Listening to Joshua Radin

One of the few celebrities I follow got married today. The pictures only hit the internet within the last 3 hours, UK time. Naturally, he looks handsome, she looks gorgeous, and I am so happy for them both.

And yet my own situation is so different it might as well be on another planet. But, for the first time in a while that’s not to say I’m actually sad at the fact. My own life is growing. For the first time in a while it’s actually growing. In many different ways, all at once.

My second article has been published.

A theatre piece about two poets from WW1, it was about as far from my comfort zone as you can get. And it’s miles away from the forthcoming assignment, which is a concert by a composer who scores seventies Italian horror films. Diversify, it’s the key to employment in the 21st century, apparently.

I’ve signed up for a series of aerial-hoop classes.

Which is similar to pole dancing, but it’s with a hoop. In the air. And because of the second fact it’s not just performing the poses once you’re in the hoop, it’s more actually clambering into the bloody thing! Which has to be done in a certain way, and as gracefully as possible.

Not easy when you’re rangy, though from what I can establish, it’s not a skill set that’s easily picked up by any particular body shape. You need to be strong in the upper body, long limbed, but not overly long because they have to bend and wrap around the hoop, which is suspended, and swaying.

The cirque du soleil gang make this look easy. It isn’t, as the bruises on every conceivable surface of my body can attest. And straddling the hoop is an uncomfortable experience for either gender, much less rolling round the thing, your groin acting as a fulcrum for your entire body weight, plus gravity…

Just hold your breath and go. Quickly.

But so far it’s a riot. And I’ve hung upside down, flipped backwards, sat half-moon, secretary, figure-four, scissors, and bilateral lean back. You see? Lingo.

The biggest issue for everyone is the upper-body strength. Sadly I come from the generation of young women that are told from highschool onwards that upper body strength isn’t feminine, and being stronger than the boy you like is never going to get him to like you. So it’s a double-whammy, both aesthetically unpleasing, as well as a turn-off to anyone you might fancy to have obvious physicality.

Only in the last two years have attitudes begun to change, in the wake of Jessica Ennis and the rest of the UK Olympic girl crew, and their success in 2012.

And this is on top of my own issues. In my twenties, thanks to my peculiar hormonal and chromosome deficiencies, I discovered my upper body inflated like Arnie if I even looked at a gym. Even swimming gave me the type of bicep that looked less than smooth, if I tried to wear anything floral for a night out.

So, and it pains me to write this, I let my upper body exist purely at a resting state. I wasn’t sagging, I inherited my poppa’s strength (what Americans call “country strong”) so staying strong for my nursing wasn’t an issue.

Now though, trying to get my body into a hoop suspended 5 feet off the floor, I found I couldn’t haul my own bodyweight up, just with my arms alone. So now, my friends and I, are focused on an intense regime of push-ups, presses, curls and lifting. We’re all girls, lifting with abandon.

Stuff looking like Arnie!

I wanna look good in a vest, legs straight, toes pointed, straddle mounting my hoop!!!

And even growing up, one of my sporting idols was Jay Novacek, primarily because he was rangy, androgynous, and had the straggly blonde hair that I’ve sported since year dot. So who cares if I have bicep definition? It just makes my tattoos look even more awesome.

So yes, never underestimate what a motivated woman can achieve. It’s impressive.

And yet, on the next hand is something less physically exerting but still just as emotive.

Although our university accommodation is en-suite and warm, it can easily turn into a prison cell, especially with the night’s drawing in, as winter bears down on everyone.

Today one of my flatmates declared she was relocating to the local Starbucks, just to clear her head from the chaos. She offered me the chance to ride shotgun and I said sure, why not?

Starbucks, a tax dodging, ethically unsound, coffeehouse franchise, yet it does have excellent Wi-Fi, a nice ambience, friendly staff and totally undrinkable filter coffee.
I mean, I know it’s cheap, and the refills free, but still… bleurg!

We worked there for 3 hours, chatted, researched, brainstormed, gossiped, and sat watching the rain rake the town in sheets. Then we decided to go for a late lunch at a local café, where some Welsh genius had the great idea of sticking brisket beef atop a Welsh beef burger.


Burger nirvana.

My stomach had shrunk, thanks to the bug I picked up earlier in the week and the subsequent chicken soup and fluids diet, so I wasn’t prepared for the meat sweat we both suffered, alongside orgasmic cries of “OMG, this is SO good!”

Another flatmate arrived and we all had a lovely meal, watching more rain land, and over ice cream we all agreed that this is something we should make a regular thing, like a Friday night dinner, only at 3pm. And involving bacon for anyone who can eat it.

Then we all went thrift shopping in the various thrift/charity shops around town. Searching the racks and the rails, hunting for cheap bargains, hats and dresses and Xmas cards.

At this point the sun was starting to set, so we slipped effortlessly into the dusk hour. And, like I’ve written in the past on this blog, the dusk of a Friday afternoon is a magical time.

As we walked down to the sea, the sun was setting, the sky pewter, and mixed with gunmetal. Light streaking down from the clouds, as whitehorses pounded the peagravel. Walking the promenade, we passed pop-up stores and vendors, all boarded up, all expectant of the storm, predicted to hit in the next 48 hours, all hoping they don’t get too hammered by mother nature.

This weather will only get worse. And colder. But things seem to be looking up. And like my orchid, which insists on flowering every January, I seem comfortable to continue to grow in my current surroundings.

I made the right decision. Despite the financial repercussions. I think this might be a viable ladder up to the next level. And if I don’t get to be like my celebrity, to have the white wedding of my dreams, body hugged tight beside the one that I love, then at least I can say I enjoyed the journey, enjoyed this year, even if it didn’t lead to the destination my teenage heart once desired.


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