Tag: life

Business or Pleasure?

Valentine’s Day can be rough as a single person, but I’ve always loved it. It is like a festival of bitterness. As a confirmed bachelorette, I’ve only had one Valentine’s Day in a couple and although it was, you know, lovely – I got a song played to me on a ukelele as a surprise and I completely freaked out and splurged on a mediocre prix fixe – it just didn’t feel like it was really in the spirit of the thing.

For me, the rule is: the bleaker, the better, and Valentine’s Day 2017 was an absolute cracker. I had just been dumped, had no job, my house was so cold it was like it was trying to attack me. Although I did get some post, it was just a letter from the NHS inviting me to book a pap smear. (It’s the thought that counts.)

true romance
My cervix brings all the boys to the yard / and they’re like / “Cervical screening is offered to women aged 25 to 49 every three years.”

Valentine’s Day 2018, though, I really wanted to treat myself. #Galentines! So I ran away from all of my problems to start a new life in Berlin.

This had started out as a Lovely Thought at some stage last year. Oh, such a Lovely Thought! The kind of thought you lovingly pore over as you go to sleep at night. The kind of thought you carry around with you like a comfort blanket. The kind of thought you imagine fixing everything – this thought will make you more beautiful, more successful, it will make all of your ex-partners and school bullies and rivals jealous and obsessed and you won’t even CARE because of how lovely the thought is.

It could have stayed a Lovely Thought, absolutely it could have done. When I die, you will find in all 15,000 of my To-Do Lists a perfect and intricate account of everything I meant to do but never got around to doing. Just ask my yoga mat.

So when all of a sudden I found myself on the 09:10 flight to Tegel on Wednesday, I was more surprised than any of you. “Aha!” I thought, “I guess I wasn’t joking.” As the plane took off, I started to giggle. Helplessly. I was wiping tears from my eyes. I don’t know what the other passengers must have thought – probably that I was drunk, or it was my first time on a plane, or I was really enjoying the Eurowings sick-bags which said “Don’t worry, we won’t take it personally” on them in English and German.

But I had to laugh, because somehow, I had gotten away with it. This ridiculous plan to just pack up and go because I fancied it. That’s not how life works, doing things because you fancy them. The structure of society, of politics, of bureaucracy, does not allow for it. Nowhere on immigration forms or job applications or marriage certificates is it acceptable to list your purpose as “Just Because I Felt Like It, Really”. And yet here I was, with my one-way ticket and a case full of weird oversized navy clothes, cackling away to myself and with no reason at all to be there besides wanting to be happy and thinking I might as well do something about it.

(Obviously, I was also giggling because of the sick-bags. That was a solid joke.)

Single, unemployed, and vegan.

suv
phwoar look at the mug on that

“Fucking January!” is something which my very wonderful and talented housemate Temi has been given to scream every so often over the last few weeks. She has been suffering through a pretty gruelling Veganuary experience – because, as she has reasoned, being single and unemployed is bad enough but being vegan on top of it all is just far, far too much. And since we’re apparently facing the end of Western civilisation as we know it (thanks Nigel, thanks Donald), now more than ever we should take pleasure in the simple glory of a very cheddar-heavy plate of cheese on toast.

As for me, I haven’t gone in for Dry January or an arbitrary health kick like that.

Instead, I thought I’d try to just completely change my life.

You know that feeling at Christmas and New Year’s parties, when you’re catching up with people for the first time in ages, and even before you leave the house, when you’re still working up the courage to use the confusing new toiletries you got as presents from a distant aunt, you’re anxious about answering the question: “what are you up to these days?” I’ve been in this very terrible and uncomfortable and very un-me shaped rut which, because it was not at all shaped like I am (sort of like a smallish pork chipolata, incidentally), it meant that I was starting to forget how to be who I am. And being miserable, but finding it hard to register any of it as my experience because it just was not me.

So, I thought it would be best to maybe extract myself and search for greener pastures. Unfortunately, when you have spent a long, long time not really concentrating on yourself, it gets quite hard to work out exactly what and where these pastures are, so I suppose what I’m saying is that I lumbered off in the general direction of what might bring me some sort of joy besides Meridian Crunchy Peanut Butter (the official peanut butter of this blog). It was always kind of obvious, hindsight being 20:20 and all that, but after some soul-searching I realised that this was quite clearly going to be directing films. This is terrifying, because I don’t know how to do it yet. But I also didn’t know how to speak French or make a curry or write a dissertation or design a set, at some stage, until I learned how because I really wanted to. And I really, really want to do this (when I am not being afraid). I want to make cool weird things like Obvious Child and Flight of the Conchords and everything Agnes Varda has ever done, which is why I can, and why I will. This might sound a bit childish and simplistic, but that’s because desire is often childish and simplistic, and it’s easiest to formulate them in that way.

This blog, newly renamed Making Of, is about this kind of focused wander in the direction of what I want to do and who I want to be, as is, I guess, everything ever written by everyone. Great. But when everyone else is starting their 2017 by depriving themselves of what they enjoy, why not begin my year by letting myself go after what I want?