You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘First World Problems’ tag.
Happy new year, my crafty peeps. I hope it’s a good one. Not that it’s off to a great start, on a national level, what with the flooding. The news and photos coming down from Qld are truly terrifying. It’s horrible that it takes something like that to make us (me?) more thankful for what and who we have in our lives, and for how safe we are most of the time. I feel crass saying this here, but it would be worse to ignore it and chat happily away (although I will do just that in a second). It’s times like this I wish I could pray, because I am under no illusions that my thoughts and well wishes will do any good to those people struggling with the reality of it.
Here comes the thoughtless chattering bit.
Thanks so much for all your lovely messages in reply to my last post, and over the holidays. They were so nice, and every one of them made me smile. I did start several replies to people, and then just… didn’t finish them. I figure that was all covered under my December free pass that I gave myself.
December was pretty good, really. I think mostly because I was geared for it to be rocky. So I just slobbed around and didn’t do too much and didn’t feel guilty. Celebrations were scattered and low key. On my last day of work before holidays S took me out for dinner to celebrate my birthday, since it clashes with solstice. It was lovely, and it would have been lovelier if I hadn’t been tired and in bed by 9. Am old lady. I spent Solstice with S and his kids, and had Christmas Eve dinner with my family, who were all remarkably well behaved. I had Grandma in the Kris Kringle and I bought her the fireman calendar and she LOVED it and made the cousins all pick out which one they liked the best. One of my cousins had me and got me a tshirt I have been eyeing off for… oh, 5 years now? Which totally makes up for the last two years where I got, respectively, a burnt CD of a computer game I already had, and a packet of bowl-cover things (plastic with elastic around the edge) ‘so that I didn’t have to buy gladwrap’. Christmas day I did NOTHING, and then we went to the beach in the evening. Bliss. NYE we went to the beach and then were in bed by 9:30 because I am an old lady and I am tired. And then we had another family meal on NY day, where my mother brought her boyfriend – gasp! Which is fine by me because I like John (more than I like my mother) and also she behaves around him. And also he gave me a spinning wheel for my birthday.
See how I slipped that in there? Here’s the story.
Early December, S and I went for lunch with my mother and John at my childhood home. Which was weird and also surprisingly good – seriously she behaves when John is around. There were a couple of super awkward moments, but all in all, a surprisingly good time. I left thinking ‘huh. Maybe we can make baby steps towards having a functional relationship’ Of course, I neglected to remember that my mother doesn’t understand boundaries, so she immediately thought that we were best buddies again, and called me every day for the next week, which meant I started having panic attacks every time she called, which I haven’t done for a year or so.
Gosh, I’m bitter, aren’t I? I’ve been emailing my sister about this, providing some moral support, and it’s made me feel… vulnerable, I guess. And mad. As much as I really am reconciled with not having a mother, as such, it still makes me so mad that I will never ever be able to trust her enough to have a real relationship with her. And sad. Very, very sad, if I let myself think about that. Most of the time it’s fine, but you know… sometimes you just want to be able to relax, to have the comforting and that familiar. Most of the time I feel pretty strong and independent but… sometimes it would be nice not to have to be. I have been remembering when it was fine, and I had access to that comfort and love. When the best thing when I was sick was a mum-hug. When I enjoyed the chance to tell her about my day. When I didn’t have to fight her off and I didn’t have panic attacks.
Hmm, I appear to have forgotten how to tell a narrative.
So, I was SAYING, we were at dinner and I said something about knitting and John said ‘oh! Do you want a fleece?’ And I was like… yes? He had one black lamb out of thousands of white ones this year, and so he couldn’t sell the fleece. I said, yes, please! I will have it! Now all I have to do is learn to spin it. And John said ‘Oh! Do you want a spinning wheel?’
…. Um, YES.
The catch was, it was his wife’s. She is in a nursing home with dementia. My mother stepped in and suggested that perhaps his girls wouldn’t want him giving their mother’s wheel away. He said they never showed any interest, and my mother said that perhaps he could loan it to me, and ask them later. His kids are apparently not ok with him having a new relationship, which I think is fair enough but also kind of… harsh. However, it’s not my family so I don’t get an opinion. I found that moment interesting, though. I was surprised by how mature and careful my mother was about it. Although, on reflection, in my whingey mood, it does show that she CAN respect boundaries and be aware of other’s potential feelings. Which makes the fact that she can’t seem to do that with me or my sister a tad more upsetting.
OH WELL, TOUGHEN UP, PRINCESS AND GET BACK TO THE STORY.
Story, right. So, they came down the next weekend to drop off the fleece and pick up my sister’s old mattress because I had nowhere to store it. And John sheepishly (ha!) said that he had looked for the wheel and couldn’t find it, and he thinks he gave/lent it to someone else only he can’t remember who. I said, oh that’s alright! I’ll get one eventually, it’s not like I know how to use it. And he said no, he promised me a wheel and he would get me one. I told him not to be silly.
The weekend after that was my birthday. My mother called me that week, my last week at work, saying she wanted to see me before my birthday and give me presents. I said, was pretty busy that weekend, because I had to finish work, do house stuff, finish off gifts, meet up with two people, and get ready to head to S’ for solstice. But I could commit to coffee on Sunday. She said, oh, well, you think about it and let me know what you have time for.
I have time for coffee. On Sunday.
Oh, well, I’ll call you on Saturday and you can tell me if you have time for lunch.
I won’t have time for lunch, I’m meeting someone else for lunch, let’s have coffee.
Well, let me know on Saturday, and then we can decide.
I’m deciding now. I want to have coffee.
Well, think about it.
This literally went on for five minutes. I timed it. It was frustrating. Then I realised that Sunday was the anniversary of my dad’s death, and I didn’t really want to see my mother on that day, thankyou very much. And I also didn’t want her to call me on Saturday (see earlier comment re: panic attacks. I don’t know if you’ve ever had one, but they are not fun). Anyway, I called her back and said actually, I will not have any time then. And it turned out that I didn’t, and I didn’t get all the stuff done that I needed to, anyway. (S got some material and a pattern instead of a wearable gift. And I still haven’t sewn it. Whoops).
I think she was pushing it so hard because she wanted to get the emotional reward when I got the spinning wheel. As it was, she ended up leaving them at my place while I was being taken out to dinner and spoiled by S. So I came home to a pile of things to unwrap, which was quite nice. Gosh, I sound heartless, don’t I? Anyway, obviously the wheel was the highlight. Apparently it was bought in some gift shop in Moonta. I have yet to play with it yet – the day after that an old friend asked for his cupboard back. He made it himself and I was borrowing it while he rented out his house, and it had all my fabric in it. Of course I said he could have it back, but it did make my craft room pretty unusable. The chaos is semi-contained now, and the wheel unburied, but I am… sort of afraid to touch it. I don’t know how to use a spinning wheel! I don’t even know if all the bits are there for heaven’s sake! However. I shall, and soon.
I also scored big at my grandma’s on New Year’s Day. She pulled me to one side and told me that she’d bought this cover stitch machine a few years ago, it was quite expensive, a couple thousand, but she’d never used it, and did I want it?
Um… YES PLEASE.
I did make sure she really didn’t want it. Her sister is really sick at the moment, she’s gone into hospital and I don’t think she’s coming out. So I think she’s sort of sorting stuff – she said she’s left me her babylock in her will. On the one hand, talking about mortality is fine, on the other hand, I will be devastated when grandma dies. I almost had trouble typing that. The thought of it is upsetting.
So I have that, too, and when I restored order to my craft room I set it up and I even read the manual, all the way through. But… I’m a bit scared to touch it, too. However! I have vowed that I shall! I am not one for resolutions, really (although I seem to dimly remember making some last year – too scared to check) but here are some things that I want to do in the next two months:
- At least look at my spinning wheel and see if I can work it out. Baby steps.
- Finish the pj pants I said I would make S for solstice. Use the cover stitch machine in the process.
- Cut out and sew a dress pattern I bought last year. Wear it to work once.
- Sew a few skirts. I am going in to Spotlight tonight to buy some of the fabric I saw on sale in the holidays. And some zips.
- Make an effort to go to see Grandma a couple of times for lunch or dinner or whatever.
That’s it. Not too hard, no? We shall see how we go. I really would like to get some clothes sewing going. I’ve been saying that for years now. But really, no one who doesn’t sew clothes has an excuse to have as much fabric as I do, besides having three different machines for sewing. It’s ridiculous.
I was going to end this off with photos of my FOsfrom the year, but there are embarrassingly few. Although, I suppose if I included walls painted and plants planted, it would go up. I knit one baby blanket, three mini shawls, a pair of gloves, some fingerless gloves and a scarf/hat for others. For myself, I finished two jumpers: cinnabar and emily. I wear cinnabar at least twice a week, I love it so much. Emily, not so much. It’s still too short, if I’m honest, and the line through the middle where I ‘fixed’ it is just annoying. Perhaps I will ‘fix’ it better, this year. Or maybe rip it. I think it might be the year of ripping. And sewing? Too optimistic? We’ll see…
So, I’ve been a bit hiding lately. I couple weeks ago I was wondering why I was so tired. And then I realised. Almost December.
I mean, December is wearying enough. But this year is pretty low key, so why was I stressed? Oh, that’s right. It’s Trauma Month.
I forget that I have to be careful of myself. I’ve been thinking about it, and I have decided that it really is like spoons. I hesitate to say that, because I am abled and I don’t wish to appropriate language that is helpful to people who need it. Oh, look, poor me I’m a bit tired and it’s hard! And it is, in fact, incredibly different. It isn’t physical tiredness, and so it’s therefore easier to deal with, by far. I’m not going to be unable to feed or clothe myself because I am too tired. I may lack the WILL to do those things, on certain days. But that is completely, utterly different from being actually unable to do them.
It’s emotional tiredness, attention tiredness. Anything I have to pay attention to or think about emotionally uses up a few more spoons. And I just don’t have them to spare at the moment. It’s not that I don’t WANT to spare them, it’s that they are not there. And I hate it, because it makes me feel weak and vulnerable and like a big fat wuss. But it’s true, that’s the way it is, and pretending to be fine is completely counter productive.
This week I’ve been migrainey, plus I saw my mother last weekend and am seeing her again on Saturday. Plus it’s the work christmas thing. Plus I got two unexpected bulls. Plus, plus, plus. Nothing major, really. Things that in any other month would be irritating but nothing a good whinge couldn’t fix. But it’s December and I’m TIRED. I just keep coming back to how weary and drained I am. I just want to lay down in bed and stare at the ceiling until January. My temper is short and I am having a hard time making meaningless chit chat with workmates and others without being rude. I’m sleeping badly and waking up tired and achey.
I didn’t start this meaning to have a whinge. I meant to simply say, you probably won’t see me around these parts for a while. Things are fine, but I have to keep reminding myself that they are fine as long as I watch myself and am careful of where my energy is going.
In a lot of ways, it’s a reminder of how good I actually have it. At how much grief and pain and that sucking, aching nothingness have receded. They still are always there, when I’m tired and stressed and upset. But I am in charge now. That feels good. And I want to keep it that way, thankyouverymuch.
So I am opting out until I feel less tired, because unfortunately I am paid to put my attention elsewhere. Please don’t think this is an appeal for sympathy or a cry for anything. I really truly am totally fine. I reserve the right not to be fine, later, but that would be ok too.
I am still reading everyone’s blogs but am too lazy to comment. I hope all of your holidays go fantabulously, and I shall see you all again soon.
One of the phrases that is used alot in the feminist blogosphere is ‘performing femininity’. Or gender, or sexuality, or anything. It’s one of those phrases that can start to sound pat and meaningless, but it’s one that sticks with me, that I think about all the time. Performing rather than experiencing. When is performing good and fun, and when are we obliged to do it for society’s sake, making it often tiring and oppressive?
Don’t get me wrong. I love to femme it up. And butch it up, frankly, as my weekend’s experience with power tools showed. It’s just that, more often than not, I cannot be bothered. I do not naturally fit the modern day requirements for femininity – as most people don’t. Well, I have shapely eyebrows that don’t require plucking. But that’s about it. I have dark hair, I have a shadow moustache and my legs look prickly an hour after I shave, my hair is naturally limp and uninteresting and if I wear eyeshadow my eyelids itch and I rub it all over my fave in ten minutes anyway. And while I am enjoying longer hair and the opportunity to do interesting things with it, I am also constantly cheesed off with it – at how much time and effort it is to make it do what I want it to. And then I can’t, like… move my head quickly or whatever. Which is boring. So it does, more often than not, end up in a ponytail. That’s a compromise I’m happy with. I now own both a hair dryer and a curling iron, although I have admitted that they will be used once a month at most. When I want to perform. Which is not every day. I think that’s part of the reason I like having blue hair – it always looks like I’ve put some effort in, however minimal. And it takes me out of one performance category and into another.
I haven’t shaved my legs in about a month, though. Today I am wearing knee socks, and you can see my heairy knees peeking over the top. I wore shorts all weekend (with birkenstocks, no less, hello new stereotype). I didn’t do this on purpose – it was winter and I couldn’t be bothered, and then I got some eczema on my legs so I thought I’d better not. And before I got around to doing anything about it, I read this post from definatalie. And I started to think about it. Why do I shave my legs? Lots of reasons. I think I have decided not to shave my armpits or nair off my moustache anymore. But the legs? It’s confronting.
The week after I read Definatalie’s post, I said to S ‘I think I might stop shaving my legs’. He said ‘ok’. Like you might say if someone told you they thought their favourite colour was now blue instead of green. I mean, that was pretty much the reaction I expected, and I don’t need permission anyway. But it’s nice to be validated, I guess. His response, when pressed was ‘well, you’re a mammal’. Which I think is an excellent phrase that I might need stitched onto a cushion. (You’re a mammal. Get over it.) His other contribution, when I said I wasn’t sure if this was a Thing for me, was that I don’t have to decide. I mean, obviously. But I feel like I have to. Like I am required to pick which team I belong to, or something. But I am not sure, yet, whether this is a ‘I NEVER shave my legs’ stance, or a ‘I don’t, unless I have a reason to do so’ or even ‘I do it whenever I feel like it’. Fine distinctions, maybe. But somehow I feel like they’re important.
I think it’s because I feel like people make certain assumptions, if your legs are not shaved. Not all of those assumptions would be wrong about me, but I am not sure I wish to place myself so heavily in whatever camp that puts me in. On the other hand, who cares? They’re legs, I’m a mammal, people can either get to know me and work out which assumptions are right and wrong, or not. It’s not like I’m not going to get a job because I have hairy legs, or people will refurse to serve me at shops. And, anyway, I already have blue hair. I am CLEARLY a freak (I love my blue hair). Then again, and this is more relevant, I feel a bit… ungroomed. Scruffy. I pretty much live in skirts, although not recently since I got too fat for them – but then my jeans have all worn out in the thighs, so I am back to skirts. And skirt mean exposed legs. And to me, exposed legs mean smooth, clean shaven legs. I have yet to work out if this is because that is what I have been taught, or because it’s what I like, for myself. I almost shaved this weekend, when I knew it was going to be warm and I’d be in shorts. And then I decided to wait and see. Because maybe I am just unused to looking at it.
I feel a bit daft, writing an angsty post about my leg hair. Like, welcome to the party, young one. Also, get over yourself. But I think it’s not too frivolous (almost, though) because my main sticking point is what it makes me look like. To others, and also to myself. I’m waiting to figure out what that is, and how I feel about it. Meanwhile, my temperature is better regulated, and I have more time in the mornings, so I’m sort of happy with that. Also, no stubble! That bit is great.
In a semi-related note, you should go read Frances’ post about her bikini. And look at her fabulous, kick arse photos. I want to give her a big hug because of that last photo. Fabulous! I am determined to buy myself a bikini this summer. I have a sensible swimming one piece, that is thick proper material and holds all the bits in appropriate places. But I was a bikini so I can go to the beach and just hang out. S burns in about 30 seconds (seriously, we went out yesteray and I could SMELL his head burning. It was pretty gross), so I forsee many twilight swimming sessions. So I’m not worried about skin exposure and cancer, in my bikini. And I REFUSE to have any body hang ups about this. So there. Do you hear me? REFUSE. The last time I had a two piece (actually, the first time, too) I would have been 13. And about five adults told me ‘well, good for YOU’. Which I found confusing, because I hadn’t realised it was a Thing, yet. Anyway. The point is, I am going to get my belly out this summer. I just have to deal with the expense. Oh, nice things. Why do you cost so much, always?
It was wet and blustery here in Adelaide over the weekend. Trees were down, power was out (not at my place, thankfully!) and my backyard is squelchy and slippery. I have been trying to remember summer and how hot and dry it was, to make myself thankful for the water. I’d feel better about it if my garden beds were all mulched and the water tank was functional. I think the tank really needs to be emptied, because I suspect that the bottom half is full of gunk, and I can’t even turn the tap on. But it’s a fair way down the to do list, I’ll be honest with you.
Last week was pretty wet and wild, too. And every time it rained and my lean to leaked, I thought about the packed spare room, and how my sister had just chucked boxes in there, right up against the leaking wall. Like I’d specifically asked her not to. And there was s sucpicious smell. But the thought of rearranging the crap in the shed so I could rearrange the crap in the spare room was just a bit overwhelming.
My weekend started off slowly. On Friday S came and picked me up from work because we were going to the Adelaide Show on Saturday, and he was getting over a migraine, so we just sat around watching QIand chatting. Lovely. On Saturday, S obliged me by helping me re-ye my hair blue over the bits I’d missed, and then I got a bee in my bonnet and tidied up my bedroom and the loungeroom. Not that that took long, but it felt SO much better. All the ‘too hard’ piles were dealt with and sorted, and even though it’s still about the same state of neatness now, after being used all weekend, it still feels cleaner and more organised. Nicer to be in. I sorted out my WIP system, although it still needs some attention due to all the random almost-finished things I have lying around in baskets. Emma and Osk and Sally came around and Emma pruned my poor neglected rose bushes for me, since she has the know how. And we had a cuppa and a chat, and laughed at the baby for pulling faces. And then we got sorted and went to the show.
It was WET. And it was WINDY. And I had just a lovely time. We looked at none of the sideshows and didn’t even consider the rides. We looked at pigs and cows and sheep and alpacas and goats. And I bought some local natives from Trees for Life which were actually just what I wanted, and they were only 2 for $5. A hardenbergia to grow along the front fence, and a hakea although I’m not sure where that’s going. And we looked at the craft and the flowers and did the Yellow Brick Road. And then it got dark and we thought about the fireworks and went home to sit on the couch instead. Lovely.
Sunday S tootled off and I bummed around for a bit, picking things up and putting them back down again. Then I plugged in my iPod and got stuck into the spare room. It took me about 4 or 5 hours all up, but it’s now clean and clear and lovely. I moved the crap in the garage around enough that my stuff is accessible and my sister’s stuff is at the back. I got all of her stuff out of the spare room (minus the clothes I had to throw out from the boxes against the wall because they had gone mouldy. I TOLD HER SO.) so now my house is SISTER FREE. Then I organised and sorted and threw. My bins are full and so is the op shop box, and I keep thinking of more things that I don’t really need. The spare room now houses the cat litter and some galvanised shelves with the inside-tools on them, like my drill and the screwdrivers, so that if I decide at 10pm that I need to put in a hook, I don’t have to go outside. Everything else got sorted and is in the shed or the pinboards in the garage which I can now GET to. Then I tackled the junk that was accumulating in the laundry. The garden stuff is all still in a pile for sorting, but everything else got sorted and stored, chucked or placed. Then I swapped the desk that was in there for a table. A friend is storing stuff in my shed while he’s interstate, and he said I could use anything I like, and his table is just the right size. So now I have a place to eat! So thrilling. Shoosh, it is thrilling.
Actually, the most thrilling bit was when my laundry was completely empty. I swept it twice. The cat likes to wipe his feet on the edge of his litter tray when he’s done, so there were bits of litter everywhere. And then I mopped it. Twice. It was GROSS. The wall in there isn’t completely weatherproof either. It’s not as bad as the spare room, but if anything touches it, it will leak. And there was crap everywhere, so it was leaking. Then I sorted the shelves and the cupboard under the sink, so that all the buckets and random pieces of cleaning equipment that seem to live on the washing machine now have designated homes. And then I scrubbed the laundry sink, which was covered in paint.
The craft room is a bit of a dumping ground, and I still have too much stuff for my house. But I can get ot it all. I cannot begin to tell you how exciting that is. I can get to it to deal with it. I think I might go through my bookshelf tonight and be ruthless. There are some things there that I am tempted to keep but, lets be honest, I’m never going to read. I bought a bunch of second hand books the other day that I will read, over and over, and I would like to have room for them. I expect I’ll need another op shop box.
Do you think the op shop will take my cat, too?
After all that cleaning and tidying and sorting, I sat down on the couch and I cast off the blanket that I have been knitting for Sally. I was knitting it at her birth 6 months ago, and I wanted it DONE, but at 500+ stitches a round it was taking me a while. It’s off the needles now, and all I need to do is find the floorspace to block it. Then I think I might go through my WIP baskets and have a bit of a finishing party. I know there are hats with two round left to go, and things that only need the ends woven in. And THEN, I think I might cast on for Get Off My Cloud, without the cloud pocket, I think, like the Storm Cloud version.
This morning as I was getting ready I picked a bunch of tulips and filled up vases. Crisp, dew covered tulips. Lovely! I feel much much better about my house and its contents. Things are moving.
Last week I came down with the black lung. I spent Thursday and Friday in bed, coughing and achey, completely unable to do anything. Even reading was too hard. By mid friday, I was bored out of my mind and VERY whingey about it all.
Luckily, entertainments had been booked! S’s kids are in Scouts, and they were performing in this year’s Scout Shouts.
Guys, a word of advice. Never, ever go to see a pantomime performed by young children when you have a fever. Especially not if it’s Peter Pan and appears to have random things thrown in just because they had extra people and costumes. Like adolescent girls in lycra catsuits. Just wrong. They were led onstage by an adorable 5 year old and then BAM! My involuntary reaction was ‘woah! That’s confronting!’ and the lady next to me turned around and agreed. It also involved an Indian scene rife with cringe-worthily inappropriate racist puns (although I did enjoy the scene that went: Hook:where’s my redskin? *first mate hands hook a lolly* Hook:no, where’s my REDSKIN? First mate: OH, you mean your nativeamericanprincess!)
And the second half of the show was a series of sketches themed ‘the human body’ and was apparently written by the young performers themselves which makes me feel a bit better about the amount and quality of the puns. Sample sketch: two adorable young blonde girls run on stage in nurses uniforms (no, I don’t know why). Someone chucks a bunch of plastic ears on stage. The two adorable girls chorus ‘WELL THAT WAS EERIE!’ and scurry off stage in delight.
Actually, I kind of enjoyed it, and the small children were incredibly adorable (especially the ones that popped out while they were changing scenes and sang ‘never smile at a crocodile’ over and over, complete with hand actions. That song will not. Get. Out. Of. My. HEad) but it was very, very surreal. And ended quite late – about 11ish, I think, which was WAY past my poor invalid bedtime.
Then we had to get up early to vote (and wasn’t that all very exciting! I am not commenting until it is all over because while i am not particularly sorry that Australia has registered its displeasure, the Mad Monk still scares the shit out of me) and collect my chickens.
YES I HAVE CHICKENS.
They are Bantam Langshans and they are adorable, as are the teeny tiny eggs I am getting from them. I have photos on my camera, and I will get them to the internet eventually. They are black and shiny green, like beetles.
I spent the rest of the weekend doing not much, pottering around and coughing. And this week I have had zero energy for anything, and the house is trashed. It’s highly irritating.
I realise that I have no time because I am spending it bundled up on a couch with a snuggle buddy, and as such I am not complaining. But given the amount of sorting and organising there still is to do of my sister’s stuff, it’s a bit irritating. The spare room and laundry is literally just heaped with stuff. I am hoping to get time this weekend to clear that out and get all of my sister’s stuff that’s left into boxes and in the shed. And then I can start on my OWN stuff.
When I semi set up my craft room I sorted my wool stash and pulled out some rejects. Mostly murky greeny brown colours that I will never use. There’s more in there that I am determined to use before buying more yarn. Well, except that I just did, but that was for specific things – white for my semi-abandoned hexagon blanket and some yarn to knit S something for his birthday which I was thinking was nicely away in October but guys. August is almost over. And I only just remembered to turn my calendars over, so I’ve been missing out on Janet’s lovely photo of her sewing machine, all that time! HOW is August almost over? I nearly missed my sister’s birthday (luckily she’s already had her present). So anyway, considering what a tardy knitter I am I probably should get going. So I ordered more yarn.
I haven’t been doing much crafting, to be honest. I am still knitting away on a couple of WIPs, ones that don’t require much thought or input. Thing is, I can’t really GET to anything – my stash is now accessable, but all those bits and pieces you might need – notions, scissors, measuring tapes – have no home. That is also part of the projected tasks for the weekend. Locating and amalgamating craft stuff. Even if it WILL still be on the floor of the craft room for a while before I can get a new desk, at least it will all be in one area. Things need amalgamating, Like needs to be with like, WIPs need to be sorted and assessed.
While thinking about but not doing all of this, I’ve decided that, as well as having too much of my sister’s STUFF, I myself have far, far too much STUFF. I have too many plates and glasses and bowls, too many knick knacks (not that many, but definitely too many) JUST enough books, so please stop buying them unless you plan to finally read all those ones that you never got around to and then maybe pass them on. Some things can be gotten rid of altogether, some, like the excess crockery, can be put in the shed in case I suddenly decide to entertain 30 people (ahaha). Problem is, by the time I get home, it’s cold and dark and I’m tired and lazy and just wish to sit by the fire with the cat. And I get a little bit done on the weekend, but I really need a good two hours at LEAST with no distractions. S would be perfectly happy to sit and read while I putter – last Sunday he sat in the sun while I pottered around weeding and watering and the like. But I feel guilty and, more to the point, would rather join him in the sun reading, or on the couch talking, or whatever other activity is in the offing. But I am DETERMINED to get at least the spare room and maybe the laundry sorted this weekend. That would mean I could have a table to eat at, and the other organising can be done in half hour lots.
I am trying to curb the wanties, too. I want new, more, better. My life would be shinier if I had this shelving system or that single use tool. Mostly this is a symptom of inaction (buying feels like doing something, and if I don’t have time to make something I am more likely to buy it ) and of feeling poor. Which I am not. But I have a backlog of largish purchases to make, like more mulch for the front yard and a new desk, and bird wire for the rabbit run, and I really need new glasses but I’m putting it off. I got my tax return, and the same week I got a water bill, a gas bill, an overdue phone bill (the post office has been losing our mail) and council fees. Bye bye, tax return. Which, you know, is fine. At least it meant I wasn’t stressed. And hopefully bills will be lower now my sister isn’t taking two showers a day and sitting in front of the heater all night. I mean, there’s no one living there most of the week, since I am at work. That should cut down the $$, one would think. And I’ve downgraded the internet plan and decided to eat less meat (mostly because all that stodgy winter food was making me feel a bit icky), so hopefully the pennies will start to add up. It would be nice to be able to buy those large things I want, and then maybe start paying more off the mortgage. Well, there will always be something else that I ‘need’, I guess, but I’m trying to keep the wanties to a minimum.
Well, that was a tad whingey. But I feel like that. It’s friday, and I’ve been mildly sick and listless all week, and work has been irritating while I do bitsy work and wait for people to get content back to me, and I feel scratchy and bound down. I bleached and dyed my hair last night – I had massive regrowth and the blue was fading, and I was SICK of it. But it takes about 5 hours all up, so I had to stay up late to do it and now I’m tired, and I’ll have to top it up later because I missed some bits and didn’t leave it on as long as I’d like. But I couldn’t see a free weekend when I was going to be ok walking aorund with gladwrap on my head for 5 hours, so I just went for it. On top of that, I’ve been dragging up my mother issues this week, which has made me generally a bit glum and a bit churned up. But that’s a blog post in itself. If I ever get around to it.
But, on the other hand, it’s friday! Tonight I am heading up to S’s place in the hills, so I will get a good dose of lounging around guilt free on Saturday (while at the same time meeting one of his best friends, no pressure or anything) and then Sunday I might achieve things. I’m hoping to use my pent up purging urge while it’s around. What are you all up to this weekend?
It really helps if you READ THE PATTERN.
On the Tuesday after craft camp, it was obvious that I was actually ILL, not just sniffly. My throat was sore, my ears were sore, I felt like someone had been using me as a punching bag, I was all stiff and achey and poorme. The last two hours of work were a trial worthy of hercules. As I left work, my sister rang me, squealling that the cat had caught a baby mouse and was playing with it, and she (the sister) had to go to work, so if the mouse was not dead by the time she left, I would have to deal with it.
Luckily, the cat appeared to have consumed it by the time I got home.
I put myself to bed at 8.30 that night, anticipating a restless night. I always sleep badly when I’m sick. And I always have horrible epic dreams in which I have to endlessly search for things or perform repetative tasks.
Surprisingly, I slept pretty well up to about 3.30am, when I woke up and then dropped back off at about 5.30, just in time to be very surprised that my alarm was going off.
I did have lots of vivid dreams, though. They were almost exclusively about craft camp, and were quite wonderful. What a lovely bunch of women to spend time with, even in my subconscious.
I did have one nasty dream, though. About my mother, of course. They always are. I don’t really remember much about the dream. It was set at the parental home, but although my father was dead in the dream we were younger – I was a teenager and my sister young, although she didn’t feature in it except inasmuch as I felt the need to take flak to shield her from my mother, as was usual. I had to perform some dream task – looking for something, maybe – and my mother either wanted me to do something else, or wanted me to do it in a particular way that I knew wouldn’t work. But she wouldn’t listen to the reasons for why I had to do whatever it was my own way. She was just talking over the top of me, being quite rude about my general capabilities and grasp on reality, until she found some way to force me to do it her way.
It was a pretty unremarkable dream, really. Except that when I woke up I still felt all the emotions – that soul deep frustration and anguish and powerlessness and lack of agency. That terrible loneliness of being caught under someone else’s power and not even allowed to acknowledge that. The anger at having one’s will not even heard, simply squashed, for arbitrary reasons.
It was nice, in a way. It was good to remember the way I used to feel, all the time. That these were genuine emotions, caused by real things that my mother did, not just teenage tantrums. That I am in a better place now, thanks to hard work on myself and also limiting the amount my mother features in my life. Phew! I will be remembering those dream emotions the next time my mother tries to emotionally blackmail me or guilt me about something. Those emotions, remembered in my dream, are why I have no positive emotions about her now.
Tangentally, I realised that although I grew up calling my parents by their first names, I hardly ever do anymore. They usually feature as ‘my mother’ and ‘my dad’. Mostly because very few of the people who are important in my life actually know/knew my parents. But also, I think, because it’s easier to refer to my mother as such, when she refuses to treat me like a fellow human being. It’s easier to give her a label and a niche and file her away as a symbol, because that is all (all! ha!) she really is. The same goes for my dad, for a whole barrel of different reasons, obviously. I don’t really miss having a dad, I must say. I miss Tim, though. On the other hand, I don’t miss Theresa, but I sometimes miss having a ‘proper’ mother – whatever that means. A mother who it is safe to allow access to my life, I guess.
Oh, well. I feel remarkably little angst about it at the moment, but I suspect that that is a result of the new-relationship brain drugs and also the fact that I haven’t had to have much to do with my mother lately. Oh, and having blogged out some angst, and figured out some connections. The angst will be back, I’m sure. I’ll keep you posted on that, shall I?
First, let me tell you a story. I promise it will be relevant later. Twice! (Photos unrelated, except that this is a post all about ME. And so are the photos.)
When I was a kid I did ballet in a little hall in a nothing much town in the hills. I wasn’t very good at it, but I would only have been about 5, so that wasn’t really the point. I didn’t love it, but it was fun. I wasn’t super enamoured of the dances we did and clearly these were all Neat Girls and I was the scruffy one, but I got to be a woodland animal, so I could deal (they already had too many fairies – fine by me). I didn’t like the attention being on me and being watched physically doing things that I wasn’t very good at (still an issue - I HATE going dancing or participating in other activities where I might be physically embarrassed) but it was ok. I did it for almost a year and I quit just before the major performance.
I quit because of the stockings.
I had what I now realise were minor sensory issues, mostly around my feet, which is really common for kids, although I also couldn’t handle anything around my neck (as in, I would have a minor breakdown, couldn’t handle.). I could not (still can’t) handle having the seam of a sock pulling on my toes or sitting under my toes. Can. Not. Handle it. I will take my shoes off on the bus to fix this. I really should just start wearing my socks inside out.
I can’t handle it when socks get long and baggy and pooch out at the heel and there’s all this extra fabric. I cannot handle shoes with tongues, especially on my right foot. I have to tie them SUPER tight so they are snug around my feet, and then I have to stop every five minutes or so and adjust the tongue of the shoe so it sits just right. Even if it was already sitting just right. And I HAD to do it, even though I was aware that it made me look ridiculous.
I would have screaming arguments with my mother over socks. I fold them down. She wanted me to pull them all the way up. I was not ok with this for two reasons: they then got all saggy and poochy and they also constricted my ankle. And I hated it as much as you would hate it if someone got a piece of hot metal and wrapped it around your leg. That is the level of discomfort I am talking. So I would fold them down. And then we would argue about it. SCREAMING ARGUMENTS. And we had the same ones about stockings. It would take me forever to put them on. And then they would always be twisted. And then they had to have the same tension all the way up my legs. And then of course we would be late and my mother would be cross because she didn’t even WANT to take me to ballet, she was DOING THIS FOR ME and WHY COULDN’T I PUT ON MY DAMN STOCKINGS and ARE YOU DOING THIS ON PURPOSE?
I am wearing stockings today, and it took me about 10 extra minutes to get dressed, while I took them off and put them back on again, trying to get the legs on straight. I am 26. It takes me 10 minutes to work out stockings.
This is not a diatribe to tell you how broken I am and how you should pity me (SRS I promise, it becomes relevant. Twice!) It’s just that as an anxious 5 year old, that was not a fun thing. Add to that the thought of being put on a stage to do something I didn’t think I was very good at and have lots of strange people looking at me? Halfway through one argument, I sobbed that I didn’t want to do ballet anymore. And so I didn’t.
And so, on to the cookies!
Cookie the first:
Is me. I am one. A smart one.
I have about three half-written blog posts about how bad I am at accepting compliments. Accepting compliments is something I have actually been working quite hard to get better at. First up, you should go to this post on the Pursuit of Harpyness and read the links there that give some excellent background on how I have been trying to think about this stuff lately. And I don’t do too bad. When someone says ‘did you make that? It looks great!’ I say ‘thankyou, I worked really hard and I like how it turned out’ and I try really hard not to say ‘well, the sleeves are a bit short and it fits a bit funny in the waist, and there a gajillion other ways in which I am IMPERFECT’ or ‘are you mocking me ARE YOU MOCKING ME???’. If someone says ‘I like your hair!’ I say ‘thanks, me too!’ and if my boss says ‘you’re doing really well learning your new job’ I say… ok I admit it, I said ‘well, I haven’t fucked anything up too badly yet’. But I’m trying.
So, ok, lapses aside I don’t deflect or argue too often about things. I am sometimes really uncomfortable NOT qualifying a compliment, but with a few notable exceptions in particular areas I usually resist. Those areas appear to be: being a Good Person, and being smart.
I constantly tell people that I am a bitch. I do this for lots of really complicated reasons that I haven’t untangled yet and probably will never get to the bottom of, which is why it is still a behaviour I engage in. The most obvious is that it lets me off the hook from a lot of social niceties that I think are dumb. And in fact, it allows me to own OTHER good things about myself without apologising – because I have already said I am a bitch, so people can’t be surprised that I am not being ‘polite’ by insisting that actually, everything I ever do is shit.
I do it because I don’t like to lie. As a kid I lied a lot. This is related to being smart (smart kids lie better and earlier) and also related to the fact that my mother was emotionally abusive, as you might have gotten a hint of from my lead-in story. This fact (the emotional abuse) is something I have only gotten ok with putting a name to recently. There is another heartfelt post about that for you to look forward to, as well. Anyway, kids of emotionally abusive parents lie. They lie a lot. They lie by default, even when there’s not an obvious reason to lie, right now. They lie to make the world a better, safer place for themselves and also to make their unpredictable parent more predictable, to play damage controller. But I don’t like lying, it takes too much energy and also it sucks, so I don’t. So if someone says to me ‘do you like me’ and I don’t, I will probably say ‘no’. I wouldn’t walk UP to someone and say ‘I don’t like you’. I would consider myself a passive bitch rather than an active one. But still… apparently it is not nice to admit that sometimes you don’t like certain people.
I also tell people that I am a bitch because I was taught that I am. I was taught that I deliberately disregard what other people need and want, because I am selfish and ignorant and arrogant. This is plainly not true. But as the sock story illustrates (see! Relevant!), my mother considered her subjective experience to be far more important than mine. And folks, let me tell you, her subjective experience? Was fucked. When her five year old daughter couldn’t manage stockings, it wasn’t because said five year old daughter hadn’t quite managed the concept of long weird stretchy tubes and inserting them over her legs. It was because her five year old daughter was DELIBERATLY BEING STUPID in order to spite her. When said daughter reacted strongly to having socks pulled up, it wasn’t because she had a legitimately negative experience, it was because she could NEVER DO ANYTHING PROPERLY.
This is only a minor example of all the ways in which I was taught that I was not good enough, and that I was a sneaky horrible child and that I should apologise to everyone around me for what essentially amounts to being a human being with flaws and subjective experiences.
So, the POINT of that is, I am trying to stop doing it. Pointing out that I’m a bitch, I mean. Because, whatever. It’s boring. People can figure out what I am or am not by themselves, without me putting a label on it. I don’t need to fear that they will reject me once they really figure out who I truly am, so I don’t need to cover that fear by telling them that they should reject me first, to take the sting away when it inevitably happens (as my subconscious tells me it will).
Remember how this all started with me saying I am bad at accepting compliments? (You remember Alice? It’s a song about Alice?) I am really uncomfortable being told I am a nice person and people like me for me. We have traced that back to my mother (I mean, mostly. It’s not like everything I don’t like about me is her fault. Just MOST things. ). I am also really uncomfortable being told I’m smart.
So, I mentioned before that I’m seeing someone. This has meant a lot more compliments than I am used to. And folks, it’s weird. It’s weirding me out. He thinks I am the shit. And while I don’t disagree, and tend to think that, actually, that is a good prerequisite for someone I am in a relationship with, it is CONFRONTING. The other confronting thing ties in to the smart. S is trained as a teacher. He’s currently working as a teacher’s aide. He focused, in his degree, on learning difficulties, and on gifted children.
So, every now and then he’ll say something. For instance, I mentioned something about the tights and socks saga (relevant! Twice!) and he said ‘yes, that’s very common among gifted children’ and then when I opened my mouth he gave me The Look. You know the look. The ‘I know what you are about to say, and you’re wrong, and you know you are wrong. Why don’t you rethink it before you embarrass yourself’ look.
He has a point. I am smart. I have always been smart. I went to a small primary school, with combined year level classes (ie, R/1, 2/3) and I was always doing the work of the year above me. I was in extension programmes. I got good grades. I did all of this without really trying – year 11 was a bit of a shock because suddenly I had to WORK at things. I enjoy thinking and making patterns and working things out. I am and always have been curious about and engaged with the universe, while at the same time having a rich internal life. There is a lot of evidence that I am, in fact, one smart cookie. And yet I am SUPER uncomfortable even typing this.
I mean, I’m certainly not saying I am the smartest ever. I am very smart in some ways, and not in others, just like most of the population. I’m not saying that being smart makes me better than anyone, or that smarts are enough in isolation. But given that I value all the smart people around me, what is it that stops me from valuing it in myself? I guess girls aren’t supposed to be too smart, and even the smart ones shouldn’t talk about it too much.
Well, fuck that. I am smart. No qualifiers. So there.
(WHY was that so hard?)
Cookie the second:
Cookie the third:
I think I might have posted this before. But I LOVE EET