More notes on leaving home: The war of the noticeboard, letting go of bitter things and early drafts of new year resolutions
The most important note to make on leaving home- remember. To do. The hoovering. You are going to regret it so much when you neglect the hoovering.
The notice board wars began in early October and have continued until now, the final week. The debate over which side shot first rages on, but what is known is this; in this Welsh medium hall, on the noticeboard there is a welsh and English side to each notice. Someone swapped all of the notices to display only the Welsh side, or only the English side, depending on who you ask. The war began to escalate into a blockade of language. The English notice would be pinned over the Welsh, the Welsh over the English, endless loops of passive aggressive pinning. The battle reached a fever pitch when someone took a sharp object to the English section of a notice and slashed it through. The war then entered an uneasy truce. We all knew a line had been crossed. The war was revived last week, when someone attempted to throw out the ruined and slashed English language sign along with a reminder to keep the kitchen clean for inspection.
The war entered a new, potentially explosive phase: That of the note. A note was posted, berating the attempted binner of the notice and the slashed sign. A reply was quickly posted, citing the reasons for the binning and signed ‘love, Batman.’ A final note was posted in an attempt to defuse the renewed hostilities. ‘I LIKE TRAINS’, it proclaimed. There could be no truer peace treaty than that, and for now at least, the warriors rest.
So I’ve been in Wales for three months, and it’s been nice. A new network of friends and interests hesitantly and shyly started to root out. A lovely thing that happens when you’re completely removed from your old town is that all your bitterness and anger just flows away. It’s so much easier to just let go when you realise that these things don’t really matter, that these things are shifting, that there are more people to see and places to go and things to do than you could ever possibly get through. Why waste time being stubborn and unhappy? I slowly started to reflect on the place I’d stepped out of and while looking at it from an angle I hadn’t seen before I began to see where my edges were. Where all the things that I had raged and wailed and cried about didn’t actually matter one single fuck once you were out of there. I slowly got back into performing, after a pretty bitter departure from it last year. I rediscovered the old magic and sprang back into it.
Doctor Who and Roomates
I started bonding with my roomates on the Pantycelyn international students corridor. Three Americans, an Austrian and two French girls formed my little circle, along with some friendly Welsh and English from upstairs. In a moment of near unrivalled glee, we ran up to campus as a group and found a Tardis parked in front of the Union, with a talking, lit up Dalek trundling around. It offered a great photo op, both sweet group snaps and self indulgent selfies.
Now it’s nearly time to come home. I’ve started into a new diary, a smart black notebook I bought to convince myself to maintain this diary- I paid 13 pounds for this notebook, for fucks sake, so I’m going to use it. Around this time of year, I usually start to think about what I want to do next year, and reflect on what I’d like to develop, change or introduce in 2014. I present to you here my rough longlist of new years resolutions for your consideration.
1. Become blood of the Dragon
2. Buy more mugs
3. Get really buff and strong. Start lifting.
4. Also, get super fit and flexible. start yoga
5. Kiss more people.
6. Use the word ‘accoutrements’ more (Referring to luggage and bags)
7. Vacuum every week, so that your room does not become white with dust and the halls warden suspects that you’re dealing cocaine.
8. While deflecting this suspicion, illicitly brew Yakka in bedroom sink (not really, I promise. Please don’t kick me out if you read this…)
9. Listen to more podcasts. In fact, make one. It can’t be that hard.
10. Do couch to 5K, without ending up in a bath of cold water sobbing and eating oranges.
11. Learn to dance properly, and not like a complete berk. (seriously, you’ve made a name for yourself here as the ‘dancing Irish girl’. That’s not a good thing. You need help.)
12. Drink less soft drinks. Stop being happy about being a non-drinker when you ingest about nine times your healthy level of sugar and caffeine every day.
13. Try to quit coffee. not tea though. You gave yourself a three day migraine last time.
14. Vacuum every week. Remember how much you regret not hoovering enough this semester. Remember it!
15. Post more letters. people like letters.
16. Practice yoga stretches, tai chi and herbal tea to become one with your spirit and nature.
17. Be less of an angry motherfucker.
18. Keep your diary this year. don’t just get bored after a week like usual.
19. Make lists that are a nice, satisfying length. Don’t end list blogs on an odd number.
Niamh ‘Wait… fuck!’ Keoghan
I went to the doctor with cripplingly bad period cramps. I wanted the pill so the pain that stopped me in my tracks every month would stop. So I trotted along to the doctor, in a hoodie that I assumed made me look okay. I explained to her the pains, the crushing depression I felt, the irrational anxiety and the general discomfort that was beginning to effect my work. She nodded, and then briskly glanced me over. She said the worst thing I’ve ever heard.
‘I wouldn’t be happy putting you on the pill with your weight.’
The bottom dropped out of my stomach. The fact that she had this doubt from only glancing at me was the worst part. To confirm her suspicion she weighed me and took my height. I was 5 foot 3 and I was 14 stone, 5 and a half pounds.
She kept using the word ‘obese’. my BMI was 34. I was too overweight- too obese- to get the pill. She asked me if I needed the pill for contraception (Who the fuck would bed me when I’m this huge was my first upset thought) and I replied no, I only wanted it for my period. All I wanted was the pain to stop. My weight was something else. Help me with my immediate problem, please. Make the horrible dark depression and the knot of worry in my chest go away. Make my hormones behave. The two major problems of my life- the loud and immediate one of crippling hormonal imbalance and the silent, unspoken problem of my weight- had clashed in mid air and sent me spinning. The doctor began to quiz me about my diet and all the charisma and wit just leaked out of me, all my words were lost. I just wanted to cry. She wrote me out a prescription for painkillers and handed me some pamphlets on weight loss.
I managed to make it to the bench outside the medical centre and dial my mother before I cracked and burst into tears. Haltingly, I managed to explain to my mum what happened- In the confused final moments of my appointment as I tried to hold in the wave of tears the doctor had forgotten to give me my painkiller prescription, so here I sat- 14 stone 5 and a half pounds, five foot three, empty handed and heartbroken. Not only was my periods problem still unsolved but the other, previously silent problem, had lunged at my jugular. My mortal fear has always been that I will someday become so obese I won’t be able to move. Since the age of 11, I have consistently gotten heavier and heavier and never managed to put weight off.