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working towards perfection (and failing)

Tag: identity (page 1 of 5)

i have seen the light

Keanu

Have you ever had an amazingly profound experience, one which blows your mind? You’re just casually reading something online and suddenly your head says, ‘yep, I know that’s true!’ and tears form at the corners of your eyes?

I had that experience one night this week. I suppose it must be what religious people experience when they finally find God, or some other higher being. It’s a very powerful, incredibly intense feeling whereby your mind is sensationally blown.

At the time I was reading theories about different views on the universe and our place within it. There were two which I felt at ease with, as if I knew all along that it was true in much the same way my Baby Brother’s sexual preferences were something I always knew.

Firstly, we’re just a game. We’re simply Sims following the Fate of whatever our creator has in store for us. ‘God’ – or whomever we believe in {or not} – is just someone playing us on a computer screen. It explains my personal understanding of Fate and its relationship with Free Will, it gives a reason for those little glitches we all experience and an excuse for all those times things which don’t go as planned, the curveballs life throws at us. It also recognises that religious folk may be correct in their belief that there is a god – of some kind – who is all-knowing and all-powerful.

Secondly, and more interestingly for me, is the theory of ‘phenomenalism’. This is the idea that there is no existence without perception, the belief that objects only exist as a phenomenon of consciousness. When you are not aware of something, or interacting with it, it disappears. Poof! Gone. It only exists again when you interact with it again, in whatever form that may take.

And thirdly, what if we’re just brains in a jar. Or, I’m the brain in the jar and I’m ‘dreaming’ this life of mine. None of you reading this exist in reality; you’re all just figments of my overactive imagination playing a role of my choosing.

Maybe it’s a combination of all three, and possibly more. Perhaps I think too much and there is no Truth about our place within the universe. Perhaps I’ll wake up tomorrow.

And yes, I do believe is parrallel universes. I think. Maybe.

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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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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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worst. year. ever.

broken h

An Extreme Tale

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

When was the last time that sentence accurately described my life?

That sentence could have described my life at many different ages: Childhood, when my Father walked out, but I loved school {I was a nerdy five year old}; teenagehood, when I liked boys, but struggled with hormones; university days, when I blossomed and excelled at being three hundred miles from home, but longed for Mummy’s cuddles when drunk; being in love, yet getting beaten up … so many times this could have accurately described my life.

But most recently, is probably now. This year. Today. Tomorrow. 2014 has been a truly horrid year, and 2015 will no doubt be nearly as horrid. But I am still in love, I’m looking forward to spending time with family at Christmas, I’ll be able to get all broody when Husband’s niece makes an appearance and I still thoroughly enjoy my job.

I’m the girl with a smile on her face which hides a multitude of ‘stuff going on in the background which nobody knows about’.

And I’m okay with that.

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when imaginary friends grow up

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I’ve told Loyal Lone Reader about my imaginary friends before. There was Geoffrey, there was a dog whom I took for imaginary walks with an imaginary lead and there was the fabulous Katy Finger. I’ve been thinking about them today.

I don’t know if all children are {lucky enough to be} blessed with imaginary friends. I do know that many folk will claim they didn’t have one, but many people also claim that they don’t dream and we all know they’re big fat fibbers … everybody dreams, some just don’t remember.

None of my imaginary friends lasted for long. I only know about the dog because my Mumsy told me, and likewise with Geoffrey. He helped me adjust to the bewilderment caused by going from spoilt baby of the family, to big sister at the age of not-quite two. Katy is someone whom I vaguely remember. She had very dark hair and wrote her name in all my books.

It’s occurred to me that maybe my imaginary friend was also your imaginary friend. Perhaps Geoffrey travelled around England helping toddlers cope with change, appearing to children in a way that they felt comfortable with. My Geoffrey may have been your Daisy. Or, was Geoffrey a real person? Is there a Geoffrey somewhere in the world who had an imaginary friend named KatieF briefly in 1976?

If Geoffrey existed today he’d be a good and decent bloke. I don’t think I can say the same about Katy. I imagine that the grown up Katy is a bit of a slapper. At school she was probably naughty, smoking her fags and snogging the boys behind the bike sheds. She rarely did her homework and would mouth off at little old ladies in the street. Her intelligence got her to university and she slept her way through the male student population, seeking her elusive Mr Right. She never did find him. Now she has a demanding job in the city, drives an expensive little sports car and is sleeping her way through the male population of London Town, most of whom she meets in posh little cocktail bars. Her very dark hair is very shiny.

I think she was a bit of a bully when we were little.

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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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bubble baths and books

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My life as Little Miss Worrier tends to be slightly bizarre:

OMG! I can hear the house creaking! It’s going to fall down!

Sh!t, America has Ebola? We’re all doomed!

Why is that woman (the checkout girl) talking to me? She’s going to expect me to reply and I’ll get all twisty tongue-tied, my cheeks will glow scarlet and I’ll spit in her face!

That lorry is really close. That lorry is frighteningly close. Oh my goodness, that lorry is going to kill me. (It’s just overtaking.)

It’s raining. What will my poor pussies do? They’re going to die!

The little things panic me. My head is a constant mess of ‘what ifs’ and ‘oh my gods’.

However, give me something HUGE to worry about and I’ll just sit back and let it all wash over me. I’m not sure if that’s because I can genuinely cope with the big stuff, or because my head pretends it isn’t happening; my own personal little internal bodyguard. Bless.

I barely remember the day where I stopped being a Miss and became a possession Mrs. I have vague recollections of being a little perturbed, but I was so happy to be getting hitched (who’d have thought that someone would ever want me) that I spent the lead up to – and the day itself – in a little bubble of pure optimism. Likewise, when I donated my cute little left kidney to Blokey there was no hint of worry. I knew that bad things could happen and instead of worrying, I embraced the thoughts and prepared for the worst. I stressed out about the little things instead, the enemas and the catheters (which, it transpired, were the least troubling parts of the whole process.)

This year has been rather like a ‘big day ahead‘; it’s been … faulty. The knot in my chubby little belly has failed in its attempts to uncurl and the tension in my neck is slowly killing me. To relax I’ve taken to lounging around. I’m particularly partial to lying in a bubble bath, reading books aimed at young adults. If I’m alone I’ll sing songs very loudly. I haven’t done this very much recently. I need to rectify that. Oddly, I also clean and tidy, somewhat manically. And I move things around. It soothes my mind.

I’d like this year to be over now. I’m unsure what the next three months will bring and if I could wake up tomorrow and find that it’s January the first, my happiness would probably be akin to the joy felt by toddlers as they jump in muddy puddles on wet days.

Or, at the very least, I’d like access to a time machine so that I can return to my teenagehood and stomp around moaning about life being unfair and exams being too hard. Because honey, you have no idea just how tough your life is going to get!

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now i am 40

my truth

I don’t have a problem with being forty years old.  I feel no different to how I felt the day before I turned forty, when I was only thirty-nine.  Indeed, I feel no different to how I felt when I turned twenty-one, except I’m now minus a left kidney and I have creaky knees.

That panic attack I had earlier in the year about turning forty seems a tad ridiculous now.

One of the best aspects about being forty is that I can embrace the older lady who lives inside me (with the skinny one, and the teenager – the arguments they have!) … that old lady is thinking she can do what she wants, when she wants.

New tattoo?  Why stop at just one?!

New piercing? Absolutely (don’t get excited, nowhere odd – just an ear again, hopefully, one day, before forty-one knocks at the door!)

A few grey hairs?  Sod it, they might look elegant and distinguished if I put away the dye and give them a chance.

I am forgetful, and I appear to have a problem with my hearing. I should probably get my eyes tested again (it’s only been ten years since they were last looked at) and I love my afternoon naps (but not how I feel when I awaken from them.)

My boobies aren’t saggy yet, but give them time. They’ll catch up with the idea of being old soon.

I stopped seeing the counsellor.  I stopped liking her and opening up about myself made me anxious.  Talking made me anxious. I was making myself feel small and stupid, and I don’t want to feel small and stupid so I’m back to locking myself away from the world and pretending that life is hunky-dory and wonderful.  But it’s okay; it’s my choice and I’m happy with that choice.  I feel comfortable in this skin because it’s a skin I’ve lived in for so long.

If people knew what I was living with they’d be horrified. I’m an amazing actress.

I’m on holiday now – no more work till the beginning of September.  It’s a fabulous perk of working in education but this year I feel it’s going to both drag and speed by, in equal measures. A part of me would rather be at work, even though I adore my time off and never want it to end. I have no concrete plans. Occasional shopping trips and luncheons with friends. I have The Vampire Diaries and Skins box-sets to catch up with, and my garden needs a through tidy.

My MiL has been diagnosed with lung cancer, admitted to Hospital and had nearly half her lung removed in the last few weeks. Speedy. She appears to have gone from thirty-ish cigarettes a day for the last forty years, to none a day.  We’re not convinced this will last.  The lung doctor told her that the cancer has all gone (obviously she’ll have regular check-ups for the next five years) and that it may not have been the fag addiction which caused the cancer.  I think she just hears what she wants to hear.

My cats are still beautiful.

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.

#fmsphotoaday

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Last year I took a photo a day, for no other reason than I wanted to. However, it becomes pretty boring after a while, especially when you run out of things to take pictures of (oh my God, it’s ten to midnight and I haven’t taken a photo today; where’s that damn cat!). So, after a hiatus of a couple of months I stumbled across this fun thing to do, and so do it I shall.  I’m going to try to twitter and instagram them, but will share my best attempts with this blog, because it’s mine and I can.

Tomorrow we’re off to my MiLs for birthday celebrations (hers) and to hear stories of house buying (BiL & YASiLs). I shall nod and smile in appropriate places whilst wishing I was at home, being a homebody and hoping that next week will pass very very quickly so that the weekend will get here and I can relax.

Today one of our cats has vomited. We suspect Qyzy, purely because he bolted his food and the stomach contents left on the floor look decidedly fresh. It is nothing but fun in the house of KatieF.

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