thetillyvanilly

Awkward things.

Cosmo Article!

Regular readers and random wonderful people! Yes you!

Just so you know, Cosmo have published my article, “I Lost Six Stone and All I Got Was a Reality Check“.

It would be cool if you read it, but whatever you do, have an awesome day! 🙂

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Life’s a Beach

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Have you ever done something that’s pretty much convinced you that you are Superwoman/Batman/Wolverine/insert-applicable-and-freakishly-awesome-DC-or-Marvel-superhero-here? The other day I had one of those moments. I felt like I was a brand new and shiny person, like I’d ripped off my skin and revealed the real me underneath, the one that wears a cape, has a six-pack and would make even Benedict Cumberbatch swoon a teensy bit. So what gave me my superhero spotlight moment?

This:

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No. I didn’t lose a million stone and go blonde. I surfed. And it was freaking AMAZING.

I have wanted to surf ever since I was little, and it was one of those things that, under the surface, I thought would never happen. Kind of like sky diving, (one day definitely, possibly, if I ever get over my crippling fear of impaling myself on a unicorn’s horn) going to The Netherlands, (I would prefer it if everyone in the UK could just randomly start speaking Dutch. And singing. Basically, if life was a Dutch musical, I would be content) and having afternoon tea with Neil Gaiman (Ok, this one HAS to happen. I will even drink caffeinated tea and learn how to use all of the cutlery. Now that’s dedication).

But then I did it, and it was incredible.

The first lesson I learned was: You have to make things happen. Yeah, I know, it took me a while, but I still haven’t figured out how not to set things on fire, so call me a slow learner. I’ve always been convinced that epic things will just happen to me, and then when they don’t happen, I sit around scratching my head.* But this time, I was pro-active. I met a dude who surfs, asked him to teach me, nagged him a bit, then got my butt to the beach. It was that simple and that hard.

Lesson two: You will not be great at anything straight away. I am the perfect example of a narcissist with low self-esteem. I think I will be amazing at things, until I try them. Then I think that I’m the most useless, lame person in the world ever, and should probably move to a cave and stop bothering people with my incompetence. Ok, so maybe not that bad, but getting there. I had a vision in my mind of the graceful, skinny, blonde (despite my hair’s stubborn reaction to all hair dyes sending it to the ginger side of town) surf girl I could be, shredding the waves with ease. One word: Nope. There was a lot of falling and skinned knees, a mouth full of salt water and a lot of time spent staring out to sea, promising it gifts of fish, boats and mermaids if it produced some surf-able waves.

Lesson three: Promising the sea aquatic presents that you have no intention of giving really works!

Lesson four: Improving is amazing. Yeah, I wasn’t a surf Jedi straight away, but I learned to walk before I could run**. By the end of my first lesson, I managed to get to my feet, and that was good enough for me. I had been surfing. I did something that I seriously thought I’d never do, and it felt amazing, not only to achieve something, but also to keep a promise to myself, no matter how tentatively it had been made in the first place. I’m now planning to get with the program and come good on all my other wishy-washy goals. But first, I’m getting back on the board because…

Lesson five: Surfing is the most incredible thing I have ever done, and I was a bit of an idiot to put it off for so long.

So if there’s anything you’ve been meaning to do, but haven’t quite found the impetus, or the time, or the most convenient excuse that gets you out of it, stop stalling and do it. You will either be happy you did or get impaled by a unicorn horn. Either way, you’ll know.

 

 

*Do people do this in real life? Like, does it help with the thinking process? Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong. Must do more scratching…

**Still haven’t got the hang of running. Something about moving at speeds sends me hurtling into hedges. And canals. And down mountains. It’s probably safer if I don’t leave the house.

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The Fear

mordor

In an age where we update our Facebook status obsessively, just to let the world know how great everything is and how happy we are, it’s hard to tell the truth. Especially when the truth happens to be that you’re not happy, despite the trappings you could gloat about, you’re not confident, despite the photoshopped, golden-hued selfies all set to post to Instagram, and you’re lonely, despite the billion and counting ‘friends’ you’ve collected via drunken nights out, jobs that lasted two days and friends of friends you thought were hot, but later found out to be married.

It’s hard to say it, but I’m gonna be brave and say it. Here we go…

I’m scared.

And the internet isn’t helping.

I forget that I’m supposed to be growing up, and I forget that my life’s supposed to be moving. That is, until I go online and see everyone else’s lives hurtling like hell towards married bliss and backs covered with sick. Everyone else seems to be on fast forward, while I’m sitting here, cooing over photos of baby sloths and imagining what life would be like if I went out on an actual date, in real life, rather than in one of my far-fetched dreams.

The world is moving and not taking me with it, and that’s scary. I’m starting to think that one day I’ll be sitting in a nursing home, telling tales of the time that Benedict Cumberbatch gave me a bucketful of piglets. Unless this actually happens, (it’s totally possible) I am in danger of going completely mental. The solution is obvious. Benedict Cumberbatch needs to profess his undying love for me and save an entire family of pigs from the slaughter to prove it. Nothing else will do.

Ok, so maybe I’m being a teensy bit demanding. Maybe I need to start small in my quest to get moving. Now I’m not saying that I want what everyone else has. I’ve never been entirely (or at all) conventional. I don’t want a job in PR, (possibly because I don’t really know what it is, and according to the magazines I’ve read, it seems to involve a lot of asking for promotions and being too busy to eat breakfast) I don’t want babies, (really, no.) and I don’t want to have to put up with a man who thinks that football matters and beer is a food group.

That’s fine for other people. You chat about Beckham scoring hat tricks offside nil keepy uppy ref whatever until your vision’s so blurred that there are five balls on the turf thing. Pitch. How many balls are there? Why doesn’t everyone just watch America’s Next Top Model and drink redbush tea to appease me? Why do things I don’t understand exist? It’s confusing and annoying every time I leave my house.

Anyway…

The real solution, should I choose to accept it, (and I might just stay inside and cower) is to do something different. I’m working on a non-fiction book right now and it’s set to push me out of my comfort zone, like way out, like all the way to Mordor. I like my comfort zone. My comfort zone has beanbags and hot chocolate with marshmallows bobbing on the top. Why would I want to leave? I have no idea what’s in the future and that’s scary. At least I know that if I don’t change anything, I’ll read a lot of books and write a lot of books. And that’s nice, but it’s not enough anymore.

I don’t want what everyone else wants, but I do want what I want. I want to share my weirdness with the world. I want to share my weirdness with someone as weird as me, someone who’ll think that my 2AM requests to go to the beach, acquire a gnome collection and eat nothing but pumpkin forever after are endearing. I want to feel like I have a place in society. I want to feel like I’m not a burden, not the weird girl, not one donut away from strangers suggesting suicide. I want to feel like I have a future that matters. I want to feel like one day I’ll have a life to tell fellow old folks about. I want things to change. And if you want change, you need to do something different.

From tomorrow I’m walking into a new book, a new life and a new story.

I’m scared, but I’m moving.

Here we go…

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Onto Older Times

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I want to pluck flowers

Straight out of my garden.

I want to eat peas that I grew.

I want to embroider

The words that I live by,

Words that remind me of you.

I want to bake cakes

That last for a week.

I’ll feed every person I know.

I want to wear dresses

And stockings and aprons,

Wrap my hands up in compost and dough.

I want a white fence

That gleams in the sunshine,

A tree filled with blossom and fruit.

I want to sit still

Long enough to know silence.

I want to sow seeds and take root.

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The Unthinkable Has Happened…

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Everything has started getting a bit strange. I mean, strange is kind of my thing. I bathe in it. I eat it for breakfast. Ok, eating something that you bathe in sounds a bit gross, but trust me, it’s perfectly normal on my planet. I can usually be described as kooky, crazy, unhinged, psychologically unsound, or stark raving barmy, and that’s ok, because it takes all sorts to make a world and I do just fine at not being put in a strait jacket. But life is usually a lot less… odd. If you’re weird and life is weird, how do you know you’re weird and not just normal? How do you know not to start thinking about pensions and drinking tea with milk and two sugars? What are the rules?!

I guess what I’m trying to say is… Deep breath…

I think I’m growing up.

Yeah I’m as shocked as you. More shocked actually, because when I was seven, I dug my heels into the ground and decided to stay in fairyland. I have never packed a bag and caught a bus out of there. I never left. And yet, somehow, I have caught some grown up thoughts and bad adult habits that I can’t shake off, no matter how ludicrous I look when I try. I tut at teenagers, (who seem a lot smaller and dumber than I was) think tea is the answer to all things, try to avoid any social occasions in favour of sitting down, think things were much better in my day, (it was the nineties, so I’m technically correct) and wonder why the hell my back is hurting.

Basically I’m counting down the days until I can die, because nothing’s like it used to be. Dubstep for some reason makes me want to vote UKIP, I want to vomit over every pair of Crocs or Uggs that cross my path, the word YOLO enrages me to an insane degree, (although I have happily adopted totes amazeballs, which is, ironically, totes amazeballs) and I cannot fathom why anyone wants a phone that is smaller than their face.

On the jolly side of the street, fumbling into adulthood has some advantages. It’s too early to tell, but fingers crossed, I may be learning to exist in this world without a carer wandering two steps behind me, with their arms outstretched, lest I take a tumble and break a hip. Yep, the upside of growing up is not almost dying every time I leave the house, or even when I’m inside it! I’ve finally learned to give death the finger and it’s liberating. Definitely worth not feeling comfy in anything but pyjamas and adding hashtags to everything because I’m #confused. So what are the new and exciting ways in which I’m embracing adulthood, I hear you ask? Ok, you didn’t ask, but I’m a deaf old lady now, so I can hear what I damn well please.

To start off, I’m really into cooking, like REALLY into it. In the past I’ve been super into eating food, sniffing food, thinking about food and decorating myself with food, but I’ve never been big on actually cooking the stuff. Until now. Now I spend my life gathering recipes and browsing Pinterest for food porn. I have lost half my weight in drool in the past WEEK. It also happens to be my birthday coming up, (two weeks! Eek!) and usually I would be clamoring for a sloth or a unicorn, or a sloth riding a unicorn, but this year, I’m mentally sending birthday Santa much more mature vibes. This year I want… Kitchen appliances. You may scoff, but have you ever SEEN a spiralizer? If not, Google it right this second, then add it to your Amazon wish list, because COME ON.

My second grannified vice is… Gardening. I am not what you might call green fingered. If you were looking for a garden-themed word to use, you might want to go with arsonist, since all I’ve ever done in my garden is set it on fire. Oh wait, I lie. When I was little, I planted some sunflowers, (which died) and I have a nice selection of dead pets pushing up the weeds, which may explain why they’re so big. But times have changed. I am now an adult, (allegedly) and I want to grow ALL THE THINGS! I am planning a vast garden of fruits and vegetables and herbs. I’ve made tiny plant markers with pictures and exclamation marks on them. I’ve already eaten mentally everything I’ve grown before I’ve even planted a seed. That is how dedicated I am, and delusional, don’t forget delusional. Because every time I’ve attempted plant nurturing before, I’ve added another plant corpse to my guilty conscience, but this time, THIS TIME, I will prevail!

One hobby that I never thought I’d catch is tidying. I’ve been privy to plenty of conversations about minimalistic-ness and visual noise, and just assumed that everyone had joined a Feng shui-related cult and not invited me. But I get it now. Tidying is amazing! That feeling of satisfaction you get when everything is put away, all the things are in their right space and no-one knows to look under the mat or in the cupboard. All right, so I haven’t totally embraced the whole tidying malarkey in its purest form, but why bother? If it’s wrong to get a kick out of fooling other people with a teensy, weensy swish (if sneaky) illusion, I don’t want to be right. Also, someone should tell Criss Angel because, you know, he does it all the time.

Other miscellaneous benefits of being a mature young lady (roflcopter) are: Being able to pour things into bottles without throwing the pouring liquid over anyone within a ten mile range, being able to chop things without losing any important limbs, and patience, PATIENCE! Who saw that coming?! No-one, that’s who.

Yeah, it’s pretty nice on this smug side of the fence. Don’t worry though, it’s Ok. I haven’t gone too far over to the thermal undies side of life. I’m still a seven year old who’s high on sherbet and the realisation that it’s past her bedtime and NO-ONE’S NOTICED. If there’s a puddle, I will jump in it; if there are bubbles, I will attack them in a frenzy; if there’s a puppy, it must be petted; if there’s a boring conversation, I will revert to the magical Pinterest in my mind, because really, who wants to talk about the offside rule? Perhaps I’ll never grow up, perhaps I will, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying straddling the fence, crocheting hashtags onto my slippers.

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I Am Not a Calm Person

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I am not a calm person.

That statement could seriously compete for Understatement of the Millennium Award, alongside ‘You should feed me before I turn into the Hulk and break everything before turning the rubble into a delicious cake’ and ‘I might have set the house a little bit on fire.’ And those are both mine. You see, playing down the terrible, destructive and disastrous things that I tend to do when left with a body that doesn’t like being whole, adult I.D. and access to matches is one of my talents. Calming down is not. In fact, when I put my talents in order, (which I do, because everyone needs a hobby, right?) chillaxing is at the bottom of the list. I am better at blindfolded knife throwing and training dogs to bake cupcakes than I am at emptying my head.

This phenomenon was super obvious to me a few days ago, when I visited a spa. My friend, my brother and I had planned to get massages, and, because I am awesome at confusing reality me with the shiny version of me that unicycles without injury, has afternoon tea with Neil Gaiman and looks like Natalie Portman with floor-length, blonde mermaid hair, I decided that I would survive the world of pampering like a lady who gets her nails done. I did not. I fooled no-one, I nearly died of the realisation that I am, no matter what movies I may watch, going to be myself forever, and I did not relax. At all.

So let’s start the story at the beginning. We arrived and everything was lovely, as it tends to be in Spas. Then we were asked to sign our lives away. Ok, so we had to let them know that we had no allergies or whatever, but once I’m signing a form, my brain’s in ‘let’s think of how many fun and creative ways we could die today’ mode. I was wondering how many people the masseuse had murdered with her bare hands when we were instructed to change into our swimming costumes. Gulp. This is how they get you, I thought, you die from embarrassment. Your jiggly bits are out for everyone to gawp at and you melt into a puddle of shame and lard. I was kicking myself for paying up front as I wandered back into the spa with a towel clutched tightly underneath my armpits and my eyes firmly on the floor. I was determined not to die before my pre-paid massage.

My friends tossed their towels away immediately, with the sort of candour reserved for Playboy models and Russell Brand, and clambered onto the heated stone loungers. But I wasn’t being so headstrong. Oh no, I had sussed the spa staff out. Plus I figured they’d be happy with two dead bodies and let me put my jeans on. I held onto my towel. The masseuse appeared and my friend went first, happily oblivious to the stench of death settling around us*. I could do nothing but wait, my back rigid against the lounger, for what was in store. I kept my ears pricked for screams or the music from Jaws, but none came. Eventually my friend reappeared. “That was AWESOME,” she said, beaming. Valar morghulis, I thought, and swallowed. I was next.

The masseuse smiled as she beckoned me into the room. I wondered what sort of thing she would do with my appendix. Then I wondered what sort of things I do with my appendix. Then I realised that my friend, my oily, happy, relaxed friend had no appendix. The masseuse left the room while I got down to the mortifying business of getting nekkid. They had the same mirrors that you find in clothes shops, the kind that call you fat to your face, show you exactly where you’ve put on that two stone you thought that you were pulling off like Nigella and point out your sudden acne situation. I lay down on the table, cursing my body for being all there and all wrong.

As soon as I put my head through the hole in the table, I knew I had a problem. I mean, I know I have many problems, such as I do not own every single book ever published and I’ve thus far failed to mind control Michael Fassbender into feeding me cake, but at that moment in time I had a very specific problem. My glasses. The masseuse returned at that moment and started talking to me. “Are you just down for the day?” My brain exploded. All the words fell out of my vocabulary, apart from pumpkin, mmm and schadenfreude. I went with “Mmm,” and she seemed happy with that.

The massage-iness started and I was not calm. With every rub of her hands, my glasses squeaked and groaned against the sides of the table hole. I had never had a massage before, strangers terrify me, especially when I happen to be naked and have their oily hands on my body, so of course I panicked. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Just kill me already, I thought, smack me over the head with the stereo that’s currently pumping out sounds of the ocean and get it over with. You can have my appendix. You can have my kidneys. I will sell you my thyroid right now; actually, just have it, it’s yours, just stop this bloody squeaking. I shifted my glasses to the top of my head, where they wobbled furiously with every movement.

“Shall I pop your glasses on the side for you?” Ohmygosh. Thank you, yes, I love you. I don’t care if you’re a murderous masseuse who probably does page three just because she can, and eats five bars of chocolate a day slathered in whipped cream and never puts on a pound, this love is beautiful and real. You are an angel sent from heaven. I love you. I. LOVE. YOU. “Mmm,” I said.

So I could fit my face into the hole, the squeaking had stopped, and there was silence. This is nice, I thought. The worst thing in the world is when strange women talk to you while rubbing your body. Of course, it’s much worse when you’re not paying for it. Then I realised, perhaps the silence is wrong. Maybe I should be making a noise, like ‘Ooh yeah, that’s good.’ Should I do that? Does she want that? I could even use my ‘Mmm’ for that very purpose. Her touch is getting rougher. Is she after vocal results or is it supposed to happen? Why is this so damn complicated?! I looked down and wished there were tiny people holding up a book for me to read.

After a long silence it would be weird to make a noise now, I thought. Anyway, I should focus on this massage. Ooh, my back just clicked, cool. She’s really good at this massage malarkey, go her! I should tell her. Or is that patronising? She must have a lot of stamina to massage all these people. She must massage a lot of people, fat people, thin people, beautiful people, ugly people. I wonder what she thinks of my body. Why do I care? I don’t care. Do I care? This is somehow the media’s fault. Photoshopping exists, they should stop that. I’m totally photoshopping the pictures from today. I wonder if anyone would notice if I gave myself Megan Fox’s body… And Megan Fox’s face… I’m totally replacing my brother with a T Rex. Technology is awesome.

Ooh, she’s doing a new thing now, an elbow thing. I’m totally stealing that. I could totally do this job. I’m gonna massage everyone I know. Actually, not EVERYONE I know… I know some really weird people. I wonder what my friends are doing… Oh my gosh, I bet they’ve left me. This was their plan all along, to leave me here to die from masseuse with a fast metabolism chowing down on my appendix. I hate my friends. I would never do this to them, but now they’ve planned to assassinate me, it’s game on. I am a creative person, I can think of a few epic deaths of my own. Ok, how am I going to kill them? I could… No. How about… Nope. …Dude, I swear I just saw a tumbleweed.

Fine, I am not a murderer, but is that such a crime? Is being a peace-loving, tofu-munching, tree-harassing hippy a good enough reason to kill someone? What is a good reason to kill someone? Spitting’s a good one, and wearing Crocs. Oooh, and arriving late at the cinema, I hate those people. People who are mean to people in customer service suck, and people who leave bad reviews for music and books and stuff. I mean, you didn’t like it, move on, don’t ruin someone’s career for it. Ugh, people. Argh, she’s exfoliating me! It’s ok, it’s ok, we weren’t expecting it, but it’s fine, just- Oh wow, her hands are hot. Are those her hands? Maybe that’s lava. Lava is how I will die. Cool. My grave will be epic. ‘She died from masseuse lava. They took her appendix, but it’s fine, she didn’t want it anymore. RIP.’ Wait, I’ve just realised that my last words are ‘Mmm’ and ‘Mmm’. Maybe I should say pumpkin…

She stopped and stepped back. I felt her hovering above me. “How was that?” Don’t say pumpkin, don’t say pumpkin. And DEFINITELY don’t say schadenfreude. “That was AWESOME!” She left and let me cover myself. I grabbed my glasses, wrapped the towel tightly around myself, cutting off the circulation to my shoulders, and glared at the mirror. I felt my body through the towel for any missing organs before escaping the room. I was alive. I settled into the heated stone lounger, conscious of every organ in my body and trying to compose a thank you note to each of them, without using the words pumpkin, mmm and schadenfreude. My brother went in last, happily, sans towel, and I swear I saw the masseuse eyeing up his liver.

 

*Ok, that might have been eucalyptus, but they’re similar smells.

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Dear Mr. Right…

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Dear Mr. Right,

Where are you?! You know how anal I am about time keeping. Hopefully you’ve been using your time to foster a healthy obsession with Neil Gaiman and a love of anything sparkly. Oh wait, that’s me. Ok, so I don’t really know who you are or what you’re into, since we haven’t been formally introduced. That’s the crazy thing. I could be passing you day after day, maybe throwing change at your face when I serve you, because hand eye co-ordination is not my forte, possibly doing the pavement dance with you, because anything involving actual movement is not my forte. I could be perving at your glasses or drooling over your shoes. I could be not even seeing you because you’re a member of the X-Men. Oh my gosh, PLEASE be a member of the X-Men. Preferably Magneto, I would settle for Wolverine, but definitely NOT Cyclops. Just no.

Perhaps we’ve never met because you’ve been busy crafting a masterpiece in your basement, that consists of twenty-seven sporks, a selection of dead flowers, original WWE wrestlers dowsed in the aforementioned glitter, (predominately The Undertaker and Chyna, because who else, really?) and five thousand packets of Pez. That’s definitely what you’re doing, and you’re wondering where I am, and why I’m not in your basement, (which probably has a pool table and a non-alcoholic bar) telling you what a creative genius you are and pouring you mocktails. Or maybe you’d prefer me to chatter incessantly about nothing and everything, swaying the conversation wildly every five seconds because I caught something shiny out of the corner of my eye, and you’re the only person on the planet who can tolerate me doing this. Trust me, I checked.

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing and whatever really odd hobby you have, it would be awesome if you put it on pause for a second and came over here. It’s not like I need you or anything, (who says romance kicked the bucket) but I’m in a really good place right now, the best place in my life actually, waaay better than Bristol in the summer, with my bare feet in the fountain, eating vegan fish ‘n’ chips. I’ve never been this good. I’ve spent my whole life changing direction and falling down and scrambling back up. I’ve had so many bloody knees that there’s grit stuck under the skin, but now I’m ok. I keep moving forwards and I haven’t fallen back in a while. My world keeps getting bigger and brighter and I want to show you all the magic there is. Not everyone sees it, but I do. There’s stardust in my eyes to share.

I sound mad but you’re going to have to deal with that. It’s not too bad, I promise. It would help if you’re a little unhinged too. We could fall through the cracks together and walk underneath the world, staring up at the feet of the people who don’t know how to see things. Or maybe you’re a rock of a person, and I could hold onto you, bobbing above the waves on a doorframe that’s perfectly big enough for two people Leonardo, seriously. You could teach me things like history and science, and I would care for once because your voice would bring the world to life, sparking atoms and starting wars. You could take me everywhere with your words. I would like that. And I could tell you fairy tales and show you where the trolls live under the bridge, and let you know that they’re not as bad as people say. Nothing’s ever as bad as people say. There are two sides of the earth and we could see both, together. I know that writing this won’t speed you up in any way, but you know how I hate waiting. Patience is something I’m learning though, along with calm, organisation and making appointments on the phone. Oh and I’m also awesome with money. I’m building my way up to being an adult, even though I don’t really intend to grow up. I could pretend though, play house, bake cakes, do grouting, I’ve always wanted to do that. I can put up shelves and splatter stuff in paint until I lose interest, and you can dust things, because I really can’t be bothered when they’re just going to get dusty again. I’m now a full-time washer-upper though, and I put the recycling out like all the time. I pretty much think of myself as Wonder Woman without the epic costume. But I could get one, if you’d like.

All I’m trying to say is that there’s a you-shaped hole in my life that isn’t super intrusive right now, but it could be if you don’t get a wiggle on. Until then, I’m just going to amble on with my life, making plans and creating a future that shines like the back end of a Bentley. You’re more than welcome to join me.

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ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

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I decided today that I would write a list of things that I’m afraid of. Not because I’m a raging masochist who likes to seek out new and interesting ways to embarrass herself in a public forum, (although if the cap fits… Come to think of it, I’ve never tried on a cap that didn’t fit, apart from kids’ caps that is. I totally understand wanting to wear one of those though. Children know the value of glitter and being so cheeky that they would inadvertently enter a pub brawl involving crocodiles and ninja stars, (that they would definitely lose) if they were a grown up.) but* because I really need to get over the whole being afraid thing, and if I’ve learned two things during my time being alive, the first one is that lists solve EVERYTHING.**** So here is my list of things that freak me out and why:

  • Phone conversations

How can anyone enjoy this?! In old movies, girls would wrap the phone cord around their finger, whereas telephone communication makes me want to wrap it around my neck. You can’t see the person on the other end. They could be saying all this nice stuff whilst simultaneously throwing darts at a hideous picture of you, (taken just after your skin had decided to self-destruct and, in an act of solidarity, pizza decided that its calories totally counted and, oops, hello Shamu) and hacking up your best friend with a collection of sporks duct taped together and dowsed in lemon juice and salt, in order to create a surprisingly effective method of ouch. Ok, it might seem far-fetched, but how can you know for sure? You can’t. And don’t ask me why texting is fine, because I never said that I was logical, just paranoid.

  • Ordering food in restaurants

Now don’t get me wrong, I am sooo awesome at eating food in restaurants. It’s a talent, it really is. But ordering it? Nuh uh. I believe that science should have figured out a way of getting food to you without any form of communication necessary. Why are they dilly dallying with this Higgs boson malarkey when I’m still having to tell an actual person what food I want? Why don’t they know already? Also, why do they want my name in Starbucks? It’s the Illuminati, I tells ya! Alright, I don’t actually believe Starbucks staff are part of an elaborate plot to steal my highly coveted identity, (for one thing, it’s not even lowly coveted) but it does freak me out to have to tell people what I want. I don’t want them to think I’m rude when I correct them, I don’t want them to think that my name is lame or fake, and I don’t want them to spit in my food because I’ve offended their religious beliefs by not wanting a loyalty card. Come on scientists, step it up.

  • Over-Confident Children

Since when did being seven grant you the gall to speak back to your elders? Also, why do you have an iPad?! When I was that age I had a day off school to see the doctor, (being on the brink of death or, as my mother remembers it, a bit sniffly) and I literally shrank down in my seat when I saw secondary school students wander near my mum’s car. I honestly thought that they would attack me. Today, so many children are pretty damn certain of God’s gift-ness, and will let you know about it in their Rihanna-esque attitudes. It scares me, it really does. How does something so small get such an inflated ego? How does someone so young know that a police officer won’t arrest them should they be caught being overly shirty? I don’t understand it and that (just like the knowledge that someone must obviously be buying Justin Bieber’s music) terrifies me.

  • Public Speaking

This seems to be a common one, so I’m feeling pretty normal right now. Standing up in front of a crowd and making words happen is one of those things that can strike the fear of God into someone’s heart, especially since Jesus was pretty swish at it. The last time I had to talk in front of a group, I nearly died. Ok, I didn’t nearly die, but the world went fuzzy and the ground disappeared and my legs became an electric fence. I have no idea what I said, but it was probably a load of nonsense. Plus, imagining your audience naked does NOT work. Have you ever given a talk in front of a colony of nudists? How could you focus when there are all those interesting bits to look at? It might help to imagine that you’re yapping to yourself in the toilet, but then you come out of the daydream and there are a hundred people IN YOUR TOILET. Perhaps the best plan is to not do any public speaking ever. Haven’t these people ever heard of Skype?!

  • Clipboard People

I am walking down the street, happily waving a shopping bag containing more books than I can read in a year, and desperately searching for some vegan cake before I have to eat my best friend’s (non-vegan) arm. Suddenly, from nowhere, a cheery chap with sexy dreads appears. He’s smiling at me. I think I love him. In my mind, we are getting married on a beach. There is a bouncy castle, a pig waddles down the sandy aisle, bearing rings and he’s written his vows in sonnet form. The rose-tinted fog clears and I’m about to embark on a beautiful future with dreadlocked soul mate man when I see it. He has… A clipboard. On one hand, I understand that it is his job to appear friendly and raise funds for worthy causes, but on the other hand, noooooooooooooo. I had everything planned and now I find out that you’re just scamming me with your gorgeousness for charity? Shame on you, no longer future husband of mine. We could have had something special, and now I have to seem REALLY interested in my phone in order to avoid a possible happily ever after, because I already donate to that charity, but if I tell you that, you’ll think I’m stingy or Satan. I hope you’re happy.

  • Making Grown-up Contact with Childhood Bullies

I know, I know, they can’t hurt me anymore, we’re all older and wiser now, blah de blah. You’re speaking gibberish though. In my head, they’re still the same, evil, Satan-spawn that spat in my hair and put gum on my seat. Their words still hurt, because despite the rhyme, actually, words will always bloody hurt you, because they stick in your brain, unlike gum, which can be snipped out of your hair, leaving an impermanent but still mildly scarring bowl haircut. I don’t get how someone so intent on pushing someone over a metaphorical (and possibly physical) ledge could suddenly grow wings and learn to play the harp in the time it takes to bag themselves a job. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I haven’t suddenly discovered the joys of socialising and cigarettes, just because I no longer need to panic that I haven’t done my homework. So every time I see one of the people that made my life hell, I hide. I literally hide. Yeah it’s not cool, but that’s what got me into their bad books in the first place, and as you can tell, I’m into the idea of consistency.

All of these fears can be encapsulated into one scientific-sounding term, which makes me feel as if I can just burrow into a cosy cave, because I have a condition, damn it. That term is ‘social anxiety’. In layman’s terms, people freak me the eff out, and I would be much happier staying in bed and calling in sick on this whole ‘real life’ deal. It’s hard to talk to people and hope that you’re not offending them, or convincing them to hate you, or behaving like you’re high or frisky. Also, who says frisky?! I don’t even say frisky. Well, I guess I do now. But the point of all this isn’t to wallow in my pathetic-ness, but to fix it. Since I haven’t crossed all the way into self-help nut, I’m not planning to toss this list into the fire and do a dance and cry a bit too much on some guy I just met named Paulo, who has a vegan chutney business and a love of hand-woven bracelets. That’s mainly because this is written on a computer though, and not because Paulo doesn’t sound like he’d be good to cry on. If you’re reading this, Paulo… Anyways, yes, self-improvement. I’m going to do things that freak me out. I’m going to talk to strangers, I’m going to phone people, I’m going to order my own houmous, and I’m going to give far too much money to charity, because I need to get the hell over it. People are not demons, (well, some of them probably are) and I need to calm down, go outside and say hello.

Tomorrow.

*yep, I was in the middle of a sentence back there and drifted off to the subject of child accessories, because it’s my blog and I’m fricking Chuck Norris, so I can do what I like**. Look at me deviating from a point as if I actually had a point in the first place. Girls gone wild!!!***

**I’m not actually Chuck Norris. Sorry to disappoint.

***I’m fully clothed, typing quite sedately in an empty room, and possibly a closet compulsive liar…

****The second one is that I am not cut out for the outside world. At all*****

*****I’m going to stop with the asterisks now because, despite them being pretty and everything, I’m even annoying myself.

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JUICE!!!

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So if you’ve been paying attention, (or if I’ve ever even looked you in the eye in real life, because that’s how annoying and fanatical I am) then you will know that I am currently doing a juice fast. Because I am a writer and because I really am obsessed with juice at the moment, I decided to keep a diary of my experiences. The good news is that I didn’t murder anyone, and the great news is that I’m still going strong. The bad news is that there is no bad news. Sucks to be an unrequited pessimist, huh? Anyway, here are my undiluted experiences. Enjoy…

Ok, so it’s day one of my juice fast and I have made a million new mortal enemies. Basically anyone holding food, talking about food, eating food, or with a history of having eaten food. Alright, so I hate everyone in the world. My best friend was talking about soup earlier and I nearly stabbed her to death with a drinking straw. I am psychotic, more so than normal. Well, I say am, I mean was. Right now I’m quite chillaxed. The murderous impulses passed straight after I drank some juice. Yay juice! Stupid juice! But it’s ok, I won’t panic. I have my towel and I planned for this. Today is supposed to be hell and people are supposed to be dead. Wait, no. There’s no death, only peace and love and sweet, sweet murder. On toast. Bring on the Zen…

Day two of my juice fast and I feel like I am on crack. I am bouncing off the walls, falling over, giggly, singing, nonsensical and very, VERY annoying. I’m pretty much an amplified version of myself. Think feeding a five year old a bucket of candy, giving it a few sporks and throwing it on a bouncy castle. That is something you should never do, (unless there’s money in it) and that is me right now. But at least it’s a zillion times better than being tired and cold and ending up in prison for cutlery-related, smell-of-chips-incited murder. So yay for my annoying self! Hopefully I’ll be more bearable tomorrow…

It’s day three of juicy juice-ness, and my mood is a bit meh. I’m sure I would have been fine, verging on bouncy if my boss hadn’t been on his period. Otherwise, I’m energetic, super strong and not tired at all. I am yearning for yesterday’s hyper annoying-ness though, if only to upset my boss. Yeah I’m petty, but life is too short to not annoy annoying people. Maybe that’s my toxins talking though… Yep, totally the toxins. I am sweetness and light and butterflies and baby bums and whatever else normal folk like, but the toxins are toxifying my soul and transforming me into the wicked witch of the west… wait east. West! God! I sound like a fucking psycho. A gold star to whoever gets the reference, because fruit and veg also turn me into a school teacher. More Miss Trunchbull than Miss Honey atm, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings…

It’s day four and I’m my normal self. No juice superpowers today, but I do have the new joy of backache, which, so the internet tells me, is due to toxins sorting their shiz out in my kidneys. I also have butt ache, but that’s less to do with juice and more to do with falling off my unicycle yesterday. I’m less hungry than I have been, but I am LITERALLY salivating for my dinner juice, which will be a homemade V8 juice with garlic. Garlic! Oh, how I have missed my darling garlic. I’ve made my mind up that this is going to be the best juice in the history of the world ever, and if it isn’t, I might die. I probably won’t die, but if I do, my mum will set fire to my juicer, (if she liked me even a teensy bit) so the juicer is very motivated to create delicious acts of yum.

It’s day five and today was a majorly mixed bag. I mean, inside the bag is a wrench, a possum, three magic beans and a love note from a pirate to a whale. You see what I mean? In non-metaphorical terms, I am happy to announce that I woke up super bouncily at 7AM on my day off. Oh yeah, check me out. I was hyper for about six hours before I got tired. Juice number one was during the bounciness, but juice number two was after and perked me up a bit. Then I fell asleep, on the floor, with my face on a book. When I was walking home, people were giving me some intense hate-stares, so I may have just spoilered An Abundance of Katherines for them. Oops. My bad.

It’s day six and I am on top of the world. Literally. Ok, not literally, but I’m in SUCH a good mood that the misuse of the word ‘literally’ doesn’t make me want to go on a killing spree with nothing but an ill-kept hacksaw and a vat of lemon juice. Life is freaking good. Today I am feeling amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this good actually. A friend majorly betrayed my trust today and I was fine. I mean, I’m obviously not cool with it, but it just wandered out of my head, letting in awesome things like novel plots and article ideas. I am so creative at the moment, it’s crazy. Ideas keep invading my brain without knocking and not wiping their shoes on the mat, and I don’t even mind, because they’ve brought delicious, wondrous, amazingtastical and oh so frabjous JUICE!

It’s day seven and OH MY GOSH. Yep, that’s how fan-dabby-dozily-freaking-frabjous I feel. Also, alliteration rules. Life also rules, and juice and sunshine and writing and reading and everything in the world ever. I have completed the conversion into mutant hippy robot. Next step, world domination with a dream catcher and a chunk of rose quartz. Ok, so maybe I haven’t gone that far yet, but life is good. I feel happy and bouncy. My energy seems limitless and ideas are bubbling in my head like I have teensy elves living inside me with dreams of a Costa Book Award, and a cup of tea and a chinwag with my new bestie, Neil Gaiman. In short, juice rules. Do it. Do it or DIE! Only kidding, we’re all gonna die, juicing will just make us glow more whilst doing it. I’ve really sold it to you, haven’t I? Nope? Ah well, more juice for meeeeeeeeeeeeee! 

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Truman Syndrome (Or Reason No. 5,340,265 Why I Should Not Be Allowed Outside)

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Have you ever seen the Truman Show? Obviously you can’t answer me, so I’m going to assume that you’ve either said yes, and all is well and good, or you’ve said no and run off to watch it right away so you can understand this blog post and the odd tangent it already seems to be taking. In both cases, well done, you are awesome, stickers and bubbles and all the balloons for you! Ok, so now we’re up to speed, I can continue…

So because I am mildly delusional and have a tendency of putting a wildly positive spin on things, (which may involve llamas, smiley faces or copious amounts of forever-lasting glitter) I decided a while ago that I have my own TV show and the world is watching me go about my life. I decided this, not because I go on epic quests to deliver magic jewellery to scary places that one does not simply walk into, or because I skydive into laser shark pits whilst wearing a meat costume for shiggles, or even because I got up the duff at ten years old with a nun’s pet panda’s alien dog baby. My life is actually pretty tame; well, apart from that time I defeated Voldemort and that moody dude took all the credit. I decided this because people look at me. A lot.

I recently discovered that this was an actual thing, (epically named Truman Syndrome) and I AM psychologically tarnished, rather than famous. But until I unearthed the evidence of my upset mind, I thought that I was onto something. You see, I might not be Steve Irwin or Batman, but I am talented at something that doesn’t take courage or brains or heart, or anything on Dorothy’s gang’s Christmas list. I am really good at screwing up. Like, if there was a job that required me to do everything wrong, whilst refusing to ask questions and make eye-contact with strangers that I could only speak to in a series of mumbles and shrieks, I would be in, plus tips, bonuses, and a company car that probably wouldn’t work because, hey, twisted irony is my jam.

We want an example, I hear you say. How can you hear us through time and computer space, I hear you say. This is getting silly now, I hear you say. Stop it, I hear you- Ok fine. It just so happened that something deliciously terrible and TV worthy happened to me this afternoon. First you need some backstory, unless you have been watching me on TV all this time. In which case, why are you reading my blog?! Is this like some Big Brother’s Little Brother style stuff? Is Russell Brand leading a celebrity panel? Ohmygosh, I need to see this. Someone drop me a package from the sky or something. If I’m on TV send cake, if not, send me… I don’t know, sprouts or something. Anyways, so I was in Cardiff Comic Con today and had such a wondrous time. Everything was frabjous. The sky was blue, people were lovely, and life was shiny. In short, it was amazingtastical.

So, to the backstory… There’s a gentleman that works in a shop in Cardiff who is super cool, who totally needs to be my friend. I can tell this by his t-shirt collection, his beard, his sarcastic/grumpy/confusingly pleasant manner and also because I just know, alright? Last year I saw him at Comic Con and, being the shy person that I am in life outside the internets, I didn’t speak to him. I was so annoyed at myself because it was the perfect opportunity. We had obviously common interests, I had a better t-shirt than him and good vibes penetrated the air like Nag Champa. It would have been awesome, I’m sure, and we would have lived happily ever after, referring to Benedict Cumberbatch as Bumperstump Cabbagepatch and complaining loudly about the way that the TV series of Game of Thrones veers wildly from the already perfectly perfect in every way books. Alas, I left to buy vegan carrot cake and berate myself.

Today I was reminiscing, as one does when one screws up. And, as I was walking down the street, (in Cardiff, which is a big city, with, Wikipedia tells me, almost 325,000 peeps as of 2001, plus the zillions of awesome folks that rocked up just to meet Hodor. So lots of people, OK? LOTS.) I was reminding my friend of last year’s mistake and saying that if I see him again this year, I have to talk to him, because he’s sooo awesome, and sooo cool, and his t-shirts are AMAZING*. It was very clear who I was talking about. I mentioned his shop name, a brief description and, I’m pretty sure, his hair colour. I am very descriptive alongside the gushy, an extra talent there. Anyway, in real life, where I was, today, I turned around mid-fan-girl-gasm and… HE WAS BEHIND ME.

I died. I am dead now. I am speaking to you from beyond the grave in order to explain the dangers of being a freaking social train wreck. It’s bad guys, don’t do it, just don’t. The high is not worth the sudden death when the ground falls away and, look, there’s Australia, and you’ve been beaten to death by a kangaroo, because even they think you’re a massive loser. If you’re expecting a neatly bundled story with a beginning, middle and end that has me waking up because it’s all been a dream, you’ve come to the wrong place. I specialise in randomness, confusing moral overtones and self-flagellation. I’m still pretty sure that I’m famous, and if not, I totally should be, because my life is pure comedy. Also, if you’re Jerry Springer give me a call because I’m not sure that this alien dog baby is mine… Dun, dun, duuuuuuuuun!

 

*General fawning fan-girlery. Imagine this guy is Jason Momoa. A ginger Jason Momoa with a collection of geek shirts that would make Sheldon Cooper lick his (probably Converse) shoes. Uh huh.

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