Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….


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So the storms have returned to old London town, whipping and lashing and sluicing the remnants of naughty old 2013 around and around like lees in a teapot, ready to be tipped up and hurled down the sink and replaced with….what?

I could take this opportunity to tell you what the various websites say is in store for us financially, romantically and from a planetary aspect, but from what I can tell, there are still global challenges for us to all work through in the coming year, 2014.

From a personal point of view, the moment has come for me to bring this year to a close and analyse whether I achieved my aims/ambitions, what I have learned from 2013 and whether blogging and downloading all the crazy shit from my ranting, raving, sadistic mind has helped me, let alone anyone else.

And if I break down my attempted ‘flights’, i.e. 2013’s New Year resolutions, it doesn’t look that great.

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I’m still not working.  I don’t always get out of bed at a respectable time.  I sometimes don’t get out of bed at all, let alone leave my flat.  As for liking how I look…..

Looking back I smile at my naivety.

I thought it would be as simple as making a list, reporting back monthly on how I’m doing and that I would rise to the challenge rather that let down a bunch of strangers who I have never met before in my life, turn my life around to epic proportions, and end up on the news, This Morning, Oprah etc., laughing and simpering with faux surprise at how the world had changed for me now that I’m a household name, that I had never wanted to be unmasked, but if my story had helped change anyone suffering from mental health issues’ life, then it was all worthwhile, even though my family/friends/cats won’t answer my calls/speak to me again.

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Blah, blah, bleugh, I’m so full of shit, Walter Mitty has nothing on me.

And if I were still analysing my progress in that way, it didn’t work out.  Then again, you’re not strangers anymore either, and as such the fact that I failed you should make it sting even more. But it doesn’t.  Because you’ve been so amazingly supportive/interactive/funny/mental yourselves that all I feel is a deep kinship.

Turns out it takes more than a snappy name, tick list and 12 months to unravelling over half a century’s worth of shit. 😦

But I’ve learned so much.

And maybe in spite of my assumption that I was at my lowest ebb in January 2013, I had to descend even further  before being able to rise again from my ashes.

So, for the sake of due diligence, I’ll go through some of my aims/ambitions for this year:

 

FRIENDS

I may have mentioned that I created a mood board early this year, featuring words, pictures and photos of the things/places/people whom I wanted to spend more time with in 2013. I look at it now and it isn’t entirely applicable anymore.

Some people I don’t see because we no longer occupy the same world.

Some have gone by the wayside because they can’t cope or are not attracted to the new, constantly changing me.  I lost one friend, fell out with and reunited with another, and a third hangs in the balance; I reckon it’s 50/50 odds that we are still friends come this time next year.

I hope we are. But if the cost is too high, we won’t be.

Some I’ve lost contact with because I’ve kind of subtly, inadvertently eased myself out of their lives, either out of paranoia, resentment or sheer indifference, so whilst I work hard at not consciously cutting people off, it kind of sneaks up on me sometimes. But in fairness, I suspect that the people I sneak away from are probably sneaking away from me too 😉

But others have crept onto the board and taken their place.  New, shiny, precious beings who like the things I like, do the things I do, introduce me to other stuff, make me laugh uproariously and enhance my life no end, including many of you lot, so all in all, not a bad result when you think about it. 🙂

DANCE

I don’t dance as much as I could/should, but I dance more than I did in 2012, and when I do, the life affirming buzz is phenomenal.

I would like to do it at least once a week (missus), but I’m not going to say I will, because as you’ve probably gathered, that shoulda-woulda-coulda shit I end up putting on myself does not work for me! But let’s see what happens.

P.S. Doing it tonight!

LIKING MY APPEARANCE

If anything I like the way I look even less now, as in the last 18 months I have aged dramatically, resulting in being scraggier around the face and pudgier around the middle. The one thing, my nice figure, that I hung onto for all of those decades as my first line of defence is now sadly in decline, and let’s face it, isn’t going to improve.

I just hope that I can either get fitter at least and/or care less about it and give more importance/priority to other things as the years go by.

TV

Yes, more often than is good for me, I still escape from the mundanity of my life via the goggle box.  Not good.  Not only that I am obsessed with eBay and online games.

BAD Sista!

DATING/SEX

Oh Lord….

Look, it’s not that I want to die alone, and not have a best friend to hold my hand, give me a hug on a bad day and empty the bin for me, but the odds are against me.  It was hard enough in my forties, but what chance do I stand now?  As one gets older, one gets more set in their ways and if anything, pickier, then there are fewer men out there, so the market narrows like the top of a triange, and you have the choice of investing in good hardware (sex aids), toy boys (urgh) or, like me, give it all up as a bad job, and succumb to the warm embrace of a home baked, lavishly buttered scone.

This is probably mostly down to my poor little libido which is currently smothered by a whole stack of drugs.  I don’t think it’s dead, because whenever I forget to take my anti-d’s it kind of flutters and flickers  and my minny tingles.  So I take a double dose of everything and that takes care of that! 😉

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Joking aside, I still don’t have much of a clue who I am, and still crave oblivion on a regular basis, and that isn’t exactly boner inducing is it, but maybe as I get braver, stronger and heal, perhaps, just perhaps, someone might come along and he’ll be worth waking up my sleeping dragon for.

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But I’m not banking on it.

FORGIVENESS

At last, something good I can say about this year!

I am, without any shadow of a doubt, better at this than I used to be.  I was dark, angry and vengeful and could bear a grudge for England, and whilst I can still fire up if underestimated, dismissed, or treated discourteously, I try very hard to bite down the reflex to retaliate for fear I do or say something that I will one day regret, as I have many, many of those days in my past.  Leading onto….

ANGER

Again, whilst there have been vast improvement here, to be honest my anger/defensiveness is always going to be my achilles heel, and I think it’s going to take time to crack it, and I may never do so 100%, but I do intend to keep on trying.  On the plus side, according to Aunty C, it can be channelled in the form of passion and drive and used for something good.

One things for sure, it will never ever go away for good.  It’s part of who I am.

YOGA

I love yoga.  Or did. Don’t I?  Or do I?  Because if I do, why don’t I do it and keep doing it?  And if not why don’t I just stop it?

Enquiring minds wanna know!

FOOD

A long, long time ago I had a very unhealthy relationship with food.  It got worse.  Then it got better.  Then it go worse again.  Then it got better. And so on, and so forth.

And whilst I don’t abuse my body that much anymore, I have used my baking as an excuse to comfort eat.

The other day I went to do a pictorial review of my year on Facebook.  Most other peoples contained photos of family holidays, celebrations, births, parties etc.  What do you think mine mainly consisted of?

Cake!

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Whilst I love baking, and don’t want to give it up OR die of cake, I need to tap into and do other things before I turn into a big, lumpy, oversized pudding.

But to do other things, like holidays, adventures, parties etc Sista, you need money!

Which leads me on quite nicely to….

JOB/MONEY

And here it is, the doozy of them all.  Time to tackle this head on.

Economic crisis not withstanding, there are things I am qualified to do for a living.

Things I can do in theory tolerate in order to bring money into the home.

There are things that I love that I’m told I’m good at, and this is the Holy Grail so to speak, i.e. the way I’d like to earn a living most of all.

But the one thing standing in the way of this, and indeed some of my other failed aims is my huge distrust and fear of others and the outside world. and the overriding terror of failing again, everyone seeing my shit, glorying in it and spewing an endless stream of invective about and at me.

Yes, of course I’m paranoid!  Keep up, will you?!

 

Recently some of you may know that I was finally diagnosed as having Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (down stark insanity, down! x), and whilst it was a bit of a shock, when I read the criteria, it is a very accurate fit.  And whilst I don’t necessarily like or to totally buy into the name or think  that there’s something wrong with my personality fundamentally, I have been offered therapy, possibly group and if it is group, I think I’m going to take it.

Over the years I, like many of you, have bought lottery tickets and sometimes ask myself, would it hurt God that much to let me win, just once?  And whilst this may be down to the fact that I have some very shit karma to work through and probably don’t serve it, I think the Big Man Upstairs knows that if he sends me vast amounts of money that I’ll just carry on as I am, living in this flat, feeding m’cats, fannying around on t’interet, blogging away, seeing my chosen few and never ever reach my full potential.

And now my money is very low, the heat is on.

So, has writing this blog eased me out of my shit and helped me achieve my goals?

Erm no.  Well only some.

Has writing this blog helped me?

Absolutely.  Without a single shadow of doubt.

What I think writing Phoenix Flights (a word play on Phoenix Nights, top British comedy show if you didn’t know) has done for me is inadvertently enabled me to dig up all of those horrible painful memories from my past, some of which I had completely eradicated from my memory, so that I can potentially see them for what they are,  heal them and move on.  This was not how I expect it to pan out, but I’ve been having therapy for years and despite this, have never really managed to shake my fears, feel grounded or safe, so I’m hoping that group therapy will be that final hurdle that I need to clear in order to brave the world at large, and live properly and wholly for the first time in my life.

That said, this little Phoenix has had a whole year of writhing around in the ashes of her past and hopes and yearns to fly again one day in the not too distant future.  Please God?

And what I’ve also learned, from Aunty C, you and and my loved ones?  I need people more than I actually thought I did.

I’ve just got to learn to trust the buggers, that’s all 😉

Is this the end of Pheonix Flights as you know it?

Yes.

Is this the end of my blogging?

No.  I’ll be back.

Look out 2014, here I come!

Much love and big thanks to you all.  I don’t know what I’d have done without you xx

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CHRISTMAS 4 – THE VISITORS 2

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OMFG, I just have to share this with you!

Remember my ex colleagues aka ‘the visitors’ who are currently holidaying in the capital?

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Well I’m meant to be meeting them for dinner tonight (in a Mexican restaurant, and I hate hot food, but I digress) and not massively keen on going, but wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt and meet J face to face for the first time, so, despite the crazy, stormy weather, I agreed to go.

Then a few minutes ago J mentioned on Facebook that he had wanted to buy a very costly cashmere sweater, and was shocked by the price, so I very helpfully (probably didn’t help myself here) suggested a better place he could go.

His reply?

‘Excellent advice, exactly the kind of thing we want from you tonight, specifically recommendations for boots and crockery, but we can chat later!’

Hmm.

So I’m not being sought out for my excellent company, but to continue my role as their unpaid, un-contracted London bitch/concierge/personal shopper/travel advisor.

Who the fuck do they think they are?

I am absolutely fuming and itching to cancel as absolutely nothing about the pending outing appeals to me at all; the food, going out in this shitty weather, being grilled for information or being  patronised/treated like their lacky.

J rather grandly said that the dinner would be ‘their treat’, and as broke as I am, I want to insist on paying my way, but in all honesty, I’d just as soon as not go at all.

BUT.

As Aunty C (my counsellor) said, i have to learn to deal with people.

And let’s face it, this should be a fucking masterclass.

Sigh.

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I’d better head out into the storm and stock up on indigestion tablets as one way or another, tonight is going to be a hot one….

EAR WORM No. 17 VAMPIRE WEEKEND – DYING YOUNG

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OK, before anyone says it, I know it’s DIANE Young not Dying Young, but this is how I hear it so this is how I know it, and when it get into the ‘baby, baby, baby’s’ and the lead singer’s voice gets all distorted, it wheedles its way into my head like bath water, and kind of torments me a bit.

I don’t know what it means, I haven’t a clue who Diane Young is, but what it says to me is:

‘If dying young doesn’t bother you, well whatever, you go for it.’

And I guess it’s right.

I sort of love it AND hate it, and it won’t go away.

Not v Christmassy, but that’s what’s in my head right now…and very timely it is, given that this year/blog/theme is coming to an end and I still have to figure my shit out and form a plan of action for 2014.

Baby, baby, baby, baby right on time…..


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CHRISTMAS 3 – THE FAMILY A.K.A. ‘IT’S BEHIND ME’

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This year, I decided to go and stay with my family for a few days over the Christmas period.  I don’t always go, and we haven’t always been in touch at Christmas, but this time, it turned out to be the gift that kept on giving.

In it’s way.

There has been a lot of turbulence within what’s left of my tribe, but in the last couple of years or so we have worked hard to get on and reform bonds, and for the most part, we now get on pretty well, but despite our silent resolution to shove past recriminations under the carpet, little reminders have a habit of rudely popping back up when I least expect it.

Christmas gift shopping for them has always been an anxious task for me.  Making sure I buy for all family members and their broods, buy stuff that they’ll like, take along enough food/drink goodies to please/appease and not appear like a freeloader, whilst, especially this year, trying not to break the bank and get myself into debt over a celebration that is all but over come the end of Boxing Day.

I have no kids and no partner, so there is no his/hers sharing the cost comfort zone for this little black duck, but I give because I want to, I enjoy getting it right, and don’t keep tally.

I arrived on Christmas Eve to warm hugs and appreciative noises for my home made offerings, so it was all so far so good. The younger family members swamped me with hugs, warming my physical contact starved body, and my Grinchy little heart expanded in gratitude.

We ate a light meal, then went to midnight mass, then instead of going to bed, ended up playing a board game until the wee hours.

And then as Christmas Day started in traditional drunken form with a Buck’s Fizz breakfast, I blearily watched my sister’s family’s animated antics, and I could see where my largely suppressed, more exuberant side might have come from, had I felt safe enough to express it.  Everyone pretty much laughs, banters, berates, bickers, scolds and insults another at a deafening pitch, and whilst the more negative exchanges have her casual cruelty stamped all over them, it is fascinating to me that no one takes offence for very long and all friction is usually over in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.

It was very different for the two of us.

Maybe her hubby’s slightly saner, more chilled out genes makes for forgiving hearts and sturdier psyches.

And after lunch we play another round of Risk (oh, the irony), and as the competitive, combative screeching reaches eardrum popping proportions, the poor little EMO soul who is dating one of my nieces locks eyes with me in amused despair as it to say ‘Sweet Jesus Christ, is it always like this?’.

We grin amidst the pandemonium and I shrug and reply telepathically.  ‘Yes!  But it’s fun, and only for a few days.  Have another drink, it’ll help!’

Then my brother in law comes in with a tray of snacks and the grin freezes on my face.

I bought that tray over thirty years ago.

‘Sista!  It’s your turn!  Not that you have much to play for now!’ jeers my sister, and I turn back to the table and focus on getting my arse kicked for another hour or so.

And when I pass their bedroom on the way back from the bathroom, I spot my sewing basket.  The one my second boyfriend bought me for my 20 something birthday.

I avert my eyes.

I don’t want to think about this today.

I don’t.

I return to the battlefield, have another drink and forget all about it.

The next day we have the Cinderella panto to go to (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantomime).

Oh  God.

In all honesty, pantomimes are really not my thing but I didn’t want to appear anti social, so I agreed to go along.

Cue lots of ‘It’s behind you!’, men dressed as ugly sisters, women dressed as princes, z list soap actors and X factor stars, ‘Oh, no you didn’t!’, aged back in the day TV entertainers, cheesy jokes and terrible chart song covers, boob jokes, slapstick and audience participation.

The kids loved it.

It went on for three hours and I found the whole thing absolutely gruelling.  This is one of those times when I have to fight hard to look as if everything is alright, when inside I’m dying and desperate to run outside, hijack a passing farming vehicle and head off down the M40 home.  I know this sounds dramatic and to all intents and purposes I just have to stay on my seat until it finishes and not kill anyone, but my clan are now hyper vigilant to any negative changes in my demeanour, so I have to act my socks off, laugh, sing and look like I’m having a marvellous time and not wishing I was somewhere, anywhere else.

If I’d know it was going to be this grim, I’d have offered to babysit my eldest niece’s cute but snot nosed little son, or at the very least licked his sipper cup in the hope that I’d contract his cold and be allowed to stay at home and down port in front of the TV.

But I did it.

As we head home, I’m not the only one who’s drained.  The boyfriend decides to crash, so a duvet is brought down so that he’s not too cold on the sofa.

Again, I go a bit cold.  It is MY duvet that I bought for my first ever flat share in London, all those years ago.

There are also more recent things that have been left at Chez Big Sis, and never seen again.

Books, hats, earrings, and tupperware boxes that I know I’ll never get back.

And who knows, the place is such a mess half the time, it’s easy for a visitor’s odd possession to get lost in the swirling magma of shit on the floor, unnoticed until they eventually arrive home, but I know some are accidentally kept and absorbed into the household, so I am careful to remember to take everything home with me nowadays.

But losing the odd thing doesn’t bother me that much.

It was the en mass ‘possession is nine tenths of the law’ confiscation of pretty much all of my worldly goods in the late 80’s that was the most devastating thing for me.

I had been abroad for a few years with a boyfriend, and with their permission, had left my stuff in their attic for safe keeping until I got home.  I think they had thought, or indeed hoped that I’d emigrate our there so when i arrived home three years later, after pretty much having a trail run version of my recent woes, jobless, skint  and on the verge of a breakdown, they met me at the airport and I sensed that they weren’t exactly pleased to see me.

When I arrived at their house, I realised why.

Everywhere I looked, I saw my own household items, books, furniture and ornaments embellishing the rooms of their new home.  I was shocked but when caught staring at them in disbelief, their faces would set like stone in grim collusion as it to say ‘And?  What’s the problem exactly?’

I’ll never forget how cheated, alone and unwanted I felt at that moment.

I did however get about a quarter of my possessions back in the form of clothes and shoes (probably because they wouldn’t have fitted her), but fashion had moved from early 80’s glitz and excess to late 80’s Doc Marten and torn jeans casual minimalism, so were of precious little used to me.

I stayed with them for the maximum of four weeks as I had no money, and as soon as I got a job, I was chivvied out to find a place to stay.

And on leaving, instead of receiving a big hug and the rest of my things back, I was presented with a bill.

A bill, if you please.

Consisting of a cost per day of how much it would have cost me at that current market rate had I rented a room from them (which inadvertently I had been doing), plus food, plus a share of all the household bills.  They didn’t even allow for their own children, it was all divided between the three of us.

I’m amazed that they didn’t add VAT onto it.

And a month to the day of leaving and within hours of receiving my first pay check I was not only chased for some payment but also asked to buy my father a new video player because his was broken and essentially it was made clear that it was my turn to pull my financial weight and pitch in.

And unlike my sister and father, I didn’t own anything other than the clothes I brought back with me.

I literally felt that I had escaped from a frying pan and leapt into an incinerater, as if I’d thought I’d been lonely in another continent, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the way I felt in the boney, cold, reluctant embrace of my family.

An embrace that quickly withdrew when I refused to buy the video player.

Thirty years on, after years of anger, angst, estrangement and eventual reconciliation, I’ve tried to put it all behind me and move on, but it doesn’t help when I see constant physical reminders on my sister’s shelves and in her cupboards.

I think they love me now, or as much as they can, and they have a four storey houseful of stuff, so why the continual obsession with my  things?

Christmas was nice though. Genuinely fun, warm, loving and kind.

Let me make it clear that I don’t think I was entirely without fault during those turbulent times.  I was angry, resentful, bolshy, had a vicious tongue and was pretty much out of my mind.

I just wish I understood what was going on here. Do they think I’ve ponced off of them in the past? That I’m a secret millionaire?  That after all these years, I STILL owe them?

I know that sis used to be a bit obsessed with one of our aged aunts, and would wonder out loud as to whether she had any money stashed away.

I wonder if she and her husband ask each other the same question about me? Do they really care about me or am I just a potential cash cow for them and/or their kids when I kick the bucket?

Fucking chilling isn’t it?

Or maybe I’m just being paranoid.

Then further clarification comes to light.

My middle niece moved into her first flat share this summer, so the last time I was here, I dropped off an old video player, a nice old blanket box and some soft furnishings for her as she didn’t have much by way of possessions.

So on Boxing Day, we were all watching an old Christmas movie and I asked her how the flat was going.

‘Oh I love it Aunty Sista!  We all get on so well and it’s nice having a bit of privacy from this lot’ she replied, shoving her brother off the sofa with a slippered foot as he howled in protest.

‘And did you get that stuff I left you?  Hope it all fits in with your deco?’

There was a momentary uncomfortable silence, then she left out an awkward pealing laugh.

‘Oh, you’ll have to ask Mum about that’ she chuckled, ‘she decided to keep everything for their bedroom!’

And as they all chortled along, silently urging me to share the joke, I fake laugh along with them, vaguely appalled.

For God’s sake, it’s the kid’s first flat! She barely has a stick of furniture to her name!  WTF?!  You can barely see their bedroom carpet for stuff, it looks like someone has upended a car boot sale onto it!

They’re starting to remind me of a domestic version of ‘The Thing’; I sit tight thinking that if their dog to start whining or heading for the door, I’ll be seconds behind it, presents in one hand and car keys in the other.

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And then I realise that whatever this shit is about, it’s not about lack of love.  My sis and her husband adore their brood, and only want the best for them, so who knows where it stems from.  Our impoverished childhood, years of scrimping and saving to support and raise four kids, some kind of psychological disorder, who knows, maybe they’ll end up on one of those ‘crazy hoarders’ documentaries, burrowed under piles of newspapers and surrounded by tut, but a warm rush of hope suddenly cascades over my scabby, old trauma wounds.

Maybe their taking all my stuff wasn’t about me.

Maybe they genuinely thought that they weren’t doing anything wrong.  That if I planned to stay that I’d have offered it to them anyway.

Maybe they have always loved me after all, even if at the same time, they resented my freedom and ability to go away and travel, and couldn’t wait for me to come back, if only to be able to pitch in financially.

I sucked my teeth, rolled my eyes and shook my head reprimandingly at my sister whilst replying to my niece ‘Charming, hey? Don’t worry hon, next time I’ll deliver stuff to your door and not leave it here with this grabby lot!’

My sister adopted a look of mock innocence whilst winking at her daughter and heading out to the kitchen to put the dinner on.

It’s time I got over this painful memory.

It wasn’t and isn’t personal.

It’s behind me.

But if she so much as glances at my new blender, before I get it safely into the boot of my car, there’ll be hell to pay.

OPTIMISTIC MIX TRACK 10 – THIS CHRISTMAS Donny Hathaway

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Just to show I’m not all ‘Bah Humbug’ today, I thought I’d share my favourite Christmas song ever with you from the late, great Donny Hathaway.

Hope that wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, you’re having an amazing time with your family and/or friends.

God bless, and big Christmas love to you all xxx


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CHRISTMAS 1 – THE VISITORS

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Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without me having to get something or other off my chest, so here goes….

After leaving my last job under a cloud/in a blaze of controversy, I did cut contact with a lot of my ex colleagues, especially on Facebook.  Most immediately, but I did reach out to a couple of them, and when I didn’t hear anything back or sensed awkwardness, I immediately retreated and thought no more of it.

Then, this summer I received an email from one girl in New York that I used to deal with quite a lot.

‘Hey!’ she exclaimed, in (mock) outrage, totally out of the blue ‘you de-friended me!’

‘Yes!’ I replied perplexed, ‘that was over a year ago, and I didn’t get a reply to my email, so took it that, you know, after all that went on that you preferred not to stay in touch? Anyway, hi!’

‘Oh it’s no problem!’ she replied cheerfully (I didn’t apologise?) ‘we can just stay in touch via email. But guess what?  Me and Mindy are coming to London for Christmas!’

Ah!

That’s what this was about.  When previous US contacts/colleagues from Head Office came over to the Smoke ‘on business’, I would provide them with hints/tips/guides on where to go in the capital, so I guess she was after the same.

And that was fine by me.  I had some time on my hands, it wasn’t a big deal so I was happy to oblige as whilst I’ve never actually met Sarah, we did used to have to talk a lot (which is why it was a bit of a slap in the face when she didn’t reply) and had a lot of banter, so I waited for all the questions to arrive.

And arrive they did.

And I provided web site links for what’s on in London, transport info, tipping etiquette, restaurants I could personally recommend, markets to visit, the best way and cheapest way to get around the capital, discount cards, and so on and so forth, i.e. everything anyone could ever need for a few days in London.

But the questions kept on coming.

How far is such and such a restaurant from St Pauls?

Is X museum in walking distance from our hotel?

Where’s a good place to take a 14 year old?

What are you doing for Christmas?

Where’s a good place to spend New Year’s eve?

The latter two it turns out, might have been a bit of a hint, as it was followed by something along the lines of ‘Well if you’re having a party at yours or something, that might be fun!’

This is where I have to emphasise (1) I suffer from depression, (2) my flat is about the size of this girl’s kitchen, (3) she blanked me for ONE YEAR, and (4) I HAVE NEVER MET HER BEFORE IN MY LIFE and get anxious when even close friends stay over, let alone someone who is still in touch with the enemy, so suffice to say, there was no way that was happening.

‘Erm, I’m off to my family for Christmas, and I’ll be going to X venue for NYE.  Not sure if it’s your cuppa cha, or how far it is from your hotel, but if you fancy it, here is the website where you can buy tickets, so maybe I’ll see you there!’

This suggestion was swiftly dismissed, much to both of our relief, I suspect.

Then I hit a bad patch, and soon after was diagnosed with BPD so went to ground for a while.

Well I tried to.

‘Hey!  What time does Liberty open?’

Getting fucking bored of this now.

‘Hey!  Have you ever heard of the internet, speaking to your concierge or doing your own fucking research for a change?!’

OK so I didn’t say that.  But my God, I thought it but held myself back and just emailed a link to Liberty’s website and hoped they’d take the hint.

‘Hey we get in Saturday lunchtime and should be at our hotel by 2pm, do you want to meet us for a drink?’

Nope, it’s CHRISTMAS, and I do happen to have a life outside wiping your arse for you, you ditz!

‘Sorry babe, got something on Saturday but have a fun evening!’

4pm another message arrives.

‘Just had a great lunch, thanks for the recommendation!  Free time this evening, so what do you think we should get up to?’

I don’t know.  A tour of the sewers?  Go a bondage club?  Get your labia pierced at a backstreet tattooists in Shoreditch?  Dress up as a baby and regress in the arms of some old brass pretending to be your mum?  BECAUSE I’M NOT HER!

My God, what do these people want, a fucking personal assistant organising their every move?  Perhaps I should get a cab to their hotel, get housekeeping to let me into their room, drop my knickers, kneel on the floor and stick my bum in the air so they have somewhere to plant their Christmas tree?!

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Do Sarah really think I’m her gimp or something, because her presumption that I will keep doing stuff for her is quite frankly beyond arrogant and outrageous?

Then the penny drops; of course she does.

Because when we both worked at Wankers R Us, she was at a much higher level than I and I couldn’t even let out the tiniest of farts without having it approved via her office, so If I wanted to get anything done and earn revenue for our company, I would sometimes have to run it past her office.

And the politics were nasty.  I had to hit target so I had to get stuff approved and go and do deals. But we were kind of in competition so I couldn’t think too big unless I showed them up, as they would either stamp on the concept or steal it for themselves.  Or they’d let me run with it with the minimum of support, then do an amazing job of it afterwards, learning from my ‘stalking horse’ mistakes and making me look a right twat.  Or they’d approve stuff, then change their minds in the flick of an eye, then change it back again if it suited them, whilst in the meantime, I lost sleep, developed eye bags, and juddered with nerves and stress.

So I learned to engage, banter, self deprecate to the point of abuse, and butter them up, appealing to their egos so they’d have some empathy for my position and help me get stuff through, and spent a huge percentage of my working day/evening grovelling, wheedling, pleading and generally  bending over backwards for the sole privilege of being able to do the job they paid me to do.

And all I can do now is marvel at how long I did that to myself, for the sake of having a ‘good job’.

Pure insanity.

And now Sarah seems to think I’ll keep on bending, forwards backwards, and any which way she wants in order to ‘keep her sweet’.

The thing is, I no longer need to ‘keep her sweet’.

In fact, I can safely say i’ll never do a job where I have to ‘keep someone sweet’ to that extent ever again.

And I’m certainly not being her London lackey anymore.

‘Dunno hon, London is your oyster, get online and see what’s on! Anyway it’s Christmas and I’m off out with my friends, so have a fab stay and hope to catch you for a quick drink before you go x’

And I might well go and meet her and her girlfriend, because she was quite fun to talk to.

But it will be on very equal terms.

And she can carry her own fucking bags from now on.