Friday, 5 October 2012

late night lashings of tra la la

There's no real purpose to this one, I'm afraid. But hey, let's see - maybe a purpose will arrive.

I went to Peebles today and met with a speech therapist. She was very nice, smiley, brunette, pregnant. She talked a fair amount, but her voice was pleasant so I didn't mind too much. If I lacked other vocabulary and awareness and felt like slacking I'd call her "bubbly". But she certainly possessed more intelligence than that word would ever credit her with.

It was a sunny day, and partly warm. I was wearing my charity shop tweed jacket, some jeans, a shirt and jumper and my little black boots. I bought some Applewood cheese, some Brussels pate and bread. I ate some cheese on the bus from Peebles back to Galashiels. I wasn't going to, fearing that someone would judge me for eating cheese straight out of its little packaging, but then I realised that my hunger and desire for cheese trumped any paranoia.

I think that's a good quality in a person.

If any of my friends - across the spectrum - are reading this, I hope you are all ok and still enjoying the little day to day stuff you do without me. I've got a certain level of regret floating round me regarding the lack of contact I've been having with some of you. But don't worry, I haven't forgotten you (especially not you) and I'm sure we'll be in touch soon for baby-sized updates surrounded by cheerful pleasantries.

There have been too many sentences starting with "I" in this blog and it is starting to make me look self-obsessed, which is very rarely true. In fact, lately, I've been thinking about homeless people a lot and they have been causing me some troubles in my head. For instance, recently I was getting some money out of the bank on the corner of George IV bridge and the Royal Mile and there were two homeless people sitting there. It was seethingly uncomfortable as I drew that note out and they asked for change. I had change. And  a note. But something in me didn't want to give them any. Why? Well this has troubled me for a long time. Sometimes I do want to give someone some money, or a sandwich, or a coffee or something, but then I think: well, what difference would that even make? I can't take them into my house, or give them my job, or provide them with a weekly stipend. It won't solve anything completely. But is that my responsibility anyway? Some people will say that it is. I have some change, I have the ability to help someone a little bit, but I choose regularly not to.
Perhaps part of the reason is the sheer number of homeless people in the city. If I gave every homeless person I saw £1 a day (the minimum I'd consider, as anything less is not really of any practical use) I'd be giving basically £50-£70 a week to people I don't know, with no idea what they are spending it on or whether it makes an actual difference to their lives.

And what if they are all chancers anyway? There was a woman in Galashiels who regularly trawled the streets collecting money (there aren't that many homeless people there) and often made a fair amount of dosh. She was caught several times thereafter laden with bags of shopping, catching the bus to Edinburgh and bragging on her iPhone about how much money she'd collected. Eventually she was found out and charged with something.. fraud I assume.

The whole thing is just rather dubious. I suppose I should make more of an effort to help people on the streets out now and again, but I can't help thinking my efforts are wasted. Perhaps it's because of an assumption of how they ended up there. I mean, obviously I have no idea what their story is, but I find it hard to believe that many of their lives couldn't have been changed by some small detail earlier on. Perhaps more effort towards education, more support from their families, a greater confidence and desire to better themselves. The ambiguity of the thing can seem threatening.

I've been developing my interest in communication through customer service via the route of language, and I know now more than ever how important information and the communication of such things can help someone feel more at ease. The fact I don't know where these misfortuned (and occasionally belligerent) people came from is unsettling, and in all honesty it is simply easier for me not to find out. So, to contradict my earlier statement that I have not simply been thinking about myself - I have been thinking about others, but obviously not with enough zeal to learn their story. But surely I'm simply a victim of society's teachings then? The British nurture? I've not been brought up in the social environment where we delve into every tragic life story and sympathise. It's human survival. It's dog eat dog. But then my morals have to cope with this?! How do I continue to provide for myself and yet calm the guilt of walking past someone with matted hair, a rare smell, a dark tongue, and a blanket for company as a few pound coins jangle in my purse? Is there someone to blame? Should I be making more of an effort to find that person and shake a fist?

I'm a terrible liar. They know I have money. The know I don't want to give it to them. How would I feel if that were me sitting there? What would I do? How would I approach another human being with more to live on for a share of what they earned?

Then there's the chancers again. I've heard stories of friends making the effort to provide some food or whatever, and had it refused due to taste. How is that not supposed to confuse you?!

I guess I can thank them now for providing a theme for my blog, but I can't see any clear conclusions or solutions being found tonight. Maybe I'll never solve it. What do you do? Do you give homeless people your change or food?

Robert Louis Stevenson is quoted as saying "Take care of each other." And I've always enjoyed it as a concept and mantra: but if I took care of everyone but myself, I would end up in poverty and could no longer help anyone? There must be an equilibrium... somewhere...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Losing count

I'm losing count of the number of identity crises I've had already. I don't tend to put things down to starsigns when it comes to my personality, but apparently Capricorns such as myself really struggle with change and well, being a young adult worming her way into stability, there is an inevitably high level of flux. Which, for someone who struggles with change, sux.

I could kind of deal with it when it was prescription education and I had someone else to blame for being annoyed with what I was doing; suppressed and bloated with curricula - but now it's all my fault. Well, not fault exactly, just... responsibility. I actually am expected to make some kind of an effort now, or it all really goes to pot. Part of me would like it go to pot. As nice as it is having money to spend, it also is a massive burden to use it properly and spend it on things like paying back overdrafts and bills and bus fares and shit. And shit is what it is.

The council tax things hasn't hit me yet because I'm not earning enough to pay it, but it looms. In the background it looms there like a cat staring at you as you take out the moist pink ham for your afternoon sandwich and I'm just like, FECK OFF, CAT.

I dunno.

The identity crisis thing fits in there neatly actually. I don't mind stumbling along and not being attached to something (it makes the flux easier to deal with), but when something starts to draw me in, or makes me feel like I have to be more interested in it than I am, well, I hate that. It makes me want to run away. But then I don't have the energy to run away either. This is where it gets tricky. It's easy for me at the moment to stay where I am, in the job I'm in, make some money, be afraid every now and again, make mistakes etc etc, but at the same time I am absolutely despising this feeling of lack of control. I have got to be in control of my own life.. ser protagonista, no ser victima! I just don't really know how to get it back.

Everyone keeps telling me how grateful I should be to have a full-time job in this "climate" and yada yada. Actually you know what, that is another thing I hate. Chatting. Small talk. Bla bla, fuckity bla. It's a key part of my job at the moment (customer service) and it makes me feel sick and bored and I just want someone to know more about me than my hair colour. That's the hard part about the job - trying to act like you care and you really, really, don't. And nobody cares about you either.

There's a blog tendency of mine where I enjoy ending them on a high, as if I'm going to make changes, have come to some great conclusion which will spur me or others on, and well, the answer is simple: find a social hobby with flexibility and that I can commit to without it leaving me. I just want something to enjoy. And I'm not 100% sure how to go about that yet, or what it is.

I'm missing my friends, too.

I just wish I knew how temporary this whole part was, and I wish it didn't suck as much as it does right now.
But I'm the only one who can change it.


Friday, 22 June 2012

Melrose Book Festival: 2 Things

Last week, in my poverty-line-dance and sloth-paced lifestyle, my grandma very kindly stumped up the tickets to a few events at the Melrose Book Festival for me. It was a drizzly day, but the ebb and flow of bodies (mostly pensioners) was freeing - one can get complacent if surrounded by youth all the time. I have chosen therefore to write a short review of the two 'shows' that I saw, wherewith you can decide yourself if you wish to buy their books or not. Of course actually purchasing one of the books by one of the authors would be the publisher's ultimate outcome and I ought to receive some sort of commission, but my personal ultimate outcome is that, through this out-splurge of word and constructive criticism I will have found a way to vaguely constructively occupy the morning. (NB: Dearest Morning, it is good to see you again, it has been a while.)

6.10pm. I step out of my Grandma's car and walk past a small group of people roughly my age chatting outside Harmony House. It's a beautiful old house that I regret not knowing all that much about apart from its occupation as ground for the Melrose Book Festival. I'm late but to maintain a collected appearance I speed up the pace, without actually indelicately running, to collect my tickets and find out where my first event is. The atmosphere is icky. But... sort of, nice icky, with an air of literature and prosecco. Literalicky.

I find the tent and join a queue of mostly tall, cagouled, welly-booted, grey haired couples chatting and nodding with that regal shadow many Melrosians have - a rural politeness. I look rather out of place in my own head, standing alone in my Converse and charity shop Tweed jacket, but nobody else is in there so that's fine. We follow each other in a neat file into this little tent and sit about for a wee while. People are shifting, chatting, changing seats, complaining about the noise of the fan, rustling raincoats. Eventually we are introduced to Allan Massie, who is here to discuss his book number 2/3.

It's apparently a detective novel set in Vichy France in 1940 or so. He addresses the first two questions as a chance to practice his skills as a tangentier: there is very little in the way of coherent argument and a lot in the way of NBs and whichincidentallys and infacts and indeeds. He is a short man, late 50s or so, with a distractedness, a disconnectedness that is most likely emphasised by his proper English, which has always sounded to me as a language with such a sureness of consonant one can forego vowel and the pressure of being in the room. I don't recall what he was wearing other than it was either dark green or brown, but that probably stands to reason as it took all the concentration I had to listen to what seemed the entire history of Vichy, other parts of France and French colonies. I'll say this, that man had researched well. I would say, though, that it was unexpected when he let out that he didn't even really like crime writing that much, and the actual details of police investigation or whatever weren't what interested him. So, to sum up. He came to promote a book he wrote in a genre he doesn't actually like that much and talked about something else in considerable detail. Cheers, Allan.

7.45pm. I'm hoping for something better from Ed Smith's interview by Rory Bremner. Allan just wasn't really bounding in charisma, despite his impressive knowledge of wartime France. Ed Smith is already winning though, as his picture in his book I flicked through at the shop is not displeasing to the eye. I was later to find it was also probably taken about 10 years ago. What is that?! So misleading.

Nevertheless I have found myself a neat little seat to the right of the action. Ed Smith used to be a cricketer, but then he broke his ankle and never played professionally again. I wasn't too bothered about that though, because I don't like cricket. ( - I love it! ... sorry, had to!) The book is called "Luck" and it is his fourth one. Now, some stuff he said was interesting, and Rory Bremner did a really good job of interviewing him, but all the while I couldn't help feeling slightly uncomfortable with some of the things Smith was saying, and I couldn't work out why until afterwards. Admittedly he had a certain energy about him. He had an infectious confidence and enthusiasm and affectionately used the word 'hubris' on a few occasions, which did genuinely fit in well amongst his very eloquently formed sentences. But between the bedsheets of the spark and guile of his countenance and word choice, I became confused and felt as if I was trying to jam two pieces of jigsaw together which should work because the colours were right, but didn't slot into the big picture, and it didn't matter if a bigger picture didn't even exist. Then I realised that it wasn't me who was jamming the pieces, but Ed Smith.

He talked about luck (both good and bad), and its relationship with chance, serendipity, fate and coincidence, as if they were brothers and sisters, and in many cases did provide charming individual definitions, often with neat little quotes from people or example situations. But he forgot to see the entire fold. He didn't see how all of these things were just total human constructs. In my opinion, these concepts all stem from the inbuilt human approach to life that it is hard, and we must make effort to get what we want, and chance events and the 'universe' don't generally work to a high positive degree in our favour. Therefore, when something truly advantageous happens to us, something that we had no control in creating, then we give it one of these names: luck, serendipity etc. (The chance and coincidence ones are certainly more neutral). And the greater the deep chambre of darkness we find ourselves in, the greater the nightlight of luck will seem, even if it's source is rather minuscule. You could place luck on the same steed of argument as Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, saddled neatly upon the train analogy, which appears faster or slower depending on where you are standing.

So I did consider buying the book (my sister was working there and could have got me a 40% discount), but I will probably find it by chance in a second hand bookshop sometime in the future, and for much less than retail price. If not, then not. But how lucky would it be if I did?

I also saw Iain Banks ramble on for a wee while too, who writes very well and talks quite well, but I doubt I could spend more than an hour or so actually engaged in one on one conversation with him. My MBF highlight was however, being less than a foot away for Alistair Darling and his mighty eyebrows.

And that's it. My little review slice of the Melrose Book Festival 2012. Well done if you made it through this post!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

swear words

Swearing is commonplace among my friends and I. I swear every day. We swear together, cursing the trials and tribulations of our rather cushty lives; eating and drinking and learning in the government's cosy bosom. "This fucking essay", "That bastard of a prick of a tutor"; "That slut that told that arsehole I was a slut"; "The fucking massive checkout at Tesco"; "That motherfucking tuna sandwich" etc, etc. But there's a major distinction between my use of swearing among my friends and among my family. There is also a progressive nature to my use of swear words with my family. Not forgetting the small matter of swearing in a foreign language. Let's start with a few years ago...

"Sugar", said my mum, trying to find that impossible parking space one October afternoon. We had driven around town about three times by now, and someone had just nipped into a parking slot very near our flat. But my mum wouldn't swear, even though she definitely wanted to. I was about 13.

2012. "!Jolin!", said Marta, casually, doing whatever Spanish people do. There was something involving shock. But this wasn't quite as strong as the "!Joder!" I'd become used to. I guess she fluctuates between the two. The former being more fitting for my mother, had she understood a word. Later in the day I use jolin, and she corrects me, telling me to say joder instead. A pinch confused.

It's really fascinating how a certain collection of consonants and vowels can help to relieve a certain feeling. I mean, obviously language is our most powerful tool, and it is what separates us from all other life, but to have it as a true expression of our frustration or fear or moment of brilliance is something that has an affect. Swearing plays a major part in our lives. An affective part (not a misspelling of 'effective' - I genuinely mean affective). Like socks.

Socks are those time-honoured hidden things (unless you are one of those who enjoy socks + sandals, in which case, cease doing so immediately), that still have a function. We all know they are there, that they exist, but we don't necessarily expose them all the time. Like swear words.

Let me turn up my trousers.

My uncle recently said the word "shite" in front of me. Twice. In a car. There was no escape from this language, and despite him only being 19 years my senior, I felt like a border had been breached. I was stuck in this car, windows closed, doors locked, while he just blatantly broke the rules. Adults don't swear?! Uncles definitely don't. Mothers least of all. And yet, there I was, hearing this, this word. From a foreign place, a place I connect with comradeship and youth and frustration. What is going on? My uncle doesn't even swear in front of my mum. Since when did I become eligible to swear in front of? I felt like I was starring in my own 'coming-of-age' film and I'd just met eyes with Patrick Swayze who was about to tell me he ate a watermelon once. I mean... what?

Then the world went topsy turvy. My Dad said "crap", closely followed by "bullshit". What. Is. Going. On?!

I'm sure there are families out there who commonly use such language in front of each other (most likely around Christmas time or at frowned-upon weddings or on changing the television programme without warning or consultation) but this is incredibly uncommon for me to hear. These people are people I have a certain level of respect for and assume a higher level of experience and/or education of, and yet here they are, saying my words, using my language. Another moment comes. My Dad tells me how he only recently learned the word "dystopia". I read Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" two years ago. When did these superior beings start jogging in the relay? Really, when did that happen? Did I miss it? Was I on holiday? Was I pairing socks?


Saturday, 17 September 2011

the last

I've written three quarters of a page of one of the last essay plans I will ever write. I've bought a folder and notebooks and a canvas bag to hold them which will all contain the last notes I will ever write while sitting listening to a person qualified to educate me as I sit in the last classes I will ever attend. This is 17 years of education, compulsory and higher, beginning to end. I have to say it is a very very odd feeling.

I can see it coming. I can see the feeling. All those years of classrooms and uniform shops and pencil cases and sitting and studying and exams and marks and pages of reading and attention just stopping. Jesus it's going to be amazing. To finally be able to say: yes, I am educated. I have an education. I have gone through your system, Mr Government, and finished it to a healthy level. Look at me. All happy to be in that statistic of graduates. In that little vineyard of freshly ripened grapes with capes ready to be squished into a delicious maturing wine all nutritious and lovely. I finished your growing, all that classroom time you wanted of me, all those exams you made me do, all those long essays no one ever reads you made me write, all those excruciatingly quiet oral classes. I will have done it. And I cannot fucking wait.

Seriously, that feeling will be my favourite. The completion. When I was in primary school I never finished anything. Nothing ever. Books, little exercises. I was terrible. I enjoyed dawdling on a subject, stretching it out so I wouldn't have to do something else after. Or worse, finish the thing and find there was nothing else to do after. It wasn't important to me whether I completed it or not, what was important was whether I'd done it well. I was all for quality and less for quantity. But then of course that's not allowed and you have to produce screeds and screeds of finished things, even if the quality is less than it could be if you took a little longer.

I'm still working on my time-keeping though. When it comes to these types of tasks I will find a way to leave it until the last minute and sort of, well, "test" myself. How long can I leave it before what I produce is utterly unacceptable? Which is the worst, most stupid thing to do, but before it was the only way to actually make what I was doing exciting. Otherwise writing about Nazi poetry is boring as a feast of cream foods with no Dairylea triangles. I've chosen my courses this year though: ones I like, ones I'm truly interested in. Lots of medieval fodder. I am not wholly sure why the medieval period attracts me so much. Perhaps it offers a world that isn't full of things that flash and function at the speed of light and iPhone apps. It offers an escape. And that's part of what literature should do, right? Put the modern, unsatisfied world away and smell old musty pages and read of feudal systems and knights-errant and actually going outside.

The exception to the medieval theme is the course I'll do on Brecht. But he's kind of interesting in his own wee way. The way he manoeuvres politics and revolution into his plays while still making them charming and entertaining is quite intriguing; something worth studying. Plus I did unexpectedly well on the exam of his in second year and I'm pushing for a high end degree. There's only so far being clever can take me, the rest will be strategic subject choices and scrounging essays off previous students of the course. And brie. Brie is very important.

So that's my plan. These are my last courses, my last days guaranteed in education, my last year in a student flat with a student card that is valid. I was, I can't really say why, embarrassed about being a student before. I think it was due to having the title but not actually feeling like I studied at all and did what students do. But this is the year. This is my student year. It's my last year with the title, but it's the first where I'll genuinely feel I've earned it.

I don't need luck. I don't need a miracle. I don't want to be asked how I am. I don't want to discuss it. I'm just going to do it. Go outside. Do the thing. Prance about with my Sancho and Rosinante and stab unwittingly at windmills in honour of Dulcinea del Toboso until I finally die slightly less disillusioned. But hopefully I'll die with a first in my degree and get out of this damn education system with a big fat smile on my face.

Friday, 19 August 2011

buying a hairbrush

I am feeling peculiar. It's an odd blend of lacklustre and contentment. I don't want to go back to Uni. I don't want to have to be told to read a thousand books. I don't want to go to the shops and buy food. I don't want to take the rubbish down to the skip. I don't want to clean the bathroom. I don't want to pay my rent. I don't want to get out of my pyjamas. I don't really want to do very much except occasionally pop to the Costcutter for a sandwich, a Capri Sun, a big bag of Twiglets and some Maltesers, lay in bed and read Bridget Jones's Diary. But I'm not bored. I'm not unhappy with this feeling. I actually sort of like it; the doing nothing feeling. I have always liked it actually. I enjoy it when my life is active and full, like last month, but I equally am content with how I live at the moment. I did, for little known reasons, a couple of times become irrationally nervous doing every day tasks and being around people. Like the other day, on one of my Costcutter ventures, I went in and the whole time I was extremely anxious. It was this weird anxiety where I felt eye-piercingly judged. As if the boy working in the shop was watching me choose my three packets of crisps (one salt n vinegar, one Doritos and one cheese and onion - variety is the spice of life), and thinking I was a right fat pig. I would not normally think nor care about this, but that day I did, and it was a horrible feeling. I hated being out in the open. It was like being an awkward 13 year old again, where your very existence is someone's problem. I did not like that. So I speedily paid and left the shop.

My second "I hate the UK" moment was when I was in Boots. The big one on Princes St. All I wanted was a hairbrush, as my freshly cut fringe (beautifully timed for the Fringe festival) goes a bit flat at the bottom if  you don't  brush it right, and I've just moved in to my new flat and I stupidly left mine back in the Borders. So, there I am, in Boots, with my bank card, ready to pluck out the lucky brush, and I'm confronted with a fucking wall of hairbrushes. Big ones, small ones, medium sized ones; big black ones with big spaces between bristles, little spaces between bristles, thin bristles, thick bristles, plastic bristles, non-plastic bristles, ones with bristles all the way round, little pink ones with bright green bristles,  big orange ones with purple bristles, ones by shampoo companies, ones for styling, ones for curly hair, ones for bushy hair, ones for children, ones for your handbag, ones for hardcore de-tangling, ones with little mirrors, palm-sized ones; I mean a WALL of hairbrushes. It was absurd. And it was stressful. Sign me up for right now, because I just wanted to run away from that intimidating display of beauty items, screaming and tearing my hair out just to avoid the unbearably tedious decision. And of course they were also all stupidly expensive. There were very few under a fiver, which is appalling. It is a piece of plastic with smaller plastic sticky-uppy bits coming out of it. That cannot surely be that expensive to produce. In the end I settle for one called some unnecessarily extraordinary name like "Babyliss Hair Styler 5000" or whatever the fuck it was. It's fine. My fringe is happy.

I better go. I would stay, but I've run out of Capri Sun and have too much self-confidence.

Until next time.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Queen of Courgettes

This month I have been residing in a small basque town called Zarautz. It lies a half hour train journey from San Sebastian. I have been living with a family, the Etxabe Uria family, who have taken me under their euskeran wing. There is nationalism here, but not particularly within my family. They are happy enough to speak in Spanish despite it being the language that was forced upon them during the dictatorship, squeezing out their native Basque. The father of the other monitor's family is less apathetic.

I am currently sitting in a bar on the Musika Plaza, the same square where the flat is. It is called Txikipolit. From my few words of Basque, I believe this means something like "A little bit wonderful". I have just finished a Zurito, which is a small measure of beer which takes its name from a bullfighter who was once in the area. Zurito loved beer, but could never drink a whole glass before fighting, so he asked for a smaller amount. Henceforth, you can order the same quantity with his name. I learned this from the father of my family, Aitor.

It is been an incredible month. The coordinator at the school, Mireia, is incredibly hard working and always prepared; the other monitor, Kirsty, is lovely too. She studies medicine at Birmingham university. We all get along well and on Sunday (tomorrow) we are going to Mireia's home town, Azpeitia, to meet her friends and enjoy the festival there.

Kirsty and I are currently trying to arrange what to do next week. We finish everything on Tuesday and afterwards she wants to travel around Spain. Having been living out of a suitcase for 9 months more or less, I want to go home. We will likely go to Bilbao and Barcelona together, but that is where the adventure will end for me. I am ready to settle for a while. 9 months is a long time to be away.

So here you have my final post from my time living in Europe. I have been a student of a German university, I have been an English language assistant in a Galician high school and I have been an Enjoy English monitor in the Basque Country. These are most certainly things I am proud to have been and will type into my CV with memories. There is no such thing as a perfect memory, but there are certainly perfect experiences, and my year abroad has been a perfect experience. I will tell you why...

An experience ought to be something you complete, that you can equally love or hate at the time, but when you look back on it, you know it was useful to you. It's a given that living in the country helped my language develop, but what you perhaps expect less is the character change. As a linguist,  you are designed to copy how someone who knows the language speaks; as it turns out, you copy the mentality a bit too. Some mentalities are more enjoyable than others. I mean, it's not that the people of Freiburg have the wrong type of mentality, it is simply that they have one my body/mind agrees with less. "Vices" are expensive, paperwork is life and if it doesn't have an official stamp on it, it doesn't exist. This doesn't fly with me so well. So Spain was a relief... 'Let's not work, let's eat for an hour. Ah, that was nice. I'm a bit tired now. Let's have a nap! Ok, we'll go back to work now. What's that? Your back garden is a vineyard? How wonderful. Do you know this person? No, ah well, go on, give them two kisses!'

And today, I went to the allotment owned by my family. They grow their own potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, lettuce, spring onions, courgettes etc. It's so relaxing. The patch is by the mountains, all calm and lush. It wasn't cold, but it wasn't too warm, and with the guidance of Marta, the mother, I plucked my own two courgettes. I was about to describe it as empowering, but that's the wrong word. It's quite the wrong word. What I need is a word that will decidedly say there was a stronger sense of symbiosis with nature, rather than a powering over it. I was thankful, appreciative, impressed at what nature can do. It's so simple. That seems to be the key. Keeping things simple.

Sure, it is probably mostly a good thing for scientists to understand certain things about what makes up the world, and it is interesting for psychologists to study certain humannesses now and again, but really most of the time life is a simple thing. The best we can do is keep it going, and be happy as we do it. Let yourself eat chocolate, let yourself feel happy, let yourself be calm. I mean, why would you ever want to feel stressed or upset? why would you put yourself in that situation? Do the things that help you to feel content. Be around people that you like. It's much easier that way!!

Now go and pluck some courgettes and eat some chocolate, for your sake!