It takes a village

I’m painfully aware of the length of time since my last blog. But I’ve been working hard on myself and my mood. Rufus has retreated, the dark thoughts that were clouding my vision have definitely moved on. Be that because I asked for help and got it, from all sorts of people, thank you. Or be that through chemical means, my GP increased my anti-depressant dose by half daily till the end of the year – I don’t care.

This post has been a long time brewing with random thoughts that have been wandering around in my head, so I’m just going to do a stream of consciousness and let it go. Are you ready?

Work is better than it has been, since I started working here. The office that I’m in (as in the position I support) is incredibly busy, more so than before. I’ve been able to step into my PA shoes and really help, thank goodness. We’re still a long way away from being as organised as I would like, but I’m doing more with what I can and it is making a difference.

I listen to the BBC Woman’s Hour podcast each day, as every day there is an article that I take something from. This morning I was getting ready for work laughing my head off at the tanning options from a TOWIE (The Only Way Is Essex) participant, Amy Childs. From “Why bother?” (a natural tan) to “Oompah loompa orange” (self-explanatory), there were four levels of colour you could choose from. Amy Childs was quite sweet on the program, the salon she owns is in an industry she’s wanted to work in since she was 16. She’s now 25. I’m 40 and am still no nearer knowing what I want to do with my life than I did when I was 16.

Sidebar: I’ve told you about my careers advice at school haven’t I? Because I could swim, it was suggested I went into the Navy.

Anyhoo, on Womans Hour they were talking about how women in Essex and Liverpool will quite calmly walk around supermarkets etc. with curlers in their hair, onesies on through the day as they’re getting ready to go out in the evening. If anyone I knew in my social sphere appeared outside the house with curlers in while I was growing up; there would be loud tutting as it would not have been the done thing. I don’t get that, at all. It kind of ruins the mystique of it all really, ‘Yes you may see me dressed for the ball in a few hours. But hey, here’s my pumpkin carriage and mouse footmen too’.

Writing about Jack Monroe and their transition had me think long and hard about my childhood. I swum a lot, so to make everyone’s life easier I had short hair. Therefore looked like a boy, because girls only have long hair – right? I’m not a girly girl either, I can remember one time playing around with my make-up, once.

People would call me a boy when they bumped into me in the street too, most recently on Sunday actually. I was filling my car with petrol, M at work was with me, she went in to the shop to get some money out. The man behind the counter said ‘Is he, I’m sorry, is she paying for the fuel or you?’

One of my bosses said ‘You’re a good looking girl, but sometimes you really do look like crap’.

On a college placement in a residential home, the older ladies would say in their discrete stage whispers, one of those that could be heard on the moon, ‘She looks just like a boy’.

I’ve been this height since I was 12, all through my teenage years I was bigger and fatter, (even though looking back now I wasn’t fat at all, I was actually strong because of the swimming), but as my clothing sizes were larger than my peers – ergo I was fat.

People commented on the size of my feet, it still makes me feel physically ill when people do it and wonder why I get upset, “Jeez, I’m only joking!” Yes, it’s f-ing hilarious from here when for years you were bullied about them. I live in trousers because I can’t find shoes to fit that go with skirts,  so when I do wear a skirt, people comment on that too.

Having had a long period in my life where I could only look in a compact mirror to do my hair or make-up so I didn’t have to look the whole of my face at any one time, I am now able to do my make-up in a mirror that shows my face. Mind you our wardrobe doors are two floor-to-ceiling sliding mirrors, and my clothes are covered in dust, because when I’m sitting up in bed I hate looking at myself. I guess I still avoid mirrors, just not as much as I used to, at least I’m not taking them off the walls anymore.

Remember the scene in Pretty Woman where Vivian and Edward are talking in bed? He says ‘I think you are a very bright, very special woman.’ She responds with ‘The bad stuff is easier to believe.’

Be careful what you say to children and teenagers, it scars for life.

When my mood dips, all these things rattle around again inside my head (amongst others I’m too ashamed to share here). I try to listen to the gaps between words, but it gets harder and harder when you’re stressed, anxious or down. The voice in your head goes on and on and on. Before you know it, you think it will be easier to just shut the voice up, the voice agrees. Because look at all this case history of shit you’ve got to back up your argument.

My coven, my village held me up. We may be all over the world from each other, but the internet, smartphones and taking time out of our day to connect with someone who you think is having a wobble is so important. I was so busy taking care of everything else, I forgot to take care of me. Thank you everyone who commented on my previous blog, texted me, messaged me, called me, told me off.

I’m sitting here looking at peonies I picked at the weekend. Their gentle fragrance is soft through the house. I’m in a great marriage to a kind and gentle man, our son is healthy, happy and as mad as a box of frogs, I’m in the middle of a good book, with more on my bedside table waiting to go, we have a roof over our head, food in the pantry.

When you count your blessings, really sit down and count them, that nagging, whining, shitty little voice goes away. When you switch on the news and wonder what the hell is going on in the world, that nagging, whining, shitty little voice goes away too.

Village

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One thought on “It takes a village

  1. If it’s any consolation, then I was called Sir the other day! SIR? She corrected herself when she turned around and my chest was in her face. Bloomin’ tourists….

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