IN REARVIEW // November

After a year of swirling storms and stinging tsunamis, November, by contrast, is a still and surf-less sea. There is no wind in my sails to drive me forwards, but neither are there swells that try to drown me, nor clouds that gather threateningly. I stagnate - there is no longer any sense of momentum - and I know that, long-term, this way of life will not satisfy me; but for now, for this short period, these peaceful skies and placid seas are enough for me. 

Building on the work of October, I begin to settle into a routine. My weeks mould themselves around Spanish classes and psychology groups and volunteering shifts in a cafe. The unrelenting battle with anxiety drains and exhausts me and avoidance would be temptingly easy, but I push through for the pay off of structure and purpose in my week. It is small and simple - I am very much at the start of the journey - but there is much to be said for "meaningful activity" and its impact on my self-worth - on the way I think and feel about me. 

The beast of comparison tells me these things are not "enough" - that I am unproductive; a scrounger; useless and lazy. My support workers tell me I am never home - that I'm doing so much they barely see me - and that the only legitimate comparison is with the me of three months ago, who could not have sustained this activity. It's a difficult truth to hold onto when I long to be much further along this journey, but objectively I know they're right - I've come a long way already and November is deceptively busy! 

I see my CPN and O.T.; work on my 'Advance Statement' with advocacy; have a terrifying CPA meeting that seems soul-destroyingly pointless to me. More importantly, I spend lots of time surrounded by my friends and family. I don a unicorn onesie for a belated Halloween party; eat cake to celebrate a family birthday; catch up with cousins, uncles and aunts over cups of coffee. My friends and I spend hours chatting over teas and sushi; check out the new bowling venue in the centre of the city; head to the cinema to see the new Justice League movie. I attend a presentation on the ever-wonderful Matumaini and make it to church - a 'Big Gathering' at the Beach Ballroom - for the first time in months. I visit endless markets - Ministry of Craft, Thistle Street and FINE food in Aberdeen; Flock at the Barn in Banchory - and make an early start on Christmas shopping for once. I attend a vegan festival and fill my face with cruelty-free pies and bao buns; and then I head off to Spain to conclude the month. 

Spain is just what I need it to be: bluer skies and warmer days; local markets and flamingo lakes; afternoon naps and plenty of time to read; good food and an encouraging dose of my parents' company. It is quiet and relaxing; gentle and restorative; a welcome break from all that activity; and I end the month feeling recharged and ready to face the ones to come..

Golden retriever on hay bale - Nov 2017
Ministry of Craft Aberdeen - Nov 2017
Bowling at Lane 7 Aberdeen - Nov 2017
Geek Bothy Aberdeen - Nov 2017
Self-soothing evening - Nov 2017
Flock at the Barn - Nov 2017
FINE food market Aberdeen - Nov 2017
Lucie's Campoamor - Nov 2017
Torrevieja cats - Nov 2017
Torrevieja Sacred Heart church - Nov 2017
Torrevieja Immaculate Conception church - Nov 2017
Flamingoes - San Pedro del Pinatar - Nov 2017
Poise sculpture Aberdeen - Nov 2017

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