October not only brought on longer nights and colder mornings, but it also offered a lot of exciting stuff. After a lovely reception from my September catch-up post, I thought it would be rude not to do a little summary about the last 30 days, too.
October kicked off to a lovely start, as Matt and I spent a Sunday brunching and walking around Hyde Park with our friend Chris. We started the day by spending an hour queuing in front of The Breakfast Club in Soho, which is ridiculous in theory, but boy, was it worth it. After our delicious two-course breakfast (hey, we spent an hour queuing, so we were going to get our money’s worth), we meandered around Hyde Park and even rented a pedalo. Chris is someone we met at one of the many weddings we went to last month, and he is such a gem. It’s difficult to make friends as an adult, so it’s always nice to come across someone as genuine and lovely as Chris.
I fell a bit out of love with Autumn this year. Maybe it was because of our lack of summer, or that Starbucks seemed to be watering down their PSLs, or I had no desire for fancy dress and Halloween anymore. I just wasn’t ready for the dark days, cold nights and the bare tress. But taking a walk around a park with good people really did make me appreciate the colours in the changing season, even if I was a little reluctant to fully give in to autumn.
We also headed to the third and final wedding of the year, as Matt and I made another journey up to Sheffield to see an old work colleague tie the knot. I was great fun seeing and catching up with old work pals, some of whom got married themselves and even had babies in the time I moved out of Sheffield. Bonkers! The Sunday after was spent brunching once again in Sheffield’s newest food spot, The Cabin, which again we had to spend some time queuing before getting in. Because apparently being an adult means queuing for brunch instead of clubs. Or y’know, I am millennial trash.
October marked my first full month at university as I work towards a Master’s degree in Creative Writing — and it’s fun! I’m learning a lot, and certainly reading a hell of a lot. What I’m enjoying the most, though, other than being given free rein to spend my days reading and writing, is getting together with my writing peers. There’s around 30 of us, all different ages, hailing from many different backgrounds, but we’ve all been brought together by a core passion. It’s been so nice hearing about other people’s writing projects and what gets them going, that getting together only two days a weeks never feels enough.
Oh, and speaking of passion… I got to meet Monica Ali, the author of the famed Brick Lane! She’s the Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Surrey, and this semester she’s set up three workshop sessions with a handful of Creative Writing students — both under- and postgrad — which I was lucky enough to get on. As great as it is working with academics (who are all very accomplished themselves), it was really nice to have a session with someone like Monica, who has been in the trenches and is so passionate about her craft, and just talk about why we love to write. Why something works, and why it doesn’t. I am so excited to attend the next two workshops in the coming months.
This month, I also got to attend the Scarlet Ladies Blogger Social. Their #ITalkSex campaign swept the interwebs this summer, getting coverage from all over, including Channel 5 News. So it was more than a little bit exciting to experience their HQ at 23 Paul Street in the flesh (very swanky), hearing what they’re all about (very important) and meeting some fab lady bloggers (very lovely). Scarlet Ladies are making great waves in taking the taboo out of female sexuality, and I can sense they’re going to do big things. I’m going to be at another one of their events next week, which I’m very excited about and will be dedicating an entire post about, so watch this space.
I won’t lie, though… October hasn’t been the best in terms of mental health. Towards the middle of the month, I was experiencing extreme fatigue and an intense amount of brain fog. My head felt heavy, and even though everything in my life was good, it all just felt so… bleak. And it’s scary, that feeling of everything being pointless — I haven’t felt like that in a long time. It was hard coming to terms with the fact that my brain can spiral down such depths still.
While I’m no longer feeling as terrible, I still have days that don’t feel so great. But, as with anything, the journey to mental wellness is a process. I’m taking baby steps to get myself where I need to be; talking to doctors, exploring counselling, and I’ve even started mindfulness meditation again.