Yes I have a cashflow problem!

After taking a look through some of the debate videos Facebook had to offer us the other day, I came across an incredibly interesting comment made by Dominic Raab.

He suggested that people who used Food Banks might have a ‘cashflow’ problem.

Obviously, there was a lot of outrage, and I could have gone on about it on my Facebook page but I decided that seeing as I’m fortunate enough to live with a friend who charges me far less rent than she should do I am not one of those people living on the poverty line.

I DID just want to take a minute to point out that Yes. Yes we DO have a cashflow problem. You want to see the maths? Okay.

Trying to work out the costings for an ‘average’ person isn’t easy, but for arguments sake I’ve gone to Right Move, found the cheapest currently available ROOM in a house share.

So we’re looking at £217 per month. Great! Well, that’s cheap! It’s bills included too, so there’s no need to worry about that. Will the council pay that much? Let’s see. £217 for twelve months divided by 52. That’s £50 a week, and thankfully, the local government are definitely going to give you that much to cover it.

So, that’s it right?

Ah, not quite. Let’s take another look at the fees listed here…

Fees.png

Hold on, hold on. What am I reading here?

Single occupancy from £85 per week

So actually you’re going to charge me £85 because I don’t have someone to share with? Here’s the sad news, guys. Suddenly we’re going to have an issue with the housing benefit, aren’t we?

What’s the Local Housing Allowance in Lincoln anyway?

LHA.png

Oh.

Well, I suppose – when you include the fact that the bills are all included I suppose I probably would have to use some of the benefits I get from Job Seeker’s Allowance toward the rent!

Job Seekers get £79.10 a week, so I now have £53 to live on for the week.

I mean, that is of course assuming that I already LIVE in this house share, because if I don’t, I really don’t fancy those fees. Well. Recurring fees. Renewal of tenancy? Is this a 6 month or a 12 month contract? Does it roll? Let’s say for the sake of this post that I have a 12 month contract – I need to keep back £5 a week to be able to afford the £60 Renewal Fee.

So now I have £48 a week to live on.

Okay, but I also have a pet. Why do I have a pet? Well, to be honest I sometimes feel like I need him. There are plenty of studies that suggest that pets are great for people with mental health related problems and I know he’s been amazing for me so I’m factoring this in too.

Figaro is insured. Of course he is! What kind of irresponsible pet owner would I be if I didn’t ensure that I had something to fall back on in case he got really sick? He’s not just my pet – he’s a member of my family. It’s me & Fig now. Anyway, okay – how much are you paying for that, Ollie dearest? £10.39 a month? Well, it’s only £2.39 a week.

Yeah, but he’s also got Pet Plan. You know. I can’t really afford the cost of vaccinations and medications and health checks. That’s £14.50 a month. It’s only £3.34 a week. No big deal!!

Okay, but what does he eat? Well, he is rather partial to wet food – so I try, when I can, to but Felix when it’s on offer. Usually… I can get 44 packs for about £10. He has one pack a day, which is 22p, times by 7 is £1.54 but he also has dry food! Which is a little more expensive because the little bugger is a rescue he likes Royal Canin, but I can get it pretty cheap online and it lasts 130. So, I’ll buy a bag of 10kg which is £44.19 and it lasts 130 days which averages out at about 33p a day. Another £2.31 a week.

The cat costs me just under a tenner a week. £9.58 if we’re going to be picky.

Which means that I now have £38.42 left.

At the moment, I’m volunteering three times a week at a local community centre. Generally, I get a lift into town once a week, but other than that I get the bus twice a week. A single into town is £2.30, which means I spend £4.60 on bus fares. No, I don’t get the bus back I WALK. Miracle of miracles.

£33.82

I also pay £10 a month to the peer support group I go to.

£31.50

Yeah, I could probably live on that much. As long as I never eat take away, never want new clothes, shoes, books, dvds, or general entertainment. As long as my friends don’t mind me not buying them cards or presents for any occasion – at least I have an excuse if I forget!

Did I mention that this is as long as I’m already living in that shared house? Otherwise I have to find £400 from somewhere.

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Friends.

I am not good at friends.

I have friends, and then they stop being friends and they float away. I never know what to say, and I never know what to do. I’m not good at small talk, I’d much rather learn my friend’s opinions on whatever topic it is that means a lot to them – or that one thing we have in common that ‘keeps us together’.

Those brief comments over Facebook make me yearn to be back in a place where we were talking day in, day out – but it never comes again because we all move on.

Now, it seems that the only friends I really ‘see’ as friends are the ones right in front of me. Whether we see each other once a week or once a month.

It hurts that I feel like I don’t belong to people anymore. I want to be a part of my friend’s lives, and I hate that I cannot manage the balance between here and there. Here is obviously right now, in the forefront, constantly aware of everything that’s going on in their lives, and there is something distant and obscure when you stop being a part of their every day world.

Logically, it’s easy to understand that there simply aren’t enough days in a week to maintain a close relationship as you once had – and that actually, even though you’re apart from one another that bond is still strong.

I want to believe that the friends I haven’t seen for weeks, months, or years still think of me the way that I think of them. I love a lot of people, for all kinds of reasons and in varying amounts but they all have a piece of my heart whether I really want them to have it or not.

I think about you, more often than I’d like to admit.

Challenging Personality

One thing that has never failed to really upset me – is when people challenge a part of my personality.

It’s difficult enough when you’re growing up to work out just who you are, and when people challenge the tidbits of your personality that you feel sure about it’s incredibly frustrating, and demoralising.

I find that having a personality disorder sometimes means that parts of my personality are twisted and re-shaped. I know that it takes a lot to wind me up, but there are days when on top of all the outside influences that I cannot control, I’m prone to making steps to wind myself up.

I believe that I have a lot of patience with children, and having spent a lot of time working in a school for children with all kinds of special needs, a lot of people believe that must be true. This is something that I challenge every time I think about it. My therapist asked me to make a list of things I like about myself, which at the time felt like a mammoth task. For every one item on the list, I could think of about three reasons why it didn’t belong on there.

Second guessing myself is something I’ve been doing subconsciously for as long as I can remember. I was the kid in class who would only put their hand up if they KNEW the answer 100%. I had to be right, because to be wrong would be a reflection of who I am. I wanted to be the child who could ask questions and give answers without feeling the heavy weight of failure not in the eyes of my peers or my teacher – but me.

I don’t like to be wrong. One of the only times you can get me to shut up is when I’m challenged by an opposing opinion that I do not know enough about. I’m keen to learn, but pride keeps me from asking the questions to help do just that – which I’m not proud about. I believe in bettering myself, and will keep trying to find the strength to do things when it feels like my entire body is frozen to the spot but it’s only a reflection of the fear I feel.

One of the hardest questions I’ve been asked at a job interview is the age-old “How would your friends describe you?” I used to think that the never ending yo-yoing of my personality was down to being a Gemini, and whenever horoscopes come up there always seems to be a debate at hand, but for a long time I ‘believed’ in my star sign and gravitated toward people who also accepted this view of personalities.

It’s a great example actually, of how things used to seem. On the topic of horoscopes and star signs I was incredibly flexible. Remembering the ‘list’ of people in my head that I could admit to ‘being a Gemini’ around and the people with whom it would result in some kind of severance of our friendship because of.

I’m *pretty sure* that being a Gemini and having Borderline is a coincidence, I have a lot of traits from both of these things and I identify completely with both of them as labels, but they don’t define me.

No one can be defined by any single label, it’s just not possible. Even bread has a bazillion different forms and I don’t think any two bread loaves are the same! (It’s not even anecdotal evidence, so sue me. Anyway.)

In my mind, I believe I’m the only one who can truly challenge my personality. There have been plenty of times when someone has told me something about myself, whether it be positive or negative (and from whose perspective! “was that a compliment?” springs to mind), but when all is said and done it’s only me who can decide whether to believe in them or not. Which is both a good and bad thing at the same time, isn’t it? No amount of someone telling me that I need to stop being so loud is going to make me stop being loud, but equally no amount of people telling me that I’m a caring person is going to make me believe that it’s true.

Bettering myself is how I’ve coped with the world, and myself. I’ve been able to reflect on the things I have said and done, and looking back I know there are a lot of things that have changed because of that self-awareness. (The self-awareness that was only made aware to me by other people mentioning it.)

We *are* most often, only going to listen to the comments that we want to hear. The ones that don’t mess with the status-quo or threaten to destabilise our entire mental picture of ourselves, but it’s certainly important sometimes to consider the things we don’t quite understand about ourselves.

My personality is mine, and knowing that I have a weird ability to shape it is probably one of the more positive things about being a person with Borderline. Not that it’s possible to wake up tomorrow with a completely new, hip outlook on life, it will take time as it always does but knowing that it is completely possible is pleasing to me.

When is a Vegan not a Vegan?

Whilst working in a hostel in Melbourne, I had the pleasure to meet someone who opened my eyes and changed my life forever. He helped educate me about the environmental impacts of the mass-production of meat, and eventually I came to the conclusion that I just couldn’t ‘do it’ anymore.

I didn’t eat another animal product until I left Australia.

The main thing that I personally take away from being a vegan, and claiming to be vegan is that I intend to do the least harm possible. I don’t just avoid eating animal products, but I check out the things that I use and buy and do to make sure that what I am doing is in the best interests of everybody involved in the making and production of it.

I envision a world where people are paid fairly, live well, and are happy. I try to buy fair trade products where I can, and shop in charity stores, I try to buy local, I consider the impacts of my decisions. It’s not easy, but I find a sense of victory in knowing that even if I am only one person – my actions over a length of time will do *something* to impact on the bigger picture.

Since changing my views, I’ve started following others who think the same way. There are Facebook groups and blogs of plenty of people with plenty of ideas but very often there are very clear, polar opposite opinions between them.

Understanding the strong feelings of the vegan who is strict enough in their beliefs that they refuse to eat somewhere that sells animal products is to me, just as important as the vegan who says that they ‘are vegan except for cheese’. I’m pretty sure that publicly these two people come across very different, but the main point is that they are both trying in some way to make a difference.

In this day and age when there is so much hate that it feels like pouring water on the fire of it will only make it burn stronger we really need to take a step back and think about why we let our differences separate us so much.

In the case of the vegan who eats cheese – I can only think that a backlash of hate from others telling them that they cannot claim to be ‘vegan’ whilst they consciously choose to eat cheese is only going to be detrimental to their overall choice. I know I personally cannot afford to buy ‘vegan certified’ trainers, and I certainly don’t know whether the ones I have been wearing the last six months contain animal glue or not – but I personally feel it doesn’t make me any less vegan.

It’s about doing the least harm possible. Causing the least damage to our world by supporting a belief that many people hold.

Personally, I know a few people who have lived on, or grown up on farms where the animals they care for are well-treated and looked after – and ultimately live a long life. Unfortunately, whether it be the explosion of our population or the huge demand for animal products, we live in a world where to sustain ‘our’ habits as a populous that there’s a need for factory farming and other practices that make me want to *cry*.

There are of course extreme ends of all scales.

Here in the UK, I have the freedom to choose from a huge array of shops that offer a range of products to fulfil all my dietary needs. Whilst I was living with my Mum & Step Dad on the peninsula of Alaska I didn’t really have much choice about what I was going to eat – so to be able to go out fishing and catch my dinner was actually a pretty rewarding feeling.

Due to my own nature, and my perception of how vegans I know would react to this – it’s not usually something I talk about. When people ask me ‘How long have you been vegan?’ I actually struggle with the answer. For three months of my life was I not vegan? Did I just work out how many months it had been since I first went vegan and take three away? Do I add up the days and take away that day when I was nearly sick from hunger and ate a cheese sandwich to make sure I didn’t faint?

I still believed in my cause. I feel incredibly difficult emotions over it, and thanks to ‘the way my brain likes to work’ I could even let myself feel so upset about my decisions in those moments that I could abandon all hope of ever being the person I ‘want’ to be and take an extremely different path to the future.

Saying yes, I have been vegan for almost two years is far from a lie as far as I’m concerned. During the entirety of those two years I will have always consciously thought about the things I buy, and because I am human like everyone else who will read this – it’s safe to say that occasionally mistakes will be made. It’s just important not to feel overwhelmed when you do, consciously or subconsciously.

 

Splitting

It hurts. We know it’s not just us that it’s hurting too – but it happens for reasons that more often than not, we don’t even understand.

For an impossibly long time, I realised that here and there I’d been developing personal vendettas against people in my friends groups. I began to detest them, and grow agitated by the slightest thing that they would say and do.

Some of these people had never meant anything more to me than someone with whom I was acquainted, usually due to mutual friends. Of course, there was always the potential for more to come of our friendships – but instead of fostering those friendships, for whatever reason, subconsciously I chose to keep them at a distance.

I can be cold, judgmental and harsh about their every single move, detail and decision.

Being the introspective, self-aware thing that I believe I am – over time I’ve put this down to some very complex and difficult concepts. I once managed to convince myself that the reason I so despised these people was because there was some part of them that I saw as ‘negative’, but worse than that – I believed it was a reflection of who I was. That one personality trait we shared, that I found to be so ugly was too difficult to come to terms with so I chose to hate that person, rather than try to come to terms with it.

The other conclusion, was that the person whom I directed so much of my frustrations on actually deserved those feelings because of some kind of negative attitude. I cannot count the number of times when I’ve felt frustrated about someone’s situation – and equally felt powerless to offer them any support or guidance because, and isn’t that the nature of people, they are their own person and can do what they want with their lives.

Sometimes, I feel like I care too much. I know that I have a lot of love to give, and I love a lot of people – and I’m working on the acceptance that I am a compassionate, caring person.

Splitting is difficult. Equally so when it directly challenges my belief that I am the person I want to believe I am.

I have days when I know that every little thing someone does is going to make me mad, and I feel completely powerless to stop it. Things frustrate me, sometimes the smallest things and for whatever reason ‘letting go’ of those things is impossible, or at least it feels that way. I constantly strive to make sure I will see the day when I am able to take control of those feelings and turn them on their head. This disorder might have directed my life for this long but I am determined to prove that there are ways to accomplish what sound impossible.

Little Words

I haven’t had a ‘melt down’ over something someone said to me in ages, but today I suppose there were a few external factors that made me more susceptible to thinking too sensitively to things.

We were watching Mastermind, and someone came on who was introduced pretty much instantly with “So you used to be a man and now you’re a woman.’ blah blah blah. The discussion started in the room, and people started calling her him, so I said “She is a woman.” and one person was like “No, he is not a woman until he’s had an operation.” and despite all the things I knew I should say like – how do you know if they’ve had surgery or not and a whole host of other things I feel are valid points I just shut up.

I sat there for another 5 minutes, quietly stewing but had to leave. Ended up sitting in my friend’s bedroom for about 45 minutes. She didn’t even realise I’d gone, but by the time she found me I’d managed to work myself through everything I’ve ever been through related to these kinds of discussions and had that vague idea in my head that I couldn’t tolerate the world any more, and even if I go into politics and social policy I’m never going to be able to make the world better and more understanding and what was the point???

In the end I cried on my friend and told her that I hated being ‘this way’. I hate that I can’t just switch it all off for one night and enjoy myself without one person getting the better of me. I hated that I couldn’t just explain to her what upsets me. It does feel like only people who have BPD understand how it feels to live with the onslaught of feelings that come along, and how quickly everything spirals through. I’ve tried writing down my thought process in those difficult times before and it feels like it’s impossible.

Anyway… I just needed to get that off my chest. My friend was great, asked if I could come down and get a cup of coffee in the kitchen with her where it was quieter and I managed.

Big difference to how it used to be.

Christmas & ‘The Holidays’.

I cannot remember the last time that I was this excited about the run up to Christmas. I cannot wait to spend time with friends and family, and feel so excited about the prospect of doing festive things and looking forward to the future and being so thankful to everyone in my life.

Before now, my relationship with this time of year has been difficult at best. Complex relationships, friendships and the relationship I’ve had with my feelings about them have clouded my view of this time of year.

There are the kind of challenges that everyone faces – what am I going to BUY for this person, or that person. How can I possibly buy/afford/find the perfect present that will adequately express how much I value this person?

Occasionally, I found that I managed to find something that seemed to tick all the boxes. Usually it was during a spending spree in resulted in a lot of impulsive decisions and probably a few choice purchases for myself. Come the following morning, I’d feel a heavy sort of guilt about it. Not only do NONE of those presents feel ‘right’ any more, but I’d lessened the value of them by spending money on myself in the same breath. (Usually money I ‘don’t have’ and therefore shouldn’t have spent on me.) To make matters worse, I would usually dig myself into a hole of belief that because I couldn’t find the perfect present, I therefore could not possibly value that person as much as I should. Which started a spiral of negativity.

I have no idea what has changed this year – all I know, and all I am going to take away from this feeling is that is just has changed. I want to put up Christmas decorations, and I want to spend good quality time with my family and friends. The people I love, because I love them, and I know that I can show that by being with them and around them!

For a while, even just a few days ago I had bad feelings about the run up to this time of year, but this evening I’ve spent the last 2 hours listening to some uplifting podcasts on mental health thanks to a link from a friend and sat writing my Christmas Cards. I have a lot of friends who live abroad and it dawned on me earlier today that in three weeks today, it’ll all be over. (At least the Christmas part.) It’s definitely put me in a festive mood, and brightened my outlook on a lot of things drastically.

Knowing that I can’t afford to perhaps buy the things I WANT to buy for people is not as depressing a feeling anymore. I’ve decided that I am going to do what I CAN do, and the rest will work itself out. Positivity is always productive, and I want to keep on this little train line and choo choo my way all the way through the next four weeks.

 

Medication

You know, I just really needed somewhere to get my thoughts out.

This Tuesday, I had a far more successful appointment with my Psychiatrist. The first is another story entirely that I don’t feel comfortable going through just yet.

The psychiatrist and I talked about a lot of things, and there were a fair few of them that really surprised me. I thought it was a little strange that he asked me what age my parents were, and whether or not they were married, and what they did for work. Weirder still, he was very intent on getting a thorough history of where I’d been on my travels the previous year.

I talked a lot, and as is the case for me a lot of the time at the moment – I questioned the diagnosis of BPD. It’s silly, really. In one breath I feel like I relate to the diagnosis completely and utterly. Thinking about the relief it gave me, and the clarity that it provided when I looked back on the rest of my life meant that to me it just made sense and from that moment on I felt suddenly incredibly empowered to keep moving forward.

Thankfully, the psych was kind enough to take a moment to let me know that if the diagnosis had done all this for me, and still explained so many of my behaviours then I probably needed to accept it. I do. I wish I did all the time, but there are moments when I’m reading about other people who also have BPD, and listening to other people’s stories that I feel like somehow I am cheating them out of their diagnosis. Like there has to be something else that I should be identifying with.

That thought alone is enough to make me angry with myself. Everyone’s story is their own personal timeline. I tell myself, and others quite often that even identical twins have different thoughts, feelings, wants, needs and issues. This is the same for everyone.

Also, during my meeting – we discussed the other thing.

Depression is something I know I’ve also suffered with, and I’m beginning to wonder whether the onset of it was something completely removed from BPD. My memories of childhood don’t stretch back far enough to determine whether borderline has affected my life far before my teenage years, but I could certainly say that I displayed plenty of traits I recognised now well before I was depressed.

By the end of the session, I’d not only had my fears sated, and my concerns discussed – but there was something else hanging between us that I almost didn’t want to have to hear.

Going back on medication is a decision I promised myself I wouldn’t make lightly, and I don’t think for one minute that either myself, or the psychiatrist would even think about it if it didn’t make sense.

It’s scary though. For so many reasons and some of them not as obvious as the others.

I’m worried about my ‘self’. The person I have learned to accept in the last year is more often than not, peppy and upbeat. I get excited about the most ridiculous things and act so often like I know there are other people watching but I just don’t care. I’m happy not caring, and I’m concerned that I’ll lose that part of me I’ve grown to accept and love.

I’m scared of the vivid dreams I haven’t had since last October. I’m scared of appetite changes, sleeping pattern shifts. I’m scared of suicidal thoughts and depressive thinking. I’m scared that they will make me feel sick, and worse – I’m afraid that I’ll stop being able to feel.

To me, feelings and emotions play such a huge role in my every day life. I love life. I smile at buildings, for no reason other than I’m happy.

Knowing that there is another side to me sometimes doesn’t feel like it’s enough to justify potentially changing this attitude.

“Depressed Ollie” is not pleasant. For me, or for anyone else around me. I dislike her, and I know that sometimes that’s not the best attitude to have when you’re trying to overcome living with a part of yourself but I cannot help but question whether some of the things that I have become used to are simply down to the fact that I am depressed. Will going on medication change me so drastically that suddenly I’ll be able to accomplish the things that have felt too difficult or scary?

Will I find the strength, without those underlying thoughts and feelings, to do things I don’t feel capable of yet?

Has this last year been an exercise in ‘mastering’ my understanding of my life with Borderline, and now I need to work on Depression as a whole… other thing that impact so much of what I do, and try to do.

Personality is such an unbalanced concept for me at the moment anyway, and there’s a defeatist part of myself that wants to lean back and let it happen. After all, my traits and habits and thoughts seem to change depending on the weather anyway. Why shouldn’t I just throw caution to the wind and try this? Give it a go, what’s the worst that can happen?

I have a feeling that I’ll go ahead with this decision. It felt right on Tuesday morning, and I know in my heart that things aren’t ‘right’. It still doesn’t stop me from feeling uneasy about it.

Love in 2016

I know that I’m not alone in the belief that 2016 has been an incredibly tough year. The media has been filled with news stories that have rocked us to the core, and some huge decisions have literally divided both the UK and America.

At this time, it feels like we’re clinging to hope – and it breaks my heart to read comments, often from people I’ve never met and do not know, expressing their loss of hope, and quite often their hatred of other people.

It feels very much like there is no ‘answer’ to all that seems to be going wrong in the world. So many people have forgotten how to have compassion, and many seem to find it hard to focus what compassion they have on anyone beyond their immediate field of vision.

In amongst all of this though, there are good stories. People doing good things for one another, positive movements gaining traction. I’ve seen a lot of pictures and videos of people doing good things, and it is heartbreaking that these acts of kindness are riddled with negativity. I don’t believe that a good deed should be recorded for the sake of personal gain, but to have done something good for someone else and to make a record of it to show to the rest of the world that people are doing good things is important.

It’s important at this time, for all of us to know that despite the way the world seems to be headed, people are still fundamentally good. We are kind, caring, compassionate creatures. Every single one of us, no matter what we have done only want for one thing – and that is to be happy. Happiness is a state of mind that can be achieved through so many means, but when you sit down and think about it, even if only for a minute it’s clear – at least to me, that happiness can be found in the smallest of gestures.

Please, please try to find kind words. We all have bad days, and bad moods and difficulties ahead of us. We all have complicated emotions and feelings but we don’t have to give in to them.

I met someone recently, completely by chance. It was chucking it down with rain, and thankfully the local bus stop has a shelter and so immediately we struck up conversation. The topic was obvious, and from it – in no time at all we were making all kinds of connections.

When it came to part ways, my new friend turned to me and told me that she had been in an awful mood, and had prepared herself to feel the same way for the rest of the day – but after our conversation her mood had changed. Just hearing that was enough to make me smile, I was already in good spirits, despite the awful weather and it reinforced this idea that happiness begets happiness.

I’m pretty sure that the change in frame of mind wasn’t down to ‘me’ fundamentally. I went out of my way to talk to someone, and in doing so made a connection that otherwise would have come and gone and left us.

Yes, there are a lot of difficult decisions and changes ahead of us that we will not be in control of. It’s okay to be afraid of how our world will change, and whether it really will be for the better – right now we know absolutely nothing about what is going to happen, and there is a lot of unrest and upset in the media over the outcome of these things.

Giving love, being kind and having compassion will not only help you as an individual through these times but it will also help to show others that they can do the same. It can be difficult to have compassion for someone else, but it is far better than to judge them and for both people to feel the effects of that negativity.

Keeping it simple

Like loads of people I know, I have a LOT of interests. It’s really easy for me to get caught up in whatever’s new and interesting. I love discovering new things and like to collect ‘stuff to do’.

It was in the months before I ‘returned to Earth’, moved back to Lincoln and decided to start from the beginning again that I made a pact with myself. I said “Ollie, you’re a writer now. That’s what you are.”

Mostly, it was an attempt to stop myself from being distracted whilst shopping. I’d already bought myself some coloured pencils, and received various colouring books to help ‘relax’ with. I felt that this wasn’t such a bad thing. It’s therapeutic and I would give it a go, but I had to draw the line.

Wanting to better myself in other crafts was only going to weigh me down, and drawing my focus away from what I wanted to be really good at was a sure-fire way to make me feel miserable in the long run. So I ditched the desire to learn how to draw, I decided I didn’t need to try making greetings cards again. I’m not a jewellery maker and I didn’t want to start any kind of needlecraft!

Writing it was!

Of course, it could never just be writing. After the purchase of my first DSLR and the not so careful documentation of the animals I encountered on my travels it made sense to me that photography could come a close second to writing. I love taking photos, and I love writing.

I thought, in the beginning, that I’d find it hard to stick to these two things. There are plenty of days when I wander down the ‘crafts’ aisle in The Range however, and don’t feel a pang of need to make exciting purchases (even when they have exciting Iron Man card making sets!!!). I’m a writer. I don’t need cute buttons and stamps, I need notebooks.

Notebooks, I can forgive. Eventually they find themselves being used for something, and certainly I think that the sheer number of notebooks I have for various things is important to the way that I’ve organised my life. A book for my Morning Pages writing, a notebook for thoughts relating to BPD, a book to track my day-to-day accomplishments, a book for a diary that I write in before bed, one of those cool three-year one-sentence-a-day books, a positivity notebook, a notebook for new word discoveries (which is quite full now, thank you Stephen King).

Limiting the things I want, and accepting that I’m allowed to make purchases if I’m going to make use of the things I buy was actually pretty liberating. My most recent purchase was with photography in mind.

I bought a little carry bag for my camera waaaaay back when I first bought it. It was practical at the time. I needed something to keep it in, and knew that with all my other luggage it would have to be portable. Things had changed a LOT when I got back home. I had a rucksack that I was using every day – as it’s always been, really. Something I could carry my laptop in, the shopping, a drink, NOTEBOOKS. What I found though, was that I was going out on day trips and seeing fun things but my camera was nowhere to be seen. BECAUSE, of course it was at home. Tucked away nicely in its bag. Useless.

I found this on amazon, and it arrived on Monday!

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It is perfect. There’s enough space to stick my laptop in the main part of the bag if I want. The top space is big enough for my wonderful A5 notebooks!! The outside compartments are big enough to hold my re-useable Starbucks cup and a brolly. The inside has it’s one zip up compartments and then of course, as you can see – space for my camera!! (Also, very importantly. The zips are all key chain friendly! You can see, right? Look at where Mr Kangaroo is hanging from.)

It’s been great, and it’s given me so much joy and most of all it means I’ve been taking photos.