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working towards perfection (and failing)

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he done good

My Blokey.

Dialysis survivor. Kidney thief. Person of occasional poor choices.

It was ridiculously insane, from the first poorly-written essay to the final exam which brought forth tears of frustration. Dialysis, full-time job, a transplant, loss of job, loss of cat, the birth of a Baby Niece, a new job … But he did it. A 2.1 BA (hons) in Business Studies from the Open University. He done good, indeedy.

 

oh, hello

Snapshots of a life that is easily forgettable.

a sunset.

a dress in a shop window.

a work of art?

a happy niece.

waiting at the station.

a trip to harry potter’s world.

a lack of faces at the bus station.

vintage dollies get into the xmas spirit.

i am a superhero.

the cold, wet – but bright – streets of Mac.

a pipe cleaner tree on my desk.

a drive past a pylon.

a new year.

a simple leaf.

art.

autumn colours.

a bicycle.

the wedding

{not mine, obviously}

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My Littlest Brother got himself hitched at the weekend, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was a lovely ceremony, with joyful hymns and thousands of bridesmaids. My Monster was there and I managed to completely ignore him. I did so well at it that I was able to forget he was even there.

I felt a tad sorry for my Littlest Brother. Two of his siblings from my Monster’s side didn’t come, neither did any cousins from either side, or aunts, uncles and whatnot. Bereft of family. So it’s nice that he’s wangled himself a ready-made family as the blushing bride is the mother of three boys. One does wonder how he will cope; thirty-four years old and moving from the home he shares with his parents into an established family home, where he’ll have to think about other people, and properly pay bills and stuff. He’s not being eased into it. He’s plonking himself smack, bang into the middle and going for it full throttle.

Exciting times ahead.

I am happy for him. I hope it all works out and they do the right thing by having oodles of babies. But I’m dubious. Oh, so dubious.

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Happy Mother’s Day?

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I am not a mother. This isn’t through choice; it’s just the way life turned out. I still have a few child-bearing years so maybe Fate will bless me with a child one day, but I shan’t hold my breath.

I love my Mummy. She is the world to me. She’s my rock, my role-model, my mentor, my friend, my everything. She’s the one who sticks a plaster on my grazed knee, metaphorically speaking. I love her to the moon and back.

If I never have a baby I will never experience that. Nobody will ever love me to the moon and back. Nobody will run to me when they graze their knee, or their best friend makes them cry. Nobody will make me a homemade card saying, “Best Mummy Ever!” or grill my Yorkshire puddings or pay my nursing home fees. I won’t cry for anybody when they have their first heartbreak or get into uni.

I’ll never be a grandmother.

Mothering Sunday makes me feel inferior. It makes me feel like a failure. I haven’t grown anything in my womb. I haven’t been kicked by my unborn baby. I haven’t cried about not being able to breastfeed or been kept awake all night by a teething baby. When my friends on Facebook start gushing over their day, their *special* day, it makes me feel a little sad. “Oh, look how amazing I am,” they say. “I got this and that and the other thing!”

“Until you’ve had a baby you know nothing, least of all what real unconditional love is,” they say. Ouch. Kick me when I’m feeling down why don’t you. Besides, of course I know what real unconditional love is. I have a Mummy, siblings and nieces and nephews. I have a Husband who has tested my love to its limits. Real unconditional love isn’t limited to a child and its parents.

I think women {and men, let’s not forget those men who aren’t dads} like me should have a *special* day too. I just need to think of a name for it!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the UKian women, and for those who aren’t Mothers, Happy <must think of a name for it/> Day!

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tomorrow-blank-page

Dear 2014,

I hate you. You suck.  You are my very own ‘annus horribilis’.

I trust that you are happy with yourself, that you sleep soundly after rubbing your hands together in glee at the frightful mess you made of my life.

I know that you’ve been whispering in the ear of 2015, making silly suggestions about how best to fuck up the next twelve months, but it won’t work. 2015 thinks you’re petty and vindictive.  2015 craves my love and wants me to be happy. In the battle of the years 2015 will always beat you, of that I’m sure.

I’m really sorry that you failed in your quest to make me SO miserable and SO frightfully sad that I’d cave in to my emotions. I am obviously far stronger than you gave me credit for.

I do wish you well, 2014. You taught me to hold my head up high, to trust my instincts and to love unconditionally. For that, I salute you. You showed me wickedness, but couldn’t make me crumble. For that, I salute myself.

Here’s hoping that 2015 is happy and humble, innocent and beautiful. I raise a glass to you, 2014, and banish you to The Past, for ever.

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an hour with you

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My {wicked} stepmother posted this on her Fb timeline. She had what I would consider to be really boring responses; most folk would seemingly choose to sit with their {sadly deceased} parents. I understand the need/desire to want to reconnect with a loved one but my initial response was further from home.

I would choose to sit with my great great grandmother, Annie Elizabeth. Her story both saddens and fascinates me. She was born in Hampshire in 1849, the daughter of a blacksmith in a tiny village. Official records suggest that she lost a few siblings, possibly to cholera but I have yet to obtain death certificates and verify that. Somehow she ended up in London, where she gave birth to a daughter, Maud, in 1873.

Family legend suggested that Annie was a parlour maid who ran off with the man of the house. Indeed, when I began my research it seemed this was founded in truth. I’m unable to find Annie in the 1871 census, but I have found my great great grandfather, Charles. He was working as a jeweller and living with his wife, Barbara, and her six year old niece in London.  They had a maid, but her details don’t tie in with Annie’s. What is clear is that by 1881 Charles and Annie were living together with a handful of children. I have never found a marriage record and don’t believe they were ever legally husband and wife. His wife Barbara later married someone else, but I’m not even sure she and Charles were ever divorced.

I love the shenanigans of ordinary folk in the nineteenth century.

So, why would I like to spend an hour with Annie?

I feel so incredibly sad for her. I have visions of a beautiful, young, innocent village lass travelling to London to work and play. I imagine that she wanted to find love, start a family and be happy. Instead she fell for a married man who did leave his wife for her, but who lost his money {his daddy was a rich land owner in the Midlands and Charles was written out of the will} because of her and became a Hackney Carriage conductor/driver. She had no fairy-tale wedding. She gave birth to thirteen children in east London,  but lost a few of them as infants and small children. Census records show that the family moved often {as an aside, at one point they were living in the same street as some of my Monster’s ancestors}. I know it wasn’t a happy life for her. I wonder if she missed her family and if she wished she’d stayed in Hampshire. My great grandmother Daisy {1886} married at the age of eighteen purely because she wanted to get away from home; Annie was an alcoholic and I expect that life wasn’t ideal for the children.

At the time of her death in 1924 Annie was so large that they had to remove her body from the house through a window. A ‘comfort eater’ perhaps. She was blessed to be living with one of her daughter’s {Helena} so at least she didn’t become lonely and forgotten in her old age.

I would ask her how she felt. I don’t suppose anyone ever asked her that. I’d also thank her for giving life to – and raising – a daughter, who would raise her own beautiful daughter, who would raise my mummy, who would raise me. I’d let her know that everything she went through, everything we all go through,  can be worth it.

It’s just unfortunate we don’t always know how much worth our lives have.

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she will be named abigail

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I’m writing this blog post from the comfort of my own bed, because I can.

When I returned to work following my amazingly short seven weeks off, I discovered that a perk of spending all day with arrogantly ridiculous young people comes in the form of an iPad.  I am not an Apple nerd.  I have owned several iPods during my lifetime, and indeed, I have an iTunes account. But anything else? No, sir. No thank you.

I’m quite enjoying having an iPad to do work-y stuff on, but unlike my friends I’m loathe to make use of it for personal gratification. After all, I am the gal who’s only been on Facebook twice in the nearly three years of working there and I get desperately paranoid that my every move (literally, in games) will be scrutinised by the IT bods.

So, I returned home last Monday and declared that I wanted to own a tablet on which I could do all the stuff I do on the desktop. Yesterday I bought one as an extravagant present to myself. It isn’t an iPad. Fuck that. It’s a Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro and it’s a gorgeous little piece of fun. I’ve been playing with it all afternoon whilst Blokey indulges in Star Wars games online. I even managed to find a fabulous Kurt Vonnegut wallpaper for it and I think I’ll probably blog more, if I can find some lost oompf.

*contented sigh*

My weekend of money spending didn’t end with the tablet though.  I also had my eyes tested for the first time in ten years and very soon I’ll be the proud mummy of TWO pairs of glasses (bogof). I like wearing specs; they make me feel intelligent, but I only really need them for being able to see the distant world, and the tellybox.

I need a shower.

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something i learned

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Today’s photo challenge is ‘something i learned’ and I think I’m going to take a photograph of the orchid on my kitchen windowsill; this time last year I thought it was dead. The lesson learned being that even seemingly dead things may flower again if left alone.

That strikes me as being a lot like my life really.  Leave me alone and I’ll bloom.  Stifle me and I’ll likely curl up and hope you go away.

Due to the terrible month that was March I opted to throw my hands in the air, wave the white flag and surrender myself to the Happiness Pills.  It’s been six weeks now and they appear to be working, although in the last week I’ve felt more anxious and somewhat hyper again.  I’m on the lowest dose possible; it may need tweaking.

Also, I’m seeing a counsellor.

It is REALLY difficult.  Not only do I not like talking, but I definitely don’t like talking about myself.

And despite only seeing her for three one hour sessions, I appear to have learnt (or allowed myself to realise) some things about myself.

I’m a control freak.

I may possibly have a superiority complex.

I actually LIKE feeling this way. This goes back to being a control freak.

Although I now look at things as an adult and think they’re insignificant, the fact that they happened when I was a child – thinking as a child – means that it’s okay to accept that my childhood was traumatic.

I have a lot of guilt over the stuff I put my beloved Mumsy through.

I never talk about my own (personal) experiences, even with friends.

I have no (limited) confidence/self-esteem.

I push people away because it’s easier than having to deal with drama.

I can’t think of anything that I’m good at.

What are you good at, KatieF?

I don’t know. I can tell you lots of things I’m not good at though.

I know that, she laughed.

I hate it when she asks me what I’m thinking.  Sometimes I’m sitting there and not thinking anything, and sometimes I’m unable to put the things I’m thinking into spoken sentences which will make sense, even to me.

I know I’ve been very lucky.  Because of the kidney situation I was able to see her (she’s the renal counsellor attached to the dialysis unit at Hospital) and it all happened rather quickly.  Had I had to wait for therapy at the GP surgery I would have had a good three months to wonder why I’m bothering, and then I wouldn’t have gone. I don’t know how many more sessions I’ll have, or whether it’s really helping me as much as it could, but at least I can say that I’ve tried it and I’ve tried opening up and being honest about who I am and where I’ve come from.

It’s just nice for someone to tell me that it’s okay to feel this way … it isn’t all just in my head.

taking the next step

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Back when the world had just stopped being 1999 and was enjoying all that the early ‘noughties had to offer, I went a little bit crazy.  There were reasons for this craziness; breast cancer took my auntie, old age took both my beloved grandad and my beloved childhood pussy-cat, the Big Brother listened to stupid advice from me and left his wife for his masseur, and I put my abusive lover onto a train and kissed goodbye to him for ever.  This all happened within just seven months.

Oh, and I was being bullied at work by both a parent and by a fellow teacher.

Sucked to be me.

The craziness manifested itself in ways of which I’m not necessarily proud. I withdrew from life.  Having been signed off work with depression I locked myself away in my tiny little flat. By night I drank vodka, chain-smoked till the ashtray was overflowing and chatted to sometimes odd, sometimes charming, very rarely lovely, guys online.

By day I slept.

I also took risks, the most stupid of which was meeting guys in London for ‘fun’. This was only twice, but it was dangerous and ill-thought out.

The craziness didn’t last for long. I gave up my beautiful little flat and toddled off home to Mumsy for some tlc.  A few months later I met Blokey and the rest is history.

I have a lot of ‘what ifs‘ to ponder about concerning this odd little period of my life, and I’m mostly thinking about it now because if I wasn’t where I am right now (in a loving marriage, with a fabulous relationship with Mumsy) I think I’d be heading back to CrazyTown with a one-way ticket.

As it stands, I’ve been to the GP. I said I didn’t want to take antiDs. He asked what I wanted. I said I’d like counselling. He’s going to refer me.

My biggest ‘what if‘ of my craziness episode is wondering where I’d be now if I’d asked for counselling back when the world was enjoying its new adventure in the 21st Century.  However, I think I’d be in the same place I am now.  I’ve stumbled upon recollections, signs, the writings of people connected to me, which have made me a different person to the one I was in my mid-twenties. I’ve put the jigsaw pieces together and I’m solving the puzzle. I think that counselling will help … it may not complete the puzzle, but it may render it complete with just a few token pieces missing.

And it might be a waste of time, but I won’t know if I don’t try.

I had counselling once when I was at uni. I think it was towards the end of my first year, so I was still an impressionable eighteen year old. I was told I wasn’t depressed, he didn’t know what I was doing there and it was a waste of time. I saw him twice. I feel very angry now that he didn’t take the time to listen to me, didn’t crack away at the defences I’d built up and realise that I was very fucked up indeedy.

But I’m grateful that he didn’t because I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be the woman that I am if he’d been good at his job. And it’s very hard to explain that I actually like being me; it feels safe and comfortable. That was the hardest part about going to see my GP and admitting I need some sort of help or support. If counselling (and/or pills; he’s told me to consider them) do achieve what I want it/them to achieve then it means I might change. And I can’t bear the idea that I might change.

But I do feel calmer now, and that’s a blessed relief.

And I will write a happy happy happy post one day.

(i’m also having bloods taken so they can check my thyroid … i don’t want it to be my thyroid because i do need counselling, but i suppose it would be good to know that my deeply ingrained feelings are just being exacerbated by something medically treatable.)

you know you’re all grow’d up when …

I was raised dragged up in a house with green living and dining rooms. For much of my childhood and adolescent years they weren’t *just* green though. Oh no. In each room three walls were wallpapered with designs of tiny green flowers on a white background and one wall was papered with the craziest green(y-ish) circles.

Crazy wallpaper

Me, with my beloved Uncle Keith in about 1982.

Of course, it wasn’t just the crazy seventies wallpaper which we lived with.  There were also the garishly orange patterned curtains to contend with, and the predominantly green patterned carpet. My parents were the height of fashion.

My Mumsy still has the carpet. It went out of fashion and then came back in.

1975

May, 1975

Christmas 1982/3 - what's with the ornaments, Mother?!

Christmas 1982/3 – what’s with the ornaments, Mother?!

July, 1992

July, 1992

The littlest nephew - Christmas, 2013

The littlest nephew – Christmas, 2013

If carpets could talk it would have the most amazing stories to tell.  And some not so amazing. And some which would make my Mumsy blush, lots.

Anywhichway, having been brought up amongst so much green, in all its hues, I was adamant that as a grow’d up I would never – NEVER – have any green in my home.

Last week I bought some paint.

Melon Sorbet

Melon Sorbet

And some painting equipment.

Let's get painting

Let’s get painting

And one wall in my living room is now green.

Green!

Green!

Flowery

Flowery

An injection of personality

An injection of personality

Not only have I given in to Green, but I gave in to Patterns on the floor too.

Patterns!

Patterns!

All grow’d up.

*sigh*

ps: my bathroom is green too.

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