Less bullshit more books

If you know me then you’ll know I’ve had a crappy couple of weeks…wedding anniversary blaaahh.

So I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating and something I read during the shittest weeks at the start of the year was:

My happiness does not depend on other people’s decisions

And I’m trying to live by that. No point wallowing, you’re allowed a little cry but it’s best to stop there.

I’m trying to stay cheery and positive, but sometimes things get on top of me. I ended up having a heart to heart with someone at work last week and cried at my desk. And because it was 4.30 and a Friday I thought fuck it, I’m going to treat myself to a proper sob. I took myself off for a ten minute proper crying session in the shower room.

YOLO

If you have read pretty much anything I’ve done you’ll know I’m really into the self care (generally food based). But somehow stuffing my face with multiple McDonald’s per week isn’t completely safeguarding my wellbeing and mental stability. So odd.

So fresh from my crying fest I rang my acupuncturist. Because everyone loves Adam I couldn’t get in until next Tuesday. Damn I’m looking forward to that acupuncture session.

I’m not sure if I give off the impression that I am mentally stable but I feel almost crazy most of the time. My heart rate is ridiculous…always over 100BPM when I measure it. This must be boosting my metabolism as I’m eating ridiculous quantities of food but I’m borderline underweight. My poor body is running on adrenaline with barely any sleep to recover.

So I’m a quite optimistic that acupuncture will slow me down a bit and chill me out.

But also I’m slipping into bad habits. I’ve given up on Tinder and Bumble as I was matching with people, maybe sending one message and then wanting to keep chatting but generally being too much of a tired woman / lazy procrastinator to continue. So no point really. Goodbye dating apps.

I’ve got a couple of people on WhatsApp still…who I’ve met in real life. But I’m finding myself checking to see if if I have messages a lot. I think I have some sad trying to feel validated by male attention thing going on. It’s not feminist, it’s not living by my happiness not depending on other people’s decisions mantra. It’s not on.

My happiness will not depend on WhatsApp notifications.

I am more than my phone 💪🏻

So anyway…back to my earlier point.

BOOKS

I’m always reading but lately I’ve been reading a lot of sex psychology / anthropology type stuff. At first it started off super interesting (read Sex at Dawn right now…after this blog I mean). But then I was like ah damn I wish I had sex on tap. Damn all these married women I know with access to whenever they want it sex DAMN THEM. But also I got a bit annoyed at men. Many, many different statistics pointing out the fact that men just want young, attractive, big boobed, small waisted, big hipped women with beautiful clear skin and good muscle tone. For fucks sake.

One of the books I read said that when women say they like a man with a good sense of humour they mean he makes them laugh. Whereas men say the same but really mean they want a woman who laughs at their jokes. I feel the exemplifies what irritates me about men.

And back to my main point. I’m not feeling great. Not terrible but not as good as I could be feeling. Because I’m binge eating and checking messages too often.

Do I want to be fat and disappointed and needy?

Nope.

So I’m going to read novels. This will fix EVERYTHING I’m sure.

It also goes towards ticking off one of my 40 before 40 goals

I nearly went with the BBC book challenge that was going around a few years ago. But that had the bloody bible on it. There’s no chance I’m sitting down cover to cover reading the bible. Or the complete works of Shakespeare for that matter.

So I found this Penguin reader inspired list that I’m going for. First up is Great Gatsby which I’ve read (and you should too) but next is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez which I haven’t actually heard of but I am optimistic will tip me out of this mood and get me off being such a needy person.

Also if you see me in real life and I’m walking around clasping a McDonald’s coffee cup checking my phone do please tell me I’m a twat. I need to mend my ways big time. Thanks pals.

Pure, spiky vulnerability. Or…are you basically three today?

Bit of a lazy post, 90% copied from a book. I’m reading I’m absolutely fine: A Manual for imperfect women pretty much because Claudia Winkleman said it was brilliant and I like her. I’m not even through the free sample yet but I’m feeling generally a bit mental at the moment and it’s always fun to have someone tell you they are a bit mental too. So here’s an excerpt:

Someone has hurt my feelings and I am holding a massive grudge. I only refer to them by their full name and I do not wish them well. I need my hand held. Metaphorically. I do not know that I need my hand held but then someone –metaphorically –DARES to hold my hand and I feel a bit less at sea. I can’t do anything. I just can’t, I just can’t, I just can’t. I’m hungry and I can’t concentrate, I don’t know what I want to eat and I might not eat just to make it worse. Today, I am basically three. I have no emotional regulation, no ability to self-soothe, I am low-level vengeful and not to be trusted. I am not able to properly look after myself and I might cry, hit or slightly wet myself at any point. I am hot. I am cold. I like you. I hate you. I am JEALOUS. Everyone has better toys. My inner maniac has taken hold of the wheel and put her tiny foot down and God knows what is going to happen next. I am a liability but it really isn’t hormonal. For once. Or tiredness. For twice. It just is what it is. Pure, spiky vulnerability. Maybe we should add this to our support-arsenal? What about a simple, ‘So, are you basically three today?’YES YES YES. Thank God someone understands.

NB: I had to pause writing the tiny amount I actually wrote because I couldn’t spell excerpt without getting on Google. I hate baby brain / sleep deprivation brain.

11th June: Painty little feet

Do you see this dog? This dog looks like a dog who isn’t allowed in a cafe. I knew that from its optimistic little face as I opened the floor, but the cafe was empty when I arrived so of course I let my new friend take shelter from the rain with us.

Unfortunately the cafe owner soon arrived and sent doggo back out to wander the garden centre. Mean.

I was supposed to be meeting a friend in the afternoon but she was poorly so we didn’t have any plans. I had meant to rush out in the morning to get baby hand and foot prints on pottery for a (grand) fathers day present. But now we had a free schedule we had a chilled out morning and wandered off at lunchtime.

We went to The Potting Shed and had a little jug made with hand and footprints for my Dad. As I was feeling kind I made a mug for my ex as well with a hand and footprint that said Daddy. Not entirely selfless, I’m mostly hoping he remembers this when it rolls around to mothers day next year. But obviously he is a man so it’s fairly unlikely.

Anyway here are some photos I took before the cafe was bombarded with a coach load of pensioners shouting ‘Joan can you believe it’s £2.30 just for a cup of tea?!’ and lots of ‘look at that little boy’ (Emily)

I didn’t take this until the cafe was full and more than one person made a point of the fact I was taking a photo of a wall:

They have a good outside play are and plenty of tables so it would be a good place when Emily is toddling around:

(as an aside those pink cars were my ultimate goal when I was little. A goal I never achieved)

So if you’re interested in the pottery there is a studio fee of £3.50 plus the cost of the pottery. A mug was £9 and I think the jug was £15. It will take four days to be available as once they are painted they go on the kiln. I got onto kiln chat with the lady and it gets to 1000 degrees and she has to leave them a full day to cool before she takes them out.

She helped out (pretty much did) the foot and hand prints and then gave me a box of letter stamps to do the writing. You can always freestyle but if you’ve ever received a card from me you will understand why I did not.

Then we went home, I was absolutely exhausted after all the stress of the weekend and babywearing all over York on Monday (I’m a cheapskate and park by the racecourse for free which extends the effort). Emily is fairly good at amusing herself at home as the living / dining room is quite baby safe and full of toys so I just let her get on with it and drank tea and read It’s called a breakup because its broken. My friend recommended this and it’s a nice easy read. These things do really help keep my mind on the right side of sanity. A regular reminder not to be a crazy ex wife.

And then the baby sensed my tiredness and went to bed at 8pm without starting a fight with the bedroom blind. Win win win.

How to feel a little bit better when you’re feeling really shit

Note that I put ‘a little’, if you read a few posts you’ll find I’m not overly qualified for feeling ‘a lot’ better…but here are my two cents anyway:

Put your phone down

…not this second. Read my blog first please. Then put the phone down. For lots of reasons you should put your phone down. The blue light makes you feel stressed and stops you sleeping, the notifications distract you, the social media makes you feel less. I KNOW it’s not easy so if you can’t quite put your phone down I suggest you:

  • download Twilight app to filter out the blue light to help your eyes and your sleep
  • download Offtime app to assist your willpower (it basically locks down your phone apart from selected apps for a specified time)
  • unfollow any perfect dickheads on social media who make you feel like you or your life isn’t enough. Fuck them
  • use apps that make you feel good such as Headspace or Calm
  • follow lovely people on social media who cheer you up (I follow a lot of accounts with landscapes and nature, plus one or two inspirational quote type people)

Pick a book up

Speaking of quotes I really like:

“reading gives us somewhere to go when we have to stay where we are” Mason Cooley

I spent many (many, many, many) hours laid with a sleeping baby in a dark room, unable to move without waking her. After my husband left me I could have gone completely insane with all the thoughts whizzing around my head. Instead I used my Kindle app to take me somewhere else where I wasn’t a scared, anxious and angry single mother.

I know some people prefer TV and movies but I find you can watch them passively and drift into your own world whereas reading a good book is all encompassing. Even if you’re not a reader now I think you should start. Kindle does £1 daily deals and older books can be downloaded for free. Also charity shops sell a lot of books for 50p each and you know…libraries are still a thing. No excuses now.

Put your shoes on and get outside

Even better, if you live somewhere it is possible to then walk up a mountain or hill. The sense of achievement is wonderful, the fresh air clears your head, you don’t feel like a disgusting sofa dwelling animal anymore and… something about endorphins? I don’t know. Just get outside and get walking (or running or cycling or whatever your thing is). Breathe in the fresh air, look around you, notice things you don’t normally see and be mindful.

I’m also going to tell you to take a flask of tea with you. No scientific reason. Just that I think a hot cup of something when you are sat outside mid walk is just a lovely feeling so give it a go.

Pick up a pillow and punch it

Then chill out and get on with your day like a sane person. This is Rita wisdom (my counsellor, and not her exact phrasing). I told her I was struggling with a lot of anger and resentment and she told me I needed to let it out (with the pillow technique) or it would become habitual. If it becomes habitual you will basically become an angry person. You don’t want to be an angry person and no one wants to be around an angry person. Give it to that pillow. As an aside I got angry in the car the other day, I didn’t have a pillow. I punched my hand as an alternative to a pillow and learnt I am better at punching than I anticipated, so I recommend you just wait for a pillow to be available.

The same goes for crying, you can’t just push your feelings away. You need to get them out but once they are out and you’ve had a good cry think fuck that, that’s me done for the day. If I want to have another cry tomorrow I will but now I get on with my life (hopefully by reading or walking 👍).

Prioritise your pals

If there is one thing I learnt from About a Boy it is that no one is an island. Not even Will / Hugh Grant. (I love that movie. SINGLE PARENTS ALONE TOGETHER yeeaah)

Seriously though sometimes you just need to talk to someone. But try to pick the person wisely. Some people are happy to talk but can subtly encourage you to feel sorry for yourself or angry at others. Be conscious of how you feel after you speak to that person (both immediately and in the days and weeks that follow). If they aren’t uplifting then don’t go to them in a crisis.

Pull out a drawer and sort it out

I remember years ago reading an article by a divorce lawyer who deals with high profile Hollywood splits. She said her clients would often call her having a complete meltdown and she never knew how to help them (divorce lawyer…not counsellor) then she started telling them to find a messy drawer, tip it out and tidy it. That small distraction / achievement is often enough to take a person away from a bad mental space.

P P P Pick up a Penguin

Ah Penguins, remember those chocolatey biscuits with their little jokes on the wrapper?! Fond packed lunch memories 🙂

You probably don’t have any Penguins and I know people say have something healthy blah blah blah but I feel better after a treat. I don’t feel better after binge eating so maybe just have the one Penguin / donut / cinnamon bun or whatever takes your fancy. But hell so what if you do inhale an entire Terry’s Chocolate Orange and packet of Percy Pigs in one sitting at 11pm next to a sleeping baby. It’s probably not a habit you will continue every night for the rest of your life so don’t waste your energy feeling guilty about it. Rita informs me that secret eating is far more common than anyone realises so don’t feel bad about being as greedy as the rest of us.

Positively Perky People

I didn’t intend to do self help via subtitles starting with P but that is where it took me. Anyway I hope my plog may help you get out of a grumpy funk at some point.