I am finding things tough at the moment. I am tearful and cry at everything from Come Dine With Me, don’t ask, to One Born Every Minute. I am seeing my CPN tomorrow and in many ways the visit feels long overdue. I do not know why I am feeling so down. Things are good, they really are but here I am sad and blue not really knowing what to do.
A visit to the CPN always helps because I get a chance to offload and work out a plan for how I’m going to deal with life generally. At the moment things are tricky because the boy is not here and my parents are in Ireland so I have far too much time alone with my thoughts.
The one thing that really sticks out is the moment is my lack of a regular photographer. When I did the 365 Dresses project my mum and the boy were regular snappers and it became part of the fun of the blog and made sure that even when I was down I still had to make the effort to smile. The boy is always full of advice about how smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, is great as it releases endorphins.
When he tells me this when all I want to do is run away and cry .I want to yell at him but I’m usually just to low to summon the strength to do so.
Today saw good progress in terms of footwear. Four days in I have mastered the art of these heels and no longer waddle but stride on my way to the office. Although I am getting the hang of the courts I could have hugged the estate agent when he offered me a lift to the second viewing. As soon as I got home I slipped my purple tights into my silky red slip on shoes and heard my toes breathe a sigh of relief.
The photos will be taken tomorrow as I am too low and too tired to put on a show, even in front of a mirror.
Getting behind with blogs always bums me out. I do like to make sure I am up to date but there are times like today when I have so many to catch up on that the task just seems too much. After many attempts to bash out a birthday blog, a tribute to the red dress and even a recollection of the night of my birthday celebrations I had to give up because I just couldn’t get them right and because in the case of the celebration blog my memory has been compromised by too many cocktails. Who knew something so delicious could be so lethal, darn you Oat Hill and your sorcerer ways.
There are times the blogs just fire from my fingers and in a matter of minutes a medley of words will shoot up on the screen. Today though no matter how hard I try I can’t finish even one, or even start it for that matter. My mind is all over the place and I’ve been on a downward slide ever since I woke up on Sunday morning. They say that alcohol is a depressant and the state I was in at the end of the day would seem to support that fact.
I do try to cheer myself up, I really do. I abandon Yoga for a three episode Glee marathon in the hope that the cheesy tunes would prove to be more spiritually cleansing than another session of singing oms. Unfortunately I fear I may have made the wrong choice and find myself wishing I had given the hippy healing another go. Glee is great but if I am honest its a little like Harry Potter, you always find yourself wishing it was real and knowing that there isn’t really a magical world or a place where spontaneous song is totally acceptable makes me a little sad.
In the end I decide to abandon my attempts to become a professional singer and opt for an early night. When I enter my room I am instantly cheered. The boy stayed over last night and I confessed to him that I was fed up of getting behind with blogs and having a room that was constantly in a state due to having a hundred dresses with no real place to put them. He has tidied up the room, put up my birthday cards, hoovered the floor and I even detect a hint of polish in the air. As well as this he has found the picture of liownn and I and mounted it on the wall opposite my bed so that the first thing I see when I wake up is the colourful drawing. Admittedly the dresses are still in a pile at the end of the bed but they are in a neat pile. This makes all the difference. Though things are tough with us living apart he still seems able to find ways to make my week easier even when he isn’t here. Now if only I could remember how to write.
- Today’s dress is from Florence and Fred sent from my mystery dress donor. Unfortunately I still know no more about the identity of this person and feel as though I am getting nowhere after ruling out my only suspect. Though I had thought the Polish Princess was the sender, the boy’s mother was away in Spain when this package arrived and unless she has gained an accomplice I think I must look elsewhere to find the culprit.
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.
I feel restricted. Today’s dress to an outsider looks beautiful, flowery and feminine but throughout the day it has been slowly killing me. There is a corset structure on the inside which I believe may have realigned not only my bust but also my inner organs. In all fairness the dress has not been particuarly helped by my decision to go for the trio of meats at the Oathill for my Sunday dinner. The dress does not take kindly to my choice and even when I am ordering it I feel it twisting in outrage trying its best to remind me that corseted ladies should stick to neat little cucumber sandwiches and at a push a stick of Ryvita.
When the boy has to leave for home I am inconsolable; the weekend as always has gone by all too quickly and it feels as though there was no time at all to just be. Fearing I will embarrass myself on the platform by crying or trying to board the train I say goodbye at the door and let him get a lift with my baby brother. I don’t want him to see me sad but when he says goodbye I start to cry and can’t seem to stop.
I try to force myself out of it by sitting down to catch up on blogs but there is a problem with wordpress and I can not post. I do not know why but this leads to further tears which confirms my fears that I am starting to lose it a little this evening. Until now I had not realised how helpful writing the blog is for my general well being. There is something about writing it which allows me the creative release which I so obviously need. I spend so much of my time trying to keep my emotions under control and monitoring my behaviour to make sure I am not falling to low or climbing to high that it is nice to just write and not have to worry too much over what comes out.
When I write for the press I am constantly fretting over minute sections of sentences. I spend time trailing through the thesaurus to find the perfect word and seek out alliteration and rhyme wherever possible, checking the metre of the sentence by reading it aloud in my head. With the blog though I just type whatever I feel about whatever has moved me that day.
There are days where I do specific posts which I have thought about in my head for weeks but I never feel pressurised to perform when I blog and this I suppose is mainly down to you. I have been lucky enough so far to have readers who do not judge, demand or criticise too easily. I know the quality waivers and that posts are at times too long or too short but thank you, from the bottom of my heart for bearing with me and finding the time to read.
- Today’s dress is a donation from my lovely Fairy God Mother. I do not usually wear this style of dress, I am paranoid about my wide shoulders but with a cardigan the dress is balanced and thanks to the corset everything is pulled tightly into place to give me an hourglass shape which I guess is worth a bit of discomfort. I stuck with bare legs but am beginning to think the time has come to invest in a little sun in a bottle to stop my milky white limbs from blinding people with their ghostly glare.
My baby brother took the photos today on the one condition that he would not have to get up from his chair to do so. He has taken them before but got so carried away with finding cool angles and forgetting to include the dress in the shots that he has not been given another chance behind the lens until now. We did not start too well, the first three photos were of the armchair in front of him and the next two had the dress but no head. He pointed out quite rightly that had I wanted heads to be the focus I really should have named the project 365 heads and not 365 dresses. Darn him and his impenetrable logic.
The poor boy is not feeling so well today as he has been visited in the night by the dreaded Balti bug and after a day of drinking only water he is apparently too weak to move. I pointed out that Jesus had gone for 40 days without sustenance which unfortunately reminded him that I had recently misquoted the messiah in the local press.
When Paul was born I think it was a bit of a shock to everyone. My mother was not entirely sure how to care for a boy and we were all fascinated by the fact that we now had a baby brother. Luckily for my mother she had six willing hands to help to get him through his early years. Though none of us were ever keen on barbie dolls, preferring to play cops and robbers instead, the temptation of a real life doll to care for was impossible for any of us to resist. I worry we rather spoilt him to begin with, there was always someone to cut up his food, tie up his laces or tuck him in when he was having a bad dream. We adored him and our willingness to treat him like a little angel was not helped by his sweet nature, dusty blonde hair and baby blue eyes.
Every night before he went to sleep I would read him Goldilocks and the Three Bears to soothe him to sleep. It was the most adorable thing in the world to watch as his little baby blue eyes fought to stay awake to hear the tale. I do not think we ever made it to the point of the three bears arrival to the story but I like to think this meant no demons ever entered his dreams.
When he first went to school he could sing the alphabet, read a book and even draw his letters. There was one little issue though. He did not have a clue how to do up his coat or tie up his laces. Sister Rosario, who had taught every single one of my mother’s girls, watched in sheer horror as my brother, asked to put his coat on ready to go outside to play, put his arms out in the air and waited for someone to dress him. It really was not his fault, he had never had the chance to learn because he always had one of his four mothers there to do the honours.
- Today’s dress is on loan from my sister. It is originally from Next but I think it is definitely better suited to her. She is taller than me and suits spotty dresses better than I do. I think I look a little too matronly and wide at the hips.
I have sunk. Over the past few days I have felt myself falling and today I am just totally flat. I am worried about work, about the way I write and about how long it takes me to get a good introduction done. I am anxious and annoyed at myself for not getting on quicker; I am trying desperately hard but I just want to be there so much faster than it seems to be taking me.
I was gifted with the opportunity to write and research the splash, the front page of the paper. I managed to get the quotes and the contacts which is often the hardest part but when it came to writing it I froze. I couldn’t seem to convey what I wanted to say in the opening paragraph and after writing it and discarding it twelve times panic set in. It was so annoying because I had the time I just folded under the pressure. I was starting to feel last week as though I was finally getting the hang of things but after fluffing up today I just feel so angry with myself for not being able to follow things through. I know I can write but I just seem to be struggling.
I do not think that it helps that I have been coming home to an empty house the past couple of days. I like to think I am an independent woman who is happy in her own company, and most of the time I am. It is times like this evening though that I feel myself getting a bit tearful and wish the boy was here so I could curl up on his chest and warble out my worries from the day. As it is though I am alone and sad and have little enthusiasm for anything. The football was on and I watched it for a little while but couldn’t seem to summon the usual love of the sport. I knew I should eat but there was nothing I wanted and I did not see the point in cooking for myself. I had started to wonder whether it might be good for me to move into a place by myself, where any stresses were all my own but on days like this I worry how I would cope. Perhaps I will be one of those women who ends up with seven kittens or maybe I shall be sensible for once and take up Tai Chi.
- Today’s dress was brought for me by the boy as a cheer up treat yesterday. It is some unusual make but it was from British Heart Foundation and was only £3.99. I wore it with my checker tights and some huge heels to give me a bit of a boost. I am not usually a fan of purple but according to the boy it suits my hair colour. My baby brother took the photos for me before having to head out to see his lovely lady. He is a big fan of strange angles which he creates by spinning the camera around and randomly taking the photos when I am least expecting it.
After spending a weekend on what may well have been a mini high I have now entered free fall. Last night the boy and I had a horrible fight over the “future”. Admittedly I was probably being a little irrational. I wanted him to show me in some way that this is going to work; that we will be able to get through the next 18 months without falling to pieces and that this will all have been worth it in the end. It just feels strange a month ago we were considering the possibility of moving in together and playing house and now I am looking in the local paper for flats to move into by myself.
Though I am quite excited about the prospect of living alone for the last time I am sad to see our little dream end before it had really started. I know we can make this work but when I’m feeling low and pessimistic its hard to persuade myself of the positives. I do feel for him, I know it can not be easy going out with a girl whose head is so often in the clouds; the dark and the thundery as well as the light and the fluffy. He has always been the realistic one of the two of us. Though I might run away in my mind with schemes and plans about trips away to Cuba and a home in the Lakes where he can teach and I can write, he will be there holding my hand, ready to pull me back down to earth when the schemes become too wild.
Yesterday we argued because he is frustrated at how little I have been looking after myself. He hates to see me go into decline and understandably gets angry when he thinks it might be because I have been staying up too late, forgetting to take my tablets or just taking on too much. Although he has upset me this weekend by choosing to spend the Easter holiday at home rather than coming down to be with me, considering how much of a mess I was last weekend I can hardly blame him.
So often with mental illness it becomes all about the person who is sick. It is we who are given the tablets, the counselling and the coping strategies, all to often it is our partners, family and friends who fall by the way with little advice or explanation on how they should cope with the giant grey elephant in the corner who can not seem to stop crying their eyes out or talking at a hundred miles a minute. There are groups and websites which can help friends and partners but it is hard to know where to turn. There was one stage when I was living in Manchester when the boy was having to spend so much of his time making sure I was okay. I wasn’t seeing a Doctor, I was no longer on any anti-depressants and I had started having panic attacks. When I am a wreck it is all to easy for me to forget how much he has done and continues to do for me. I never want him to be my carer but there has been times when I know I couldn’t have coped without him. We work the best when we are both happy and I hate it on days like today when I sink so low that I refuse to believe anything he says. I tell him he should not be with me, that he should find a normal girl who is not so high maintenance but because he is sweet he tells me I am not and that he would not have me any other way even if I was.
I do love him dearly but I am so afraid of what the next eighteen months will bring. I am terrified that one day I will shoot us in the foot by saying something I do not mean and he will walk away for good and find himself a girl with fewer issues. One day he tells me he will write a blog which he hopes will help the partners of other people with problems, but at the minute I think he might be a bit too mad to write.
- Today’s dress comes from Lara. It is beautiful and I put it on because I knew the boy liked it when he first saw it in the bag of donated dresses. I wanted him to get on the train with a happier memory of me than the tired, tearful, weary eyed woman he went to bed with last night.
The house has been taken over by women and it is fabulous. There is make up piled upon the sides, glitter lines all of our carefully faded terracotta floor tiles and there are shoes, handbags and even a bra strewn everywhere. The place smells of a dozen perfumes and best of all it is warm, oh so warm.
The giant and my mother have gone away to the poet’s country for the Easter holidays and have left me alone with an empty house crying out for company. My little brother tried to return yesterday for a snack but was shooed away for fear he would ruin my table setting or worse still try to steal one of the carefully baked fish cakes. I passed him over a strawberry yoghurt and encouraged him to go out for the night and treat himself to a take away.
The girls have come over to stay for the weekend and it has been lovely having our home female again. Long ago, when girls dominated the house with a majority of two to one, the leaving up of a toilet seat was an unforgivable offence. Bathroom time back then had to be limited between the four of us, with staggered shower times to accommodate the appalling length of time we would each spend caring for our long brown locks with lovely lotions and potions. There would be constant crowing about who had used whose best shampoo or “where the hell is my hairbrush gone”.
There was also always a stand-off at the hall mirror where most of the morning battles were fought between the sexes. It was a perfect place as it fell between all five bedrooms and was directly outside the bathroom. It was at this spot that we would stand to shout from about “how long can it take to brush your teeth” and “what the hell do you think you’re doing, its my time now.” My sister Catherine actually used a timer to brush her perfect pegs and it was at least five minutes of careful circular brushing before she even got round to gurgling the mouthwash.
The mirror was also the place where we jostled for position. The giant used to have a beard when we were teens and most days it needed trimming. Unfortunately he always seemed to time this at the exact same point at which we all needed the mirror to preen, tame our locks and pose. In all fairness to our father he did try to resolve the problem by installing another mirror in the hallway but there were no plug sockets, perfect lighting or even a nice little shelf there for us to put our make up on so we quickly gravitated back to the main mirror. Though the new mirror did have its problems I think the real reason we never stuck to the new seeing glass was we actually rather enjoyed the teasing and the tussles of the morning.
I remember the giant yelling up to us from where he stood downstairs by the door insisting that unless we were all in the car in five minutes he would be driving down to the bus stop without us. My mother made the mistake of pointing out on one occasion how pointless this would be but the threat continued nevertheless. We were all so dreadful at getting ready in the mornings that on account of one bathroom battle or another we missed the school bus pick up from the town at least once a week. On these occasions, the giant who is a very safe but very fast driver would chase down the bus, taking it over on close corners to get in front to the following bus stop so we could get to school. It was hysterical and one of the best bits was watching as all the other school children gazed out at us hurtling past hoping we would once again beat the bus and make it to school in time.
Having the girls here for the weekend reminds me of how brilliant it is to live in a female focused house. It smells lovely, there is always chocolate and wine hidden somewhere and there is always someone to gossip about the day with and best of all the heating never gets turned off, but don’t let the giant in on that one.
- Today’s dress is a donation from Hannah Cantrell. It is from Miss Selfridge and though I think it looks very smart it is a little short for the workplace. The rabbit and the strange flowers, which I am slightly afraid might well open up and eat me were Easter presents from the boy. I would like to think I have the will power to make the bunny last as long as the flowers but as its ears have already been lopped off the odds are not looking good on the time it has left in this world.
I am a sleepy social media madam today. I had an ingenious idea last night that if I went into work a little earlier than expected I would get more done. It was a good idea and maybe I did get more done but now at ten or maybe even eleven at night my brain is buzzing but my body is begging me for sleep. One of the most exciting and addictive things about journalism is the thrill of being ever slave to a deadline. It can be stressful, of that there is no doubt but the pressure of knowing the clock is ticking often forces us hacks to hammer out some of the most inspirational, witty and really just rather wonderful pieces which would never have been as good if they had been given too much time to brew and mellow.
Today has been hectic. For some ridiculous reason our phones went down. This would have been okay by itself but for some reason this also meant our email, internet access and really just about everything went down at the same time. You would be amazed at how adaptable one must be in times of technological meltdown.
Today I have used the yellow pages, not the yell version, but the kind which short men would use in the past to kiss girls which were just that little bit too tall for them to reach up to. I also became acquainted with an interesting tool known as an A-Z. As a girl who is unable to find her way to her fella’s home without guidance from Shawn, my friendly Irish friend of Tom-Tom fame, I was amazed to find I can still read a map. Admittedly I lost at least half an hour on my way home after forgetting to turn the map the right way up but nevertheless I must admit I am feeling fabulously independent.
I was hoping today would be the last time I had to stumble about the town in heels as I was due to have another chat with the giant this evening about the car situation. Unfortunately my mother, the peace maker intervened early on. She apparently sensed that one was too stressed and the other was too tired and so because of her uncanny powers of perception the talk will have to wait till tomorrow.
Though I am feeling rather romantic today about old-fashioned methods of communication and information acquirement there are a number of benefits and charms of the internet and IT which must be mentioned. Copy and paste is one of the most brilliant inventions of our time; one realises this after claw hand sets in after copying endless quotes from paper, actual paper! I was also informed the other day by a friend that Microsoft Office actually gives one the opportunity to recall an email. Just think of all the relationship breakdowns and diplomatic fall outs which could have been avoided had this trick been more widely publicised. Rather than trying to get people to ping, poke or bing, or whatever the new sappy sounding buzz word of the moment is, Mr Gates should be sending out emails across the globe telling people about this, the holy grail of idiots who email.
I had better get my blogging bottom off to bed for tomorrow is my actual first deadline day as a trainee reporter. I am paranoid about getting my patch page just right and have spent the past couple of hours craning over my copy to make sure everything is just so; however my eyes are starting to stream and my head is beginning to lull and if I do not go to bed soon I risk boring the tweeting world with my angst. I think I need to get back in touch with my counsellor.
- Today’s dress is from the lovely Lara who has donated a whole heap of dresses to the project. This dress is originally from Tu which I think roughly translates as Sainsburys. I must admit I am rather impressed with the supermarket frocks at the moment, yesterdays dress was also from a supermarket and I had quite a few compliments on it. I am totally in love with the floral print on this dress and even though I found it a bit too low on the bust the cut is quite clever and it tucks you in at the waist with a tie which runs round the back. I think it was originally designed to be a knee-length frock but Lara is a creative lady who is a little shorter than me and I think she has taken the hem up herself. Mummy took the photos, don’t ask.