My adjustment in going from one thing to another has been so much harder than I imagined it would be. I feel insecure and foolish a lot of the time, regretful even and I feel terrified. But that surely has everything to do with change and being in a fresh environment than it does the actual environment, right?
I’ve been kicking against this change deep down, not really letting myself be present and yesterday, after a long talk with my favourite person on this planet, I’ve decided I have to give it more of a chance. My anxiety has been working double time and it’s skewering everything.
I need to take time, step back and think about this as the challenge it really is. And instead of beating myself up for all the things I still don’t know, for the little (human) mistakes I’ve made during my learning curve so far, I should think about what I’ve accomplished. I know more than I did a month ago. Next month I’ll know even more. I know I need to commit fully, take my eye off an escape plan and knuckle down.
So I’m doing that. I slept better last night having acknowledged this and I’m trying not to stress about all the questions I have to ask or the small confusions I have. I’m smart and I can do this.
On the subject of anxiety, I’ve started a side blog where I’m going to be talking more openly about that side of me and trying to live with it. I decided a couple of weeks ago that I need to square up to some demons and I’m going to do it with professional help. I’m tired of being twisted inside and I have no idea how to deal with it some days.
You can read along if you want to, I’m here at Gutter & Stars. It’s a work in progress but I think it will be helpful.
Incidentally, last night when I message my dear mother and told her that I just need to know that everything’s going to be okay, she said: You need to trust that everything will be okay and trust that it will be. If it’s not to be, there’s a reason why not.
Reality TV and I have been friends for some time. I was obsessed with the first few series of Big Brother (the regular one) when it first appeared on our screens. Back in 1997, when it was still looked upon as a social experiment and the biggest scandal involved Nasty Nick sliding a piece of paper across a table to try to influence his housemates’ votes.
(I forget the exact details but I recall vaguely that he either constructed his own writing tool out of household objects, like a prison shank or had sneaked a pencil in inside his luggage).
Whatever the story, the world went ballistic as he was ejected from the Big Brother house and I doubt he has been referred to as just ‘Nick’ since.
Those were the days. Reality TV, or its younger sister, Scripted Reality, has come on in leaps and bounds ever since (depending on how you look at it, I suppose).
I believe the first example of the latter came in with the American show Laguna Beach (which I never watched). This evolved into the infinitely more appealing The Hills (which I have devoured in its entirety more times than I care to remember, thankyouverymuch MTV). God bless you, LC.
This side of the Pond TOWIE trumpeted the next generation of orchestrated Reality Television, with the slightly posher (but only in upbringing and attire, if we’re honest) Made In Chelsea bringing up the rear. In between but since fallen by the wayside we’ve had everything from Desperate Scousewives to The Valleys. There was even talk of a Brighton based show of the same ilk.
It’s all pretty terrible. These people aren’t actors and they aren’t civilians either so all conversations conducted onscreen are awkward, no matter how heated. Since it’s all manipulated for our viewing pleasure.
The appeal of this type of entertainment for me has always been the fact that I can check in my brain at the cloakroom – and just enjoy the drama. Sometimes a girl just needs to look at pretty people arguing woodenly while looking out of shot. Them, not me.
Big B isn’t scripted though and I suppose that’s what brings me back to my point.
(I’m typing this draft to the sound of Perez Hilton simulating sexual intercourse, by himself, in the garden to wind up a bevy of ‘famous’ women including Patsy Kensit and some models).
It’s all just so grimy.
Perez, who you might know, is what we like to call here in England a bit of a penis. I say this purely because that’s all you can really say. His ‘personality’ is so large it dominates everything, only equaled in size by his gargantuan ego. Yet, there’s nothing going on indoors, I’m fairly sure. The people who shout the loudest always have the least to say.
I don’t know why I’m watching this time around. I’ve skipped out on the last handful of years, even the celebrity version because it all seems so tired. Scandalous celebrities keen to shed their ‘bad seed’ images, tabloid favourites keen to hold on to a little more fame time.
Sex in hot tubs, bed hopping; homophobic and racist slights. Borderline violence and a lot of shouting. OH THE SHOUTING.
Hand Mama two Neurofen, there’s a love.
This year has been turbo charged to say the least. In the week or so it’s been on air I’ve witnessed terrible misogyny and sexual assault.
I didn’t actually watch this episode when in aired, but on viewing the clip back (which is an audio clip, actually, no footage was shown of the actual act, in which a drunken housemate pulled open the front of another’s robe to reveal her bare breasts).
This was followed in quick succession by an older housemate being removed from the house for a series of disgustingly sexist comments toward the younger females in residence and a racist rant in which he used the ‘N’ word. No, not ‘Ninja’.
Last night Michelle Visage cried in the Diary Room about the behaviour of Perez, who in her eyes has set the LGBT community back 50 years. Rumour has it that he has quickly become the Most Hated Man in the country, although how do they qualify this? I’d love to know.
Personally I have an easier time hating people who are actually relevant, you know? As far as I can see he contributes nothing to the world, beyond gossip. Publicly, anyway.
As for the Wicked Witch of the show, the infamous Katie Hopkins, well she’s not really done much yet. I mean, of course she’s been blunt, that’s her whole spiel isn’t it? She has labelled Alicia stupid because she doesn’t read and there has been whispering around the breakfast table about bullying but I don’t know if she can be blamed solely for that.
And now they’ve sent in the Cavalry (to rescue the ratings?) in the shapely form of one Miss Katie Price. Which is perhaps the answer to the question of why I haven’t switched over yet.
Good old Jordan sent in to take on Katie Hopkins in a battle of the bolshy. The Beautiful and the damned. Or something.
I should be sorry. I should be changing the channel. Better still I should be switching off the gogglebox and reaching for a book.
But we all know I’m not going to do that. Maybe I’ll mute it though.
I’ve found myself with an impromptu afternoon off thanks to the kindness of work, who released us back into the wild at 2pm today.
I can’t lie, I was moving stacks of unimportant paper from one side of my desk to the other in a bid to look busy and hadn’t the strength to complete a whole day of faux-productivity.
So, here I am in front of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, back in pajamas with some unexpected time on my hands. I did pick up Lena for a wee while but she wasn’t quite doing it for me.
So blogging it is. It’s a few days before the new year rings in and I’m feeling okay about that. Naturally, this late in proceedings it is typical to be reflective.
Usually to have a ponderous scratch of the head and review what you didn’t manage to achieve despite all good intention; more likely to set up the next in-depth list of goals for the fresh snowy carpet of the new year ahead.
I will probably do that before the witching hour comes on the 31st but not yet. I must have a good think about what I really want to put myself through first.
Instead, I will tell you about the Christmas present I bought myself. The calm before the storm seems a good time to mention it.
I bought myself a name. And with this new name, comes great responsibility.
When I was born, my mother didn’t name me for three weeks. She rolls this anecdote out on the reg and I can’t decide if I think it’s a bit upsetting, or that it’s the coolest thing ever. I am leaning toward the latter. She maintains that they were waiting for my personality to manifest itself before they labelled me forever with a moniker that didn’t fit.
I almost had a name that puts me in mind of a Russian spy, and again I can’t be sure how I feel about that. Perhaps by not having the name Natasha, my career with MI5 was snipped even before it began.
It took me a long time to come to terms with my name. It’s just unusual enough to be messed up all the time by anyone using it. I am constantly referred to as ‘Christine’, ‘Chrissy’, ‘Christina’ – even ‘Christopher’. It seems now that I have spent most of my life ‘coming to terms’ with my name, my hair, my body.
Just as I was weaning myself off liquid centered throat sweets (cherry, natch), I caught another cold and this one’s a doozy. I feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man has taken up twerking in my brain.
I’ve had a shower, I’ve watched a film Mr B would hate whilst shoveling Chocolate Orange segments into my face (he’s gone bowling). I have tea; and I’ve talked to my mum on the phone.
I’ve done all my comfort bits and even though my eyes and nose are still leaking, I feel okay.
My grandfather passed away last weekend. It was to be expected for a 98 and a half-year old but the truth about life is that you are never that prepared. Expecting things to come almost adds a new level of panic to the event when it does arrive, like you’ve had too much time to think about how you will feel and how you will react.
We’re all pretty sad. I’m sadder than I thought I would be. He’s been such a huge part of all our lives forever, in good and bad ways. And now he’s gone and that’s a big thing. I’ve talked about him before. I was truthful but not very kind.
And now he’s gone, it doesn’t feel that good. It’s sad. Sad for him, mostly.
When people die it’s normal to think hard about your own mortality. This makes me think about my legacy. Who will I be when I’m old? Will I still be a decent person? Will I be missed?
I hope nobody says I am better off gone. I hope when I do toddle off this mortal coil people will at least say that I was funny. Or sweet.
Nice is a bit boring, but if that’s what my legacy is destined to be then so be it. I can live with nice.
But don’t think I’m sitting home crying into my comforter. Well, I am crying into my comforter but it’s because of my cold, not sorrow.
Or How I Learned to Love My Curves and Respect the Bum: Halloween Edition*
There was a time when I was so self-conscious about my body that I would tie my jacket around my middle to ‘hide’ all my imperfections.
If I could help it, I wouldn’t get up and walk past anyone I didn’t know. I would never approach the bar in a pub and would fret like nobody’s business if I had to get off the bus in front of a gang of youths in case they shouted abuse at me, like they had nothing better to do.
It wasn’t a good scene, man and I was miserable, often sweating away in a heavy leather jacket as the Summer came and went. Then somewhere, somehow it got better and I learnt about self-esteem.
It wobbles some days, of course, but in general I’m cool with what I have. I have all but put those silly notions out of my head. Perhaps people do whisper mean things about me, but I don’t hear them anymore. The freedom gained from learning to love yourself (for the most part) is incredible, but 1000 time better than that.
But this is the Halloween edition of my relationship with myself and so on to that.
Last year I got fed up with the party-pooperness of my fellow workmates and went to work dressed as a cat.
It was a half-arsed attempt to prove some sort of point, and I didn’t exactly thrown my back into it. A smudge of black eyeliner, whiskers and a darling little black nose topped off my glittery cat’s eye mask to perfection, and that was that.
It’s a weird feeling to be over dressed in public. It feels almost completely the opposite, as if you have omitted to put on underwear (or anything else) and have skipped into the workplace as naked as the day you were born.
Anyway, this year I have found myself organising a Halloween event to raise money for Macmillan, which is both great for the charity but also, the best ever way to ensure that I’m not alone in dressing up this year! I’m not going to reveal my outfit ideas just yet, but I will say, I have more than one.
Since I am also going to a party on the Saturday, what choice had I but to have two amazing costumes, hmmmm? Which leads me to the point I was trying to make with this entire post.
My work costume is pretty tame in terms of flesh to costume ratio because who needs to be confronted by my heaving bosoms when they’re trying to go about their daily business? Nobody that’s who. So it’s cool and comic booky – but very much buttoned up.
Saturday night is another matter. Again, I’m referencing one of my all-time favourite characters (also comic book), but this time it’s going to a little bit more risqué.
Full on busty, bare shouldered with a cinched waist. If I’m feeling it on the night, there will be fishnets. Basically, it will be a million light years away from the sad girl in the corner, too paranoid to actually get up and have a good time.
I simply don’t give a fuck about worrying anymore, I want to be part of the real action this year.
Before the madness of Blogging 201 kicks off on Monday (yes, I’ve decided to keep going), I thought I’d record a few thoughts as they lie right now.
More a record for my own sake than anything else, I just think sometimes putting things out there makes me accountable for them, and for any changes I wish to make. We’ll see about that of course, I thought talking about running would make me do it all the time and I’m still working up to that.
Anyway, the first thing I want to say is that I’m not that big on self-help books and all that jazz.
I believe in self help, am all for loving yourself and doing whatever it takes to make yourself happy. I’m respectful of other people turning to books, videos and anything to get what they need, but you won’t find me in the Self Help aisle rummaging for answers. Maybe I’m missing out.
But once upon a time I did read The Secret and it changed something. I’ve talked about it before elsewhere but the gist is that I was at the end of a bad scene, feeling hopeless and I picked up the book my best friend had left lying about after a visit.
It just made sense. Put out positive vibes, ask the Universe for the things you want and get them. Sure, it’s unlikely Tom Hardy will be knocking on my door before the weekend is out just because I want him to, but it’s an attitude I can get behind. Think about what you want and envisage yourself getting and keeping it. PMA all day, every day.
After I’d read it, I wrote a list that looked a little something like this:
Get out of this relationship
Get a new job
Underneath the two main wishes I detailed what I wanted in a new man (call me shallow):
I didn’t dare write any more than that but I hid that list and thought of it often. Perhaps the Perfect Boy list was subconscious since I already knew my husband then, though we hadn’t spoken in years and I couldn’t have imagined we’d end up together. (You guessed it, Mr B ticks all those boxes).
Maybe just admitting you want more is enough to ensure you make moves to get it. Or maybe it’s magic. Whatever it is, it works. It worked then and it can work now.
I did get out of that relationship, less than a month later and then I scored my dream job at a dating agency. So I believe in The Secret and I’ll tell anyone. Sorry, not sorry.
Today I think it’s time to go back to basics. I’m getting to the point of being done at work for many reasons and it’s making me feel sick. Things need to change and whether that’s me moving on or something more drastic, I have to think about it. I’m not comfortable with the way things are and I need to fix it.
I know I’m worth more and right now I’m working in an environment that makes me feel insecure, paranoid and frankly undervalued in every way.
Time for a Positive Thinking Spell, I think.
I might update on this topic every so often, you know just to check in. Hopefully the next instalment will be a more positive one, rather than “I screamed, threw something and was escorted from the building by the caretaker”.
Do you have a go to method for making changes/getting happy? If so, what is it? Are you willing to share your secrets with me?
I didn’t do yesterday’s 101 challenge because I couldn’t find anything that really got me excited. This may have been down to being at work and having time only for a cursory glance over the Community Event Listings.
I am trying to play better, I promise. I’ve found some lovely blogs over the last few weeks. I lieu of the assignment, I am going to study my navel and ponder the fact that my stepson in ten years old today. Ten!
It just doesn’t seem possible that the tiny boy I first met, from whom I so desperately wanted just one sign that he thought I was okay, has grown into a beautiful, fiercely smart and hilarious bigger boy.
He was four when he first came into my life and I will be the first to admit, although I wasn’t against the fact the love of my life had a son, I definitely hadn’t prepared for it. Of course he lives with his mum so it wasn’t as if I’d walked into a scenario where I was expected to be Mum but still. I guess I hasn’t really thought about how I would handle it at all.
My previous relationship had involved two girls from a previous marriage and I cringe when I think how awful I must have been when they came to stay. Not because I was horrible, though I am sure I had my moments, just in that I was so detached for most of my six-year reign that they must have wondered if the lights were even on (They weren’t).
We now all enjoy a good relationship albeit from afar since they are in Derbyshire and I’m here, down South (minus the horrid boyfriend) so something went right in the end, but I think of that time often and would change the way I was then in a heartbeat, if I could.
With B, it was different. He’s a boy for a start, so an alien (or so I thought). His mother is local, so she’s more present in our lives. Which is a good thing for B, of course, to have us all within spitting distance.
You might know this, you might not, but I have never wanted children. All I can say when people ask me why is, “I just don’t”. It’s not a witty retort to the eternally irritating and over personal line of questioning people assume they have the right to use, however, that’s the truth.
But I do love my stepson.
It has taken us both a long time to get to the point we’re at now. It’s taken tears and heartache (mine). Utter bewilderment and slight annoyance (his) but we’re here; both in one piece.
It’s not easy to give your love to a person who is too young to understand it, who only sees things in black and white. Or share your loved one with somebody else, even when you know it’s a completely different kind of love.
I doubt it’s easy to go and see your dad as a child and have to deal with a woman you don’t even know, for that matter.
Now we have a funny kind of dynamic; I play my role of the desperate Step Mom vying for his affection and he gets it, plays along. And when he shows love, or appreciation, or admiration – I die.
Happy birthday B. You’ll likely never read this but this one’s for you, kiddo!