January.

 

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Karamu Road, Hastings, January 5th 2017.

I’ve been told that my long-term memory is unusually powerful: I can recall very vivid and detailed memories from when I was as young as two years old. Maybe my short-term memory has had to compensate for such a wealth of early recollections, because it’s pretty terrible. Most of the time I couldn’t tell you what I was doing a week ago, and I struggle to remember all the things I have to do in a day (which rarely works out well for me). I don’t know why my brain has chosen to prioritize the smell of the soap at my very first kindergarten in Auckland over what days I’m working in a week. Whatever the reason, keeping a weekly planner has become essential.

My requirements for a diary are very specific. I’m going to use it to keep track of appointments, deadlines, social events and errands for an entire year, so it has to be everything I need it to be. It can’t be ugly (I have to spend all year looking at it, I don’t want to hate it from the start). The paper must be of a good quality, so that I can write on both sides of a page without ink leaking through and making it ugly. It must be a week to a spread, so I can plan my entire week on one double-page, and it mustn’t be lined because I don’t like it that way. It must have a ribbon placekeeper and an elastic to keep it closed (I have an annoying habit of keeping loose notes in my diary and I don’t want them falling out). It has to be the right size – not too big or small. Luckily, I found a beautiful 2017 diary that meets all of these requirements, and I love it. It’s by Peter Pauper Press, I got it on sale at Paper Plus at the end of last month, and it’s gorgeous. I’ve been using the shit out of it this month; I feel so much better for it.

I’ve also been using a notebook a lot more lately, mostly for writing down things I want to remember or thoughts that are bothering me & I want to get out of my head. It contains all kinds of shit, most of it incredibly mundane. But writing it down is incredibly cathartic. I make a lot of lists. Shopping lists, to-do lists, playlists, goals, fears, websites to revisit, far-flung corners of the world to travel to one day. I like that my journal is an organized mess. And that sometimes it’s just a mess. Having chaos on paper makes me feel like there’s less of it in my head.

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Late night baths are nourishing for the skin and for the soul. When I’m home in Hastings, after everyone else has gone to bed, I like to run myself a bath. There’s nothing quite like sitting in a candelit bathroom at 11PM and soaking in warm water with a relaxing playlist on low volume nearby. Bathing is a little sanctuary. It’s my own quiet mini-world where stress and anxiety slip away for a little while. I can clear my head and breathe deeply.

I drink tea all seasons and all weathers, and January has been no exception. This month I’ve been drinking Gorgeous Geisha by T2, a strawberries & cream flavoured sencha green tea. A hot mug perfectly complements warm summer mornings, and an iced cup is lovely to enjoy on hot hazy afternoons. Chanui does my current favourite jasmine green, and Twinings does my favourite cheap and cheerful English Breakfast.

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I’m so glad I did that thing where I bought myself roses to celebrate making it through a decade of periods. Recently I’ve been thinking (as I often do) about being a woman and all of the different things that it means. It was nice to celebrate my menstruation: something which society has said for centuries that women should be ashamed of and shamed for (just because it’s a messy inconvenience for straight men’s dicks). It felt like a perfect act of self-care and self-respect, to say actually, this is a really shitty thing in so many ways, even aside from all the social taboos that come with it, and I deserve a bouquet of flowers for coping with it for so long.  I think every woman should do this at some point. It made me feel so happy and wonderful.

January has been mostly slow and gentle. I’ve been reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, and that has been a nice reminder of why I love studying history so very much. I’ve been trying (often but not always succeeding) to wake up earlier and do all the mundane errands and chores I gotta do, which settles my brain. I’ve been having a lot of thoughts, all the time, about everything. I’m trying not to be too scared of America, because everyone else is doing enough worrying over that thing. Being home in Hastings I miss Luke and my friends and the city, being back in Wellington I miss my cat and my family and the summer. I’ve gone to the gym every week this year. My body is slowly getting stronger, and my mind along with it.

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