When I moved to Manchester from Dublin last year I lived on a small amount of savings for the first few months. I did this in order to have the time to find my feet with university, and living in my own flat for the first time. It also guaranteed that I would be able to go back to Ireland for Christmas without a retail employer listing the reasons I had to work Christmas eve no matter what. I managed to make my savings last six months, which I am very proud of as it wasn’t very much money, and this included my first ever trip to Ikea. How strong am I?
These few months were really lovely. I had enough time to really throw myself face first into my Masters assignments, which made me love the course I was doing, after years of hating University. I was also in the honeymoon stage of a relationship, so it was nice being able to do my regular walks of shame back to the privacy of my apartment instead of into a judging workplace.
But it was lonely too. There would sometimes be three or four days in a row where I wouldn’t talk to another person face to face. I found myself wandering around charity shops and galleries in order to feel part of society. It was amazing to be a full time writer, but since I wasn’t getting paid I was constantly worried about money. And because I have worked since I was sixteen, a part of me felt ashamed when people asked had I got a job yet, and I answered no.
“I’m not lazy,” I wanted to shout, “I just want to spend Christmas with my family!”
Near the end of my six months ‘sabbatical’ I had embraced the recluse life a bit too strongly, and I realised it was time to interact with humans other than my housemate and my boyfriend on a regular basis. The tipping point was when I found myself picking up a sweet potato in my kitchen and whispering to it:
“Don’t worry, I’ll eat you tomorrow.”
It’s orange, crinkled skin crushed in on itself and a face formed on the vegetable. It frowned at me, as only a potato would and spat:
“You’re talking to a potato, go get a job.”
So I did.
As they always say, if the potato talks back listen to its wisdom, and go talk to a human.
Have a dishy day, you big dish.