• so that happened,  Uncategorized

    The List of Uns

    Maya, my white-pawed, chronically grumpy cat, is not good in a crisis. She likes to play chase, but every time I chase her she panics, becomes paralysed by indecision, and finally runs into the nearest corner and flips onto her back. I’ve explained to her plenty of times that in the wild, this would really be seen as less of a survival strategy and more of a suicidal strategy, but no amount of practice has made her any better at evading fake predators. Every. single. time. she is chased, she does the same thing. You can see it happen. The pupils dilate, her eyes flick madly from side to side…

  • so that happened,  Uncategorized

    I Tried and I Failed

    It started with a gif. The girl in the clip lies flat on the floor with her hands clasped behind her, a long white pole looped between her arms and her lower back. Slowly she pulls her knees forward and then gracefully comes to a standing position with a big smile and a visible six-pack. The heading on this gif was “EVEN HARDER THAN IT LOOKS.” I watched it, rewatched it, and then with an arrogance borne of pure ignorance thought, “Well it doesn’t look that hard.” I watched the gif again. I read over the comments explaining that to do this correctly, the head, shoulders and pole must stay off the…

  • Thoughts on...

    Childish Things

    When I was a wee slip of a four year old, I remember visiting a friend and following him upstairs to a room that contained a giant cardboard box. It was long, and lay on its side, and easily took up at least half of all available floorspace in the small, book-lined room. In hindsight I suppose it had originally housed a fridge. My friend walked around to the back of the box and called for me to follow him. I remember looking at it with all the healthy skepticism a four year old can muster. It didn’t look like anything special. In fact, it looked like it might have…

  • Communication,  personal,  relationships

    “Relationships are Hard Work”

    “Relationships are hard work.” How many times would you say you’ve heard that phrase in your life? People say it to each other all the time; over coffee, over cocktails, in the middle of long, exasperated venting sessions and at the end of despairing exclamations. I’ve said it, and I’ve heard it, and every time there’s a nod of understanding and agreement, because it’s just vague enough to sound accurate. Recently though, I’ve come to realise that the phrase isn’t specific enough to be true. It’s a bit like when people say, “Well, sure we fight, but all couples fight.” I always nod. They both sound pretty straightforward, but the…

  • Life Skills Unlocked,  personal,  Uncategorized

    Life Skills Unlocked: Being a Girl

    I can still remember the exact moment when I decided that being a girl was bullshit. I had spent my first few formative years generally unfazed by gender roles. Sure, I had to wear horrendous dresses on special occasions, and that seemed unfair. My brother wore shirts and shorts and ran around like a loon while I wore dresses with collars that could have doubled as bibs and faced instant restrictions. “Don’t sit like that.” “Don’t get dirty.” “No, you can’t climb trees in a dress.” My best friend was a boy we’ll call P, and together we would spend afternoons watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and made dramatic explosion…

  • holiday,  Review,  so that happened,  travel

    Hamilton: The Experience

    We took our velvet-covered, straight-backed seats and looked around the auditorium. People streamed in the doorways, ribbons of colour; no narrow demographic here. They were young, old, white, black, businessmen in suits and ties, and purple-haired teenagers in leggings and grimy converse runners. A lady in her mid-fifties took the seat next to mine. A woman with an asymmetric pixie cut and severe black glasses sat in the row in front. I leaned back and enjoyed the slow wooden percussion of seats being pulled down, the rustle of people settling in, ready for the show. Behind us, a girl in her twenties bounced into her seat clutching a bag of…

  • personal

    Just People

    When you’re a child, everything is very black or white. You’re well-behaved, or you’re bold. You’re bad, or you’re good. The world is arranged into two halves and, with good parenting, you are steered towards the positive. “Yucky” things are smacked out of your hand, and the explanations of the world leave no room for nuance. You’re too young to understand the intricacies and complications of a lifetime. You’re told that bad people are bad, and that’s it. Nobody explains why, or how, or tempers it by telling you that these bad people have good qualities too. Conversely, good people are held up as paragons and then, as you grow,…

  • personal,  Thoughts on...

    Notes From the Country

    I was born in a city. I have always lived in a city. I grew up with a street lamp outside my window and the sound of a train passing by every twenty minutes. I’m used to light, and noise, and shops that are less than five minutes of a walk away. I’m used to lots of people going about their business with earphones in, purposely not making eye contact and completely ignoring the existence of anybody else on the road. So when I take a trip to the countryside, I’m always reminded of the things country people take for granted that are – for me – hugely abnormal. Every…

  • Communication,  personal,  pointless theories of an unoccupied brain

    A Rollercoaster of Emotions

    So far, 2018 is proving unexpectedly stressful. In case you couldn’t gather from my last post, I’ve been having a couple of weeks where my waking thoughts have been consumed by one worry or another, and my nights have been spent dreaming of strange amalgamations of the same worries. It’s just wrong; the nightmare equivalent of a giraffe with elephant legs and a crocodile snout. Honestly, even when I’m not stressed I have a certain amount of The Fear running through me like a low voltage current. I overthink everything until it makes no sense to me. I overthink and overthink and overthink until my thoughts end up in the…

  • personal,  Thoughts on...

    Staying Alive

    The other day, while out walking with a friend, we took a detour on our way home and found ourselves in an old cemetery. It was, as she put it, the sort of place Tom Riddle might show up to challenge you to a wand duel. The ground, bulging with overgrown roots, was uneven and covered over with long blades of grass that soaked us to the ankles. Most of the engravings on the oldest headstones were illegible; the inscriptions had been gently buffed to smoothness by the passing of time. Speckled with lichen and pushed by either weather or slowly shifting soil, the stones leaned drunkenly at different angles.…