Fun & Semi-Relatable, Medicine

Not together

You know how there are people in this world who are really, what I call ‘together’? Honestly, I’m referring to women here, although I’m sure a male equivalent exists… I just haven’t paid a great deal of attention to them. This is because my warped conditioning means I compare myself to other women almost reflexively, eyeing up their waistlines in proportion to my own on the regs.

Anyway, I’m actually deviating right now because what I’m trying to say is that I’m really not together. And today is the least together I’ve felt in the longest time.

See, together people have this vibe about them, where confidence appears to be this trait that they’re born with. They walk in a certain way, dress with class, are poised in all their actions from the way they drink, to the way they toss their hair behind their shoulders, right down to (probably) the way they shit.

Now, everyone knows ‘together’ people and I bet you, right now, reading this can conjure up the image of someone who is very together in your mind. I can certainly think of two or three. If you can’t think of someone, that’s probably because you’re one of them (but I don’t feel like together people read my blog, so then again, you’re probably not).

The thing that really sucks about me is that I genuinely try so hard to be together. I do. Take my pre-employment check for example. I thought I was being so together: I organised my documentation into three labelled folders, I wore a shirt that day and I even walked with my shoulders back (a genuine struggle for a lanky individual such as myself) and then I rocked up there and there was a whole online thing that I’d forgotten to do. I swear this happens to me all the time. I always think I’ve done it… then I miss something important.

The way I act is absolutely not together either. Unfortunately, I have one of those really honest faces so I feel like if I’m absolutely bricking it, you can read it in my eyes like an open book. That’s stressful. Also I suck at faking it. The other week, I went to this amazing, michelin star meal which I didn’t even have to pay for but I was really tired and emotionally drained. Two glasses of expensive wine later, down came the wall and I couldn’t even be bothered to socialise, so I switched off. Even now when I think about it, I cringe at the number of together people at that meal who witnessed my lack of togetherness.

Also, women, I wear flats. I don’t wear heels. EVER. Exactly. Because I hate them, they’re painful, our bodies are not designed to stand on such a tiny pressure point and I refuse to let society push me into believing that I have to wear them, even in my best. So I always end up looking a little less together but I am taking it on the chin and saving my calves.

So I guess this level of confession usually leads to something a little deeper and you’re right, yes, it does. Tomorrow is my first day as a doctor.

And I’m not together enough for this. And I can’t even fake it.

Perhaps not something I should be admitting so publicly, but I am bricking it to some other level. I feel like all the Medicine I ever learned has drained out of me. Worse still, as I filed away my academic transcripts yesterday (in another desperado attempt at togetherness) I realised that I’ve got this piece of card that says I’ve done this degree but I don’t feel like a doctor at all. Sure, I wore the gown and walked the walk but it doesn’t mean a thing. In fact, I’m pretty sure I fluked my way through certain parts of medical school.

I know everyone feels like this and at some point, through repeatedly falling on my face (metaphorically) I will somehow get back up and learn how to do this job. The thing is though, the falling really scares me and I’m not together enough to fall gracefully.

I still don’t know if I’ve missed anything from the horde of emails I’ve been sent. I feel like there will be something. I don’t know the route to my new work place. Does my car even have enough petrol in it? To add to this, we’re having some big indian party today at the house (sigh, I live at home now, together points -2) and this means I can’t be a stresshead all day which is my way of coping.

I’ve just thrown my head back on my pillow in utter exasperation. Such is the catharsis that accompanies writing. It’s 10.56am. What respectable human is still in bed at this time? Not a together one, I’ll tell you that.

Anyway. I have a day to fake my way through. Time to get up and paste that smile on for the arrivals and pretend to be oh so excited to start my new job tomorrow, yay! God, I hope I don’t get too drunk.

Til next time, I wish you all the togetherness that I do not possess myself.

Love and all,

G xoxo

P.S. I know my blogging consistency has been crap recently. I act like I’m so popular… sincere apologies to all my fans and loyal readers lalala  bullshit. Honestly, my head has been so screwed up and when I write, it means I have to face the reality of what is happening in there and recently, I haven’t wanted to. That’s the whole truth.

P.P.S. Despite the lack of togetherness, one thing every goddamn tutor I’ve had over the last five years has said is that I’m ‘enthusiastic’. And actually, I am. I can’t wait to start work. I can’t wait to have a purpose. I can’t wait to feel absolutely exhausted because I’ve done something good with my day. So it’ll be fine. It’s all going to be okay.

P.P.P.S. ‘Enthusiastic’ is so much better than ‘together’.

Fun & Semi-Relatable, Opinions & Rants

On the strong, independent woman

As a person who is finding herself becoming increasingly obsessed with gender equality by the day, I can assure you, loyal readers, that this post has been brewing for a long time.

 

The ‘strong, independent woman’. Alas, one of the most overly used catchphrases in popular culture. Images of Beyoncé spring to mind almost instantly and we practically hear the harmonious voices of Destiny’s Child crooning in our ears.

 

Being strong and independent are excellent characteristics which allow humans to thrive in our world today. Yet I can’t help but feel as though popular culture paints a picture of this woman as one who is career driven, gorgeously sexy, financially thriving, loves and values herself above all else in the world and most of all… doesn’t need a man.

 

And thus, the basic bitch who lives inside my brain screams at me to fit into this stereotype. ‘I WANT TO BE ONE!’ she yells with such overwhelming vigour that it ends up consuming my thoughts and actions. However the more closely I examine this stereotype, the more I cannot help but feel as though it is rooted knee deep in inequality.

 

First of all… where is the ‘strong, independent man’? Holler at me, fine fellow, let my very eyes see you in the flesh. Wait, you’re not a ‘thing’? Ah. But of course. Men are expected to be strong and independent so they don’t need a catchphrase to accompany them. The strong independent woman holds equal value to… the man. Not the strong, independent man. Does this, thereby imply that women are weak and dependent on the men in our lives so we need to justify to the rest of society that we are not these things?

 

See, my concern here is that adherence to this stereotype is almost a message to women that they need to overcompensate in order to be as strong and independent as men.
Men don’t feel the need to justify that they are strong and independent and don’t need a woman to validate them.

So why are women repeatedly telling themselves this message? Sharing memes of it? Overcompensating to the maximum? If we were to truly align ourselves with the belief that men and women are equal then shouldn’t we all just behave as though this is the case rather than making a big deal of it?

 

Another point of note: when we consider the strong, independent woman, our minds have been trained to conjure up images of those who are highly driven by their careers. It goes without saying that we have really moved past the time where a woman’s job is at home, looking after the kids they’ve painstakingly pushed out of their uterine cavities. But it’s imposing to make out that strong, independent women live and breathe their careers too. Everyone, regardless of gender has the right to choose what kind of balance they want from their lives. I come from a family where all the women I’ve known have worked full time and also had children. Is that the right way? The strong, independent women’s way?

 

I challenge society to see strong, independent women AND men, simply as people who make informed decisions as to what kind of balance they wish to adopt into their lives. Women don’t need to prove that they’re strong or independent by trying to fit an ideal associated with thriving careers, neither do they need to be ‘better’ than the people who choose to devote their lives to caring for their families (because they’re not)… and neither still is the perfect ideal to ‘get you a woman who can do both’.

 

True independence, surely, is to do what fills you with happiness and purpose, devoid of other people’s judgement?!

 

Point number three. The stereotypical strong independent woman appears extremely focused on herself. Whilst valuing oneself with the same love and care that you would value another is extremely important, the stereotype can mean that we suffer from extreme tunnel vision. People love to talk about how our twenties are a time for ourselves. We should be making our marks on the world, chasing our dreams, working long nights in glass offices and having really great instagram profiles. Even more so for the wannabe strong, independent women. So does that mean that the minute you get into a relationship you’re not doing your twenties right? That it’s bad to invest in another person because you should be 100% investing in yourself? And in addition, when in a relationship, the right thing to do is never ever compromise because being independent is about getting what YOU want?

 

This is where I’ve grown to disagree. I used to think of strong, independent women as sexually liberated people who don’t engage in relationships because they’re ‘too busy loving themselves’ and ‘don’t need a man’. Of course, no one should be sitting around waiting to be validated by a partner, that’s dangerous. (Also, being sexually liberated is something I not only support, but encourage- cue aubergine emoji. Cue several).

 
However, I have come round to the idea that those who display characteristics of strength and independence, men and women alike, invest in relationships that are right for them, at the right time, based on sound judgement. And whilst willing to compromise, do not make sacrifices that devalue or take away from their priorities.

 
Ultimately, strength and independence are qualities accessible to both genders.

 
Girls, women, ladies. Let’s stop overcompensating. Let’s stop comparing. Let’s stop letting our inner basic bitches fuelled by their diets of instagram and buzzfeed convince us that the ‘strong independent woman’ stereotype is the only correct way to live.

 
Whilst it’s important that we are aware of the little spikes of sexism we’ve accidentally internalised, we should also be intelligent enough not to fall for gimmicks that actually just perpetuate it further.

 

Create your own definition of what’s strong and independent, whether you identify as a man or a woman.

Now, go live it.

*Mic drop*

Gowri out

Xo

Fun & Semi-Relatable, Medicine

21 Things That Have Been Going On In Every Final Year Medical Student’s Head For The Past Two Weeks

  1. Oh. My. Life. I. Am. Going. To. Be. A. Doctor. Next. Year. I’m so not ready for this. Cue mental breakdown number 12 of the morning.
    giphy
  2. A GMC number just arrived in my inbox. Everything is suddenly real. Neither the last four years of my life nor Jeremy Hunt’s antics have prepared me for this.general-medical-councilOh balls.
  3. Oriel just reminds me of Ariel. As in… The Little Mermaid.giphy1
  4. Speaking of which… must Oriel really undergo maintenance during the most crucial two weeks of my med school career?screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-21-32-46

    Cheers.

  5. Soooo…. The whole of Scotland is one deanery. Cool.Screen Shot 2016-10-13 at 21.29.22.png
  6. Everyone else has six Pubmed IDs and two additional first class degrees with honours. I mean, Scotland can’t be that bad. It’s fine. I’m fine.giphy2
    Seriously, I’m fine.
  7. You know, the SJT is such a game changer and I have like… so much common sense, so it could really turn my life around. #NorthThamesgiphy7
  8. My geographical knowledge of this country amounts to zero.giphy3
  9. I have sixty tabs open on my internet browser, every third one being Google Images of various towns that I absolutely didn’t know existed. 

    Miscellaneous

  10. I cannot base my career for the next two years upon Google Images.giphy4
  11. Let me study the competition ratios from last year so I can tactfully place West Midlands North as my second choice.25020150205154022cropped
  12. I’ve gone on three dates with this other medic from Tinder and I feel like I can really see a future there. Do I bring up the whole linking thing? 

    giphy5

  13. If one more person asks me where I put as my top choice I will literally go into cardiac arrest in front of them. And since they are probably only as ready as I am to be a doctor, this doesn’t bode particularly well for my health.giphy6
  14. I still don’t know if my clinical referee quite knows who I am.giphy8
  15. Do I operate under a gender other than the one assigned to me at birth? I mean, what is my sexual orientation really? What is the meaning of life and what part do I play in it?

    giphy11
  16. The submit button is a massive red cog. My life changes the moment I click it and I already have so many commitment issues. Maybe I should just wait until tomorrow. 

    giphy12

  17. But then if Oriel crashes the night before the deadline I’m done.
  18. Five people have taken screenshots of their submitted applications on Facebook so I have a vague idea of what my life would look if I did press it.
  19. Maybe I should just press it.
  20. OH. MY. LIFE. I. AM. GOING. TO. BE. A. DOCTOR. NEXT. YEAR. I. AM. SO. NOT. READY. FOR. THIS.
    giphy13
  21. Screw it. Neither is anyone else.

giphy14

Fun & Semi-Relatable

I failed my fourth driving test today.

I FAILED MY FOURTH DRIVING TEST TODAY!

Well, that was liberating.

Though part of me is tempted to leave the post at that, I feel as though I owe the public (as in, the 4 viewers I get per day, love you guys) some sort of explanation. Actually, don’t read this, this is terrible material.

The Backstory

I am twenty two. I started learning to drive, like everyone else at school, when I was seventeen. I got a pack of lessons with a well known company, and sat in the driver’s seat of the car in my first lesson, both wide eyed and enthusiastic. Around four and a half minutes into this journey of self discovery, I learnt something truly valuable about myself. That is, that my co-ordination is somewhat non existent. The penny dropped right in front of me. I suddenly realised why, after five years of attempting to learn tennis, I continued to be miserable at it, and why my piano teacher always used to say he thought there was a connection missing between my brain and my fingers.

Cole, my first instructor, was recommended to me by a friend but sadly my lack of co-ordination and his lack of patience did not bode well. He gave up on me entirely and threw me on to Ross. Ross was far better than Cole, aside from the fact that I felt as though I was paying good money for his cigarette breaks. Said breaks eventually climaxed with a rather dramatic finale when I received a call from the company saying that he had suffered a heart attack. Smoking, friends, is the single biggest risk factor for heart disease. If you’ve made it this far, a) kudos to you and b) don’t smoke and c) Seriously, why are you still here? Ross is, however, well and happy now, and although I never got another call from the company, or my money back, the driving journey slowly jerked to an end.

My entry into Year 13 marked the beginning of The Grand And Overly Competitive Ridiculous Grammar School Game of Trying To Get Into Medical School. Frankly, at this point, little else mattered. I shoved driving to the back of my mind, whilst all my friends trickled through to the other side with pink licences.

Onwards and upwards into the summer after my first year. Bored stiff and with nothing to do for a long and intensely boring summer, I embarked on a high intensity course with Tim. However, my 1.5 year driving break allowed me to think sensibly. The fact that, for me, a biting point has little to do with a clutch and a lot to do with a burger pushed me to try driving an automatic car. This was splendid. So much less to worry about. Now, although this decision was excellent, Tim was not. Tim was robbing me by talking endlessly about the theory of driving around a roundabout, before being swept off on a tangent on when he first discovered that he was homosexual. I forget whether we ever got onto actually driving the car.

The Current Story

This battle continued until my first term of third year. At this point I realised that I needed to drive. Without a car, I can’t get around from placement to placement. And I needed a good instructor and this time I was going to be ruthless. That’s when I met Dave.  Dave is without a doubt, the best instructor I have ever had. 

I consider myself to be a challenging driver. A host of bad experiences, my natural, god given ability to suck at driving and a lazy attitude all culminated in me being a wreck on the roads. Dave, the poor guy, had to undo every single bit of it and start from scratch. His lessons were structured. He was firm, but calm, and had a brilliant sense of humour. I have driven with Dave for coming up to a year and a half, and guess what folks? I still haven’t passed my driving test.

I am so emotionally invested in this idea of being able to drive a car, to have freedom, to have independence and to finally just be an adult. To the point of desperation. The first three tests have  merged into a blur of tension and nerves. Between each one, the waiting period for the next has been painstakingly long. But though it, Dave and I continued to push, to work on my flaws and weaknesses, to do mock tests so I could practise in a high pressure environment. I have spent a long time feeling as though I am my own worst enemy. I fuel the car with my emotion and it gets the better of me. All the while, I see my friends passing on their first or second time and I would think ‘Why am I so useless at this? What is wrong with me?’. I never tell anyone on the day of another test because I can’t be bothered to come out and say ‘I failed again’.

The Moral of The Story

This brings me back to point number one. I failed my fourth driving test today. Failed it, fair and square. I knew I failed it in the first three minutes as I approached the roundabout outside the test centre and I didn’t see the car coming towards me, making the examiner brake for me. At this point, something truly dawned over me. Since I now, no longer had the pressure of passing this test I had already failed, I can just go for a very expensive but nice drive. It was a beautiful day. The sky was richly blue and the sun filtered between the trees and danced on the tarmac below me. Every day I see sick people but I myself am not just healthy but bounding with limitless energy, ready to be put to good use for good causes! Whilst I spend my time being so deeply attached to this idea of driving, blowing it up to be such a huge issue in my head, I forget that everything else is kind of okay. There is always so much out there to worry about and I, personally, have an exceptional gift for locating those things but today, I didn’t. I had a good drive. I was so relaxed. As soon as the examiner told me I had failed I was least bothered because I already knew. Instead of throwing my head back in exasperation like I normally would, I positively beamed at him and thanked him for being so nice.

Dave got me a cake because he really thought we would be celebrating today. Though he’ll never say it, I reckon he’ll really miss me when I eventually pass.

Driving truly has been, and continues to be a journey of self discovery for me. I don’t know when I will clear this test. It could be next time, or the time after, or months and months from now. All I know is that a time will come when I will do it. And although I’m about to go and cry into a cup of Earl Grey now for the disappointment of the day, I will not, for a long time, forget my epiphany of total gratitude that took place, five minutes into my fourth driving test.

If there’s a God up there who is listening, thankyou for that.

xxxxxxxxxx

PS 28/04/2016 I passed my fifth driving test.

 

 

Fun & Semi-Relatable, Where I am

Hello, I am still here.

Hello internet space. I have missed you. I didn’t think that time would come where I neglected you for so long because I got busy. 

So, lovely space of mine, I thought I would entertain you with some updates on my absolutely riveting life. I jest. Why am I writing such a yawn- inducing blog, one asks? Because, friends, I have a growth mindset. That means I can look back at this little snapshot of my life and reflect on it and see what progress I have made since then. It’s also because I just really really feel like it. And there is really no need for me to justify how I feel, is there? Also, here is a photo of myself, right now, as I write. I can’t even tell you what this is, apart from a total inability to pose.

4-up on 27-10-2015 at 21.53 (compiled)

Here it is chums. Updates. Try not to jump out of your chair in excitement in the manner demonstrated above.

1. I actually love medicine now.
I must admit that last year drained me. There are things no one tells you about being a medical student. Like how crap it is when you’re wandering aimlessly around wards with a stethoscope stuffed in your pocket (but not around your neck, never around your neck, you gotta earn that privilege) not knowing what to do and always being in the way. Things seem different now. I have really noticed that being surrounded by people with a more cheery disposition and a willingness to just have you there makes all the difference. Maybe it’s a result of moving to another hospital… or maybe it’s because people have a little more respect for you as a fourth year because you haven’t just been freshly churned out of pre-clinical medicine, not really knowing anything. All I know is that I love being there now, on most days. I love sitting in clinic just watching consultations, scrubbing into surgery and putting airways in on anaesthetics. It’s easy to forget how privileged we are to see people during a truly intimate part of their lives… during their hospital appointments, or just before having a big operation. I feel myself wanting to be there and wanting to learn.

2. …But I am so done with med school.
I am so ready to have a job and an income and not live in a student house. Seeing other people having graduated, and watching them in full time work now makes me want it so badly for myself. It’s like I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and running at it with full speed.

3. I have realised that when your best friend at uni becomes your housemate, your house becomes your home.
If there was ever such a thing as a game- changer, it has been this. There is nothing in the world more comforting than coming home, wherever home may be. The Dalai Lama says ‘A loving home is the foundation for your life’, and that extends beyond your immediate family. Home can just be that one friend who looks out for you in a way that no one else knows how to. After a long, hard day, I can return knowing that dinner might just be on the table already. A cup of tea will never get made without the offer being extended to the other person. All the buzzfeed posts apply and we proudly sit around thinking we’re infinitely cooler than everyone else because we have each other. We might even have merged our names. Backwards.

4. I still can’t drive.
Let’s get things straight. Firstly, I drive an automatic. That means I have no gears to worry about. Secondly, I have been at this for well over a year. Thirdly, every time I face another driving test my hands shake in fear, I get heart palpitations, I mess up at the first roundabout, followed by messing up the manoeuvre and then I go home and drown my sorrows in some form of cake or other diabetes- inducing substance. I might just be that girl who takes 46 tests before passing. But I’m a freaking soldier so watch out test number 47, I’m comin’ at ya.

5. I have officially given up meat.
And I’m scared to write that because it makes it real. I have wanted to do this for a long time but always found a way to put it off. It hasn’t been easy. For the last week, I have dreamt about fried chicken so anyone who makes this change and doesn’t get cravings has the resolve of a trooper. But I feel good about this particular life choice. I’m not pressurising myself to continue with it forever, but right now I think I’m doing the right thing for myself, the environment and the animals. The second Dalai Lama quote of today’s blog is ‘Be gentle with the earth’. For some reason, this single sentence spoke volumes to me, so I went with my gut and made the change.

6. I still dislike social media.
For social media rant number one, please see this.I never did get Twitter back. I still don’t have the Facebook app on my phone but I check it once a day on the computer so I don’t miss any vital updates. I don’t use snapchat at all anymore. Even with all the funky new animations. I kept my Instagram account, mainly because I follow cool things like yoga, vegetarian food blogs, headspace and the Dalai Lama, of course. My compromise has been to delete all the useless people-pleasing photographs on there and to make it a more accurate reflection of what really matters to me. All in all, I feel like I have my detached, pre-snapchat story brain back a little bit. It’s good.

7. I am really scared about what is going to happen to the NHS and royally pissed off that the actual contract can’t be found anywhere.
I’m not even going to start on this one because, frankly, enough people have blogged about it. But it’s there, it’s shit and I’m not impressed with Jeremy Hunt in the slightest.

8. I am in love.
I have spent a long time thinking about what those four letters really mean, and what it is to truly feel that way. The internet says that there are two parts to it; attraction, followed by attachment. I have come to the conclusion that true love is not necessarily about the intensity of emotion but about really growing with a person and wanting them to be a part of your life in a way that no one else could ever be. And there’s a whole lot more to it, but I think I’ll leave it there.

9. I am meditating lots.
Yes, yes, yes! I am keeping on top of my headspace journey. For the beginning of that, feel free to go clicking here. My morning routine has become my favourite part of the day. I’ll get up, put the heater fan on, fill the kettle, brush my teeth, and once the kettle has boiled, I’ll make a large mug of indian loose- leaf chai on the hob, come back to my freshly warmed room, switch my fairy lights on and linger over my tea. Then, time permitting, I’ll meditate for ten minutes. Even if I only reach the lingering stage and don’t get to the meditation part, that’s okay. But devoting that kind of time to yourself first thing in the morning changes your whole day. As for meditation? I can feel the benefits of it radiating out of me.

10. I don’t know how to do a clinical audit.
I am far too creative and airy fairy for this Microsoft Excel palaver.

11. I didn’t condition my hair for a week.
This was the definition of drama. Picture this… shower 1: the conditioner runs out, so you vow to get some more. Shower 2: You forget. Cue dry hair. Shower 3: You learn from the deep and dirty mistakes from Shower 2, and go to the bathroom armed with your bottle of Herbal Essences, only to realise… it’s shampoo. You have already shampooed your hair. And squirted more shampoo out of the thing you mistakenly thought was conditioner because you were too incompetent to read the label, so now you either have to double shampoo your already shampooed locks or try and squeeze the now contaminated shampoo into the tiny hole through which it was squeezed. Not ideal. Shower 4: You forgot… again. You see your housemate’s conditioner staring at you and think… ‘I’ll just take the tiniest bit and hopefully she won’t notice’. But your guilt is so heavy that you merely use a drop. It makes no difference whatsoever.

That sounded like a soap opera in more ways than one… but that was my actual life for a week. What even.

12. I discovered Pinterest.
And I look at beautiful bohemian style houses every single night before I sleep and dream of a place where I will one day live, filled with patterned carpets, cool lampshades, lots of colour and all the trinkets from all my travels arranged in the most perfect manner of feng shui imaginable. Get your cosmopolitan, mainstream, minimalistic, clean cut decor out of here. Now smell the incense and appreciate real beauty. In fact, if this doesn’t awaken your inner hippie, then maybe it’s time to book yourself a meditation retreat in the Himalayas.

Well there it is. I’m not entirely sure what that was. Maybe I just wanted to remind myself that I am alive and well and breathing and despite all the stress I put myself under… I am really freaking goddamn happy and grateful in life.

Keep dancing to the music inside you my loves,

Gowri xxxxxx

P.S. I bought conditioner today. And I double checked that it was, indeed, conditioner. In fact, it was Herbal Essences ‘dazzling shine’, reduced to half price at £1.84 (yes, conditioner is extortionately priced). Winning. Bargain. The shine is real.

Fun & Semi-Relatable

Thoughts At The Beginning Of A Long Distance Relationship.

I just typed the title and I almost can’t believe myself.

I don’t know if anyone noticed my internet absence recently (Excuse me while I flatter myself in the pretext that people read this) I feel like I’ve been treading water in a storm for the last 5 weeks and that’s why I haven’t been attending to the only thing that really keeps me sane which is, indeed, my writing. The reason is because the title of this blog post is pretty much what has been occupying at least 70% of my thoughts for a while. The others generally have revolved around food, the current line of smart clothing at H&M (ladies, please take note that the pencil skirts on offer right now are on point), oh… and who the hell ‘A’ even is on Pretty Little Liars (no spoilers please, I’m only on Season 2). And I’ve been too afraid to share the 70% in question because I have a humongous ego and enjoy putting on a front and also don’t particularly take to talking about my relationship, unless it’s with my closest friends. But a couple of nights ago, I realised that I’m not that scared, I’m human and I also don’t care what people think anymore so here it is, the real thing, with all the feels.

large

Here’s a bit of background for those who don’t know me. My idiot boyfriend of just over a year thinks that London is the centre of the universe and has decided to leave the beautiful Birmingham to pursue some rotten career involving walking around in a posh suit all day and playing with Microsoft Excel. He’s also moving back with his parents until he can afford a place in London (so he will probably be there until retirement age and this post isn’t even worth writing).

My thoughts have been going round in circles and have eventually ended up as something like this.

1. Let’s be realistic.

No one really wants to be in a relationship where you don’t get to see someone as often as you would like to. Nothing replaces a person’s physical presence, to know someone will be right at your doorstep right when you need them is an absolute luxury. It’s not easy. Certainly in my situation, it feels like I’ve gone from a bubble of blissful happiness to a world where I end up relying on so many other factors to make things work. The uncertainty is the hardest part. And there’s about a 50/50 chance of it going either way. The black and white of it is that things may work out… or they might not. This doesn’t depend necessarily on the circumstances, but it depends on how we react to them. Something comes up and that weekend plan that we had doesn’t work out. Neither of us can speak right now because we’re busy… for four days straight. These are life’s situations but it’s what we make of them that will define us. Will we let these things make us grow apart? Or will we grow even closer and develop a deeper understanding of each other? I don’t know. It’s a journey, so let’s find out.

2. Let’s be optimistic.

Unfortunately, as soon as the dreaded words ‘Long Distance’ are mentioned, that’s it. 99% of the time, the reaction I get if the subject gets brought up is one of pity. ‘Awww no, how are you feeling about that? That must be really crap for you’. I would like to take this moment to give you a round of the most sarcastic applause I can physically muster up. If I walk into this thinking in my head that I should be pitied, that I’m in a horrific situation and nothing will work out, I have failed myself already, and I will not do that. I have so much to be happy for. I am dating the most incredible guy on the planet and he has more amazing qualities than I can list. We have so much ahead of us to look forward to, including all the stolen moments that we’ll get to spend together. I’m not scared to dream of a future where I can see him whenever I like because right now, I believe that he’s worth it and I’ll work for it. So don’t expect that I’m sitting around crying over it, when I’m actually counting my lucky stars because I’m really quite blessed.

3. The internet is shit and people know nothing.

I made a horrific mistake, in one of my weaker moments of typing in ‘Long Distance Relationships’ on Google. My first hit was ‘LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS DON’T WORK’. Yes- it was legitimately capitalised. And the other day, a friend of mine came over, who actually had the nerve to say ‘I don’t think it will work out with you two, I give it six months max. By Christmas it’ll be over’. I was angry at myself for how much I let these words upset me. But then, the wiser part of me remembered that no matter what uncertainty may exist… I am still in control of my thoughts and actions. Whether he or Google end up being right or not isn’t the point here. The point is, that people will always offer their opinions even if you don’t want them, yet it doesn’t mean you have to listen to them. Ultimately, neither the internet, nor people know anything about my relationship, or yours. The people who understand that relationship to the full extent are the ones in it, not the ones outside it. Unless I truly find someone else’s advice to be of value to me, I’m going to stick to my gut and make up my own mind… and perhaps stop letting anyone else influence me on that. Happiness at the end of the day, is a choice, so let me think my happy thoughts and live my happy existence because I don’t see much going wrong there!

4. Love has meaning.

Less than a century ago, men were leaving their wives and girlfriends to go off and fight in wars with nothing but a sepia photo of their girls folded into their clothes- and coming back four years later with the love they had in their hearts… multiplied. My own parents fought their own little wars with their families during their twenties and they are one of the most beautiful couples I have seen (and let’s not even talk about how incredible their first born is). We live in an age where communication now lies at the tips of our fingers but everyone is still skeptical about love. Call me old fashioned, but I believe in love. I still think love conquers everything else. I believe with all my heart that love is always enough, no matter how hard things are. Because when you love selflessly, knowing you might get very very hurt but continue to act out of love anyway, then you have always done your best.

5. I’m doing this because I have more balls than the rest of you.

Long distance isn’t for the faint hearted, my friend. It’s for those of us who are brave enough to commit. It’s for those of us who work, study, see our friends and families, find time to cook, clean, travel, paint, write and discover three new hobbies in the weeks inbetween seeing our other wholes (not our other halves, reference: Whole). It’s for those of us who watch a bit more Bollywood than everyone else, who believe that love exists without limitation, and the only limitations are the ones we impose upon ourselves. Long distance is for the bright sparks, the positive ones, the happy-go-luckies and the ones who will work to wring every drop of happiness out of a not-so-great situation. It might not be for you, but it is for me. And I’m going to give it my best shot ever without giving up.

So that’s the culmination of thoughts.
I’m still going through a huge adjustment period at the moment. The storm inside me has definitely diminished, but it’s still raining a little and the winds get choppy from time to time. But the sunshine that basks above those clouds is where I’m headed for and it is always there, I just need to find it.

Stay smiling folks, and don’t let anything bring you down,

Gowri xxxxxxx

Readers update: This relationship came to an end, not long after I wrote this piece, for reasons not even related to the distance. I thought about taking it down but then… why should I?! It is, after all how I felt at the time and I still believe in everything I’ve written. Long distance can totally work when two people face it with the right attitude. Because if you’re meant to be together you will work it out. I stick by that.

Fun & Semi-Relatable

Random Onset Girl Tears.

As you may have gathered from the title, it was indeed a rough night in the world of Gowri yesterday.

Last night I had an episode of Random Onset Girl Tears. Yes, and I will be the first on the internet to admit that I, like all other females out there am victim to this condition. This all-consuming, defining state of life which haunts us from time to time. Now, anyone belonging to the male species who may have been fortunate enough to stumble upon this post today, go make yourself a nice hot brew, come sit back down and let me break this down for you, my fair, innocent child.

AliceCrying

I am going to add great amounts of clarity to your life with the knowledge I am about to impart.

Random Onset Girl Tears (ROGT) are a completely normal aspect of every girl/woman’s life, beginning somewhere after puberty and ending… well, I wouldn’t know since I’m only in my twenties and have very little worthy life experience and am nowhere near qualified to preach anything, but probably until we’re ancient or dead. Sometimes, we cry. A lot. It usually happens at night when no one is around but if you have shit enough luck that you have a girlfriend, sister, mother, or maybe one of those ‘girl best friends’ who you’re pretending is just your friend while you actually have sickening thoughts about one another, and then they burst into tears sometime between 11pm and 1am, this is a highly normal episode. A lot of this is related to the fact that hormones are swimming through our bloodstreams at various times across the month. And some of it isn’t. Sometimes, we just want to cry alone without being judged for why the hell we’re crying (because usually we are trying to figure this out ourselves, then when we can’t we feel utterly lost, leading to a fresh wave of tears. Vicious cycle, boys, don’t get involved). My best advice is just to leave your crying female alone. They have shit to figure out right now and this is all part of the figuring out process so just give them time and they’ll give you everything again. Chocolate helps 95% of the time (unless the crying has been triggered by one of those ‘Why am I so fat?’ moments, in which case, don’t even go there unless you want a death sentence).

Sometimes ROGT can be triggered by the most random things. Hence the name. A text you really didn’t mean to send and has been interpreted in an entirely different manner by your female counterpart (as much as we say we don’t read into things, of course we take you at face value, no baby, I believe you… we read into things), tadpoles of insecurity that chose this particular Thursday night to blossom into freaking frogs, that extra piece of cake you ate today when you really shouldn’t have (God, Gowri have you looked in the mirror since 2010?), something crappy happening at work, uni, school… the list is endless. Usually on such nights we have some baseline lacing of insecurity that makes the things that we normally know we can handle un-handleable. And at times, the natural girl response manifests itself as relentless tears.

But why are girl tears so normal? Well, let me try and explain. See… we cry because it’s all part of this process of some kind of acceptance. Some kind of progression. We cry because we need to let off steam. We cry alone because we’re scared that the reason we’re crying might be conceived as totally ridiculous by anyone else (boys… it is never ridiculous).

You know why I cried last night? Some sort of realisation just whacked me on the head like the holy boulder of truth. I realised that everything around me is changing. We all know this… impermanence is, after all the only constant in life, but it really hit me yesterday. In three weeks time I start 4th year. That’s a hell of a big change. So many of my friends are graduating now and getting jobs while I’m still stuck doing this thankless degree. A certain male in my life is moving to another city for exactly that reason. How am I going to cope with all these changes?! Of course… people are changing around me too. That happens in any kind of relationship, whether it’s with your parents, your friends, your boy/girlfriend. And sometimes the changes that become of them get really hard to accept (Have you ever been with someone for a long time and then thought at the end of it… jeez, that’s not the person I fell in love with! Well no, it won’t be because they will change and grow and evolve, such is the fascinatingly dynamic nature of human behaviour). Of course, change is also exciting. It’s fun. Being thrown out of your comfort zone is often what it takes to discover something wild and brilliant about yourself. But last night the changes going on around me didn’t seem fun or exciting, they seemed daunting and scary. So I cried. I cried until my pillow was soaked from all the goddamn tears. Hell, I took a bathroom trip because I was Queen Snotface at that point in time.

Does this make me crazy? (At the time, believe me, you think you’re losing it) Does this make me a weak person? Does this mean I’m not going to be able to handle those changes that are all about to come crashing down my road in the next few weeks? No. It means I’m normal. It means I’ve just started this whole process of acceptance and sometimes there may be a few episodes of ROGT needed to get me there.

So girls, the next time you find yourself in a pool of your own tears, embrace it! Embrace the fact that you’re growing and evolving and becoming more and more wonderful than you already are every time you think you’re going crazy. And boys, these are the hot messes that you let into your life upon your own free will. But they are beautiful and amazing. So let them cry their pretty little eyes out. Don’t freak out, and don’t get too involved. They’re strong. They’ll figure it out.

Love to all you crazy people out there!

Gowri xxxxxxx

Alice meme

Disclaimer: If you are crying all the time with very little reason, and perhaps are constantly feeling under the weather, you’re losing your interest in the things around you and you’re finding yourself not wanting to face the day, these could be signs of something a little more serious than what I have spoken about on here. If that is the case, this was written without any intention to hurt or offend a soul, and I do suggest that you do look into getting a bit more help somewhere else.