Emily, this blog post is a bit less depressing, and I’ve decided to set the poetry aside for a while

These are long days. I spend whole minutes looking at my eyebrows in the afternoon light that slants through the top pane of the bedroom window and throws rainbows where it hits the mirror. I started using a brow serum in October, so they are about as long and thick as they’ve ever been (I spent the first 15 years of my life more or less eyebrow-less, they arrived at about the same time as my self-confidence), which is lucky, because I also compulsively pluck my eyebrows with my fingernails when I am anxious, and I am a glowing bundle of nerves. For the first time ever, my eyebrows are out-pacing my fingers. I have RSI in both my thumbs, and no visible gaps in my brows. Today I spent ten minutes thinking about what I would do if my thumbs didn’t work any more. I wouldn’t be able to type, so I wouldn’t be able to work, or write. And what would be the outlet for my nerves if I couldn’t use my thumbnails to pluck my eyebrow hairs? Perhaps I would disintegrate. 

Perhaps I will have to adopt voice software, like that used by writers when they succumb to arthritis. I will have to keep a straight face while composing my melancholic blog posts, telling my laptop: “The weather is grey, and the streets are full of people wearing masks.” I think it would be more difficult to be melancholic when intoning my despairing thoughts aloud to a silent MacBook. And it would be sophisticated software that could keep up with my mixed-up not-quite Kiwi vows. Sometimes I sound exactly like Justin Bieber. And anyway, I’m typing now, thumbs flying, so this is a problem for another day. 

I never usually take the days between Christmas and New Year off work unless I’m in New Zealand, and so it’s strange to have this time off in London. I’m not used to being on holiday here. I don’t know what to do with myself, particularly this year, when there are so few planning options. I keep scheduling walks after going for long runs, and tiring myself out, like I am my own petulant bored toddler. I watch television on the TV, and then turn off the TV, and go to the bedroom, and watch the same show on my laptop. I have downloaded at least ten excellent books that I can’t quite make myself read. The main outlets for pleasure are food and alcohol, and I am indulging voraciously in both. Come January, I will be vegan for my typical 31 days, and so I can only hope that the news is better then, because if I can’t medicate myself with cheese, it will fall 100% to negronis. 

The worst part about Christmas being over is that people will take their lights down. I love the Christmas lights, even though I’m lazy at putting up our own. Our front window is our bedroom widow, and it is typically shuttered, and blocked from the street from the hedge, to limit the number of people who can see me naked; but most of the houses around here have their lounges at the front, and Christmas trees in the bay window. For me, the more brightly, neon lit the better. I want to be dazzled and disoriented by your Christmas tree, I want to feel like I’m flying over New York city at nighttime in a hurricane. I do like counting the dead Christmas trees out on the pavement, though, so there’s that. 

I am looking forward to 2020 being over like everybody else but ugh: the long grey expanse of January and February. And then worst of all, March – March, if nothing has changed and the vaccine hasn’t gone round enough people, and we have to deal with the anniversary of Covid with no good news to carry us through. I had planned to run a 10K in January, and it’s been moved to March, and that’s the first time I’ve ever been upset by the cancellation of an athletic activity. I look back on March this year with nostalgia, because there was excitement (and dread and fear, but still excitement) around coronavirus and pandemics and the uncertainty of it all. There was electricity to the closure of the office, and setting up camp at home. Buying masks and toilet paper. Community spirit, etc, and even my cat seemed to like me more. Maybe that excitement should never have been there; almost certainly it was a gift of privilege and stupidity. But I am nostalgic for any kind of excitement. It’s dangerous to look forward to anything, even running 10K in a circle with people who are much faster than you. 

Having fixed my eyebrows, it might be time to consider my fingernails, which are disgusting as always. Maybe I will shave my legs, a victim of the cold weather. Or perhaps I will become a knitter – I got a knitting kit for Christmas. It’s always nice to consider the potential for latent talent lurking within oneself. Although knitting is probably thumb-heavy activity.

The Best Products From Marks and Spencer To Eat Alone In Your Bed, Ranked In Order Of How Fucking Good They Are, Obviously

  1. Yoghurty Things with Compote

You have to get the black plum one and you have to be really careful to keep your allocation of yoghurt to compote STRICT, or your might have to eat one without the other, and that’s how people die.

  1. Poppadum Crisps

Because noshing on a poppadum as big as your head is inelegant and you might cut the sides of your mouth. Poppadum crisps are LIGHT and DELICIOUS and shatter in your mouth. Warning: buy two bags. Trust. They disappear like the promises made by your mother.

  1. Cashews with Chili and Coconut 

They’re sticky and spicy and they remind you that even if we are all going to die one day, at least our bodies might become fertilizer for the coconuts of the future, and that is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

  1. Jaffa Chocolate Cups

I do not know their real name but they come in packs of two and they are singularly the most chocolately, luxurious, ridiculously rich thing you have ever stuck your tongue into in your whole life.

  1. Single Serve Walnut Whips

They put them near the tills where you always feel loneliest and most vulnerable. A pack of three seems like too much, but one? It’s like you. Alone. You’re better together. Also, nuts are good for your hair, I read once somewhere not reputable at all.

  1. Ready Made Mashed Potato That Says It Serves Four But Actually Only Serves One

So creamy, so buttery and it forms such a comforting skin when you microwave it. You could eat it with a fork but I recommend eating it with two fingers, naked. It’s sensual and atmospheric and you’ll never feel sexier.

  1. Prawns with Cocktail Sauce 

I could not find an actual picture because we as a nation have lost our way, but picture this with no lemon, glass or class.

I could not find an actual picture because we as a nation have lost our way, but picture this with no lemon, glass or class.

I’m 27, I’ve seen enough of the world to know that there is magic in these prawns. In their little plastic container in Marylebone station, I know it must have been months since they’ve seen the sea. They’re probably older than me. But they taste delicious and they have the proper fresh prawn texture and the dipping sauce is the kind of sexy thing I’d like someone sexy to lick off my nipples and so I suspend my disbelief and eat them. Nearly everyday, or near enough. I’m eating them right now. They’re nearly 3 pounds a packet someone please send help.

What are your favourite M&S snacks? This list is obviously too short.