Item: I know my mother is not trying to be hurtful or annoying or wilfully stupid. And I’m not exactly making heroic efforts to let her know her attempts to talk to me about ‘you know, when it happened,’ are counterproductive. She’s my mother. She loves me. She can’t bear to see me hurting. She is also used to a family which takes any given disaster and raises it to a flailing catastrophe and then refuses to get over it because that would mean relinquishing chips in the Great Family Poker Game of One-Downmanship. Being my mother, and having sent me away to boarding school when I was twelve, her mental template of me is of a gangly over-grown child whose bodily development is seriously out-running her emotional development, sulky, unsociable, prone to tantrums and out-breaks of door-slamming and shrieking things like ‘you all hate me! I know you do!’ (umm – about that… But see below). Her natural instinct is therefore a) to minimise whatever it is quickly before I get out of hand, b) to try to jolly me into ‘behaving’ and c) to try and get me to understand that I must take responsibility for my own problems. The sad fact is none of this really worked at the time, which is why I was such a bloody awful teenager – I was permanently heart-broken that no one, not even my mother, really cared or understood and of course, I upped the ante considerably by being Really Ill (TM) when I was in my late teens even THOUGH my mother didn’t believe it was anything serious for several years. I win! Hah! and I wouldn’t recommend it. So when my mother starts off on her ‘stop the teenage nuisance by positive thinking campaign’, I, being so very very adult now, start off on a parallel ‘my Mum doesn’t care! She doesn’t believe I’m really ill! I could die and she’d still be telling me to pull my socks up and smile more!’. It sucks both ways.
Item: But I really am an adult. I will be even more adult than my mother. I will.
Item: All of which is very shaming in the face of my bellowing, wet-laundry-throwing, knocking-things-flying tantrum yesterday. H was being mildly irritating, you see, and for some reason saying ‘H! You are being mildly irritating! Please stop muttering into the sink and talk to me!’ was beyond me. I threw things and stormed out of the house. I stormed back in short order, very carefully, because I was wearing entirely the wrong shoes for storming and nearly sprained my ankle on the first lap of the block. Oh, don’t look at me like that. I’ve been apologising ever since. Just, please don’t tell my mother.
Item: And then I dyed my hair black.
Item: This took two sessions of four hours each sitting about with a giant cow-pat of henna and indigo ground into my hair, smelling of compost, and then a marathon removing-said-compost-from-bath scrubbing session. Hair is more of a very VERY dark brown than a really ink-black black. You could argue that it looks more natural this way.
Item: I have always vaguely wanted to dye my hair black. I have mid-brown hair. It’s very nice brown hair, very nice indeed, but, yea verily it is brown. Also, my inner Goth, normally a diminutive little creature most concerned with reading Victorian ghost-stories and occasionally buying black eyeliner, suddenly surged up and took control while the rest of me was off wailing and sulking.
Item: Possibly, I want to annoy my family next weekend by turning up dressed head-to-foot in black and looking melodramatic. Again, please don’t tell my mother.