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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I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS #BPD #EUPD

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The last couple of months or so have been tough.

Apart from the looming financial issues, I’m starting to realise that Aunty C (my counsellor as opposed to my shrink) may have been right about my not being formally being diagnosed (and hence labelled) and just pushing forward and trying to make things work. The trouble is that when you keep trying and keep landing on your arse time and time again, you come to realise that you’re not getting anywhere, and you’re not getting something that you need in order to progress.

And I’ve always been a truth seeker.

The trouble is that sometimes that truth is so frightening and overwhelming that you lose faith in ever being a fully functioning member of society again.

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Given that only Aunty C (and you lot) know the extent of my condition, there have been times of late that I have come very close to confiding in a family member or friend, especially given that ‘the book’ encourages the recruitment of ever loving, uber supportive cheerleaders who shake their pom poms, and chant encouragingly as you tackle life head on, whilst simultaneously battling your demons on the job.  Probably locked in the office loo reading mantras feverishly off a sweaty, creased flashcard whilst praying no one hears you talking to yourself.

But I can’t bring myself to do it, and have to carry the burden alone.  Damn my suspicion, lack of trust and faith in mankind!

But the last week or so has proved that I am right to be so trepidatious, as I have heard casual, damning prejudices slip out of the mouths of, if not my chosen confidantes, people not to dissimilar to them.

The first was at a BBQ where I was chatting to an old family friend who was warning me off a couple that he and some others had fallen out with.

‘Honestly Sista’ he said earnestly ‘stay away from him, he’s a twat and has shafted people more savvy than you.’

‘Really?’ I replied, not wanting to get involved in some willy waving turf war that was really none of my business.  Hell I get myself into shit on a regular basis without even trying. Did Ross really think I needed him dragging me into his personal spats?

‘Really,’ he asserts, drunkenly taking a big swig of warm Pimms, the wet shaft of celery nearly taking his eye out, ‘as for that wife of his, I’d only known her an evening and she tells me she has a personality disorder!  As if she was telling me her star sign!  Or her job!  Seriously, it beggars belief….’

And he does it.  He rolls his eyes and twirls his index finger at his head.  

The universal shorthand for ‘Looney Alert’.

‘Really?’ I murmur trying to bite down the urge to shriek ‘SNAP!’ in his face and watch him redden, squirm and struggle for a response.

But I was saved from my naughty mind monkeys by the host calling us over for hot burgers and chicken.

This same person, I’ll have you know, hardly let’s a day go by without plastering a lovely meme on his Facebook page about supporting people with mental health issues and chiding those who judge ’em, this being one of his favourites:

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What a hypocritical knob, eh?

So I kept schtum.  Mainly because this prick isn’t someone I encounter very often, so doesn’t really matter, but his blatant masquerading as someone who did not judge others less fortunate than him makes me sick to the stomach.  It also disgusts me that a vulnerable individual, like this girl, might have shared her condition with him because of this bullshit propaganda, and he’s now spitefully spreading her secret far and wide.

The utter COCK.

The next encounter took place on Facebook itself, where an ex colleague was having a heated but entirely rational exchange with a female, and when he could not finish the argument he himself had picked, he told her to ‘Leave it!  Fucking bunny boiler.  Have you had your medication today?’

The woman did not reply.  I don’t know whether she has a history of mental health issues or was just disgusted that he had dismissed her thus (or indeed both), but I bet he wouldn’t have spoken to her that way if she had been a man.  And if he did use that forum to ‘out’ and deliberately shame her because she was intellectually out of his league, then I’m really glad that we no longer work together anymore.

The final straw was today when I opened an emailed blog from someone having a go at a ‘sick stalker’ who has allegedly being harassing him and others bloggers, the final line/parting shot being ‘Personality disorders can be so bothersome’.

No.  Shit.

My first thought was ‘I can’t believe he sent me this’ because he only knows me from this blog, but of course the mail out was sent to all of his followers so it wasn’t a personal attack.  It stung though.  And ultimately made me feel sad.  And resigned to my secret shame.

And in many ways I can’t blame him.  As you can see from this earlier post, I had the very same impression of BPD sufferers myself:

https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/name-that-disorder-in-one/

But it finally made my mind up that I’ll never share my condition with anyone now.  Because people do judge whether they like it or not, whether they want to or not. And anything outside of depression (BDP, bipolar, schizophrenia etc) is still very unacceptable to the majority, whether it’s politically incorrect to admit it or not.

And whilst I admit to having trust issues, people, even those you love, do use your condition against you.

When I confronted someone over something she did, even though others had witnessed it, she immediately adapted a sickly ‘poor you’ expression, only just stopping short of doing the ‘twirly finger to head’ to those nearby when she thought I wasn’t looking, implying that I was being irrational.

When someone tried manipulate me to do her dirty work and I politely called her out on it, she pulled a similar face, implying that it was all in my imagination.  OMG she didn’t know it was that big a job!  No, of course she didn’t expect me to do it all!  I had totally misunderstood her!

And when someone asked me for a favour/money or to do something I was not comfortable with and I explained why I couldn’t help him, I got the ‘Excuse moi? You’re refusing me?!’ look, the disappointed sigh, and was blanked for about 3 months, just to make the point that he’s normal, I’m loopy and as far as he was concerned, I need his friendship more than he needed mine.  Hey, I should count myself lucky that he hasn’t had me sectioned for my audacity in optimising my free will!

So in sum, in being an out BPD/EUPD, I would be forgoing respect, credibility, my power and pretty much offering my throat to any passing predator, let alone showing them the whites of my eyes.

Fuck that.

So as lonely as it is to deal will this without the help of ‘cheerleaders’, I’m gonna pop my cojones out, man the fuck up and deal with it on my own.

Because I’m not one of you.  I’m one of them.

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And you know what?  If you met me, you’d never even guess.

So that means that me and my kind could be in your vicinity now.  Stalking you, cooking your cottontail and sharpening your biggest, best Sabatier whilst you prepare for a nice soak in your steaming hot tub….

Be afraid bitches; be every afraid.  The blatantly crazy aren’t the ones you should be wary of.

But that’s not the scariest thing of all.

Because when the shit comes down, you know that instinctively it’ll be me you want to turn to.  Because you know I’ve stared rejection, humiliation, isolation and financial ruin in the face, the very things you yourself dread, and I’m still standing.  And when you’re in that dark desolate public hell, who will show up to guide you back out towards the light?  Not your lovely, popular, social climbing compadres that’s for sure.  And you’ll be praying for my unacceptable scary ass to show up.  Whether I do or not remains to be seen.

You see?  Bothersome ain’t the half of it.

Namaste y’all 😉

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FORGIVE (WITH) ME!

 

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Today I planned to meet up with a couple of people whom I believe screwed me over, and naturally I was apprehensive about the encounter.

Why, you might wonder, was I meeting them in the first place?

I was meeting them because I have this habit of permanently falling out with friends over intentional or unintentional infractions of the friendship and consequently don’t have many left, so I have to learn how to handle people better and forgive and accept their failings as they probably accept mine.

I’m not very good at forgiveness, you see.

‘You have to be mindful of who you let see your ‘child’!’ my counsellor Aunty C urges, ‘some friends can be trusted to this end, but you can’t be super close to everyone!  You have to protect yourself whilst figuring people out!’

She’s right. I’m not much for casual friends.  And If I meet a ‘kindred spirit’ I tend to spill my guts, show my vulnerability and then when they can’t resist the temptation of fucking me over and/or letting me down, I furiously see them off with my (metaphorical) sawn off shotgun complete with a 20 ft flame thrower attachment.  And they, understandably, run.  Never to be seen again.

You would think that someone in my position would do everything they could to hang onto friends wouldn’t you?

During my therapy prep session with the Perkies earlier this week https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/holy-moses/, I was asked a series of questions about whether I was (a) terrified of being left by men/family/friends, (b) whether I ever begged them to say, and (c) whether I ever used emotional blackmail on them to make them stay.

I believe my answer them was something along the lines of ‘I’d rather cut my tits off and hang them on a barbed wire fence.’

That caused a bit of pinkcheekitis I can tell you.  Bless! 😉

It was then that I started to think that I might not be BPD after all.

Then I remembered.  I did used to do those things when I was young, green and vulnerable with no confidence in myself whatsoever.  Then my mum died and, in my fury and outrage, I turned to stone.  Then when anyone messed me around or let me down (especially men), I wouldn’t cling to them.  I dumped them so hard their ears bled.  I essentially despatched them before they got chance to despatch me.  Even if they never intended to in the first place.

I was one cold bitch.  And I loved it.  I gloried in my intractability, my formidable reputation, my ability to show no fear, and my merciless resolve to never, ever forgive them for what they had done.

I felt STRONG.  I was respected.  No one dared cross me.

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And decades later, when I finally unravelled, my so called armour collapsed like a wet cardboard box, leaving little peeled prawn me quivering and trembling alone in the barren landscape of my reality wondering how the hell I was going to protect myself now.

I’m starting to realise that I had it all wrong.  As in keeping out anyone who let me down, I also kept out not only their potential goodness, but the good people who could have had a positive, supportive role in my life, because, from a love perspective, I am essentially alone now.

And without being cringy, corny or a God botherer, it’s only since I’ve been using my beads and praying that I’ve seen any kind of positive shift in my life.

When I had a rather intimidating family get together the other week, I prayed for help in getting through it, to not deliberately sabotage it by make things awkward no matter how annoying they were, to not take offence at any tactless/dumb/hurtful thing that might inadvertently be said, and to let them in, if only for that day.

And I survived it.  They thought it was a great success.  I was exhausted, but exultant and relieved it was over.

My pow wow with the Perkies?  I prayed to be patient, trusting and to remember that they were, and are, trying to help me.  It’s not their fault that they are young, lovely and normal!  And apart from one or two awkward moments it was fine.

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Today was going to be hard though.  Because those naughty Mind Monkeys were at it again, telling me that Friend 1 was the instigator and was now shitting himself because I might drop him in it with Friend 2, so perhaps I should do just that, hmm?  Serves him right hey!  And they reminded me that Friend 2 was nervous after getting a chilly reception from me last time our paths crossed, and wouldn’t it be a good laugh to keep her on tenterhooks all day by way of punishment? After all, she complicit too, so deserved to be jerked around.

It’s hard to resist those prankish primates with their mischievous, amusing, destructive ideas.  They kept tempting me with sharp, witty, faux innocent one liners to smack my friends down with, reminding me of their weaknesses and that I should punish them so that by the end of the day, they’d know that they’d been Tangoed per se.

Boom!

Actually no.  If I went down that route, no one would be speaking to anyone by lunchtime, so whilst I was sorely tempted to exact a little revenge, I asked for help in keeping calm, not being cruel, getting over what had gone before and, without putting my ‘child’ in danger to let myself be softer and to try to see the good inside them.  And, if possible, to forgive them.

And apart from one teensy weensy bitch slap (Look, it was more of a pat than a slap, OK?!) which only happened because someone decided it was a good idea to resurrect a point of contention, it went fine.  I was a bit stiff and uncomfortable at first, but by the end of the day everyone was happy, relieved and it was evident that we had finally put the entire matter behind us.

I think I’m over it.  And it might not sound like a big deal to a normal, balanced, non BPD person, but for me it really is.

Getting over shit and not holding onto anger, bitterness and the desire for revenge seems to be at the heart of my potential recovery.

Then I saw this on today’s Reader Feed.

http://forgivenesschallenge.com

Timely, no?

I don’t know what this consists of, how it’s going to work or whether it will be useful, but I’ve decided to give it a go, as God knows I need all the help I can get.

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That said, I’ve just played the first video and if I was a cartoon I’d have a huge question mark above my head right now.

You’ll know what I mean when you watch it. 🙂

Strange days indeed, as I’ve said more than once of late…

If you too have an issue with forgiveness and feel ‘stuck’ because of it, drop your weapon of choice and join me.

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Not for the wankers who’ve hurt you, but for you and your well being.

Because you’re worth it (flicks hair Cheryl stylee).

Namaste xx

 

 

 

EVERYTHING GIVES YOU CANCER, I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE

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Tony Hadley was on breakfast TV this morning, promoting his new whatever, and because it is Valentines Day, they played out with Spandau Ballet’s iconic, romantic hit single “True”.

And as always, I turned it off. Not because I’m single/lonely/bitter and twisted.

It’s because, for me hearing that song always reminds me of the day that love died.

My Mum didn’t love me. I know that much is true. Well if she did, I certainly couldn’t feel it, and she definitely didn’t like or approved of me. For most of the years we were together we were at loggerheads because I knew in my gut that I wasn’t what she wanted or expected, and the fact that she blatantly favoured my sister.

Hence the memory of our time together is peppered and scarred by her inherent disgust and excoriating criticism of me, my desperate attempts to force her to love me, my bruising, bloodied war with my sister, and throughout it all, my Mum telling me she loved me as much as her when interrogated, hissing her affirmations through gritted teeth, her eyes shining with impatience and hatred, and my howls of anguish at the unfairness and loneliness of it all.

So after years of being eaten away by cancer, on the day I was told that she had died, I had to be pinned to the floor by my cousin, such was my pain, rage, sorrow and defiance at God for tearing her from me before her time, before she made me feel like I really mattered.

Then, in a matter of minutes, something inside me went cold and impervious.  I got up, dried my tears, absorbed my rage within myself, and did the dutiful daughter thing.

I cleaned up, organised the funeral, baked for the wake, bought something black and severe to match my charred bubbling fury, and put her in the ground.  And on that day, when my father finally told me he loved me, I looked at him coldly and thought ‘No, you don’t.  You’re just scared of being without her’.

And that was the week that “True” was number one in the charts.   Also, flying high was New Wave/Punk artist Joe Jackson with his album Night and Day which my sister played incessantly, especially the particularly delightful and timely track “Cancer” (or was that me?  I honestly can’t remember), so what with the radio playing Spandau every hour, and my or my sister’s perverse choice of music de jour, the two tracks merged into some sort of twisted mash up, which went:

‘Everything gives you cancer, uh oh oh, OH uh, there’s no cure, there’s no answer, I know this much is true….’

And I hated them, I hated her, I hated him, and I especially hated HER, but most of all, I hated myself.  And to be honest?  If I’d have known you during that dark, endless, excruciating week, I’d have probably hated you too.

No offence 😦

You wouldn’t have noticed though.  You would just have seen a haughty, thin, distant Easter Island statue of a girl with the closed off, haunted eyes of someone far older than her nineteen years.

You still wouldn’t have wanted to be around me though.  You would have sensed the poison, the badness, the ugliness, the faults and the failings.  Because if my own Mother couldn’t love me, there must have been something fundamentally wrong with me.

Over thirty years have passed since that day, and over the decades and via painful experience, I know more and I know better.  For the most part. But that hasn’t stopped my self loathing sabotaging every relationship I ever had, and every potential relationship from growing into something to treasure.

When people said ‘You have to love yourself  before anyone else can love you’ I would think ‘Bollocks.’  Plenty of good looking, rich, famous, successful, sexy fuck ups have found someone to love them and be with them.  Or at least that’s how it appears from the outside looking in.

I do however think it’s the only way forward for me.  Because if you love yourself, at least someone loves you. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to let more love into my life if/when I get there.

Valentine’s Day isn’t usually a biggie for me.  I’m not one of those women who bemoans my singleness, sends myself flowers/cards/chocolates to prove to others that I’m loveable, or acknowledge/celebrate it by going to an anti Valentines event, something I’ve always found bemusing.

I have bigger fish to fry.

My salvation doesn’t depend on another homosapien with a penis.

It’s down to me.

So today, I’ll mostly be doing loving things for myself.  Nurturing my mind, body and soul, and opening my scarred and battered heart and soul to the possibility that it is not too late to love and be loved, in all of it’s aspects, guises and manifestations, and I invite you to do the same.

As, whether you are single or not, there are worse things that you could do for yourself in the next 24 hours and beyond.

So I send you big love this Valentines Day and hope you are surrounded by the love of your family/friends/partner, and most of all the love of that spark of light that ignites and dwells within us all.

Namaste x

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IT’S ‘JUST ONE THING’ MY SOUL MAY BE FEELING

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Sorry for the radio silence.  Have had just had three days of hell, brought on by yet another frigging birthday, having to resort to applying for benefits and the betrayal of a friend which left me a knuckle biting, goggle box watching, contracted, balled up, terrified wreck who ground her teeth to a bloody mess every night.  And it’s a bugger to get those pillowcases clean afterwards!

I wasn’t rendered completely inactive though.

Unfortunately.

I’ve had to ban myself from eBay after incessant stalking of Joyce McKinney levels via the ‘ending soon’ option, and have spent a small fortunate on stuff I don’t really need, just to distract me from the pain of my crisis which was threatening to obliterate me.

So it felt like I couldn’t get any lower.

But I’m alive, I have a roof over my head, and I have options. But it’s up to me to take direct action in order to change my situation.

Plus I got an email from my very own celebrity stalker, Dr Rick Hanson.

Ole Rick’s always emailing me.  I mean it’s getting embarrassing, and there are days when I open the message, stare at his perky, happy, successful visage and think ‘You again? Really?!  Back the hell off, geezer!’ but there is no doubt he means well, and today’s missive totally hit the spot, so, as it’s not on his website yet, I thought I’d share it with you.  I’ve bolded the bits that resonate the most with me.

The Practice 
Keep going.

Why?

I once attended a workshop led by Joseph Goldstein, a Buddhist teacher. I had realized something about the lack of a fixed self, and shared the insight with him. He nodded and said, “Yes, right.” I felt seen for taking a step forward. Then he smiled and added something I’ve never forgotten: “Keep going.”

Of all the factors that lead to happiness and success – such as class origins, intelligence, personality, character, looks, luck, race – the one that typically makes the most difference over time is persistence. Knocked down ten times, you get up ten times.

If you keep going, you might not reach your goal – but if you stop, you’ll never reach it.

We respect people who persist. There’s a magic in determination that draws others toward it and elicits their support.

And you just don’t know when your day will finally come. There are so many stories of “overnight success” that actually arrived after many years of effort, often including some failures. For example, Dwight Eisenhower was an obscure colonel in 1939 – and nearly forty-nine years old – when Germany invaded Poland to begin World War II; four years later he was in charge of all Allied forces in Europe; nine years after that he was elected president.

How? 

Make sure your goals are worthy of your perseverance. You can be determined to a fault. Don’t “keep going” down a tunnel with no cheese. Consider the collateral damage: are you winning battles but losing the “war” of overall health, well-being, integrity, and welfare of others?

Know the feeling of tenacious persistence. It could be fierce, strong, stubborn, unyielding, clear, inspired, surrendered, on-mission, purposeful, focused, committed – or all of these. Recall a time you had this feeling, and know it again in your body. Call it up whenever you need to draw on resources inside to keep going.

Take the step that’s right in front of you – one after another. I’ve taught many people to rock climb: Beginners will often have one foot down low and one foot at knee level, on solid placements, plus two good handholds, yet they can’t find any new holds, so they feel stuck. But when they simply stand up on the higher foothold – taking the step that’s available – that brings higher handholds and footholds within reach.

Find the pace you can sustain; life’s a marathon, not a sprint. For example, on my first Boy Scout backpack trip, I was a skinny, nerdy, unathletic kid. But I wanted to be the first to our campsite. We set out and the burly “alpha” boys raced ahead, while I kept up a slow-but-steady pace. After a few miles, I passed them sitting down on the side of the trail. They were startled to see me trucking along and soon got up and raced past me. But after another few miles, once again they were laid out by the side of the trail, this time really fried as I walked past them – and I was very happy to get the first, really cool tent spot.

Keep going in your mind even if you can’t make any headway in the world. Maybe you’re truly stuck in some situation – a job, an illness, a certain sort of marriage. But at least you can continue to reflect on what’s happening, learn to cope with it better, and love the people around you. And over time maybe things will improve. As Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Have faith that your efforts will pay off. You may have heard this teaching story: A bunch of frogs fell into a vat of cream. They couldn’t jump out, and one after another drowned. But one frog refused to quit and kept swimming and staying alive, even after all the other frogs had died. Finally its movements churned the cream to solid butter – and it hopped out to safety.

Keep churning!

Isn’t he annoying?!  One of those ‘lemons to lemonade’ types, whereas no doubt I’d cut the lemon in two, bite down on half of it, squirt the other in my eyes then apply it to a particularly deep paper cut, such is my desire for self destruction….

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But, all joking aside, the one thing that made my ears prick up in this instance was his reference to tenacious persistence.

I know I have this in spades. Trouble is it only comes out in bad situations where i feel I need to defend myself, and then I’m a like a rottweiler on steroids with an elastic band around it’s balls.  Furious, dogged (sorry), committed and determined, I hang in there, fight clean, fight dirty, and ‘never stop fighting till the fight is done’.

So why can’t I harness this trait and use it for positive things instead of attack mode?  It’s possible. Isn’t it?

So from now on, before I hit the hay, I’m going to write a list of what I want/need to do the next day.  I may not do all of them.  Hell I may not do any of them.  But at least I’ll try.

I’m going to try and fight my urge to procrastinate by watching bad TV, unnecessary eBaying, playing scrabble and fannying around on the internet.

I’m going to try and fight for a better life, fight to make people see and treat me better, fight for my rightful place in this world, fight my shame and self recrimination, and show those nagging, tormenting mind monkeys of mine where the door is.

I’m not always well or motivated enough to read all of Rick’s emails, but when I do I find that they are always compassionate, practical and inspiring and it won’t hurt you to subscribe to them as there are days when they are the only thing that get me out of my pit.

So whilst the image of buttery frogs makes me want to break out garlic and breadcrumbs à la française, I’ll try to keep churning and not disintegrate into a pool of congealed mess every time something or someone hits me.

And there’ll be more missiles to come; i can feel it.

But that’s life, isn’t it?

Dontcha just lurve Karma folks? 😉

Namaste x

http://www.rickhanson.net/writings/just-one-thing


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FEAR SMACK DOWN 1 – SPINNING AROUND

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2014 has been a wee bit tough for me so far.  Deaths, illnesses, resigning myself to applying for benefits, baking stall disasters etc., but last night I did my first Fear Smack Down of the year.  🙂

I’d pretty much spent 4 days and nights on my own, and one of my friends, whom I thought was supportive of my illness not only appears to be blanking me *, but has kind of ‘jumped in my grave’ so to speak, and snatched an opportunity away from me that I alerted her to, mug that I am.   And given she is one of my new supposedly ‘positive’ acquisitions, it feels like such a betrayal and makes me fall back into thinking that I can’t trust anyone whatsoever.

So me being me, of course, I found a polite way of saying ‘stuff it up your arse’, backed off and let her keep it.

Then last night, I was meant to be going to a Meet Up group with another new friend who, after asking if she could go with me, cancelled on me at the very last minute.

Instant karma anyone? 😉

I know, I can hardly talk, but it did drag me even further down mood wise.

And as the turbulent storm outside (and the even bigger one in my head) raged, yes, you guessed it, the urge to bail and stay glued to the sofa for the night was almost irresistible.

I did my usual procrastinations to kill time; hoovered the flat, played Scrabble online, sniped a bit on eBay, bleached my teaspoons etc. and all along the voices told me don’t go out, stay in, no one will talk to you let alone dance with you, what are you going to say when they ask you what you do, you’re too late now, look at the state of you, you’re too old for this, stay in and watch TV with us, you don’t need anyone else, you’ll only get hurt….

Then a very familiar voice cut through all of the others and said kindly but insistently ‘Don’t let the child sit in and fester!  Encourage her to go along, and remind her, she can always come home if she doesn’t like it.’

And for once, out of the hundreds of times I failed to listen to Aunty C’s sage words, I slid off the sofa, rushed to the bathroom, hurriedly daubed on some make up, pulled on a top and jeans and scuttled out into the night, muttering to myself ‘It’ll be fine, it’s loud and anonymous; take the car and if it’s awful you can always leg it home quickly.’

And do you know what?

It wasn’t fine.

It was brilliant!

As soon as I got in I spotted someone I’d met before and before I knew it, we got chatting to two other girls and I had friends, for the evening at least.

The bands were loud, too loud for us to chat too much, so I kept my anonymity, hid my nuttiness, and any nervous OTT antics were probably just perceived as me trying to be heard over the din.  The dancing was hilarious, everyone was clowning about and it was so much fun, and I span till I was dizzy, and all I could feel was joy and gratitude to God for this few hours of respite.

I also got a few appreciative looks from the opposite sex, but I avoided their eyes, ducked my head and steered clear.  Run men of Knightsbridge run, you have no idea what you’re dealing with….

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I even had a couple of cheeky ciders, both of which I am regretting this morning, but in all all?

I was glad I went.

So take that Fear!  OK you might be well up on points, and have hundreds to my one so far this year, but I warn you, this time, I’m committed to kicking your arse by the medium of dance.

So, I’m spinning around, move out of my way bitch!

Namaste x

* I could be wrong 😉

EAR WORM No. 18 THE STRANGLERS – WALK ON BY

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I heard this track on the radio today and it took me back to what, now, seems like another life.

To a life where, for a brief period of time, I felt pretty damn formidable.

I was probably at the peak of my attractiveness, my body was lithe and model like, and the boys rather predictably, didn’t seem to care about my dubious nose or big teeth anymore and I hid behind that confident veneer as if my life depended on it.

My punk/new romantic look made my aloof features an advantage, and along with my Miss Whiplash attire and liberal use of black/navy/burgundy/blood red make up atop of my pallid visage, the desired ‘Don’t touch, in fact don’t even look‘ image was complete.

I was earning decent money for once in my life so was starting to realise I didn’t have to rely on anyone anymore.

I’d broken one heart and was about to break another.

The mother who’d never loved me enough had died and after a month of pure agony, my blood was replaced by ice water, my body turned to marble and the six inch thick steel door that stayed in place for a good decade or so, slammed shut on my emotions, making me one very scary bitch indeed.

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If anyone had dared ask, I couldn’t have exactly said I was happy.

I might not have realised how fucking angry I was, but I knew that I was, for once in my life, powerful.

No one was going to make me feel bad anymore. No one was going to let me down when I needed them the most.

And, most importantly of all, no one was going to tell me what to do, least of all a man.

I realise now that under that haughty, superior exterior, I was one sick puppy. But at the time I didn’t know, and if I had known, I wouldn’t have cared.

Anyone who tried to mess with me now was going to pay.

Three decades have passed since that girl partied hard in the clubs of Manchester, outplayed the players, saw dating as a blood sport, and used her sexuality in the most harmful way possible; My looks have faded, my snarl has gone, and after years of therapy, my life blood has returned, my form softened and the steel door has gradually come down.

And for the most part, I don’t like it. And whilst I do still have a weapon, I can’t always find it, plus my challenge is to try to choose my battles and whenever possible, leave it in it’s sheath.

I’m old, unarmed and scared.

But I fight on. For that motherless, abandoned girl for whom love only ever brought insecurity, doubt and pain, who embodied a white hot fury that had to be incarcerated as it was too painful to acknowledge, and I can only hope that I can make a life where she can experience what love, security and self acceptance actually feels like.

So I resist the urge to tool up and fight.

But my God, if I could have put this brain into that young body, I could have ruled the world.

And when I hear this song, I could almost be there, striding into a club, in spike heels, vinyl trousers, flicking my burgundy hair with an insouciant smirk across my plum stained lips.


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TRIKONASANA TALES 3 – YOU BETTER KNOW YOURSELF, LITTLE GIRL….

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It’s 1pm on a blazing hot Tuesday afternoon, and I’m trapped in the corner of a cold, darkened room, sitting on a very flimsy wicker chair (that creaks if I so much as blink), with a little pixie sat between my legs, who has one hand on my chest, and another on my belly; her head is inclined as she keens and whispers softly to herself.

Suffice to say, it’s getting kinda freaky in here…

I can see a thin strip of brilliant sunlight sneaking through a crack in the blind, and can hear the cicadas chirrup, and as I long for a bit of warmth on my skin, a bit more personal space and my €75 back, I wonder for more than once this week what the fuck I’m doing here exactly?

Three days into my yoga retreat, and I’m getting more into the swing of the classes, which are a blessing in themselves, but after over a year of self imposed exile, I’m finding being in the company of a group of rowdy wannabee yogis more than a little exhausting.

I’m not great with groups; I’m very comfortable one to one, or even one to two or three, but beyond that, it’s always been a bit of a strain, especially if said group is comprised of largely attention seeking gobshites.  In those instances, I tend to take a step back and observe rather than jockey for position, and when everyone is yelling and talking over one another, I get the irresistible urge to grab a taxi/bus/passing donkey and head off to the airport for a cheap air bus home.

My problem, I know.

Not their fault.

And you know what they say; you never get a second chance to make a good first impression and given that I was sinking into migraine hell on the day I arrived, I wasn’t exactly my usual chipper (ha!) self, so do feel rather peripheral to the group.

Nothing new there.

Speaking of which, even though I’ve played down the brainstorm, and have mentioned nothing about my panic attacks and depression, nor how much it took for me to actually get myself here in the first place, I think they think I’m a bit of a hypochondriac.

And I’m particularly quiet because, whilst I’m trying to joke and bond with some of the group, a few of them are really getting on my nerves.  There’s a couple who I catch looking at me as if I’ve grown a turnip for a head or something, and one woman who frankly would laugh if her arse was on fire.  She giggles non stop at anything.  I know I sound like a miserable old curmudgeon but she’s like a sniggering woodpecker rat-a-tat-tatting on my skull, and I want to grab her, sorry, it by the throat and stuff it into the hot tub.

Anyway I am due to get a deep tissue massage today, but to be honest, if anyone applies pressure to any part of my body today I’ll kneecap ’em, so I have to go and see the retreat manager in order to defer it to a day when I’m feeling less fragile.

She is both lovely and sympathetic.

‘I know!’, she says, ‘why don’t you go and see Inca instead?’

Who?

The manager smiles.  ‘She’s our Sound Healer! She’s ever so good, and everyone that goes to see her seems to have some kind of life changing experience!’

I remembered then.  A couple of the girls had been cooing about this woman who had done all of this nigh on miraculous stuff for them.  There were tales of protective bubbles, levitation, sixth sense, messages from the other side, and every seemed to be very excited about her indeed.

What can I tell you?  I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff as I’d love to believe someone could help me move forward, and if it’s all a scam, I can milk the experience for anecdotes to entertain my friends when I get home!

Win/win,no?

I then make the fatal mistake of sharing my plans for the afternoon with the others at breakfast.

The girls in particular are enchanted by the news.

‘Oh Sista, you’re going to love her, she’s just amazing, she’s just….’

I need more than that, however.

‘Is she any good?’

One rather quiet Danish girls pipes up hesitantly, ‘I had her yesterday and well…’ she screws up her face, not wanting to appear different/cynical, ‘I’m not entirely sure what happened….’

Hmm.  I wondered if I shovel my muesli down tout suite, I can get to the Managers office before she leaves for the day and cancel this?

Another rather brassy old bird cuts her off mid sentence.

‘Look she’s lovely woman, so full of luv, and has so much to give!  And honestly, at the end of the day…’ she looks around her, warming to her theme ‘even if you can’t sense what’s she’s done for you, you’re in that room, she uses all them bowls, and she’s giving you so much luv, you can’t lose!  It’s only €75!  What more could you ask for?’

Well, lemme think, erm….

Some kind of proof that’s she’s not chatting shit?  

Some kind of reading that you recognise as being applicable to you and your life?  

Some kind of improvement in health, fortune, and/or spiritual wellbeing?

Contact with a ex parrot, sorry person?

A.K.A. good old fashioned VALUE FOR MONEY?!

What planet is this ditzy bint from?!

Honestly just because you want to be seen as being spiritual, that’s no excuse for blatant stoopidity, and if I want a nice lie down in a roomful of love, I’ll lock myself in my bedroom with the cats when I get back, and will spunk the money away on duty free booze, expensive hand cream and a big box of Toffifee on the way home instead, thank you very much!

Toffifee

I stay silent though. The proof of the pudding and all that….

Inca’s husband comes to pick me up, and introduces himself as Eric.  I kind of expected him to be called Ptolemy, Perseus or something like that, so am a bit disappointed.

‘So,’ he says, peering through filthy spectacles and we jack knife around pot holes and rebound violently off boulders (think this car was manufactured before suspension was invented) ‘what is it you want out of today?’

Dude, you honestly think I’m going to tell you?  I don’t even trust the men that I know, let alone one I was introduced to five minutes ago!

‘Erm, not sure, I’m just gonna go with the flow, I suppose….’

‘Right.  Great.  Anyway, we’re here now.’

We’ve stopped outside a beautiful farm, and my heart lifts a little.  Hell if she can afford this, she must be doing something right.

Unfortunately we head in the opposite direction to a concrete hut that looks tailor made for kidnappers or hostage takers, not exactly the ideal venue for some psychic hippy chick’s HQ.

The door to the cell, sorry, room suddenly opens and this dinky little elf of a woman comes out beaming, and takes both of my hands into hers.

‘Sista!’ she sighs beatifically, drinking me in, as if I was Dominos pizza after a fast day, ‘Let’s get you inside!’

Must we?  Can’t we go next door?  I smile apprehensively and follow her into her lair.

Actually it all looks quite cosy.

Shame it’s as cold as a witch’s tit.

Inca sits me in the deceptively precarious, Poundland wicker seat and asks me what I’m here for.

Am I being unreasonable for expecting her to know the answer to that?

Yes.  I probably am.  Stop being a bitch Sista, and give the poor cow and yourself a break and point her in the right direction at least.

‘I’m erm, kind of transitioning from one way of life to another and finding it a little difficult to know which way to go…,’ I venture.

‘Yes, right, I can see that,’ Inca bites her lip, ‘Do you mind if I touch you?’

I thought you already were?

‘No, that’s fine.’

She then plants a very firm hand on my left boob, and another on my swiftly retracting belly.

Whoa Nelly….

It feels horribly intrusive.  I press back further into the corner.  The wicker chair creaks protestingly.

She frowns.

‘I’m trying to get in but,’ she sighs, ‘there’s a huge barrier that you’ve erected to protect yourself, and I need to get you to a place were you feel safe enough to let it down.’

That’s true enough.  But did she get that from inside ‘me’ or from my rather obvious body language?

Shut up, negative voices, purlease!

She shifts and presses harder on my tit.

‘You need to help me here.  Tell me about your parents and your upbringing.’

Oh come on! Do I have to do ALL the work around here?!

Whatever.  What have I got to lose?

I give her a potted history, which I won’t bore you with, and Tinkerbell smiles, nods sagely, and asks me more about the females, a.k.a. my Mum and Nana, swiftly establishing that shit parenting that was passed down from the generation to generation culminating in what happened to me as a result of this.  Her eyes are closed and her face flickers as she nods and ticks.

‘I’ve got them here my love, well your Mum’s here at least.’

That’d be right.  My Nan was a formidable old harridan who would have no truck with this airy fairy nonsense and I could picture her jeeringly making mincemeat of this little sprite, given half the chance.

‘Can you remember a time when you finally realised that there was no hope, and you just gave up trying to get her to love you the way you needed and deserved?’

Ridiculously, I feel my throat close and my eyes well up with tears, which I furiously push back down.  I’m not fucking crying here in ‘Cell Block H’ if I can possibly help it.

‘No’, I manage to croak in a relatively ordinary voice.

Inca frowns.  ‘She’s saying “I soon knocked it out of her” and I can see something shoot out of you like a comet’  Her arms extends into the air like Usain Bolt’s.

I look perplexed.

‘You honestly can’t remember?’

Nope.  It was all equally miserable as far as I can remember.

‘She’s sorry my love, she really is,’ Inca nods as if listening to Mum over the astral plane, ‘she wasn’t loved herself, so she didn’t have it to give to you.’

I fight the flicker of impatience that ripples through me.  I KNOW!  I’ve been in therapy for decades, as that all you have for me?

Then something comes back to me and I see them in my minds eye.

The prettiest, loveliest, most beautiful things I’d ever seen.

The pressure increases on my belly.

‘What?’

‘Erm, I think I remember something….’

Her eyes snap open and they stare directly into mine.  I break the gaze and clear my throat.

‘When I was little, my Auntie always used to tell me I should be a dancer.  She said even when I was just born I had really long legs, and when I used to prance around to the Top 40 on a Sunday night, all the family used to joke about me ending up on Sunday Night at the London Palladium one day….’

Inca nods encouragingly.

‘…so, when I was about eight, she went out bought me a pair of tap shoes.’

I pause, swallow, and continue.

‘I’m from a pretty poor family, and those shoes must have cost her a fortune.  I remember how pretty they looked in the box, like something you’d wear for a wedding.  “There you go!” she said to my Mum, “I know you couldn’t afford any, so you just have to pay for the lessons now!”’

My Mum gave her a pained smile and before I could get them out of the box, gently pulled it out of my protesting hands.  “Come on Sista, you don’t want to get them dirty, do you?”  she said with false jollity, so I nodded, knowing that I had no choice, acquiesced and held that image in my heart, waiting for the day when I could put them on and dance.’

Silence.

I could feel Inca’s eyes blazed into me.

I meet them.

‘I never saw them again’ I said dully, ‘I asked for them time and time again, I begged, I cried, I whined, and she would shout at me for pestering her and walk away.  As the weeks went by, I knew something was very wrong.  Eventually she admitted that she had sold them because she couldn’t afford to buy me lessons.’

I could feel my mouth harden into a thin line, remembering my outrage at the sheer  injustice of this act.  She didn’t even buy me a replacement gift with MY money.

‘‘I knew we were poor and I knew it might have been a bit of a struggle as my Dad spent every night in the pub boozing away half his wages, but if she’d have asked him for more money, if she’d have pushed, cared enough about me to fight my corner….’

I’m staring into my lap now as I cannot bear to see the pity in Inca’s eyes but she’s closed them and is now nodding and frowning and making little singing noises.

Then, she suddenly makes an ‘Ooo!’ noise.

‘She’s got the shoes! She’s brought back the shoes!  She’s saying “Here, sorry, I didn’t mean it!”

The lightning rod of anger that surges through me almost lifts me off the seat.

<‘Oh really? Super!  I’ll just book myself on the next Tardis to 1970 and see if “Miss Amy’s School of Dance” has any slots available!’ I snarl, ‘Tell her from me she can stick them up her arse, heels first and don’t forget the laces!’>

Actually I don’t say that out loud.  But the Absinthe Fairy seems to be picking up the gist of it anyway.

I continue with the dialogue in my head.

<‘Everyone thought my Mum was such a lovely lady, but she was just a spiteful, vindictive, resentful old cow who did everything she could to extinguish my light!’>

Inca’s hands are holding mine again, and she’s nodding furiously.

Surely she’s not picking all of this up?

<‘And you know what? I reckon she didn’t want me to have that opportunity.  No one had done it for her so why should things be any better for me?’>

Our eyes meet.

I speak again, out loud this time.

‘Oh, I forgot to say, I keep dreaming about my rancid ex boss, and don’t understand why he’s not out of my system, it’s so frustrating!’

She sighs.  ‘It’s because you haven’t forgiven him!’

Wow.  There’s no mistaking that bit of synchronicity.

‘Or your Mum, or your Dad, and who else?  These people are riding you and you need to exorcise them out of your system, and only then will you be able to take the reins of your own life!’

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‘But I’ve still got so much anger in my heart!’

‘I know.’

‘And I don’t know what I’m going to do or where I’m going!’ I blurt out randomly.

‘Of course you don’t, how could you?  That’s because you don’t know yourself!  You haven’t had the love and grounding you need, so how can you know who you are or what you really want?

I don’t know myself?

I. DON’T. KNOW. MYSELF?

No one has done more soul searching, more seeking, more questioning, more bloody navel gazing than I have.

No one!

So how can that be?

‘You have to meditate, go within to get it.  But you can’t do it, can you?’

Fuck.  How does she know that?

‘Have you ever really been loved?’

I shift uncomfortably.

She fumbles around for something. ‘You’re not going to be able to do it on your own.  Your chakras are so….flat.  You’re going to need some help.  Where do you live again?’

‘London.’

I momentarily feel panicked.  Please no.  For the love of God, please don’t refer me to bloody Ulrika Seahorse https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/the-new-moon-commune or any of that shower….please?

Thankfully she frowns and can’t seem to find anyone to recommend me, but begs me to seek help when I get home.

I am then told told to lie on her couch, where she covers me with blankets, props me up with pillows, strokes my brow a few times, then sets these bowl things bonging and lights some candles.

It’s all rather relaxing, but I remain on edge, perhaps because I’m still jumpy after that blood curdling screaming fit I witness at that New Moon Hippy thingy.  She doesn’t pop back in and howl in my ear for a laugh, thankfully, but for some reason I start getting palpatations and can’t settle into it.

After a while, she silently enters the room, gives me some kind of flowery water to drink and stares at me with sad, sad eyes.  She again asks me to seek help when I get home.  I agree, oblige her when she asks for a hug, and shoot thankfully through the door into the bright, bright sunshine.

What the hell was that?

Eric, thank the Lord for small mercies, refrains from making small talk and I return to the retreat feeling much better, mainly because in the 15 minute bounce home (where I narrowly avoid biting off my own tongue), I’ve convinced myself that it was all bollocks and that I should chill the hell out already.

I immediately bump into a couple of the girls who are agog with antipation of my tale of wondrous happenings.

‘What happened?  What did she tell you?  Did you feel anything?’

‘Erm, it was alright.  I’m not sure anything happened, but she seemed nice enough.’

The atmosphere changes a little, with a perceptible chill cutting through the heat of the afternoon.

‘Did you get any messages?’

<‘Yes’>

‘No.’

‘Did you cry?’

<‘Somehow, I managed not to.’>

‘No.’

Their expressions are now bordering on hostile.  Miserable cow, they appear to think, not one of us.  Not fun, or warm, not a believer.

Not special like us.

Not spiritual.

If only they knew.

But I’m done showing the whites of my eyes to all and sundry anymore.  That would require trust.  The four inch thick steel door slides smoothly back into place as I smile, shrug and head for a hammock with palpable relief for a nice kip.

But everytime I close my eyes, I see that box, I hear the rustle of thick cream tissue paper, and feel the silken, ribbon ties between my  fingers and my stomach twists with anguish as the thwarted dancer within lets out a silent scream of rage and despair.

‘You’d better get it into your head young lady, these things aren’t for the likes of us.  What do you think we are, millionaires? You a dancer?!  Who do you think you are?  What’s so special about you?  Only thinking of yourself as usual, stuck up little madam, when I was a child we made our own entertainment…..’

Thanks for bringing back the shoes Mum, but I honestly doubt they’d fit me anymore.

Too little, too late.

Namaste.