Tag Archives: love

If it’s not the dreams it’s the reality.

Screams rent the stillness of the night. Blackness surrounds, a crushing weight lays on her chest. Wrapped in a prison of sheets, her legs kick as the sweat trickles down her back. The screams stop, the panting begins….on her feet looking for her nearest exit…her mouth tastes of pre-vomit acid, her stomach roiling against the images her mind conjures for her. Memories, half embellished, half true to life…horror movies playing relentlessly whenever she sleeps.
At night, the fears and anxieties she manages to gloss over during the day: they fight back. Whilst she lies sleeping, her conscious mind switches off….none of her defences are there. The armed guards have stood down for the duration. The deflective humour, the scathing sarcasm, the self-deprecation…is all gone. All that is left is her imagination…an imagination that appears to be determined to do what her illness couldn’t: send her insane.
For her dreams, some: they’re just memories. 1080P HD images of her worst times, on an endless loop. Other times; well they’re tricks her own brain plays on her. Her own brain becomes her tormentor (not unlike it is during the day). It plays terrifying fiction videos of half buried bodies down the side of the mountain, each face being someone she loves…Pup 1 …Pup 2….Mum….Sister…and on and on….all the way to the bottom where she’s greeted by a masked man ….. or sometimes, perhaps worse…the dreams….they’re so real she can taste them…and it’s just fear after fear being realised. How many times must she watch her children die?
See, even when I’m sleeping my BPD is against me. Right now, surrounded by trigger after trigger….I’m wondering how I manage to get through it. How I manage to stay one step ahead of the battle and one step ahead of my own mind that is working tirelessly, relentlessly against me. It’s like I’m in a whole other world where I can smell the food….but can’t touch the silver wear.
I fight all the time, especially at the moment…the weather…work…university…everything seems like an uphill fight. I’ll win. I always do. But I can see my behaviours starting to manifest again…keeping exits to my back, or standing in the corner, making hot drinks just for something to occupy my hands, black humour, procrastination…all my little coping mechanisms. And sure they make me odd…but they do something to stem the tide of noise and sensory overload.
Do you know what it’s like to lay in bed with your eyes closed, waiting for sleep and suddenly feel dizzyingly sick as in your mind’s eye your rushing into the back of an articulated lorry and you’ve no way to stop? An adrenaline rush as I lay there doing nothing more than practising mindfulness?
It’s funny really. All my plates are still spinning, yet I can hear them crashing to the ground. The panic is raw in my throat, the blood pounding in my ears…yet still…I’m fine. I’m always fine. Like a swan gliding effortlessly on the surface, beneath it…my feet are paddling madly and my internal GPS system is switched off. I have no homing beacon, so I’ll keep paddling away aimlessly until I happen upon where I’m meant to be. And when I reach there; I’ll take a breath. I’ll stop. I’ll stop to smell the roses.
But in the meantime, my resting bitch face is in situe, I’ll be quiet around people I don’t know, and exuberant with people I do. But all the while my mind is like the waltzers that have been spinning too long and too fast. I’m dizzy and I want to get off.
But as ever this is a journey I’ll never finish, an end I’ll never see. And whilst most of the time, it’s fun and exciting, because hey! Who doesn’t like to be surprised by themselves? At the moment, I’m wading through mud in flip flops.

Family

Who I love.

And who I don’t think I’ve ever told.

This boy is my little brother.

When I was 13 my Mum and Dad brought this little bundle flesh home from hospital and proudly presented my little brother. I was quite enamoured with him. He was seriously cute, especially when his curly hair came in.

He was also seriously annoying. As kids tend to be. He was obsessed with raisins and noddy, didn’t understand that teenagers like to lie in and sleep, and enjoyed leaving a wake of destruction behind him.

Typical two year old stuff really.

Unfortunately, my Mum and Dad broke up. (sad face here) My brother moved away with my Dad. And I grew up.

I became too busy to visit, too busy to call and too busy to text. I saw him a few times a year and always felt awkward in his company.

Then, I grew up some more. I turned around and the little boy was growing into a man. A man with opinions, a sense of humour, thoughts, a life. And I realised I’d missed this happening.

I started making time to go visit when he was over. And whilst still awkward around him, I realise that’s just me being awkward around people in general.

Now, the point?

That little boy is 14. And he is quite simply the most fantastic 14 year old I’ve ever met.

Despite my lack of input in his life, I’ve realised we’re actually incredibly similar. He has a wit like mine, laughs at the same stuff I do. He’s probably a nicer person than me. But he’s ace. Like, proper ace.

It got me to thinking, given our seperation, and lack of conversation over the years, we’ve still grown up to be similar people. He doesn’t have my issues (thank god.) but the nice parts of me I see in him. And that makes me feel good.

Because he’s my brother. Not just a kid my mum had, which I see in my friends relationships with their much younger/older siblings. I love him as much as I love my similar aged siblings. And I want to be there more for him.

I want him to think of me when he needs to sound off about school/friends/dating/embarassing things he really doesn’t want to talk to Mum and Dad about. I want him to think of me when he see’s something funny. I want him to really feel like I’m his sister. And not some kid his mum had.

So I’ve put this on the internet why? Because he’s 14. He lives on the internet. Much like his older sister 😉

Love you kid, sorry about the emo.

Life doesn’t stop because you have children.

What’s it really like to do it all?

It’s hard work. It’s guilt inducing. It’s never sleeping properly unmedicated because your brain can’t shut off from everything you’ve forgotten to do. It’s an open door to negativity. It’s leaving an open goal for judgement. It’s failing at everything at some point. It’s a slog. A long, hard, tedious, never ending slog.

But? It’s also the best of all words. Whilst being the best of none.

Going back to work as a mother of two young children was a daunting task. What at times seemed insurmountable. Getting a job after 6 years of being out of work, with only 3 years valid experience before that break. Working out how childcare was going to happen. What would happen if one of the children was ill. How I’d find the time to fit in everything. How the home was going to run smoothly. How would I cope with leaving the children. How would they cope with suddenly not having me there all the time. How would it still be possible to maintain a happy relationship with us both working full time. How to afford to work and pay for childcare.

And all that without taking into account completing a degree that I desperately want. And my well documented mental health problems.

At times it felt like it just wouldn’t be worth it. And when I have to leave my daughter when she’s vomiting into the toilet, it still seems like that. Handing the reigns to my husband, who is a wonderful father and contributes fully to the running of the home… but knowing that it wouldn’t be quite my way….it’s hard stepping back from that.

But I did it. Because the positives are always higher. More money coming in was actually the least important part of going to work. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face. There is more to being a woman than being a mother. And more to being a mother than wiping noses and holding hands. The top three reasons to return to work? Me. Me and again Me.

Selfish? Yes. Essential? Definitely.

I want my daughters to grow up knowing that in this life you work for what you want. A car? Work for it. A good job? Work for it. A nice home? Work for it. Nice clothes? Work for it. Weekends away? Work for it. Latest technology? Work for it. See a theme here? Everything worth having is worth working for. And it’s not about working hard, it’s about working smart.

I want to know that when my girls leave home, that that isn’t it for me. That’s not my whole lifes work gone and left. I don’t want to be 50 and suddenly starting my life. I want to be 50 and handing my girls the money for the air fare for a trip around the world. Money they’ve already gone and earnt, but now they can do it in style. I want to be able to have a discussion with them about interesting places we’ve visited, and know I’ve given them that thirst for life which so many seem to lack. I want to be able to smile at my husband and say “see you later, I’m off to Tuscany with the girls” (okay so probably not Tuscany, I plan on growing old disgracefully.) I want to be able to come in from a day at work and say to my husband “wow, today was so interesting.”  Not. “How was your day dear? I’ve sat and stared at four walls all day.”

I want to contribute to the world. And not just financially. For me, doing my degree and working in the area I do means that I can go onto get my Masters, and my Doctorate. It means that one day I’ll be contributing to the endless research into mental health. I’ll be helping people who, like I have, have needed meds and therapy. I want to give back what I’ve taken out.

So those nights when I come in from work, and smile tiredly at my long-suffering husband, and go upstairs and kiss the sleeping heads of my children who I’ve not seen since the day before, and I take my shoes off and take a long awaited decent cup-of-tea and just want to sleep and wonder why I bother. I think of all the things I’ve said and remember why I do it.

Why I work full time, complete a degree and raise two beautiful, intelligent, well mannered girls.  Why I accept the mumblings from so called friends about how I’m an awful person for leaving my children. Why I have working mother induced guilt, which can bring me to my knees. Oh god that guilt is a hard one.

Because for all my well thought out reasons and beliefs I genuinely hold. Leaving my girls tears my heart out. Every single time. Because of course I want to be the one wiping their noses and holding their hands. Of course I miss them. Of course I want to be cuddling them and reading with them. Of course I want to be a full time mummy. But unfortunately, time doesn’t stop running whilst they grow. In fact it goes quicker. Which is why it’s vital, for me to be a well rounded and happy adult, I have to work. And I have to complete my degree.

Because in 11 years, when my degree is complete, and my masters and doctorate are mine….suddenly I’ll have all this free time. I’ll have a good job. Which means in 20 years, when its my daughters turns to be facing this same juggling act I can be there to support them, and I can tell them it’ll be okay, and it means the time you spend with the loved ones in your life is cherished. Every second. That it means that okay, it’s hard now, but it will get easier. That the guilt will end, that you’ll see your children thrive with the independence.

Because when my girls are older, they’ll look back on their childhoods and go “okay, so mum wasn’t there 100% of the time, but when she was we had fun. We went out and did things. We saw the world. We visited our aunt on the other side of the world. We did stupid things like have paint fights, and upside down picnics. She wasn’t there in person all the time, but when she wasn’t, she was out grafting to make the world a better place for us and for our children.”

So when you take into account all the negatives to working, getting your qualifications and having a family, and their are a veritable legion of negatives. The positives and the reasons for working are much much more.

So to all the people that slag me, and any other working mother off, what ever. When your children have grown up and left home. What are you going to have for you? Because that’s the thing, we are a sum of all our parts. And to me, having children is just one of the facets of my life.

I work. I study. I parent. I wife (what’s the verb for wife?). And I don’t get it right all of the time. Probably not most of the time. But my reasons are good. My hearts in the right place. And I try to get the balance right.

So to any mother out there, who can identify with anything I’ve said. Just remind yourself, you’re doing well. You’re doing a good thing. And ignore all the negativity other people throw your way.

Why life sucks as a mother.

Let me start by saying I love being a mum, I love my children and wouldn’t change anything about either of them for all the world. They aren’t what this is about.

Why does life suck being a mother?

Because it’s the only thing in the world where you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Whatever you choose to do there will be 50% of the entire population of the world hurling abuse at you for it.

  • Lets look at just the early years (0-2) in this stage of your childs life people will be judging you on:
  • How you feed them: formula vs breast. Weaning: how and when
  • How you let them sleep: co-sleeping, separate beds, on you, in a cot, in a pram, by demand, routine.
  • How you transport them: Baby-wear or pram?
  • How you toilet them: cloth nappy, toilet train early, toilet train late.
  • What you name them
  • What you dress them in
  • How you talk to them: baby talk, as a mini adult
  • How much you have them looked after by other people.

All of those are personal choice, and some of them are heart wrenching choices. First hand, feeding. I tried and failed to breast feed both of my girls. With my youngest, I can remember her being two days old, coming in from a walk with my husband and mother in law and silently leaving the room, going up to my bed, curling into the smallest ball possible and silently sobbing. I couldn’t cope with the breast feeding. And I felt like a failure. It hurt, so much. I was bleeding from places blood should never come from. But I knew that BREAST IS BEST and FORMULA IS POISON. Ridiculous really, I’d formula fed my eldest who’s a startlingly intelligent, well adapted and healthy child. So logically I knew that wasn’t the case. But neither the midwives or, even worse, other mothers were telling me it was ok to formula feed. Everyone was adamant I should breast feed and in that over wrought, exhausted (and believe me, until you’ve given birth you’ve no idea what exhaustion actually feels like) I felt like an evil, abominable person for wanting to formula feed. Luckily husband talked sense in to me.

Being a mother people are judging you endlessly. You stay at home? You’re failing your children by not showing them a good role model. Go out to work? You’re failing your children by letting other people look after them.

And then in addition to all of the crap that does have some legitimacy, feeding there are benefits of breast feeding, there are benefits of co-sleeping, there are benefits of routine, there is the absoloute bull shit that is spouted by people.

Like this meme that is doing the rounds on facebook/peoples kitchens again:

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Or ones to that effect.

So now we can’t even have clean and tidy houses without it meaning we’re depriving our children.

Awesome. I can’t cope with untidiness. It stresses me out. It’s a major trigger for me. Mess and noise make my head hurt and trigger my anxiety. So my house is pretty much always immaculate. (I’m getting better, I can leave the pots until after the school run now). Apart from two rooms: the girls bedroom and the playroom. They’re generally fairly untidy. But not massively. I make my children, yes even the two year old, tidy them up. Some times they even have to do it properly. But according to holier-than-thou parents out there, I’m depriving my children of making memories?!

Personally I prefer to look at it as

  • Instilling values: they should look after their area
  • Valuing worth of toys, if one gets broken because it wasn’t put away properly, I’m damned if I’m replacing it.
  • Responsibility: I am not having one of those kids that doesn’t give a damn about rules.

So that meme annoys me every time I see it. Because it’s bullshit. Children making memories comes from spending time with family and friends, learning things, going out and visiting places. Not from running around in a messy and filthy home not caring if they’re trampling their toys.

So, so far we’ve established life sucks as a mother because:

  • You’re judged on every basic need choice you make whilst the children are infants
  • Becuase apparently if you have a clean and tidy home you’re uptight and don’t let your kids have fun
  • Because if you work you suck and if you don’t you suck.

And I’ve not even got started on the social life.

There seems to be an entire quarter of the population that are martyrs to the cause! OH NOES WE HAVE BABIEEZ WE MUSN’T HAVE FUN!

This quarter (quarter: mainly mums, and only half of the mums so 1/4) seem to think that as soon as you have children your life must revolve only around them. These mums are usually hemp wearing, baby wearing, co-sleeping, vegan, new-age moms (that’s not true, but see how easy it is to judge?!). This type of mum is the type that considers the dad to be “babysitting” if they do the grocery shop and leave is children in his care. (It’s not babysitting when it’s looking after your own spawn). This type of mum would look aghast at you if you dared hint at having your child looked after by someone else so you could ahve some “me” time. Apparently, according to them, once youre a mum, your social life revolves around the child.

I’m sick of all this judging. Surely, as long as the child is happy and healthy nothing else matters? So why then, is everything you do as a mother judged and critiqued by all of society?

I, for one, am sick to the back teeth of it. I don’t want to be judged because I’ve gone back to work. I don’t want to be judged because sometimes I put my children into childcare so I can have a day to myself, sometimes to do nothing more than nap and laze around. I don’t want to be judged because sometimes I throw a pizza in the oven and call it dinner. I don’t want to be judged because I still like to go out dancing with the girls. I don’t want to be judged because I keep my house clean and tidy instead of letting the kids trash it (we’ve worked hard to have a house we’re proud of!). I don’t want to be judged because I spend time doing things for me that only benefits me. Oh gosh!

Just because I do those things it doesn’t mean I love my kids any less. It doesn’t mean I don’t adore them. I still go in an kiss them every night before I go to bed. I still have them in my thoughts 90% of the time. I still put their safety and happiness first. I just don’t see why my life should stop because of them? Because in 15 years time, I can garauntee that hopefully by children will be off every second of the day without a second thought for what me and their dad are up to. That shy of a quick message to let me know their safe and if they’ll be back for a meal that’ll be the most contact I get from them .Because surely that’s what we want to raise? We want to raise happy confident kids that fly the nest without a backwards glance? We want to raise kids that are confident to go out into the world and forge their own way?

It’s high time mothers stopped judging other mothers. That we all looked at one another and went “cool whatever”. That we stop screaming BREAST IS BEST. And instead just went FEEDING IS BEST! That we just said to each other “hey, you’re doing a good job.” or even “well I do it differently, but I can see you’re way works for you and your sprog, so cool”. Why are we always trying to put each other down? Is it because raising kids is hard and we’re all terrified of getting it wrong?

Because actually, as long as we love them, keep them safe, feed them, instill values and morals into them, well they’ll be okay. They’ll probably life to an age where you’re sometimes nothing more than a foot note in their lives. And actually, we all get things wrong. We all do. Frequently. But as long as they know we love them, then nothing else matters sometimes.

So please, fellow mums, please lets stop judging each other. You stop judging me because I have a clean, tidy house, I work and I have a life way from my kids. And I’ll not judge you because you’re house is messy, and you only associate with your kids and kid friendly things. Then we can all get a long and focus on the main thing that matters: turning our little bundles of joy into well functioning, caring and confident adults.

TL;DR

Life sucks as a mother because what ever you do someone thinks you’re wrong.

Does it matter the love is forced?

So, it’s the time of year where fat little perverts are swaddled in nappies, brandishing bow and arrows fly aimlessly around taking aim at unsuspecting people, and those tinny little tunes blast out of cheery, brightly coloured adverts with a big punch of “if you don’t buy your significant other this particular item they’ll forever distrust your love and feel like you just don’t care enough”.

I’m a big one for expressing my love for people through gift giving, little notes, hugs and kisses. I’m very expressive. Not everyone is like that. I know some couples where a simple shoulder squeeze is their equivalent of “I love you”. There love is no less than mine, it’s just different.

Many people hate valentines day, or dislike it , claiming its a hallmark holiday and forced love is crap. It is pretty crappy if you’re single on valentines day. But then I read a fabulous thing about that just today.

If you’re single, then be your own valentine. Take some time out to pamper yourself. Treat yourself, be it to a takeaway, a new necklace or that PS4 game you’ve been lusting after. Why not?

I’m apathetic about valentines day. For me it’s a great excuse to be gushy and emotional. And I like getting a card from the hubby with the nice words inside. I keep these, they go in my memory box.

And I can’t help but think,

With the world being such a cruel place, with such hatred, aminosity and sadness…then surely even “enforced romance” and subsequent enforced love, well it isn’t all that bad an idea. The world needs more smiles, more I love you’s, more shoulder squeezes. And if people need a nudge to give them, all be it perhaps a bit grudgingly, well it’s not the end of the world.

At the end of the day you don’t have to buy into valentines day with all the hype. You don’t need to buy her Cartier diamonds and send her 10 dozen red roses, and you don’t need to sex him up all night long so you’re walking like John Wayne the next day. You can partake as much, or as little, as you want. But it’s always nice to have someone be kind to you.

I think my biggest thing with valentines day, is that it highlights just how … stagnant we can be in relationships, and when we’re not. We let each day merge into one, all those pressures of life taking up your head space. Leaving you with little time to think of each other, little time to remember to say I love you, or establish physical contact…..Valentines day to me, just reminds me of how far removed we can be from even our most loved ones.

And like I say, with the world in such a sad state of affairs, it’s nice to see even just one day of a little enhanced happiness and love floating around. So this valentines day, instead of bemoaning that it’s an enforced holiday, take it in the spirit it’s meant. As an excuse to let your loved one know they’re loved. Do that how you wish, just remember to do it. Life isn’t infinite. And we don’t get a second chance.

Are women the worst thing to happen to women’s rights?

I ask this after a few weeks of perusing the internet and seeing some of the most sexist and painful remarks I’ve seen in a long time.

Mothers who turn themselves into martyrs because they’ve had children. Women who slag off other women for going out to work with children at home. Women who bitch and back stab another woman just because of the way they do something.

Is that why men seem to get along better in life? Because they accept and acknowledge that having children isn’t a reason to stop being a person with their own desires, loves, hobbies? Because they don’t bitch and moan and whine about pointless crap?

A quick look on mumsnet/netmums/ukbride etc etc (all predominantly female based) will soon show you that women seem to be their own worst enemy.

It’s starting to feel to me like true, unilateral, equality isn’t happening  because women won’t let it? And are in many cases sexist towards men?

I can read 100 times in an hour about how someones partner/husband/cocklodger has forgotten their birthday/locked them out the house because they got too drunk/generally been a bit of a tit (I’m NOT talking about domestic abuse hear, just lackadaisical attitudes) and the first thing out of fellow forumites mouths (fingers?) is “lose the bastard” “he’s abusive” “aw he’s just a man”…..How is that furthering equality?

We “let men get away with” many things: forgetting birthdays (and then leaving it up to their partners) (a headnod to a certain person in my life!) not getting the kids ready before they go out somewhere, sulks, moods, inane hobbies etc, instead of just saying “oi! you over there, we’re going out, lets get the kids ready”

We seem to be perpetuating the cycle of near equality but not full eqaulity by just allowing ourselves to take on the full burden of house hold tasks and chores, kids stuff , family stuff. And then we’re “grateful” when they take the kids out for an hour…why do do this? (I’m one of the mums who has a husband who is hands on with the kids, at weekends its 50-50 predominantly so I’m not slating my husband here!)

We accept less than adequate support in terms of family life, friends say to friends “oh you’re so lucky he cooks for you sometimes” …why? how is that lucky? Surely if you both work full time hours, you take it in turns to cook? It’s not lucky its common fucking decency. 

How can we claim we want equality but do nothing to further the cause in our immediate personal lives? Sure there is a glass ceiling in place, even more so if you take time out of your career to have children, but there is no hope of that shattering in its entirety whilst we treat men like infants/accept paltry offerings of “domestic support”. Sure equality on a grand scale can now only be achieved by accepting nothing less than equality in our own homes? Which includes women not belittling men (they can look after baby just as well as you, or remember birthdays too) and demanding … more. More support, help, understanding, co-operation.

We reap what we sow after all.

So instead of moaning to your friends of how he’s forgotten your birthday and how hurt you are, why not just remind him a couple of weeks in advance and then if he forgets just tell him how it made you feel…instead of slagging him off and belittling him.

Instead of being a martyr and doing all the domestic chores and getting stroppy about it or feeling put upon, sit down and write a rota with him, or tell him to get up and help.

I guess my point is, if we want equality on a broad spectrum (in work, home, politics, etc) we first need to demand it from the men nearest and dearest to us. And in turn offer them what you want to receive.

I can’t help but feel people have lost the way a little bit and are too busy shouting “omg all men are cunts” to just go “that’s not acceptable. sort it out by doing x y or z” ….

Don’t forget, even those without children usually have a role to play in a childs life, so we should model for them what we want. I want equality, so in my house we have it. There for our daughters see it and accept it as normal, so won’t accept any less, if we had sons it would be the same way, so when they grow up they’ll be contributing to gender equality.

I know I’ve rambled a bit, but I think people have forgotten the first part in sexual equality is respect and choice. You can choose whether to accept sexism through apathy, ignorance, and giving it back (reverse sexism is a thing!) or you can choose to exercise your right to respect and equality by design.

To my daughters

To my beautiful daughters.

As I sit here listening to music and looking through old photo’s I’m taking a trip down bitter-sweet memory lane.

All of the photo’s capture a moment time. A moment either I was laughing so hard I started hiccuping. A moment I looked at one of your new born faces. A moment I was with your father, my love. All of the photo’s are just perfect. And they’re all precious to me, each one. Documenting my life, and yours, through frozen images captured by an observer.

One day you may hate me for sharing your life so publicly, a week doesn’t go by without my e-mailing and facebooking pictures of you. So for that I’m sorry, but not totally. Because it was my love for you both that made me do it. I was, and am, so proud of you both. From the moment you were born to this very moment, you make me so proud. For your intelligence, your compassion, your stubbornness, your love. I never believed any thing so perfect could exist until I saw you.

So why am I writing this to you? And again putting it in the public domain? It’s because I have another promise to make you. And one I will keep forever.

For my princesses, you two will grow up knowing just how lovely and smart you are. You will never question your worth, or your beauty, or your intelligence, of your compassion, or your convictions. I promise you, you will be humble, and respectful, but know when to stick to your guns. You will know you are loved and cherished every moment you breathe. I promise you, you will never feel like I did. You will never be alone in your dark moments. You will never have no one to turn to, you will never ever have need to have one moment of sadness. Because for every moment I’m alive you’ll be able to come to me, day or night, with any thing. And I won’t judge you, and I won’t be disappointed in you. Because everyone makes mistakes. And everyone gets things wrong. When I’m gone, you’ll never be without me either girls, because you’ll remember that I always loved you.

I promise I’ll raise you to know, without a moments hesitation, that you were both my first, and last thought, of the day. I promise I’ll sneak into your room at night to kiss you, just one last time, until you beg me not to. I promise I’ll kiss you every day and tell you how much I love you, how much I’m proud of you, and how you’re amazing. I promise I’ll be your best friend, and your worst enemy. I promise you, I’ll always be there. I promise I’ll always be honest, even when I know you might not like the answer. But I’ll never be critical just because I’m having a bad day.

Because that’s the problem my darlings, I know my disorder will give me days where I’m struggling, but I promise I’ll do my best to keep you protected from it. Because it is not your cross to bear. Ever. I never want you to think you can’t come to me because I’m struggling. Because no matter what is happening, you will always be the most important.

I’m nothing special my darlings, but I’m your mum, mummy and mother. And some times you will hate me, and that’s okay. You’re allowed to, it will pass. Just like the bad boyfriends, bad hair styles and too short skirts. It will all pass. Just know, through out it all I love you. Fiercely, passionatley and above all else.

I promise to make sure your happy. You will have unhappy times, and I’ll never minimise those. But throughout it all, you’ll be happy, because your core will be happy. So other emotion is fleeting. I love you my precious gifts. Always will do.

I also promise you’ll always have somewhere to go, and that will extend to your friends. When any of you are stuck, lost, and don’t know what to do, you just need to ask, or look at me (I’ll know) and I’ll be there. And I’ll be there for your  friends too, because they matter to you, and what matters to you does so to me.

I love you angels,

Your mother.

It’s that time of year….how to get through it?

And so the season of enforced socialisation and merriment has rolled around again.

And there is a reason this is a difficult time of year for many, not just the depressed and the psychologically ill. We return home to our families, are put in situations which many find difficult and drink liquid depression and eat way to much.

Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love and adore Christmas and all it brings. But there are parts that I do find unendurable, and in past years have just dreaded. Luckily now as an adult I am in control of what Christmas entails, and I can partake (or not) as much as I want. But this isn’t about my love of tat and adorning my house with a large plastic plant covered in garish colours, gorging guilt free on chocolate and free things, this is about how to get through what is one large, glittered trigger. And get through with good grace and love for those I surround myself with.

So to any one who may stumble over this. Here’s to an action plan!

Firstly, if returning home to the family is one that fills you with dread, or even just a mild anxiety, then youre probably just like countless others. Returning home to the family is a misnomer. Look at is as visiting relations. There is this societal view that home is where we grew up surrounded by people attached to us by no more than shared genetics. I know for me, home is not where I grew up. Where I grew up is a place filled with unhappy memories, where I felt alone, its a permanent reminder of many things I’d rather forget. Home to me, is where my children, husband and friends are. So try this: accept that your family are your friends, not the people who you share DNA with. I have first hand experience of knowing that blood actually means sweet fuck all in the reality of life. Family should be the people with whom we share our joy and sadness, our fear and hope, and all those other emotions. Not the people who we are told they are. So your family are actually your friends, maybe even some of your bloodline. So in essence, your family are the people you choose to have around you, not the people whom you occasionally call out of duty, not out of choice. Home is where you are happy and secure. Where you feel you belong.

Secondly, don’t feel you have to partake in anything you don’t want to. For me personally, I don’t want to drink to excess, or have forced jollity, or watch crap t.v. I want to drink as and when I choose (this has been an issue in the past with people thinking I was being unsociable by not partaking) enjoy the bits I choose to (cooking for my family, presents with the children, cuddles with husband), seeing the family at times I choose for example, and watch good t.v (hello black mirror!) So decide what you want to do, and do it. Even if it’s just for half an hour a day, even just 30 minutes of doing what you want will help you keep a grasp on a good mental state. If that half an hour is just sitting in a dark room on your own thats OK!

Thirdly, look after yourself. This time of year we eat too much, of unhealthy food, sleep brokenly and too little and skip our routine. I know for me this is the hardest bit. I don’t cope with change or with broken routine. So I’m going to keep some routine. Just the bits I know I can manage, I’m going to take time to do my make up, I’m going to listen to music, paint my nails and eat something healthy at some point. This will help me keep my mind focussed and not drift off into the very very dangerous ether. Look after number 1 (or three in my case!) and take some time out to treat your body and mind well.

Thats it pretty much. Seems simple doesn’t it? But I’m not a qualified person. If times get really hard, contact the samaritans, reach out to someone. Even if just by text or email if you can’t face talking vocally. Don’t feel youre alone or stuck doing things you don’t want to do. You’re allowed to say no, and you’re allowed to not feel guilty.

Take care of yourselves. Be kind to yourself. And if you have to do something you really don’t want to do, to preserve the feelings of someone you genuinely care about, when it’s done come back and be extra kind to yourself and reach out to someone.

Dingy.

Movie kiss pose,

Never more than vapid emptiness,

Head back, eyes closed, lips parted,

Is it too much to want you to want more?

Nothing is ever real,

Arched back, left hand on face,

Everything feels false,

Contrived, too bright,

Ah, deep breath now viewers,

The contrast too sharp,6:14 ratio,

She just wants normality,

She can never get even that movie kiss,

Just the hidden, furtive kiss,

Never the kiss to swell your heart,

Just the one to shatter,

She’s never her, the right one,

She’s never the fallen one, set to rise,

The risen one, set to soar.

She’s the furtive fumble,

Behind a wheelie bin, skirt bunched up,

The one to deny.

Remember viewers, it’s not real,

Just like her to people.

The warmth doesn’t touch her,

The sunlight never dapples her skin,

She never hopes,

Never paints with stars,

Never gives tinkle laughs,

She just kneels,

Sucks then swallows,

Salt water tracks on her face,

Used. She’s only used.

Never cherished.

Never gets that movie kiss pose,

Or fairy tale ending.

Lose your dignity….save your life.

About 6 months ago I was called in for my routine smear test. My first one, at the age of 25.

Despite knowing all I knew about cervical cancer and how delaying the test can end up killing you (Jade Goody? The young 26yr old recently?) I did just that. I delayed it, always thinking I had something more important and better to be doing. The first time was meeting Jacqueline Gold. The second time, napping. Napping? What the actual eff? And then weird things started happening.

I was permanently bloated, I looked like I was six months pregnant! I was bleeding after sex. I was getting random pain. I was constantly lethargic. Couldn’t pass water properly.

I went to the doctor, she sent me for a scan. “Oh it’s fine, it’s just your coil isn’t working and is in the wrong place. Lets remove that.”

Three weeks after that none of my symptoms had changed. I went back to the doctor. She took swabs. “Oh it’s fine you’ve just got Bacterial Vaginosis, but you need a smear. Go to the nurse.” I went to the nurse the same day (in fact immiediately after, the doctor called through.

After the usual rigmarole of falling over when trying to remove my jeans, falling onto the couch and generally making a prat of my self, the dreaded words came “Put your ankles together and drop your knees.”

And then the most terrifying thing happened. My heart pounded so hard it hurt, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, the room span and my mouth went dry.

“There’s something wrong. Something isn’t right. You will need to see a specialist.”

I walked out, called the husband and nearly broke down there and then. Me? Cervical cancer? I’m 25! I have two children. It can’t be me!

For the next two weeks, waiting for the results of my smear test, I cried, I denied, I lied. I would tell myself that it was fine and just an over cautious nurse. I’d google my symptoms and all of them were massive red flags. I’d wait for the post every day, always waiting for the letter to come to tell me I was being over dramatic and a hypochondriac. I’d look at my two wonderful angels and wonder if I’d live to see them start secondary school. See their first loves. Watch them go to prom. I’d look at my husband and wonder how long we had left, was my cervix a ticking time bomb? Was I going to leave him? I’d stare in the mirror and brush my hair wondering if I’d lose it. All these thoughts, it was tearing me apart.

They were the worst two weeks of my life.

Then the letter came. Abnormal. Inconclusive. Blood contaminated it. My heart stopped again.

I saw the specialist the next day. I went with a heavy heart, shaking, nervous, scared.

I gowned up, sat on the chair, placed my legs in the stirrups and thought of England. And my girls. My beautiful angels who still needed their mummy.

Then the specialist looked at me, smiled and said “I can see the problem. It’s not cancer.”

I could have hugged her. All that stress for nothing. Turns out I had cervical etropcian. It simply needed cauterizing, but to be safe she biopsied me and sent them for testing.

I have had the cauterization done now, and whilst that REALLY hurt, and I really hurt afterwards too, I’m fine.

So why have I written this? Because it dawned on me, if I, usually really sensible when it comes to my body (I even get my moles checked) would delay a smear until it could have been too late, any one will and can. And I’m imploring you, begging you even, to just go and get it done. For two minutes of slight uncomfort you could avoid all my stress and worry. Cervical cancer when caught early enough (which it usually is with regular smears, and being in tune with your own body) won’t kill you, it won’t rip apart your loved ones. But when it’s left to grow and spread, which it will be if you avoid your smears and don’t know what is normal for you, it will. It will decimate your life and the lives of those you love. Why are we happy enough to have bikini waxes for aesthetic reasons but won’t see a professional for our health? It’s absurd. So book your smears, get the swabs, and continue for the next 3/5 years. And know that you’re doing the best by your body that you can.