A long-overdue update.Posted by blatantblithe on January 24, 2010 Blog posts | Music | Social | University | Zines | | 2 comments
I’ve completely neglected my blog for the past few months, and I’m going to make a big effort this year to keep it updated regularly and try to be more productive. I’ve been very emotional for the past few months, and I think it’s mostly due to the contraceptive implant I had fitted in June, which is seeping hormones into my system that I’m not used to. A lot of my emotional issues with self-esteem, jealousy and perfectionism have risen up to the surface recently, and it’s been a real struggle to deal with them effectively. I’ve now started counselling, and I’ve attended a few workshops that deal with the aforementioned issues. I’m trying to immerse myself in my music and my writing. Focusing my attention on the things that make me happy, and away from unimportant things like what my old school friends are doing that I should be jealous of, is an ongoing battle.
Things haven’t gone well in university for the past few months – for a long time, I was convinced that I shouldn’t go back to Nottingham after Christmas because everything up here was such a horrible mess. Basically, I fucked up this semester because my low moods, chronic lethargy, social anxiety and constant headaches got in the way of my academic work. I’m not going to get the grades I hoped I would. I cried a lot over Christmas and convinced myself that I’d fucked up my degree to an unsalvagable extent. I felt like a total failure – a terrible university student, a terrible zinester, a terrible musician, a terrible clingy girlfriend, and a terrible disappointing daughter. I eventually broke down in front of my parents, who told me in no uncertain terms that a 2:2 was better than no degree at all, and I should use my loneliness to my advantage by using the time I would otherwise spend socialising on my academic work. It was really hard to come back here, but I knew they were right to make me come back. So here I am. Thankfully, the exams didn’t go as disasterously as I thought they would… but I can’t be too sure. Fingers crossed. There is a chance that if I work really hard next semester I’ll be able to redeem myself, but I’m not sure if I’ll manage it – the aforementioned problems have eased up a little, but they’re still very much there.
Things aren’t really going well with my zine stuff either. When I look back at my earlier zines, I feel terrible. Ugh, some of the stuff I wrote was just horrible. I’m so embarrassed when I think that people actually read some of that stuff I wrote. For a long time I wasn’t sure if I should write another zine. When I eventually decided that I’d give it another go, I didn’t know how to start writing again because I was certain that a few months later I’d be embarrassed and ashamed all over again as my ideas developed further. But I guess I’m still young enough to have time to develop my ideas, so maybe I shouldn’t get too disheartened by writing shit zines at first, because at least I’m writing and developing my ideas at all, right? I don’t know. I am planning on writing Here. In My Head #4, but I’m being really careful about what I write this time – I’m trying not to sound be too self-deprecating or too arrogant… I think I somehow managed to do both in my previous issues.
Writing anywhere other than in my diary had become really difficult recently, because I’m just so scared that my ideas will be criticised and belittled and mocked – even writing this right now is difficult, and it’s taken me weeks to muster up the courage to start writing publicly again. This has happened a lot recently in various places (and I’m not referring to the whole girl-hate thing here; that’s an entirely seperate mess). I don’t deny that their criticisms are accurate… I just wish people didn’t tear apart my half-formed ideas with such hostility and self-righteousness. I don’t try to be clever, and I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. Hell, I don’t even know what’s going on in my own head half the time. I’m just thinking out aloud and trying to work my way towards a better understanding of feminism, politics and philosophy. I like learning new things, and I like hearing what people have to say about important issues, even if their views differ to my own. But I like discussions, not arguments. I just feel like… I have such delicate self-esteem, and my opinions and beliefs are shifting as I learn more, so I am reluctant to share them with others because they might change in a few weeks. So on the rare occasions that I do feel comfortable enough to share my views with others, I want people to be respectful and unaggressive, whether they agree or not. It’s not because I think my opinions are particularly valuable or true, but the exact opposite. When someone is aggressive, I feel as if they may as well be saying “Why did you bother sharing your pathetic opinions?!” and that makes me feel too uncomfortable to contribute to the discussion again, and it makes me completely doubt said opinions. If I have a bit of a rant about women’s representation in films, for example, it’s not very encouraging for someone to point out bluntly that my “reasoning is circular”. I don’t try to be philosophical, I’m just interested in sharing my silly little ideas. If someone wants to say that my interpretation of a certain film is very different to theirs, that’s a different matter, and I’m happy to pursue that discussion. I know this is possible – I’ve seen it happen in previous Women’s Network discussion groups where the women have talked about controversial issues such as prostitution or pornography and have always disagreed respectfully. But maybe it’s unrealistic to expect all the discussions I contribute to to be equally respectful. I probably just need a thicker skin. But does that mean I should avoid all human contact until I learn how to deal with conflict? I don’t know. I’m probably looking at this all wrong… but I can’t help but take this kind of hostility very personally.
On a happier note, my music is going reasonably well. Hank is teaching me how to play bass properly now, and this week I successfully learned how to play the slap bass part in Rage Against The Machine’s Take The Power Back! I can now play the whole album through (but not in one go because I don’t have the physical stamina to do that yet), and I’m quite proud of myself. I like playing bass; it’s the only creative activity in my life that feels pressure-free and fun.
So that is the update. Hopefully my bad moods will be less frequent as the semester goes on, and the writing in this blog will reflect that. I’m going to try and focus on things that make me happy and document them in this blog – my song writing, piano and bass playing, reading zines, reading books (hopefully!), thinking and learning about feminism, listening to new music and maybe learning some theology too.