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Honestly, though I touched on things a little in my year end post, I think I'd been putting off sharing much of my personal life up until that point because I was having a pretty tough time. However, moving into my own place at the start of this year truly was a turning point for me and life is actually looking pretty good right now! *Touch wood*, so let's catch up...

Where do I begin? The last 3 months of 2021 were probably up there as some of the worst of my life (and I don't say that lightly). I went through a really quite upsetting breakup and had to stay living in the flat (on my own, at least) that we'd lived in together for two years. I think it was only once I got the keys for my new place (the first I've ever owned myself) before Christmas that I really appreciated how bad it had been for my mental health to be trapped in that time capsule. 

Almost right after Christmas, work started on my flat; I didn't own any furniture, so it made sense to get the place redecorated whilst it wasn't full of stuff, and I knew really wanted to have my surgery (which we'll get to) after I was 90% of the way there, so that meant the pressure was on to get it sorted. What people don't really appreciate about being single is that there's only so much you can lean on friends who have their own stuff going on; ultimately, a lot of the grunt work comes down to yourself! I didn't want to be lifting and carrying heavy items after my surgery like I had been in the months leading up to it and luckily I managed to get everything sorted in time! I'm honestly so happy with how it's turned out; it's great to have a place that reflects my personal style and that I can be proud of and tidy constantly! If you'd like to follow along with my flat and food stuff, I've started an Instagram account @jasminedoeslife. I'm really happy with how much I've managed to get done in the past 6 months (despite numerous unforeseen, pretty stressful issues cropping up) and I think having the surgery on the horizon gave me the push I needed!

Speaking of which: I've struggled with extremely painful periods, travelling pain and IBS symptoms for most of my life and in the past 5 years there's been a real escalation, and last month I finally got an excision for my endometriosis, after years and years of having my symptoms dismissed and minimised. I feel vindicated but also frustrated at how long it took to get here and the fact I had to get it done privately, which simply isn't an option for many people. I've had to really advocate for myself throughout this process to be heard and it does sadden me that we've got to this place. Waiting lists for these types of procedures were too long before COVID (thanks to NHS funding cuts) and the pandemic has really compounded this issue. If these symptoms sound familiar: please check out the Nancy's Nook Facebook group for more information, as it was a fantastic resource to me.  Surgery isn't without its risks, but it felt like the right choice for me personally and I'm getting back on my feet. For the first day after the surgery, I was honestly falling asleep constantly and had pretty bad nausea and vomiting, however once that passed it was primarily aching and bruising, which made it hard to sit up, and I did experience some shoulder pain from the gas used during the procedure. However, the scarring looks pretty tidy and I'm hopeful that all of this will have been a small price to pay for the improvements I should get in my condition (I've noticed some already). 

I feel like things could be falling into place, after a rough end to 2021; maybe it was all leading me towards where I'm supposed to be now in 2022 and I am really happy with how things are unfolding...

Block, Delete, Move on by Lalalaletmeexpain | If you don't follow this Instagram and you're dating cis-het me: please do! I've been reading Lala's column in Now Magazine for a while now and I love how non-judgemental and empathetic her dating advice is. This is essentially your guide to navigating the world of dating, heartbreak and sex during the era of dating apps. It really helps you to reframe experiences you've had and learn to love yourself, as well as offering practical advice and helping you figure out what your boundaries and attachment styles are. It covers everything from misogyny to how to talk to your kids from an early age about what is and isn't appropriate. If you're out there on the dating scene or thinking of hitting it: I really recommend reading this, as it helped me so much!

Journalling | At the start of this year, I was kindly gifted the Sachi States of Skin AM / PM Daily Journal* and whilst I've admittedly not managed to write in it every single day since we started heading back into the office, I do think it's been a great way of having a moment to reflect on the day I've had and the day I want to have, offering an opportunity to be grateful and to track my progress over the year. I really like the format and framing of this particular journal and even if you can't manage it every single day: making a habit of this has been a great step for me this year.

Euphoria | Obviously I've watched a ton of TV since I last wrote one of these posts so I'm just sharing the absolute standouts that spring to mind: Euphoria. It's a very visceral look at teenage life with all the colour, emotion and hedonism. Obviously it's stylised and 'unrealistic' but it really makes you feel something; whether it's heartbreak, discomfort or anger. What it lacks in literal realism as a depiction of teenage life, it more than makes up for in the extreme emotions you feel so deeply at that age. Funnily enough, I don't think this is for teenagers, but more something to look back on from a more stable vantage point in your 20s and 30s.

Heartstopper | I don't know why I'm so into teen drama at the moment - maybe I'm just glad I'm not going through all of that any more and can empathise with the struggles of being that age! Or maybe I'm a trying-to-stay-relevant Millennial... either way, there was something really touching and authentic about this coming-of-age romance following LGBTQ+ teens as they navigate their identities and experience first love. It also felt very pure and whimsical after watching something like Euphoria! 

Berlin Syndrome | This is one of the most memorable films I've seen in ages (like one of those 'can't stop watching, I guess I'm staying up until half 1 to finish this' films) but I kind of just stumbled across it and haven't really heard anyone talk about it, so thought I'd give it a mention here. The premise is: an Australian girl is travelling solo through Europe and meets a local guy in Berlin - they get on and end up back at his, but the next morning she finds herself locked in and realises this might not be the first time he's done this and she's probably in real danger... I think this hacks into a really visceral female fear and maybe that's why it really touched a nerve and scared me on a level a horror film hasn't managed to in a while! It's a slow but tense and gripping character-focused horror that flips the most normal and everyday thing in the world into something terrifying...

Calliope Whispers | I also have to give this ASMR channel a shout out because it got me through that drifting fever dream after my surgery; I couldn't read a book or stay conscious long enough to engage with a podcast, however this was such a soothing channel to listen to whilst I bobbed in and out! I don't know why Calliope doesn't have more hype in the ASMR world because hers has slowly become one of my favourite channels.

Let me know what you think of this month's lifestyle picks!

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Read more posts from this series here!

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