Yesterday I wrote about how someone who I have trusted, and who I have been very open with about my mental health, completely derailed me by being ableist and inconsiderate.
I went and tried to address this today, as it’s necessary I resolve any underlying issues with this person. I see them often and will be working closely with them for the best part of the next four years. I really tried to make my point. I was very upset, as my feeling are obviously raw, but despite being tearful, I tried to say what I needed to in a measured way. I am really pleased that I was listened to, which restored some of my faith, but after that, the person went on to try and justify all they’d been saying.
Due to the environment in which it had to be discussed, my exhaustion, frustration, emotions in the situation, and time limitations, I couldn’t follow up on all I needed to, or thrash certain things out. Although at the end of the conversation I felt marginally better, by a couple of hours later, I began to recognise all the things that hadn’t been resolved, and that I was still upset about – from yesterday, and from the conversation today.
I felt horrible. I still feel horrible. As time passes I feel more horrible. I feel sad and disillusioned. I’m used to feeling crap because of my own atypical neurotransmitter and synaptic misfirings, but when it’s because of other people it’s altogether different. I can’t sleep and I keep crying. I do not remember the last time a person (that I hadn’t been in a relationship with) made me feel this way.
When I have a bad day, I often buy books. I buy books often anyway, I am an out and out bibliophile. I have shelves upon shelves of text books, of novels, short stories, and poems. I have plays and politics. I have children’s books, and art books, gardening books, and cooking books; books without words, books without pictures, books without covers. I have old books, new books, classic books, and contemporary books. I have handmade books, first editions and fiftieth editions.
I went to the bookshop on campus today, initially intending to browse and maybe treat myself to some poetry. Poetry is my favourite comfort book purchase. Poems are emotional and pithy, creative, political, and often disrupt language and syntax in such a way that I am able to take myself out of myself and absorb my mind in imagery and ideas.
I came away with 14 books, in an array of genres. There are only 13 in the main picture immediately below, because one was intended as a Christmas gift for Oblong, but after this picture was taken, I couldn’t resist and gave it to her early. You’ll see it in the subsequent pictures. You can treat this as a game and tell me in the comments if you spot the book that doesn’t feature in this image.
It’s such a treat, and a privilege to be able to own as many books as I do. I could talk about the importance of books and libraries here, but I will save it for another time. Writing this has helped my upset some, so for now, I am going enjoy my privilege of being able to read, and have some time with my new friends.
Yes, my books are my friends.
My exciting new poetry, play, and illustrated books:
Alternative Voices, a book of poetry and paintings by Frieda Hughes, daughter of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes; Hold Your Own by the wonderful and political spoken word poet Kate Tempest; A Murmuration of starlings, by Jake Adam York; and the play Blasted, which I have seen but not read, by Sarah Kane, playwright of the possibly more familiar 4:48 Psychosis.
Imaginary Fred, by Eoin Colfer & Oliver Jeffers, the first page of which is wholly touching; and a beautifully illustrated linen-bound edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, with art work by Sanna Annukka.
Two novels by contemporary classic authors: one (The Passion of New Eve) by Angela Carter, whose fierce writing I have enjoyed since reading The Bloody Chamber at school; and Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid, whose writing I’ve not read before, but the cover recommendation by Susan Sontag was enough to convince me.
One piece of experimental writing I will likely thoroughly enjoy (for me, the more creative the better, usually):
Three from the Penguin Little Black Classics collection (which, incidentally, I’d like the complete set of, so anyone out there who knows me and would like to give me a brilliant gift costing less than a cup of tea, these are just 80p each):
And, lastly, some non-fiction: