Despite having a lovely day with my brother and sister I am very aware that the beginnings of another depression are creeping up on me. As always I find myself trying to work out why it has come back. I am a dreadful scientist and although the Docs have told me time and time again that it has as much to do with a ‘chemical reaction in my brain due to a biological malfunction’ or some such thing I still look outward for the cause.
Perhaps I have been having too much fun of late, or maybe it is this cold that I can’t shake or the fact that I feel rather under pressure. I don’t know what it is but I find myself tearful and full of self loathing. My figure feels too full and my eyes too prone to water and generally it just kind of sucks.
I am trying to subscribe to the American way of being and think positive but it is hard and I am scared. My last high which started in October was pretty severe and according to my medical history and the famous law of what goes up must come down I cannot help but worry that this next low will be colossal.
The reason I acknowledge it here and now is that I do not want people to get the wrong idea about the nature of my illness. For those of you who are new to the blog I must admit that the lows can be quite significant and at times crippling to everything I do including friendships, work and life generally.
I am doing as far as I can see everything right. I am taking my tablets, getting plenty of sleep and seeing friends and family as often as I can. As well as having a new project to put my energy into I have even taken to eating healthily and having herbal teas, health supplements and warm baths. My only remaining vice, well more or less, is my temporary nicotine addiction and that will pass as it always does.
Fingers crossed I am just worrying without cause and tomorrow will be a brighter day. The shoes have helped in that those I have been wearing for the main part of the day are bright but comfortable without resorting to sweaty Ugg inspired slippers. I spent the most part of the day with my big sis who bought me them and according to her partner they were seen a few months ago on Dragons Den. Wearing them made a walk to the shops a hell of a lot easier but the outfit demanded heels and so they came out to play too although in the mood I’m in today the lower of the two seemed more appropriate.
Look out tomorrow for pictures of the pairs.
Twelve long years ago I had a baby brother with blonde hair and a cute smile, two older sisters, brunettes, popular with all the boys, and a mother and father. This was my family; this was our family. It all stopped.
These days I have a baby brother with brown hair but still with the cute smile (like my clever sisters he went with the braces option rather than telling the dentist to go away) a sister with brown hair and a beautiful baby boy and a mother and father.
There is of course one thing missing and that will never change and although it all sounds so obvious, when you lose your sister three months before her 18th birthday you kind of try to all forget that this new reality, this new family is going to be forever.
When Catherine’s birthday comes around each year it is always a strange day. A mixture of joy and remembering while experiencing near on simultaneously such sadness you could just curl into a ball and dissapear into your thoughts and the memory of our childhood together forever.
Moving house I have come across so many things that remind me of her. Twelve years on, several breakdowns and a new home you wonder you will forget what she sounded like, what she did and how she was. People ask how many brothers and sisters you have and you tell them but bite your lip because it would be a bit harsh to tell the poor man blow drying your hair that you had two sisters and one brother but now you only have one brother and one sister but you cannot deny the fact of the existence of someone so wonderful so you tell them and then it kicks you once again to think of all the things the family could have been if she was still around.
Yesterday would have been my sister’s 30th birthday. I so wish it had been.
I have to stop, I haven’t learnt to blog and cry while wearing these bloody glasses yet and they appear to have steamed up.
Happy birthday to a darling sister, friend, daughter, cousin, and all round good egg, Catherine Yvonne O’Neill.
Let me begin by reassuring you that despite appearances to the contrary this dress is not a shirt. Though I chose it thinking it would work quite well for a night on the town as well as a day dozing in the garden it turned out to be rather unsuitable for both.
I decided to take today off so I could squeeze in some extra time in Manchester and finally get the chance to catch up with my friend who has been on a show stopping musical theatre tour all over the UK. After having a lovely lie in I sat outside in the garden to have my coffee and it was so nice that I didn’t really move much during the rest of the day. My friend came to join me outside and I got so lost in catching up that I foolishly forgot about the wonder that is sun cream. By the time the boy had returned I was a ridiculous shade of pink which did not at all suit today’s dress and is extremely painful.
As we are going out to a gig tonight I tried to calm it down and undo the damage by applying layers of after-sun. After the tenth layer I started to wonder why it was having no cooling affect in spite of the cucumber coloured bottle. At this point I had a look at the label and realised that what I had in-fact been applying was body glitter which had no healing affects but did make me look like an orange disco ball.
There was no time to take it off so I slipped on some other sparkly stuff in the hope of creating an overall impression of a woman hell bent on matching every accessory, arm make up included. The gig was set to take place at a mansion in South Manchester so I treated my feet to fancy shoes and wincing from the pain of my arms clambered in the taxi with the rest of the band.
I must admit that when I hear the word mansion my first thought is Mr Darcy’s estate at Pemberley. For this reason when we arrived at a rather beautiful but derelict mansion which had soil where I was hoping for grounds I was a little disappointed. It was still however a location for a gig and once I got over the soil which was staining the bottoms of my feet it actually turned out to be okay. There were bands playing sets in their pyjamas, toddlers singing magic penny to a hundred people and if one dared to explore the mansion there was an artists rabbit run inside. There were books on every subject you would ever want to study from the 60s and beyond, a grand piano, an artists easel and rooms where musicians could record, for free.
- The dress is originally from H&M, the belt from Topshop, the shoes from Kurt Geiger and the jewellery from Pilgrim. This was one of those dresses donated by the lovely Lara. Though it made for difficult descents from the taxi it is a cute little number and on someone shorter may be rather less revealing.
Considering that up until yesterday I was still behaving like a slightly deranged toddler by insisting to anyone that might listen that I did not want to have a bloody birthday this year, today actually went rather well. Though I have been a little low of late I have always been happiest in the spotlight and having a day which is all about me is actually quite fun.
When we were kids birthday cards and presents were presented once one was settled in pride of place in the middle of my parents king size bed. All of the siblings would squeeze together under the covers whilst the giant went downstairs to make our mother a cup of tea and collect the cards from the door and the presents from the only drawer we were yet to search. There is one photo of the six of us crammed together whilst Catherine my sister opened up her toy truck. It is my parents favourite photo as it shows that once upon a time there was harmony in our home.
These days birthdays are rather different. Though this is the first one I have spent at home in a while rather than bouncing out of bed I tell my brother who comes in at seven to deliver my present to be quiet for the love of God. In my sleepy state I have forgotten what day it is and it is not until he hands me two Glee CDs before he heads out the door that I am visited by my inner birthday diva.
Some time ago a friend of mine dedicated his entire birthday to listening to every Queen album. I decided that to make my birthday perfect I would ensure I listened to as many Glee songs as I could, singing along wherever possible. The giant enquired what the awful noise was coming from the kitchen, but I decided that he was just jealous of my ability to hit the high notes without wavering. Either that or my damaged ear drums are causing delusion. Either way its my birthday so I continue to crow as I open my cards at the breakfast table much to the delight of the dog whose hearing is equally impaired.
My wonderful God mother has given me enough money for my birthday to get my hair chopped so I leave work at 11 to return my prodigal mane to the best hairdresser in Harborough. She gives me a footballers wife blow-dry which makes me giggle as though I am now 26 my humour is just as childish as ever. The last time I got my hair blow dried I rang up browns in Harborough and requested an appointment at their blow-job bar. It was a Freudian slip why mother to call and book it on my behalf.
I spend the rest of the day swooshing my hair back and forth and pretending I am in my own private L’oreal commercial. Though I have already taken one lunch break my boss surprises me when he suggests we all go for a birthday beer. I have a small glass of wine as I have become a terrible light weight of late but even still I leave the bar and head for the public meeting feeling ever so slightly squiggly.
Up for discussion by the board is a hospital for the town which is long overdue. When I was a child I joined my mother on a march to protest against the closure of the maternity ward and with this in mind I consider taking to the stand to share this story when I remember that though I am a little bit pissed I am a professional and professionals do not make public outbursts even on their birthday.
My friend decided yesterday that as I was incapable of making a decision about what I wanted to do she would take the reigns. She books us a table for dinner and sorts out cakes, balloons and flowers. My sister and God mother make it to the meal and the whole day just turns out to be quite lovely. I get a bit tearful whilst looking through my messages because I miss everyone so much and wish they were here in Harborough. It seems a cruel trick of the world that everyone has to keep moving on and if I could have just one wish I would ask that they all had to stay put in one place for one day. I miss my friends.
- Today’s dress is from Florence and Fred. I did think it would look rather rubbish on as the material is quite thin but it fits better than I’d hoped. Admittedly I look a little dressy for the office but I needed something which would carry through to the evening and even a birthday diva like me didn’t dare to wear a plunge neck. This is one of the dresses that came in the first box from my secret donor. The shoes are from Dune but I bought them about a year ago from ebay for £5. My hair is by Lotty of Moko in Market Harborough.
Everyone keeps telling me that in time it will get easier to juggle the job, the boy and the blog, but it has been six weeks and I am still struggling. Last weekend, finding myself behind with my posts because of a busy week at work I tried to catch up. The boy was down for the weekend and my writing dug in to our time together. Though he said at the time that he did not mind, my mother later admitted that she had seen him mock tossing my little laptop from the door. Either he does not like my laptop or he is jealous of all the time we have been spending together.
To try to make him happy and to prevent the blog from coming between us I left log ins to a minimum and only wrote when he was elsewhere. Though this did mean we got a lot more time together, by the time it came to me heading home I was stressed and tearful. I had done no washing, writing or ironing and in spite of my best efforts to catch up on sleep I was still feeling tired.
After saying goodbye I managed to drive till I was just around the corner before having to pull in for a cry. Though I managed to pull it together enough to engage my natural sense of direction after the sat nav ran flat by the time I got home I was a wreck. I do not know why I cannot cope, it seems ridiculous really. I am a grown woman who should be quite capable of living if not acting independently and yet being away from my boyfriend for five nights a week leaves me in a mess. Though I want to stay up to get caught up on the blogs I have left behind over the weekend, tomorrow is deadline day and if I fail to get enough sleep now I’ll be all over the place in the morning. I do hope the girls are right and that sometime soon I will get better at juggling and be able to handle everything more easily with a lot less stress. Spending Sunday evening and Monday morning in tears is never a good start to the week and I am afraid that if this carries on any longer I will have no choice but to drop one of the three. What on earth is wrong with me?
- Today’s dress is on loan from Sinead Kenny. It is originally from Miss Posh. As we are getting a bit bored with the same old background and props we decide to take the pictures outside using a dandelion. It is a nice idea but my heart isn’t really in it as all I can think of during the whole shoot is my car parked behind us which I will soon have to drive away in. The dress is meant to be worn sleeveless but I do not have enough up top to make it stay there by itself so I pull on a Marks & Spencer long sleeved top and use a bobby pin to keep it in place.
Every year Salford puts on a two day festival called Sounds of the Other City. It has a little more grit than most two day inner city dos and plenty of good ales, fancy foreign beers and tasty fresh food more commonly found at a farmers market than a festival. The weekend has not started well but I’m trying to be a more positive person and so I pick out the prettiest dress, comb out my hair and with my glad rags on try to raise my spirits for what has traditionally been a slamming party.
Though it wasn’t meant to be the way the boy and I end up alone and having the kind of time alone together that we rarely have these days. It is one of those days when you find yourself falling in love just a little more than ever before, I hope you’ve had them. You remember why it is that you work through the tears and the tantrums because in truth this is the one in your life with who everything just feels right.
We go skipping through the shops like children, searching for a cardigan to keep me warm because I was too worried about looking good for my boy in the band. The weather is freezing and the boy does his best as usual to usher me into his hooded top but its blue and for boys and the dress is too pretty to be covered by it. We end up settling on a long grey cardigan from Wallis which will now be my new cover it up for work. The problem with the project is that I have lots of very pretty dresses which are borderline suitable for the workplace, some a little short, some a little low, this will make even the shortest shimmery shift suitable for the most conservative court appearance.
After sipping down strawberry beers and munching on chicken tacos and tasty chilli which even my soft-core taste buds can handle we slink back on the walls to watch a wailing guitar guy leads us in a chorus of She’ll be coming round the mountains when she comes. We glimpse an old friend who I haven’t seen for some time, she is looking well and loved up and there is something about seeing somebody so content that cheers me through just as much as my cherry beer; strawberry got sickly quickly.
We head over to the gig where the boy plays an acoustic set. The crowd seem to like it and I wish I could be playing the part of the reviewer once more. The venue has a great feel to it and the two girls who put it on are either extremely excitable or just pissed. Either way their enthusiasm is infectious and the crowd laps it up.
We end up hanging out with the other Onions and our friend Ben, who is just lovely. The last time we were here our gang was a lot bigger and I miss the rest of the crew, especially the girls; Anna, Clara, Ellen and Niki. They are all great company and I wish we had all found work in the same city. Sometimes I find myself a little jealous of London which has landed all these great ladies and I lament not making it down there to see them as I should.
We watch a surf band from Wales. They are playing at one of the city churches where they are selling beer and alcopops. It is surreal and though I fear my mother might not like it I lie beside the boy on a blown up sofa beside the altar. I figure its okay because this is the Church of England and I figure they do things different from us Catholics, we kneel.
Later on we head back to The New Oxford, where the boy had his gig. There’s a band Frazer King, friends of the boys who are playing and based on the last time I saw them they are well worth a watch. Though I do not tell the boy, there is something a little sexy about their lead singer who growls the lyrics. When we get there we find the band outside, setting up on the steps of Salford Magistrates Court, having decided they are too big for the venue. I am amused by their arrogance but their choice of setting is inspirational and the set is sublime. I shiver throughout and see traces of blue on my lips but I don’t want to miss a moment and dance and sway with the boy just to keep warm. They put on a show and its one of those gigs you just know you’ll never forget. I wish the crew were all here but its great and I’m happy and in love and I don’t care if it lasts, its here and we’re happy.
- The dress is from Topshop, a tea dress. I usually hate showing my back, its broad and has a mole which I would love to move but its an eight and when it fits I get a bit carried away and forget all my usual insecurities if only for one day. It is on loan from Kat Ingham, who is in Manchester but who I unfortunately missed out on seeing tonight as she was at the sound of the other city, or Maps.
I can not write this post. Someone I love is hurting and every time I try to type my fingers find a way of betraying everything I am thinking. It is horrible to be helpless in the face of someone’s sadness, to know that there is nothing at all you can do to make things better. This is surely why the cup of tea was invented, but what does one do when the person does not want the tea?
Though I am not yet a mother I feel sure that this must be the hardest part of parenting; to not be able to mend their broken heart, to make the world kind or the monsters go away.
I hate myself at the moment, because surely this is what I am doing to people who try to help me when I am low? They find me at the bottom, a ball of self pity who can see only sadness and feel only hurt. How is it that they are able to try time and time again to drag me back from the brink? I am amazed if I’m honest that so many of them have stuck around and I am so sorry for what I am and for what I become.
Someone I love is hurting and there is nothing I can do.
- Today’s dress was sent to me by my mysterious dress donor. I am sure I could have worn it to work but it feels like a dress for a sunny day and though the day didn’t end well I’m trying to be more optimistic.
I last had a letter from the mysterious dress donor last Friday. She sent another shoe box package filled with beautiful dresses and pretty belts in all sorts of colours and styles. After a friend suggested last weeks letter had Germanic influences I decided to investigate more thoroughly. The boy’s mama, the polish princess has always had a good eye for charity shopping. In the past she and I have trawled around the garden city in search of cheap treats and both get giddy when we find designer clobber in great shape and at a fraction of its original price. As the Polish Princess is, well Polish I start to wonder whether or not it could be she who is my secret sender. I am not sure how best to make enquires so I spend some time studying the latest letter for a hint of her land, customs or language.
My dearest Ellie (Scottish?)
Unudr weeck haf parst. I am sendeeng yoo sum moor dresess und de beltses.
Another week has past. I am sending you some more dresses and these belts. (Dutch perhaps?)
Howp dem ees onlite. eye howps de oder wones were sewtibl. Eet ees veree hardee too fynd wones een yur syzes wot ees alsow sooteebl fovr vorck boot ey vil bee triing two fynded dem fo yoo. (What now?)
Hope these dresses are all right. I hope also the other dresses which I sent to you last week were suitable. It is very difficult to find ones in your size which are also suitable for work but I will endeavour to seek them out from the four corners of the earth for you. (Somebody familiar with my size and that I have a job, interesting.)
eet masted bea veree diefkootd twoo fynd ay deefrend dress vor eetch dey – sevenn wonses eetch weec.
It must be very difficult to find a different dress for each day – seven dresses each week. (A person obviously familiar with the basic principals of mathematics).
Good luck to you in your quest. How are you keeping? I am okay and enjoying the delightful weather. Thank goodness it is sunny. (The Polish Princess is a sun worshipper and garden enthusiast, could this be a clue?)
ekskoos may speleeng bat mi enklish ees nod sow gut.
Excuse my spelling but my English is not so good. (A foreigner!)
Ryt two yew soons wid unnudr parcle.
I shall write to you soon with another parcel.
I am puzzled indeed. From the look of the letter the sender could be a member of any EU state or simply a child let loose with a marker and an antiquated spell check. Perhaps they used a defunct quick quotes quill at the end of the line, oh if only Potter life was real. Anyway back to the mystery. Armed with the second letter and my suspicions about the Polish Princess I approached the boy. He denied all knowledge but as he was giggling giddily I am not sure how honest he is being with me.
I call the Polish Princess hoping for a confession. I ask her out right but she genuinely sounds as though she has no idea what it is I’m talking of. At first I think she is playing a part but when she says she does not know what a blog is I remember her aversion to technology and start to believe her. When I tell her about the notes she suggests the frocks are being sent by a mad woman. If she is lying, she is good. Though she lets slips she has been trailing the treasure shops for clothes for herself she does not falter in her flat out denial and in the end I have to accept my press powers are no match for the Polish Princess. I do not now know who it could be who is sending the dresses and wonder if I will have to wait till the next note to find out more.
- Today’s dress is from my donor who is not necessarily the Polish Princess. As I can not find the person to thank, do know, whoever you might be that I am grateful for the frocks. So many people have now donated dresses to the project or loaned ones of their own to keep me going. As well as the mystery donors there have been parcels sent from Florida, Germany, friends, family and even a fairy (God mother). One thing which has surprised me is how difficult it has been to gain support from actual shops. I had rather hoped the interview might lead to a few local shops in the Harborough area getting in touch, but so far I have had no luck.
- Today’s dress is perfect for work as it is not too short or too low and actually looks like a pretty serious piece of work wear. It is perfect for work as it has little pockets where I can stow away a pencil and paper. I always think it is better to approach people with stationary out of sight so as not to alarm people scared of seeing their name in the paper. I feel I rather destroy my attempt at sophisticated office chic with my choice of stack gold heels and purple tights but I’m still rather ropey from last night’s poorly and I need a little lift to get me through the day. My brother took today’s photos which I tried to make a little different with the shades. Also I had a headache and they helped protect my eyes from the flashing light.
There are days like today when I truly love my job. I am being sent to a selection event where I will join with four other women of character to choose this year’s carnival queen. I am still a little sulky about the fact that I was not allowed to throw my hat into the race but considering the average age of the candidate is ten years younger than myself I may well have left it a little late in life to apply.
There are seven girls from whom we have to choose and though this is an all too common phrase in such contests, the competition between them all is close. We come up with some pretty tough questions about their views on politics, their idol and the all important desert island selection test but they all come up class. There is one 13-year-old who is so eloquent she fills me with hope for all those compelled to end every sentence with “like” or “you know what I mean”. When asked who her idol would be she states Rosa Parkes and has good reason for doing so. There are girls who want to teach abroad, to study law and to perform and they are all active in the community.
Young people often get a bad deal in the press and in all honesty I often find myself frustrated by gaggling gangs of girls shrieking on buses. These girls though give you hope, they are truly little women. They are firm in their opinions and they seem to know both who they are now and who they want to be. When I was 13 I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and was too busy chasing boys and falling in crush to think too much about it. The only difficulty of the evening is their insistence on wearing leggings but I guess they are young and I can only hope such choices are a phase. There is the occasional Ugg but being the professional judge I force myself not to let my prejudices affect my decision making and force myself not to give them fashion advice for their future.
It is great fun trying to decide which of these girls will be best suited to represent our town through the year and though I feel sad we can not give the crown to each of them there is only one tiara. The two girls we pick I am sure are capable. They are both confident and caring and I am sure they will do their best throughout the year to do well by the town. I feel bad for the girls who are not chosen but one of the town’s jewellers has given charm bracelets for the runners up and I hope the sparkle of the silver will go some way to ease their disappointment.
- Today’s dress is on loan from my good friend Kat Ingham. It is from George and is a bit gorgeous. My mother says it is her favourite dress so far which is high praise indeed. Though I hate to admit it I was a little bit worried about the evening as the judges all have to be photographed and I didn’t want to appear in my own paper looking rough. I made a lot more effort with my make up than usual and use my Chanel powder for the first time in months, a special occasion product indeed. Looking in the mirror I remember what it was like to be 13, a time when make up was for fun not for function. I remember sticking stars to my eyelids, coating my lips in cherry tinted lip-balm and trying to learn how to apply just the right amount of blush not to look like I had spent the morning on a marathon rush. I miss my teen skin but at least these days I have the luxury of using Mac rather than Rimmel.