Yelly Writes

How are you?

Hi there! Thanks for dropping by. How are you? It’s been quite an intense few days in the UK. So, like a lot of people, I’m feeling a little ambivalent about…everything.

On Friday, 13 March, our offices closed for a dry run and to test whether our systems were robust enough to handle everyone working from home. Everything worked. Of course there were little hiccups, but nothing a call to our IT support company couldn’t deal with via telephone and by accessing our computers remotely. So the working from home experiment worked.

On Monday, we returned to the office but it was a quiet Monday. I have several colleagues who don’t work Mondays and a few were working off-site that day. We’re a small organisation anyway, but without a full house, the office felt empty-ish. The day was busy, as it usually is for me. But spirits were high and there was a lot of happy chatter in the office. We were, of course, worried about the coronavirus but we were taking precautions, trying to be clean, trying not to touch our faces, sneezing/coughing into tissue and binning it, washing our hands, looking after each other, and listening to the news updates.

That evening, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced the newest measures that the government were taking to prevent the spread of the virus. If people could work from home, they should. There shouldn’t be any unnecessary travel. People should follow social distancing. Avoid gathering in large groups. All sensible and necessary advice that should, if followed, prevent the spread of illness. So our senior leadership team at work decided it was time to close our doors and allow everyone to work from the relative safety of their homes.

So the following Tuesday, off I went to the office, did office managery things: checked the air-conditioning temperature in the server room, made sure the faucets weren’t leaking, emptied the fridge of perishables and made sure things, supplies were put away as appropriate. I wasn’t alone though. Our Finance director and HR manager also had the same idea as me. I ended up working a full day anyway and went home loaded like a pack mule

It’s now Day 8 of fully working from home. I’m exhausted, physically and mentally. Properly working from home is quite the intense experience. I think I feel overwrought because I’m constantly on”Go”, if that makes any sense and although I take regular breaks, I still don’t switch off. The phone will ring and I pick up. An email comes in, I address it as soon as possible.

They say you need to follow a routine, a schedule, that you need to take breaks. I have done that. But I’m going to go a few things further: I’m going to pack my bag up with my laptop and I will be switching off my office mobile and not switching it on until late Sunday evening. I need to properly switch off.

We’re all in this together, and in it for the long haul. We don’t know how long this epidemic will last. I just hope people will heed the request from the authorities and practice social distancing. It’s apparent that that’s quite necessary. I hope people understand that if they don’t follow these guidelines, people WILL die. It’s no longer a case of if, it’s the case of when.

Yelly Writes

The jaundiced eye of prejudice

If people are really hateful and disgusting in the way they treat other people, that probably came from a hurt place – but then, when does it stop? When does this spiral end?

— Lauren Mayberry

In the nearly 12 years I’ve lived in the UK, I’ve never experienced overt racism or harassment …until tonight.

I’d bought hot food and was carrying my backpack, my lunch bag and 2 carrier bags of hot food. I didn’t expect the Greater Anglia 17:02 train to be busy but after the cancellations, I should’ve expected it. I got on a fairly empty train, with about 8 minutes before the train left and there were so many empty seats. So I placed the bags of hot food next to me. Whilst the train was filling up, I was mentally rearranging my bags so that I could quickly move things around because I didn’t think anyone would look too kindly about my letting my food sit on a seat that someone else could occupy.

This man got on and to me really slowly, and really loudly, “Put your bags on the floor.” I said to him that it was food so I didn’t want to move it to the floor. I was still trying to figure out how to balance my bags of food and other bags. I think he got tired of waiting for me and said loudly, “FFS!” He flounced off and sat down next to this woman in a 6-seater section. He said quite audibly, because I could hear him across the aisle, “Stupid Chinese.” The woman he sat next to laughed and said sympathetically, “You wouldn’t want her virus anyway.”

I am outspoken and am liable to say whatever comes to mind. But tonight I didn’t know how to say the things that were going through in my mind. I was incensed and I had things to say, but I couldn’t say them. I was screaming in my head. I wanted to cry but I didn’t want to give that man and that woman the satisfaction that they’d got to me. I hate how I felt. I felt so injured and angry but so inept and helpless. 

At the same time, I knew that if I’d said exactly what was going on in my head, I would never be able to live with myself, for saying the cruelly sharp words that I wanted to throw back at them. Because I know that once you say them, you can’t ever take them back. Even now, I cringe at the abusive words that were reverberating in my head at the time. I’m glad I didn’t give them utterance.

I try to tell myself that racism is a result of narrow-mindedness, of fear of the unfamiliar, of ignorance and arrogance, and education will help cure all that. And sometimes it’s not. Sometimes people are just hurtful and cruel. Sometimes it’s just mean-spiritedness and cruelty, and there’s no cure for that.

Yelly Writes

Monday musings

Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you’re grown up. Growing up means being patient, holding your temper, cutting out the self-pity, and quitting with the righteous indignation.”

― Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York

I hate to admit it but I think I’m guilty of allowing the arrogance of youth to give me licence to wallow in righteous indignation without self checking. This is not to say I consider myself to be young. Anything but. Which is why I am constantly telling myself off because I don’t necessarily act my age.

As adults we’re meant to be more contemplative and less prone to impulsive behaviour. We preface it with the excuse that we’re “following our heart.” But as adults our actions should be more measured, more considered, because we’re meant to be guided by experience and the knowledge that we have responsibilities and people who count on us.

The operative word is SHOULD. But we don’t always act our age. Some worse than others.

Yelly Writes

Another new year…

“The New Year is a painting not yet painted; a path not yet stepped on; a wing not yet taken off! Things haven’t happened as yet! Before the clock strikes twelve, remember that you are blessed with the ability to reshape your life!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

I said I wasn’t going to do New Year’s resolutions.

But I knew that if I didn’t write things down, if I didn’t list things down, I would start the year without a rough plan. And the people who know me well know that I love a list!

So I went and listed my 5 goals for 2020.

To write more.

To read more.

To take more photos.

To be healthier.

To be kinder.

Yelly Writes

Girl on the train feels

If you follow me on Instgram (and if you don’t, please do! I’m @yellywelly), you’ll know that I more often than not story my trials and tribulations on the work commute that is the Greater Anglia service under the hashtag #girlonthetrainfeels.  

I’ve been using that hashtag for about 3 or so years now.  It’s has basically been my whinge board for all things related to my morning and evening commute on Greater Anglia.  Sometimes it’s just short videos of my train swooshing past pretty Essex fields, and sometimes (well, okay, most of the time) it’s me complaining about the delays on the service, but sometimes I share my thoughts on the passengers I share the train with.  Once, a lady got on the train from Stratford with the biggest Nemo balloon that I’d ever seen.  You can guess what my caption was (something about finding Nemo…of course!). 

I have an hourlong commute to work (I get on at Harwich and get off at Chelmsford) so it’s necessary to find ways to entertain myself.  I normally allow my mind to float away on flights of fancy.  I like to give nicknames to the people I come across on the train.  I wonder about their lives or why they behave the way they do on the train.  There are the train regulars like Colonel Mustard, Mr and Mrs Coughie, Lady Tosser, Cath (Kidston), Ichabod Crane…

These, of course, aren’t their real names.  I just call these names because of how they dress or behave.

I wonder if y’all want to hear about them?

Yelly Writes

Half the year’s gone!

Tomorrow is the First of July, which means, of course, that half of the year has been and gone.

I know at the beginning of the year I said that I wouldn’t write down goals this year. Because I always don’t finish. I’m horrible at follow through when it’s something I have to do for myself. I have trouble keeping on track on my work to-do lists most times. I always break that vow at the end of January and I always end up writing down the things I want to do for the year.

But this year, funnily, I stuck to my guns. I’ve resisted the urge to write down my goals. Even when the little voice in my head demanded that I do so to have direction (I’m a list writer. I need lists!). I think I need to see my goals to nudge me out of the inertia.

I used to write things down in my diary and have a mood board. I think I needed the visual prompts to keep me on track.

Do you write down your goals? What’s your goal setting style? Care to share success tips?

Yelly Writes

Hello there stranger!

Yes I am writing again. And no, I didn’t go on a writing sabbatical (as is my perennial excuse for being a lazy so and so).

I just haven’t been visited by the writing muses lately and real life adulting has been keeping me busy and most days absolutely shattered. By the time I get home, I’m more than ready to go to bed. But of course, there’s still dinner to be made and eaten and dishes to be washed. Some days, I really would just like to get in, lock the door behind me, take of my shoes, put down my bag, take a shower and go to bed. I’ve neglected all forms of creative pursuits – writing, crocheting, sewing. All my creative endeavours have been put on an extended pause until I find the motivation to start working with my hands again.

I’ve been feeling very down in the dumps lately. Maybe it’s the hay fever, but I feel like I have this blanket of general dissatisfaction about everything weighing me down. I try to busy myself and just keep my head down and just keep chugging along, ticking off one task after the other. If I keep myself busy, I stop noticing the little things that make me grind my teeth in annoyance. I try to smile through everything, be kind, be helpful, be pleasant and biddable, because that’s what’s expected (and I know that it’s not good for my mental health, all this tamping down of feelings). But there are days when I just want to shout in frustration and demand that people take care of me for a change. I keep wondering whether people would notice if I disappeared. I know…dark thoughts. I’m probably just feeling a bit neglected, taken for granted and a little invisible.

I do, however, want to write more. I have a hashtag that I use a lot on my Instagram stories (please follow me — I’m @yellywelly on Instagram and Twitter) – #girlonthetrainfeels. Yes, very, very inspired by Paula Hawkins’ book The Girl On The Train, which I loved and read several times over. Because, I am, for all intents and purposes a girl on the train. I commute to work on a train. I’ve been asked by people to write about my train journeys because my Instagram stories make them laugh.

I need to get writing. What I’m afraid if is that people will think I’m mean. Because I make up names for the people that get on the same train as me – the regulars. I also wonder about them, and have observations. I don’t think I’m being mean-spirited. It’s just a bit of fun on the train whilst I’m waiting for the train to roll onto my platform so I can get off and go to work.

I wonder if people will be interested in reading my stories and musings….