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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THE GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT

 

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Just in case you weren’t aware, we are less than 2 days from Easter Sunday, and I’ve been (mostly) off sugar and alcohol for over 40 days for Lent, and I’ve been trying to establish a healthy way of living mentally, physically and spiritually with varying degrees of consistency and success.

So what have I learned from this?

 

SUGAR, SUGAR

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One of the first unsurprising realisations was that as much as I love the stuff, sugar and products made of sugar are energy killers, and when you stop eating it, you realise how prevalent it is in our diet, hence how much of eat we eat as a nation.  I know you’re probably thinking this should not come as a surprise to me seeing how much I bake, but I didn’t actually think about it when pouring glistening white heaped spoonfuls of it into a bowl for a large batches of muffins.

It’s only when I calculated the grams of sugar per serving that the penny dropped.  And it’s quite shocking.

This isn’t going to stop me baking or eating cake though.  I’m not a frigging saint!  I just won’t indulge as often as I used to, that’s all, plus I’ll replace the white stuff with agave or another less addictive sweetener wherever possible.

 

NO MORE MILK AND ALCOHOL

I actually missed my occasional glass of wine more than cake and chocolate, but similar story really energy wise, plus my frequent, trippy dreams totally stopped for the most part, which is annoying because I have a thing for hot milky drinks spiked with liquor before going to bed, so that’s one little habit I’m probably going to have to drop long term.

Again, I’ll still have the odd tipple, but will try not to drink alone and only in strict moderation.

 

THE SOCIAL NETWORK

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I managed to stay off social media websites and to be honest I haven’t really missed it, and I can report that I’ve hardly seen or heard from any of my ‘friends’ whilst being incommunicado, so it’s been quite lonely for me really.  

I have made a little more effort to see more people, but I still seem to struggling to integrate and find my pack so to speak.  It almost feels like I’m deliberately being held back until I sort my shit out, which segways very nicely into….

 

LIKE A PRAYER

I’m still using my rosary, sometimes, I have to admit, in a half assed fashion, but I do try hard to communicate with the big guy and it helps if I have something specific to say.  

Does it make me feel better?   

Sometimes.  I am, for instance, alone for most of this bank holiday, because, as per usual, any plans I try to make tend to get scuppered right at the last minute, but I’m trying to relax into it and be accepting and even appreciative of the solitude, especially after two gruelling days of being with strangers (more on that next post).  

I may even sneak into mass this Sunday.

No promises though. 😉

 

OM AND OM, AND OM AND OM…

I’ve been to yoga at my local studio quite a bit, but still can’t bring myself to practice at home.

As for mediation…

FFS, what is wrong with me?!

Something to talk about with the big guy later…

 

I WALK THE LINE

Walking everywhere has been a bit of a revelation too.  My waistline has shrunk, my energy better and I’m probably saving a fortune in bus fares.

This is definitely a habit I want to maintain.

 

So in sum, I’ve kind of realised that my chances of having a good day are greatly enhanced if I look after my body, eat right, try and keep the spiritual pathways open and accept and make use of those quiet, lonely times in my life, i.e. most of the time, and be kind to myself on those days.

All good stuff, eh?

Except, today wasn’t a very worthy day at all.  I ate too many carbs, didn’t go out let alone walk, and feel strangely sleepy, sad and flat.

And whilst I hunted for a ‘not too religious’ (!) image to post atop of this article, and seeing all the images crosses and thorny crowns coming up on my search engine, I realise that today of all days is probably not meant to be too jolly, and perhaps my lassitude and endless introspection is appropriate in this instance.

And come Sunday?  Whilst I accept that my own personal ‘Good Friday’ may not be over for quite a while, I will try and give thanks for my life and make some kind of agreement with myself and God to take each day as it comes, be patient, and trust that it will all work out in the end.

Whatever that means.

Namaste x

 

 


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CAT SOLDIERS

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It’s dark.

Night?

The curtains are closed, so I can’t see if my friend the moon is out.

Oily, sludgy, slick, metallic tang on my tongue.

My eyes are sticky, my head hurts and I can’t breathe through my nose.  Did I take any meds?  I honestly can’t remember.

I must have gotten up and done something, because the TV isn’t on anymore.

I gingerly raise an arm and feel for water.  There is none.  Shit.

Something shifts at the bottom of the bed.

The cats?  Absurdly, given that I might have been here for 24 hours, I stiffen. I don’t want to disturb them.

I raise my head carefully and I can just make them out, one each stationed sphinx like at each bottom corner, serene but alert, eyes trained on the door.

It’s then that I know that I’ve had ‘an episode’.

Anyone that says that cats are emotionless, without feeling and can’t love, have almost certainly never owned one or have owned one and not treated it well.

Because when I am genuinely poorly,  an unspoken ‘don’t bother mum’ amnesty falls into place.  No scratching the bed, no sitting on my head, no bouncing off my chest, pouncing on my feet or mad grooming sessions.  No loud purring or yowling for food.  My boys quietly, carefully come to wherever I’m passed out, twisted up in a ball, or cowering under the covers, arrange themselves around me, ignore their own needs and keep watch.

I reach for the curtain and manage to grab a corner.

My joints hurt.

No moon.

Good.

The cats head whip around, then as if on cue, Charlie starts purring and Dex jumps down and stretches, priming himself for a good old bed scratching session.

My boys are hungry.

The very least I can do is get my skanky arse out of bed and feed ‘em.

Who says I’m not loved?

I am blessed.


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THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY 2

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I can’t sleep.

I’m tired, but agitated.

And the fucking moon is staring at me.

I’m going to sit at the table where I can’t see it in this dark, unlit room.  And more to the point, it can’t see me.

I shouldn’t have gone out tonight.

Did something awful happen?

No.

In actual fact, the mood en route to my engagement was very convivial.  People seemed to be very jolly, a lot of them tipsy or downright drunk, and there was a general party atmosphere.  People were laughing and smiling on the tube.

Imagine!

If I didn’t know it was March, I mused to myself at the time, I would swear it was Christmas.

And then I remembered.

Easter long weekend.

It’s not like I’d forgotten.  I’ve been giving up stuff for Lent, I was aware that people have plans, I just didn’t make plans for myself.

Even this morning, when my friend M expressed concerned that I’d be alone for the bank holiday, I brushed it off, genuinely unconcerned.

‘Don’t worry about me,’ I said airily ‘when you’re not working, every day is just another day  Weekends are irrelevant.’

You see, the worst part of celebratory times was having to listen to other peoples plans in the office and either have to endure their pitying looks or, to your eternal shame, make something up to keep them from feeling sorry for you.  So, I reasoned to myself earlier this week, this weekend should be a breeze.

Aunty C was a bit perturbed too.  ‘Do something nice for yourself,’ she pleaded ‘honour yourself and the day.’

Doing what?  My only break opportunity was spending it with family and they were all off to the frozen North, and what with the snow and traffic problems, I didn’t bother to invite myself along.

Nor did they invite me.

That stung.

Not because they don’t love me.  Because they know me too well.

They know that I’ll usually find a way of getting out of going to see them.  That I’ll be late and probably mess up their arrangements.  That I’ll want my own room, need some privacy, and be unwilling to sleep on the floor or on a camp bed.  That I’m picky about where and what I eat and will nurse a glass of water whilst they eat junk food.  That I’d rather eat fish and chips in a cafe than outside from the paper.  And that I’ll find spending three nights and four days in a two up two down with six adults, two teenagers and one kid overwhelming to the point of being absolutely unbearable.

So I get it.  I’m not the perfect house guest.

I just wanted to be invited.

So I could say no?!!!

God, help me understand, what the fuck is wrong with me?

So whilst I don’t have to explain away my solo weekend to anyone, it still smarts to be alone regardless.

How could I have convinced myself that it wouldn’t?

People are delighted that they have the next four days off because they have responsibilities, work hard and have a life, so enjoy them because they have something to compare this freedom with.

They also have things to do, people to see, promises to keep, holidays to take, traffic to sit in, dinners to cook, chocolate to give, kids to kiss, partners to fuck, lives to live in the next four days.

Light and shade.  Good and bad.  Yin and Yang.

I’m just sort of….the same.  All the time.  No stress, no delight.  Just bleugh.

It’s down to me to change things.

IT’S DOWN TO ME.

It’s suddenly gotten lighter in here.  I turn my head and there it is, beaming cheesily, stupidly, relentlessly through the glass.

‘What the fuck are you looking at?’ I snarl at it.

I neither need nor want any witnesses to my pain, not even planetary ones.

The moon glows back apologetically but shows no sign of desisting.

It’s not yet Easter Sunday, but quite frankly, something’s got to give on the sacrifice front.  But not the alcohol.

The TV.

The only thing that can help on a night like this is drawn curtains, hot milk and back to back ‘Six Feet Under’ until I nod off from complete exhaustion as I fear that my Long Good Friday is only just beginning.

Funny how death can comfort and lull a girl to sleep.

And funnier still that no matter how alone I am, there always seems to be a witness.  And it may not be the moon.

Now that is spooky.


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THE ARTISTS WAY: Week Four – The Long Good Friday

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So after another bruising fall from grace, I’m back in the ‘Artist’s Way’ saddle again, so please excuse that my Week Four has seemingly been about a month long!

Ironically enough, this is around about the same time I dropped out of the course last year.

‘Recovering a Sense of Integrity’ shouldn’t be a deal breaker for me. Hell, I walked out of my job, am studying yoga, and am looking for a job in charidee, so ain’t nobody braver or more authentic than me!

But when I look back, it seems that I’ve mainly spent the last eight months watching TV to block out the fear inside, so whilst Julia C seems to think that reading is the enemy here, the goggle box is definitely mine.

I recently set myself the challenge of limiting myself to two hours viewing only per day. What’s so difficult about that, you might ask? Well when you’re not working, anti social, borderline agoraphobic and trying not to spend too much money, it’s your main refuge.

If I think about it, I’m a bit like Scrat from Ice Age, clinging nervously to my little acorn nest egg, hiding in crevices, casting around anxiously for predators, when for all I know, there could be a veritable forest of oak trees out there.

But it’s not about da money.  It’s about clinging to my warm, safe comfort zone, and protecting myself from risk, harm and pain.

The upside of this is that I have the luxury of only seeing and having to deal with my ‘safe’ people (the number of which are gradually diminishing), get to watch endless crap on TV, interact with ‘friends’ on Facebook, blog to my hearts content, browse the internet, quaff wine, and comfort eat to my hearts content without putting my heart, ego or soul on the line whatsoever.

The downside?  I afford myself little opportunity to open my heart, let new people in, test and risk my ego, enrich my soul and embark courageously on the next chapter in my life.

So I stay stuck in my trench waiting for the bomb to drop.

But I’m trying.  I’m gradually nudging away my crutches, peeling away those protective layers, recognising and weaning myself out of my self destructive, self sabotaging habits and braving the inevitable cliff jump that lies ahead.

I’m given up booze for Lent so no longer drink at home and I’ve been off Facebook for at least a fortnight.

Is this helping me progress?  Yes, but sllowwwly, as I’m now slyly, surreptitiously taking refuge in blogging, faffing around on the internet and (the biggest sin of all) watching too much TV to keep me safe/stuck and stop me from having to make those all important changes.

As I type this, I’m sat in a silent sitting room, and every key tap sounds like that ‘Go Compare’ bloke tap dancing  on sheet metal.  I can hear my breath, the cat shifting on the duvet in his sleep and a tap dripping in the bathroom. The silence is all consuming.

I don’t like it.

For a while now, I’ve maintained that one of the main reasons I don’t like going out and doing stuff on my own is that it made me feel lonely.  That has never made sense to me, but now, all of a sudden, it does.

My TV is and has been my best friend for a long, long time now.  It natters away cheerily in the background, calms me, thrills me, educates me, makes me laugh and makes sure I’m good and bug-eyed tired before I go to bed.  And if I’m on Facebook, I get to interact with others about what I’m watching, and it’s almost like being with them in person.  Isn’t it?!

And now, in the absence of its endless, comforting white noise, the truth emerges; I don’t just feel lonely when I do stuff alone.  I feel lonely all the time.  The TV just shields and protects me from that fact when I stay indoors.

I didn’t want to know that.

I’m scared.

I can hardly bear to type this down.

On Thursday night, I’m going to turn my TV off and leave it off until Easter.  And whilst I can’t compare it with the suffering of a certain someone, this is going to be my very own Long Good Friday, where I get to spend a whole lot of silent, quality time with me, myself, I.

Yowser.

I can only hope I don’t end up shooting someone.

Finally, one of the challenges I have yet to complete from Week Four is writing my own Artists Prayer, and whilst I have toyed with some wording, in the lead up to Easter, I’m sure it will come out all by itself, as in ‘Oh God, what have I done?!’

Julia Cameron – biatch, you have a lot to answer for……