Emotional reasoning


I am on the train at the moment and I am feeling rather anxious, as I typically do on trains. I put it down to a combination of these things: being stuck in a relatively small space (with the noxious smell of someone’s half-demolished cheese sandwich filling up the carriage like Stephen King’s ‘The Mist’), being out of control (I do not know the last thing about operating a train so I’m sure it would be more anxiety-inducing if I was, in fact, in control), the scare-mongering of the media after terrorist attacks (why they would want to target the late night service to Hayes I am yet to ascertain) and going through stations where I have memories with people I am no longer close to.

This last one sounds silly but I am a silly, sentimental soul and this does cause me genuine grievance; I try to avoid routes, places and activities that remind me particularly of someone with whom my connection has become painful. Due to the fact that I have no choice over which route my train chooses to take (and, really, the time it arrives given Southeastern’s penchant for ruining my life), so I am forcibly plunged into Memoryland when I am already feeling rather vulnerable. This is, in essence, to do with ascribing a sad and unfortunate significance to a place when there are lots of different and equally relevant associations I could choose to make. But this is not really what I want to talk about, so you will have to forgive the tangent and let me reign my thoughts back in.

NOW: This is where I talk about instinctive and emotional reasoning and the problems they can pose. (I may well have fabricated the first one, but I know that the second one is a well-recognised cognitive error.)

Firstly, I need to learn to treat my ‘instincts’ with some scepticism. This seems counter-intuitive and, frankly, sinister after all of the years I have been told to ‘just go with my gut’ or ‘trust my instincts’. This type of philosophy has become dogma in popular culture. It is only recently that I have realised that this is not a useful instruction for living, especially when it concerns an anxious or depressed individual.

Our ‘instincts’ are evolutionary nudges away from threat or harm. They are geared towards survival. Just refer back to my ‘fight-or-flight’ response on the train: no real, imminent danger was being posed (our amygdala cannot distinguish between a real threat and a perceived threat). Besides, when it came to what was actually making me distressed (the small space, the being out of control, the smell), this response was doing nothing to arm me against it; it was actually making me far less able to behold it in a rational light, making it worse. There is a phenomenon called the ‘genome lag’, which refers to this miss-match of internal and external realities. I will try to elucidate some examples of this below:

We no longer live in the type of environment we once did, where child mortality was high and incubators and neonatal heart surgery did not exist. Therefore, we needed to mate a lot and with someone who was ostensibly the picture of fertility and health. These days, a relationship based solely on these factors would breed boredom, resentment and conflict; the nature of modern co-existence requires far more from two people than their breeding abilities. We, also, no longer live in a world where foods high in sugar and fat are a scarcity and, hence, something we need to hoard when available. With sugar and fat’s abundance in the modern diet, you have, most likely, seen this innate behaviour cause health issues galore. If you are from the UK, you are likely not surrounded by poisonous insects and even if you did come across one, there are known antidotes available to you. Yet, being fearful of spiders, for example, is common. 18% of people in the UK have a full-blown phobia of them! I suggest we rigorously question our instinctive responses and their usefulness before we trust them.

Now, I will try to briefly discourage reasoning on the basis of EMOTION.

The type of mood you are experiencing can be due to anything from faulty cognitions and imbalances in neurochemistry to not having had breakfast or a good night’s sleep. It can definitely be hormonal. I can link certain changes in my mood with certain stages of my menstrual cycle, for example. It can even be the weather (Seasonal affective disorder). Why are we using such a faulty and temperamental metric to draw conclusions on how our lives are going?

I feel, therefore it must be.

No! Just because you feel sad, it does not follow that your life must be sad. You could have lots of things going for you, but your emotions (plus the illogical conclusions you draw from them) are distorting your view of the world and blinding you to this. Just because you feel alone does not mean you are alone. I am being presumptuous, but it is likely you have someone in your life who loves you, who is waving their arms in front of your glazed eyes and horror-gaped mouth, waiting for you to come back up from your self-deluded state.

I mean that last bit in the most sympathetic way I can muster. I appreciate that it is extremely hard to see an external reality clearly when your internal world is screaming “RUN!” or “THIS IS AWFUL, I’M GOING TO DIE” at you. Learning to spot the unrealistic and disproportionate nature of these feelings or instinctive drives takes time and discipline. Now, I try to do it each time I get on a train and feel that panic rising inside of me. I acknowledge that the panic is there, and I allow myself to feel it, but I also acknowledge that it does not follow that something bad is going to happen to me, and that it wouldn’t be useful for me to act upon it. I am also going to try to do it whenever I feel the sadness that certain triggers seem to bring on. Just because I feel sad and lonely does not mean that my life is inherently sad and it does not mean I am alone.



(P.S. I am going to write some more of the short story I started on here. Just to let you know. Props for getting to this point, wow)

A happy memory/ Pouring my heart out for you all to slurp up


Summoning up the ‘happiest memory’ of one’s life carries an (arguably unrealistic) amount of expectation, enthusiasm and certainty. I think it is better to frame it as a ‘happy memory’ instead.


This happy memory stems from one of the saddest days of my life thus far. In fact, as I describe it to you, it is going to seem anything but happy. Bear with me!

My boyfriend, who had also been my best friend (as is common), broke up with me the day before the day I am going to describe to you, and I was rather heartbroken. I had not stopped crying, I was struggling to eat even the smallest thing and, worst of all, I had this bludgeoning sense of guilt, believing that I had singlehandedly shoved him out of my life. I called my friend Robert, hollow and small sounding across the phone. In his clear and comforting way, he suggested we meet up for a coffee; we didn’t make any agenda other than this.

Robert is always on time and I am always late, so as I walked in, arms crossed and eyes puffy and red, he was sitting there, reading his book, the picture of peace. I suddenly envied him. I envied and questioned everyone in the days following the breakup. If this person who claimed to adore me and worshipped the very ground I walked on, this person who confided in me endlessly and I in them, could leave me so ruthlessly, and so wilfully mischaracterise my intentions, how could I trust anyone? Also, why was everything else continuing as normal? Why didn’t everyone stop to offer me their condolences? Why didn’t they mourn such a monumental loss in a fellow human being’s life? Why didn’t they sense my pain in a form of animal instinct? Why was everything rendered so dull all of a sudden, so cold and so inauthentic? It was as if the world had been squeezed of all its colour and then painted back in again by someone who had never actually seen the world, only been given a colour chart and a bunch of numbers to fill in.

Robert looked up and I sat down gingerly before him. It wasn’t long before I was crying. I spluttered on about what went so wrong (in between raising my ex-boyfriend to God-like status) and I read out a letter that I was going to send to him, in a vain attempt to rouse some form of tenderness.

Robert didn’t respond to my words as I had anticipated. I thought that he would buy into their vehemence and champion me in getting this person back into my life and loving me ardently again. Instead, he was moved but for a second. In fact, my words of romance and faith were more insulting than inspirational to him. How could he believe in their power when he could plainly see the person who wrote them sat opposite him, white and powerless? They had lost all their authenticity; I was clutching at straws like a scared child. I was fighting a fight without even knowing my reasons for doing so.  I will come back to this later.

We walked 10 minutes to a local park in the bitter cold, staying virtually silent the whole way. When we arrived, it began to snow again, and I began to cry again. The flakes that landed on my eyelashes melted with my hot tears and trickled down my face in a slurry of leftover mascara and sleep. I imagined I looked a picture. When I had stopped crying, I looked blearily around at a snow-covered Robert, at a snow-covered park, at a snow-covered wooden bench.

There was a moment, within me, of peace. This had, thus far, been impossible amongst all the jagged breaths, tears and hair pulling. Believe it or not, it only took a single moment of self-imposed stillness to finally begin seeing things as they really were. Well, not completely. It is rarely ever that easy. I did begin to ask myself important questions, however: Why am I actually so distressed? Where exactly has this impending sense of doom come from? Why, really, am I howling as if I have been impaled on a stake? Why do I feel as though my life is over? I supposed it all came from the same place that those fiery but largely insubstantial words from the letter came from. The truth wasn’t that I couldn’t bear the thought of never being with this person again, it was that I was mortally afraid of being alone. The feelings I associated with being alone were ones of self-loathing and guilt, two feelings that are notoriously manipulative and destructive; it was no wonder I was so afraid of it. Still, it was not the sort of cause I wanted to be fighting for.

While seeing this was confronting, it made the whole situation infinitely easier to deal with. The issues did not lie within the person who had left me like I presumed they did (making it impossible for me to deal with them by myself), they started within me. Therefore, it was completely in my power to deal with them; I no longer had to feel powerless. This was such a lovely realisation.

DO NOT GET ME WRONG: This was only the tip of the iceberg in regards to the work I needed to do with myself and I have relapsed into despair a fair few times since. Becoming a better person (though completely worth it) is a long, arduous process!

P.S. I realised something even more important, though. Even in my moments of utmost selfishness and distress, I had a beautiful friend who loved me dearly, by my side. This thought struck me as the happiest I have ever had.

In memoriam


Emily asked if I could talk about memories.

In a panic, I cried, ‘I have a brain like a sieve!’, in response to this request.

I was doing a favourite: batting someone off with a relatively obscure Cockney phrase whenever things get real. I don’t think it was about me not being able to recall anything noteworthy. If worst came to the worst, I could definitely concoct something that would be way funnier and/or more interesting than anything that could have happened to me in real life. After all, I do feel most at home when I am bullshitting.

I think it was the element of commitment that was pouring salt onto my snail-brain and causing it to shrivel. (I would suggest you find a video of someone exhibiting this to fully understand the effect I am going for but I also can’t be using this platform to endorse cruelty to snails so I shall let you make the decision for yourself). Now that I had been entreated to write about memories, I didn’t want to write about memories. I wanted to do the opposite, maybe by getting so drunk that I forgot just about everything apart from how to breathe and then write about that (that’s a lie, but I do suspect that would make an iconic blog post and will add it to the agenda for the future). My brain is a peculiar beast.

All necessary vacillation aside, I am forcing myself to do this because it is what Emily wanted. Here you go, my darling.

MY EARLIEST MEMORY: My mum was laying out on the woven sun-bed in our old garden, serving real 1960’s Twiggy vibes with her black tankini, svelte legs and blonde hair dazzling with the sun. A real beauty, though I didn’t have any way of knowing this back then. I was in love with a permanently snotty boy named Maxwell from my nursery, which encompasses what metric for attractiveness I was operating with at the time. This was back before I had any offensive signs of female development (I’m not going to get any more political than this for the time being, don’t you worry), so I was allowed to be naked. I saw my mum in a rare state of tranquility and, being the youngest child I was, burned to disrupt this and divert her attention back to me (I continued to do this for the next 12 years). I took a running start. Her maternal instinct betrayed me; she turned, a suspecting eye behind her white, circular sunglasses. I kept my steely, 4-year old gaze on her as I continued charging, resembling a cherub on speed. Just picture it. I landed on her stomach just in time for her to brace for the blow, stomach muscles further tightening with laughter. I caught my breath and started to laugh, too. It was a silly, meaningless moment. It is one of my favourites.


Lots of love and good health to all of you.

P.S. Below is a picture of my beloved old garden and house.

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My friend, Dilys

This post comes very hot on the tail of the first one. It is inspired by my friend Dilys congratulating me (‘omg I am living’) for making this blog. It is something I have secretly wanted to do (I have a self-imposed taboo regarding my need to draw attention to myself) for a while, and, despite me never having mentioned it to her, Dilys already knows this about me. Dilys knows everything about me. Dilys knows everything. Dilys.

Dilys has been my friend since we were 14. We were ‘friendly’ before that, being in the same form class. Back then, I was too scared to ‘beef’ anyone due to, I shit you not- this was a genuine contributor to my 13 year old self’s anxious tendencies, how ‘pullable’ my hair was (usually in two long, thick ponytails, enabling a handlebar-type grip if you so pleased). I had been forever marred by my seeing someone, a mere week after I had joined the school, being dragged from the hallway into a classroom by their hair. The girl looked like she had stepped onto a backwards treadmill. I was shooketh.

After having moved from a state school to a private school, you can just imagine the shock and disillusionment I felt at witnessing such a spectacle. *AWFUL, AWFUL EXTENDED METAPHOR COMING UP: YOU ARE WARNED* I was under the guise that people hit each other with their silver spoons when a dispute arose. As a result, I quickly internalised the belief that this was how girls here dealt with their problems with one another and I was not about to get ‘pulled’, as I affectionately dubbed it. ‘Pulled’ has a very different meaning in my social circles now, but I still can’t help but shudder at the old connotations.

Anyways, Dilys! I also internalised the belief that those who could not be ‘pulled’ themselves would not go out and ‘pull’, it would make the whole game unbalanced and unfair. Dilys had short hair; it was a match made in heaven.

Essentially, Dilys is so wonderful and loyal and inspiring and comforting, that it would be am extremely hard task to capture it in one post. So, I decided not even to try. The bit about the hair pulling is true though, I did actually witness that. It was horrifying.

This be the first


I am structuring this like I would a letter or an email because I have never written a blog post before and am completely winging it.

Here we go.

My name is Mae, I am 18 years old. I was on the phone crying to my brother about how useless I felt I was and how I never managed to work at something credible for any meaningful stretch of time, and also how I wanted to ‘stick my head in a blender’. Those who know me personally will be very aware that this is my usual kind of discourse and, therefore, nothing to be worried about. My brother suggested I start writing a blog because he knows I like writing and am also fairly egocentric (means I like to have my rear-end licked). I proceeded to create a website for said blog and started writing this. Admittedly, I feel very stupid. This feels like soliloquising to a lift full of people who have been forced to travel to my floor with me, after some tactical button pressing on my behalf (wink wink). Maybe minus the people depending on how this goes.

All necessary self-deprecation and self-flagellation aside, I welcome you heartily to my blog. (This is the baby shower as I haven’t actually espoused anything of any quality yet, and it may take more than 9 months for me to do so, but the seed has certainly been sown). My posts will mostly be a stream-of-consciousness and could include anything I want or feel like I need to talk about. If you take the time to read, I do hope you will find it therapeutic in some capacity; the written word has the unique capacity for making at least someone feel perfectly understood in the way a gesture or other demonstration simply couldn’t.

If you want me to mention anything, you can email me:


If it is a heavy topic, preferably add a surrealmeme in there for me to chuckle at before I approach the task. Mental health will come up of its own accord, but you probably already suspected that from everything I have written above. I will add trigger warnings where I feel necessary but, again, if you feel scared or upset about something OF COURSE you can email me. I love strangers, they have no way of knowing how rubbish I really am, and that is great.


This is my blog. I like to think it is special, in some, as yet, indiscernible way. When I have done my discerning and worked out what this is, I will capitalise upon it duly and sell it to you here.

Love you lots and lots and jelly tots.

‘I’m sure there are many things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know any of them’ – Sylvia Plath