On female angst and social media

I’ve not run for two weeks; I feel sluggish, lethargic and decidedly grumpy. For a recap as to why, I had a reaction to something I ate early last week and there’s been another virus run through the office with abandon at work. It has been knocking people sideways, one of my colleagues ended up with pneumonia. The normally quiet working atmosphere has been punctuated with coughing fits and sneezes. I’ve been struggling this week with a sore throat, when I swallow overnight, it wakes me up.

Monday afternoon I took myself home to bed and slept for a couple of hours. I know BossMan wasn’t impressed, but as he gave this to me by coming in fully lurgified on Friday; I knew if I was to get through any more of the week, I’d have to get more sleep under my belt. I honestly don’t think I could have worked the rest of the week out if I hadn’t slept most of the afternoon away. I had the dentist on Wednesday, (I hope he is ok and I that I haven’t given it to him), Hubs is full of the cold too, coming home from work yesterday lunchtime to take himself to bed.

We both had a bad night last night, coughing and spluttering (him), sore throat (me). At 11pm I got up, took some painkillers and a throat lozenge and tried to get back off to sleep. I wanted to go for a run this morning, even laying out all my kit before I got into bed, but I felt so rough when I woke up, I didn’t think I’d do myself any favours pounding the streets in thick fog (the weather not me). I look like a hamster as the glands under my neck are up and I’m achy in my joints to boot.

Here comes the angst part: I’m also ‘on’. One of the ladies at work would be shocked at me for using a euphemism; she’s written a book about explaining the whole process to girls, making it a celebration. Jac hates women being ashamed of our bodies, there’s no other way of saying this: the period I’m having is peculiar. Nothing like normal, I’m not going into specifics – fear not! But while I’ve not run, I’ve eaten really well taking care of myself I pulled on three pairs of trousers this morning and not one of them would meet over my middle.

In despair I shoved myself into a pair of jeans, so I’m sporting a muffin top. I know it’s my body doing its thing, I’m not well, I’m in the middle of my cycle, but I can’t get past that I felt despair because I couldn’t wear the outfit that I wanted to. When did we get to the point where a 39 year old woman, who’s fit and strong, who’s body has worked well, feels ashamed because she can’t fit into a few pairs of trousers?

This past couple of weeks I’ve taken Facebook and Twitter off my phone. I’m posting to Facebook primarily through Instagram, hopping on occasionally in the evening to look at it and only posting to twitter for my company. I’m barely looking at anything else online, therefore the irony of me putting this on a blog is not lost on me, but in no particular order here’s a few reasons why social media and I are reaching a natural pause:

· Ice bucket challenges – there are people all over the world who don’t know what ice is. They have no concept as they’re too busy walking miles to a pump or a watering hole to collect water, sometimes brown water, because that is all they have access to. And people are wasting clean water to raise awareness for a charity. I’m all for awareness, but for goodness sake, why with water? Don’t get me started on Nestle saying that water is not a fundamental right either.

· Kardashians – I wish they would crawl back into the bogan hole they crawled out of. They are not news, but they’re frickin’ everywhere, they’re only famous because one of the daughters made a sex tape. Yes, I’ve had sex too, I’m married with a child so there’s proof of at least one bonk. But maybe I should list it at the top of my CV in future if it means I get unlimited handbags?

· Adverts – the man who inadvertently invented the pop up advert has apologised. Doesn’t stop them appearing all over the place though. More than one blog I used to love reading has so many adverts on them now, the content feels squashed to the side as an afterthought. My twitter feed has gone from being full of pithy fun to full of promoted tweets, adverts for things that might interest me, (they don’t) and retweets of ice bucket challenge videos.

I do love the online community, I love being able to stay in contact with friends and family; but I am struggling with everything else encroaching on that. As money makes the world go round and people are not watching as much TV, so adverts pop up everywhere else instead. I don’t want to have to wade through chaff to get to the wheat, (not that I could eat it when I get there, but that is the only simile I could think of). I’m refusing to buy Nestle products; when we’ve used the last of the few that remain in the house, they’re no longer welcome. I’m recording programmes and fast forwarding through adverts on TV. I’m not buying or reading magazines that belittle and shame women into thinking that their bodies are anything less than awesome. I’m taking my business elsewhere, taking myself offline. I’m having conversations and making love with my husband. I’m playing games with my son and reading books. I’m picking up the phone to talk to people. I’m taking care of myself and choosing life.

On osteopaths and gratitude

Yesterday was a difficult day. I remember watching a documentary on a children’s hospital, where a doctor bluntly said ‘You’ve not had a bad day until you’ve had to tell someone their child has died.’ It was a stark reminder that my life is actually pretty easy going, when my life feels like it overwhelming me, which it does, I do try to remember that. But I only remembered it just now, not when I really needed it, which was near enough all day in the office yesterday.

I move paper around for a living, I help organise people, their lives, their houses in my spare time; soon I will stop moving paper around in an office and do OOAL full time. Need some more clients though! In the grand scheme of things, it is a small life. But it is my life. Yesterday was hard because I was worried about a situation at work, called someone out on it, then got hauled over the coals for doing the right thing. I don’t like watching someone bullying others, or gunning for someone in particular, and this is what was happening.

The person concerned simply doesn’t get it; does not have the emotional intelligence to not say something stupid in the open office or in an open forum. Luckily, he’s making himself look ridiculous, but yesterday it was too much.

I spoke to one of the managers, who kindly took me out for a coffee; my girlfriends at work cheered me on and cheered me up through the day. I was grateful that before the run on Sunday, I’d had the foresight to book an osteopath for Tuesday night, thinking it would help me recover quicker. As the day wore on, the hour long appointment shone in front of me like a beacon.

Giving my osteo an update on where I was at, what I’d been up to, I confessed I may well start crying as she treated me. Explaining I’d had a hard day, was feeling stressed and expected that as knots were ironed out of me, I’d struggle with the release. For 45 minutes, we chatted, she manipulated my joints and massaged my muscles. It was lovely, but no tears. Which surprised me.

Then laying on my back, she started on my jaw. Within seconds of her pressing into the joint, the tears started to flow. Soon I was sobbing, straight to the ugly cry. Jo gently asked me if I wanted her to stop. I shook my head no, I knew it had to come out, I didn’t want to carry it around with me any longer. Left side of my face, then my right, then both together, we worked together on freeing the joint that had evidently been clenched firmly shut in frustration.

As I lay there, my mind went blank, the tears were flowing, the tension ran down my arms and out my body. It was a hard session, but where I traditionally carry my stress across my back and shoulder blades, this was new. Always speak the truth, even if your voice shakes. My voice yesterday was not strong, I was accused of bias towards a staff member. But I knew it was the truth, and yet the blame shifting and hubris of this person will not let him back down and admit to making a mistake.

I’m grateful to work where I do, it has given our family back some much needed time in the day from when I worked in the city and had a commute of about an hour, there and back. I’ve made good friends here, our network of people has expanded too, (indeed we’ve just taken delivery of a set of golf clubs, a dining suite and chair for the office from a lady I worked with who’s sold her house to sail on a boat in her retirement). I’m grateful that I have a window seat and can take a few seconds to peep at the gum trees when I need sustenance. I’m grateful for so many things, but yesterday an understanding osteo who can read my body like a book and ease my pain was the biggest thing I was grateful for.

I wasn’t going to run again until the weekend, but tomorrow lunchtime, I’m going out again. Jo said I’d pulled up ok, that my body is fit and strong, using that as my base, I want to keep my mind fit and strong too. I think I’m going to need it.

I’ll think of a title later

This morning I arrived at work late frazzled, out of sorts and decidedly cross. Yesterday I had also arrived late, as I was on toddler time: he decided that he wanted more breakfast, after he’d got shoes and rucksack on, when I said we had to leave – he laid down in front of the front door so I couldn’t even open it to get out the house. After negotiating that hurdle, he then splayed his arms and legs like a spider so I couldn’t get him into car, let alone the car seat. He only calmed down after I gave him my banana. By the time we’d got to nursery, they were welcome to him.

Today as I was bending down to help him get his shoes on I sniffed and asked if he’d pooped. ‘No mama’ I checked, not just poop, but poopsplosion. If it had been any other time of day, it would have been a shower. It was a nightmare, including needed new pants and trousers. Instead of leaving early, or even on time, we left the house at time I am normally arriving at work by the time I’d finished cleaning him up.

I hate being late. It is disrespectful. I also hate people being late. If you ask us to arrive at 10am, we are there at 10am. It pi$$es me off no end some people’s laissez-faire attitude to meeting up with others. Standing in my hallway today, gathering my stuff together I screeched banshee style ‘I hate being f-ing late!’ – Peanut looked startled, I said ‘I’m sorry for shouting. I wasn’t shouting at you, I was cross with me’. We hugged and he told me ‘All ok Mama. All ok.’

I am grateful that today after work I am going to the gym. I’ve got the 10km run this weekend, I’m going to get on the treadmill, put a podcast on and just plod away until I get to 8km.

I am grateful that this morning, Peanut woke up at 6am, bright, happy and cheerful. That he gives such good cuddles, particularly when he knows that his mother is fragile at that point in time.

I am grateful for so many things, but this morning hunched over the steering wheel driving to work, my shoulders were up around my ears in frustration. I deliberately changed my route to work after dropping Peanut off today, so I didn’t have to drive past a school crossing supervisor. He waves at cars driving past, but on such a dangerous bend he’s more of a hazard than the road conditions. Yes, this sounds daft. I am fully aware of that, but I chose to re-route myself so I didn’t explode further.

Recognising my touch points is a work in progress, but I know when I am getting forgetful, ratty or swearing, I need to take step back from what I’m doing. This morning there was nothing I could do, I had to change his nappy. But being late two days on the trot is maddening. Did I need to screech? No, but it was a release of emotion that had I tried to swallow, would have eaten away at me all morning.

Leaving things behind me is another thing I need to work on. It wasn’t until I’d shared my morning with the girls at work and verbalised it that I felt better.

I am grateful for the support network my colleagues provide me with. The majority of my oldest friends I either met at work or through work, spending so much time together entwines people’s lives in a web of friendship.

I am grateful the fog has finally lifted, I wouldn’t say that it’s sunny, but being able to see the trees out my window is helping with my mood too.