Like a lot of people I go through phases of wanting more privacy that my social media use affords me. I deactivate accounts and vanish for a bit and reappear and it’s usually a sign that I’m struggling with something else in life. I’m not very good at admitting to the people I know and love when that happens, let alone the world at large.
Saturday, April 1st – and the local council’s April Fool is to set workmen going with a jackhammer right outside the house, uprooting lampposts. Again, it’s Saturday. It’s the weekend. Everyone’s home trying to have a little lie-in and then do some household chores – at least, they are at this time in the morning. When the noise started up, I went to the window to snoop and scowl, and it seemed all the people in our little cul-de-sac had moved as one. We scowled at each other across the tarmac and then at the poor workmen who, let’s face it, probably don’t want to be working on a Saturday any more than we want them to be. I imagine in a short while there will be a mass exodus just to get away from the rattling.
I’ve rarely used this space to comment on politics in depth, or world events in depth beyond the emotional impact. I’ve always looked at the abundance of hot takes, statuses and tweets out there and figured one more voice yelling the same thing of sympathy/condemnation/etc made not much difference. I’ve also always been careful, in my own reading, not to be swayed by media rhetoric; I dig for the facts, look for the information and try to think for myself because I think that’s the conscientious thing to do. Better not to be led by the nose and someone else’s ambitions or careful spin.
The #yesallwomen hashtag is trending right now in response to yesterday’s shootings in Santa Barbara. The basic details, which I’m not rehashing, can be found here. The event has lit the touch-paper of a society already sick of rape culture and misogyny, and a world that promotes it.
Today I have been writing the good write, and battling that feeling of slight disappointment that always rocks up at the end of a bank holiday. You know the feeling – the one where you did loads of stuff, like swimming, and running, and walking, and films, and gardening, and bookshop snooping, and sneaky easter egg hiding, and pretending to be a cheerleader. But not all the things you were planning to do and now really there’s only 12 hours left before the work week starts and you can’t possibly fit everything else in. Continue reading
This is not the post you were supposed to be getting this weekend. I had the whole thing planned – but I left important pictures on the wrong computer (YES I have dropbox. YES I have an external hard drive. NO I didn’t have the wherewithal to move the pictures before the weekend. It’s been a long week, all right, and excitement about meeting up with a couple of favourite people on Friday evening trumped the organising of computer files). Continue reading
I am really, really grateful for my friends (even those that are currently not in touch and who I miss badly). They’ve been keeping me going this week, even if they’ve not realised it. Although it’s been a great few days in terms of passing hours and spending time with people, I feel as though I’ve been snatching at ways to be happy with increasing desperation.
It’s partly my own fault. Against everything I intellectually know about health and tests and waiting times, I stupidly managed to convince myself last week that the doctor’s appointment on Friday would be IT. That that Monday’s blood test would be the concluding result, they’d stick me on meds, I’d be fixed and life goes back to normal. And that didn’t happen, of course. Instead there’s more tests to be done; referral to a respiratory specialist with at least a three-month wait; results to wait on before I can expect some sort of workable information. It seems like an age.
This year, in which I managed to get places in so many balloted races and which I was so excited about, is a write-off in terms of physical activity, and Friday was the first time I really had to face up to that. I had a bit of a weeping break down outside the doctors, then went out to a wine and cheese evening where I smiled and chatted to people and drank and deliberately didn’t think about it. Then I cried again on the phone to my mum in the morning, and then kept busy busy busy all weekend, meeting a new friend, chatting to my sister, going to the fair. It wasn’t until I was sat in front of a computer at work on Monday that I realised how much just keeping busy and seeing people had been holding off a fairly dark depression.
And yes, I know it could be worse. I have nothing fatal (I’m assuming), I can walk around and do most things, I have my job, my life as a whole is not so disrupted – so yes, bearing all of that in mind I’m just being a brat. But the total lack of endorphins, and the lack of reason and ability to get outside and away from people and turn off my brain because I’m thinking about nothing but breathing and moving, is the equivalent of going off my antidepressants long-term and without psychiatric approval. As a friend of mine said in response to an email I sent (which may have contained the line, If one more person asks me if I’ve considered maybe going for a walk instead of running, I’m going to kick a fucking wall down): “I read somewhere that runners are people who have figured out how to self-medicate for depression.” Exactly.
Another thing: I’m losing my sense of self. I wrote to my friend –
“… Also, I realised today that the more out of shape I get, the more effort I’m making with make-up and hair, because I don’t feel good about myself any more and I’m trying to cover it up. There’s a direct fucking correlation between how good I feel and how much of an effort I make with my appearance. I am wearing LIPSTICK and a FUCKING DRESS. This is like code red territory.”
Yes, there was a lot of swearing in that email. I’m cussing like the metaphorical sailor these days.
Ordinarily I don’t care about make-up and clothes much, but I’m spending more and more time and money on gussying myself up. I don’t really recognise myself in the mirror at the moment, and I don’t like it, but I don’t know how else to get myself up and out of the house at the moment, either. Maybe the effort is nicer for people who have to look at me, but I was always a scruff even when I cared, and I’ve spent 2+ years not caring so much because I was happier in myself and could have gone out in pyjamas and still be happy with myself. I really, really miss that confidence. I don’t know this person who tuts because her lipstick isn’t in her bag and who applies eyeliner on the train. I don’t like her very much.
This weekend, I should have been at Wimbleball. Tomorrow morning I would have been travelling to Devon. Plan B, after cancelling my entry in the race, was to go to Devon anyway, but that has had to be called off. So instead I was at the doctor’s again this morning (spirometry test) and now I’m stuck in London, looking at day trips I can’t afford (because I’m broke because I spent all my fecking money on red lipstick and hairspray) with no clue precisely how I’m going to avoid thinking about all the things that I would have been doing this weekend if circumstances were different.
Monster and I signed up for a jive dance night on Saturday, which should be good. I’ve organised a few bits and pieces (the dancing, go loosely swimming, meet up with a couple of friends – including another blogger who is currently dealing with the hell of finding a social group in London). I’m really tempted, though, to just bring in an awful lot of whiskey and wine and drink myself into a stupor for four days. Because that’s the mature, adult way to deal with this.
Last night my friends and I walked out of a particularly brilliant double-bill and director Q&A to news of the Boston Marathon bombings. The crowd of people coming out of the cinema was abuzz with the news. We spent the train ride home scanning news sites and twitter for information, texting people who had contacted us during the films. It was a quiet ride home and we were somewhat shell-shocked. The news came on top of the death of a 23-year-old man at this year’s Brighton marathon. It has been a dark week for the running community. Continue reading