askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 As i think I mentioned previously, Sussex accepted me to study for a PhD in Gender Studies beginning this September.  This was exciting news but not to the point where I could actually *become* excited because whilst I have saved carefully these last 2 years, I have nowhere near enough money to pay for PhD study because I'm not paid a bajillion pounds a month.

I applied for a studentship award and submitted a terrible proposal - forcing myself to finish it and actually send it in on the same week I heard that Lu had died - against all my inclination and energy really, getting it in.  About 3 weeks later I was invited to an interview - as I believe I mentioned here - and a couple of days later they emailed me, informally, to tell me that incredibly, happily and - to my mind - against all the odds, I won a studentship; fees and a modest living allowance.  Coupled with my savings I should just about to get through 3 years in Brighton, as long as I can get a part time job as well.

Today I received an emailed copy of the official offer and the promise that a hard copy is in the post.  I'm going. I'm going to do the thing I've been saying I want to do for about 7 years.

I'm doing it.

Lot's to sort out before now and September - finding a place to live with Vincent (the cat) being top of the list but the wheels are in motion.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 I was going to write about how conflicted I am over what to do about mortgage stuff having been to see a mortgage advisor today and being told it's within my grasp.

I was also going to write about how unrewarding, stressful and frustrating my job is.  How I can't sleep for stress dreams and how tired I am at feeling stupid because I don't have a head for figures and doing payroll - dealing with pensions, tax and factored payments makes me want to smash my head against the desk.

How I am also frustrated, tired and upset by how poorly I grasp mortgage calculations and budgeting for a mortgage - and how I will know if I can afford it when I see the bills.  I have no abstract sense of numbers, interest, percentages....nothing.  I nod and I smile and go "oh I see!" when I am no better informed than I was a moment ago.

And I was going to write about the Manics again, and how simple everything seems when I am in front of them, surrounded by them, immersed.  Which is why I have spent every evening since Saturday watching Manics DVDs and listening to albums, to the exclusion of everything else.

But I'm tired.  And I've summarised. And I want to watch more Manics now.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
Share your father's advice.

You can't always call a spade a spade.

I used to get mighty pissed off at school when I would tell my female friends they were being...well, teenage girls.  I've always been quite straightforward and never particularly interested in gossiping about boys/hair/make-up/other friends, I had a tendency to try and resolve situations by being unrelentingly logical and practical - it rarely went down well.

This also applied to people who said stupid stuff, I tend to like to tell them it's stupid.  Not for being malicious just for...stating what the situation is.

Over the years biting my lip has become a hard acquired skill.  I think it's worth it, on the whole; fewer arguments.  More frustration perhaps, in the short term at least. 

Went to look at a new build house today, it was available on shared ownership so I would only have had to have a mortgage for 25% of the value (25% = £27,500) and pay rent on the rest - £191 a month - which I could afford on top of mortgage repayments.  I found it on a property site a week ago.  Mentally, I'd already moved in. I so want to unpack the boxes which currently rest in the attic.  I want to do my food shopping (I pay my parents board on top of rent, they shop early on Saturday morning, I eat the food that turns up in the cupboards), plan a weeks meals and live at the pace I choose - rather than existing next to the unrelenting routine of my parents.  I want to own a house. I want to paint the walls in the holidays from work.  I want to buy bits and pieces from Ikea to furnish it.  I want to adopt two cats (April and Socks from Lincoln Cat Care) and I want to live my life as I wish - that's not here.

Unfortunately, the 4 available shared ownership houses, I was told upon arrival, have already gone, and I can submit an application and be on the waiting list but it was implied that I wouldn't be the top of the waiting list - it'd take a lot of people's applications to fall through before I'd get one.  I still looked around - it was everything I hoped it would be from the photos I'd seen online - completely perfect.  I can see myself living there.  Which is fatal, really.

A week's reprise from how I felt when I wrote this entry, but I feel myself plummeting back there.  I have already looked at other shared ownership properties and not only is 25% a rarity, they are also almost universally flats and without the spacious rooms that this house had.

Friend S, with the brain injury from the car crash, is still recovering.  Spoke to him on the phone for an hour or so tonight and he tried to tell me two separate things he told me last time I saw him - something he never used to do, he's always had an excellent memory.  He also wrote a reply to my facebook status which, whilst I understood and saw the joke he was trying to make, was in no way expressed with his usual verbal dexterity and flair.  Keep encouraging him to be patient as he's very frustrated by getting tired doing normal day-to-day things and everyone telling him to go slowly.  But I'm actually getting impatient for him to be back to normal.  Terrified he will have lost some of his easy intellect and confidence of expression.
askygoneonfire: if you lived here, you'd be home by now (November the 15th)
You sit, in a worn down but well loved, lived in living room, you shout from there to the kitchen down the corridor.  The soul you feel most drawn to and most forgiven by shouts back to you; you laugh till you cry.

Text messages buzz, the doorbell rings, the landline dings; "I think I'm standing outside?"

The temperature rises as bodies pack into the insufficient but perfectly workable space.  The thrum of laughter, and smiles - smiling has a sound - and conversation drifts from the floor upwards, filling the whole room with a pleasant din, like a fog which envelops but also multiplies as it spreads.

It is tactile, and comfortable, and it is home.  

It is home.  Far more than 'home' was ever home.

All those idiosyncrasies which were shameful and hidden are jokes - shouted across the room.  All those insecurities which were poured over cease to exist.  Home.  This is what home feels like.

It's a knowledge that happens in the core of the bones and spreads outwards.  And then, suddenly and gradually, there has never been any doubt about where here is.

You catch yourself: just once in a while, standing there, amongst the din, smiling and feeling, even for a few precious moments, perfect contentment.


It is 11 days until I get to go home.  It is too long, and my retreat will be too short.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
The Big Move of adjusting (largely unsuccessfully, I might add) to living with my parents.  The Big Move of leaving behind the most important friends I have ever had or made.  The Big Move of quitting a job I hate, bolstered by self confidence that it was a Big Move to get a Big Payoff. All of it was, in short, Big.  Was it worth it? 

Today is day 7 of the new job.  I have done most of the jobs in the office now; filing, personnel file updating and management, purchase orders, making travel arrangements for teachers going on trips or courses and communicating those arrangements to them, shredding, more filing, delivering post, database usage, management of the school calendar.  It will come as no surprise to anyone that this is deadly boring.

I think, were it not for the fact my fellow office workers are a cheery, friendly bunch who assume greater knowledge when explaining something rather than lesser, I would have quit already.  As it is I am torn.  I am finally getting office experience - something that has been a gap in my otherwise excellent experience section on application forms - and if I join the union I could volunteer to be the union rep for the school workers and that would be brilliant experience but...

I can't help but feel I'm missing out on something much, much better.  I am really angry about the fact the job centre had me booked in for a one-on-one careers advisor session - specifically designed for 'professionals' and people with degrees who find themselves unemployed - on Friday gone but I had to cancel it as I had started this new job by then.  It might have been useless, but I really didn't feel like it was going to be useless.

I hate being unemployed, largely because there is nothing to do and nowhere to go because you don't have the money to do it.  But how is trading Brighton and all my friends therein - a place I love with a job I hate, for a place I hate and a job I hate? I explicitly weighed up no money to save for PhD/great city/terrible job against good job/money to save for PhD/terrible place to live/no amazing friends.  I feel short changed.  

And I don't like feeling short changed, so I need to act.  I'm just not sure whether quitting is the right course of action or whether I should stick it out and then quit say, in the new year claiming my reason for leaving on future application forms as being because I wanted to get office experience and stayed only until I had.  The latter is the obvious, hedging-your-bets choice, but no part of this move was supposed to be hedging my bets, it was meant to be bold and daring, and it was meant to be the shock my working life needed to get it on a decent track.

At the end of the day, I don't want to be rich - I want to be happy in the way I spend my days.  And yes, money is an excellent facilitator; house, garden, holidays, food, books, PhD; but that is all I want or need it to be.  Yes, I want to work.  But I want to enjoy my work.  And I want to feel like I am doing something appropriate to my needs; which are, quite simply, to be engaged by my work. 

Either way, I need to make a decision.  I haven't slept since, well, since I started really.  No more than 5 hours a night.  Feel like the living dead.
askygoneonfire: if you lived here, you'd be home by now (November the 15th)
 In 26 days I will be 26. Struggling to have any positive feelings about this.

Today I visited the job centre to transfer my claim from the Brighton office. As with the previous visit the advisor was rude and...stupid.  He mocked my signature for looking silly (I know, wut?) and kept laughing at the course title of my Masters (Sexual Dissidence in Literature and Culture) before needing convincing that yes, that is what it says on my degree.  He snorted once more and said "I won't write that on your file" and simply typed 'M.A.'

I spent the afternoon with my brothers, which was lovely.  Although we all had a bit of a weird psychic moment where brother 2 and I left his flat to surprise brother 1 with a visit - 1 didn't know I was even going to be in town today - we arrived to 1's flat but he wasn't in.  So we nipped into the nearby Asda and received a call from 2's partner who was still at their flat.  1 had just arrived.  This means that we both left our respective departure points at the same time, having not planned to meet or visit and all three of us deciding on the spur of the moment to visit at that exact time.  Weirdness.

I got home to my parent's house and my Mum tells me that the school at which she works, the same place I had an interview the other week, want me to work there in some sort of admin role.  Apparently it pays better than the one I interviewed for and I won't have to interview again.  So obviously I'll take it if they offer it to me - don't look a gift horse and all that.  

I was planning on going to the cinema with brother 2 tomorrow for Orange Wednesday to see Salt.  We were going to go to a matinee because it's cheaper and he needs to get home at a reasonable hour to go to bed as his schizophrenia medication makes him sleep for at least 12 hours and he's at work at 7am the following morning.  ANYWAY, I'd be leaving at 1:15pm for the cinema, not unreasonable that I won't be constantly in the house between 8:30am and 4pm, surely? My parents believe I'm being reckless with a solid job offer and I should arrange to stay in ALL DAY.  This is particularly stupid given my Mum could just say to the recruiting woman tomorrow morning "oh, she's only in until 1pm as she has to go to the job centre" or just "go out".  Not unreasonable, right?  Parents continued repeating same thing.

Eventually I packed up my stuff and went upstairs to my room, once again - I've spent a significant portion (if not all) of 5 of the 6 evenings I have been living here for, in my room (and the sixth night was spent at a friends house).  I may as well have got a bedsit and stayed in Brighton.

I am, despite my above refutation, thinking about looking a gift horse in the mouth.  I have spent the last 3 years trapped in a job I hate in a city I love.  I say trapped because of the working pattern of 1 day on, 1 day off, 4 days on, 1 day off, repeat didn't allow me time or energy to look for new jobs with necessary zeal.  Financially, of course, I was also trapped, unable to afford luxuries or save any money, but earning just enough to pay rent and bills; making myself unemployed in Brighton would have been suicide/was unthinkable.  But the gleaming, shining, bouncing, glowing star of optimism that convinced me to move back up North was the idea I would have space and time to find a job I might enjoy, as well as live in a place that would allow me to save for the now mythologised PhD.

In short, whilst the prospect of a job falling into my lap seems a delight, I can't help but sigh a sad sigh and prepare myself to be reinserted into just the working environment I so gleefully fled in Brighton.  I feel trapped all over again and I haven't even had the job offer.

I was meant to be having some sort of careers guidance meeting with an advisor a week on Friday.  I was feeling really positive about that.  And I was planning on going to Nottingham on Thursday to register with some agencies in the hope of striking out into publishing/editing industry - copy writing? Yes please.  But agencies and waiting for the career you've picked to turn up requires having an empty calendar - you have to be able to answer the phone call that says "we have a 3 month contract for a copy writer in x, can you start on Monday?" with "yes" not, "no, I have to give my one months notice first".

I keep getting trapped in this stupid fucking economy with my fucking useless (although, apparently amusing) degree and attempts to break out of it last LESS THAN A MONTH.  I just want a good job.  A graduate job - £20,000 p/a is not an unrealistic salary expectation.  What was the point in going to University, getting myself a £15,000 student debt, when I could have got a job at a local paper or something and worked my way up.  I could have done a degree at 50 if it was still something I felt I needed to do.  Instead I'm completely fucking stuck.

I'm single. And I'm 26(ish) and I'm living with my parents again - the latter being my choice in principle, by only because I thought it was a radical move that'd give me the opportunity to break out of the have no money-get paid-pay rent-have no money cycle of finances I simply couldn't break free of in Brighton.  And here I am, feeling more hopelessly stuck than I have done since I made the decision to move if I didn't find a new job in Brighton back in May.

ETA: Oh, and the rats aren't settling in nearly as well as I hoped they would and the only time they come to me is when they are cowering in fear and want to hide from everything/nothing in my arms/under my legs, rather than for kisses and tickles and hugs like they used to.  I feel fantastically guilty for upsetting them so much


askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
a sky gone on fire

August 2017

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