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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CHRISTMAS PRESENT

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This week, after months of silence, upon receiving an invitation from my oldest sister, I put a veritable polecat amongst the pigeons by announcing to her and the family that I wouldn’t be there on Christmas day.

More silence.

Oh dear.

And as my Guilt and Anxiety rose, and dammit, despite trying really hard, I ended up justifying why and that I was going to be doing some volunteering for a charity instead.  I also suggested that I would try to be up later in the week if I had the petrol money when my other sister and her brood will be there.

The reply?

A curt ‘Yes, that would be fine.’

Oops.  Guilt and Anxiety are rudely shoved to one side as Anger, Indignation and Resentment are now in da house.

After all, it’s not like they don’t know about my financial hardship, no matter how much they’ve closed their ears to it, and the fact of the matter is, I just can’t afford them, let alone all their presents, cards, goodies that I usually pack my car with as I plan my pilgrimage oop North come Christmas eve.

So let’s break it down:

WHEN I NEED THEM, they ignore my subtle cries for help, compare my situation to ‘being a bit hard up’ and tell me that ‘we’re all struggling’ then lie low in the hope that they never have to offer financial aid, let alone a temporary roof above my head.  As if I’d ever accept it, given what they did the last time I had to stay at theirs.

Here’s a lovely, heartwarming Christmas story for you.

After a few weeks of staying with my sister some years ago, on leaving their homestead, I was presented with a bill.  You know, like one you’d get if you stayed at the ‘W’ Hotel or something except this was scrawled on exercise book paper.  That said the only thing missing was the gratuity.  I was billed market rate for the room, food, share of bills, council tax, old chipped mug that I broke, you get the picture?  Pretty much everything you would charge a complete stranger if they were renting space from you.  Except I was her younger sister, who had arrive back in the country post breakdown, didn’t have a penny to my name, and had only just secured a job and accommodation.  After that, things got even worse, with more financial demands and a total relationship breakdown, but sorry, I digress….

BUT come Christmas they expect to be able to dig me out, like a dusty old Christmas tree decoration, plonk me on the sofa, shove a paper hat on my head, prop me up at the table, drag me out to some hideous local carol concert, force me to watch an equally awful (no, actually it was even more excruciating) pantomime and then 3 days later, bid me farewell and neglect me for another 12 months?

OK.

Before you wag a stern finger at me and open your gob to lecture me oh my lack of good cheer, I’ll openly admit that it’s not all bad.

  • I do love to see them.
  • Christmas Day is usually a lot of fun.
  • The food, both mine and theirs, is great.
  • I even occasionally get a decent present or two, though never anything to get me really excited.  To be fair, I think you need be passionately loved, or at least fucking someone for that privilege.

So am I passive aggressively using this as an opportunity to hurt them for not supporting me in my hour of need?

Well I can honestly say, hand on heart, ‘No.’

Right now, my financial situation is so precarious that, if the money is not in my current account, I don’t spend it.  I stay in, eat from my freezer/cupboards and wait until my benefits arrive, so unless I want to hasten a move to a cardboard box underneath the arches for the New Year, I cannot risk buying presents, food and goodies for 13 adults and kids, something I have done for decades without a murmur of complaint (well, maybe one or two) even though, until recent years, I rarely got so much as a box of Ferrero Rocher or something ropey from the Boxing Day sales in return.

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Incidentally, does anyone else think FR are pretty shit?  I think they suck and would personally sooner receive a six pack of bog roll than cheap chocolate, so the Ambassador can stuff them up his ring piece one by one (foil on or off) for all I care, but I’m digressing again….

THEN my other sister comes back and says she won’t be there before New Year so I wouldn’t get to see her anyway.

Suits me bitches.  I’ll spend the petrol money on M&S Christmas food and hole up with the cats for the week, so ‘Ho, frigging Ho’ to the lot of ya.

I know that despite all this, my family are feeling let down, and some how think they are justified in being frosty with me because I’m not playing ‘Aunty Presents’ this year, but fuck, what do they actually expect me to do? Get into more debt?  Plus i can do without any more unexpected bills right now, especially those written by hand on scrap paper.

I, in my way, am sad too.  But to be honest, it’s about time.

Aunty C (my counsellor) has been nagging me for years to start claiming back Christmas, making my own traditions and hosting my own dinners, because she, like me, fears that I’ll be going to my sisters forever, and in the end, I’ll be sat on a commode, dribbling into a plastic bib in between courses, dining on a lunch that has been put through a blender and spoon fed to me, then propped up in front of ‘Call the Midwife’ swimming in sherry, whilst the young ‘uns party, in the hope that I quietly pop my clogs and remember their kindness in my will.

Ugh.  An aged, incontinent, pathetic spinster Sister is one ghost of Christmas future that I’d sooner not ever have to encounter.

Maybe my future Christmases will be different every single year from now on.  Maybe I’ll host.  Maybe I’ll go away.  Maybe one day I’ll even spend the day in bed with a lover (HAH!).  What I can’t do any more is cling to my family and sit on the kid’s table just because I don’t have a life of my own.

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What I will always do from now on though, is something for a homeless charity every year.  Because, right now, the ghost of Christmas Present still occasionally put his bony fingers on my shoulders and breathes icy air raspily in my ear as if to remind me of how close to destruction I have come, and if I ever get out of this situation intact, I will never, ever take having my own home for granted again.

My sisters’ kids are nearly all grown up now, and already are more mildly indifferent than excited at my arrival, which is how it goes when kids grow up,  and how it always will be.  Nothing wrong with that.  Plus they all get an alarming number of presents money and vouchers, so I’ll be amazed if they even notice the absence of either myself or my offerings.

And to requote Nanny McPhee “When you (sort of) want me and no longer need me, then I have to go. It’s rather sad, really, but there it is.”

So I’m standing firm on this one, for all our stakes and stepping away from that table of my own volition once and for all.

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Always leave them wanting more, that’s what I say 😉  And let’s face it, in this supposed time of great austerity, where the divide between the ‘have’s and ‘have nots’ is ever wider and where the desire for more and more ‘stuff’ brings out the worst in everyone, isn’t it time to be grateful for what we already have and not only for one day?

Namaste x

OPTIMISTIC MIX TRACK 15 – Dog (Shit) Days Are Over – Florence + The Machine

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Let’s get one thing straight here before we go any further.

I do NOT feel optimistic today.  Quite the contrary.  I feel like an old, desiccated, pallid piece of dog shit, but time is running out, as is money, and these cats ain’t gonna feed themselves, and this roof ain’t gonna stay over my head unless I pay ‘the man’ so I must get back on this ole Gratitude horse, and hope it moves me forward out of the fetid, stinking hell hole I find myself in at this moment in time.

Today I am (or should be/trying to be) thankful for the following things that occurred in June 2014:

  • My one day of work (albeit unpaid) as a TV audience member with a new friend Bonnie
  • My day out at a (free) museum with Goatee Man
  • My lovely afternoon tea with my traveller friend from NZ
  • My evening touching base with two girls I met on holiday years ago
  • Someone I hugely admire favouriting my tweet to them on Twitter
  • My now pending long weekend by the sea with my sister (hurray!)
  • My cats, especially as my friends cat is about to be put down and he is heartbroken
  • Aunty C and her not losing patience or giving up on my shit after all these years
  • You lot, and your support, comments and hugely talented writing.  Love you all x
  • These remarkable images I’ve just found, courtesy of Toby Allen on cargo collective.com, whose depiction of BPD you can see at the head of this blog, which is deceptively pretty, but that’s only because the little fucker has sheathed it’s claws, hidden it’s teeth and then posed for it’s ‘selfie’. The bastard.

There!  I’m trying, hey?

So fuck off sweaty, heady, humid dog days and bring on the horses!

Namaste x

http://cargocollective.com/zestydoesthings/Real-Monsters-Volume-1


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THESE ARE THE DAYS OF THE ENDLESS SUMMER 3 #mylastsummer

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The last few days haven’t been great for me.

I’ve bailed on social stuff again, when I should be at least trying to socialise and enjoy these hot days and balmy night, having whined on about how much I hate being isolated during the summer months every single year.

I’ve passed stuff I was invited to, not shown up when people were relying on me, and inexplicably, cancelled on stuff where I asked to be invited, only to let them down last minute.  I’m pretty sure I’m one of the few people who’d walk out on something she’d gatecrashed only five minutes earlier.

I’ve avoided yoga as if it were a pap smear with a hot poker instead to something which soothes and nourishes me on every level.

I also used binge eating to comfort and distract myself from the tide of self loathing and recrimination that nails me to the wall every morning, undoing all of the healthy stuff I’ve been doing of late and I’ve watched hour after hour of TV to block out my mind monkeys which are gibbering wildly as we speak.

Bad Sista.

One of my fellow bloggers asked today what his readers had to be grateful for, and I’m sorry to say that I struggled to reply with anything.

Until I watched ‘My Last Summer’ on 4od.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/my-last-summer/4od

This is the story of five random people who have one thing in common. They’re all terminally ill, and they get together periodically at a manor house in Gloucestershire to talk about their condition, share their life stories and support one another.  This is also the story of their partners, families and carers whose lives have been turned upside down as they fight to support their loved ones, keep on top of all the mundane things in life that need doing whilst trying to make sense of what they are going through and face the inevitable loss that lies ahead of them.

it is, all at once, funny, dark, distressing, heart warming, heart rending and hugely moving.

Three episodes in, having watched all of them suffer and deteriorate, and one of them, a DJ by the name of Junior Mac, die in the most horrendous way, 3 hours after marrying his devastated bride, and I’m in shreds.

I can’t cry though.  That said, the amount of medication in my system might be able to tamp down my reactions, it cannot contain the vortex of pain, grief and sheer fury that’s lodged like a hot brick in my solar plexus, and I can’t stop thinking about them.

Sweet Jesus Christ, what is the point of all this?  It’s so fucking cruel and twisted, I’m starting to feel like we mean nothing to the God/s whom made us, that we’re merely like the occupants of a bug farm, bee hive, or some celestial game of chess or Big Brother where He/She/It can randomly throw in a fireball, pit us against one another or release the kraken, then watch dispassionately, just to see what happens.

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I can only marvel at their courage, honesty and generosity in telling their story and sharing such devastating experiences.

When one of the other guys, Ben, said that on hearing his diagnosis, he just went home and stayed in, waiting to die, I felt thoroughly ashamed for pretty much doing the same myself for the last 2 years or so.

Except I don’t have a terminal illness.

ARRGHH.  There is so much I want to say that I don’t even have the words for.

But I’m going to end with something positive.

The gratitude that there is evidently such love in the world, some of which might come my way, if only I would let some of it in.

And the knowledge that I at least have a life to fuck up.

Off to bed now.  Big day tomorrow.

Gotta sort my shit out.

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RIP Junior, and bless your heart, I hope that your pain and terror is behind you now and that you are rocking’ out the heavens with some rare old skool mixes.

Please gird yourself and watch this series (last episode airs next week) as it will give you a whole new perspective on life, and honour Junior, Ben, Lou, Andy and Jayne for putting themselves out there so courageously.

Namaste x

https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/these-are-the-days-of-the-endless-summer/

https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/these-are-the-days-of-the-endless-summer-part-2/

DEATHWISH 2001

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It was a bit of a sad day yesterday.

I’d been experiencing the inevitable guilt fest people like me go through when someone young, vital, and full of love dies.
God alone knows why he takes the ones that want to stay, and keeps those of us that would be thrilled to be beamed up Star Trek style to the great beyond down here.

Yesterday young Stephen Sutton finally died at the heartbreaking age of 19, after a four year battle with cancer, who, before thumbing a lift to the afterlife, raised a staggering £3.2m (and rising as we speak) for the Teenage Cancer Trust by working his way through a 46 item bucket list and being sponsored along the way, after having been told that his cancer had spread and that he didn’t have long to live.

Whilst most people (i.e. me) would have, on diagnosis, sighed pitifully, settled back under the duvet (assuming I ever emerged from it in the first place) and intermittently slept and stared wistfully into space whilst everyone (I don’t know ‘Who?’ OK? Just go with this willya?!) ran around doing shit for me.

I might have stretched myself a little by planning an Ealing Comedy style will/inheritance challenge scenario to torment my family after my demise, pitting them against one another whilst alive by way of pre match training. 🙂

But that would be it.

Not this kid. He was a fucking whirlwind and did not waste one second of his life.  He grabbed it by the throat and made it work for him and for those in his position, and had a blast doing it.  Did being in pain, sick, nauseous or weak get in his way?

Not for one single moment.

He even completed his exams and got A*s aplenty in the process.

And whilst he’s been doing this?

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I’ve been vegetating away at home doing squat for pretty much two years.

Oh the shame…

I and others with mental health issues have no doubt wished for death at least a couple of thousand times in our lifetimes; and it still happens.  I do try not to because (a) it doesn’t work, (b) it’s an affront to people who are dying and very much want to live, and (c) unless I am woman enough to crash the party and boogie along to the mortal coil shuffle, it ain’t happening.

I did it again yesterday though.  One more time.

As I’d have given anything to take this kid’s place.

Not for me. But for him.  Because for less than 2o years, the world was a better place with him in it.

And my heart aches for his mother and loved ones.

If you are trying to guilt me into taking an active part in life God, it’s starting to get to me, y’hear!

I had to go to the dentists today and be fitted with some god awful medieval oral contraption in order to stop me gnashing my remaining teeth to chalk.  Mincy (https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/rubberneckers-of-the-world-unite/) went to great pains to be nice to me again, bless him, and I feel vile for judging him before.  Anyway it was hardly a barrel of laughs but at least it got me out of the house.

Afterwards I must have walked for miles and miles. Rain was forecast and I didn’t have a brolly, but whilst the dark clouds were never far away, I didn’t get wet.  And as I walked I tried for once to see the good stuff and be thankful and mindful.

The sun on my pallid little phis.  The breeze in my hair.  The soundness and solidity of my body.

My back didn’t ache.  My head didn’t hurt.

I wasn’t the person over the road being screamed at by his scary, chavvy partner.

A toothless, snot nosed little cherub beamed at me as I walked past.

I got a cheeky wink from a huge roofer as I passed under some scaffolding (what is it with me and big, dirty geezers?!).

My freshly washed cotton trainer socks were not rolling up and chafing my heels like they usually do.

The way my stomach relaxed as a long, luxurious, silent-but-deadly fart exited my body as I passed a gang of surly looking school kids <Man!  You is rank!>.

And my fully functioning, almost full , hot water bottle of a bladder, insistently reminding me to stop for a loo break already.

Nothing is perfect.

At least I didn’t wet myself.

And I am here.

An animated, corporeal lump of meat, bones and blood perambulating along the street.

Alive.

And for once? Bordering on grateful.  Or at least trying to be.

I catch a late lunch and sit in the late Spring sun, nursing a latte, pondering my next move, and when I think about the last year, some things have changed, and I am better than I was.  Aunty  C would be thrilled to hear me say that as she is very pro my recognising what she sees as my triumphs.

I am less angry and aggressive.

I get out and about a bit more.

I earned some money.

I am learning to live with loneliness.

I am learning to forgive.  Properly.

But I can’t carry waiting for something to happen all the time as the days of my life whizz past.

In health, I give others good advice. Everyone says so.

In fact I’d go so far to say that I give really good advice. Everyone use to come to me for it.

But it’s that age old thing, innit.  Physician heel thyself and all that. But maybe it’s time I tried.

Time to book an appointment with…me.

Yes, I’ve finally lost it.

I hope that God has put meat on your bones and colour in your cheeks, young Stephen, and that you get to keep on partying hard in the afterlife, along with some well earned rest.

Do me a favour though, and give the Man Upstairs my best won’t you?

I just want to make sure He hasn’t forgotten to put my name on the guest list.

Lots of love

xxx

 

 

OPTIMISTIC MIX TRACK 13 – Roll With It – OASIS

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I think I’m being tested.

This morning, I received a very exciting email asking me to come into town this afternoon to discuss some paid work, and was asked to dress to impress.

It was all a bit last minute but it sounded very promising and I was most excited, and ran around like a mad woman (yes I know 😉 ), trawled through my wardrobe for the perfect outfit, washed my hair and put it up, trowelled on the make up, got done up to the nines, paid London congestion charge to take my car into the zone, so I wouldn’t get rained on, accidentally drove into a bus lane (SHIT!) because I was so nervous, paid a small fortune to a sweet genial man to park near the venue, refreshed my lipstick, took a deep breath and teetered over to the cobbles in my most elegant heels, trying not to perspire in the sunny, humid atmosphere and, for once, 20 minutes early, reported to reception.

Phew!

And as I scaled the stairs to the interview room, I imagined that this was going to be the start of a new phase for me, a successful happy trouble free period where I would get a working life back on track, earn something akin to a living, and maybe even excel at something that I found fun and exhilarating.

Then as I approached the lady in charge, and before I even took my coat off, greeted me with this immortal line.

‘Oh dear.  You’re younger than we thought. I don’t think this is the right job for you.’

And that was it. Blown out of the water in less than a minute, with a bright smile and barely an apology for wasting my time, money and energy, when they knew my age and what I looked like from the onset and still asked me to attend, plus they almost seemed to take some kind of perverse joy in seeing my face fall at being dismissed so rudely.

I did myself proud though.

I did not let those arrogant, power crazy bitches see my disappointment. Not one flicker. And if they were waiting for me to grovel or plead my case, they were wasting their time.

I gave them a dazzling smile, thanked them for their time and exited with my head held high.

And as I drove home I realised that there would potentially be many more days like this, where I would have to interact with the ignorant, and I would have to roll with the punches and gird myself against letting the disappointments in my future overwhelm me into fully blown ‘dark days’.

Sure I would learn something from today and guard against any further invitations from this company and companies like them, but to be able to do something you like (well, don’t mind too much) for a living comes at a cost and such roles are hard fought for hence competition is fierce. I have however vowed that I will never let anyone see my vulnerability again, and I plan to stick to that, no matter how people treat me.

As for those who really overstep the mark…

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Going back to today, all I can do is try and focus on the positives:

1. I look younger than my age. Apparently this isn’t perceptible from my photos, even those that have been photoshopped, but, hey, whatvs… 😉

2. I had the guts to grab an opportunity and run with it.

3. I didn’t get hit/killed when I drove into the bus lane (and hopefully won’t get fined, please God…)

4. A very handsome guy flirted with me en route.

5. My lovely friend was there to cheer me on when I told her the news, and commiserate with me when I was dumped, bless her heart.

6.  The lovely car park guy on hearing my hard luck tale, fully refunded my parking costs, how sweet was that?

7. After my Lenten deprival I can now fit into my slinky 1950’s Betty Page dress again!

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8. I have about 2 kilos of high quality chocolate squirrelled away in my kitchen!  But will only have one.  Chocolate, not kilo that is. 😉

Those Oasis boys know a bit about rolling with it, and whilst they’ve had their ups and downs, they’re still out there doing their thing.  We’re a tenacious lot us Mancs, and as Liam has frequently demonstrated, not a race to be messed with!

Play this song when you feel down and beaten, and I hope it gives you inspiration.

Namaste x

 

OPTIMISTIC MIX TRACK 12 – GETTING AWAY WITH IT Electronic

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Well folks, guess what?

I got in.  🙂

https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/ear-worm-no-19-slow-moving-millie-please-please-please-let-me-get-what-i-want/

Don’t get me wrong.  Whilst I’m thrilled, I’m also nervous about it, and am now wondering what I’ve gotten myself into, or whether I’ve presented myself as something I’m not.

But I don’t think so.

This company say time and time again that they only take on people who are comfortable in their own skin, and somehow, someway, I got away with it.

But let’s face it, I’ve had plenty of practice as I’ve been pretending to be someone or something I’m not all my life because I’ve never really known who I am or where I belong.

So they must think I’m a happy, balanced human being who loves myself for who and what I am.  How the hell did that happen?  If only they knew what a self loathing, paranoid little misfit I am!

Or maybe, just maybe I am comfortable in that forum and this is what I’m meant to be doing.  I do know for a fact that I enjoyed the interview.

Excited, afraid and that most scary thing of all, hopeful.

I may not have to prove myself for some time, but once I sign on the dotted line, it’s on!

Thanks Big Guy.

I think.

Namaste x


20 Comments >

sunshineaward

I logged into my account for the first time in 2014 and imagine my surprise when I discovered that I was nominated for another Sunshine Award by the lovely Jenifer from the most engaging Busted Flip Flops.

I can only imagine that this is wishful thinking and she hopes that I might cheer the fuck up already, but if anything I have written has made her smile, then I’m extremely chuffed as she pretty much emanates positivity herself and I could learn a lot from her.

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If I had a different head/life/karma that is 😉

OK, so in accepting this award, I must follow a few rules.  The first is to list 11 random facts about myself.  As if you don’t know too much already.…

FACTS

1)  I haven’t had sex for three years and am completely dead from the waist down.  Whatdaya mean, that’s not very sunny?!

2)  I see dead people. As in ghosts, not in a mortuary. That would be weird.

3)  Keanu Reeves perved at my boobs and grinned at me once.  I was absurdly flattered and went rather giddy for about an hour!  Sorry Jen 😉 believe me it was a LONG time ago….

4)  I love the smell of fireworks and struck matches.

5)  I walked out of my job (OK I was sacked) in 2012 and haven’t worked since.

6)  I am, by all accounts Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (BPD by any other name) and am awaiting group therapy.  That should be a laugh.

7)  I’m a pretty darn good cook which is just as well as I am a die hard feeder so people don’t tend to mind too much.

8)  Hair has inexplicably started to grow out of my nose, and I now have to trim it.  Only goes to prove that God must be a man the perverse, sadistic git.

9)  I’m a bit of a poet and I didn’t know it!  Until I started writing this blog that is. 🙂

10)  I think marijuana should be legalised, then I could buy some without risking arrest/a panic attack.

11)  I used to be very, very intimidating according to one of my friends.  I am so going to slap her silly when I see her next. 🙂

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Now another rule I must follow is to answer 11 QUESTIONS:

What is the first thing you do as soon as you wake up in the morning?  Yell out in pain and shove one of the cats off my boobs.

What is your greatest fear?  That my life on this earth has been for nothing.

Do you have a new years resolution for 2014?  Yes, some of them are in here https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/fearless/

What is your favorite song at the moment? ‘Diane Young’ by Vampire Weekend

What is your favorite childhood memory?  In all fairness, I don’t have many, but remember getting a nurses outfit for Christmas when I was very small?

Facebook or Twitter?  I tweet a bit under this pseudo name, but waste more time on Facebook.  Trying to cut down.

What did the last text message you received say?  Was from a friend saying he could come out for my birthday 🙂

What bugs you the most?  EVERYTHING!  Sorry again Jen, but I’m HSP so a natural whinging pom as the Aussies would say.  I’m a lot better nowadays thought so I’ll narrow it down to a few.  Mainly aggression, bullies, people taking liberties and bad manners.  Oh and littering.  I once picked up a burger that a tourist just dropped in the street, ran after him and asked him sweetly to stop littering MY city and find a bin, whilst squishing it back into his big, sweaty, startled mitt.  It goes without saying that this was before I was on medication….

What do you consider to be the most important appliance in your house?  My log fire.  I do not like being cold.

If you could have one song that would play whenever you entered a room, what would it be? ‘Female of the Species’ by Space http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1NBpVKWh_c to remind me of when I was once one formidable biatch 😉

What’s your favorite movie quote?  “Anyone check you for a heartbeat recently?” – The Last Seduction.  Also “Monty, you terrible ****!” from Withnail and I still makes me laugh out loud.  And who doesn’t love ‘We are the knights who say….”Ni!”‘ from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Now I am to nominate 11 bloggers I would like to give the Sunshine Award, and they are as follows:

How Is Bradley?

Finding Beauty In Spite of Myself

The Mirror

vic briggs

Running for My Life

menomama3

Chatty Owl

starkinsanity

sheketechad

EightLeggedGemini

navigator1965

People I know these things take ages to do, but if nothing else, I wanna know your opinions!

Thanks again Jenifer!

SS x


10 Comments >

year-wash-away-beach-concept-happy-new-year-sea-34517060

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

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

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

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

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

Looking back I smile at my naivety.

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

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

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

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

But I’ve learned so much.

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

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

 

FRIENDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

DANCE

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

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

P.S. Doing it tonight!

LIKING MY APPEARANCE

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

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

TV

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

BAD Sista!

DATING/SEX

Oh Lord….

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

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

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

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But I’m not banking on it.

FORGIVENESS

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

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

ANGER

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

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

YOGA

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

Enquiring minds wanna know!

FOOD

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

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

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

Cake!

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

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

Which leads me on quite nicely to….

JOB/MONEY

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Erm no.  Well only some.

Has writing this blog helped me?

Absolutely.  Without a single shadow of doubt.

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

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

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

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

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

Yes.

Is this the end of my blogging?

No.  I’ll be back.

Look out 2014, here I come!

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

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WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU GINGER….

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Whilst for the most part, there is precious little to love about this tenacious, mental little monkey on my back, the flip side of it are the days when I feel like this.

It’s a scorching hot day in ole London town, and everyone is out and about, desperate to grab a bit of vitamin A, and as many disfiguring white straplines on their boiling hot, red shoulders as they can.

And as I strolled over to the park come late afternoon (mad dogs and Englishmen etc. plus I’m old), I happened to pass a kids park, which has an enormous paddling pool, which was positively heaving with hordes of happy, splashing, squealing kids of all ages having the best fun.

And do you know what I thought?

Two words.

Legionnaire’s. Disease.

No I didn’t I’m joking; that may well have popped into my head a day/week/month ago, but today is a very rare ‘high’ day when my monkey actually sleeps, and where I feel grateful, content and happy to the point of joyful for the simplest of things.

  • A line full of brightly coloured washing drying in the sun
  • A pain free body
  • A fridge full of good, healthy things to eat
  • A charity shop bargain
  • Something fragrant and delicious bubbling away on the stove
  • A fleeting whiff of jasmine as I pass someone’s garden
  • The crush of cool, recently cut grass beneath my feet and between my toes as I write this post

And it’s not about this recent spate of sun.  I can feel a similar kind of high in the shittiest of weather, and for things as random as cleaning my flat, bleaching teaspoons (might be the vapours?!), doing some random act of kindness or other, scraping ice of my car windscreen, feeding the birds on a snowy day, sitting on a wall waiting for a bus to come, or running around the common in the pouring rain.

In truth, there doesn’t seem to be an pattern or cycle or indeed, any kind of regularity to these good days, alas. They just pop up every now and then, and no, not when I need them the most.  They aren’t that smart.  They just randomly mimsy past when I least expect them, like a saffron robed Hare Krishna, who dances past when you’re out shopping, gives you a bit of paneer and a big fragrant cuddle then leave you topped up with love and light and able to see things in a much more positive way.

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Take earlier this week.

I was really irate after having stayed  in for two hours for a grocery delivery, only to find (after they’d gone of course), that, despite explicit instructions, they’d got it wrong.

Instead of leaving me a kilo of potatoes and a small nub of fresh ginger, they left me one potato the size of a plum, and enough ginger to stun a gorilla, the dipshits, so I had to go out to the shops after all, defeating the whole purpose of using them.

Even after ringing up the company and giving them a flea in their ear, being apologised to, and having the delivery cost refunded, I was still fuming and muttered away to myself for hours….

‘…for God’s sake, why do I bother? Why.  Do.  I.  Bother? What a bunch of amateurs, what’s the point of having a comments sections if those numpties don’t even read it?  And even then, where is their common sense?  Who in God’s name would order one tiny potato?!!  And what the hell am I supposed to do with all this fucking ginger?  Clearly whoever packaged this stuff lives on frigging Iceland ready meals and wouldn’t know a fresh potato if one was stuffed up their arse, then again most kids don’t even know what a carrot is in this country, and would run screaming if confronted by a cauliflower, no wonder they have to go to constipation clinic every week, I don’t know, blah, blah, blah….’

Miserable cow, eh? 😉

Guess what happened to that big stash of ginger?

This morning it was peeled, chopped, boiled with lemon peel, then combined with sugar, lemon juice, honey and a cheeky little dram of rum, and is now reincarnated in the form of a little pot of syrupy dynamite, ready to use in puddings, cakes, chilled drinks, cocktails, fruit and whatever else takes my fancy, and will no doubt spread a little spice and sunshine on some of my less than joyful days.

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So, what actually went through my mind when I passed those rug rats splashing around in that paddling pool was how their ability to find joy in what life brings them is something we should all try and emulate.

  • Give a child a cardboard box and they’ll turn it into a ship, dolls house, castle and play for hours.
  • Give them a tin tray and they’ll sled down a snowy bank.
  • Show a kid some mud and they will stomp in it and, if no one’s looking, lob it at each other.
  • Blow bubbles for an infant and they’ll be enraptured for a good hour.

And take your kids to a place where there is a bit of sun, twelve inches of dirty water and a load of other kids, and they will play joyfully for hours.  And afterwards, all it takes to make their day perfect is a nice tea/supper, maybe an ice cream, a warm bubble bath and a cuddle with their mum/dad wrapped in a big fluffy towel whilst being read their bed time story.

Kids really do know how to get their happy on.

Which is why I’m lying on a rug in this crowded park surrounded by hoards of sun worshippers, pissed up teenagers and their kids, who are as we speak, shrieking, running, crying and fighting, completely disturbing an otherwise beautiful day.

Umpteen toddlers, footballs, tricycles and scooters fly past my rug by the minute, swiftly followed by the respective mother’s bawling reprimand (‘PRECIOUS!  For God’s sake, be careful!  WATCH THE LADY’S RUG!’) which is invariably more disturbing than nearly being hit by a ball in the first place.

Wafts of marijuana (oh, hello!) taint the smell of the lilac blossom to my right, someone is having a drunken domestic with their beloved, and if I dare to look up from my book, I can practically see up the minny of the bikinied beauty lying a foot further up the bank from me.

But the sun is kissing my skin, a breeze is cooling my back, a toothless little minx of a toddler has just bestowed me a goofy grin, and by some miracle all is well with this little nub of ginger’s world and I’m happy and contented in my rough old skin.

And as my bottle of water inevitably gets warm in the sun, I know that when I get home, a nice big glass of ginger/lemon/honey water will only be moments away.

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And I’m celebrating the sweetness; while I can.

Namaste.