Category Archives: All the rest of my life

Not that I’m sure where I’m going with this

Having a counsellor to talk to is fascinating. Having a good counsellor to talk to is, well, everyone should try it. (Everyone! A good one, mind!) One of my counsellor’s particular rules is I am not allowed to blame myself and beat myself up over, well, anything, really, as I have a terrible tendency to sit there staring up at the light-fixtures to stop tears overflowing my lower eye-lids, saying things like ‘If only I’d realised, if only I’d known, if only I’d tried to do X instead of Y…’

‘If only shmonly,’ says my counsellor, ‘You did the best you could with the information you had.’

In the course of this sequence of not-being-allowed-to-diss-myself, we also discussed why I diss myself. (Family dysfunction hununga rutoot nureek squilookle, tedious predictable). And I had an insight. Or a resight. All my life, the people around me, the ones whose opinion was most formative and important, told me that I was not worthy of love. I don’t think they meant to do that, honestly, but the messages were, variously, ‘you talk too much. Stop showing off, it puts men off. No one likes a smartarse woman. You’d be so pretty if you were thinner. It’s a shame you need glasses. You make too many jokes, men prefer it if they’re the funny ones in a relationship. Why do you have to be so opinionated? Have you lost weight? Why aren’t you a doctor/lawyer/professor yet?’

(Eeep, my family are such sexist bastards. Eeep).

I spent years thinking I’d never marry because no one at all would ever want to marry me. Why on earth would they?

And then H loved me, and my Important People were so! Very! Pleased! Because H, H was great. H was talented and good-tempered and thoughtful and did the washing-up and could cook and had a good job and was so patient with May. So patient. Look at H, putting up with May sounding off again! Amazing. Wow, now he’s being proud of her being funny! Look! Isn’t it special? Isn’t she lucky that he appreciates her jokes?

So, that was the dynamic, at least in my own head, for a very long time. H was The Great Catch, and I was the lucky, lucky, possibly undeserving inferior being who had caught him. God knows with what. Limed twigs? A large net and a trident?

Yes. Well.

We could flip this, couldn’t we? May is bright, articulate, funny, opinionated-in-a-good-way, has great hair, talented, cooks a fabulous lasagne, and actually quite a few people like (really really like) full-breasted curvy girls with neat ankles and a habit of poking their glasses up their noses and looking fiercely at things. How did H luck out and catch her? Watch May putting sweetly up with his ineptitude in all things literary! Awww, she’s explaining the neurobiology of consciousness to him again. Remember when she patiently showed him how to wash the outside of bowls and saucepans before stacking them in the cupboard? Isn’t he so very lucky he’s found a life-partner that makes him laugh like the proverbial drain on a daily basis? I wish my spouse made me laugh like a drain on a daily basis.

*sigh*

(Yeah, no, it was a resight. I just remembered this poem from June 2011.)


Frolicking in Limbo

Hello, Gentle Readers. Went the week well? Shall I tell you about my week? Of course I shall, it’s why I started the blog – to babble into the void, whether the void liked it or not.

Item – Last weekend I went to stay with Hairy Farmer Lady, who fed me cake in epic quantities, and then ice-cream in epic quantities, and having done that, booze in epic quantities, and then let me rant in epic quantities and took me to the theatre to boot. It was beyond awesome. And I felt, well, I felt wanted. And funny and cute, but above all wanted. Worthwhile. Worth making an effort for. Wanted. Excuse me, I must just attend to a face-leak.

Item – I don’t think H ever consciously meant to make me feel worthless and unwanted. But! People of the World! If your partner continuously complains that Behaviour X makes them feel worthless and unwanted, you have to deal with the motherfucking fact that persisting in Behaviour X sends a very distinct and hard-edged message to your partner that actually, yes, they are not as important to you as Behaviour X. It doesn’t matter if X = having a meths lab in your shed or X = just being obsessed with golf to the point where you are never available to go to Sunday lunches with the In-Laws and run interference. (Caveat, obviously, sometimes, Behaviour X is no big deal and you may feel partner is being a dick about it. Then you have to ask yourself ‘do I want to live with a dick who is less important to me than X?’). But to do something dinosaurish, and to lie to your partner about it, even though your dinosaur is making you behave in a boorish way and your partner is crying about it again, HUGE WARNING WHO’S BEING THE DICK NOW KLAXON.

Item – More limbo, in that my mother is experiencing delays in her finances, which means I am experiencing delays in my mortgage-planning, which means I am still living with H, which is a colossally awkward life experience which no doubt is vastly improving to my character and morals at the expense of my fingernails and sleep-habits.

Item – Living with H does not suck, because we are both being very adult and polite and we are both trying very hard to remember that the situation is fucking awful for both of us. Well, it does suck, but it could suck so very much more. I do remember, I must remember, that H is bearing a burden of his own and it’s galling, chafing and wearying him too.

Item – H does artistic things from time to time. I went to one of these events this week. I had been looking forward to it, you see. H came over to say hello at one point, and when he’d gone back to The Art, the person next to me said ‘oh, is he your husband? You much be so very proud of him!’. ‘Yes,’ I said. Yes. And no. And, oh God, no.

Item – I got into a bit of a panic about moving out, about not being able to move out, about renting instead for a bit, about how I couldn’t really afford to rent unless I shared, about how very much I did not want to share, about money, and was I doing the right thing? Was I? Was I? I went to see my counsellor and flailed at her for a bit. There, there, she said. Baby steps. It’s OK to take baby steps. It’s OK not to know quite what to do. It’s perfectly OK for this all to take ages and ages. If I’m more comfortable sharing living-space with H until I can sort my own place out, even if that takes months, that is OK. As it would be OK if I ran squeaking into the night carrying nothing but my laptop and spare knickers. If stability is very very important to me, that is also OK. If I am phobic about moving house at the best of times, guess what? It’s OK!

Item – Also I am strong and intelligent. It’s a thing people keep saying to me, but when my counsellor says it she means just that, rather than ‘so stop crying because you’re making me uncomfortable’ Thank you, beloved NHS, for this woman and her well-trained kindness and the fact she laughs at my jokes.

Item – I went out again this weekend (see? Frolicking!) with more people who laugh at my jokes and make me feel wanted. So there’s that. Which is good. Which is very good. There is life at the end of the tussle.

Item – And now for a quick bitching – I am baffled by the small, (very small, not you) quantity of people who have attempted to ‘comfort’ me or ‘cheer me up’ by telling me anecdotes about their own lovely children/spouses/four-bedroom houses with gardens. It’s one thing to tell me about children and spouses and houses in a spirit of ‘well, this is what is going on in my life’, because I do actually give a damn or indeed several about my friends and their offspring and belongings. But to offer up a ‘look at my adorable child! My splendid spouse gave me a present! I have walk-in closets!’ anecdote to cheer me up, when I am childless, getting divorced, and soon to be homeless does not strike me as classy.

Item – Oh, yes, Cerazette! Some kind souls have asked about Cerazette and Shark Week (or, Shark Festival Fortnight, as it insisted on becoming). I am still on said pill, I plan to stay on it until I am very elderly and menopausal. I do have a slight ‘issue’ (ho ho ho. Hee hee hee) with spotting, as it comes and goes unpredictably and hangs about for weeks, but it’s light and unobtrusive, by and large. And no periods. No burning pains in the uterus and bladder and cramps in the bowel that go on for most of the month. I’ll take the spotting, ta.


A sad

I had grand plans to spend the evening cooking and doing laundry. Instead, I spent it eating cheese on toast and watching TV in a weepy heap.

I miss H. It’s horrible. I loved him so much.

I loved him enough to bundle away my writery ambitions and get a proper job, so he didn’t have to feel conflicted about supporting me, and so we could save money – he always wanted a house of his own (neither of us were to know the housing market would go batshit insane. Heigh ho). I didn’t care so much about property, but I couldn’t in all conscience base my plans for lentil-eating garret-dwelling poeting on his earning power. I had to contribute. I got a proper job. (Thank fuck I did [Irony Claxon]).

And then we tried for babies. I swear, I would never have kept on trying so long so hard if H hadn’t been adamant that he also wanted children. Yes, I wanted children very much, I really did, or I wouldn’t’ve gone along with it all. But I wanted my child to have what I never had – a father. A real one, who stayed, and who would do nappies and 3am sheet-changes and colic and maths homework and who would love them and love me and put us first. Unlike my own father. Unlike my step-father.

I thought H was doing what I was doing. Putting us first. Putting our future child, should we finally have one, first. Putting me, if not first, then at least up there with ‘important’ and ‘beloved’.

And he didn’t. Maybe he couldn’t. But then he should’ve told me he couldn’t love me like that before agreeing to marry me. He should’ve told me when he first found he was carrying Velociraptor eggs home in his pocket. He should’ve trusted me. Instead, he took advantage of the fact I trusted him.

I am being unbelievably fucking petty at the moment, because H is slowly getting round to telling his family and close friends about Divorce Because Velociraptors, and they are being supportive of him. Of course they should be, he’s family, and he is clearly very depressed and fucked-up and needs all the support he can get. But – I told you this was petty – my family are all about the ‘you’ll be fine, May! You’re brave and strong and resilient and this will be the making of you!’. While worrying that H will be having a ghastly time.

What about my ghastly time, you bastards? H asked to have a ghastly time, literally asked, taking foolish risks as he did. I did not ask. I felt I’d already had a ghastly time, thank you, quite sufficient for the time being. My baby died. For the tenth time in a row. I nearly died. That was ghastly. Being caught arsing about with Velociraptors is not actually in the same league. And yet I am ‘resilient and fine and fine and this is the best thing ever for me’ and poor H is having a ‘ghastly time’ and needs people to stand by him. The innocent and righteously indignant victim is never as knee-jerk attractive and sympathetic as the repentant sad-eyed kicked-puppy bad boy.

At least no one has said I ought to stand by him. Because fuck that noise.


“We are rarely proud when we are alone”

Item – H is away for a few days, and I am practicing solo living. I am supposing we will have quite a few of these practice runs up until we finally split. Which is a very good idea. We’ve been living together since we were 23. We have rarely spent even a night apart. I am very bad at being on my own. Shameful, but true. Practice runs. Can but help.

Item – I had a successful and productive meeting with my bank. There was no reason to suspect it wouldn’t be. I am a successful and productive adult. I can talk to my bank about savings and mortgage assessments. Why on earth shouldn’t I? Of course I wasn’t so nervous and freaked out that I forgot to eat breakfast and then forgot my mobile phone at home and for one brief moment of existential nihilism forgot my birthdate.

Item – Having successfully Dealt With Bank, in the form of charming young man in slightly crooked tie, I had no one to ramble on and on about it all at. Normally I’d call or text or email H about it – ‘Hey! H! I unlocked Adult Achievement Level Talking To The Bank!’ I felt all weird and ‘off’ until I remembered the internets. Hi Internets! I went to the bank! Like a grown-up! And talked about money! It was actually not that hard! I’d rather slam my hand in a door than do it again!

Item – Cooking for one sucks arse. I did it successfully on Saturday and on Sunday, nourishing tasty meals with vegetables in them and everything. Tonight? Left over polenta and bacon. Even the bacon failed to rescue it from mere adequacy. I am disappoint.

Item – Undignified panic attack in the supermarket on Sunday, when I was half-way through the shopping and realised just how much groceries cost every month. Oh, I did actually know this, on account of not being a flaming idiot, but the holy fucknuts food is expensive aspect struck me with sudden and frankly unattractive force. That, combined with Looming Talking To The Bank, had me hyperventilating behind the mushroom display. Go me!

Item – I startled awake at about 2am, because there was a noise, a noise, in the other room. A noise. I held my breath. It did not repeat itself. I spent ten minutes nerving myself, then crept to the door, holding a knitting needle as a weapon. I flung myself into the lounge, and discovered! That! A noise like a book sliding off a pile of other books! Is caused! By! A book sliding off a pile of other books! I poked the culprit with the knitting needle on principle, and went back to bed to dream of… things… trying to open the window from the outside. And I damn well know if I’d been woken by a muffled slither and thump from the other room if H had been beside me, I’d’ve listened for maybe 30 seconds, said ‘meh’ to myself and gone back to sleep.

Item – Some friends took me out on Saturday and I was light-hearted and amusing about The Dividing of the Saucepans, and then I went home and cried because I was all alone and didn’t want to divide the saucepans at all. And then I cried because it was warm and sunny and couples were out and about holding hands and everything. And then I cried because I should be so very bloody hugely pregnant I could barely move, let alone prance up and down the city centre, drinking coffee and giving up my seat on the bus to others. And then I did the washing up.

Item – I also did laundry. So there.


The tedium, it is grinding

Item – Oh, look, a whole month, more than a month, since H’s Great Reveal. Huh. Well. That went by far faster than expected. I wonder why – surely normally agonising crapfests drag on and on and every minute feels like a week with one’s arse-cheek caught in a badger-trap?

Item – I am very slowly doing grown-up things re: finances and savings accounts and such. It all makes me want to lie on the floor and cry. I hate doing it alone. I am not a finance-minded person, and I infinitely prefer to have another adult who can do mental arithmetic about the place when dealing with such matters. Steep learning curve.

Item – H and I are still living together, in separate bedrooms, and we are being elaborately polite and considerate towards each other. H is still doing things like making me tea and cooking me dinner, which makes me feel grateful, faintly guilty, weird, conflicted, and did I mention weird? all at once. But it’s hard. We don’t hug or cuddle or go about sans nuddings on as we used to. We’re like house-mates. It’s all very civilised and calm and friendly. It’s horrible. It’s like having the embalmed corpse of our relationship permanently propped up at the dining-table. It’s embalmed, it doesn’t smell at all, and it’s wearing a nice suit and blusher, but Jesus Christ it ain’t half creepy.

Item – I concede that this is considerably better than having the raging bullet-impervious rotting zombie of our relationship mindlessly tearing at our flesh.

Item – I can’t really get started on more than speculative ‘I wonder if I can afford this area?’ flat-hunting, as I don’t know how much money I have to play with. My mother wants to give me some, but I don’t know when or how much or if it’ll be a lump sum or in bits, so I can’t actually work out what sort of a mortgage I could afford, so I can’t look seriously at a place and say ‘that one!’. I need to, carefully, lovingly, scoop my mother up into a bowl, saran-wrap said bowl to a desk and interrogate her with a desk lamp on these matters, for she is the proverbial jelly I cannot nail to a wall.

Item – I do spend pretty much every evening online staring at other people’s bedrooms and wondering why on earth no one seems to need a shower or even a showerhead in the bath – how the hell are they all washing their hair?

Item – Being miserable and furious for a month inevitably leads to Cold of Filth, which I have now had for an unrelenting week. I have coughed so hard my ribs hurt, and I sound exactly like Bela Lugosi’s favourite door-hinge. (And I don’t sleep well, and am permanently tired and cranky, and I have eczema in my armpits (the fuck? Really? Why?) and all over my hands. Especially, beGad, on my ring-finger, which is hilarious ho ho ho).

Item – Being told constantly that I am brave and resilient and strong and this’ll be the greatest thing ever for me and I’ll be fine and more than fine is all very nice, at first. And then you realise your family are basically denying you permission to cry and wig out and lie on the sofa sobbing into your cocoa. Because you don’t do that. You’re strong and brave and resilient and this divorce will be very good for you.

Item – And yet I feel like a weak and feeble train-wreck who can’t even work out how to calculate mortgage payments and who really doesn’t want to anyway and it’s not FAIR I don’t WANT to be single I HATE this I HATE it I HATE it and now I’m going to cry again.

Item – I went to see my family for a few days and came away with the distinct and somewhat grubby feeling that I had come fourth in the Pain Olympics to my sister, who managed to own All The Suffering. I am slightly confused, as I thought I was the one in the middle of a marriage break-down, but chronology I am given to understand means a giant fuck-all, because I’m not the one on antidepressants, and anyway, I’m naive, idealistic, bourgeoise, narrow-minded and conventional, so I can’t possibly suffer with the same intensity as the truly screwed up. I think. It was 3am and I was getting a little confused, so I just nodded and the Positive Thinking Fairy and I thought about cats for a bit while Bitter McTwisted had a fit of hysterics and flung furniture about.

Item – Bitter McTwisted actually rocks. Every time I think about caving in or lying down and forgetting about it all or pretending none of it happened, she flings my mental furniture about. Hurrah for Bitter McTwisted!


Kittens

Well, I have no idea at all how to gracefully get off this high horse I have vaulted onto, so I shall just trot behind this hedge and err, fall off with a resounding crash.

Nothing to see here! I’m not limping!

Hello! I like chocolate! And daffodils! Sunshine is nice! I want a kitten!

Hunting for a flat or wee housie in this very big and massively overpriced city is bringing me out in hives, though. Hives! I can live in a place with, um, room in its rooms about seven hours’ commute from work, or I can live in a biscuit-tin about an hour from work. No, I can’t live closer to work, I haven’t robbed a bank recently. Oy vey.

And you can’t fit a kitten in a biscuit tin.


Scenes from the beginning of the end of a marriage

May and H, sitting side-by-side in the living-room, watching the ice-dancing at Sochi, gleefully discussing the relative merits of sequins, frills, and little black gloves in costuming. H has just made May a cup of tea. Anyone would think they were going to eventually die aged respectively 87 and 88, holding hands in bed. 30 minutes earlier, May was shrieking ‘A Velociraptor, for fuck’s sake! In my house! In my house!’ while H sat with his head in his hands and wept.

May, at the end of her evening commute, standing outside the house in the dark, looking up at the stars, longing to go home, for minute after minute, because there is no home anymore.

H, weeping after finally telling his parents about the impending divorce, and May, automatically, unthinkingly, putting her arms around him.

‘I’ll have the Claudia Roden cook books and the Elizabeth David ones.’
‘What about the Madhur Jaffrey ones?’
‘One of them’s yours. I gave it to you.’ Pause ‘You can totally have the Complete Potato book as well.’
‘OK, what about Nigel Slater?’
‘I’ll arm-wrestle you for him.’

H is watching The Voice while May cooks dinner, and May dances about the kitchen area, singing along, suddenly happy. Suddenly actually happy. About what? Foolish woman.

May is sitting in the lavatories at work, stifling her sobs in case someone comes in and kindly asks who is that sobbing in the cubicle? And can she come out so we can have a wee now?

H is troubled. He’ll be seeing some of his family face-to-face, and doesn’t really want to tell them about the true nature of the Velociraptor, for verily, no one likes a Velociraptor-owner. ‘Don’t tell them then,’ says May.
‘But they’ll ask, and I don’t like lying to them.’
‘But you had no problem at all with lying to me for four fucking years?’
May storms into the kitchen and starts rage-making coffee. H follows her, looking pathetic, to apologise. ‘Look,’ says May, depressing the cafetière plunger, ‘Just tell them it’s too painful to talk about. And then if they push it, they’re the ones being awful.’ H looks relieved, both because of the advice, and because May hasn’t hit him with the kettle.

May spends a few minutes spitefully hoping H’s family do winkle it out of him, and the whole episode ruins lunch, before roping in Bitter McTwisted and setting her to googling divorce blogs.

May goes to brunch with a good friend, but has cried so often she just sort of sits there like a waxwork while her friend’s eyes fill with tears on the reciting of the Tale of the Incipient Divorcening. In any group of friends there is one who, hopefully only for a few months at a time, takes on the role of That One To Whom All The Shit Happens. For now, this friend is May. May drinks entirely too much coffee and talks energetically about Shakespeare instead.

H makes a couple of pitiful attempts at blaming the Velociraptor on the miscarriages. ‘I always thought I’d’ve been able to get rid of it if we’d had a living child…’ he begins, before May erupts in a painfully ugly fury. Because May herself wasn’t worth remaining dinosaur-free for? Now H is channelling Henry VIII? The fuck? A few days later, H uses the unwise phrase ‘well, you weren’t entirely to blame…’ and comes within a whisker of having his entire wardrobe left out in the middle of the road.

May goes back to googling properties within commuting distance of her place of work. Shamelessly, in the middle of the living-room, where H can see her.


Back she crawls

Hey, Gentle Readers. How are you all? And look, I’m still alive!

Item – Yes, I have gone for a good old gloomy-pants new look around here. Things are suddenly and to my intense disgust very different, and this is the bloggy equivalent of cutting most of my hair off and dyeing the remains Emotional Midnight Ink.

Item – No, there have been no further shocking revelations about my health. It remains as it ever did – endometriosis, PCOS, adenomysosis, allergic to bloody everything.

Item – Actually, it’s the marriage. Which you, dear kind readers, have watched me occasionally vapour and kvetch about right here on this very blog – the communication issues, the sex (lack of) issues, the not-being-on-the-same-page-hang-on-is-this-the-same-book? issues. It turns out you can’t be even so much as in the same library when one person is hiding a rather important thing from the other. And I found out.

Item – Other things I found out these past twelve days:

  • Fainting from shock is actually a real thing that really happens (being me, I of course politely waited until I was all on my own before fainting from shock, and had to get back up again to make my own hot sweet tea. Which I am still irrationally pissed off about).
  • You can miss a person horribly even when they’re sitting the other side of the room from you, eating popcorn and glumly watching the Olympics.
  • You will actually say ‘please don’t speak to me right now or I will hit you with a chair’ and actually, sincerely mean it as a polite warning made out of concern for the other’s health and wellbeing.
  • There are such things as Deal-Breakers. That will break even 20 years of love and 17 years of cohabitation and 9 years of marriage. And will break them all with a clean, hard, irretrievable snap. And the pain will come closer to killing you than even pulmonary embolisms and RPL.
  • That property prices in Britain are fucking insane and I will be forced to mortgage my every living relative for a cupboard with a chemical toilet in the corner.
  • That it will be my cupboard. That I long for it now with the power of a thousand suns.

I can see you, Gentle Readers, practically bouncing on your seats in your eagerness to type ‘but what the hell happened? What did you do? What did H do? WHAT? WHAT?’ And I am going to cheerfully piss you all off by not telling. H, as furious as I am with him, as shattered as my heart is, nevertheless deserves both his privacy and the right to tell his story his way, should he ever want to tell his story.

The night after I Made My Discovery, I dreamt I was painting the walls of our home, but the plaster kept flaking off to reveal what looked like grey-blue dinosaur hide (I don’t have an unconscious. It’s all Captain Obvious in there). So let’s just say H was keeping a velociraptor under the bed, even though I hate velociraptors, am scared of them, and have always said things like ‘Oh, we don’t have velociraptors! We’re not velociraptor people, are we, H?’ and H would say ‘What? Oh, yes. Quite. No velociraptors. May doesn’t care for them.’

And then the velociraptor burst out and bit my leg off.

So, you traitor, you really believed you’d keep
this a secret, this great outrage? Steal away
in silence from my shores? Can nothing hold you back?
Not our love? Not the pledge once sealed with our right hands?
Not even the thought of Dido doomed to a cruel death?

Virgil’s Aeneid, Book IV, translated by Robert Fagles

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19807#sthash.DPtFK5vF.dpuf

You have taken the east from me; you have taken the west from me;
you have taken what is before me and what is behind me;
you have taken the moon, you have taken the sun from me;
and my fear is great that you have taken God from me!

Donal Óg, translated by Lady Gregory.

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19457#sthash.RJd5MWfD.dpuf


Parenting, UR doin’ it rong

We went to see my Dad. It was simultaneously awful and liberating.

Awful, because my Dad is still, fuck-and-alas, a galloping narcissist and if the situation isn’t all about him by heck he will make it all about him. We did have a fight. His heartfelt apology, for which I was at first so very grateful and by which I was at first so deeply moved, rapidly turned into a ‘thing’ about his self-awareness and how therefore we didn’t get to mind when he was a tiresome old arse because he always had been and always would be and because he was aware he was a tiresome old arse, it was an endearing quirk rather than brutally rude and cruel to his children, and the fact we’ve all got Serious Issues from is behaviour over the years is… Not a Thing? I guess? Because reasons?

Liberating, because my heart, which has always lagged miles and years behind my head on this, suddenly realised that there is no magic combination of saying the right thing or doing the right thing, at the right time in the right way, that will unlock Parenting Level ‘Unconditional Love’.

Awful, because there were good bits about having this man as a father – the love of words and books, the stories he used to tell, his wit, his humour, his good days when he was delightful and delighted with us – and as soon as you open yourself up to the good bits, you’ve made yourself vulnerable to the bad bits. And if you shield yourself from the bad bits, you’ve cut yourself off from the good bits. This is not a dance I can do well, or at all gracefully.

Liberating, because this is not my problem. I am not my father. There was enough balance and good example in my life to save me from this ugly inheritance, this inability to see people as people, as equals, this inability to empathise, this raging fear that someone else’s gift (brains, knowledge, money, charm) is a direct threat to him and will somehow annihilate him. And that is not me. And does not have to be me.

And then we came home again, and I went and discussed all the above with my counsellor.

It would seem that a life-time of being shamed for having the wrong sort of body/hair/eyesight/attitude/artistic talent*/height/academic aptitude/pubertal development/sized breasts/menstrual problems can leave a girl feeling profoundly inadequate. Being treated as a flaming nuisance and being repeatedly accused of hypochondria and whining every time I was ill or having a bad time with my periods left rather a tiresome selection of psychological scars. And therefore, when it came time to have a baby of my own, with a body I’d been taught was flawed (and its being flawed an act of perverse rebellion on my part), my inability to make a baby was for me a great source of shame – bitter, bitter shame and guilt. My brain knows this is fucking ridiculous. My brain always knew it was fucking ridiculous. I am quite bright, after all. My poor silly heart, which has the IQ of a golden retriever and a similar desire to love all the grownups even when they kick it, needed more time to realise that I am no more ‘flawed’ than anyone else.

All humans have issues, health problems, non-Barbie-dollness, scars, lumps, wonky bits and hormones, and are nevertheless lovely, loveable, wonderful creatures. I have just had bad luck. Not as bad as some people’s obviously. But definitely worse than other people’s. This was not because I brought it on myself, in any way. Why would I? How could I? It’s not even physiologically possible.

I cannot fathom the guilt, shame, embarrassment, and self-loathing that lead my parents to take a child with obvious health problems and frantically alternate between blaming her and insisting nothing was wrong with her rather than, say, take her to a decent gynaecologist and Get That Seen To, Because Poor Kid, It Sucks. But I know I’m not the only woman who has been shamed for having menstrual problems, fertility issues, and miscarriages. And I don’t know what is wrong with our society that this happened and keeps happening, but it needs to stop. And if you have ever tried to dismiss, down-play, shame, or judge a woman over these issues, I hope you get your pubes caught in your zipper and have to be cut free by a paramedic.

*Writing instead of drawing. Yes, my family went there.


Just getting on with it, as per

Heya, Gentle Readers. Happy New Year. How are you all?

So, Christmas happened. H and I rushed about through floods and storms and howling gales (not kidding), to see the In-Laws in a kind of festive flying leap before doing some serious Christmas Hunkering in our own home. Then we similarly hurled ourselves at my mother’s house for New Year, and now H has gone to work. But matters end not here, because next week we are visiting my Dad for a few days.

Dad is being exceedingly tiresome, forgetting things and then blaming everyone else for whatever it is he forgot, also champion blue-ribbon entries in the Emotional Blackmail And OneDownManShip State Fair, and I don’t want to go. On the other hand, I don’t want to be the daughter who neglects her old man just because he’s being tiresome and forgetful. So I am doing this for me, not him. Because I am a Good Person.

Though all bets are off if he tries to tell me that ‘in the old days people didn’t make such a fuss. Babies died all the time and people just got on with it.’ Direct quote from the dear old man a few years ago.

(a) This is horseshit, as anyone who actually reads anything written prior to 1900 bloody well knows, in that yes alas babies died all the time but it broke their parents’ hearts to fucking bits. Even early miscarriages. Once you know, you know, and you can’t unknow, and saying ‘well you wouldn’t’ve known before they invented home pregnancy tests’ is fucking pointless. And in any case, many women know from implantation, test or no, because hormones, weird. Therefore, in the ‘old days’ more people suffered more heart-break more often, actually, and hopefully their nearest and dearest were less dickish about it. Though, alas, humans=dickish, so…

And b) this is stupid, as I am getting up and dressed every morning, and I shower regularly and go to work and DO my work and occasionally do a bit of house-work and visit my friends and relations and if this is not ‘getting on with it’ then what the fuck is? Or did he actually mean ‘stop troubling me with the fact your woes are at this time considerably more woeful than mine, because my compassion circuits are badly corroded and this may short me out’?

My Dad is not well, and I can’t gauge how unwell he really is, because he veers between shouting ‘I am IRON MAN’ and yomping up a mountain, and whimpering that he’s very very old and dying and old and dying and frail and old and DYING AND OLD. Then he goes off to chop wood. Then he complains of chest pains. Then he has a whiskey or six and drags the dogs out for another 8-mile yomp. He’ll either outlive me or be found conked out mid-yomp within the next two years.

When H and I have performed our oblations on the parental altar, we will set up an appointment with Riverside Clinic. So there’s that.

And because the Universe is like that, an old school-friend died on New Year’s Eve. It’s not fair. It’s so unfair. 2013 was such an angry, destructive, vicious year for so many people, and now this, as its final parting ‘fuck you exceedingly’ gift.


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