this is natalie's blog or whatever

some poems here


i keep removing blog posts that i do because when i feel scared about something and i guess by
scared i mean ‘insecure’ which never used to be a word i would use to describe myself, but
anyway when i feel something along those lines i feel an urge to wipe out every part of myself
online just because it’s a way of becoming opaque again. but i feel stronger each time i talk to ben
and feel able to exercise my voice and most of today i felt like just typing a blog post because i had
been thinking about so many things, but gmail and stuff like that are blocked on my work internet
so i don’t have access to that. which is good i guess, it increases your productivity if you have
nothing to waste your time on. it's nearly midnight now i should sleep soon work again tmr

one thing i was thinking about today was the thing that happened to me on saturday afternoon,
which is still something i feel shaky from i guess. saturdays now have become my time to just sit
down and use my computer because in the early afternoons ben is not awake and i like sitting at a
cafe and doing ‘admin’ things. on my walk back home nearly reaching the main road i was listening
to a mix and probably texting someone and a man came up to me and said he had lost his wallet
and that he needed money for a train home, and the whole time he kept saying he definitely wasn’t
someone who would con me, and he didn’t look dodgy, was wearing a ralph lauren shirt and
sunglasses, he kept saying would transfer me the money when he got home. he showed me
pictures of his daughter and got his friend to call to confirm who he was and then we exchanged
phone numbers and i agreed to give him £30 and towards the end of it i began to have a bad
feeling about it but i also felt like, if he really did need help, i would want to help someone who
needed help. knowing fully that i might not get the money back. and so he texted me the whole
time, saying thank you and telling me where he was, and when i walked back to the apartment he
texted to say that if it would make me feel better you can come watch me buy my train ticket home
and so i walked back out to london bridge where he said he would meet me. and he texted me
right up until i got there and then when i texted/called him he just didn’t pick up and i started crying,
i guess because he kept saying ‘you have to believe in the good of people, just have some faith in
humanity you know.’ and it made me sad that ‘incidents’ like this would happen making use of
someone deciding to be kind, kept crying on the way home on the phone with ben and feeling like i
needed to lie down in the dark of my room alone for a while. i guess it’s easy for me to feel bad
about it if i think about what he was thinking, like haha this girl was so stupid but that’s not really
the point.

anyway today i was walking around the area near my office trying to find itsu on google maps,
when the old tiny lady who sells the big issue—the same woman i bought lunch for two weeks ago
because she was sitting on the steps looking miserable and i guess i felt sorry for her—came up to
me and kind of rudely said ‘do you have any money for the big issue’, almost interrupting my
thoughts and my first thought was that hey if you want someone to be kind and buy a copy of
magazine that isn’t really well-written and is kind of trashy and that people buy because the people
who sell them are homeless and it’s a way for them to work, you don’t have to be rude about it. and
also because of the kind of bad weekend i walked away still looking for itsu. but as i walked i was
thinking about heuristics, which is something i still think about a lot, how stereotypes are maybe a
form of heuristics—shortcuts and rules you apply to things around you so it’s easier to help you
evaluate the environment, effective because you don’t have to think if you apply a generalisation to
the relevant situation. so in this instance the heuristic would be “people who ask you for money/
donations don’t really deserve your goodwill they are just banking on you to trust that they are
being sincere about it, don’t give them your money” but as soon as i became aware that i was
applying that heuristic i thought about how, whenever i read statistics or explanations of people
behaving in certain ways because of past experiences i like to think that i’m not like that and want
to be able to consider each situation independently, so i walked back to where i last saw her and
she is tiny and small (and still rude) but people were kinda ignoring her as she waved to them with
a copy of the big issue and i felt like crying! i work in the banking district and everyone makes so
much money and don’t stop for a second to be kind to someone else and i feel like crying
whenever i think about that. anyway i said hi how much does it cost and then gave her £2.50 and it
made me feel happier to see her face light up, or at least a sense of surprise. but yeah i guess i
just wanted to write about that

i went back to my desk and was kind of sad thinking about wanting to help everyone around me
and how some people are mean but other people do deserve it and for the rest of my lunch break i
looked at the differences between visas in the uk and the ways in which you can get sponsored for
a tier 2 general working visa. i graduate in a year and my student visa expires next october and i
guess i have to fight tooth and nail and claw my way to the right to work in the uk. which makes me
sad because that’s not really planning for or thinking about what i’d like to do long term, if i am
picking jobs based on whether they can sponsor me. and even then, what next, like do i really want
to leave singapore forever and will i want to become a british citizen. idk. i’m not thinking about that
right now i guess and i don’t really want to but maybe i should. from looking at those websites i
drifted into looking at jobs available in singapore and i thought, i have a good chance of doing
something i’d really like in singapore, and getting a ‘good’ job, but at the same time if i know i won’t
be happy [this would need a long elaboration] then does that even matter. seems bad, right. idk.
maybe i shouldn’t be thinking of things in terms of good or bad for now

another thing i have been thinking about is that, how what’s most important to me is to keep things
as open as possible, and to engineer/make choices in a way that i will always have the most
possible number of options, because i guess if anything, the one thing that makes me feel worst is
not feeling like i have any options, that i have to do this one thing because there is no other way
out. which is why i picked this internship i guess, though that isn’t the main reason. i mostly felt like
i couldn’t claim that i didn’t like finance if i had never tried it before, and now that i have i feel like,
it’s ok. realising that every job will be as dry as a job that’s not you just pursuing your “creative”
whatever. lately i’ve felt that even though writing is something that i love so much, the way it feels
to craft a poem and know that it is finished, making that your main thing will mean having to market
yourself, or market your writing so that it becomes popular i guess but that’s not something i am
interested in or want to make a priority. i feel like, if someone reads it and likes it cool if no one
does then whatever, but if that’s how you have to make money it becomes shitty… you can’t have
everything you want ;( and it’s sad in some sense how i feel motivated to sit through a day of kind
of interesting but not really what i’m super into (the way i’d love to read a book, or edit poems all
day) just because i know that if i get through a day of work i’ll get a day’s worth of pay, and getting
that money means i can afford to go to places i want to, and get out of london when i feel like i
need to be somewhere else. lisa emailed me recently and we talked about how money seems
“empowering” in that it gives you more choices and like if you have money you don't have to do
things you don’t want to do. like if i had all the money in the world and enough for me to send my
kids to school in the future and enough so that when i die my kids would still have enough to live
on for a while i could paint or move to the mountains and write all the time. adult life… i guess… it’s
ok. i really like working because it gives my days a structure. i guess these past few months my
parents have stopped giving me an allowance which i don’t mind and really appreciate, and i was
telling ben that it really makes a difference when the money you’re spending is money you’ve
worked for. even though my internship pay is more than the allowance i usually get it still.. has a
different weight because you’re exchanging your personal time for money and i’m grateful for that.
don’t really like or want to write about money but these are things i’ve been thinking about so
whatever. work also distracts me from the things i would think about if i stayed home all day. and
i’ve been walking to work and back home again because it’s just under 2 miles and it’s so nice not
to be cramped in the rush hour tube

things i did last week, just for memory’s sake: hung out with rowan and max and had dinner
together and then we walked back across southwark bridge back to my place, on friday becky
fatma and i went for kiera’s gig then drank pina coladas at her place and walked to brixton and
hung out at a club sitting within an african restaurant that seemed bizaare. and then on saturday
evening we celebrated mat and crispin’s birthday by getting pies and then doing karaoke in bethnal
green! i want to do it again with ben and rowan and max :) and sing glamorous by fergie cuz i got
that pat down

ben is coming in a week and a half’s time and sometimes i swing between being really excited for
him to come and having my best friend around to being unsure if this is what i should work towards
or invest in—putting aside all the memories we have had—whether we could still be happy
together. but i feel like when i think about this i am also thinking about what other people are
thinking, i guess my friends, the people who i’ve talked to about things that have happened over
the past few months. it makes me sad, but i also feel like i’m ‘dealing’ way better than i thought i
would have given the somewhat breakdown of one of the most important relationships in my life.
we still talk everyday and he still makes me happy but other times i feel like crying and can’t finish
my food. i want to write more about the things i’m feeling but doing that also makes me dwell in the
mood that wouldn’t allow me to get over it and to try to make things work with him. i wrote a poem
today but i haven’t edited it really and one of the lines is “i’m glittering in airports on my way to you”
and that’s still really how i feel. and i think as long as i think of it as starting something new—
because we’re finally going to be in the same place together—it’ll be ok, it’ll be separate from the
past however beautiful that was and by not looping it into the same thing the pain from the previous
months won’t seep back into this beginning. and i’m excited about that, i feel like i haven’t fully
comprehended the fact that the anxiety i always experience when we’re together will no longer be
there–the anxiety that we have to leave each other again and won’t know when we’ll be able to
next hang out, that’ll be gone. and i will get weeks and weeks on end with him. and i’ll be able to
see him everyday, and we don’t have to spend every waking hour together out of fear that we have
to treasure each hour we have together, but we will anyway bc we want to and bc we can

here's a cute pic of us hehe
ben was being my date at the summer ball

a guest blog by ben:

it's been a weird and uncomfortable summer
and the america part is almost over
and i'm pretty happy about that

I've spent most of the last two months stationary in the dark;
when I first got back from china i joked that i was coming home
to convalesce but that's more or less what actually happened,
being alone and not using energy and trying to heal/ detox

not really sure if it's working

keep letting myself assume I don't have the stamina
for 'long form' media so I haven't been watching movies
or reading except for a few things

but whenever I'm not on the phone with nat or
working on visa requirements i've been buried in
hours of low buy-in tv series, comics, news,
blogs and feeling like I'm hearing the same
small handful of ideas about pain, vulnerability,
anger, and excess over and over again

and I'm glad i decided to commit to study in for at least
another year so I can get sharper/ publish some actual research?
a little more before letting the money-grind start

keep catching myself trying to check whether
I'm the same person I was two years ago,
feel like until i moved away I was getting older
at an even pace but still telling myself the rough sketches
were good enough and could stand on their own,
using the pen as more of a chisel,
not bothering to clean up or finish things

maybe left over from spending too much time
listening to design people idolize process
and too many stupid blog posts about wabi-sabi

and it's been weird to like someone enough
to want to genuinely finish the drawing, to have an
idea of how life would look if it were finally inked in

feel like metaphors about needing something from/completing
each other are inaccurate and creepy for a lot of reasons

it doesn't feel like taking anything, just like being
back in your own room in your own house after
years of couches and claustrophobia and polluted air;
feels right for obvious reasons

finished settling things with tickets tonight
and I'm coming home for real in two weeks
and I'll feel like a real person again,

we're finally going to be based in the same city
after two years of airports and suitcases and bad wifi
and it's too beautiful to think about clearly

i feel like mailing out things to strangers
seems like a sustainable form of interaction

if you're interested in receiving things
like mixtapes or poetry & a letter
and feel capable of responding in kind
with anything really

please email me at natalie@herbonestructure.com
with your name and address 
it doesn't matter where you are

(if you reading this and are my friend 
i am also interested in sending you things
but only if you will respond because
many don't 

(postcards are preferable
so i can pin it neatly to my wall
mixtapes are good because
i would like new music to run to)

thank you


brb with email replies
i will try to write to everyone
but i want to pour in tender
loving care and time into
each one so patience would
be nice thank you

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