An Almost-But-Not-Quite-Mid-Year Review
FRIENDS. ROMANS. HUNTYMEN. I have returned from my temporary hiatus (okay six months, but shhhhhh) to give you an update of my life now that we are officially half way through the year. Isn't that exciting? Well, I say exciting but also terrifying as I had to book my next appointment at the dentist (thrilling stuff I hear you exclaim? You would be correct dear reader!) and my next appointment is on the tenth of January. NEXT YEAR. Mentally, I'm still in March so this doesn't feel real. But I am digressing. It's now July, and we're currently in the biggest heatwave Britain has had that has lasted longer than five hours and twenty minutes, so much so that we may even have a hosepipe ban! Basically the sun is out and proud and the grass is burnt to a crisp, lovely! But what have I been up to?
When I last blogged I was going through a bit of a difficult time of having my heart crushed and going into the year feeling deflated and devoid of optimism. Hence the influx of deep poetry on my instagram but that is a tale for another time. Nevertheless, I soldiered on, and focused on my job and trying to keep myself occupied in any way shape or form. The first strand of hope I clung on to was my birthday, in which I turned twenty four. Initially dreading it as my first thought was "CHRIST, I'M NEARLY IN MY MID TWENTIES AND I'LL BE CLOSER TO THIRTY, SHUT UP I'M NOT CRYING THESE ARE TEARS...YOUTHFUL TEARS..." but I then stumbled across an article which explained how the brain is fully formed at twenty four, and you are supposedly 'fully complete'. A somewhat terrifying notion as I still firmly place myself at the start of the 18-24 bracket, I actually began to use this as a personal mantra, to make 2018 my year, 'the year of the self'. So I did! I began to take more walks alone, go to the cinema alone, and even at one point I went for dinner in a very fancy restaurant all by myself. For a few weeks I even took part in a Burlesque class, which again was the most liberating thing I have ever done. No one even batted an eyelid as I walked into that studio as I sat down and strapped on my size nine heels (from Primark, I know right?!). It gave me the biggest boast in confidence and self-esteem, I started to feel like I wasn't such a let down after all. What started as a perpetual state of loneliness became a liberating and freeing experience, to relish in my own company, to be content with the singular, rather than obsessing over the collective.
Next on my agenda was work, what was I going to be doing as a career? I had an unfortunate time in February regarding my job but I was still fortunate to be working part time. It still left me feeling weightless in a way, like I had let people down and that I wasn't good enough. But more importantly, I had this constant thought in my head, when was I going to actually use my degree in English Literature? Family members vocally expressed these concerns whereas I had kept them internal, and these concerns lead to constant worry and anxiety. Desperate to shake this off, I burrowed my head into applications and applications of work experience and freelance work, anything to calm the ferocious storms of pressure in my head. By the stars, someone took a chance on me and I was invited to do a two week placement at BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, and those two weeks were some of the most valuable and important weeks I have ever experienced. At the time of writing, I have just moved into the occasional spot of freelance work for the BBC and I couldn't be happier. If anything, this affirmed that I was making the move in the right direction and that my work during my time on my placement was validated in such a way to be offered a chance to carry on with the BBC. I feel like a door has creaked open slowly, and I have wedged my foot in said door with no plans of letting it go, that I've actually found a sense of purpose and belonging in life.
In-between all this, I took time off from work in order to travel about the UK and visit all my wonderful friends! Kind of like going on tour, but without the funky merch or the tour-bus. More like a delayed cross country train and a bottle of lukewarm sparkling strawberry flavoured water from M&S... but this coincides nicely with the beautiful picture that precedes this entire blogpost. I took this picture whilst along the Teignmouth coast with my good friend Leah, something about the big blue sea mirroring the sky offers such a serene sense of tranquillity and peace, something I desperately needed at the time. Radio 4 also gave me an opportunity of taking part in their 'Listening Project' segment, in which me and my best friend Ali were in conversation, talking about childhood memories and how we became friends. This segment went out LIVE on Radio 4 and will go on to be stored as an archive in the British Library, how COOL is that?! Another thing I finally got sorted this year was the podcast me and my friend Isabelle created! ABOUT BLOODY TIME. We mused over this idea years ago in a somewhat jokingly manner, but both of us actually wanted this to happen. We wanted to start-up a podcast in which we spoke about our deep love of books, but also to go off on wonderful tangents that pretty much sum our relationship up as friends (with far too many in jokes to count!). We've recorded and released two episodes and I am so bloody proud of us, and proud of her. She has a cool blog (http://isabellemarieflynn.blogspot.com/) which you should ALL check out. If you're interested in two millennials talking about the ins and outs of literature, you can check out the podcast here: https://soundcloud.com/i-s-a-b-e-l-l-e-f-l-y-n-n/back-to-the-books-episode-2-womens-prize-review
I hear some of you ponder, but Kieran, what of your love life? What of your dating exploits? Well, to reinforce my mantra of 'year of the self', I'm not really interested in dating at the moment. In the spring I bumped into my ex-boyfriend, the one that inspired my poem 'The Lonely Traveller' (which you can find on my blog) and seeing him for the first time in the flesh in six months was strangely cathartic, considering I had just had my heart broken for the second time at Christmas. We talked without ever mentioning the break up, hugged and said goodbye. At that moment I had realised that he had given closure in a way that I didn't know I had needed. Attempting to start again, in March time, I had a few dates with a very sweet and kind guy but I couldn't give what he wanted, in terms of a relationship. I wasn't comfortable within myself, and I didn't feel fully formed in a sense, half complete. And how would it be fair to give myself to someone when I still wasn't fully complete within myself? I think I am still processing lots of emotions over the last year and it can be me and ONLY me to make sense of them. It took lots of courage to admit it to him as well as myself, but I knew it would benefit him and myself in the future. Plus, my sister is getting married next month and in-between work, freelancing and everything else, I honestly don't have the time to fit in a relationship! I do sometimes worry about being on my own and I do get scared, but like I've said, I'm getting better in my own company and intrinsically, when I feel complete within myself, however far or soon that may be, then maybe I can open up to the idea of dating again.
OH, I also read a lot of very good books. Expect a few more blog posts in the next few weeks but basically, keep reading because books are a powerhouse of imagination, creativity and inspiration. Books ground me and give me that escapism that is desperately needed in a world that can be so overbearing and loud at times. A few stray recommendations:
- Call Me By Your Name - Andre Aciman
- Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge
- The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet - Becky Chambers
- Sing Unburied Sing - Jesmyn Ward
- Tin Man - Sarah Winman
SO. What will I make up for the next half of 2018? Well, I'm going to work my proverbial arse off in every sense of the word, write more (MAKE ME WRITE GUYS PLEASE), read more books, and continue to flourish in the year of the self. I feel like I've done a lot to work on Kieran; who he is, what he wants to do and where he is going. I feel the happiest I've felt in a very long time, like I'm soaring, to quote the new Florence & The Machine album, as 'high as hope'.