So Captain America fell on me.

I have always had trouble sleeping in new places. Sleeping requires a calm, clear head, and it’s when my head is calm and clear that unbidden and anxious thoughts tend to sneak in. So, it generally takes me a couple of days to settle in to a new bed.

I didn’t go out last night, even though it was the foam party and everyone else in my block was going, because my exhaustion from late nights and early starts the past two days had caught up and I was pretty much on the floor.  Instead, I got into my pyjamas, chilled out with Netflix, tea and ginger biscuits for a couple of hours and dropped off to sleep relatively easily.

At 5am, my Captain America poster fell off the wall and landed on my face.

And then at 8am, the annual fire drill happened.

Bedrooms, Bug Mugs and Blu-tack

So, I’m finally at university! I’ve got an amazing room with nothing but trees, grass and birdsong outside the window and some lovely flatmates. I also have an enormous amount of clothing drying in my bathroom as I decided to start doing all my laundry twenty four hours before I left home.

As the resident Zoologist and the only one in my flat who isn’t scared of insects, I am now the dedicated bug-removal service. I even have my very own Bug Mug, because what better use for the single orange, #HappyHalls-emblazoned, plastic mug we were given in the kitchen of the flat.

I’m enormously glad there’s no pressure on me to go out and party – in fact, several of my flatmates are already in bed! As it is, I’m very tired too; I got up at 5.15am to finish packing the car and to get ready to spend the morning shooting target rifle at the National Shooting Centre, Bisley (that place I mentioned right before I dropped off the face of the earth for several months). This is why this post is a rambling mess, but I decided to post it anyway because there’s only one first day of university. And I’m spending it alone in my room, writing a blog post…

Oh well. There’s a roller disco tomorrow night and I absolutely have to be fresh for that because there is no way I’m passing up the opportunity to show off my mean skillz (sarcasm entirely intended).

In the meantime, here’s a badly-taken picture of my room, complete with Captain America poster stuck up with blu-tack, which isn’t breaking the rules because I checked.

Oh god, I really do need some sleep.

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I have a double bed too! And an insanely strict guest policy…well played, RHUL, well played.

“I’m not throwing my cat at everybody”

This is a post about contraception and sex and awkward, awkward conversations with mothers, so if you’re at all concerned that reading it might bring back repressed memories of The Talk, by all means, sit this one out.

I head off for university in two weeks (no, I will not shut up about it) and, as a first year, will be participating in Fresher’s Week. As a single girl, I will be on the lookout for guys. I am making no assumptions about what I will get up to during Freshers; for all I know the stress will be too much for me and I’ll be locked in my room watching Netflix every evening. Realistically, I’ll be partying in one way or another for most of the week and should probably prepare myself for any eventuality.

As I haven’t been in a relationship or, frankly, had much contact with guys since my last (and only) boyfriend back in 2012, I haven’t been using any form of contraception. Now I’m off to uni I’m most likely going to wind up in bed with someone at some point and I would prefer to be protected in as many ways as possible.

I am the kind of person who won’t do anything until I’ve thoroughly terrified myself, so I’ve been reading the NHS contraception pages, and the comments on these pages. Unfortunately, the comments make every single form of contraception sound like a horrific nightmare that will cause your ovaries to leap out of you and run away screaming. This is not particularly reassuring to someone who has severe anxiety about medication and side effects.

So, I turned to my mother. She and I normally avoid talking about anything remotely connected to sex, because we find it very awkward to discuss with each other, but I value her advice and she tends to be pretty helpful. What I discovered was that she is basically against any drug that is not strictly necessary. This isn’t surprising, as she was on the pill and hated every minute of it, and then had breast cancer and suffered some of the worst side-effects I’ve ever seen during treatment (oh hi there, medication-related anxiety). The short version is that she doesn’t mind what I decide to do with regards to contraception, which makes things a lot easier. On the other hand, she also thought I was a virgin and started telling me how sex was something I shouldn’t rush into and that it was a big step to take.

Well.

Was that ever awkward.

I, with my instinct for flat-out honesty and complete inability to sugar-coat, merely blurted “I’m…not a virgin” and buried my face in the cat. Things got a little tense after that, as she thought I was being too blasé about sex, which is really not something you want your mother thinking about you.

My mother and I have very different opinions and experiences. When she was my age, my mother had met my dad and knew that he was The One. I, on the other hand, have had one slightly disastrous relationship which has left me with no desire to actively seek out a boyfriend. She thinks that sex is something that should not be entered into lightly, whereas I have a fairly casual attitude towards the idea of sex without being in a relationship.

I would like to pause things here and point out that I am in no way ‘easy’. I am definitely not the sort of person to leap into bed with someone at the first opportunity, but nor am I opposed to the idea of the odd one night stand. I have discussed this at length with my friends, and the one in a committed long-term relationship thinks that I was an idiot for having sex with a guy I wasn’t fully committed to. The one who seems to pick the biggest commitment-phobes in the UK thinks that I was perfectly within my rights to do what ever I wanted with my virginity and, as losing it hasn’t upset me in any way, I can have sex with whomever I want, in whatever context.

Sex, whatever people might say, is still a fairly big deal. While I treat the idea of casual sex as nothing to get particularly worked up over, it still requires some careful thinking about. Not least, there’s the issue of contraception and other forms of protection. It’s also going to take quite a lot of confidence to get back on the horse (I am so, so sorry). I am anxious enough as it is, and I tend to get extremely self-conscious about my body, as I have quite a lot of scars. Also, there’s the fact that I haven’t slept with anybody since 2012 and my experiences never set the world on fire anyway, so there’s a definite possibility I will end up doing what I always do whenever anyone displays interest: run a mile rather than taking any risks and potentially winding up getting hurt, or worse, embarrassed.

 

PS The title quote is not strictly relevant, but it’s from Easy A, which is one of my favourite films and has so many excellent lines.

I am not dead

Hi, it’s me, although you’ve probably all forgotten who I am! I got back from holiday on August 11th and the 14th was…dun dun DUUUUNNN: Results Day.

Again.

At 7am, when I’d been tossing and turning for about an hour trying to decide whether to get up or not, I got a text. It was from Royal Holloway, confirming my place! I AM GOING TO ROYAL HOLLOWAY IN TWO WEEKS!! (All-caps entirely necessary). This meant that I could bounce into the hall at school and rip open my results without giving a flying fig what they were. (They were Bs).

Since then it’s been a string of paperwork, shopping, work and a few parties to say goodbye to all my friends. There is absolutely loads to write about, and hopefully I’ll start posting again regularly, and by regularly, I mean a humongous dump of posts all in one go and then nothing until Christmas.

Plus, autumn is on it’s way and I’ve never been so excited for it!