And so it is the colder water…

It’s been around 8 weeks since I miscarried. I think all things considered, I am doing ok. I mean, I’ve not completely fallen apart. I haven’t turned to scalpels for comfort or absented myself from the world. I’m getting up & painting my face & taking part in life. I wish I could say it was easy, but on days like today, it feels like drowning. 

I am attending the recurrent miscarriage clinic to see if there are any issues I am not already aware of & the midwife I see has been wonderful. She had given me info on a ‘support group’, which I’m considering. I’m on some new meds to help with PCOS & tracking my periods etc to keep on eye on things from that side. I’m socialising & blogging & getting more politically active. I’m doing everything i can think of to keep moving forward. So why do I feel like I’m wedged in wet sand?

I think about what might have been every day. Not all day long, but it’s never far away. There are so many reminders. So many painful things that can’t be avoided. From appointments at the maternity hospital & other people’s babies to just the scent of something that made me nauseous when I was pregnant & doesn’t anymore. I don’t want the world to stop. I don’t want to rob anyone of their joyous moments; it’s just so hard. The happiness I feel for others comes with a stab of sorrow. It’s been this way for so long, but my recent loss has given that sadness renewed potency. I let all my hopes out of a place I kept tied up tight. Blueprints for a life that I hadn’t dared to examine sprang to life & folding up those plans is proving difficult. 
I have my period again & I know that impacts on my mood. All of the sensations of menstruating mirror miscarriage symptoms. The cramps & sensitive nipples are reminders I don’t want. The blood remains wrapped up in my trauma. Forever a trigger. And yet, I’m glad to have the period. Not so long ago I had practically none. It’s a relief to have this increasingly reliable sign that my ovaries are doing something. Like so many other things the positive is marred.

I think from the outside I probably look fine. I want to look well. No, I want to BE well. I’m really fighting not to let my life slide. The truth is I’m struggling. My creative output is vastly decreased. I lack the motivation & clarity to write. Not writing is not good for me. I process my experiences through words on the paper. The less I write the more anxious I become. Of course the more I stress about it, the less I am able to curate my thoughts. It’s a predictable cycle. There are obviously more practical concerns; my words keep a roof over my head. 

My physical health hasn’t been good. My sleep is appalling. I know that takes it’s toll. I attempt to rationalise myself out of days like this. My exhausted, pained, grieving & traumatised self will obviously have lows. I know this is to be expected. That knowledge doesn’t change the dread. It does nothing to chase away the fear when I awake to a complete inability to function. When nothing shifts the weight crushing me or the desire to disappear. 24 hours isn’t a long time except when your swamped in depression. I can get through the bad days. I’m just terrified of the days multiplying. 
That’s the crux of it. Mental illness feels a bit like being an alcoholic. I will never completely recover. The lows will always come. Life will always have ways to trip me up. The fear of everything unravelling sits quietly on my shoulder. It’s a bad day. I’m still grieving. I hope for better. 

In every life you have some trouble…

The first thing I saw when I checked Facebook today was this delightful message. A friend had liked it, which hit a sore spot. Of course I have seen this sort of thing before. The rise of ‘inspiration porn’ is oft discussed amongst disabled & chronically ill folk. We find this trend of objectification disturbing & frustrating & rage inducing & a million other things, none of them positive. We are told in patronising tones that we are amazing for simply existing with a disability whilst simultaneously being bombarded with the message that we must be stoic. Through our pain & struggle we must remain uncomplaining. Take it all with a smile, so healthy, able bodied folk can pat us on the back & declare us inspirational. 

So, yes i’ve seen this crap before. Tried to educate people, been offended & grown just plain tired of it. I think it was such a kick in balls today as I was waking up in a hospital bed. Within the space of a few hours I went from a cinema trip with my sister to emergency surgery in the middle of the night. That is the truth of chronic illness; never knowing what will attack next. 

Understandably when I see healthy people declaring the only disability to be a bad attitude I don’t feel good. In a matter of weeks I’ve endured a chest infection & accompanying hacking cough, vomiting, cramping, panic attacks, a weekend of so much pain I barely got out of bed & finally for extra fun an inuigal hernia. That’s without even mentioning the constant chronic symptoms I live with day in, day out. 

I live alone, meaning there is no one to run after me. Sure, I have loved ones to help out with some heavy lifting, but the daily grind of running a house & a life is my responsibility. Cast your mind back to the last time you were really sick. Now imagine feeling that way & having to carry on regardless. Add to that not knowing when the illness will stop or if it may suddenly get worse. Factor in having to carefully calculate how much you can do each day, get it wrong & you could end up passed out in the street. That’s my life and believe me when I say there are times when I feel really quite disabled. 

I’m not writing this for pity or admiration. I merely want acknowledgement. I want it accepted that disabilities are real & varied. I want society to allow those of us dealing with impairments to be pissed off. Our lives can get pretty fucking hard & it’s not always possible deal with that in good grace.

I’m not your poster girl. I’m not your uplifting story. I’m not brave or noble or a motivational tool. I’m just a person playing the game with the hand I’ve been dealt. Stop stealing my bloody aces. 


Try to control me boy you’ll get dismissed…

It’s a beautiful day, but I’m crazy sore. I have hospital & Dr appointments that I can’t miss. What I really need is some motivation. I require some banging female voices to spur me on. With my favourite feminist anthems blasting in my ears I can conquer today. I thought perhaps some of you might like an extra spring on your step too.Enjoy.

I’ll start with Not my name by the Ting Tings. It was a huge hit a few years ago & is a great summer tune. For me the stand out line has to be the slow, exasperated ‘ are you calling me darling’. When I listen to that lyric i get the feeling she’s ready to call bullshit. We’ve all been there, it’s cool to hear the feeling expressed in such a funky way. 

No list of feminist songs would be complete without you You don’t own me. I prefer the original by Lesley Gore. This song is so deliciously ahead of it’s time. It’s lyrics are an absolute declaration of female empowerment. This chick will do what she pleases & anyone who doesn’t approve can suck it. 

I’ve always had a fondness for Madonna’s Music album. I think this song is the reason. What it feels like for a girl is an oft overlooked feminist classic. The premise of the song being that it’s acceptable for girls to dress or act like boys because society deems being male a prize. However, it’s humiliating for men to look or be called girlie because being a women is deemed inferior. Message aside the song itself is beautiful. Somber & sultry; Madge at her best. 

My next choices earned a place in my heart for similar reasons. Firstly it should be said that everything by Salt N Pepa is awesome, but this track is particularly dear to me. None of your business is a blistering attack on slut shaming before the phenomena even had a name. I was 13 or 14 when this hit the charts. I attended a catholic school & was surrounded by numerous gender double standards. That a woman should have sexual agency was not a concept I had come across. That females could enjoy fucking for fuckings sake was an idea that was just about dawning on me. Salt n Pepa did me a huge service with their blatant message. In a world where slag banded about by my piers & sex was deemed sinful by educators None of your business was a revelation.

Female sexual pleasure is key in my next anthem too. Charli XCX’s Body of my own is an ode to masturbation. It’s a rare topic in pop, even rarer in relation to women. At 34, I’ve long since discovered the joys of having a wank. I know it’s natural. I know it’s healthy. I know it’s the best the way to work out which buttons you really want pressing. For me this is a catchy pop piece confirming what I’m already sure if. However, I suspect for many teenage girls a song like this will offer much needed reassurance & encouragement. Sadly we still live in a society that makes girls feels embarrassed about enjoying their own bodies. I’m all for a song that says, Hey, you don’t need anyone else. You own your body. Explore it. Love it. 

Destiny’s Child’s Independent women has always been one of those songs that will get my arse on the dance floor. I love everything about it. When it was released I was a student struggling to make ends meet, but doing it all on my own.Three women jubilantly declaring themselves self sufficient was exactly what I needed. Having my hard work affirmed every time I went to a club was bliss. 16yrs later I still depend on me & i wouldn’t have it any other way.

These are just a few songs that make me feel proud to be woman in charge of my life. I’d love to know which tunes make you feel like you can rule the world.