And I’m really quite sad that I’m not going to be able to go this year. What with the brother not even being there anymore.. Sad times indeed.

There was this one song that they sing, ‘Gaudete‘, which I may have just spent half an hour trying to find online.. It’s one of those amazing latin songs that you can’t spell for all the sugar in the world. Anyway, gives me chills whenever I hear it.. Takes me straight back to the week before the concert when the brother would stalk about the house rehearsing for the choir. This is one of the few that, despite knowing it like the back of his hand, he’d keep singing. Wow. Serious goose bumps going on..

So yes, I’m in a festive mood. Have a Christmassy November 13th (:

Dinosaur stickers in the post.

That’s what my week has resulted in. The mother proving her absolute awesomeness and sending me shiny dinosaur stickers and playing cards..

It’s just been one of those weeks. Months. Terms really if we’re gonna be honest. So many people said that this term would be the toughest, but this is ridiculous. And I’ve just taken so much on as well.. Oh life.

Apparently I work better under stress. (I mean, this term’s grades will answer that once and for all, although so far it’s proven to be true.) But last week was a killer. Mental, draining and filled with flu. Beaut.

Two essays, a presentation, several killer rehearsals and a performance or two later and I’m officially ill. Only have the one more essay to go before I can start stressing about the next lot. Gah.. Oh and the assessed performance in a fortnight’s time that we *haven’t even begun to work on yet*. Bitter? Me? Never. Stressed? Oh hell yes.

Halloween is fastly becoming one of my favourite nights of the year. Ever.

No joke. I enjoy dressing up as dead and disturbing creatures far too much. Far too much. And this weekend has provided such fantastic opportunities to do so..

Friday night was ‘Carn-evil’ night with the drama society. Beaut. I, of course, went as a psycho wind-up doll. Why wouldn’t I? I know, my thoughts exactly.. May have overlooked the fact that pinning a massive cardboard key to my back would cause problems once we’d entered the club, oh and had to sit on a bus! But still, a fantastic night. The next morning I thoroughly regretted the corset and tutu decision though, the bruises are a bitch; but any night that allows for big hair and unattractive makeup is just fine by me. Always.

Apparently psycho dolls don't smile..

Saturday, aka. White Night, was massively lacking on the fancy dress front. From me at least. There were many a dressed-up person out and about in B-town. But even so, despite the normal clothes, had a fab night. Went to the late night opening at the aquarium and fastly returned to the childlike state of ‘ohmygoshtherearesharksandtheyaresoprettyandawesome’. That really common state of mind. And then hung out at the beach till 3 in’t morning when we went in search of breakfast. Good times. Super chilly times, but good times indeed.

Continued the big hair/unattractive face look last night when I decided to embrace the inner werewolf. Not even kidding. It was fantastic. I’m beyond impressed that my hair can do such incredible things when encouraged with a little (a lot) of hairspray. Seriously..

Personally, I'm a big fan of the eyebrows.

Unfortunately, what with being a veg, I lack huge amounts of fur in my wardrobe. Or, like, any fur at all.. So yeah, I wore a lot of bin bags. And so much eye shadow. *So much*. Practically covering me head to toe. I don’t understand the desire to look attractive on Halloween. I mean, really? It’s genuinely so much fun to go out and not care about the fact that you don’t look in any way attractive. At all. Love it.. Definitely killed my lungs with the hairspray though.

It is impossible to be glum when there’s a panda on your head..

Today has been, for lack of a better word, interesting. Apparently I was clearly very stupid in thinking that popping to Boots and the post office would be a simple, non-strenuous, menial task. So bloody wrong.

First off, I would like to point out that today is freezing. Like, stupidly cold. A hat was necessary. Not that that was a problem for me, although it took a good 20-odd minutes before I decided on one. An occupational hazard when in possession of so many beautiful hats.

Anyway, the post office. Which is actually a little bit closer than originally thought, a good thing? Maybe. I’ve never met someone so unhelpful and able to make you feel so very stupid. I mean, yeah, okay so there was a panda on my head. But does that mean you can look down your nose at me? Nuh-uh.

So after that delightful start, I entered the land of hell (aka the town centre on the first day of half term). Oh god, people. *So many people*. Now I don’t know about you, but I have a slight issue with slow walkers. Okay, maybe a slighty large issue. In that, they make me want to punch them in the back of the head. You have no idea just how much will power and restraint I own. Seriously..

Then Boots happened. Overcrowded, over-heated Boots. Okay, now I’m a big fan of autumn. I so prefer it to the muggy summer months, but why is it that it suddenly means all these shops wack their heating up?! I mean, really? I was in 4 layers, a panda hat, multiple pairs of socks and big boots. Just walking through the shop was like a bloody work-out. So exhausting. And sweat inducing. Ugh. Why can’t they just give staff a nice christmas jumper or something? They’d save a bucket load on electricity bills n’ all.. Anyway, having finally made it to the checkout, the tills decided to “play up”. Apparently, in Boots staff language that actually means “crash-and-fuck-up-your-card-but-we’re-just-not-going-to-tell-you-that”. Buggers.

Needless to say the next three cash points I visited were on the receiving end of some pretty harsh language. I apologise. I take my anger out on far too many inanimate objects, and it just isn’t cool..

Now all I can say, is one mighty large thank you to whoever decided to place a bank just 30 seconds walk from my front door. You are a beautiful person. I kid you not. Of course, when I actually got in there, just snuck in before they had a chance to lock me out, we had the whole IT’S TOO HOT issue again. Add to this the fact that I hadn’t yet eaten, and was slightly panicky about why the usually lovely hole-in-the-wall wasn’t giving me my hard-earned (Ahem, student loan) cash, and yeah, passing out almost happened. I’m just such a cool, calm and collected person. Really.

So having ordered a new bank card, which “Could take up to ten working days”, and swearing at numerous metal boxes on the wall, I came home to make probably the most feeble attempt at cous cous. Ever.

Oh, before all this happened I had an actually pretty loud chat with the sweet shop man about why he should give me the huge, purple, cut out squid that used to be in his window display. In front of an entire shop of customers. Only to find out that he was just looking after the shop for the day. Oh life..

Ps. This is the panda that was residing on my head.

Pretty awesome, huh.