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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BALLS

And just when I thought everything was going so well.

I’m two weeks from a pretty successful Lenten ‘best behaviour’ period, and all of a sudden, it feels like I’m about to roll down a hill to nowhere.

It’s like a juggling act really, isn’t it, trying to get all your daily chores done, sticking to your resolutions/good intentions and keeping it all going?

Then something distracts you and you drop a ball.  Be it getting to bed early, eschewing alcohol, or bad carbs ball, one day you forget to do something then immediate sense of guilt/failure unsteadies you, but you manage to flick it back in the mix whilst not losing anything else.  Then another wobble, another mini guilt trip and just as you manage to get everything under control again, Life comes along, rudely jogs your elbow, then of course one escapes, and then another, and the whole fucking lot comes tumbling down around your ears.

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That potential work opportunity I was telling you about?

It all seemed so promising at the time.  But now?

Now I smell a rat.

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Actually I love rats so let me change that.

It’s starting to smell a little fishy.

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Nope, that’s not working either…

OK, so what I’m trying to say is that something seems a wee bit suspect about them.

The first time I visited the company, it was all very exciting and promising, but the second time, their attitude and whole proposition seems a little slapdash/complacent/indifferent, PLUS they wanted their substantial fee paying cash in hand which immediately got my antenna twitching, and as the meeting commenced, something told me that I was not going to get much out of them.

Okay.  So, I acknowledge that I’m paranoid.

And I know in some ways, this could be me deriding myself, by thinking that they wouldn’t (or is that couldn’t) value or prioritise me, and that my old friend FEAR is once again lurking around the corridors of my psyche trying to gain entrance.

But my intuition is 99.9% spot on and rarely lets me down. Even Aunty C acknowledges this.

https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/its-this-one-thing-thats-got-me-trippin/

That said, I know that I’m very prone to letting one bad thing attach itself to another and then they breed like cancer cells, so I’m trying very hard to put it on the back burner, get me balls back up (watching shite TV and skipping walking/yoga specifically) and weigh it all up rationally once my panic abates.

This also might be self sabotage as I’m dreading interacting with the ‘normal’ again.  I say ‘normal’.  I met this woman on the way in and she talked at me for about 45 mins without drawing breath, neither noticing or acknowledging the horrified look and sickly smile no doubt pasted to my chops.  I was bordering on obtaining a restraining order in case she ever recognised me again.

Boring

It makes me wonder how I coped when I was working too.  If I remember rightly I was exhausted by the very act of getting into the office, no wonder I found everything and everyone else such a challenge, so kudos to all you people that have a job and manage to stay on an even keel.

And how do people who work, and have a family and kids to deal with?!  Double kudos you people, I can only stand back (at a safe distance with my bag on the seat next to me, no offence, nothing personal) and admire you all for this.

Anyway, it’s a sunny day and I have no excuse not to walk.

Then I can do a bit of mat work when I get back.

Plus I’m physically fitter than I have been for a long time, so why screw that up by eating badly?

And I’ve taken the plug of my TV.

OK, I haven’t but I have turned it off, OK?!

Onwards and upwards, both me and my cojones.

Here we go again.

Hup!

 

 


19 Comments

FAUX? PASS. RIP SWEET PEACHES G X

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As most of you know, I’m really trying to rein in my anger generally but seriously, some people just make me want to explode with outrage and frustration, namely an individual who has written about his bemusement at the outpouring of what he sees as ‘faux’ grief at the untimely, tragic death of Peaches Geldof.

Like many, I was stunned at the news of her demise, and genuinely still feel deeply saddened today.  I thought about writing something on this blog yesterday, but thought to myself ‘What can I say that others have not already?’ and settled for praying for her family, children and loved ones instead.

Then I saw this.

http://wakeuppromotions.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/peaches-geldof-and-the-phenomenon-of-faux-grief-08042014/

Lord God, where to start?

I’m going to try and do this kindly and honourably just so that Lee Cooper might understand that just because his experience does not mirror that of his contacts, does not mean that people are not genuinely affected by this.

The crux of his message seems to stem on the rich and famous “beautiful people” being at the centre of media attention when tragedy strikes, but millions of unknowns die every day under the most awful conditions possible.

As you know, I am not above being resentful of said “beautiful people” (https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/daily-prompt-green-eyed-lady-shiny-happy-people/), but surely this is one of those crucial circumstances when we realise that they are not necessarily so ‘shiny’ and ‘happy’ all the time after all, and when it comes down to it, death, sickness and devastation are neither prejudiced or fussy?  In fact, when the chips are down, the fates/gremlins/four horses of the apocalypse will happily crash into anyone’s life and stomp their dreams into the earth at any given time, no matter how pretty their faces or how talented/well know/rich they are.  Bottom line is, shitty things are the greatest leveller.

The other point is that fame and fortune tends to come at a price.

Amy-Winehouse

Ask Amy Winehouse.  Ask Jade Goody.  Ask Brittany Murphy.  Ask Princess Diana

But you can’t can you?  Because they are no longer with us, and arguably still would have been had they not lived their lives in the glare of publicity, under the perpetual scrutiny of the muck raking, gibbering gossip mongers, parasitical paparazzi and the ‘build ’em up, tear ’em down’ tabloid media.

And the millions of people who die in similar or even worse circumstance every day?  As unfair as it might seem, we don’t know anything about them as individuals so we cannot relate to them and tend not to mourn them in the way that we do for people in our circle or, like Peaches, people whose lives we have some knowledge of.

The collective sadness surrounding the death of Peaches Geldof, like Princess Diana, is down to the fact that we know, or think we know her, and our empathy is strong because we all have a ‘Peaches’ in our life.

A daughter, a niece, a cousin, a sister, a granddaughter who we now clasp to us in gratitude, whilst aching for Ms Geldof’s loved ones as we imagine the unimaginable, searing, endless pain they must be suffering and thank God that such a thing did not befall us or ours.

This time.

To that affect, when we mourn someone famous we are mourning for all lost children and their bereaved parents, friends, siblings and lovers, because if we knew of them, we’d empathise with them too.

Can I put into words why I personally am so sad at Peaches’ death?

Firstly, for those of you that don’t know, my blog is totally anonymous so I have no reason to write anything other than the absolute truth. I am not into showboating (quite the contrary) or using this article to make myself look like some obsequious, rubber necking, ‘faux’ (there’s that word again) saint or something.

Those of you who know me know that I am far from that.

I’m sad because I’m from her mother and father’s generation and I remember Bob, Paula and their clutch of happy, tow headed moppets from the ’80’s and ’90’s, and they seemed like the happiest family in the world.

I then remember only too clearly Bob and Paula splitting up, the chaos that  ensued, and the resulting media frenzy and thinking ‘God, those poor kids’.

Having once been a fan of her writing, I also remember, to my shame, judging Paula harshly and dismissing her as vain, selfish, and destructive, when I didn’t really know her or what was going in her marriage.  This is why I avoid the tabloids nowadays, because when you’re a judgemental old cow like me, it is only too easy to believe what you read in the newspapers.

No one is all good, and no one is all bad.  We are both shit and sugar.  We all have our shadow side.  Deny it’s existence and it can take over.

Fact.

I later remember my shock at Michael Hutchence’s death, and only then started to realise that he and Paula weren’t necessarily living the ‘hot rock couple’ party lifestyle, and that Paula’s monumental decision to split from Bob had corrupted her life and which then started to speedily unravel.

I saw Paula in a cafe in London about a week before her death having lunch with Finlay Quayle.  She wore none of her usual trademark make up and red lipstick, and remembered thinking that she looked very wan and apathetic.

Ten days later she was dead.

The whole thing was like some awful, horrific soap opera.  When and where would it all end?

And always at the heart of the action were her poor children, confused and disorientated, bug eyed at the cameras, shrinking away from the unwanted press attention.

Poor Bob.  Quite how he kept it all together during those dark days is beyond me.

And what he did next was nothing short of heroic.  He put aside his animosity towards Hutchence and took up custody of his and Paula’s love child Tiger because he felt it best that she was raised with her half sisters, formally adopting her in 2007, and brought all of the kids up himself, along with his partner Jeanne Marine, giving them love, security and solid family environment in which to flourish.

There has been a lot in the press about relations with the Hutchence family and Bob not being great, and accusations of keeping them and Tiger apart, but no one is perfect, and I dare say there is muck to be found if one cares to rake it up.

But to my mind, Bob Geldof is a decent bloke with a huge heart.

Over the years, Peaches, like most kids, had her ups and downs, and because she was unable to grieve for her mother for years, stumbled around, trying to find a sense of belonging as she did not really know who she was.

I understand and empathise with that feeling oh so well.  I too lost my mum too young, and am still trying to figure out who I am and my place in this world and I’m in my 50’s.

Then after a very brief marriage that was swiftly dissolved, she found a life partner in Thomas Cohen, had two beautiful babies and everything seemed to fall into place.

As an outsider looking in, it just felt that she had found her place in life.  She no longer sought the wrong kind of attention, she no longer indulged in unhealthy pastimes.

You could see her happiness in her face.

There was no longer doubt or discomfort in her expression.  She literally glowed, and it was evident that she was happy and had blossomed from a bolshy teen into a secure, self assured woman and mother, and I couldn’t have been more pleased for her.

And later, she confirmed my inkling in her last ever interview.

‘Becoming a mother was like becoming me, finally,’ she said, ‘After years of struggling to know myself, feeling lost at sea, rudderless and troubled, having babies through which to correct the multiple mistakes of my own traumatic childhood was beyond healing’.

And then, yesterday morning, she died.

It was beyond shocking.

How fucking inadequate words are sometimes.

How could you not feel sad about this?

If you don’t, I’m not judging you.  We are as we are, and as an empath, quite frankly, I envy you.

What I do judge however is someone who deems the grief and feelings as others as ‘faux’ whilst parasitically using the death of one of his much maligned “beautiful people” to try and create controversy and attract attention to his blog.

Who is he to call into question the authenticity of the feelings of others?

Who is anyone hurting by posting their messages of sympathy online?

Maybe just maybe this surge of empathy will colour all of their lives and we’ll all, even if only for a day or two, start treating one another a little more kindly? Would that be such a terrible thing?

My heart goes out to Bob Geldof.  How much more tragedy and heartache can one man take?

Her siblings are so young, too young to have lost a sister at 25, bless their hearts.

Her babies, who’ll never really know their mum and may not even remember her or how much she loved them.

Her poor manchild husband Thomas left to bring up his children alone, when he’s barely more than a boy himself.

As Ellie Goulding said “Even if you think you’ve got it all figured out, some things still can’t be explained or understood”

I can’t even begin to understand or relate it to a merciful and loving God.

And yes, I would feel the same for anyone else who has suffered the loss of a child, spouse or mother in such devastating circumstances, famous or otherwise.

I can only hope that Peaches died painlessly of natural causes, that the press and paps BACK OFF, and that her family and friends are left alone to mourn her in peace.

If you feel sad, feel sad. There is nothing to justify or to be ashamed about.

Please say a prayer and send love/grace/chi to all of her folks, because they’re so going to need it now and in the months and years to come.

RIP sweet Peaches G x

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“Stop Breathing on My Neck. I’m Trying to Be Compassionate.”

I love this blogger, his insights, honesty and observations, and this post made me smile, albeit somewhat wryly.
Being out of the workplace at this moment in time, I currently have the luxury of being able to avoid most of those irritating ‘other people’ as I can, for the most part, pick and choose who I want to be around, but know that it’s only a matter of time when I am catapulted amongst them again and will have to put up with their annoying shit and not take them down, either physically or verbally :-s

bloggerplus
Being something of an intolerant, easily offended biatch who takes everything personally (I’m HSP with attitude), I’m certainly going to give this a try, but I’ll know I’ve reach a spiritual landmark if I can do it (a) at rush hour on the Tube (b) on a bank holiday in Ikea, or (c) in a packed cinema populated with (i) popcorn rattlers, (ii) iPhone addicts and (iii) fidgets/seat kickers/elbow nudgers, all which tend to make me nigh on homicidal with suppressed rage.

Annoying_Cinema

Which is better than my limited edition ‘expressed’ variety, believe you me…..

I will, however start small and test it out at my local park. At 6.30am. When it’s closed to the public.
One day at a time, sweet Jesus….. 😉

everyday gurus

How to obtain peace when other people are around.

Listening to Adyashanti explain how resistance causes our suffering, I could not focus because some guy behind me was breathing like a hot furnace.

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SPACE INVADERS II – ‘THE DAY THE EARTH TREMBLED’

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I went to the park again yesterday.

And sure enough, it happened again.

Picture the now very familiar scene; I’m lying on the grass, staring semi meditatively into the sky, a soft breeze playing across my skin, cool grass beneath my feet, dragonflies playing, birdies twittering etc., etc.

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Fifteen minutes in, some school kids arrive.

Cue ominous ‘Jaws’ theme tune.

‘Well,’ I reason with myself firmly, fighting the urge to bolt, ‘they’ve just finished their school day, so they’re bound to want a bit of fresh air.  But in the quietest, most boring part of the park?!  But still.  They’re here.  So chill.’

Then more arrive.

And more.

And even more.

Within ten minutes, it’s as if an entire school has decamped into this little patch of tranquility, and the air is filled with shouting, chatter, shrieks and laughs.

I’m perplexed.  Is it some kind of budget school sports day? And even if it was, there are vast open areas of land much more suitable for kids to go and let off steam, so why are they in the twee granny garden?

I turn my head to look at the lady on my left to see if she is equally horrified. She is reading, has iPod earphones in and obviously doesn’t give a shit.

Normal, see? <twirls fore finger in direction of cranium>

I really want to leave now, but I’m determined to hang in there for at least an hour. I’d only just got there!

‘Here!,’ yells an excited boy suddenly, ‘let’s do it here!  You go that side and we’ll go here!’

All of a sudden the earth starts to vibrate, and as I prop myself up on one arm, two boys, one either side of my rug bolt past me, sprint to the bottom of the copse, turn around, and hurtle back up and past me again. They both then tag someone else, and that couple of sweaty youths fly past, almost taking one of my Havaianas with them.

Startled, I sit upright and look around properly. There are two sections of this little nook of the park bisected by a path; the area on the other side of the path is almost empty.

I’m getting irritated now because I feel like an inanimate piece of gym equipment, a flag, bean bag or something that divides the two team tracks.  Nice to know I’m still good for something.  😦  

Perhaps if I hang around long enough, they’ll run twice around my rug and tag me or something.

Seriously am I invisible or what?

But I lie back down and put my book over my face resolutely; I am staying at least another thirty minutes, come what may.

After five minutes or so, the race appears to be over.

I sigh, shift on my rug, settle myself and start to nod off….

Suddenly I wake to what sounds like a Stamford Bridge on a Saturday afternoon.  I sit up sharply and look behind me.

About three feet from my rug and army of mums have set up camp with their rugs, McDonalds/KFC picnics (stinky) and their respective rug rats.

I turn to look at the other side of the park.

Empty.

What kind of fucking fuckery is this? Why does this keep happening to me?

Why are space invaders forever in my face?  Didn’t they get the ‘Fuck the hell off, you intrusive wankers’ psychic memo?

Mind you, I don’t think I’m alone. There seems to be some kind of perverse, reverse law of attraction where certain poor sods like me attract the very thing we want to repel.

  • It’s always the woman that doesn’t like kids that ends up holding someone’s snot encrusted baby whilst it’s siblings leave yoghurt, tears and chocolate stains all over her best pashmina after ‘borrowing’ it for their den.
  • It’s always the kid who’s allergic to insect stings that gets chased by that freakishly big, pulsating bee with an attitude problem.
  • And it’s always the chap who’s allergic to cats that the naughty pussy stalks around the room, and swipes her sneeze inducing fur all over his rust corduroys.  To be fair, that’s quite funny though 🙂 .

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Why is this so?

And can we do anything about it?

Dear Gary, Psychic Empaths, can you advise?

Love Sista S x


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HELLO, I MUST BE GOING!

smalltalk_annetaiontor

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I am frequently late for appointments, and it drives some of my friends mad.

I don’t know the exact reason for sure, but I know one of them is down to my underlying reluctance to leave my flat for anything/anyone, especially if I am going somewhere where I will be out of my comfort zone.

Last night was such an appointment.

As a challenge, and to meet new ‘healthy’ people (as Aunty C, my counsellor, calls non mental folk), I joined a ‘Meet Up’ group and arranged to go and see a gig with them at a pub.

I wanted to see the band, the group looked nice (I’d met the host before and she was fun), but as always, when the time to leave approached, I used all kinds of delay tactics (Facebook, tidying up, sorting out sock drawer, bleaching spoons etc.) and had to fight hard with my inner demons who came out with the usual shit (everyone hates you, you’re ugly, too old to be going to gigs etc.) to make myself leave the flat.

To do this, as advised by Aunty C, I tried to play the ‘Good Parent’ to myself, and reassure the child (that’s me) that it’s OK to be nervous, but to that it would be good for me to socialise, make new friends, and that if the child doesn’t like it, she can always come home’.

That’s easy enough to say, but in real life, things aren’t always that simple.

Leaving when you want or need to isn’t something we tend to allow ourselves the luxury of, as even with good friends, we don’t want to seem aloof, rude or impolite, and whilst a few of my very close friends do sometimes tolerate me legging it mid event, strangers won’t necessarily be quite as understanding.

Take last night; by the time I managed to convince myself to get out of the door, I was already 15 minutes late, and very conscious that this was hardly creating a good impression on the group, but in the end, it was a blessing in disguise, as when I arrived, I found my new buddies in a vast crowd/queue waiting to get into the room where the gig was taking place.

So we spent about 40 minutes standing there in a sweaty, sticky pub being pushed and shoved, and I could feel my anxiety grow minute by minute.  Had I known that was going to happen I’d have stayed welded to the sofa.

I don’t like crowds.

I don’t like feeling trapped.

I don’t like people touching me.

Had I been on my own or with close friends, I would have been out of there like greased weasel shit, but because I was there with new people I had just met, not only did I have to stay, deal with my mounting claustrophobia, listen to my inner dialogue….

(it’s hot, i can’t see the door, i wanna get out, don’t touch me, how much longer, i wanna get out, who did that, try to look normal bitch you’re trying to make friends?!!, i wanna get out, touch me again you stinking fucking pseudo hippy twat and I’ll rip your liver out and slap you around the face with it, you’re drifting off again focus on the conversation, what’s her name again, i wanna get out, i’m going to faint, i hate you and your fucking backpack you cretin, i want out of here now, OW! etc.)

….biting down the urge to punch anyone in arms length of me and head for the door, I had to make small talk.

Small talk.

Small.  Talk.

Two simple, seemingly innocuous, one syllable words that without fail or exception fill my soul with a cold, creeping, despairing dread.

It’s not that I’m not capable of it.  I am. Well I used to be.

I did it for decades, as it was a requirement of the job and industry that I worked in.

And for most people, it might have been a pleasure because a lot of the people that we schmoozed were nice enough, the events usually took place in very salubrious surroundings and I was being paid well to do it.

It’s just that it took such a super human amount of effort for me to network, that I’d usually need to be shit faced to drum up the energy, and need a day off sick afterwards to recover from it by not speaking to anyone at all.

It’s not that I think I am better than anyone else; quite the contrary.  It isn’t that I think I’m better company than anyone else; I just find pointless, social chit chat hard work, soul suckingly boring and a complete waste of life.

I don’t know whether it’s down to my depression/paranoia/nervousness, my being empathic/HSP or both but I honestly don’t get it.

And some people can willingly, nay happily do it for hours.

I suppose putting me in those kinds of scenarios is a bit like someone who’s not keen on kids being locked in a crowded nursery, who’s forced to coo, entertain and sooth them whilst all the while thinking, ‘Fuck, I wonder when I’ll be able to escape from this’.

Only difference being kids are generally pretty amusing.

It’s not that I don’t like people either.  I just find it hard work to operate on such a superficial level, because I need some kind of spark or connection on a deeper level in order to invest time in a person.

That’s one of the reasons I don’t have hoards of friends.

Because in reality no one does.  What popular people actually have is 70% acquaintances, 20% casual friends, 10% good friends.

And whilst I know I need to have more casual friends to complement my few good mates, I don’t have the energy for a load of acquaintances who I have to fight to feign interest in.

Some people are very good at pretending to give a fuck when talking to someone they have no interest in whatsoever.

But whilst having to do this at various functions in the past, I have had to fight the urge to flick the canapé off the cocktail stick I’m holding so that I can slam the sharp end into my eyeball, then I can escape to A&E/ER where I can sit on a nice uncomfortable plastic chair for 6 hours next to drunks, screaming kids, yobs, disorientated pensioners and people with unusual things stuck up their orifices and not have to talk shite with anymore anymore.

And to be honest?  I’d sooner talk to any/all of the above than someone banging on to someone about the frigging weather.

And when I have  had to make small talk with someone who is a genuine, card carrying, 18 carat bore?

My tolerance level is zero.

I’m not being a diva here, and I do try and be polite and interactive, but because I am both unconfident and shy, I find it hard to maintain eye contact at the best of times, but if someone is excruciatingly dull, they exhaust me and I have to fight not to hurt anyones feeling or embarrass myself by drifting off in their presence.

I did actually once fall asleep when chatting to one client at a dinner because I couldn’t escape any other way.  Luckily he thought I was hammered.  I had actually been drinking water all night.

Back to last night.

Somehow I managed to stay put (cursing Aunty C for every minute of my life I was losing to this hell) and eventually the crowd carried me towards the room the act was appearing and I found myself in a seat with the rest of the group, and whilst I did the small talk thing with them as best I could, all I could think was that there was only about 2 inches of space between me and the big long haired beardy in front of me and the woman with halitosis behind me, perspiration was practically dribbling into my eyes and the girl next to me’s thigh was so mashed against mine that I was considering proposing to her.

So I endured….

The band came on.

I endured….

My face hurt from smiling.

I endured….

The hairy bastard in front of me flicked his manky mane and the tail end of it landed in my drink.

<retch>

Oh how my new friends laughed!

Oh how he laughed!

Oh how I laughed!

But I really wanted to scream.

Then, mercifully came the interval, and I made good my escape to the bogs.

You can guess what happened next, can’t you?

Reader, I legged it.

Because I was specifically told that if I didn’t like it the child can always come home’, right?

Right!

But I doubt that my host felt the same way when I text her to say I had to leave  because I had a headache, the cat had coughed up a fur ball, or whatever lame excuse I gave her.

Because, I suspect that by her complete radio silence that in her eyes what I did was rude.

But there was no way I was going back into that sweaty hellhole to talk about the weather, peoples kids and/or what they ‘did’ whilst drinking warm, hairy vodka and cranberry with a complete strangers thigh pressing enthusiastically against mine.

No.

Way.

Welcome to the first chapter of ‘How to Make Friends and Influence People’ by Sista Sertraline 😦

Maybe I’m just not cut out for ‘healthy friends’….

So what do I do in future?

Not go to these things?

Try and be more normal?

Take double doses of medication and come across as a stoner?

I honestly don’t know.

But even amazing evenings out in the company of like minded souls can feel like a complete anti climax to me, so I guess how I behave in ‘polite society’ on a regular common or garden evening with dull/predictable/normal/well meaning folk is just the nature of this anti social beast….

And I’m done with pretending to be anything other than who and what I am.

You know, little kids and grumpy old aged pensioners are great at this kind of shit, because they just say what they mean, if they don’t like someone or something they say so, if they don’t want to do something they refuse to do it and if someone tries to make them, they kick off, go apeshit and behave in a generally embarrassing fashion until someone drags them out of the building and gives them a telling off, some sweets or a Mogadon.

Hey!

Maybe there are some things to enjoy about getting old after all 🙂

Come and get me menopause, I’m all over this!


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U CAN’T TOUCH THIS

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Since being out of the workplace for the last year, it is fair to say that I feel OK more days than not, and I sometimes tell myself that I could go back to a corporate role in London if I so wished.

But, it is only when I have to go into Central London that I get a massive reality check and invariably realise that this is probably not going to happen.

Practically 12 months to the day that I left Wankers R Us, I had to go and meet a close friend, G, to go to an art exhibition a mere five minutes walk from their offices.

At the time of booking this event, I didn’t think twice. So what if it’s down the road from the corporate hell? So what if I do bump into someone from my old life?  What are they going to do?

Pelt me with rotten fruit?

Spit at me?

Call the men in the white coats?

I bought the tickets online without a moments hesitation.  I didn’t give a shit about going back to the scene of the crime, and even if I bumped into old Voldermort, I’d just flip him the finger, smile sweetly and whisper ‘Cock’.

When the day finally arrived though, it was a different story.  As I got ready, the atmosphere started to change.  I couldn’t find stuff.  Nothing fitted.  I tried on outfit after outfit, went from shoes to boots to sandals and it got later and later.

What was I trying to achieve?

A look that said ‘new me’, ‘success’, ‘style’ and ‘fuck you’ without looking any way contrived whatsoever, but as if I’d just dragged the pieces on without even thinking about it, the end result being effortlessly cool and elegant nonetheless.

But nothing looked right.

I could feel the oh so familiar panic start to rise.  This is what I went through pretty much every morning before work for about 18 months.  I’d only just realised that I rarely did this anymore.

Then just when I found a combination of garments that just might do, it started to rain, totally rendering my new burnt orange suede ballet flats obsolete, so I had to start from scratch.

By the time I’d pulled together a new ensemble and boarded the bus, I was at least thirty minutes late.

The air was thick, damp and humid and my hair immediately flattened and frizzed up simultaneously with equally unflattering results. I could have saved myself the hour I took washing, drying and styling it and just popped outside for five minutes, rolled in a puddle then shoved my head in a bush instead as the end result would have been remarkably similar.

The exhibition started at 6pm, so this meant I would be travelling into town during rush hour, something I hadn’t done for a long, long time.

For good reason.

I don’t like queueing.

I don’t like crowds.

I don’t like strangers touching me.

Now that I know I’m HSP and an Empath, these fears and aversions all make sense now, but that didn’t make the journey any easier.

As I got off the bus and approached the Tube entrance, I felt my hackles rise and my neck tighten.

It seems that as soon as people go underground, they lose the concept of personal space and promptly graft themselves to your back/arm/curve of your waist/the cleft of your arse.

Don’t get me wrong; I know that there has to be some leeway when travelling during London rush hour, but seriously?

Do. Not. Touch. Me.

Whilst the Urban Dictionary defines Personal Space thus:

  1. Roughly defined as a one foot radius around a person.  It can only be entered by close friends, family members, significant others, etc.  You know when you’re in a person’s personal space.  You can sense it!  Whoa, man!  Personal space!  Arm’s length, bucko!
  2. An area around a person, within which other people make them nervous, except for intimacy.   Also spade and my space. You’re invading my personal space.  Get out of my space!

 

And Wikipedia, as follows:

Personal space is the region surrounding a person which they regard as psychologically theirs. Most people value their personal space and feel discomfort, anger, or anxiety when their personal space is encroached.[1] Permitting a person to enter personal space and entering somebody else’s personal space are indicators of perception of the relationship between the people. There is an intimate zone reserved for lovers, children and close family members. There is another zone used for conversations with friends, to chat with associates, and in group discussions; a further zone is reserved for strangers, newly formed groups, and new acquaintances; and a fourth zone is used for speeches, lectures, and theater; essentially, public distance is that range reserved for larger audiences.[2]

The amygdala is suspected of processing people’s strong reactions to personal space violations since these are absent in those in which it is damaged and it is activated when people are physically close.[3]

 

But whilst I’m willing to be flexible to a degree, all I can say is that there are a lot of Londoners with fucked up amygdalas out there.

And when examining the two very helpful diagrams of what is and what is not acceptable:

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ACCEPTABLE

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NOT ACCEPTABLE

 

This is what we’re dealing with in London’s labyrinths:

 

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Mate, if I can feel condensation forming on my face from your soggy pits, it’s time to get the fuck away from me!

Because I don’t care how busy it is or how late you are, if you cannot grant/allow even one inch of space between you and the stranger next to you, then stay on the platform and get the next train.  That’s what I do!

What are we? Animals?

But no, that is still apparently too ambitious an expectation.

Even standing on the train platform before boarding, someone stood next to me and applied their clammy bare upper arm to mine, causing me to turn my head and give the little toad a look of such anger, disgust and distain he actually went the opposite platform and waited for a train going in the opposite direction.

And that was just a preview of what was to come.  As our train door opened, it practically sighed as a warm, damp fart of sweet, fetid air greeted us as we held our collective breath and fought to get a seat or a tiny space to call our own.

I managed to get somewhere to sit, balancing my relatively small butt on the edge of the double seat so that I didn’t have to touch my neighbour, but this huge hairy legged tourist in shorts who smelled like a combination of raw meat and soil hurled himself down and pretty much sat on me, letting his big dimply thigh slide over mine as he settled himself, leaving half of it balanced there as he sat back with a happy sigh.

I nearly asphyxiated with horror, yanked my (meaty man sweat coated) leg free and burrowing under a forest of skanky armpits, and found a quiet-ish corner to jam myself into until my stop came.

When it finally came, I realised that I’d pretty much been holding my breath for near on 25 minutes, and gratefully squeezed out of the door and allowed myself a big sigh of relief only to be met with….

….another damp, heaving, stinking mass of commuters shuffling in the direction of the exit at the approximate speed of one inch per minute.

By now I just wanted to escape very, very badly.  But there was no quick way forward and no going back, so I had to merge in with the soggy shufflers and join in with their dismal dance of dismay.

Two shuffles forward, one shuffle back and two to the side.

Then one besuited little rebel of a City chap tried to force his way past everyone and nearly took off one of my tits with his elbow, shouting in a very clipped English accent ‘Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me…’ as if he, Mr fucking Angry of Mayfair wanted to get out and conduct very important business, and the rest of us were just chilling out and shuffling around like zombies because we liked it.  Mind you after I paid him back with a nice sharp jab to his nuts with my brolly, he calmed down a bit and decided to step in time with the rest of us mere mortals until we reached the exit.  The dick.

By then I was beside myself with anxiety.

I was nearly an hour late, hot, dishevelled, sweaty, had man-musk on my right thigh and an injured boob.  Not only that but it was raining quite heavily and old thunder thighs had broken half of the spokes of my brolly when he sat on it.

As I marched past my old workplace in the rain, head down, battered brolly up, I braced myself for the very worst, i.e. my ex boss exiting the building in a smart suit, looking good,* erm, smart whilst I looked like I’d been sleeping in the park for two days.

(*he could never truthfully be described as look good.  You could put a tiny Armani suit on a turd and give it a pair of Churches brogues and an iPad 3 to clutch, it would still be a turd) 

But as you can probably guess….nothing happened.

And by the time I reached the exhibition halls and a worried G, I was a whole lot calmer if absolutely exhausted.

‘Are you OK?’ she asked nervously.

I nodded.

And I was.

But I will never, ever travel during rush hour (if I can possibly help it), let alone do it five days a week, again.  I used to put up with that shit for nearly 3 hours a day, can you imagine?  What a waste of life.  I will never get that time back. Ever.

It’s no longer worth the stress, as far as I’m concerned.

On the way home, we walked past the building again.

‘What do you feel?’ asked G, ‘you know, being back here again?’

And do you know something?  I felt nothing.

Because that was then and this is now.

That was a different life and now I have a new life.

And that was a different Sista who marched out of that building in a smart suit, with neatly styled hair, a file of legal documents in her hand, her heart in her boots, and her head held high, who looked strong from the outside but was a broken mess on the inside.

This Sista, who might on this particular day, be wearing soggy jeans, have tizzy hair, with a broken umbrella in her hand, but her heart is in recovery, her head is naturally held high and not in defiance, but with bearing, and she is both stronger on the inside and well as the outside.

And even if old Voldermort had come strutting out of that door in his finery?

He can’t touch me.

None of them can.

And if any of them were dumb enough to ever publicly disrespect me again?

It’ll be Hammer Time all over again….


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OLD DEVIL MOON

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FEEDBACK WANTED DEPRESSIVES AND EMPATHS! X

Another day has dawned, and yup I’m still here….

Yowser.

Still tired?   Check.

Still afraid?   Check.

Still antisocial?  Check.  Which is a little inconvenient as I have a date with guy number three, whom I have dubbed City Boy.

And I intend to keep it.  Not because I have much hope that we’ll like one another, let alone find each other attractive, or have any sexual chemistry.  But because I want to get out of the habit of cancelling stuff, as I’m getting a bit better at it now.

Plus it’s always good blog material ;-).

Also if he arrived, took one look at me, and ran out of the coffee shop screaming ‘My eyes, my eyes, someone pass me some bleach!’ I don’t think it would make me feel any worse than I do now, so, hell, bring it on sucker!

Plus Goatee Man is still in touch but is being a bit ‘chase me’, which drives me crazy.  By ‘chase me’ I mean….well here’s an example of a text he sent the other day:

‘Hi Sista, just thought I’d drop you a line to see how your week is going!  Anyway say hi to the cats for me! GM x’

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So, all a bit Duncan Norvelle (older British readers should get this reference) really, which is neither masculine nor sexy. 😦

I have to assume that (a) he likes me in some capacity and (b) he wants to meet up, so why doesn’t he man up and say so?  To date he just waits for me to suggest meeting, what to do and where to do it, and quite frankly, right at this moment in time, I don’t need it because I’m not on form.  Even if we’re just friends he needs to try and get a little more proactive and make some kind of effort, as I don’t run after or carry any man.  Period.  Plus I’m pretty sure I said I liked alpha males not wimpy, limp ninnies on my dating profile….

Oh dear, I’m clearly still feeling a little snappy….

Anyway, I’m up, washed and dressed and onto my second cup of tea, so I survived the night relatively intact.

One thing I noticed though; whenever I feel this bad and the Fear is at full force, if I look out the window, nine times out of ten the full fucking moon will be there, all bloated and cheesy, glowing at me conspiritally, and last night, I could have swore that I saw it wink….

And I wondered, does the full moon, or do the cycles of the moon have a direct effect on depressives and/or empaths?

Of course, we all know the term ‘lunatic’ derives from latin word ‘luna’ which means moon, and lots of evidence points to this.  A&E rooms are more busy as people have more accidents, there are more crimes committed; I know this because I used to date a policeman whose birthday happened to be on Halloween, and the crime rate used to soar on that particular night….

But that’s a whole other story….

And why wouldn’t the moon affect us?  It rules the tides, and we are, after all, 50-60% water.

I’ve established the fact that I’m Empathic/HSP and when I think about it I’ve always felt quite tuned into the weather.  I lived in Australia for a while and after the novelty of the hot beach lifestyle wore off, I very much missed the changing of the seasons and it would get me down a bit.  I also feel restless and can get migraines before thunderstorms but absolutely love thunder and lightening once it gets going.  Hot sunny days can either cheer me up or get me down, cool breezy forests fill me full of peace, and wet days can either wake me up and or really make me low, no doubt depending on where that damn moon is and what it’s up to.

I’d really like to know more though; not because I could do something about it, as the moon does what it’s always done and doesn’t give two shits about me.  But I could make sure I’m with people, go out dancing to kill the blues, and if all else fails, get someone to chain me up in the attic….

Does anyone else find that they are affected by the full moon in any capacity?

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