I Think I Am Suffering From Holiday Season Withdrawal…

January is quite a confusing time of year for me.

In the UK, the majority of holidays are concentrated between the months of October and December.

Although I no longer enjoy Halloween and Christmas as much as I used to when I was younger, I still like using the holidays as an excuse to consume a copious amount of food and drink before justifying the consequent damage to my waistline/ general health using the phrase ‘it’s *insert holiday name here* – I deserve to treat myself.’

In addition, the holidays provide winter with a kind of structure, helping to break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks.

There is always an occasion to prepare for and, up until the end of December, it is possible to propel myself through the long dark months of cold miserable weather on a tide of festive merriment.

However, eventually January comes around and I am suddenly released into the new year with nothing on the immediate horizon.

I never know what to do with myself without the incessant stream of holidays that have kept me occupied since late October.

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How I Learned The Truth About Santa Claus.

When I was younger, my main ambition in life was to own a dog.

Unfortunately, my parents were reluctant to buy one because they both worked long hours and thought that looking after a dog would be impractical.

When I was seven, I decided to take matters into my own hands and actively wrote to Santa asking for a dog.

At the time, I thought that I was being really crafty .

I thought that I had devised a cunning plan to outwit my parents by going behind their backs in order to obtain what they had previously denied me.6 As a child, I had a very intense and vivid imagination and invested heavily in fantasies and delusions.

As a result, I had complete faith in Santa’s ability to provide, not only free 24-hour delivery of a live animal, but also a complimentary kennel construction and installation service.

I was therefore slightly disappointed when all that I received on Christmas Day was a DVD of Disney’s ‘101 Dalmatians’.

At this point, any sensible child would have learned to monitor their expectations and set their sights a bit lower.

Not me.

In fact, the following year, I decided to up the ante.1The prospect of having a magical flying unicorn excited me – not only would it be an efficient mode of transport but it could also act as a symbol of my inherent coolness which I could use to improve my social status on the playground.

Christmas day arrived and I rushed downstairs, only to find a distinctly non-unicorn sized package waiting for me under the tree.

Attached to the package was the following note:2Inside the package was a ‘My Little Pony’.

I’m not going to lie – the ‘My Little Pony’ was a MASSIVE downgrade from a magical flying unicorn.

I told my Dad that I ‘ho-ho-hoped Santa was very disappointed with himself’ but apparently this was ‘slightly out of tune with the spirit of Christmas’ so I brushed the hair of my ‘My Little Pony’ and tried very hard to look as if look like the process of doing so filled me with festive merriment.

Over the course of the following year, I discovered the Harry Potter books.

My favourite Harry Potter book was ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban’, mostly because I was borderline obsessed with Buckbeak the Hippogriff.

As a far as I was concerned, a hippogriff was a cooler, edgier version of a magical flying unicorn.

I decided that I wanted to go to Hogwarts and buy Buckbeak off Hagrid.

My dad once told me that if you want to get anywhere in life you have to learn to work your contacts so, that year, I wrote a letter to Santa asking him for a letter to Hogwarts.3At the time, I thought that relying on a fictional character to help me escape into a fictional world was a completely legitimate, logistically-sound plan.

However, on Christmas day, I was once again disappointed when I received a copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ along with a note that explained that all I needed to go to Hogwarts was my ‘imagination’.

By this point, I was getting quite frustrated with Santa.

However, despite repeated disappointments over the course of several years, I still fervently believed that he was real.

In fact, my brother, who was two years younger than me, discovered the truth about Santa before I did.
4Evidently, I thought that Santa was having some sort of confidence crisis and that my pep talk would provide him with the self-esteem boost to cement his place in concrete reality.

I was quite upset when I didn’t receive a reply.

I saw it as a personal rejection.

After all, I had made the effort to write a letter to Santa and, even if  he wasn’t real, the least he could do was write back to me to confirm his lack of existence.

I obviously couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that this lack of existence may have somewhat impaired his ability to reply to me – in fact, in order for him to reply to me he would have had to sent me a message from an alternate fictional dimension, something that would have essentially involved defying the laws of existence.

Nowadays, I have a better understanding of the boundaries between fiction and reality.

That being said, a small part of me still kind of believes Santa Claus is real.

However, I know that if he does exist, he is probably struggling to update his business model in order to remain competitive in an overly saturated, technologically-advanced modern market.

christmas-delivery.pngIf you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I Like to Pretend That I’m a Mature Adult With High-Minded Intellectual Opinions But, in Reality, I’m Just a Big Kid…

I have a degree in English Literature which essentially means that I have a £27,000 piece of paper that says I’m good at books.

One of the main skills that you learn as an English student is to think critically – to take wider intellectual concepts and apply them to whatever text you happen to be studying.

When I was at university, I often felt an obligation to live up to my image as a literature student.

I tried very hard to sound well read and informed and to provide a deep insightful commentary on whatever subject I happened to be discussing.

christmas pretty2_LII graduated from university a couple of years ago and, since then, I’ve become concerned that I haven’t been intellectually stimulating my mind as frequently as I used to.

I used to be interested in critical observations about the flawed nature of human society.

Now, simple little things BLOW MY MIND.

christmas pretty2_LI (2)If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

How To Make The Most Out Of A Coffee Loyalty Card.

Like most people, I enjoy buying hot drinks from coffee shops.

However, recently, I have been trying to cut down on the amount of money I am spending on a daily basis.

In an average coffee shop, a medium latte costs around £2.75 which on its own doesn’t seem that expensive.

However, if you buy one latte every day for a year, then it all adds up to an amount that I can’t figure out right now because maths is hard – but it’s probably quite a lot.

Therefore, in an attempt to save a bit of money in coffee shops, I have started using loyalty cards.

Every time I go into a coffee shop and buy a drink, I get a stamp on my loyalty card and, once I have collected six stamps, I am allowed a free coffee as a reward for my unwavering dedication.

I have been using loyalty cards for a while now and have figured out a way to ensure that I am using them as effectively as possible.

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Unfortunately, I am getting slightly addicted to the feeling of satisfaction and achievement that completing a loyalty card induces.

As a result, I am probably going to coffee shops more often than I would have previously.

Sometimes, I have several loyalty cards for various different coffee shops on the go at once which I’m pretty sure completely undermines the concept of loyalty.

Therefore, although saving £3.45 on an extra large mint hot chocolate with marshmallows makes me feel like a savvy supersaver, the fact that I have previously spent just under £5 on overpriced tea in order to obtain it probably suggests otherwise.

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I Think I Might Be Scared Of My Comfort Zone.

I have a love-hate relationship with my comfort zone.

On one hand, I like my comfort zone because it makes me feel as if I am in control.

When I am inside my comfort zone, I feel confident, stable and grounded.

On the other hand, if I stay inside my comfort zone for an extended period of time, I start to feel guilty.

I get anxious that I’m not progressing or developing in any way, that I’m letting myself down and that my life isn’t going anywhere.

At this point, I start to resent my comfort zone.

I worry that my tendency to stay within my comfort zone is causing me to miss out on important life experiences and preventing me from fulfilling my potential.

My comfort zone transforms into my FOMO zone.

Eventually, the anxiety of staying inside my comfort zone becomes so huge that it overwhelms my fear of straying outside of it.

At this point, I make a concerted effort seek out activities that scare me in an attempt to push myself outside of my comfort zone.

I like to imagine that I’m an astronaut taking one small step into the unknown depths of space when, in reality, I’m probably just taking a phone call from an unknown caller ID.

astronaut_LI (3)astronaut_LI (3)If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Popcorn Is The Most Moreish Substance Known To Man.

Whenever I go to the cinema, I buy popcorn in the assumption that I will eat it steadily over the course of the entire movie.

However, once the first piece of popcorn touches my lips, all semblance of self-control disintegrates and I start to make my way through the bucket as if it is the first food that I have had after being lost in the wilderness for an extended period of time.

Popcorn is quite consistent in its flavour and texture so around a quarter of the way down the bucket, I tend to get a bit bored.

After a while, I get to a stage where I’m not really enjoying the taste of the popcorn enough to justify the number of calories I am taking on by eating it.

However, by this point, it is too late.

My hand is set in an unbreakable, mechanical rhythm and I cannot stop it from shoving handfuls of popcorn into my mouth, against the wishes of the rest of my body.

Eventually, I reach the stage where I am no longer eating out of hunger or enjoyment.

Instead, my desire to consume the popcorn is fuelled purely by a guilty obligation to finish the entire bucket in order to justify the hole in my bank account that I carved out when I bought it.

By the time the film actually starts, I have completely exhausted my supply of popcorn and am left with nothing but regret and the knowledge that I have paid about £100000 to have kernels permanently engrained in my teeth.

popcorn

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4 Reasons Why Everyday Life Is Scarier Than Halloween.

Halloween is supposed to be the scariest day of the year.

However, I find it strangely calming.

I think this is because everyday life tends freak me out on a regular basis and, at least at Halloween, I have legitimate reason to feel this way.

Creatures such as ghosts, vampires, werewolves and witches are specifically designed to induce a sense of fear and anxiety and it is acceptable to be afraid of them.

It is less acceptable to be afraid of receiving a phone call from an unknown user ID.

To celebrate Halloween, here are four everyday things that scare me more than any ghost, vampire, werewolf or witch ever could.

1. Finances

As a fully-grown adult, I am expected to manage my own finances which is unfortunate really because I understand money about as well as I understand supernatural forces.

Just to clarify, I’d probably have a better chance of banishing an evil spirit from my house than I would completing a tax return form.

Fortunately, I have come up with some techniques to help me wrap my mind around my finances.

Unfortunately, these techniques aren’t very effective.

My current tactic for dealing with my student debt is pretending that it doesn’t exist which is extremely counter-productive.

Because it does exist.

And it’s going to be haunting me for years…

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2. Public Speaking

Sometimes, the fact that I am scared of public speaking makes me feel like a bit of a wimp.

People are scared of vampires, zombies and other Halloween creatures because they are legitimately dangerous – they either want to drink your blood, eat your brains or cause you some other form of significant bodily harm.

The only scary thing about public speaking is the collective judgement of others.

Unfortunately, the idea of being negatively judged by multiple people causes me to experience a paralysing fear that can be equated to the abject horror that Frodo Baggins felt when looking into the eye of Sauron.

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People often tell me that the way to conquer my fear of public speaking is to approach the situation with a positive attitude and visualise success.

However, whenever I try these visualisation techniques, I just end up unearthing the ghosts of all the previous times that I messed up on stage.

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3. Dating

Modern dating is terrifying, predominantly because it is so confusing.

Technological advancements mean that a lot of communication isn’t done face to face.

As a result, when you first start dating someone, most of your time is spent desperately trying to figure out what the other person is thinking.

Unfortunately, no two people think in exactly the same way and therefore trying to understand what another person is thinking through the context of your own thought processes is impossible.

For a lot of people, communicating with a potential partner is a bit like receiving messages from another dimension.

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Sometimes, you don’t get anything back at all.

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4. The Future

The future is scary because it is a complete unknown.

We can attempt to exert some level of control over the future by planning ahead but, for the most part, it is impossible to predict what is going to happen.

Some people find this exciting.

I find it absolutely terrifying.

I do not currently have a very strong sense of identity.

In fact, Halloween is pretty much the only time of year when I actually have a solid idea of who I am.

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Therefore, when somebody asks me who I am going to be in the future, my brain suffers a system malfunction and completely shuts down and I have to find a way to actively remove myself from the conversation.

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Whenever I can manage to haul myself out of my own narcissistic, self-absorbed, millennial mind bubble for a few minutes, I also get scared about the future of mankind and the planet.

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There is no need to invest in a horror movie when you can get the same effect by simply turning on the TV.

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I honestly don’t know how we all get out of bed in the morning…

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