WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON

I mean really.

The last time I wrote on here I was 29. It was a month after my birthday, so really I was practically 28, if you think about it, and it feels fake if I do think about it, because now I am practically 32.

How does that work? I don’t know. In the same way all time works: it happens, and then you feel surprised. And it’s not like I haven’t been writing – I wrote a book since the last time I logged in, which feels strange to type out. I WROTE A BOOK, hidden away until it’s ready for me to fling it out into the world and hope that you like it. You know? I really hope that you like it.

But before that, I used to post ~blog stuff~ all the time, like a diary only strangers could read, like a ’00s LiveJournal that just wouldn’t die. I felt very comfortable blogging about all manner of shit, to be honest. Confident with it. Vulnerability is strange and that took me a while to realise – you have to find a balance somehow, share without exposing, tell the people who deserve to be told. Either way, I think I felt a lot more interesting back then.

I wrote about the demise of a long-term relationship. Mental health and anxiety. Living alone, and how much I learned to love it. I remember talking about living alone as this real, breathing thing, like a plant, and how it had shoved me in the direction of movement and GROWTH. It forced me to do more, say more, think more, and I felt this weird mixture of fear and accomplishment throughout it: the before and after bit of a bungee jump.

The world was a lot busier at that point. A better kind of scary. I had a job which required me to be in the office for nine hours a day, five days a week. I walked to the shops on my lunch break. I washed my hair regularly, put on make-up, wore clothes that looked good. I went out for meals after work with friends, acquaintance-y lunches, that sort of thing. I barely spent any time in the house, which meant that when I did, it felt good. I was an adventurer, a gallivanter: bring me to your social event, I will flourish.

In 2021, things are different. I wake up in the morning and put on one of my many giant men’s hoodies. I can choose from AC/DC (genuine fan before you come for me), Metallica (not a genuine fan whatsoever but have seen the documentary with their creepy therapist so leave me be), Tigress (my boyfriend’s band, very good and I’m not just saying it) and a few others. A lot of the clothes that looked good have been given to charity, either because they don’t fit me anymore or because they feel restrictive and uncomfortable. What do I like to wear now? What would I select for a night out? I’m not really sure. My hair is this awkward sort of long bob at the moment and I just let it do its thing, which isn’t the end of the world but also doesn’t make me feel great about myself, so I’ve started using that German caffeine shampoo. Alpecin. I am willing it to move. Every meal is eaten on the sofa because the dining room table is now a desk set-up. So: work on the sofa. TV on the sofa. No plans on the sofa. My 2021 world seems to revolve around the sofa. And how is that supposed to work for anyone long-term?

The evenings are weirder. I’m on my own, then – my working day is over but my boyfriend’s has just begun. So I have time to kill, and you know what? A lot of the time, it no longer feels like the growthful treat it once did. It feels lonely. It feels like I am hiding inside from this lingering threat, still. And I am happy to do it, because I want to keep people safe, but I am also at the point where I am kind of terrified that this is just life now. That I will never be able to have another night like my 30th birthday party, where I walked around knowing everybody in that room was safe and that they loved me, and I felt so comfortable with it. Sometimes I bump into someone in Sainsbury’s, an old work colleague over by the apples or something, and just for a second I forget how to speak. Then I’ll go home sad, scared that the sociable side of my personality is somehow dwindling through lack of use. I work on my own. I write on my own. A lot of my life is a solo mission. My friends are still my friends but I miss them. I miss stuff that just happens: little trips and unplanned drinks and funny things that turn into funny tweets. I have nothing to say these days; I told you, all I am doing is sitting on my sofa. I want to call up the people who manage to turn their Domino’s pizza delivery into passable Instagram Story content and be like: look, how. How did you manage not to turn boring throughout this, because I am newly fucking dull.

I’m all good. I am healthy and lucky and I still fill in my gratitude journal at nighttime. I am deeply happy to be here, but…………………………oh my god.

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