Musings and Snoozes

Water for the soul

small talk

I’ve been writing this one on and off for a while now, not quite being able to find the right words. So now I’m dosed up on about ten different medications, trying desperately to make myself better for a gig tonight and a Brighton trip tomorrow, it seemed as good a time as any to finish it off 🙂

People fascinate me. I don’t care what type of person you are, so long as you have an interesting story to tell. I love getting to know someone – learning their likes and dislikes, what makes them angry, what keeps them awake at 3am, what means most to them in life. I am intrigued by what makes us all work. I want to find out what I have in common with someone, a connection, but also what makes us different. Why do you think a certain way? Why do you believe what you do?

I’ve been a people person for as long as I can remember, and long before I ever recognised it as a “thing”. Maybe it’s linked to my love of stories – everyone is their own story after all, and I long to know what that story is. It’s why my friendships are so important to me, and why some of them are probably quite intense.The people in my life, and the stories they share, mean the world to me.

It doesn’t always last though. Sometimes it’s an instant thing, a 3am thing, that in the cold light of day becomes something different altogether. And that’s ok. Not everything is built to last. Sometimes a fleeting moment of intensity can be far more satisfying than a lifetime of small talk.

But then sometimes it becomes an intrinsic part of life. Sometimes you just find those people that have somehow always been destined to become a part of your life, or at least it feels that way. Often they’re the most unexpected connections, the ones that maybe didn’t come straight away, or that came out of such a weird and wonderful situation, that you never saw it coming, and they’re some of my favourites.

So talk to me, tell me about you, what makes you get out of bed in the morning, what do you dream about when you go to sleep at night. This is what keeps me connected to this world – when all I want to do is shut myself away, it’s what keeps me fighting. So share your secrets and I promise to keep them safe.

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We all want a place where we can be ourselves

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He did, and I did.

Jon made me a blanket fort in the living room today. Even though I was crap and couldn’t bring myself to go into London for Pride, and he was miffed, he still looked after me. I am a lucky girl.

I am also in all kinds of pain. Not even hungover pain after champagne with the girls last night. Just too much, all over, frustrating pain. So I’m having a bit of a mope. I’m trying to look after myself and just rest, but I’m pretty fed up of feeling like this. Not even the pain itself, but just the unpredictability of it all. I’ve done OK this week, not done too much, and yet I still end up like this.

But, frustration and pissiness aside, as I lie here in my little blanket fort, watching Adele headline Glastonbury, I am still constantly overwhelmed by the amazing people in my life. These beautiful people, friends and family, are what get me out of bed in a morning. It doesn’t matter how hard things get, it’s the hugs, love, and giggles that keep me going.

All that and the healing power of a good blanket of course.

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“It just takes some time, little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride”

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I should pin this up at work, in the bathroom, in my yoga room, everywhere really. It’s worth reading and re-reading until it one day sinks in.

This weekend however, I’ve made a good start. After a bit of a hectic day on Friday, I made it to a friend’s party in a sensible yet pretty outfit (ie, we left the crippling heels at home), before heading back to the hotel when I knew my body was starting to break. I then had the best night’s sleep (I always sleep well in hotels) and spent the morning floating around the hotel pool and lying in the sauna. There is nothing like 60°c of dry heat to make the body feel better. To top it off, I went out to brunch with friends, before coming home for a much-needed lazy evening on the sofa.

Unfortunately the laziness carried on into today and I could have kind of done with a bit of motivation. By early afternoon I felt suitably guilty that Jon was outside attacking the jungle that is our garden, and so I finally found the energy to clean and tidy. Somehow I dislocated my wrist, but after a bit of yelping I sorted it out and carried on. It happens a lot, so it’s not as traumatic as it sounds, but the moral of the story is clearly that housework is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

As a reward for being grownups, Jon and I headed into town for dinner, and the restorative powers of sweet potato soup and a chai latte mean that I am vaguely awake for the first time all day. I tried to take advantage of this by completing my “why work should pay for my Masters” application, but I got a bit sidetracked by the football, so clearly I’ll be finishing that in the morning.

My task this week is to continue being an adult and looking after myself. I feel like a lot of things are on the cusp of change at the moment, but they won’t happen unless I learn to be kinder to myself. I did really well when I was still seeing my pain therapist, but I’ve let things slide way too much over the last few months, and so it may be time to go back to everything I learnt last year. Recognising this is always a good sign – there is a fine line between resting and moping, and I’ve done a little too much of the latter over the last few weeks.

So it started with housework today, and I have a plan for the rest of the week:

Tomorrow I shall spend half an hour after work sorting some bits in the garden. But no more, else I’ll cripple myself. I’ll wait til Jon’s home so he can shout at me.

Tuesday I’m particularly looking forward to – I have an indian head massage booked at work, and then I have a midsummer yoga class I’m going to in the evening.

Wednesday I should try and rest, maybe just doing a couple of small bits after work – probably putting away the mountain of clean washing would be a start!

Thursday I’ll go to the gym. Needless to say that’ll be it.

And Friday will be chilling, before heading to London for Pride on Saturday.

All in all, I shall look after me a bit more, not be an asshole to myself, and remember that whatever happens – good days or bad days – I AM ENOUGH. I should probably get that tattooed….

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“In the end, we’ll all become stories”

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Today would have been my dad’s birthday and while the day itself no longer upsets me (you’re more likely to find me bursting into tears on a random Thursday than on a “special” date), I couldn’t let it pass without a mention.

I have pretty happy memories of dad’s birthdays over the years, so I thought I’d share my favourites, or at least the ones that make the best stories.

1) Firstly, it wouldn’t be a British summertime birthday without the rain. When I was a kid, most of dad’s birthdays involved a lot of people and a barbecue. The “lot of people” had often been invited that afternoon in the pre-bbq pub, and bbq itself was usually held under an umbrella. Dad loved it tho, so don’t feel too sorry for him. He’d stand outside looking after his precious bbq, while we’d take it in turns to bring him beer and have a brief chat under the aforementioned umbrella. Once everything was cooked, we’d eat inside, the music would start and I’m pretty sure most of the parties went on late into the night. I, as a child, inevitably had to give in and go to bed at some point, though I’d hate the thought of missing out on something exciting (which incidentally I’m yet to grow out of).

2) One year Dad’s birthday was celebrated in France. We used to go to the same house every year when I was younger and they are some of my happiest memories (and where I started to learn French, albeit very shyly). Instead of enjoying an actual sunny bbq for a change (because we did that every other night), we went out to lunch to celebrate. And so the story of the strawberry coulis was born. This became a running joke for years, and one that mum and I still bring up now. My dad was an amazing cook and loved food, but he didn’t do desserts. Didn’t make them much and didn’t like eating them. This was however clearly an exception and the man fell in love with the strawberry coulis, which I assume was covering some sort of cheesecake, I don’t know, but it became the benchmark for all things for years to come – “it’s good, but not as good as the coulis”.

3) And then thirdly and finally, the memory I shared on Facebook this morning – taking me out of school to go for lunch. Never let it be said that my dad did not have his priorities in order. I can remember that it was a surprisingly nice summer day, and I remember dad texting me to ask if I wanted to meet him in my lunch break for a quick drink (I was in sixth form at this point so it was perfectly reasonable). So off and I went. One drink turned into “well the food in here looks good” and that turned into “it’s only one afternoon, let’s stay here and not tell your mother”. We were good at that – mum’s been significantly educated in the last few years in mine and dad’s antics – the pigeon in the butter, and going out and leaving the front door wide open are just two of the better ones.

And so I don’t know what we’d be doing to celebrate if he were here today, though I suspect it would involve food and music in some shape or form. The one thing I can almost guarantee though is that there would be a good story to tell – there always was with dad and I’m forever grateful for it.

So happy birthday Dad, wherever you are. I hope you’re making new memories and thank you for all the stories 😊

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I’m not one to exaggerate but….

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Never mind my autobiography, it’s been the story of my weekend. I had so many plans and they were all foiled by the fact that I could no longer stand up by lunchtime yesterday. Given that I’d only been up since 11ish, it didn’t bode well. Skip forward 4 hours and I find myself waking up slightly disorientated, having only gone for a quick lie down. Oops.

I know I have to accept that days like this happen, but it never gets any less frustrating. When the pain and fatigue hit at the same time it’s crippling – one or the other is tolerable, but together, nope, life has to stop. The saving grace was that I did feel *slightly* better when I woke up, or at least slightly more awake, if not in just as much pain. I did however manage to brave the supermarket with Jon – even I felt it was harsh to make him go by himself – and so I felt sufficiently smug when I came home to collapse on the sofa. I decided to watch the England game (something I don’t think I’ve done since Dad was around) and fully enjoyed shouting profanities at the TV while Jon was safely in the kitchen, making my dinner – I’m sure we got the gender roles mixed up somewhere along the way, but I’m forever grateful for it!

Today has been much better, although I didn’t make it to the gym as planned, which is kind of a shame given the sheer amount of food I’ve eaten today. Mum treated us to lunch and I was so excited by the amount of gluten free choice on the menu that I *had* to eat it all, obviously. Suffice to say there was a small food coma….

So here I am, back on the sofa, BUT I’ve redyed my hair (pinky/purple now), been out for lunch, done a small amount of laundry, and I’ll do some yoga before bed, which isn’t bad for someone who couldn’t stand up yesterday. I have to take these little victories where I can, so despite my frustrations, I’m proud of me today.

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She loves from the depths of her soul

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Falling in love with Jon was the easiest thing in the world. We joke that all he had to do was say hi and that was it, I was head over heels, but it’s not that far off the truth – something which he likes to continually tease me about of course. If you’d have asked me before though, I’d have told you that love was meant to be hard, it was meant to be something that felt like work, and not what it really is – the most natural thing in the world.

I fall in love far too easily, quite literally in a heartbeat sometimes. Not always the same kind of love and not always with a person, but when I love, be it a friend, a song, a city, an idea, I love intensely. I don’t have a happy medium – I’m an all or nothing kind of girl.

And that goes for my life as a whole – it’s why trying to manage three chronic illnesses is a nightmare. By the very nature of what they do to me, the way to stay healthy (ish) is to stay on an even keel, to do things in moderation, to keep my emotions in check and never do too much or too little. You might as well be speaking Chinese as far as my mind is concerned, and it’s why I end up on the edge of a flare up at any given time.

Would I change it? Sometimes. It’s hard work feeling everything so intensely all of the time. I even feel the nothingness just as much as the other plethora of emotions. But it’s real and it’s life, and I don’t think I’d want to miss out on the intensity of it all – sure it would be easier and less tiring, but it would also just be….less.

And so I just have to remember to take time out and to look after me. To take all the feelings and emotions, sit back and pick them out one by one, and reset myself to start again. It’s easier said than done, but I will make life work for me. And if I happen to fall in love with you along the way, well then enjoy every intense moment of it with me.

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I’ve loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night

Be Friends

The beauty in the darkness is something I’ve taken a long time to become comfortable with – to see it as a friend and not an all consuming part of me. I’m fascinated by balance and the need for both light and dark to not only survive, but to live fully – I honestly don’t think you can have one without the other. Finding that balance is hard, but life is teaching me how to use them both to learn about myself and the world around me.

Right now, well, things are the epitome of light and dark, up and down, good and bad. I go from high as a kite one minute to lost and overwhelmed the next. I don’t know how much of it is me, how much is not taking care of myself properly, or how much of it is just my ridiculous medication and the many delightful side effects it brings. Maybe it’s all three. I probably need to step back and re-find the balance again, but it’s hard with so much going on. I’ve given myself a day off work on Wednesday at least, which is a fairly big step for me, and I’m hoping for a day of getting lost in the summer rain for a while and trying to get back on track.

Despite the downs and the less than pleasant parts of my life, I don’t know that I’d change it. Well no, maybe that’s a bit far – if I could have my Dad back and maybe some of my health too, then yes, let’s be honest I would. But those experiences do make me “me”. I got talking about regrets and past relationships earlier and it made me realise that I’m remarkably proud of who I am today because of what I’ve learnt from life so far. I don’t think that’s bad for a sometimes jaded, cynical 29 year old. It’s not to say I wouldn’t go back and do things differently – given a second chance, who wouldn’t – but as long as I can remember that sometimes you need the bad stuff to teach you about the good stuff, then it wasn’t all in vain.

So here I am, treading a fine line somewhere in the middle at the moment, neither comfortable nor consumed by one or the other, but the fact that I recognise that is always the first step in not spiraling out of control. And so I’ll look for the lessons in both, take what I can, and keep (hopefully) heading in the right direction.

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“Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic”

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So this post was originally going to be about the little ways in which my illnesses affect me – the overall feeling of chronic pain and constant fatigue is one thing, but it’s the little things that mean the the most to me. Then while I was writing I came across the quote above, which is a pretty good representation of how I feel about the pain, both physical and mental – I can quite literally let it kill me or it can make me stronger, or I can at least make the best out of a bad situation. So then of course, story of my life, I got sidetracked.

The little thing itself that started off this post was that I can no longer physically write. Not the words, but the physical act of writing with a pen and paper sadly cripples me now – my wrist seizes up, dislocates, and then I’m in so much pain that I have to stop. That’s pretty damn heartbreaking for a writer, I can assure you. But there are ways and means round it – my phone is my lifeline when it comes to being able to put my thoughts into writing, be it here on my blog or via my notebook app that let’s me capture thoughts and dreams as they come. And of course it doesn’t mean I can’t still get lost in a world of words, and when they’re not my own, they’re someone else’s.

And so Beau Taplin – someone whose writing I have utterly fallen in love with, and who has inspired many of my own thoughts over the last few months. His books are full of snippets of life, love, pain, beauty, and everything in between. I can fall in and out as I wish, dipping in for five minutes or days on end, and I love that – sometimes I just need a pick me up and sometimes I need a full on escape. His words never fail to connect with me, to make me think, to question, or to just think yes, that’s exactly it.

And so I’ll leave you with the words below. Go check out his work if you’re interested – I can guarantee you’ll find something in there somewhere to touch your soul.

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