Goodbye 2014. Hello 2015.

2014 was half and half for me, if I’m honest. Equal stress and achievement. Maybe the two come hand in hand.

My first year at college ended, summer came and went, 2nd year old college started. I can hardly believe that it’s going by so quickly.
I am so glad that I’m spending these two years with some of my best friends. I don’t want to have to say goodbye to college in July.

I turn 25 in 29 days. I don’t think I can deal with being closer to 30 than to 20. It’s ridiculous. I guess I haven’t much choice, but to see what the year brings me.

I may even blog more this year, but I’m not making any promises.

Laters, chums.
Mel out.

I’m a hypocrite, but I’m working on it.

I’ve been finding it really difficult figuring out how to word this post, so I’ve decided just to type and hope I get my point across.

This post goes almost hand-in-hand with my ‘Quick Realisation‘ one from 10 days ago.

There are so many times when I’ve been worried about doing something, because I don’t want anyone to think I’m weird. It happens a lot – I’m constantly worrying what people think about me. However, there are also the times where I don’t mind doing something, even though someone else, just before me, has refused to do it. I am going to focus on these times.

I like to have fun, I don’t mind getting dirty or completely soaked. I think it’s the tomboy in me. As usual, whether I do something depends on how I’m feeling that day.

 

A few examples – 2 from 8 years ago, 2 more recent:

  • There are fountains in the centre of Liverpool. They were on during the Easter holidays, and a male friend and I decided we wanted to run through them and get drenched. My female friend with us that day, didn’t want to. I don’t know why she didn’t want to, and I didn’t judge her for it, either.
  • Jumping in to the docks, fully clothed. It’s something silly, but so much fun. I had no change of clothes, but what did I care? Apparently nothing.
  • Sitting on someone’s knee, even though they were half joking about it. Everyone else shied away from the offer – but there was no bench space left, so I accepted. Admittedly, I held most of my weight on my legs.
  • Hugging someone who is sticky from a performance they had been doing. Again, something that the others avoided doing. It didn’t bother me, why should it? I got called a ‘good sport’ for it, which made me wonder why I would be worried about doing it.

The person asked and initiated the situation – why, then, would they think you’re weird for accepting. Even if they were half-joking, wouldn’t they feel better for your acceptance of their joke, and consequently them?

Am I trying to impress? I don’t think so, although I suppose it could be a subconscious thing.

Is this what confidence feels like? Because I don’t feel confident most of the time.

 

My next point is about the people (though I mostly aim this at the girls) I go to college with – the vast majority of whom are a few years younger than me.

I started college worrying how I was going to separate my controlled work self, from my own self. I have a dirty mind, I laugh at inappropriate things and I’m a bit hyperactive and crazy at times.

The job I do outside of college involves working with young people, being a role model – setting a good example of how to be. I am an adult, they are in my care.

The way I’ve learned to portray myself around the young people I work with has definitely leaked into how I am at college. Not in the sense of ‘being in charge’ or how I act around them (I wouldn’t have a fulfilling experience, if I acted that way) – basically, if I were to act the same around the young people I work with, as I do with my friends in college who are only a year or so older, then it would be deemed inappropriate and I would no doubt be fired.

It has leaked into how I feel I should support them – if they say something down about themselves I will try and make a comment opposing their thoughts, to try and make them feel like it’s OK. They are allowed to feel abnormal sometimes, because why would anyone want to be ‘normal’ – life is much more fun when you’re laughing and having fun in your own creative way. I’m not saying these people aren’t confident, but I’m hoping that they feel the support I’m giving them.

I don’t do this because I feel obliged to, I do it because these people are worth everything. They deserve to be confident, because they are awesome people.

I want everyone I know in college, and out, to know that they are worth the effort to be supported.

 

This is where the hypocrite side comes in.

I’m not going to lie – I pretty much hate myself, most of the time. I don’t feel I deserve people around me. Why would anyone want to be my friend/in a relationship with me (the latter bothers me less these days, hurts more when it hits me)? It baffles me greatly.

I don’t easily take it in when I’m supported, but I’m going to work on it.

New camera lens.

Quick realisation.

I do a theatre technology and stage management course in college; a good chunk of this course involves becoming a production team with my fellow course students, and putting on shows.

Shows mean actors (and dancers, but this is less so about them). Actors are, generally, outwardly confident people, who are comfortable to show their real personalities in any situation.

So, I hear you ask, what is this realisation mentioned in the title of this post?

The realisation came to me, having spent the majority of the last 3 months around actors – even befriending some of them – last night in a matter of moments.

 

It is that it is easier to accept someone for their ‘weirdness’, if that is how you know them from the beginning.

 

Basically, if you are yourself with someone from as early on in the new relationship as possible, then you are less likely to think someone is strange when they come out of their shells. Having said that, it’s always exciting to see someone feel able to be themselves around you.

You should know – I didn’t make this realisation by the way people treated me, but more from the way I thought of those who were being themselves around me. I didn’t care. In fact, I wouldn’t have them any other way, because that’s not how I know them now.

I am a very shy person – some people are surprised to ‘learn’ this (I realise that someone ‘learning’ that I’m shy seems against my point of being shy, but it depends whether they’re looking into my friendship with someone else, or talking to me first hand), so I find it difficult to talk to people and not seem like some a-hole. I’m not saying that this realisation is going to change my being shy, but it’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

 

I’m not alone.

I’m not the only person who laughs at even the tiniest innuendo.

I’m not the only person who gets grumpy (and a little mean) when tired, but copes with everyone else being the same back.

(I’m not the only person who can’t think of more examples, because my brain is fried.)

 

 

Thank you to everyone who helped me come to this realisation, and I hope that you are in my life for years to come.

Brave heart, Mel.

I’ve been feeling very down over the last few days.

Thursday emotionally drained me, but I don’t know what triggered it. I spent the day fighting against my anxiety harder than most days, so when I got home from college, already feeling run down, and was told that we wouldn’t be getting a new kitchen fitted, it left me feeling disappointed. I realise this may seem ridiculous, but let me try to explain.

Firstly, my family and I moved from a Georgian house in to a 1989 build a year and a month ago. I still do not feel at home, or comfortable, in this house.

The only thing I like about it, is that there is a canal at the bottom of the garden, and a field behind that. The view isn’t awful.

The point is, even though I wasn’t expecting an all singing, all dancing, stupidly expensive new kitchen, I just want a different one.

The current kitchen is in a medium-dark wood, and the walls are almost fully tiled. The oven and hob are separate, and the hob is too high to me to use comfortably. It feels small and cramped (as does the whole house, but that’s not my current point). I would like creams and colours, with a light-medium wood counter, as few tiles as possible, and a range cooker.

I hate change, unless it’s to improve something. The fact I care enough to would like a different kitchen is a good thing, isn’t it?

Secondly, I don’t cope with disappointment well. Not when I have allowed myself to become excited at the prospect of something. What do you do to cope with disappointment?

 

In the old house, the kitchen used to be where I went when I wanted some alone time. This usually happened after work – I would sit in the kitchen and watch TV, or listen to music, and play on my phone. Chilling out and mulling over the day, sometimes even venturing to bake for no reason.

In the new house, I have nowhere to go and do that. You might ask, ‘What about your bedroom?’ I don’t want to be that secluded from things. In the kitchen, someone might walk in to get something, whereas in my bedroom that wouldn’t happen. Making me feel trapped and isolated.

It feels like no one understand how I feel about this situation. It also feels like they don’t understand that I can’t explain how I feel, to them.

I posted the other day, on Facebook and Twitter, that ‘I don’t know’ is one of the most common things that I, and probably most people with a mental illness, says. This is because we do not know.

We don’t know why we’re feeling unhappy, and not responding normally.

We don’t know why we were Ok yesterday, but today we’re moping around and wanting to cry.

We don’t know why we don’t want to get out of bed.

We’re not trying to annoy you, or make you feel guilty – we simply just don’t know.

‘American Psycho: A New Musical Thriller’ Show Review

IMG_0461I entered the auditorium and took my seat – Row C, Seat 7, close to the stage and on the end. I still had no idea what to expect, but I was relieved about getting a ticket, and excited to see the show.

My Ticket

There was no safety curtain, so you could see the stage at all times – it was clean, crisp and white, with two sections of wall with a videocassette design of wallpaper on either side. There was a piece of set above the stage, rather than being able to see the lighting rig, which had a rectangular hole in the centre, angling from downstage to upstage. This hole was for lights to shine through, a concept that I liked. There were large circular designs on each side of the floor, which would soon become a design aspect that was important to the show.

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               Without any sign that the show was about to start, as far as I could tell, the audience went silent. Seconds later the music started and cast members walked down the aisles singing the first song, ‘Clean’, which would be reprised after the interval.

-Jonny Bailey was stood in front of me and I spent the song trying not to stare at him, because that’s generally weird. His voice was the one I heard most clearly and he sounded good.-

Patrick Bateman (Matt Smith) rose up from beneath the stage, wearing only underpants and standing in front of a ‘sun bed’. The sun bed turned around to show his clothes, which he proceeded to put on.

The circular design on the floor revealed its secret – they were rotating sections that were used for set changes, and as moments flashing by, with characters walking on them. I felt that they were used effectively, rather than being over used and pointless.

The following scenes introduced 5 more male characters. The props were 6 tables that could able to be uncoupled and moved around. The song presented the funny, cheesier side of the show. It was set in the 80s, so the songs are styled on, and taken from, that era. We also saw that the tables are light boxes, which added a new lighting dimension to the scenes they are used in.

We were introduced to more characters during a house party scene, which was followed by a club setting. One character made a dramatic exit, which could be interpreted as him either committing suicide or running away. This was followed by the first murder, in a back street, which proved Patrick’s psychotic tendencies and how harsh his demeanour is, when he isn’t hiding it.

Skipping through the plot, which included a few revelations, to the end of the first half, we saw the murder in the apartment scene (which I mentioned in my pre-show blog). It was performed suggestively, with red flashing over the whole stage before fading to a blackout – ending the first half.

The second half included a song the actions through this informed us of how easily Patrick could kill. We were also shown that Patrick, who had, himself, said he ‘does not feel’, is capable of mercy.

The show ended with a twist. I wrote earlier that I do not know the story, so I can only assume that the twist was not new to the musical.

 

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The show lasted for 2 hours 40 minutes, including a 20-minute interval – I certainly felt the length of time, but that does not hinder the fact that I was gripped throughout.

I felt the show flowed well and the transitions between songs and talking were smooth.

The American accents were good, on the whole, however one cast member kept slipping into their own. If they had used their own accent during the whole show, then it would have seemed less peculiar.

The set, as I wrote about at the beginning of this post, was simple and sleek, and I liked it very much.

I thought the audience were receptive and respectful. They laughed at jokes that not everyone may have understood, or found funny, and clapped only when necessary (not after each song, as is the way with some musicals), which I liked as it did not take over the whole show.

Now for the topic that I seem not to have mentioned anywhere, at any time: Matt Smith. This production is his musical debut. Putting aside my previous appreciation for his work – which, in fact, is limited as I haven’t seen him in anything other than Doctor Who…I must rectify that. You read his section in the programme and he has half the amount of productions listed (including Stage, TV, and Film) than most of his fellow cast members. He has had no professional training in this part of the industry, which was noticeable, but it was obvious that he has been working hard. His singing voice was enjoyable and almost child-like in its nature, something that I found endearing. There was very little time through the show that he was not on stage, which is not surprising given that the show is about his character, and I felt he owned the stage appropriately. He did not overact his portrayal of Patrick, but played him with subtlety. One thing that I only noticed after I had left was that I had not associated his ‘Patrick’ with his ‘Doctor’ at all, this felt, to me, as though he had done his job effectively. I feel very comfortable with him as an actor, which was something I was not sure about prior to the show.

Overall, my experience of ‘American Psycho: A New Musical Thriller’ was a hugely positive one. Not only thanks to the theatre urging us to wait until the last second for returns, but also because the show blew me away. I left the theatre impressed and wanting to see it again and again.

I live in hope that the show transfers to the West End, preferably into a small theatre, as I really enjoyed the atmosphere that it created, and with the original cast. I would buy an Original Cast Recording in a heartbeat, but with less than a month until the show closes it does not seem likely.

 

*Fan girl time:

– Seeing Matt Smith in tight, white y-fronts was weird – he’s the Doctor, for goodness sake! However, he has really buffed up.

– I am glad that I could not quite see where the sex scenes were placed, as this was also quite weird – ‘he’s the Doctor, for goodness sake!’

– I really liked when Matt became Matt, which was after he had come back on stage for his own bow and gestured for the rest of the cast to come back on for their second. It was heart-warming.

– He didn’t come out to see fans afterwards, as he had 2 more double-show days to follow, but I didn’t care. I was happy enough that I had the chance to see him in the show.*

I have just found out that this musical was funded with a Kickstarter! Wow, that’s incredible!

‘American Psycho: A New Musical Thriller’ Pre-Show Review

A few months ago my friend, Issy, sent another friend, Helen, and me an email explaining that she had “accidentally” booked 3 tickets to see ‘American Psycho: A New MusicalThriller’ at the Almeida Theatre, London. I was aware that Matt Smith was to play Patrick Bateman, around whom the story is based (if you didn’t already know), and from that point onwards it was something I was looking forward to. I later discovered that Jonny Bailey (who I saw in ‘Campus’ and ‘Me and Mrs Jones’ on TV) and Eugene McCoy (who I saw in ‘Jersey Boys’) were also in the cast, which added to my joy.

I did not form any expectations, as I have not read the book, or seen the film – except for the scene prior to the murder in the apartment. Given the small amount of information that I had about the story, I could not imagine how it could be a musical. A play, yes, but a musical? The thought of it seems bizarre.

The morning of the show came, our tickets were for the matinee, and Issy received an email from the Almeida with the news that the afternoon performance had been cancelled due to an illness in the cast. The disappointment was felt deeply, especially as it was the initial reason I had made a trip to London, but we read that the evening’s performance was to go ahead as planned. A short discussion between Helen and me later – ‘Is it worth the trip to the theatre?’ ‘Would it be silly to risk further disappointment if we were unable to get tickets?’ ‘Would I regret not trying, given that I only have this chance to see it?’ – We decided to give it a shot and go to the theatre in hope for returned tickets.

We arrived at the Almeida Theatre at 16:50pm and asked the Box Office staff about returns. The informed us that there were 12 names ahead of us on the list, and if we wanted to remain on it then we must stay in the building. We didn’t exactly have plans, so we sat in the theatre’s café and waited. It was over two hours before the Box Office staff began whittling down their returns waiting list, the tension was mounting as to whether we would get in. We were refraining from getting our hopes up, as it wasn’t worth it, so at 19:20pm we decided to ask the staff for an update, there were only 2 names ahead of us – which came as a surprise, as we didn’t expect there to have been 10 returned tickets. We stayed by the desk, while the 2 people before us were offered and paid for their tickets, the literally at the last minute a single seat became available for £45. Helen told me to accept, whether she was able to get one or not, so I did. Fortunately, another ticket became available just after mine. It wasn’t anywhere near me, but that wasn’t a problem, I was just glad we were both seeing the show.

IMG_0471This is a picture of the Almeida Theatre news paper.

Today’s thoughts.

I had been reading McFly’s autobiography over the last four nights – they’ve been my favourite band for 10 years, so I was bound to read it eventually. I was reading the chapters in which Tom writes about his life with, and diagnosis of, bipolar disorder. The chapter following is all about Dougie’s drug and alcohol addiction and the beginning of his life in recovery. It is so shocking to read about how one of the guys in your favourite band had tried to commit suicide. It’s really eye-opening, especially as his addictions began when he was 17 – that’s 2 years into the band, including on tour. Scary thinking that I’ve seen him performing on stage, putting on as brave a face as he can, while inside he’s broken.

I can’t express how proud I am of them for opening up about their devastations – it is really hard, especially when you’re writing it in a book which will be read by all of your fans (I imagine). If I ever meet them and burst into tears, it will be because I am so glad that they are alive, well and happy.

Never take anyone for granted, because you don’t know what could be happening in their lives.

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On a lighter note, it was my second day in college, today – only half a day, as we’re still in the induction week.

Starting with an early morning, I was feeling bit anxious – less so than my enrollment day and yesterday, anyway. I haven’t yet mentioned my anxiety to my tutor, but I feel I should at some point.

We spent the morning with a class of first year Drama students and their tutor – who is a huge Doctor fan and completely mental, so I like him.

The drama students were given three lines to interpret however they chose and we (the ‘techies’) had to add some lighting and sound. It was quite daunting, as most of us had never done it before, but it was fun.

I am going to have to work my hardest when it comes to design – be it set, lights or sound. I think I will find it the most difficult, but hopefully I will find a way to work around it.

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I realised last night that my anxiety is at a very low point, at the moment. Some of the thoughts I am having are full of fear of being out of the house 3 days a week. It doesn’t sound like much, but I am so used to being at home and feeling safe (as safe as I can feel in a house that I don’t feel comfortable in).

I can also tell, because I am going away for two weekend, from the one after next, and I am absolutely bricking it. I am so worried. Usually, when I go to London, I am calm enough, but this feels very different. I think about it, my heart pounds and I feel like crying.

I’m scared of living – how is that possible?

 

I think my next post is going to be about, what I find to be, the most debilitating element of having anxiety.

Mel 1 – 0 Anxiety

Despite being calm this morning, I began to panic as I got closer to college. I almost couldn’t get out of the car. Thankfully, it’s been a relaxed day of reading sheets of information. Hopefully, I will be able to settle down relatively quickly.

I won’t need to buy any black clothes for another few weeks, but that will be interesting – the only black clothing I own are socks, tights, a pair of converse and my work tops.

So far, I’ve coped and I’m getting a bit more excited about it – although, I am doubting my abilities, as I haven’t done anything like it before.

 

Here’s to having a future.

Anxiety

Me-LakeWindermere

This is a post that has crossed my mind many times, but I’ve never been brave enough to write it. I don’t assume it will be in any particular in order, more me trying to write down thoughts as they come, so bear with me. Anyway, here goes:

 

I have had anxiety for coming on 7 years, although I did not know it was anxiety until about a year ago. That’s not including the, what I would call, depression I had from 13.

It’s not easy to begin a post like this, so I’ll start with this link – to which I can relate to all 7 points:

Seven things sufferers of Anxiety would like you to know.

I won’t lie – anxiety sucks. It really sucks. A lot of tasks that are supposed to be easy are made 10x worse. I’m not the worst case, nowhere near, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real.

Some of my friends know of my anxiety, some may not know; others may be aware, but not to what extent.

There are days – relatively few and far between – that I find it too difficult to find the motivation to get out of bed and brush my teeth. I’m still able to do it every day, for which I am thankful, but it takes a lot of effort.

I’ve had panic attacks. I can remember my first – it was back in December 2006, while on the way to buy a Christmas tree, of all things.

One of the most recent things I have realised, about my anxiety, is that I hold on to things that make me happy. While being able to find things that make me happy is a good thing, not being able to ‘get over them’ quickly isn’t healthy. It only drags me down later on. It’s not that I need to forget them, but file them and move on to the next thing. For example, I recently worked on a residential and I had an amazing time. I was enjoying myself so much that I hardly noticed my anxiety – it was wonderful. However, after buzzing off it for 2 weeks I hit a wall and slid right down it. I’ve spent the last few days mostly blank faced, down and, subsequently, grumpy.

Which brings me on to change. I deal with change very badly, in fact I don’t deal with change at all. I moved house last December and I haven’t, yet, come to terms with it. Even something as small and insignificant as spoons can be a big deal to me (we’ve recently bought new cutlery and I’ve requested to keep 4 spoons, because they’re my favourites…).

I start college on Tuesday and I’m absolutely terrified. Enrolling on Friday took a lot out of me. Not only is it a big change, it also means a lot of new people. I should be looking forward to it, but instead I am absolutely dreading it – to the point of regretting applying in the first place.

 

Here’s the big hitter – I’m ashamed. (Wow, that hurt.) Although I’ve admitted to my anxiety enough to be seeing a counsellor; I am still in denial, to an extent. I don’t understand why I feel like I do, I hurt people around me without meaning to and I shy away from things I’d like to do.

 

Enough for now. Sorry for the blunt ending, but maybe I’ll write more on the subject, at another time.