Tradition, isn’t it, to write a post summing up the year? I’m getting it out of the way a few days early, because 1) I’m having a little flap about the current Work In Progress right now, and so this is a nice procrastination and 2) in a couple days I am seeing my family and will have no time for posts, only for them and actually finishing a reasonable first draft of the WIP.
OH GOD I’m in imminent danger of being a writer bore, I’m so sorry.
Here’s a quick list of good and awful things that have happened over the course of this year, as much as I can remember on a mid-holiday day when I should be doing something else.
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.
Last week I bought (yet another) notebook and a lovely skinny pen, and the first thing I did – apart from sketch a thing that could have been a Sunday roast or an arctic roll being frowned at by an angry-looking fish – was write a to-do list on the back page in an effort to get thoughts and deeds in order.
It’s a bit of an unpopular, defeatist sentiment (especially in this web-world of pinspirational quotes and nature pics) to accept limitations. Throwing your hands up and saying ‘I can’t’ tends to come across as either defensive, or is read as a need for some reassurance, or as fishing. This not any of those things.
If you’re lucky enough to have been raised in a household where the attitude has always been that nothing should stop you, that you can and should be able to do anything, then admitting that you have limitations to abilities can be a bit of a head-f*ck, actually. Genuinely. Not being able to do something comes with the additional shame of thinking you should be able to do it.
Not being able to do something when you really, really want to be able to do it, is worse.
Hello lovely readers (if you’re still out there after a month of silence).
It’s that point in the evening when the sun drops low enough to sit on next door’s roof. If I’m sat on the sofa, working – which I am, and have been all bloody day – the light blinds me for about five minutes. It is very pleasant to be wilfully dazzled. Seems like the time to crack open some cider.
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 “There’s no title because there’s no subject”→
Earlier this week I came across an article that introduced me to the idea of ‘morning pages’. That sounds slightly kinky, but actually it’s more boring than whatever you just imagined. Morning pages boils down to writing three pages of whatever-the-hell-you-want (single words, notes, novel, poem, whatever) in longhand every day, as a way to empty the junk out of your head so you can focus on creative work without other random thoughts cluttering up your head space. Continue reading “I have no spur… but only vaulting ambition”→
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.
Sometimes there’s so much to do, or one thing to get done is so massive and overwhelming, that I freeze up and don’t get anything done at all. This never happens at work, but it does happen at home, and it happened with this blog last week. I had a dozen ideas of things to write about, freaked out about not being able to do all of them and ended up not writing a thing. Really, the way to handle it would have been to do a few different entries over the course of the week. But God forbid I should break my arbitrary one-entry-a-week rule by writing too much instead of too little. Continue reading “One brain-melt with a side order of crushed optimism”→