Welcome to Life at Number Eight! My monthly series that lets us recap the month and catch up with everything that has been going on.
Hello from the Philippines! I arrived here on Saturday and am staying in Clark (which is about 2-3 hours north of Manila) for the next week for work. I can’t wait to tell you all about it (like the traffic – wow), but it will have to wait until the December update. For now, let’s catch up on November and get ready for the conclusion of 2018.
If you read my last life at number eight post, you will know that October was a hard month. Moving into November things returned somewhat to normal around us but it was a month of struggle to find routine and one that lacked energy.
Anyone who has experienced grief and loss will know the feeling that comes after. The one where the world around you stays the same yet you feel completely changed. Your emotions don’t seem stable and you are full of frustration that everyone else around you continues as if everything is ok when you are anything but ok.
In this time we have found such strength with family and friends who have just been patient to hear us when we need to talk.
I was speaking to one of these friends and we talked about how sometimes just telling someone that honestly you feel terrible is ok because you are allowed to. You don’t always need to be fine. I think sometimes we feel as though we need to tell everyone that we are doing fine, when all you really want to say is I’m sad, but I’ll be ok.
This month has also led me to really face my anxiety. I have always been an anxious person but I’ve always been able to do things to manage it. I’ve come to realise that this year has been a lot. I’m tired. I’m getting overwhelmed.
Just now am I coming to terms with this. That it’s completely understandable and normal for this to manifest. And once I can accept it, and be aware of it I think I am going to be in a much better place to begin working through it. That’s going to be a big goal as we move through what can be the most stressful time of year.
I guess the lesson from this month if we choose to find one, is that our emotions cover a whole spectrum. If we didn’t feel sadness we couldn’t experience happiness. And I wouldn’t want to give up the moments of pure joy, the laughter, and the memories that make me crack a smile just because they managed to find a way into my conscious. So we endure and work through the moments of sadness because like everything, it won’t be forever.
So right now, I’m might not be ok, but I know I will be. It just needs time.
Most Popular Blog Post
Again this month was slow on the blog with only 2 new posts. When I am tired and overwhelmed I find it is the blog that I have to let go of a little bit to ease some of the pressure. I do have a lot of content I want to publish in December so I am hoping I can refocus.
So, the most popular new post this month is my Ultimate Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce. Which of course, it’s amazing and I could eat this on basically anything. Anything dessert that is… I was pretty excited to get this post up this month as it is something I have wanted to share for a while now. If you haven’t made it yet, give it a try. I promise it’s not hard but it’s so much better than store bought.
Lazy Apple Turnovers – a super simple childhood recipe that features the above caramel sauce drizzle.
What I Read This Month
Back, After the Break by Osher Gunsberg (2018) Audio
I wanted to read this book purely because I was interested in Osher’s story. I was part of the generation that was a kid when Australian Idol ruled our television screens and Andrew G was one half of the charismatic hosting duo. To hear that during this time when as a kid I was watching a funny, laughing character on tv, he was actually battling some pretty hectic mental health issues disguised by a drug and alcohol addiction, made me want to hear his story.
When Andrew became Osher, I felt no one in the media really talked about the change, yet this was somewhat of a rebirth for him. Gone was the shaggy blond hair and in its place there was a guy who seemed to have some pretty interesting things to say.
Osher really didn’t hold back in talking about his past. He laid his whole life on the pages, and in those years through his 20s and into his 30s, there were some really ugly stories to tell. His openness about addiction and the impact it has on every aspect of life and how it destroyed areas of his own was interesting. But the part that I was fascinated by was his mental torment which was ultimately diagnosed as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
He talks about his frustration when people say things like ‘I’m so OCD about my cushions!’ – you’re not, he says, expressing that he wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I didn’t know how OCD can manifest into anything that results in a compulsion that is done obsessively – even mental torment rather than something physical. It’s not just needing things to be neat and switching lights on and off.
I chose to listen to this book as I am trying to consume audio books in some of the spaces of my day. While this isn’t my favourite genre to listen to, with the amount of footnotes I think I would have been frustrated physically reading it. Also, I really did love listening to Osher tell his own story, and with the amount of American content I consume, it was really nice to have an Aussie in my ear.
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel (2017)
I loved this book. I have already started recommending it to people, I just enjoyed it so much. It is the fictional story of a little boy who became a little girl and how this transition impacted the family and everyone else around them.
This book is so brilliantly written, the words flow and make sense as you are told the story. As a lover of literature I just really enjoyed Frankel’s writing style. But not only that, she develops strong characters that are rich in their own right.
The main family is a mother and father who have 5 boys. Their youngest Claude, starts wearing dresses at age 5 and becomes Poppy. The book explores many questions of gender stereotypes, not only with trans children, but within family dynamics.
This is just the story of a family, but it raises many questions about how we perceive things as a society. I think that everyone should read this book because it teaches us so much around acceptance not just for those within the LGBT community but for every individual and their own circumstance and situation.
Nobody Cares by Anne T Donahue (2018)
This book is a collection of essays that sum up basically how every woman feels or has felt in her 20s and 30s. Not every one of Donahue’s stories I can directly relate to but there is always a collective feeling of sometimes we fail at being an adult, and that is ok, which I really appreciated. It’s also the feeling that together, we are not alone and all anyone is ever doing is trying their best.
I enjoy reading collections like this and Donahue writes in a very colloquial way allowing you to feel as though she is just chatting to you over coffee. Her own story of becoming a writer as well left me feeling inspired which was very welcome.
There is an essay that basically sums up what I wrote at the start of this post and really came at a pretty perfect time. When I read it, I felt like I was being given permission for my feelings. It reads:
“It’s fine and acceptable to cocoon and to admit that no, right now, you do not have the emotional bandwidth to deal with anything but The Thing…
As much as we talk about joy and gratitude and staying positive, we also need to talk about the opposite: you still have to go to work and eat your meals and be alive, but you are also allowed to exist in a realm where You Are Fucking Dealing With Something, So Fuck Off, Please and Thank You.”
Harsh, but it’s basically the introvert’s guide to dealing with emotion and sometimes we just feel like not talking and doing anything, and for a while, that is ok. If you feel like this, I would encourage you to also read this as your permission to feel whatever you need to feel.
This is the perfect summer read if you’re looking for some musings on life and maybe a little perspective and permission to feel ok about things not being 100% all the time.
What I Watched This Month
The Good Place
This month we finished watching The Good Place. It’s such a funny show and Ted Danson is amazing and hilarious.
I originally started watching it because it seemed everyone was talking about it and I am a big fan of Kristen Bell. It’s a good, light-hearted show with short episodes so I found it great to watch as a break from some of the more intense shows we have on the go at the moment.
The moral and philosophical side of the show is also interesting, diving into the human complexities of good and bad. It’s bright, colourful and the characters are a lot of fun.
Making A Murderer – Season 2
If you haven’t yet watched the Making a Murderer documentary series on Netflix, do it now. It is so well put together, unbelievable and captivating.
I am not a documentary watcher normally. I get bored really really easily. But the life of Steven Avery and the ridiculous complexities of the American legal system make this show more binge worthy than any fictional drama.
If you don’t know the story, I won’t give it away but some of the things in this show had me literally yelling at the television. It’s unreal and you should watch it.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Being a pretty big Harry Potter nerd, I was pretty excited to see this movie. It’s been a long time since cinema visits and was good to go out, eat a ridiculous amount of popcorn and enjoy the big screen.
We made the mistake of not watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them again before going and because I hadn’t seen it since it was released in the cinema 2 years ago, I had basically forgot everything that had happened and the characters so was pretty confused through the entire movie. I also spent the whole movie thinking Jude Law was the main guy in Fantastic Beasts when that was actually Colin Farrell. If you have watched the movie you will know that makes no sense and explains a lot as to why I was so confused.
But apart from that, I really did enjoy it. Its taking a step back towards the Harry Potter world we know and love which I like. And while Johnny Depp got a lot of criticism for being cast as Grindelwald, I thought it worked great. I am excited for this franchise to continue as I really hope they keep going towards the deathly hallows (which was not mentioned in this movie, only hinted at) and exploring Dumbledore’s power struggles.
What’s coming up?
As I said at the start of this post, I am currently in the Philippines for the next week. Not long after I get home we are off to Bathurst for Jarryd’s uni graduation, and the following week we start the road trip back to NSW for Christmas and New Years.
It is going to be a full on month with not much time spent sleeping in my own bed. But in saying that I am pretty excited to find some down time over the holidays and look forward to the refreshing feeling that a new year brings. I am also hoping to get through a lot of new content for the blog this month including my best books from the year post which I am always excited about publishing!
Until next month,