I’ll be taking a short break due to the rollercoaster of life. If you miss me you can find additional content here. Or follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter where I will be occasionally posting.
Last night I asked a women I thought was a waiter for our bill. From the confused look on her face I immediately realised she was not staff. In my embarrassment it occurred to me that my brain (& body) makes daft mistakes like this all the time. Also, ridiculous things just seem to happen to me. I have no idea why I am so bloody silly, but it certainly makes for some entertaining stories. Provided you give me a few years to recover from the humiliation that is.
For starters there was the time I was in hospital and one of junior surgeons who appeared on rounds was a guy I had dated. I didn’t recognise him right away. To be fair I was full of morphine and we’d only gone out for about 2 months 15years previously. Also, at that time he was a bus driver. Thus I didn’t expect to see him amongst my surgeons. Anyway, I was lying there, knickers exposed having my stomach felt when I thought a face in the crowd looked familiar. Skip to him returning to take blood and asking if I was ok with him being on my team. Then me slowly dying as he (re) introduced himself & it dawned on me that this man had seen me naked. Worse still that everyone clearly thought I was the kind of woman who slept with hot drs and then promptly forgot them. I mean, obviously I am precisely such as hussy, but I could have done without a barrow load of medical professionals being privy to that information.
Next was the time I turned up at work wearing odd shoes. They were the same shoe, but in different colours. I had done my standard fling clothes on & rush out the door morning routine. It was a dark winter morning & I didn’t notice I had on one red & one pale nude ballet pump. I didn’t notice all day long either. It wasn’t until I was on the bus home that my mismatching foot wear became apparent. What’s worse is when I asked my colleagues the next day how no one had noticed, it turned out they all had. They just assumed it was fashion choice I had purposely made & left me to it. Which probably sums up how I was viewed in that office fairly well.
There was the time I went on a date with a work mate without realising it was a date, which I suppose could happen to anyone. However, I suspect most folk wouldn’t have gone on the second date still oblivious that they were dating. Or the time I emitted the loudest, foulest fart seconds after concluding some of the hottest sex I’d ever had. Completely ruining my reputation as a sex kitten. I fell asleep during a lecture once and slept talked so loudly the professor thought I was asking a question. Oh & that time I burnt cookies in the Haagen Dazs kitchen, set off the fire alarm and caused an entire 12 screen to be evacuated.
Finally, my crowning glory of embarrassing moments. I was Christmas shopping in a fancy department store (if you’re local, it was Frasers). This place is an old building with a grand staircase which leads down into a beauty hall. They go all out at Xmas. Twinkly lights & decorations galore. This particular year they had a lush potted poinsettia at either side of each step. Step forward a sweaty & harassed me, carrying a million bags. I fainted at the top and rolled down the entire staircase. As I tumbled I knocked over every poinsettia one side, shedding items from bags & red petals as I went. I landed in a soil covered, tight laddering heap in front of the Chanel counter. My knees were grazed, but my pride took the real battering. The lovely staff wanted to fetch me a seat and maybe call an ambulance. I was so mortified that even if i’d broken both legs I’d have been out of there in flash.
There are of course a million other occasions of misspeaking & farting & generally falling around. Laughing uproariously at myself is definitely the only way to go. So, I offer these stories for your enjoyment. If i’m going to me be a clumsy mess I might as well entertain folk.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Extra illness, extra stress & very little sleep have taken a toll. My mood has taken a nose dive. I’m battling a fairly substantial wave of anxiety & the urge to just hole up at home.
I am fighting, though. One of the things keeping me going is how far I’ve come. These lows will probably always hit, but it helps to know things are not as bad as they once were. On days like this reading my own dark words shine a tiny light through today’s depressive fog.
I’m hoping some sleep & resolving some of the stress inducers will alleviate this bout of blue. In the mean time I’ll be digging deep in my chest of resources to keep myself focused on the light.
Rest assured this boy is always looking after me.
Miscarriage is lonely. When it happens you’re on your own. No matter how much support you have it’s still just your body failing. Your dream dying. Even if you have a loving partner who shared that dream, they’re not bleeding. Their body isn’t an empty husk. Yes, I know this isn’t necessarily true, but believe me, it’s how it feels.
That sensation continues. The loss is isolating. For all the reasons we’re starting to talk about and for others that will surprise you when you thought you were ok. It is an uncomfortable topic. No one really wants to talk about your unsuccessful pregnancies. Often most people in your life don’t even know about them. Those that do will forget the dates & details. That’s not a complaint, just fact. Your baby wasn’t real to them. It’s hard to feel anything about a life that never tangibly existed; your baby only really lived in your world. That’s not to say your people don’t care, they do. Perhaps they just don’t want to upset you. Or they genuinely don’t have the words. Time goes by. Life is lived. The only evidence of your loss is an absence. But the missing party was never there to anyone other than you. It’s a crime without a witness, but it isn’t victimless.
To a certain extent you adapt. You carry that lonelines. It’s occasionally acknowledged that once upon a time your life was almost something else. You quietly carry your grief and you carry on. Along the way you find new challenges. You discover that there are a bunch of seminal moments & experiences that you have to put away. You aren’t really allowed to tell those stories like other mothers do. You aren’t even allowed to call yourself a Mum out loud. The title doesn’t make sense to the world when you have no flesh & blood children to show.
So, you learn to smile & say nothing. Just nod and ask questions when others share the tale of how they discovered they were pregnant. You can’t join in with a silly story about peeing on a dozen sticks. You can never say how you somehow knew before it was ever possible to do any test at all. Your stories aren’t cute. That’s someone else’s lot. You won’t be thanked for ruining the mood. Likewise you mustn’t share pregnancy tales. No friendly bonding over how tired you were or sick you felt. Cravings & aversions will remain unknown because, again, you have no happy endings. The tone of your reminiscing isn’t light. You can never empathise with a pregnant friend. To do so would be to draw attention to tragic realities. There isn’t a guilty party. You aren’t being maliciously excluded. It’s just life. Your child didn’t make it. Reminding everyone of that turns warm-hearted conversations into sad, awkward exchanges. You can’t broach the subject because you don’t want to spoil other people’s nice time. They won’t include you because they don’t want to hurt you or because they forget (or never knew) that you are part of that gang. You’re missing the vital component required for membership.
That hurts. The silence is painful. Biting your tongue & standing on the perimeter takes effort. Not letting any of it show can be torture. Not fatal though. You’ll find yourself in these situations repeatedly. You’ll realise you can survive them. You will nod along & take your sadness home. Unpack it when you’re alone. Go over your own pregnancy chronicles in the privacy of your head. Then you’ll have to take a deep breath & face the new hush.
You have nothing to add to the next part. The trimester you didn’t reach. The birth. The nights the baby didn’t sleep. The trials & triumphs of breastfeeding. Words and steps and sobs and kisses. You’ll have nothing to share. All you have is second hand information. When you help your experience isn’t really yours. Just borrowed. Never actually a mother’s wisdom. It’s still no one’s fault. You don’t wish they wouldn’t share. Don’t want to stop being a part of the whole wonderful process.
To feel like a mother & never have anyone call you mummy.
To shake your head no when you mean yes.
I know other people understand, but I’m still on my own.
You’re not a baby anymore. Or you wouldn’t be. Today would have been your 18th birthday. I’ve been thinking a lot about all the things you could have been. I’ll never know what your talents are. What you loved & hated will always be a mystery. Our life together will forever be unknown. I’ve watched so many others mark the milestones in their children’s lives & my thoughts invariably turn to you. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over the blanks.
I have dreamt of every minute of your life. Waking from those beautiful fantasies feels like a stab in the heart. Every single time. I hope those dreams are snippets of how our life would have been. I don’t want to think of us as anything other than happy.
So, today you’d be a man. I’m sure you would be wonderful. The kind of person I’d be proud to have raised. I’ll always be proud regardless. Proud that my blood ran in your veins, thankful that your heart beat in me & grateful that we had any time at all.
I’ve had another really bad week pain wise. It feels like I’m been having a lot of bad weeks recently and I’m tired. So very tired.
Life goes on, though. Nothing stops because I’m in pain. So, I try to keep on going too. It’s exhausting. Pain wears you out. Even before you attempt to do anything, just being in pain is tiring. I’m not sure that many people know that. You start the day fatigued. Every single task you perform from that point takes enormous effort. You’re fighting the pain and the growing exhaustion.
Drs will tell you to rest, but complete rest isn’t feasible for very many people. I can’t rely on or expect other people to take care of my life for me. My house will stay dirty if I don’t clean it, my fridge will stay empty if I don’t fill it, my bills won’t pay themselves, medical treatment doesn’t come to my house, my cat needs fed and my teeth, hair, body won’t clean themselves. Those are just the very basics of life, but they can be overwhelming when every move you make is agony. It’s a no win situation. If I neglect these basics my quality of life is seriously impacted. My stress levels soar & mood plummets. Trying to keep up with daily life saps all my energy. Pain is exhausting & exhaustion lowers your ability to cope with pain. It’s a vicious circle with no obvious escape.
Plus living is more than one’s basic responsibilities. There has to be human contact & stimulation. Unfortunately those can be just as tiring as the daily dirge. I love writing. I love swimming. Both are good for me, body & mind. Doing either involves a string of wearying steps. I have to wear myself down in the hope of benefits that are never guaranteed. I have a wonderful friends & family. Excellent relationships I don’t want to lose or neglect. However, just making myself fit to be in company is sometimes a mammoth task. I don’t even mean appearance wise. My people will accept me with no make up & greasy hair. They can handle the days that I can’t walk very far or do very much. For which I am grateful. What I can’t ask of them is to soak up my ill temper. Pain makes you snappy & negative & frankly unpleasant. No one wants to be around that. Also, no one wants to treat the people they love that way.
What do I do? I monitor myself. I constantly keep a tight grip on that grump. Take a deep breath & swallow it down. Let me tell you, maintaining that front, is exhausting. Also, essential. I don’t want to be a nasty bitch. I want to treat people with respect. Of course I gain from this; my life is immeasurably better for having date nights & sister time & lunch with my bestie & joyous mini people in it. Pain is absolutely not an excuse for being a fuckwit. It’s right that I censor myself into being nice. It’s just that it’s incredibly draining. It is the same catch 22, don’t push myself to do these things and my life would be empty. Do them & I pay the price.
None of this is anyone’s fault. There isn’t really anything anyone can do to change these things. This is just my life. Oh & a lot of other people’s too. I have this idea that maybe if we understand each other’s experience we might understand each other a little better. I think that would probably be a good thing. Further more, I’ve been trying to hold in all my grump & I am very tired.
** Apologies. I know this is not my best writing. I’m really sore & really tired.
I haven’t cut myself for a long time. Realistically speaking, I cannot ever cut myself again. They call this recovery. Apparently, I’m recovered. I just don’t always feel it.
Tonight I looked through my old self harm pictures. Yes, I have pictures. When I was in the thick of it I always took photographs. Firstly because I felt compelled to, it was part of my ritual. Also, because I couldn’t trust myself to judge the severity of my wounds. Those pictures gave me the tiny bit of distance required to see what level of medical intervention I could get away with. Now, they’re a stop gap.
They’re the thing I do when I want to cut so badly it hurts not to. I look at those images of gore & miss it.
I miss the blood. The hot, flowing, staining everything I own blood.
I miss the smell & that crackling sound my skin makes when I slice into scar tissue.
I want the pain. I want the deep, sharp trauma my blade inflicts & the hot throb of infected tissue. I long for the ache of putting a butchered arm into a sleeve.
I know that doesn’t make any sense. I know it’s sick & crazy. It is still true. There’s a reason I yearn for the carnage; it works. Only briefly and, sure, it also fucks up your life, but those moments of respite are everything. Physical pain is nothing compared to the relentless agony that can exist in my head. Most of the time it’s manageable. Most of the time I can make it sleep. Most of the time I’m in control. Control isn’t easy. It is work. Exhausting, consuming labour.
The blade is easier. In the short term it’s beautiful relief. All those horrific feelings pour out with the blood. I can slash through my anguish just as easy I hack through my flesh. That’s why we do it. In case you were wondering. The reason some us do insane things to ourselves is because it’s effective. We hurt ourselves to heal ourselves.
The calm just doesn’t last very long. The sickness comes back. It returns stronger every time. The crazy grows. You need bigger, deeper, scarier cuts to keep it quiet. Then the self harm becomes a crazy of its own. You need it. You find yourself listening to drs who say you’re going to die. And even though you really don’t want to die. It’s hard to care. Now the crazy is trying to destroy you & the cutting is competing to do you in first.
So, I don’t cut anymore. I can’t cut anymore because I cannot control it.
If I want to be in charge,
If I want a chance at living a life I love,
If I want to not hurt everyone who cares about me,
I can’t cut.
Sometimes, though, I desperately want to. The easy way out looks good. The horror movie in my head wants to come to life, but I can’t let it. I don’t cut.
I just look at old pictures
Write all the things I can’t bring myself to say out loud.
I don’t cut anymore & most of the time I’m glad.
It seems like we are actually getting summer in Scotland. It’s been sunny every day for week & shock horror, we’re getting used to it. I’ve been taking full advantage of the weather (& my sister’s maternity leave) to get out & enjoy my beautiful country.
Living in Glasgow is amazing. The city is a hub of culture; great architecture, food, bars, shopping, museums. Oh & Edinburgh is almost as good & just down the road. Plus 30 mins drive from the city centre is the stunning Loch Lomond & loads of other equally beautiful places. We really do have the best of both worlds & I’ve been exploring them.
I’ve been taking in stunning views, soaking up the sea air & swanning around my city rocking my summer wardrobe.
There have been movies & yummies with my favourite people. My nails have, of course been killer. Obviously #projectpostit has been getting around with me too.
Ringo came to stay, Bronan continues to be the perfect meow. My little people light up my life & make me laugh so hard I look like a walrus. There was also a tiny bit hospital fuckery.
I even fitted in a wee stint as a luxury bitch. The Toyboy & I had a night in a fancy hotel. Plus some general lazing around. You gotta take it easy in this heat.
This week I said goodbye to my Uncle Gerry. He died before his time, but faced death with courage & humour. He lived his life with warmth & generosity; never forgetting a birthday & always offering whatever he could of himself to his loved ones & community. The packed chapel at his funeral reflected how much he was appreciated.
In his honour I wanted to pause to share the beauty I am still lucky enough experience. So often I (we) get bogged down by the stresses & strains of daily life that I forget how lovely the world can be. Sometimes it takes a loss to remind us what we still have.
In the spirit of his giving nature I also wanted to share some organisations doing incredible work. I hope you will support them if you can.
Crookston Community Group aims to develop a sense of community whilst helping those in need. The fund a number of services ranging from a food bank to children’s activities and community cohesion workshops.
Street League works with unemployed youth using sport as means to provide training & gain skills needed to find employment. They have fabulous success rates in getting young people into work. They focus on areas of high youth unemployment.
Peek want to increase the opportunities for children to reach their potential. They offer free play and creative learning services that allow children to thrive. They remove barriers by offering support & education for both parents & children.
Chin Chin, Uncle Gerry. You will be greatly missed.