the past week: sun, citric acid and dissertation chaos

It's bright in the mornings now. When the alarm goes off at 06.30 I can see the blue dawn between the slit in the curtains. I eat breakfast in bed while the sun climbs the sky, embedding the rooftops in a soft pink.

On Monday I went and got my smear test done. I always (or, rather the two times I've done it so far) build it up as something big and scary in my head, and get so surprised when it's over in a minute. The nurse I had was so awkward though, which made the already awkward situation super super awkward. Afterwards I did something I haven't done in ages: I took my camera for a walk in the sun, the light was simply too beautiful to resist and my body thirsted for some sun. Edinburgh was breathtaking, as always.

Another day I went to uni really early to print my interview transcripts (and spent £6 on printing </3) so that I could start analysing the data for my dissertation. On my way back home I got off at Portobello and went for a morning walk on the beach. The wind was absolutely freezing, but the dogs were happy so it was okay.

On Wednesday mornings Fatou and I volunteer for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland. When we're done, we've made it into a habit to buy coffee and something to eat from Castello Coffee (which has the best coffee in town) and have lunch in the sun. This Wednesday I was all about that adult life and had cake instead of a sandwich. It was so good. 

I've been using my mac eyeshadows every day, here wearing a roll neck that I stole from Otto. Also, look how GOOD my skin is now? No rashes, no dry spots, no nothing. The reason behind it: I decided to take out citric acid of my life. Since it helped with my eczema when I was a kid, and my rashes have just gotten completely out of hand the last months, I thought I’d give it a go now too. It’s a bit of a mystery though, because according to biology etc. you can’t be allergic to citric acid since it’s not a protein? A theory is that some people are super allergic to the mould (eew) that they use when they make synthetic citric acid (that you can find in stuff like jam, yoghurt and fizzy drinks). But since I’m sensitive/intolerant/whatever to naturally occurring citric acid (e.g. tomatoes, citrus fruits) as well, I really don’t know what the deal is. But anyway, I stopped eating stuff that’s high in citric acid and bought new makeup because I realised that the makeup I was using has citric acid in it? And a week later all my rashes were gone?! Even the itch has disappeared?! It’s a miracle. I cannot believe how fast it went and how much easier it is to LIVE when you don’t have the constant burning desire to itch every inch of your body. I feel a bit stupid that I haven't tried this earlier though.. but oh well, better late than never right?  

It's still a bit tricky to figure out what I can and cannot eat, and basically all of my go-to food has some form of citric acid in it, so I had to rediscover Lidl with new eyes. Also, being a non-drinker who can’t drink soft drinks or mock-tails is a bit ridiculous (last Friday night I had to ask for a glass of water because that’s literally the only thing I can drink, lol).

But mostly, I've been alternating between one of the sofas in the living room and my bedroom floor, trying to analyse my data. I've been going through my interviews, highlighting and scribbling ideas in the margin, over and over and over again. It's so much more complex than I thought and so, so confusing. Which has resulted in displays of zombie like behaviour, during which it's impossible to get my attention or any sort of response from me, whilst my thoughts are running wild in my head, trying to disentangle the chaos.

Yesterday, I cut out all the quotes I want to use and after word vomiting all my thoughts to Fatou, everything became a tiny bit clearer and I could arranged them according to themes and my research questions. I still don't really know what the hell I'm doing though, and every time I think I'm onto something it slips away. Luckily coffee, chocolate and power naps help.