thetillyvanilly

Awkward things.

Business Plan

hire man

I’m thinking of a new business venture. Basically you hire a man, but not like that, nothing untoward, don’t worry.

You hire a man, and he brings you chocolate and whispers the sweetest of nothings in your ear. This man will tell you how beautiful you are, how funny, how clever. He will plan surprise picnics, buy you books and take you to the theatre. He will leave you love notes to find around the house. He will hold your hand. He will cuddle in bed and watch trash TV. He will love America’s Next Top Model as much as you do, and The Great British Bake Off, and snort Pepsi out of his nose at Gogglebox. You will secretly worry that he’s developed strong feelings for Joey Essex, but you will understand.

He will roll his eyes every time you mention that girl who clearly hates you. He will point out the fact that she owns a pair of Crocs, and how that means that she obviously has no taste in anything. He will have every quality that you loved in your exes and none of the downsides. He will be punctual, kind, generous and easy-going, but just jealous enough to make you feel like he cares. He will be funny but have a deep hatred of puns. He will kidnap you for spontaneous trips to the beach, avec vintage picnic basket and cosy blanket. He will understand the importance of ambience and stash a supply of candles in his car. He will have a car and he will drive said car like a sensible human being who has no wish to die imminently.

He will not be overly neat, but he will know what a shower is and use it frequently. His hobbies will include chopping up firewood, reading Shakespeare and listening to you complain whilst soothing you with bubble baths and all the wine. He will have hair that straddles the line between Nazi skinhead and deadbeat hippy. He will have an obvious stomach because he appreciates food. He will cook with enthusiasm and clean up the inevitable mess. He will want to feed you and he will love your body, every last bulge and wobble of it. He will stroke you and grab you and tell you which bit of skin is his favourite. He will constantly change his mind about that.

He will not get angry or back you into corners. He will not point out your flaws. He will not smirk when he realises he’s upset you. He will not belittle your hobbies or complain about your friends. He will not shut you in or break you down. He will not demand more than you can give him. He will be content to be with you and only you. He will see your broken parts and will work with you to glue them back together, but only if you want to. He will know that even though you’re broken, you’re whole. He will want you as you are, because that is good enough.

Basically you hire a man. There is no searching, no waiting, no wanting, no hurting. There are no broken hearts or black eyes, no what-ifs or if-onlys. There is no by-the-time-I’m-thirty, no settling, no panic. There is no body clock, no soul-mate, no fairy-tale. There are no crushes, no affairs, no divorces. There is only supply and demand, to love and be loved in return. For a fee.

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7 Things I’d Rather be Doing than Work

soul

For those of you who don’t know me, I have been working a lot this week. Well, this fortnight. We’re talking nine days in a row of being in charge of stuff that I don’t particularly care about, but it would be inconvenient to get fired from. The sort of job that makes you feel like an under-appreciated genius. The sort of job that makes you want to scream and cry and punch pillows until they scream and cry. Possibly a bit like your job. If so, I feel your pain. Maybe we should hang out and complain and self-destruct and down drinks that stink of nail varnish remover and give our pillows a rest.

For those of you that do know me, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it. I’m under a lot of pressure right now. Also I plead unconditional friendship, which means that I get to smear snot on your shoulder and whine about a million things that you care about even less than I do. So ha.

Anyway, whilst muttering under my breath*, I decided to list the myriad things I’d rather be doing than my job right now. I came up with five hundred and forty-four things, but decided to stop at seven, because I’m nice like that. Also I will have to go to work again. &%UYRBKI@L)K^&%^T!!!**

So here are my seven other choices, and if anyone is offering these activities with payment, hit me up. Seriously. Anybody?

  • Being Asked What I’ve Been Up To.

This is a major pet peeve of mine. People will only ask me what I’ve been up to under the following circumstances: If I have done nothing but binge watch Sherlock in my pyjamas all weekend whilst downing multipacks of crisps, in which case, I don’t want to incriminate myself; if my brain has decided to vacate its premises for the day, in which case I’m too busy figuring out how to breathe to list my activities; or if the person asking the question has done something stupidly incredible over the weekend, like skydiving with baby tigers, whilst teaching African children English and winning the lottery and giving all the money to a circus full of disabled orphans, which they helped to set up in the first place, since they have the ability to juggle twenty copies of Ulysses and unicycle to France at the same time, whilst showing off their bikini body and eating five cinnamon-maple-pecan-pumpkin cronuts. From the moon. Somehow. Gosh, I hate those people.

  • Drowning.

Ok, not actually, totally one hundred percent drowning. But drowning a little bit. Enough to get me wet and panicked and breathless. Enough to encourage some sort of life-saving, red-short situation. Not sea water though, pool water is traumatic enough. And the life guard needs to be bearded. And he needs to have a really deep, soothing voice to woo me back to consciousness with. And if he wears Davidoff Cool Water man perfume, that would also be helpful. In the resuscitation part, I mean. And I need to be approximately fifty-six pounds lighter, with black hair and blue eyes and a pre-existing relationship with my rescuer. I’m thinking unrequited love. I’m thinking the Maldives. I’m thinking Michael Fassbender and Megan Fox. I’m thinking an Oscar-winning will-they-won’t-they tropical drama, with a twist. I’m thinking maybe I got a bit distracted…

  • Getting a Smear Test.

Now, I don’t know about you, but personally I cannot think of anything more fun than having a stranger fiddle around with my lady garden. I don’t know whether it’s the fact that I don’t know them that makes it such a wonderful experience, or maybe it’s the fact that they’re sticking a cold, metal instrument inside my body. Perhaps it’s the fact that by having the test in the first place, I am that much closer to receiving terrible news. Whatever the reason, there is nothing more enjoyable than a smear test. After all, you can’t spell fun without vagina. Oh wait… Nope. That was all sarcasm and I forgot my sign. And can someone please explain to me why they don’t hire attractive men to carry out the test? Surely it’s our basic human right. I have to pay for sanitary products, so I deserve to have Benedict Cumberbatch probing my cave of wonders. I pay my taxes, damn it.

  • Making Awkward Small Talk With an Ex-Boyfriend (and his New Girlfriend, Kelly Brook).

How I hate the fact that my exes continue to exist after I’m done dating them. All right, this isn’t strictly true, since I’ve stayed friends with a few of them. But the other ones, why don’t they just stop it already? Why are they even here? Who invited them? It’s bad enough seeing them in the street, (unless they got a really bad haircut, took some terrible style advice,***** and get struck by lightning at the moment you deign to give them a single glance) but having to actually stop and behave as if you still care about their mother from hell or their educational advancements is too much to handle. And then, THEN they rock up to the party with a super babe on their arm, and of course they’re intent on rubbing it (read: her bigger boobs) in your face, which you totally don’t blame them for, because you’ve been planning on introducing them to your boyfriend, Vin Diesel, for weeks. But then Vin was busy saving the world or something, and now not only do you hate everyone in the world, ever, you’ve also figured out that by the time you can afford a boob job, you’ll need the money for a face to match. Great.

  • Having an Ethical Debate.

Ok, if you’re reading this and you happen to be Christian or Muslim, vegan or vegetarian, tee-total or peace, love and all the drugs, pro-life or pro-choice, (basically if you happen to be a living, breathing, thinking human being) then you will know this feeling. You’re chatting along to someone, usually a stranger, usually someone you’re trying to impress, and it comes up; the dreaded subject. And then you get the look. And then the questions. “So do you believe in dinosaurs? Where do you get your protein? What do you DO?! But what if-“ Stop it. Just stop it, please. Can’t we just go back to me pretending to like the same music as you, and you studiously ignoring my weirdness? We were friends five minutes ago and now we want to murder each other before we both go insane. Literally. And would someone please show me this desert island with this one freaking bunny, because I’m sure he’s very lonely and would like to be rescued. Thanks.

  • Doing Someone Else’s Job.

Is it just me, or is everyone else’s job better than mine? I find myself fantasising about trash collection and wading through sewers on a regular basis. How awesome would it be to just turn up to work, lug around/swim through/mop up/whatever some smelly stuff and then go home to bathe, put on pjs and watch daytime TV? Ok, besides the bad TV that sounds like living the dream to me. Or answering telephones and stapling things. I could do that. I have so many unutilized skills in my repertoire, that maybe it’s time for a change. I could unintentionally set fire to things. I could spill things in a really impressive fashion. I could insult people accidentally. I could fall up stairs. I could cook far too much food for one person and proceed to cover every surface available with it, as if my brain is trying to undo my massive portions. Here chair, have some stir fry! Oh, priceless first edition, you look famished, try this Spaghetti Bolognese! Actually it’s a wonder that I even have a job at all…

  • Chatting to Someone Whose Relative has Died.

Death. There’s nothing  like it to scramble up every thought in your head and make you cross the street. We all die, we know we will, but being reminded of it sucks so hard that we tend to avoid it at all costs. It’s like a survival mechanism, except it doesn’t guarantee your survival and turns you into the worst person in the world, ever. I never know what to say. No-one knows what to say. What do you say? “They’re dead, that’s sad. I didn’t actually know them, but now I’m contemplating my own mortality. Boy is that depressing, so thanks a lot for that. There there.” And don’t even get me started on “I’m sorry”. Why are you sorry? Are you a murderer? Did you murder him? Should I be phoning the police right now? Because I totally will. I am in shock and grief and all the feelings, so don’t screw around with me, or I swear to God… That’s how the conversations usually go. Much better than work.

So if anyone fancies paying me to do anything other than what I get paid to do already, that would be lovely, thank you. Please be advised that if it is disgusting, degrading or dehumanising, Michael Fassbender must be on hand, for reasons.

 

 

*Actually, the muttering has evolved to fits of curse-riddled shrieking

**This is what happens when my face hits the keyboard. Although I added the exclamation marks, because this situation really calls for them… !!!***

***Adding exclamation marks may, in fact, be more soothing than smacking pillows until their puffy, white guts burst out!!!!!****

****Ok, this has gone too far now. I do apologise.

*****Crocs with socks. Yep.

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Time for Change…

change

I’m flailing around a bit right now, looking for something, anything, to hold onto. And all the while, like the contrary girl I am, I’m pushing everything away, my sanity, my health, my career, everything. So I’ve decided to write a list of things that I’m screwing up on, and how I intend to fix them, if only to wave a flag of good intentions and win a few Brownie points to cash in. Here we go…

Attitude

How I am right now:

This is the biggie. I am generally an annoyingly cheerful person. I’m talking bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun- Please stop it now, before I change my stance on pacifism. I am an expert on upsides, the sort of person who will drop an anvil on her big toe and cheerily trill ‘oh sugar’, when anyone owning a single bone marked ‘normal’ would make full use of every swear word they’ve ever been taught, even the French ones. But when I fall in the misery swamp, I fall right down to the bottom, and everything is a problem. I hate everything and everyone, everything is pointless, nothing is right, and I just want to lie in bed and complain about things.

What I’m doing about it:

I am challenging myself to think of five positives for every negative. For example, if the anvil were to decide that it hadn’t done enough damage, and go for my other toe, I might complain about the fact that my toe f%$*&@g hurts, but then, being forced to find the upsides, I would realise that the anvil missed my skull twice, (which is lucky!) I hadn’t painted my toenails, so there was no chipping involved, I now have a lawsuit on my hands with the anvil-carrying company, which could lead to a swimming pool and better anvil-transportation laws, it could have been something worse than an anvil, for example, a poisonous, radioactive, laser shark, and the anvil is a lovely shade of grey, which is nice. I feel awesome already, and I didn’t even have to have an anvil incident!

Money

How I am right now:

Ugh. When I am sad, I decide that buying everything in the world is the answer. I am especially drawn to fluffy things, sparkly things, things intended for children under the age of five, things that will never fit me, things that I would never wear, even if I was a hooker with the self-esteem of Charlie Sheen, notebooks, (I have approximately two hundred already) books, (this is reasonable – there is no such thing as enough books) and anything that costs my entire pay cheque becomes ridonculously tempting. Basically this is me:

shut up

And that’s bad and it needs to stop. Mainly because I’m spending all my book money on lucky cats and bread machines.

What I’m doing about it:

Not spending money basically, which is harder than it sounds. Like way harder. It’s like that thing when heroin addicts can avoid heroin, alcoholics can avoid alcohol, and fat people and spenders are screwed. I’m screwed. I still have to buy food, (more on this later) and I still have to buy essential things, (like batteries and an ancient, battered collection of Shakespeare. Illustrated. Like I said, essential) and I still have to browse Etsy for a few hours a day, just in case I see something that I fall in love with, so I can cry into my pillow and complain about the world shortage of rich, eligible bachelors. But it’s getting easier. I just have to remember the difference between want and need, and essential and non-essential. For example, I WANT a cushion with Benedict Cumberbatch’s face on it, so I can stare lovingly into his eyes before I fall asleep and- Nope, bad example. I kind of do actually need that…

Food

How I am right now:

Ah food, you delicious, delicious bastard. How you taunt me with your seeping sauces and your gooey middles and your melt on the mouth-ness. But I know what you’re doing. Oh yes, I’m onto you. I see the pounds creeping on, like blubbery ninjas, sneaking in through my nostrils while I sleep and hanging out on my hips, especially my right one for some reason. I notice my jeans getting tighter and the mirror being meaner and everything going blurry every time I try on clothes in a changing room. But the joke’s on you, food, because I am embarking on another diet, and I will lose weight, (only to put it all back on again) so ha. That’ll teach you.

What I’m doing about it:

It’s getting boring now. Losing weight, gaining weight, and losing weight again. It’s like a never ending merry-go-round of compliments and odd looks and new clothes and old clothes, of fat days and skirt days and taking photos and taking down anyone in a thirty mile radius with a camera. It’s tedious and it’s tiring and it sucks. Eating right and exercising is like the Holy Grail to someone like me, but where the hell is it? And how and why and all the questions. You exercise and it transforms you into a ravenous eating machine. You eat healthily and can barely move, such is the energy licked from carrot sticks and lettuce wraps. I’m being facetious, I know. I’m being pig-headed and awkward and wilfully ignorant and basically doing everything I can to eat cake and shrug and say that diets don’t work for me. Well they do, and it starts, like always, tomorrow.

Pepsi

How I am right now:

The fact that it’s Pepsi and not Coke says a lot. For those of you in the know, I used to have a hardcore Coke problem. We’re talking the carbonated beverage, not the white powder.  I was easily glugging three litres of the stuff a day. It was bad. Then I kicked the habit, was very proud of myself, and wrote a blog about it. Everything was wonderful… Until I got sad again. Now, because I am me, and sometimes I think I’m smarter than I actually I am, in the grip of my depression I decided to poison my body from the inside, and I needed some heavy duty stuff. But because I’d kicked Coke, I couldn’t go back. Oh no. I was going to reach for something that didn’t have the power to reel me in, something that I could put down as easily as I picked it up. I went for the Daria to my Quinn, the sister that Coke wouldn’t be seen dead with. I chose Pepsi. And I got hooked. Because brown liquid chemicals are brown liquid chemicals, and labels are lies.

What I’m doing about it:

Drinking all the Pepsi in the world ever. Because maybe Pepsi and Coke aren’t that different, and this time I’m not talking about the drink. I don’t know. I will quit. I can quit. I just… Now isn’t the right time for me. I mean, I’ve got all these excuses ready, and it wouldn’t be right not to use them. Ok, ok. I will quit, and soon. Just, let me deal with the other stuff first, yeah? For now I’m going to savour the taste of aspartame and make a list of upsides.

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Pep Talk

justkeepswimming

Stop it. Stop feeling crappy right now. Do you know how awesome you are? How funny and smart and special? There isn’t a single person in the world like you. And I know that sometimes that might not feel like a blessing, when you’re getting on your own nerves again, when you’re stuffing the entire contents of your fridge between your already greasy lips and you have no idea why, but you are not that moment.

You are not the way that your jeans feel tight, or the way that you cried when he said what he said. You are not the score on that test, or that job rejection or the feeling that dragged you almost through the gutter when those guys shouted those words across the street. You aren’t the books you haven’t read, or the people you don’t know, or the places you haven’t been. You aren’t too old or too fat or too boring. You aren’t anything that anyone thinks is bad.

I know that times are tough, and I know that nothing seems to cover the hurt that won’t stop bleeding. I know that you’re reading this through narrowed eyes, thinking it’s all stupid and what do I know anyway? I don’t know you. Even if I do know you, I don’t know you, know you. I can’t imagine all the ways you stab yourself in the brain, the words you scream with every step you take, every breath you breath, every second of eye contact you don’t make, because you’re this or you’re that or whatever.

But I know what I do to myself, and I know that it has to stop. Right now.

Every second is another tick on a chart, another tick of the clock away from who you were, who you don’t want to be, who you’re running from. You’re not her. You’re not him. You’re not your past. Right now is all you can control, and as long as you’re moving, you’re doing. You should be proud. Every day that you haul yourself out of bed is another success. Every time you get dressed, you’re pushing through the sludge and out the other side. Every time you smile, you’re beating your demons with a baseball bat. You’re a hero.

So don’t feel bad for the weight that you’ve gained, or the Facebook pages you’ve stalked, or the catty comments you made when her back was turned. That’s gone. Done. Over. Unless you’ve got a time machine, you’re not going to change it, and if you have a time machine, what are you doing reading this article? Go back and stop them cancelling Clarissa Explains it All. The world needs you.

To anyone who isn’t saving society from a lack of thrift shop clothes and ladders banging against windows, to you I say just keep swimming. It’s a long road, but there’s a lot of cool stuff that you’ll find in the laybys, and down dirt tracks and in the woods when you’re searching for somewhere to pee. There will be blurred parties and autumn days hiding under the covers from the sun, sipping hot chocolate and scalding pyjama-clad legs. There will be eyelid kisses and snow angels and water fights. There will be DVD marathons and park benches and sand-covered sandwiches and not enough time in the sea. There will be life, sucked up through your nostrils and drunk down by your eyes and it’ll just keep flooding in. There is no time to give up and go home, because the world will keep spinning.

You’re still in it, so keep living, and don’t worry, because there isn’t enough time for that.

You are who you are now, and that’s good enough.

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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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