(a playlist for this post – shuffle works best)

as I write this it’s currently very late, and I can hear the rain pouring outside my window hitting the glass like an amazon delivery driver knocking down your door as if it’s the end of the world. the rain has been constant for the past few days and my pluviophile heart is beyond content; and although I’ve grown to love the heat and sun over the years, nothing makes me feel more at home and at peace than hearing water drop from the sky. I love the rain because it never fails to leave me in awe of its ability to force us to slow down and just be. lately we’ve had the typical type of weather associated with this island called the UK, one minute the sun is shining and we’re complaining and murmuring to each other about how british heat doesn’t allow for breeze which makes it the worse type of summer – whilst we ironically take advantage of this same weather we complained about. heading out for dinners, pub dates and sun bathe in the garden with endless barbeques, and music booming from car speakers as they race down the street. football season bringing out the worst and best in the drunken fans willing you into a passion so great for a sport that actually means nothing to you, all in the name of solidarity and team spirit. but honestly, I don’t miss hearing my fan humming in the background, or leaving my window open over night fretting that a bug (to be honest, mainly just spiders) may find an unwanted, rent-free home for itself in my safe haven.

all this to say that I love rainy and cold weather. I love being inside and existing in a bubble that leaves me sheltered from the world, because it’s been a very heavy year and some of us are more sensitive to carrying the burdens of the world. it’s not necessarily being an empath, but simply understanding and acknowledging that people have a right to exist as they are, and when that humanity is denied or threatened from them it makes us feel helpless, because these things continue and regurgitate themselves in many different ways; and with every cycle that comes around it seems that we never learn from the mistakes of the past. we have been exposed tenfold to the suffering of others and it aches to know that this is the world we live in, but we are unsurprised and somehow keep moving forward with life, because what other choice do we have?

I wish we had more grace, and also understood what genuine love is. I honestly can’t say that I give others and myself enough grace but, when I live life through the lens of love first – by choice, as opposed to how I feel – before anything else, I give room for a narrative I may not want to be explored to exist entirely within itself, which also forces me to confront my own inner self and beliefs. I say all this, and have waffled a whole lot to say that as people we don’t live in boxes. we are multifaceted, and in noticing the multitude of anxieties that many people have about the world ‘opening up’ again, it leaves me questioning why we are all so scared to leave our homes, what this collective anxiety is, and why we are in so much of a rush to ‘go back to how things were’. probably, maybe, because we’re being confronted with living in a world and society that wasn’t made to nurture, care and love us as we are. we spent a whole year living in our own bubbles and cultivating life in a way that we may not have initially wanted to – we have drawn into ourselves and poured from our own cups because we had to; but in coming back to a world that isn’t as kind, we risk being perceived and are worried about what people think of us as people, our bodies, and the decisions we have actively chosen to make in confidence away from the standards that have been set for us.

by the way, you don’t have to go back to how you were before just because you’re being told that. you don’t have to rush yourself into living in a world that doesn’t always have your best interest. as much as I love people watching and being in a coffee shop just existing and pretending to study – I’m not ready to do that yet and that’s ok.

we allow the pressure of what people will think, or what we’re being told to do to consume us, which ends up leaving us unhappier than when we are just living our lives. it doesn’t cultivate joy, and the heavy feeling that sits in our chest that doesn’t allow for us to move or do anything, results in feeling more of a burden due to feeling like we have to stick to societal norms (which suck). and right now, I may be talking about ‘summer bodies’ or existing in a body that isn’t accepted in wider society, or the world expecting us to go back to normal as if we haven’t lost over 3 million people to a virus we didn’t and don’t understand. as if so many of us haven’t had to live with the after effects of this panoramic, pancetta, panna cotta, pandemonium – whatever name tickles your fancy – the opportunities lost, the businesses, communities, people and relationships gone. I know I’m not alone in these feelings, because I’ve seen them everywhere online, I’ve had the conversations in person and, I’ve overheard the whispers whilst standing in line at the store.

you don’t have to go back to ‘normal’ if you’re not ready. if you’ve cultivated a space for yourself that feels safe right now, and you’re not ready to leave, exist and be perceived in this world that’s ok. you’re allowed to take a step back and attempt to see things from a birds eye view, because honestly? the pieces don’t fit and it’s a puzzle with so many missing pieces that even though we may try to piece them together again, the pieces are still missing.

so many of us don’t want to be pessimists, we want to see the light and understand that there is hope to be found, and we know and are aware that joy is intentional and can help to reshape pieces and gaps we didn’t ever think could be reshaped or filled again but, it doesn’t remove from the fact that pieces and people are missing. that we are so urgent for the past to remain as it was, so much that we force it into the present without giving room to understand the now and that, we simply don’t have to rush this part. I keep seeing people fretting about our future, and we’re doing so much to preserve and cater to specific narratives we want to form out of this whole ‘thing’; but if this last year has taught us anything, it’s that the present shapes the future and when we rush to understand the future – or we rush the process of things that aren’t ready to be rushed or understood immediately – we damage so many people and chances without thought or regard for their entire being, or respect for what is being actively cultivated now, in the present.

the thing is life still carries on whether we like it or not, and I’d love to be affirmative and end this on a light, positive note but honestly, sometimes we just need to sit in our feelings and understand that despite the grief and sadness and pointing out all that may not be well, joy can exist in this space. grief and joy can coexist. in cultivating joy and gratitude where grief and worry are present, we accept things as they are whilst acknowledging that there is space for love, peace and understanding. friend, I see your hurt, frustration and worry but, I also hold you up and reassure you in knowing that there are also better days and moments to come even if it may not feel like it. like moments when the rain starts pouring buckets whilst sitting in a park with friends because it was sunny literally five minutes ago, and you find yourselves running back to the car, bags and coats over heads whilst knowing that doing so literally does nothing as you beeline to the car completely drenched. or the feeling that can’t be described when that a song or album just hits different, and you feel so seen by the artist that you sit inside the music as long as you can and have no idea what to do with yourself, and find yourself questioning what life even was before that moment. or the quiet chuckle you make to yourself when you make a joke you wish someone else heard, knowing that you’re the best comedian you know. or watching your friends wedding on zoom in the middle of Sainsbury’s, making you get all the feels and believing that love is very much real and is very much an active, deliberate and consistent choice we have to keep making.

human, you don’t have to rush this part. no is a full sentence, and you’re allowed to take your sweet time in finding your feet again.

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