Welcome! Honest Lies is the personal site of a 26 year old graduate electrical engineer living in the UK. Covering every day life, books and various other randomness. Read more about me and the site here.

The One With The C Word

Great Spotted Woodpecker, as seen from my home ‘office’.* There was a pair of them but the second flew off well before I had my camera out.

The world has turned upside down. 

It’s been about a week since I started working from home. I don’t mind it; I enjoy the quiet and being around my fish and the view from my ‘office’* window, which is of a forest, where I am able to see many different birds and many squirrels. I open the window to hear the birds sing and feel the fresh air, so different from the office environment. But it can be hard to concentrate. I don’t usually struggle working from home but I feel particularly anxious now and it’s effecting me. My mind feels like it’s been pulled in so many directions right now, so much noise to fight through to focus on the daily to-dos and so easy to get pulled away from the day to day mundane into the panic and shock of the utter strangeness of everything else. 


It’s one thing to stay home by choice, and another because there is no other option. I had the radio on the other day and the music was great and even to hear the sound of the presenter was oddly nice, but hearing the news every hour left me feeling riddled with anxiety. But even without the news playing every hour it’s hard to resist the temptation to check for news, it’s hard to switch your brain away from everything that is happening. It finds a way to always be there, on the periphery of your thoughts, tugging for your attention. I feel distracted, I find myself wanting to snack more, I find myself unable to get comfortable, so restless and on edge.

The supermarkets are half empty, I had to go to three supermarkets to find toilet paper, and I am unable to find painkillers, nor flour, yeast or eggs, which makes me particularly  sad, as I was looking forward to baking bread and making cake to help me pass the time and well, because it’s delicious. (You gotta find things to make you happy, right?) I am growing increasingly annoyed with my neighbours, having to be around them and their children every moment of every day, compared to the little time we usually spend living our lives in parallel. (I am sure they must be feeling the same way, hearing me walking about above their heads all day and sometimes, if I can’t sleep, in the early hours of the night.) I am failing at following all the work from home advice – I wear a mix of lounge wear and pajamas, I haven’t been going for walks and I haven’t really established as much of a schedule as I should, and I find myself subsequently working much longer to ensure I am getting my hours in (I find myself working in chunks of focussed time split by short breaks which is working with my current short attention span but also does not feel particularly efficient) I have been taking advantage of my lunch break but mainly to lie down, exhausted and worried, and allow my mind to wander before I have to force myself to concentrate on work again. 

I have had a concert and a musical cancelled. My sister’s hen do was called off and, more and most devastating, my sister’s wedding is under threat of cancellation. I am feeling very grateful to have a job that allows me to work from home, to have space to work from home in relative comfort, to not have to be juggling work with childcare, to not have a big event looming like a wedding which could be cancelled. I am grateful but also worried for the future, wondering how long this will go on for and worrying for those around me. I worry about the economy and my finances. I worry about the food shortages. I worry so much about my family.  I find hope in the small positives, such as reading about reduced carbon emissions and increasing wildlife in cities. Perhaps some good can come from this and certainly we will pull through, somehow, but everything feels so bleak and uncertain right now….

Everything feels so strange and so wrong and so utterly surreal. 

*I mean , it’s my spare bedroom and also the fish room and also my home study and also an extra storage space…

The One with Another List

A couple of years ago I posted about some of the things I was trying out to live a more sustainable, greener lifestyle. I cannot believe that post is so old now! It feels very recent that I started to consider what choices I was making and where I could improve things, whilst working to accept the ways in which I was not able to or would not change.

So, since I have the old post open I will go over the next steps I wrote then and see how I am doing.

Then: I switched to renewable energy. My next step was to put standby loads on remotes.

Now: I am actually no longer on a fully renewable plan as it became too expensive / far more expensive than a standard plan, which is a shame, and I forgot about my goal to be better on turning standby loads off. Oops.

Then: Switched soap and started moving to greener cleaning products. My next step was to use more reusable cleaning tools, such as microfibre clothes.

Now: I since discovered that washing microfibre cloths in the washing machine releases microplastics into waterways and therefore is not very good for the environment at all. This was a bit disheartening as I had started using a microfibre, washable sponge for my dishes and incorporate microfibre cloths into my daily light cleaning, such as dusting surfaces. So I stopped using those. And switched to biodegradable cellulose sponges for dishwashing, combined with a dish brush for scrubbing. I also use plain cotton towels, the cheap face clothes you can buy, for some of my light cleaning and again, cellulose sponges. I could definitely be better still but I admit I don’t really like putting the dirty cloths into the washing machine, I worry about the chemicals of them lingering in the machine. Although I do use the more eco friendly brands now I still don’t want that kind of stuff on my skin. I am thinking I could just hand wash them, but that feels like a lot of effort? 

Then: Switched to cloth menstrual pads and liners, reusable face cotton rounds, cardboard ear buds. Next step was none, though I did mention sewing my own liners.

Now: I actually have been experimenting with sewing my own liners! I am not very good yet but I will get there. (Hopefully.) For bonus sustainability points I have also been ripping up old pajamas for the cotton flannel to make said liners, and also to make more face cotton rounds. As well as this, I made myself a wash bag, basically a cotton bag with a waterproof lining and a zip, which I can use for my dirty washing when travelling instead of a plastic bag. I already use reusable wash bags for my cloth pads but I wanted to learn how to make my own so I could customize the sizes for other uses. Right now I have a giant one for long trips, but I haven’t yet made the smaller one for short trips, so I just use the giant one for all trips. It’s not ideal as they are a bit bulkier than a plastic bag. But it works nicely and can just be chucked in the machine with the washing. It’s actually more convenient than trying to find a plastic bag to use, since there aren’t many in the house since I mostly reuse the same ones or use other reusable bags.

This leads nicely to…

Then: I was working hard to carry and use reusable bags for shopping. My next step was to become even better at this, and to help myself by keeping a stash in my car.

Now: I do keep a stash in my car! Though I am still not good about replenishing said stash once I’ve used them up/used them and taken them into the house. I find it difficult to use them when travelling too, as I don’t tend to carry one around with me. I probably should start sticking one in my bag before every trip, just in case. Also: see above as I have also been thinking about the other ways I use plastic grocery bags and starting to move away from them too.

Then: I started using a bamboo toothbrush. My next step was to perhaps experiment with alternative toothpaste.

Now: I still use a bamboo toothbrush – I like it! I have realised it is unlikely that I will replace my tooth paste though- I take pride in the good condition of my teeth and worry about that being affected. I have been thinking about floss lately though; I do need to find a greener solution to that.

Then: I was becoming better at taking a reusable cup to Starbucks and wanted to buy some steel straws.

Now: I bought steel straws! Though with everywhere now using paper straws it doesn’t feel so important anymore, which is nice as I found it difficult to carry them around. I admit to struggling to always use a reusable cup too. I tend to have Starbucks when I am on the go – buying a drink before taking a train for a overnight trip for instance. And it’s in these instances that a reusable cup just doesn’t feel feasible – I don’t want to be carrying around a bulky and dirty used cup when I am already loaded up with my luggage. A reusable cup also requires planning, you have to know that on that day you will be going to buy a drink at a coffee shop. Sometimes I am more impulsive? I just find it inconvenient really, which makes me feel bad, as I know how bad coffee cups are for the environment. I haven’t really found the answer here to be honest. 

Then: I had switched to a steel water bottle and wanted to buy a smaller one

Now: I have bought a smaller one and I use both sizes regularly, depending on what I am up to and well, how much water I need. I really love how steel water bottles keep my water cold. I do find them a bit noisy though, but that’s a very minor complaint. 

Then: I changed my lightbulbs to LED bulbs and there were no further steps noted.

Then: I was trying to be good about recycling and I wanted to make the effort to recycle glass and my old clothing.

Now: I have not made much effort in glass recycling. I have also discovered that my local council won’t take shredded paper. So let’s note some of the things my local council won’t accept- shredded paper, plastic type 5, plastic type 1, hard plastics, black plastics, any and all glass, UHT cartons… It’s just pathetic, really. These limitations can be super frustrating. On the plus side! I did gather up some old clothes and I took them to H&M for recycling and earned a shiny £5 voucher in return. (I am not sure that H&M are that trustworthy, but at least I tried.) I also segregated some old clothes, mostly old pajamas, for tearing up and reusing the material for liners, face cotton , wash bags, any sewing project really. Then, I took some items to charity. And finally, I have been experimenting with selling some stuff on Depop.

Depop has definitely been a game changer for me. Sadly not in selling; it is still super difficult to sell old clothes. However with Depop at least there are no listing fees like eBay so you don’t lose anything trying (the post also stays live until you remove it compared to eBay where it expires and then you have to pay again to relist.) ( Note it’s been a while since I sold on eBay so this is just from my memory and I could be wrong, but that is what I remember.) I have been loving buying from Depop though. There are some really good items on there. And so finally, I am moving away from fast fashion towards the second hand market. Here in the UK the main place to buy second hand items are charity shops, which requires dedicating some time to go out and shop. I rarely go out shopping and usually choose to online shop, in the evenings after work usually, which makes fast fashion so much more appealing and is why I never really got into second hand shopping. But Depop allows for the convenience and ease of buying fast fashion but with second hand items, at least that is how I feel. And again, I love eBay, but the interface of Depop is much nicer for clothes. I have found some amazing items on there. The main thing that annoys me is that not all sellers list the materials of the clothes they sell and they may not response quickly to enquiries about that, or at all, so I have missed out on items because of that. (And you then rely on the seller being honest, which is a thing too.) Also items tend not to be returnable so you better hope it fits. This makes buying certain items, like pants and skirts , a bit of a gamble. But still, it makes second hand shopping much easier, much more convenient and thus much more fun. I am enjoying it greatly and have found myself turning to it when I need something instead of going to my usual online shops and buying new items.

Some other things…

Now: I have switched to a safety razor! 

These always terrified me, I had visions of innocently cutting open an artery in the shower, but they aren’t actually that bad at all. I haven’t cut myself even once. I started with this (stunning) MÜHLE rose gold one with a closed comb and I didn’t like it. A closed comb came up in my research as the best for beginners as the blade isn’t as exposed, but I found that to be the main downside – it got clogged up really easily. Thankfully I could just switch the head to an open comb and that changed everything for me. Benefits: I rarely have to change the blade, it’s super easy to clean, it never gets clogged up mid shave like my old disposables did (or the closed comb), it is sharp and stays sharp even after multiple uses and I get less ingrown hairs with it. It’s an absolute dream, basically, and I feel stupid for not buying one sooner. The only snag is I have no idea how I am eventually going to dispose of the used blades. I am currently just….keeping them. I don’t know what else to do. They are too sharp to go into the trash and since I can’t recycle glass, I can’t use the put them in a glass jar trick as I saw recommended when I researched. It’s a puzzle…but for another day. The blades are small and thin enough and I change them infrequently enough that it’s not going to be a problem for a while, thankfully. 

Now: I tried using beeswax wraps for my daily sandwiches.

I am not convinced I like them though. I normally use plastic sandwich bags. I find Tupperware bulky and a faff to clean, so I would use a bag a few times and then stick it in the recycling. I know that is not sustainable though. So I looked at my options- paper bag would still be pretty wasteful. There are silicon food storage bags, but apparently silicon is horrible for the environment and eventually the bag would need throwing out/replacing most likely so I figured that’s a no go, then there was beeswax wraps. This seemed to offer the lightweightness and laziness I wanted – wrap it up, chuck it in my bag, rinse it off after a few uses. And yes, that was all good. But I found the wrap added a sort of dry texture, perhaps a film?, to my sandwiches. I could like, taste the wrap. I also found that the sticky wraps stuck to all the lint in my bag and would pick up hair and dust like crazy too, so it did not really feel like it was protecting my food from outside influences, but rather attracting them to it. I have considered making a cotton pouch to put the beeswax wrapped sandwich in, but that feels like a lot. So I don’t really have a solution here either. I am going to keep experimenting though.

These may be the only things I have done since that last post. I am perhaps moving at a snails pace here , and in some ways , not doing so good with this whole goal of mine. Some changes are easier than others, sometimes they feel better, such as the safety razor and cloth pads which have both been incredible, and sometimes it just feels like a total pain, such as the reusable cup and recycling.  It’s also disheartening when you thinking you are making the better choice but then you find out it’s actually not that great, such as realising that microfibre clothes release microplastics into the environment. And there is always the question- are the eco friendly products I have switched to just clever marketing?  It feels like everything has a “down side” and/or a corporate intent, especially with how ‘trendy’ it is these days to be ‘sustainable’. I mean, who knows if H&M are really recycling the clothes I give them, that the cleaning products I use are actually better etc. Also, does it even matter that I do these things, when I also do “bad” things, like driving?  And it can feel demotivating and a little depressing, that. What are the right choices? Is there such a thing? Does any of it make a difference at all or is it all counteracted by my “bad” choices or the “bad” choices of other people or the fact that this sort of sustainability/green lifestyle stuff is incredibly priveledged, really?

Nonetheless,   I will keep going as always and see where this journey takes me. It remains an interest of mine and something I want to keep learning about anyway. 

The One With No Betta Fish

Betta Fish

Alfred, Betta Fish

Yesterday I buried my eldest Betta fish.

I admit that usually I would dispose of my fish in the trash, as I feel that although callous it’s the most responsible thing to do and I don’t have access to a private garden to bury them anyway. But Alfred, my eldest Betta, I took home to my parents to bury him in their garden. He went next to Theo, my youngest Betta, who passed away just over a month ago. It feels pretty rubbish to have lost them both, to see the empty tanks, to feel like maybe it was my fault, did I not care for them properly? 

Alfred was my first Betta fish purchased in August 2016. I blogged about the experience of buying him here. He was a veil tail Betta with a red body and bluey purple fins and flecks of silver around his gills. At first I had him in an undersized 19L then I moved him into a 24L in which I put a chunk of gorgeous mopani wood and stuffed it full of fake plants, each chosen carefully so it wouldn’t tear his long fins. He was a gorgeous fish and full of personality. When I was in the room he would watch me, swimming up to the side of the tank to stare at me. When I approached the tank he would  swim up to the side of the tank and, if I got too close, he would flare at me. He would build huge bubble nests. He loved frozen bloodworm and to eat tiny flies that I would catch and chuck in the tank for him. I had to be careful about placing my hands in his tank for too long as he would stalk and attack me. He bit me a few times! Really, he was grumpy and ill tempered but he was my little dude and my companion for three years. His feistyness and his weirdness and all his antics filled me with joy.  But, not so much in recent months. His death was a long time coming and I am grateful that he made his third ‘birthday’. Truthfully, I have been watching my little dude suffer terribly for a couple of months now. I honestly don’t know when or how he got sick, but I definitely noticed it during the end. His stomach swelled up and his beautiful fins turned raggedy and he couldn’t swim properly. My little dude who would beg for food multiple times a day (see: him staring at me and swimming up to the side of the tank when I approached ) would only come out for food every few days and he would struggle to eat it, struggling to keep himself afloat for long enough. It was painful too see. I feared he had dropsy and, knowing that it was likely fatal even if treatment is attempted I did my best to keep him comfortable and happy until the inevitable happened. But it was hard. And then I went to London for a few days for work and when I came back I couldn’t see him. The next day I found him and he wasn’t moving. I told myself he was just resting. But the next day he hadn’t moved still and I knew. I feel so guilty that I don’t know when he died. I was so busy that week, have been all this month and the last, I didn’t pay enough attention and I lost him without knowing when. I feel stupidly sad too. It took all my courage to get him out the tank and I could barely look at his limp, rotting body. 

I thought after Theo died I would be better able to handle it, but I wasn’t.

Betta Fish

Theodore, Betta Fish. The red marking on his head is the wound he developed.

Theo was my youngest Betta fish. I bought him on a whim as blogged about here. This was also in August, but a year after Alfred. I put him in the same 19L as I had Alfred until I could eventually get him set up in his permanent 24L. I also put a nice chunk of wood in for him and lots of silky fake plants. I had rainbow gravel in his tank, the better to show off his colors. He was a stunning fish. He was a metallic blue crown tail Betta, with red and purple shifts on his fins and around his gills. He was a gentler fish than Alfred, sweeter. He rarely flared at me and he would get so excited when I approached the tank. I could trail my finger in the water and he would follow it. I would play with him like that, making him chase after his food in a similar way, and he seemed to enjoy it. He never attacked my hands like Alfred. He was fussier and preferred his Betta food though he did not mind the occasional bit of bloodworm. He tried to build bubble nests but he never became very good at it (they would disintegrate quickly). One day I noticed he had a small wound on his body. I didn’t think much of it, I figured it would heal. I tested the water just to be sure and the chemistry was fine so I figured I shouldn’t worry about infections. Of course, it got infected. It didn’t heal, he became weak and reclusive, barely eating. At one point I thought he had died because I found him lying on the bottom of his tank, motionless, but when I went to collect him he darted away. I never really knew if he was dead or alive, he was so still and hidden away during those final weeks. In desperation, seeing him still alive and clearly not dying and probably suffering, I bought an anti bacterial (methylene blue) and tried to treat him but it didn’t work. And eventually he passed away. I took him back to my parents and buried him there. He didn’t even make his second birthday. It killed me a little. I felt sure, still feel sure, that’s it my fault somehow.

I feel sad now, to see my empty Betta tanks. And my confidence as a fish keeper has taken a hit. Maybe I am not good enough at this, maybe I am too busy, away from home too often. My main shoal of fish are OK, although I am even having some trouble with their tank, just the icing on the cake. 

Having pets can be really hard. Their lives are so short and watching them degrade and then die can really be quite painful. 

However they bring so much joy too. I guess that makes it all worth it in the end. 

I miss my Betta fishes but realistically they weren’t going to live very long and I really tried to care for them and give them a good life. I think they were comfortable and happy fish living their best life. I really tried to give that to them.

Will I get another Betta? Mostly likely yes, I just need some time…and also to figure out how to prepare the tanks to accept a new fish without making them sick too. You can’t use cleaning chemicals on or near fish tanks which makes sterilising and cleaning a bit of a question mark at times…

The One With Too Much Stuff

I have finally bought a double bed!

You may recall (or maybe not, I’m not judging) that one of my finance goals was to buy a new bed. I have been sleeping on a single bed since forever and both bed and mattress I was using were in fact those I used as a child following my move from a cot (note: my parents didn’t believe in children’s beds. I went from cot to a single bed with a sideboard to keep me from rolling out, then just the single bed.) I loved that bed, which my dad built himself, but its small, and the mattress was probably once firm but now offers little support. I am stoked to finally own a double bed, although unfortunately I won’t be getting a new mattress alongside it as my finances don’t stretch that far yet.

I am doing much better financially then I was, but I am not yet entirely reformed. I am doing my best to reign my spending in and up my savings but progress is slow. I still find myself too influenced by social media, this culture of consumerism, and in boredom or stress I do like a good shopping binge. It’s …not great. I have also come to realise though that one of the key issues, and where I am truly leaking money, is on food and I am not sure how to go about challenging my unhealthy, somewhat disordered relationship with food.

One thing that has helped to control my spending is that, as part of preparing my room for my new bed, I have been doing a lot of rearranging of stuff and decluttering and it has made me realise just how much stuff I have amassed. How on earth did I manage to live in a dorm room, when I’ve managed to pack a two bedroom flat to the brim? Where did all these things come from? Why do I have so many t-shirts? So much makeup, when I hardly wear it? So much expired skincare? So many useless papers? I feel slightly embarrassed by how I’ve expanded my stuff to fill out all my space, how I’ve let myself spend my salary on all this stuff, which just expires or sits there or gets squeezed into a drawer and forgotten about. Look, I’m not minimalist, I like a bit of clutter, but I think I’ve crossed over from organized ‘aesthetic’ chaos to just…chaos. Decluttering and organising my room has been stressful and slightly overwhelming. I find it difficult to let go of things. It pains me that a lot of it can’t be recycled and will end up in landfill which also makes me not want to get rid of it. I attach memories to useless things and pine for them, can’t bear to let go of them. Again, embarrassing. But on the flipside, when I now find myself browsing online in a fit of boredom, I do find myself thinking – do I even have space for this? I have been asking myself “do I want or need this?” which helps, but this additional question is also very useful and adds an extra layer of scrutiny. Even if I can convince myself I’ll use something, once I realise I will have to store it and add it to the pile of stuff I am currently organising I find myself put off the purchase. I don’t want to deal with anymore stuff I realise. I think about that item being thrown out, ending up in landfill probably, if I can’t make use of it after all, and that guilt also stops me.

(If only I could think about food the same way.)

But anyway, as I change my thinking and try to control my spending, I find myself with more “extra” money each month which I can squirrel away. As such, I have been putting money into my savings each month and I’ve nearly hit my first savings goal even. I’m still relying on my credit card far too much, but I’m proud that I bought my new bed with my debit card not on credit, as I am trying to keep big purchases like this to debit, to ensure I feel the weight of them and I properly evaluate if I can afford the thing right now. (None of this I’ll stick it on the credit card and pay it later, which basically gives permission to think about it later!)

Currently, I am missing not travelling a little. I so want to go somewhere. I am trying to focus instead on day trips I can make around my local area and the fact that I am going up to Scotland in September-ish- but I do feel like I’ve lost part of my identity. Who is that girl who lived abroad in Malaysia, who traveled to Japan and South Korea alone, who dreamed of solo European trips (and started out on that with a trip to Hamburg)? I used to go places and do things, all by myself, and I have become a bit of a homebody. Still, I am keeping it in mind that travel is a privilege, that I now have more leave (from work) for mental health days and long weekends, that I still have so many places in the UK I haven’t been. It’s not the same as traveling abroad, but if I keep saving then I know I will be able to afford a big trip somewhere, eventually, but without it affecting my savings. (My trip to South Africa last year was difficult for me financially, and I felt it for the rest of the year. I don’t want that when I start travelling again.)

I am focussing on my goals, focussing on the long term, and slowly but surely making small but visible changes. And having already bought my new bed on debit with no issues, I can feel content that I am finally seeing the results I want due to this. I am still very determined that this is the year I sort my finances out.

The One With The Forest

My family are a long time supporter of a certain UK woodland charity. My father bought a membership in my name when I was a little girl, and as part of that membership a tree was sponsored in my name in a local wood. We went to see that wood back then – there were no plaques or anything to mark the sponsorship of course but still I thought of it as my wood. Back then the saplings had only just been planted and it wasn’t really a wood just yet. Yesterday, I went to visit my wood for the first time in a long time, and was amazed at how the trees have grown and filled out, that field of tiny saplings transformed into dense woodland. It was so very different from how I remembered it, which was as small and sparse. It was amazing. And a remarkable reminder of the passage of time. (I wish I had a picture of it then for comparison, but I don’t think we even had a digital camera back then!)

The Thursday before last, my father phoned me. He said he had some good news and proceeded to let me know that my sister’s boyfriend had asked him earlier that day for permission to ask my sister to marry him. I probably shocked my dad by not responding in joy, but in bursting out into tears at that news. I have known for a while that this would happen, wanted it to happen because I knew how much my sister wanted it, but still there is something like grief that formed as I felt my sister moving further and further away from me. The fact that it was actually happening immediately overwhelmed me. My sister, my best friend, and the person I trust and love the most in this world, would get married and start a family of her own and where could I fit in? It’s already so hard to see her, she is always so busy, and I have missed her. Don’t get me wrong I was happy, but also fearful. I struggled to explain my reaction to my dad without giving too much away, trying to protect myself and keep my most ugly feelings unspoken, and in the end laughed it off, made some stupid joke or the other. My father swore me to secrecy – only he, my mom and myself knew and needed to know so that my sister wouldn’t find out. We spent a week waiting and wondering when my sister’s boyfriend would do it and desperate to tell someone, anyone.

This weekend I went home. My sisters cat was staying at my parents as my sister and her boyfriend are, in fact, away. I wanted to see the cat and yes, I wanted to be with my family. It was my sister’s birthday on Sunday and I was sure that the proposal would happen this weekend. I thought we should be together when it happened? I don’t know why. Saturday passed by uneventfully, lazying at home with the cat after a long , boring and thankfully uneventfully trip down to my parents. On Sunday, the weather was on the edge of a storm but we went out anyway, to my woods, for a lovely refreshing walk. It was a little damp and muddy but beautiful out there. My wood is very pretty.

My mom was grumpy and my dad talkative and the cat all over me and I was having a nice time. But I was still wondering what was going on with my sister and it was weighing on me.

Sunday afternoon, around 5pm, my sister sent though a picture of her left hand with a beautiful diamond ring on it. We were all pretty amazed that it had finally happened, having started to wonder if my sister’s boyfriend had chickened out. Relief, happiness, excitement, took over. We phoned my sister and her boyfriend to get the details (my sister’s boyfriend surprised us all by how perfect his timing was and how smoothly he did it. It sounded like a beautiful proposal.) Then my mom and dad started phoning family and friends to get the news out. My parents were overjoyed. I was very happy too, but again there was that shadow, that feeling of being left out, left behind.

I had to go back home then and I had a long journey. The trains were disrupted so I had two changes to make, including a walk to another station, then my final train was delayed, arriving late, then sitting in the station for ages as they couldn’t find the driver (!!) And then, driver located, sitting even longer due to signalling problems. We finally set off about 45 minutes after timetable and the journey was long. I got into my city at 9pm, bored, fed up and thoroughly exhausted. I picked up fast food and then scarfed half of it huddled on a seat in the station, then booked a taxi home. I was so glad when I finally got home, just before 10pm. I know public transport is safer, but next time I need to go home I am driving. I feel like I spent the majority of my weekend travelling rather than with my family and cat, and it was very costly to use the trains too. Anyway, I tried to sleep but couldn’t and woke up late and thoroughly unmotivated to go to work.

I admit to maybe a schmidge of jealously – my sisters life is panning out so differently and so much better than my own. Again, that dark shadow, that feeling of being left behind.

But it’s mostly the loss that gets me. My big sister has a life all of her own now, has for a while really, and a huge part of that is separate from me. I know it’s normal and I try to accept it but I miss her. We have always been close. And I have always needed her. But more and more as the years pass I am having to learn to live without her, without her support, without her propping me up. I realise, too late, how dependent I am on her. I don’t want to be needy and annoying but I realise, too late, that I can’t help it. She is my everything. Now she is engaged and I am so happy for her, because she has wanted that for years and I am so happy she found someone nice who makes her happy and whom she wants to spend the rest of her life with. But I am also sad and filled with a complex sense of loss. It’s been a long time since we were children and so much has changed. I have found adulthood difficult and I am feeling so very untethered with my family far away – all of them , my parents, my sister, living in the same area but me in another city – and so…left out. I wish I could talk to my sister about it, I long for her reassurance, but I don’t want to rain on her parade, so I keep it to myself, I will keep it to myself. Like so many other things, honestly. Its very strange being so close to my family, but yet so far.