The One Legged Superheroes

Long-time no speak.  So my year started pretty, well, great! I was feeling like I had direction, I had this crazy energy and felt the fittest I’ve ever felt in my whole life. Then after a week of crazy work hours and going hard at the gym, I sprain my knee. Not too bad right…? So two weeks off work resting and I’ll be back in the game. Those two weeks felt like the longest of my life but it was only two weeks right? Wrong… two more weeks. Shit this was bad news, but still I could do a month. Then I’d be back in the game! So brings me to now, 7 weeks since the initial injury and we’re looking at knee surgery and 3-6 months post recovery and rehab. That’s nearly half a year out of action. This has meant having to leave my job at Disneyland earlier than expected and a full pelt, pretty harsh pause in my life.

Since the age of 16 I have always had a job. I would go to school in the week, attend every drama, music, dance, head girl, prefect event and class there was. Friday nights I would go out and socialise and be very tired and sometimes hungover (over the age of 18…obviously…) the next morning for my 4 hour theatre company rehearsals. Id then spend my Sunday’s working as a waitress. And repeat. And from then on my life has been an absolute whirlwind of craziness. And I’ve loved it. So being physically unable to walk and told by your body to stop came as a bit of a rude shock.

Injuries are fucking shit. They just are. If you do any form of sport or have an active lifestyle, chances are, you’re going to have or will suffer an injury at some point in your life. Obviously the pain is rubbish and being unable to walk is so awful. But the mental battle is one that I feel needs addressing. It’s hard, damn hard. I want to talk about it because well, I like talking about things people don’t like talking about.

I first felt denial. In fact I walked on my knee in Paris for a full day and went out that evening after doing the accident in the morning all in complete agony because I was actually ignoring I had hurt myself. I went to the doctors the following morning and actually ordered him to change my time being signed off work from a month down to two weeks because of course, I knew more than someone who has trained in medicine for 7 years and there was nothing wrong with me. Of course I went back in two weeks and whilst rolling his eyes and looking at my knee he says “told you so “and signed me off for another month.

I felt loss of control. I hate being told what to do, especially when I’m being bossed around by my own body-how dare she! I felt as if there was a civil war going on inside me. My healthy, happy mind is telling me to go out and get on with my life and my body is just having none of it. Think R Kelly’s Bump N’ Grind but the opposite “My mind’s telling me yes, but my body, my body’s telling me noooooo”.

I felt obsessive. So as a result of loss of control over certain aspects of my life, I consequently became obsessed with the things I could control. My weight. To be honest I have obsessed with this aspect of myself since being a teenager but over the years I feel I have developed a healthy relationship between food and exercise. And before my injury I never worried too much about what I ate as I knew I could sufficiently burn it off with my exercise routine but now that aspect is gone. So I did become a little obsessed with putting any weight on. To be honest I’m probably the slimiest I’ve been in a long time but I do need to keep reminding myself to not be ridiculous about this and eat some damn ice cream sometimes.

I felt frustrated, angry and just bloody annoyed at the whole situation.

I felt sad and depressed that it prevented me from performing and doing what I love. And truthfully this terrifies and excites me at the same time. It’s confirmed that I’m missing something inside myself if I can’t express myself and perform.

But really, it just gives you a whole lot of perspective. This could be so much worse, I mean really! Every man and his dog has had knee surgery these days! Other than my temporary sore knee, I’m a healthy, happy, lucky human bean. I just can’t imagine the struggle people with mental and physical disabilities go through every single day. I mean, where are the lifts at!? It takes me 5 times as long to walk upstairs as regular people but what about the people in wheelchairs or someone with no legs at all. Can they just not ride the metro? Or go to the theatre? Or navigate around a small restaurant? Or use the toilet because there is only one and it’s down 45 steps, through a door for mice and guarded by a sleeping dragon? It’s really not cool and something needs to be done about it. But massive respect for anyone who finds doing everyday tasks hard due to physical or mental battles. Because you have to work a hell of a lot harder than the rest of us to just keep up and I think you’re all pretty awesome superheroes.

So to wrap this up, for anyone that shares an interest, I will be leaving my job at Disneyland in a week for the foreseeable future to go home and fix myself up until I come out all shiny and sparkly again. But for now I just want to thank all the incredible people that have helped me thus far during the past 7 weeks and thanks in advance for all the cups of tea and cuddles to come over the following months. And for you Disneyland, you sparkling, crazy beast, I’m going to miss you so much and all the people that fill you up every day. EPC you’re a bunch of weirdos, thanks for the mems, it’s been real.

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How to be Single in a world full of couples

So in an attempt to desperately find some storage on my shitty Iphone this evening, I clicked on my ‘notes’. An app I rarely venture into (I prefer the old, ancient method of pen and paper). I began scrolling to see what useless information I could delete and I happened to open a note saved as ‘How to be single in a world full of couples’ which was a detailed, bullet pointed list… I don’t know what or who had inspired me to write this at 21:39 on the 16th March 2016 but I just had to share…

  1. Don’t settle. Don’t settle for something second best when you deserve the world girl (I actually wrote girl there LOL) . I so often find myself thinking well he’ll do I guess but NO! Settling could stop you from meeting your perfect partner.
  2. Me before you. Focus on yourself. Find who you are as a person and build on your dreams. You should be with a person who encourages and shares your ambitions not someone who hinders it.
  3. Be inspired by great couples around you and learn from them. You have a great opportunity to see from an outsider’s perspective. However never judge them, don’t label them as good or bad. I love seeing couples that prove everyone’s first impressions wrong.
  4. Take advantage of the fact you have no ties, you can travel the world, up and leave whenever you want!
  5. Appreciate your friends. I think my best friends are truly my soul mates, you know who you are.
  6. Remember there is time. Don’t sit around waiting for your Prince Charming. Live and love life, someone will come along, otherwise life will keep zooming on and leave you behind. Live in the moment and appreciate the beauty of the everyday.
  7. When you feel like a cuddle or intimacy, don’t replace it with something else like comfort eating or going out and getting wasted. You’ll just feel worse for it.
  8. Ditch tinder. Just literally delete it now, it does more harm than good
  9. Stay positive. Make a list of all the amazing people in your life that love you!

Well there you go! Short and sweet yet almost profound… PS take a look at the old notes on your phone, if they’re anything like mine I’m sure you’ll have a giggle.

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Memoirs of a Franglais

THE BISOUS

At 9am whilst I’ve still got sleep in my eye and breath that smells like a dogs arse, I could think of nothing worse than giving you not one but TWO kisses on the cheek. Especially as I hardly even know you, like the fact that I awkwardly got a bus home with you once doesn’t mean that I know you well enough for you to invade my personal space like that, especially at this time in the morning. Let’s stick to a friendly nod with a quiet ‘morning ‘, at least until 11am.

LIFE DOES NOT BEGIN AT 60, IT GOES RAPIDLY DOWNHILL.

Please refrain from using any number over 69 as my brain will literally explode in front of you into a million pieces.  I honestly think the French could be the only people to overcomplicate the simple act of counting. In what universe does ninety nine mean the same as quatre-vingt-dix-neuf (four times twenty plus 10 + 9)…I mean come on!

SINCE WHEN DO OBJECTS HAVE A SEX…

This is 2016 people; I thought we were trying to stop gender stereotyping. But really it’s just another useless rule to overcomplicate things. On a side note this grammar tip on a website made me laugh and roll my eyes simultaneously – Une victime “a victim” is always feminine.

“JUST ANOTHER MANIC MONDAY ” WELL NOT IN FRANCE

Okay I get the ‘Things are closed on a Sunday thing’, I mean it’s still backward and annoying but I can get over it, but Monday too!? Really France, it’s just unnecessary. You already close your shop for a peachy two hour lunch break and Sundays are a write-off, but Mondays too?! Now you’re just being greedy.

EMAIL? ONLINE? OH NO, WE DON’T USE TECHNOLOGY HERE

“Can I just email the correct documents to you?” “Oh no, we only accept the original, hand written, 1998 2.0 revised version, translated into French by an official translator, on hand-made paper, sealed with a wax stamp and delivered by a mail pigeon version only. Sorry” “Okay, don’t worry, didn’t want health care anyway”

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK!

No, literally the whole empire strikes back, like almost once a week, for any reason. And there’s no Luke Skywalker to save the galaxy. In schools they must teach the following; always say please and thank you, think of others before yourself, look both ways before you cross the road and if you are ever unhappy with anything, strike. Trains, buses, the post office, petrol stations, taxis. You name it; they’ve probably had a strike in the last 6 months.

SMELL YOU LATER

From stops Nation-Auber on the RER and pretty much every metro station has that distinctive, absolutely putrid smell that honestly smells like 1000 year old dead bodies, vomit and B.O. But after a while you get used to it and it wouldn’t be Paris without it.

ESPRESSO YOURSELF

If the coffee you’ve ordered is anything other than short, black and very strong then please prepare yourself for a disappointing experience. Take your lattes, flat whites and macchiato elsewhere.

A VEGGA-WHAT?

Being a vegetarian in Paris can have its difficulties. Asking the land of foie gras, steak tartare and escargot for a meal without meat can arouse a few puzzled faces. Luckily two or three Nutella crepes will suffice… I guess…

SWEET SERENDIPITY

It is almost guaranteed that every time I go into Paris, even if I go to a place I have been hundreds of times before, I will find an unexpected and beautiful building, garden, piece of art, street, shop or café. I am always being reminded of the beauty of Paris.

WE CAN’T WHINE ABOUT THE WINE

I have to say, I’m mildly horrified if I have to pay anything more than 5€ for a bottle of wine. 3€ and you’re pretty much guaranteed a decent bottle. Who does England think they are…£10 for a vinegary Pinot Grigio , you’re ‘avin a laugh!

BON APPETIT!

The bread, pastries, cheese, crepes, macaroons and saucissons are hard to beat. Bread, wine and cheese are a combination made in heaven and France has pretty much nailed it.

The truth is, us Brits love to moan. It’s what we do, it’s in our blood. And honestly if we care about something enough to consequently moan about it, it just proves it really does have a place in our heart. Dig deep my fellow franglais, we all love Paris really, after all, why would we stay so long…?

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Paris Je t’aime


			

A PHD in Procrastination

procrastination

It will be a miracle if I ever get a degree in anything however if there was a BA Hons in Modern Day Procrastination, I’d be all over that shit. When I’m so busy that I can’t even have a cuppa, I am forever saying ‘I just need a day to catch up on all those little things I need to do’, yet when my beloved day off arrives, by the time it reaches 8pm, the realisation hits that I have spent a whole day meaning to but NOT getting round to any of my to-do list.

I am currently preparing for many drama school acting auditions that are coming up in less than a month (LESS THAN A MONTH *mini melt down*) and yet all I have managed to do today is, wait for it, open my ‘Complete Works of Shakespeare’ and yeah… that’s it… I can’t express to you how important these auditions are for me, it’s my dream to study at one of these schools, it’s all I can think about yet I find it the hardest thing in the world to sit down and learn that darned monologue. All of a sudden, I urgently need to do the dishes, mop the floor, clean the windows, clean parts of the house I don’t think I have ever cleaned before. Make a gourmet sandwich that takes just under an hour. Wash and dry my clothes including the tea towels and shower mats ( I mean who even washes tea towels and shower mats). All I can say is that on any other day that would be productive but today, when I need to memorize this monologue, it is nothing but procrastination.

I don’t care what the older generations say, we certainly have it harder in some aspects of study. I’m positive that when they went to learn Phebe’s speech from ‘As You Like It’, they didn’t have the relentless *BUZZ* of the multiple Whatsapp group chats, the *DING* of the Facebook ‘Night Out’ chat, the addictive feeling of checking the likes on your latest selfie on Instagram and the mindless stalking of people’s snapchat stories (I really couldn’t care less about the tinny, grime music that was playing in the club you went to last night but yes I’ll still watch it). Now I know some uni students will say *cue snooty voice* “well when I go to study, I switch off my phone and put it in a draw where I know I won’t be distracted by it” but let’s be real, that is just completely counterproductive. I would then spend the whole time totally paranoid that someone is desperately trying to get hold of me, when in truth the only message I would have is a picture of my dogs that my dad sent to me…but still, you never know…

If I think truthfully maybe I don’t want to give the thing I care most about my full attention, because what if then, after I have really given 100%, it still isn’t good enough, I still don’t make the grade, I still get cut. Maybe I am scared to give something my full, undivided attention but from reading some of the ‘Mindfulness’ book my guru mother gave me for Christmas, focusing on one thing at a time, fully and wholeheartedly may be the key to my success.

But anyway… the most ironic thing is that this blog post is another PROCRASTINATION and I should really get back to the task at hand, Shakespeare calls…

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A Peace of my Mind

So I assume everyone is aware of the recent terror attacks in Paris last Friday. I can assume this from the difficulty I now have telling my Facebook friends apart due to the sea of French flags filling up my news feed. But joking aside…

Ever since it happened I have wanted to write about it, contemplating the slant I would take with it, what could I say that hasn’t already been said until its’s blue in the face? However, every time I think about it, I am dumbfounded as to what I can say, confused in fact. I’m not about to come trotting in on my high horse, dictating how people should be taking this. How you shouldn’t have French flags on your profile pictures, how you should. How you shouldn’t be afraid, how you should. I honestly don’t know what should be France’s next action, so I’m not going to sit here and talk about it as if I have the foggiest about War Politics. All I can truthfully talk about is how I feel and so that’s what I’m going to do.

As the news was breaking on Friday night I was watching it with my friends, sat in my small apartment in the outskirts of Paris. As they spoke about the first explosion by the Stade Du France and the first shootings in the bar, I wasn’t feeling intense worry, more adrenaline, like I was watching a thriller starring Matt Damon. I had no real emotional connection to the story yet. That was until I remembered two of my friends were having dinner in Paris. Shit- a little more real. Okay, she replied to my text, she’s on her way home. Now my mind is going, who from work said they were going into Paris this Friday night? Unusually and luckily most people had decided to be anti-social and stay in (thank you tiring parade!) and the few people in areas of danger had been accounted for and were making their way home.  The lump in my throat disappeared and I watched a little more calmly. Another shooting in a restaurant, another explosion at the Stade Du France, a suicide bombing. What the fuck! The lump creeps back up. Where is Sophie and Yasin?! That’s when the messages started to come through and I realised the attacks could have been a real threat to my friends and I. Instead of the messages saying-‘have you seen the news?’ they were ‘Are you okay?’ ‘Are you safe?’ ‘Please tell me you’re at home’. If we had decided to go to Paris that night, which we so often do, there may have been no replies to those messages.

Sophie and Yasin arrived home and my worries almost seemed silly, of course they were going to get home. And then more breaking news. Hostages have been taken at a concert, another suicide bombing and yet more shootings. Facebook then send me a notification giving me the option to ‘mark myself safe’ during the Paris Terror Attacks. We all snigger at this, of course we are safe, we’re sat in the living room drinking tea. But as the messages kept coming through from family and close friends to people I haven’t spoken to in years we decided to save people’s worries and all clicked ‘safe’. As the night went on, we were glued to the TV, like some sick game show, watching the death toll rise. It made me remember when my Mum told me about a bomb blast she experienced in a club in my home county of South Africa. An event I think of as terrifying but also something that happens in ‘unsafe’ places. So now this is happening in beautiful Paris, does this make it ‘unsafe’ now too? Then France closed its borders, now I feel bizarre. So I couldn’t get out even if I wanted too? I know they will reopen them within a day or so but this is the first time I felt trapped or penned into a country. People in war-torn countries must feel like this every day, refugees. Then my heart sunk; this world isn’t all roses is it?

We all go to bed around 3am, feeling tired and numb to the night’s events. Rumours have circulated that Disneyland may be closed the next day; something I never thought would happen whilst I worked there. The only way I can describe how we felt waiting to see whether work was open the next day was how I used to feel waiting to see if school was closed due to snow; but it wasn’t excitement, more anticipation. Disneyland will be closed for four days; wow shit’s got real. It’s now Monday, nearly three days after the attacks. Last night France dropped 20 bombs on a jihad training camp in Raqqa. I have had a range of feelings but none have really led me to form just one opinion on the whole situation. So instead I have sliced my mind open to try to explain how it feels for me in France now.

I have felt humbled by the overwhelming sense of support the rest of the world has given to Paris and a wonderful sense of love.

I have felt bored. Not wanting to go out much, being at home, losing some freedom. Boredom is a feeling I have experienced a lot since the events.

I have felt guilty. How dare I feel bored when there are people mourning the death of their mother, father, daughter, son and friend? What a bad person I am. Guilty that I only have a French flag on my Profile picture and not all the other war-torn countries. Guilty that I posted a picture of an empty Disneyland when it was closed for respect. Guilty that I want to talk about something other than these attacks.

I have felt empowered. At work we are taking still taking the Disney Characters into the Hotels even though the park is closed to distract the guest and try to ease worry where we can. This makes me appreciate my job more as I feel like the guests really appreciate what we are doing.

I have felt comradery. People are looking after each other. Parisians were queueing for hours to give blood on Saturday morning. People are checking up on each other at work, giving hugs and being there for each other.

I have felt anger. Anger that the terrorists are succeeding in instilling fear, anger that they are getting into my head, anger at the ignorance of people who are blindly blaming whole religious groups for these attacks.

I have felt ignorant myself. I really don’t know much about the situation in Syria, with the IS and the fact they were a real threat to us at all.

I have felt scared. Last night when I heard France had retaliated so quickly, I felt genuine terror at the thought of what will happen next. I have felt scared that the word ‘war’ has been thrown around so freely.

I have felt all of these feelings in less than three days but most of all I feel absolute hatred for conflict and war. The innocent people in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Afghanistan, to name a handful of ongoing, armed conflict countries, feel these emotions on a much bigger scale EVERYDAY and have done for YEARS. I found this map of all of the countries involved in armed conflict in the past year, I was truly shocked.

In a few weeks while we are all tucking into our turkeys, our minds will be far away from the events in Paris. But war doesn’t stop for the holidays; in fact I doubt it will ever stop at all, even though in a perfect world it would cease to exist. We don’t know what the future holds and what events will unfold in Paris and around the world in the next few months. However what I can control is my actions and state of mind. I vow to be kind, open-minded and hearted, sympathetic yet resilient, help where I can and not hinder with a negative mind-set. And whether you agree or disagree with things I have said in this blog, these small steps are things all of us can do.

Peace for Paris, Peace for the World.

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Peace for Paris

Peace for Paris

The ‘S’ Word

As I make the transition from my teenage years to my twenties, I’m learning a lot of things about myself, the world and the people around me.

Stereotypically the British are extremely polite and with politeness often comes copious amounts of apologising. Now don’t get me wrong, this is an admirable trait if the apologising is done when we have made a mistake that will affect other people or hurt someone’s feelings and with a genuine and sincere delivery. However, a bad habit a lot of us are in is apologising for who we are, our beliefs and the experiences we have had to make us us!

Over the past year I have found myself in many situations where I have been in a totally new environment with new people and been expected to learn on the job and improvise. This opens itself up to A LOT of mistakes and the use of the ‘S’ word like it’s going out of fashion. In each new environment, I can guarantee I will find at least one person like this...

(Cue David Attenborough voice)-” And here you will observe the 30 something female/male who has been stuck in the same job for 10 years too many. When they encounter a young female entering their herd, they tend to feel threatened and take a disliking to the newest member. Their usual response is over-criticising, ‘bitchy stares’ and close-mindedness.”

Think about where you work now, I guarantee you can name this person… Life can be predictable in this sense, wherever you go, whatever county you are in there will always be the Asian nerds, cool Asians, varsity jocks, unfriendly black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, girls who don’t eat anything, desperate wannabes, burnouts, sexually active band geeks, the greatest people you will ever meet, and the worst… beware of the bitter, jealous 30 somethings. (Sorry that was too good an opportunity to miss and also sorry for anyone who had no idea what that last sentence was about!)

I JUST PROVED MY THEORY- here I am trying to tell you to stop apologising for who you are and I just said the ‘S’ word TWICE! I’ve got a lot of work to do…

My point about these people is that there is always going to be someone that’s older than you, more experience and seems to have the answers. But the truth is they are still learning, like everyone. No one has all the answers and what works for someone else may not work for you. I used to take more experienced people’s advise as gospel and even when I thought I was making my own decisions, it was someone else speaking and I wasn’t listening to my own feelings and beliefs. We have to make mistakes to learn and grow as a person and that is something we need to stop saying sorry for.

I have recently started a new job as a waitress, and being an aspiring actress, I class myself as a pretty experienced waitress…woe is me (cue distressed swoon/back bend). I understand that I need to be corrected on particular aspects like their order of service, the systems they use and how they want their staff to be presented to the customer. But I have started to form a ‘professional’ identity that I use in a work place environment; how I choose to conduct myself personally and professionally. There have been a few occasions where some of my fellow colleagues have given me feedback on my work and shown me how they do it instead. A year ago my response would’ve been something like-“Oh sorry! Okay thank you, I’ll do it like that from now on.” Today I would still thank them for their advice but consider if it was something that would work for me.

And in regards to the ‘S’ word, I’m not saying that we should stop using it as we need to be empathetic to others (I’m sorry I laughed at you that time you got diarrhoea at Barnes & Nobles ) . Rather I think it should be an attitude reflected in our character and state of mind. As the Barbadian bad gal RhiRhi once named her album ‘Unapologetic’ we too should aspire to be this in our attitude to who we are and what we believe in.

It would probably do me good to cut back on the other ‘S’ word too…

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house wife

5 Reasons Why Coffee is Better in Australia

Last week I returned home from a month long trip to Sydney, Australia. As well as discovering that Sydney is beautiful in winter and the food is incredible, one astounding fact stood out to me. Coffee is better in Australia. Here’s just five reasons why…

  1. It’s cheaper! I am always counting my pennies so this was a nice surprise seeing as Sydney has a reputation for being expensive. You can grab a regular cappuccino for around $3.50 which is around £1.65! Pukka!
  2. It’s an experience. I’m a sucker for cute, quirky interiors and ‘vibey’ atmospheres. Australia absolutely nails it- they’re everywhere! Think Brick Lane’s finest on every street corner. Heaven!
  3. It sounds cooler. Aussies abbreviate everything. I honestly listened to conversations where I didn’t understand a single word spoken- they were speaking English, I think… My order was usually a cappuccino with skimmed milk. Once translated into ‘Australian’, my order was a ‘skim cap’. I have to say, it didn’t sit very naturally on my conservative West London accent but I couldn’t help feeling like a bad ass whilst ordering.
  4. Not a Starbucks in sight! Hallelujah! I think in my whole month trip I saw only one green mermaid with extremely long hair. It was very refreshing to see one less American giant dominating the market in a very Americanised country. Power to the independent retailers!
  5. It’s made with care. From the beautiful latte art to being able to choose the bean and strength of your coffee. The baristas have a ritual of coffee making perfection. However, even if the product itself may not be the finest you’ve tasted, they use their time and care to create something personal for you and it always tastes better. Australia’s ‘coffee shop culture’ is something I adore and am truly envious of. It is so important to take time out of your day to sit and talk to one another without dividing your attention and energy into a million things at once. And even though I’m now back on the other side of the world, I’m determined to incorporate this culture into my busy London life.

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Aus Coffee

I had this coffee in the back of an old bookshop in Glebe- Sydney. It was so adorable and the coffee was perfection.