Some Things I’ve Learned : February

Despite not being able to remember who first said ‘Knowledge is power’ it’s a phrase I’ve repeated to myself on a daily basis for years. I’ve even thought about getting it inked.

(Note: thanks to Google, I now know ‘Knowledge is power’ was first documented in a tenth-century book called Nahj Al-Balagha which was originally written in Arabic, though it’s also commonly attributed to an English philosopher, the late Frances Bacon.)  

Learning itself is vital to my well-being. If I go through 24 hours without having learnt something new, I get twitchy, I get irritable, I become one of those ‘don’t touch me! I haven’t learned anything today,’ girlfriends. The same goes for achieving. I like to make every day count.

For many months of last year, just getting out of bed in the morning was achievement enough, but when I’m doing okay, and when I’m doing great, I don’t like to let anything hold me back.

Achieving creatively is what soothes my soul, but achieving in other ways – like learning to like a part of my body I’ve despised for years, or helping my boyfriend to relax when he’s been stressed to hell at work – are achievements that make everything worth it.

This documenting what I’ve learned idea only came to me about a week ago, so somethings will have, sadly and inevitably slipped the net of my aging memory (31 in 190 days). As a result, this post is a bit different to how March’s entry will look. March  will also be much beefier.

P.S. The little bullet points are the rune Kenaz which symbolises – among other things – knowledge, illumination and creativity.

The Macabre, Death & Wyrd Things

< Lavender Saved Lives During The Plague

I knew that lavender was used by in the masks of Plague Doctors to eliminate the thick scent of death and decay, but I didn’t know that it actually helped save lives when the Black Death was sweeping across Europe in the 1600’s. Fascinatingly, the population of an entire town escaped death because of the unassuming little plant. At the time, the town of Bucklersbury was the centre of the European lavender industry.

< You Can’t Actually Shoot With A Silver Bullet

One night, just before we were going to watch American Horror Story – Coven (re-watching and loving every minute) my boyfriend said ‘do you want to know something?’ Usually it’s me doing the ‘do you want to know somethings…’ so I was particularly excited as I turned around to give him my full, undivided attention. ‘You can’t actually shoot with a silver bullet,’ he said. This revelation was particularly devastating. He explained that a silver bullet is too light to make an accurate shot. The world of horror will never again be quite the same.

< In Belgium People With Severe Mental Illnesses Can Be Assisted To Die

I watched this fascinating, honest and upsetting documentary featuring Emily, a 24 year old who is ready to end her life due to debilitating mental health issues.

< An Arctic Icebreaker Makes The Best Ambient Music

I listened to nearly 10 hours of white noise from a polar icebreaker in the Frozen Arctic Sea and it was magic of the purest kind. Listen here.

Life Things

< I Love The Swedish Name Svea

I was researching a piece for Baby GaGa about Swedish baby names for girls and Svea just melted me. The fact it had a fucking brilliant back story made it even better. Pronounced SVE-ah, Svea is from a personification of the country of Sweden and during the 1600’s and 1700’s it was only used as a term for Sweden. Svea a derivative of Svear which is the Swedish name for the ancient tribe the Swedes. The Swedish name for Sweden is Sverige, a newer form of Svea rike, which translated means ‘the realm of the Svear.’

< We Need To Use The Blueberries In The Freezer From Last Summer

I was in the freezer this morning, and noticed we have about a kilo of blueberries left over from last blueberry season. I don’t know how they’ve lasted so long considering how much of a smoothie/blueberry pie fanatic I am. But before I know it, we’ll be out picking the bushes clean and the freezer will be chock full again with fruit. So, I’m going to do some thorough recipe research, and see if I can also find some ways to use them on my skin.

< I Am Actually More Patient Than I Thought

This morning I had such brilliant intentions when I hauled myself out of bed, and after a breakfast with my current read (In The Kingdom Of Ice by Hampton Sides) continued with my cross stitches for my little shop (that’s coming on the 5th of March). I ended up spending three and a half hours mostly unpicking my stitches but not once did I scream loud enough for the neighbours to hear. Cross stitch has MASSIVELY helped me to become more patient.

< Having Newly Dyed Hair Improves My Confidence Massively

My roots have been bothering me since November of last year, and going out without my hood on for the past four months has been a very rare occasion because I’ve felt hideous. It doesn’t help that my hair refuses to adapt to any style I try and put it in. The other day – after asking my boyfriend to dye my hair for several months – my friend helped me bring my roots from dirty mouse to Arctic night black. Though I like leaving the house with my hood up it’s a comfort knowing my head no longer looks like it’s been stored in a bin.




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