Hello, everyone! It’s been a while. I feel like I’m always saying that at the start of my blog posts, but this time I’m back – and it’s serious. To begin with, I now have my very own domain name, which is something I’ve been putting off for a long time while I debated whether or not I was ‘serious’ about blogging. After almost two years, I’ve come to the conclusion that I love it too much to let it fall by the wayside, so I’m determined to dedicate more time to it!
Where have I been? Everywhere and nowhere, it feels like. September was a busy month, but I feel like I spent most of it waiting. I’m used to it, but it’s never any less frustrating. The first half of the month was absolutely agonising. My appointment with my gastroenterologist (obtained mid-June, after much pleading with a secretary who was not mine, but who was the only one there, as mine was ill for a prolonged period and hadn’t scheduled my next appointment) wasn’t until the 14th, and I didn’t move back to university – and into my new studio flat! – until the 15th. I tried to fill the time productively. I got new contacts (and discovered that, although I love them, my eyes are pretty dry, which makes them deeply uncomfortable to wear for long). I bought a book (what’s new?). I brooded about turning 20. I started to spend longer and longer in bed, partly because I was starting to decline physically and really needed it, and partly because there wasn’t really much worth getting out of bed for. It was a weird month, all in all – and so here’s a breakdown of the most interesting parts:
I started out by writing out how my gastroenterology appointment went – but it ended up so long that it’ll have to be a separate post! You know me. Other than the Crohn’s, which is as bad as ever, I caught fresher’s flu in the first week of university and it’s still hanging around. One of the many benefits of being immunosuppressed. I don’t remember what it was like to not constantly be sniffing and clearing my throat. I got the flu vaccine, though, so at least there’s that ticked off my list.
Pokemon Go is helping me feel a little better, though. Last year something I experienced was that I’d have an obstruction, or a particularly bad patch in my flare, and spend days in my room, and then feel bad for holing myself up in there so long, like I was in prison. Now I’m walking just a little bit every day (or almost every day – I still need to rest!) and finding that balance has felt important to me. Getting out of the door is the biggest step, but it’s so worth it to just be outside for a little while, and not only because I have to go to class/do laundry/go grocery shopping.
Oh, but the string of constant migraines I was getting last summer and autumn has now stayed away for an entire year! They’re quite rare, now. The most I usually get is a tension or dehydration headache. Coincidentally, it’s also been a year since my last obstruction! What a landmark month September is.
I moved back to university! Into my own little studio flat, this time, and my goodness. It’s so much more expensive but I am in love. I have my own oven, little tiny hob, kettle, toaster, sink… I can cook as and when I need to without worrying about other people. I know that, once I have cleaned the kitchenette, it is clean. Nobody is leaving opened packets of raw shrimp on the countertop (yes, that actually happened last year) or refusing to take out the bins. I can cook, at last, even on my worst days – because the oven and hob are just steps from my bed – and, should I need to, I can switch everything off and run to the toilet and know it’ll still be there when I come back. And there will be no passive-aggressive kitchen notes!!! It’s glorious. Already my anxiety over preparing food is so much less than last year, and I’m managing to eat a lot more than I did last year because of it. I’m trying.
Second year is… odd. It’s already a lot more to learn and remember than first year was, which I was expecting, but there’s so much outside of academics to do as well. Work experience, writing a decent CV, finding placements, internships, deciding what you actually want to do with your life. Every day is so busy in a thousand different little ways. But I don’t mind it. I’m enjoying the pace, and I’m extraordinarily proud that I seem to be keeping up so far. I’m even volunteering, and am a committee member for a society! I’m spinning all these plates and hoping they won’t come crashing down on me – but so far, so good.
Hi, my name’s Emma, and I have a problem. You might know this problem. I have a stack of books to be read, and yet I keep buying more.
For a long time, I’ve been reading eBooks on my phone. If I’m looking at my phone, the odds are I’m actually reading. I keep a lot of them on there – for travel, for quick breaks between lectures, for days when I’m stuck in bed… they’re compact, weightless, and just plain convenient. But I found I missed having an actual book collection. I’m all for minimalism, but I love my books. They’re a part of me, and I wanted to be able to display them to highlight that. When I discovered that nowadays, eBooks aren’t actually that much cheaper than their physical siblings any more, I started buying physical copies of books again.
I’ve missed it. The smell of a new book, the sound of pages turning, the deep engrossment that’s impossible to achieve on a phone with notifications popping up all the time… I love it. But because I wanted reading to be a truly special experience, I haven’t been reading as many of my new books, instead just rereading old ones on my phone. I fear not having the time to sit down and lose myself in a new book, what with all my other commitments, so the books have just been sitting there on my shelf, like decorative statues. But I’m determined to change that. Here’s what I’ve been reading this month – even if it’s only a few pages at a time:
- The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins, by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy and Carey Pietsch
My first graphic novel! The McElroys, with their podcast The Adventure Zone, taught me to laugh again when I was stuck in the throes of depression over the winter, so when I heard that their first arc was being adapted into a graphic novel I couldn’t contain my excitement. It was released in the UK the day before my birthday – so my brother kindly bought it for me as a birthday gift. It’s beautiful, just as hilarious as it is in podcast form, and I’m impressed at the pretty genius way all of Griffin’s actions and commentary as DM have been incorporated without breaking the flow, too.
- The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, by Sarah Knight
I love this book. It is everything I need. I’m not great at implementing the techniques yet, admittedly, but once I do, it’s game over for all the drains on my energy.
- Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
Now, anyone who knows me knows that I love historical fiction. Specifically, the Reformation era. My particular interest (read: obsession) in history is late Plantagenet to Elizabethan. THE TUDORS, essentially. And after spending every spare second I had in my January exam period watching the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall (to the point where I was watching episodes while on the toilet, or while cooking and eating dinner, basically any time I wasn’t sleeping or studying), I decided to pick up this beautiful doorstop of a book. Seriously, it is thick, and not because of a large font either. It is impressively chunky. I will be reading this for a good while, and I’m glad of it.
I love Mantel’s style of writing – I find it incredibly engaging – and the detail woven into the prose without interrupting the story is brilliantly done. Another thing I admire is just that it’s something so different: how often have you seen a tale of the Tudors from Cromwell’s point of view?
So that’s how my life has been lately! September was a busy month, and October is shaping up to be even busier. I hope you’re all doing well, and that you’re able to take some time soon to admire the changing of the seasons. It’s so beautiful, but I always blink and miss it, so I’m setting aside some time this weekend to truly take in the autumn.
Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash.