It feels like forever since I’ve dropped in to share my Five for Friday.
Next weekend marks Easter, which means that we’re already a quarter of the way through 2021 (!), and I wonder why I feel so preoccupied with time at the moment, so conscious of the weeks and months passing in a blur — or sometimes as slowly as molasses tipped from the jar.
At the end of January, I tearfully confided in my partner that I wasn’t sure I’d survive this year.
‘What do you mean?’ he asked.
‘I mean I can’t physically do it,’ I tried to explain, my voice thin with panic.
Two months later, I’m starting to breathe again.
Only last week, I walked, umbrella tilted against the rain, to a book launch in West End, and I found myself feeling… OK. Enchanted by the sparkly lights. Reassured by the smell of new books. Comforted by the goodwill of women gathering around another woman with something important to say.
Probably the most together I've felt since something 'broke in the machine' around Christmas.
I feel like I’ve finally settled into the teaching semester (REAL STUDENTS OMG) — even though it turns my work week into a seven-day commitment — and that the worst and hardest prep is out of the way, at least until marking season kicks off. I’m in the process of putting another quarterly journal issue into production. An unenjoyable freelance project is winding up. And my full-time job is levelling out into work that’s more predictable, more writing-based, and less reactive.
Work aside, Mr Ladyberg and I have made some big plans and decisions recently, and I’m experiencing a lot of hope and peace I haven’t felt in such a long time. I’ve been reading consistently before bed and chipping away very slowly on some writing. I’ve also been feeling content with my quieter social life and more and more convinced that having this space is the best choice for me. I don’t miss the constant negativity, and the resulting anxiety, that certain interactions and alliances were starting to bring, and I feel as though I’ve been exposed to some healthier dynamics over the last six months that have given me a useful yardstick against which to measure toxicity versus nourishment.
Life is just such a mixed bag, y'all.
I wish someone had warned us in school. But I guess that, if we had an inkling the real order of operations was merely a shifting kaleidoscope of existential angst layered with new and different pressures, we mightn't have felt much anticipation for the future.
Alongside the marginally cooler Brisbane 'autumn' weather, here are some lovely little bits and bobs I’ve been enjoying lately:
One. Does a cinnamon tea cake in chewy cookie format sound irresistible to you? We made these pan-banging snickerdoodles for my partner's birthday last weekend, and they are perfect.
Two. I'm only happy when I'm... tuning in to creepy crime shows. So I'm glad one of my best friends recommended I give Ozark another try. Now that we've watched the first two episodes of the third season, however, the shift in storyline gears is starting to feel rather grating, but we'll see what happens (Julia Garner as Ruth usually saves the day). I also started listening to a new podcast this week: The Doodler, a true crime series that maps out a spree of as-yet-unsolved killings among San Francisco's gay community in the mid-1970s. Good for evening walks in well-lit areas.
Four. If you live on Brisbane's south side and are on the hunt for delicious coffee made on plant-based milks, look no further than Paper Moon in Annerley. Bonus: there's a vintage store next door full of vibrant retro clothes and other odds and ends.
Five. Brené Brown has a way of articulating really social complex realities so simply and gently. This recent post perfectly captures one of the foundational problems with 'self-care' (and indeed with self-help more broadly): that selves suffer when systems and societies render them sick, sad, and alone. We can't heal in isolation, and individual solutions to systemic problems can have only limited success.
*I was perhaps being overly ambitious thinking I'd be able to squeeze in a Five for Friday every week, so I might go for the end of each month after this one. :)