The first week of March was (mostly) wretched. Things started going wrong when the tragic reality of Brexit and the loss of freedom of movement descended over me like the heaviest, darkest, most miserable cloud imaginable.
I’d been thinking about Brexit matters and how they affect me for a while, but up until last week, I hadn’t immersed myself deep enough in the horror of it all to properly educate myself. I was scared to, if I’m being honest, and with good reason.
With a grimace set like concrete and a heart threatening to break, I eventually started researching deep into what moving to Norway (as well as simply visiting Norge and its Nordic neighbours) looks like now for me as a – the following is said with neither pride nor joy – British citizen.
I was led from one doom-laden article to another. Essentially, now Brexit has closed its ugly, iron fist, what was once extremely straightforward is now going to be extremely difficult.
As a result of my findings, my sadness was nigh on impossible to shift. The thought of the struggles that lay ahead left me unable to sleep and made the relationship with my family tense and awkward.
Brexit as a whole has left me feeling overwhelmingly angry, ashamed and embarrassed, trapped, insecure and pessimistic. A few days ago, for the first time in many weeks, I found myself battling with thoughts that told me to just get back into bed and stay there. Depression was making its move. Again.
Along with dealing with the headache and heartache caused by Brexit, I was finding it difficult, nay, impossible to structure my days and get any meaningful work done. Poems were abandoned, blog posts were deleted, and research was approached haphazardly. My brain wanted nothing to do with anything I needed to do.
But, astoundingly, half a dozen good things came from the week. First off, five days into a new lower carb, lower sugar, higher protein diet I found my face – the shape of which, if you don’t know, I’ve struggled with for many a year – was no longer replicating the moon.
I wasn’t convinced the bathroom mirror was being honest with me, so took a photo with my phone. Then I took a photo with my actual camera in case my phone and the mirror were dishonest. But the same astonished face gawped back at me. The same astonished, not bloated face.
In the days since, I’ve been feeling my jawline, hardly able to comprehend that it’s different now. I’ve been taking multiple photos at moments during the day when I think ‘surely it’ll be bloated again now…or now…or now.’
I thought not eating my precious cereal at breakfast and supper, and forgoing carbs at dinner was going to distressingly difficult, but it’s been…relatively…manageable. So far. Instead of Weetabix and a banana in the morning, I have Alpro plain yoghurt with berries (blueberries, strawberries and blackberries) and a protein shake made with almond milk. Instead of basing my dinner around wraps or pasta, I have fake chicken and vegan feta salad with a spinach, kale and kiwi smoothie and some fruit, usually a pear or some melon. Then for supper, instead of Shredded Wheat and a banana, I’ll have yoghurt, berries and a protein shake again. Lunch is still a sandwich though. (Well, we only live once, right?)
It’s been good getting more involved with what I’m eating. I spend about half an hour more in the kitchen nowadays, so changing my diet up hasn’t been the marathon slog I imagined it would be.
Next, I’m going to try and wean myself off having sugar in my tea, unlike changing my eating habits, it’s going to be anything but simple. Tea has been making things better for me since 1986, pretty much. I’m planning on getting a bit more adventurous with the teas I drink, despite having never enjoyed the herbal or fruit variety. I’ve just made green tea for the first time. It’s sitting next to my laptop, blisteringly hot. I’m hoping I’m going to enjoy it when it’s at a drinkable temperature.
*Update* I didn’t enjoy it.
Something else that brought light to my deplorable week was attending the Polar Museum’s Deep Freeze Festival. (It’s on until Sunday, if you’re interested.) My self-portrait At Home In The Cold is displayed on their website as part of a polar self-portrait project. It’s probably unhealthy to feel as proud as I’m feeling about this right now.
Another good thing that happened was I started to make my way through the notebooks I’ve kept since January. I abandoned everything I was trying in vain to do and devoted most of my hours this past weekend to transcribing my scrawls. It was bliss.
Oh, and I had my first Covid vaccination today. (I’m in the category of people with not so great mental health and iffy hearts.) So I guess I could say, this week I’m sort of, kind of, winning.
AND FINALLY, I discovered Alasdair Beckett-King, probably the most lovable, hilarious person on YouTube.