Jobs, familiar faces, and self-improvement

It’s hot out recently, and more humid than London is meant to be. I don’t mind, really; summer doesn’t feel quite right without a bit of suffering, but recently I’ve found working in the extreme heat has made me feel a bit ill. An old feeling I remember well, and didn’t really miss.

But I’m not one to complain for too long, not one to let negativity take over. I like that about myself.

I suppose it’s not worth stating that I haven’t written for just over three months, although that is true. It seems to be the way of my blogging: I wait for thoughts and events to collect, wait for inspiration, and then it gets to a tipping point where there’s too much to say. Maybe I ought to resolve to at least make writing a monthly occurrence. We’ll see.

Things I’ve done since I sat down to write this blog post include: taking a shower; folding and putting away all my laundry; rambling to my Mom on the phone; rambling to my best friend on iMessage; Skyping another dear friend and rambling for hours; & re-lacing two pairs of Converse. Oh, and I’ve worked two full days.

So now you know how much of an attention span I have.

You might recall that my last post dealt with me being overwhelmed (in a very, very good way) with my life, me wanting to use that overwhelmed feeling to my advantage. And I let that get shoved to the back burner, I have to admit, and that’s something I oughta stop doing. I’m so terrified of the person I want to be that I will take any excuse to postpone being her. But it’s shoving past fear that’s gotten me where I am now. I used to think that the fact I was terrified to move to London meant I wasn’t as brave as I wanted to be, but bravery is being afraid and doing things anyway. Come on, Leslie, let’s do this.

My working situation has changed: my job at Scooby’s, dog friendly coffee shop extraordinaire, has been reduced to three days a week. I work Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. I knew joining up with a brand new business was risky, and my full time employment was first reduced by one day (which was manageable enough for a while), then the two. It was nothing personal, and my very kind boss made this clear. I was nervous when this happened; not petrified the way I’d be if I’d found myself with no job at all, but filled with that specific sort of dread saved only for job searching. And I lead something of a charmed life, and I know this to be true, because my sheepish first visit to Sally Salon Services since leaving in December (said visit occurred because I was helping a friend dye her hair and we needed supplies) somehow led to my being hired back for two shifts a week, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s glorious to be doing both things, really; I absolutely love the people I work with at Sally’s, and found myself missing them in my months away. I returned to my original job with all my related knowledge very much intact, and it feels as though I never left. Plus the two jobs side by side offers variety, and appeals to my sensibilities as an easily bored individual.

I’m so, so fortunate as a person, have had such wonderful times. Things I never could’ve believed would actually happen when I moved here, certainly, but also glorious, glorious things like visits. Two major ones.

In early June, Nidal, David & Erin were here.

I can’t begin to explain how excited I was leading up to their visit. Insanely so. To the point where I had to remind myself that they’d only be here for about four and a half days. To the point where I had to then remind myself that four and a half days was still four and a half days, and that any time together meant the entire world.

I was pretty darn excited.

I was barely functional at work the day I knew they were arriving, tried to get things done when I got home mainly just to fill time. And then they were here.

And it was just four and a half days, but it was such a full four and a half days that it felt like lifetimes. I felt overjoyed every morning that I woke up and knew they were just in the other room. And we filled those four and a half days up entirely, doing amazing things like drinking lots at Aces & Eights (the bar down the road from my flat), going to three comedy shows (this is what it’s like to visit me, folks), visiting Brighton for an afternoon, attending a filming of QI, and much more.

Oh, and perhaps getting tattoos.

The last time Nidal and I were in the same place previous to this visit was early January, the morning of the day I was flying back to London. She’d crashed on my parents’ couch the previous night, after we’d had an impressive amount to drink. We were talking and I suggested we get matching tattoos when she visited, since we’d both become obsessed with the concept of tattoos around the same time, since we’d gotten our first tattoos on different continents within a couple of weeks of one another, since she’s my best friend and that’s never not going to be important. So we agreed that yes, we’d get matching tattoos. We didn’t know what of, but something. And then when my beautiful, perfect friends were here, Nidal suggested something genius: Aladdin Sane lightning bolts. Yes!

And the reasons that our matching tattoos being Bowie-themed was so genius, although never stated, were these:

  1. In the early, early days of our friendship, Nidal and I were joking around and said we should host an event, the way we said we should do many similar things. This event ended up happening, though, and it was the Bowie Party. We spent ages and ages planning it, spent time figuring out and making our costumes. We researched popular party foods from the 1970s and so our party had chocolate fondue. Our party was also sparsely attended, but we looked divine.
  2. Nidal and I have, for years, had a plan (yes, a plan) for when(!) time travel is invented and becomes readily available. Unsurprisingly (particularly for those of you who’ve read much of my blog – I’ve mentioned this before, and you’ve felt slightly concerned for my sanity before) we intend to go to 1973, to Bowie’s last Ziggy Stardust show. A film does exist of this show, and the fact that we’re nowhere to be seen proves nothing; we’re smart enough to avoid any and all cameras. We can’t know that it’s actually going to happen…!
Matchies (not a thing)!

Our tattoos were done by the terrific Lee at Hell to Pay, took barely any time, and hurt tremendously. (This is, of course, compared to my only other tattoo, which barely felt like anything. Perhaps our friend Alex was right when she opted to get her first tattoo over her ribs, supposedly one of the most painful spots there is; all tattoos must feel a bit like a walk in the park to her now.) We both left thrilled with the results, and spent our next day-and-a-bit together accidentally brushing or hitting our wrists against things and wincing.

Another great joy of that Tuesday was the fact that Erin got a tattoo done, too: the first and middle names of her and David’s daughter, designed absolutely gorgeously. It was done by Kirsty at Flamin’ Eight, the incredible tattooist who did my first one and to whom I intend to return for my next big one. The thing that made me especially happy about this was how much Kirsty reminded me of Erin when she was tattooing me back in September; this was the best way things could have possibly gone.

But then, much too soon, it was Wednesday night and my friends were packing their things, and then it was some absurd hour on Thursday morning and their cab had turned up early so they knocked on my bedroom door to wake me so they could say goodbye. And then they were gone.

Eighteen days went by, the high point of which was the day when my dear friend Lisa and I somehow crossed paths with both halves of our favourite comedy double act within the space of a few hours. And then those eighteen days were gone, and I was waiting in arrivals at Heathrow for my family to turn up. I was, again, absurdly excited. We’d been planning this visit since February, when my parents told my brother the night before his birthday that his present would be a trip to London. I screamed down the phone line when my mother told me this; Chris got choked up and texted me to say as much. I’ve always gotten along very well with my brother. We’ve never had any particular sibling rivalry, probably largely because of our age difference of nearly eight years, but we’d sort of fallen out of any frequent communication, probably because of our time difference of eight hours. Less than a year before I moved here, across the ocean from home, Chris and his wife Jenny, my glorious and unbelievably talented sister-in-law Jenny, moved to Vancouver, across the country from home. So now my family is all scattered around, and the fact that my parents, my brother, and I were all going to be in the same place for two entire weeks? Well, that was amazing.

And those two weeks were every bit as amazing as they rightly should have been, adventure upon adventure. From dragging my family to Old Rope on the night of the day they arrived (they enjoyed it but probably could not tell you a single one of the things that made them laugh), to going to a clothing sale in East London so Chris could pick things up for Jenny; from two separate visits to Camden and to the Hawley Arms, to Chris, Mom & I taking a day trip to Cardiff mostly so we could go to the Doctor Who Experience; from showing them Abbey Road…
… to a day trip to Windsor Castle leading Chris and I to discover exactly how much fun the iPhone’s panorama feature can be…


… it was all incredible, and it was very difficult saying goodbye to them on Monday morning.

But it’s always worth it, and I have to admit to ultimately feeling better now than I did during that eighteen days between visits. That eighteen days was spent waiting, somewhat impatiently, and now I’m adjusting back to normal life, and remembering that my life is anything but “normal”.

I’ve fallen back into my inevitable state of wanting to improve many things about myself, but it’s not a bad thing; I’ve started to eat well again, and I feel good about it (I actually just ate apple slices instead of eating ice cream!) (really! apple slices instead of ice cream!), and I’m just trying to take care of myself. Not set unrealistic goals and drag myself down, but just be the person I know I can be. I feel better when I’ve got a project, so my current project is me.

I mean, who knows what I’ll have accomplished by the next time I’m overwhelmed enough with things to say that I actually sit down to write a blog post?

Someone I admire a remarkable amount said a peculiar thing to me the other day: “I don’t think you realise how awesome you are.” This came out of nowhere so far as I could tell, and I was taken aback, particularly since I know that this person’s compliments are as a rule entirely genuine. I can’t remember quite how I responded, but I was clearly flustered, to which he said “See? That’s you not realising!” I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot since, and maybe I don’t. I think I’m alright. I like myself a whole lot better than I once did, with occasional bursts of insane narcissism, and I think I’m capable of just about anything I put my mind to. I try to be the absolute best person I can be, try not to get dragged down by negativity. I try to progress on, always. But all the same I can’t really see what he means. But, you know what? I’ll work on it.

4 Replies to “Jobs, familiar faces, and self-improvement”

  1. Love the new tatt and of course you’re awesome!! It’s hard to hear that from others and own it because it comes with a huge amount of expectations and responsibility but as soon as your realize that you’ve succeeded at big challenges and can do it again and again, stepping into your awesomeness is like putting on a pair of pants. Missed your blogs..welcome back chickity china!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: