Category Archives: Observation

Memory Loss

My memory is going.

I already have gaps from my childhood; years and years where I can’t remember a damn thing. I’ve been told what happened, and as the brain is a fantastic thing, I’ve pieced together memories based on vague ideas. Other people have such great tales of mischief from their formative years. I have memories of crying in toilets, feeling hurt, and being rejected and ousted by my peers. Of course good things happened. The events surrounding my first crush taught me about friendship, relationships and teenage boys. The moments of painful self-awareness contrasted with extreme arrogance taught me how to control my inner (and not-so-inner!) idiot and gave me a way to avoid being a victim of those traits in others. I don’t have any moments of daring or extreme excitement. All of my happiest memories, or what’s left of them, are tinged with anxiety and tension as I recall the lies, the bullying and the intensity of the feelings behind them.

That scares me. It scares me that I’ve forgotten growing up. Even the things that I thought would stay with me forever have faded into mere flashes.

The memory loss is getting worse. I put things down and can’t remember where I put them (my glasses, keys and the kids’ sippy cups often falling foul of this). I can’t remember events, both upcoming and already passed. I can’t remember whether something happened this morning, last night, last week or last year. My perception of the passage of time has become both minutely compressed and impossibly stretched.

I’m not sure whether this is another symptom of the anxiety and depression or whatever it is, or a side-effect of packing my days full of nappies and kids and breastfeeding and cuddling and playing and shouting and chatting and working to the point where my mind feels it’s an inefficient waste of time to switch off to sleep. 

Super sensitive

Since I’ve accepted myself as abnormal (or perhaps I am the normal one and they are all strange!) I have become a lot more sensitive to criticism. Overly sensitive perhaps?

I have always had an abundance of background paranoia caused by years of actually being the one they talked about, and this is spreading.  It’s infecting my guilt, making me question what I did to deserve such treatment.

In my world, there is no such thing as the bitchiness of others. If I am in receipt of a sour remark, this is because I have already earnt it. Bought and paid for, as you might say.

I volunteered my services recently, and perhaps the fault lies in the way they were reluctantly volunteered. Or by my precious fuck ups. Either way, I was told this person would pay someone else. As an aside, I said they could pay me, knowing that I would never charge this person. Especially not for what they wanted done, as it’s a small job and one I can teach them in minutes. I would have hoped they realised this.

They didn’t.

A response appeared with an emphasis on the negation of any charge, worded in a manner which, in the toneless world of the Internet, felt pointed and jagged.

Now I sit lost and chastising myself for even thinking anyone would want me to help. Thoughts are battering themselves against my skull and I’m doubting myself, the things I worked for and my family.

There are no such things as bitchy comments in my world.

All fault lies here.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad

This first line in This Be The Verse, a famous poem by Philip Larkin.

An ex boyfriend of mine exposed me to this work after a discussion about having children. Those were the heady days when I didn’t have any intention of having children. They were the days when I thought I couldn’t have children and I’d accepted this as fact.

That wasn’t the case and now I have three. Three lovely horrors I get to fuck up in new and interesting ways. Three cute monsters who are already showing symptoms of my issues.

It’s terrifying.

I grew up thinking that it was my parents’ divorce which had made me the stupid, pathetic shell I was during my childhood. I was the kid always willing to lie down and play the victim. I was that snotty kid crying in the corner. That one they all hated. The easy target.

I’m bitter about the waste. I wasted what should have been the best years of my life by burdening myself with everything. I missed out on so much because I was sensitive and ashamed of myself.

I thought it was a combined effort, until I heard myself repeating things I’d heard growing up. Things that I realised had cut me. These words my mum spoke were dangerous knives, and I caught myself saying them to my daughter.

I don’t like people saying horrible things about Mum. She did the best she could for us. It was hard for her so when I think about the things that hurt me, I think about what I did to deserve them.

There are moments when I was horrible to everyone. Mum won’t let me forget them. The shame wants me to forget, but I can’t. It’s not her fault, though, it’s all mine.

Isn’t it?

And me saying those things to L?

That’s my fault too.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

Unclean!

I am not a tidy person. There, I said it. I’m not. I have things. Lots of things. Things I’m emotionally attached to, things I can’t live without.

Things I think I can make money with but will never leave the house.

This is my reality.

I live in a house which is covered in kids crap. I’m fine with that.  I really am.

Funnily enough, the toys are the only things which have homes. Every toy (until tomorrow!) can be put in a drawer or box or pile and peace can be restored.

It’s all the other crap.

The clothes, the towels, the bedding, the tatt. It is everywhere.

I was hoping to get a new wardrobe. A wardrobe of beauty. One which can hide most of my sins.

Then we got skint.

So now we have half our clothes in the loft, some in crates in our room, most in the laundry –

The tumble drier eeked out its death throes this morning, leaving the house smelling like burning rubber, my ears slightly sore and a large load of washing which I will struggle to dry.

I’m disgusted by the accumulation of shit. I’m grossed out by the Cheerios everywhere.

I know there are hairy spiders lurking under piles of crud.

There’s a three foot mountain of stuff by the cot.

I’m so desperately depressed about it.

It all feels a bit much.

Out

We went out today, Ru and I. We went out.

He was crying and crying, and I just needed some space, some air, so I put him in the pushchair and we went out.

No one messes with me when we go out.  No one. Because I look like a mental person. I mean, I am a mental person – or rather, I’m a person who has mental … mental things – but I look like one now.  Actually fucking look like it. My hair is lank, and falls round my face. Not framing it nicely. Oh no. Just kinda hangs there like the creature from that film The Grudge. It’s clean though my hair, I washed it for the second time this week, so it’s clean.

My eyes are sunken and engulfed by black bags and a stupid sadness which is leaking from I don’t know where.

My skin is awful, breaking out in scabs like I have some kind of infectious disease spreading across my chin, eating my face. Maybe I’ll turn into one big scab.

I don’t bother with nice clothes any more. I have a Muse T-shirt on. From a tour about seven years ago. It has baby sick on the sleeve but it covers my stick figure, hides the sins beneath, so it works.

The tracksuit bottoms I’m wearing, complete with al ittle stain of yellow poo, should go in the wash, or be burned. I would say they are the source of the smell which has been following me around for a few days.

Even the fucking crazies look at me like I’m crazy, whispering behind their hands.

No one messes with me.

The crazy is spreading.  Ru has it. I’m giving it to him in little doses. Maybe that shit travels in breastmilk. He’s wearing a grow that belonged to L. It still has banana stains down the front. Banana never fucking washes out, does it? You ask any parent. Banana stains and Weetabix – that’s what they need to start using to build houses. We’d survive everything if they did that.

The grow is red, and he is grumpy.

No one messes with us.

We went to the pond. Through the estate and down to the duck pond on the edge of the surrounding woodland.

Today there were ducks. Actual ducks floating on the putrid green water. I watched them for a bit with Ru.  He looked grumpy.

No upturned shopping trolley today.  No carrier bags drifting around, mouthes open ready to ingest an unsuspecting moorhen.  Just ducks.

We came back via one if the pathes  which cut through the closes, every second I checked behind us, wondering exactly how quickly I could run wearing flip-flops and pushing a pushchair.

Not very. I don’t think I would run very fast at all.

We got to the shops alive, and I spent a good ten minutes choosing a drink. Coke, Ribena, Lucozade, all twenty-three pence per 100ml. That’s a lot. Expensive.

Too expensive for me. Gotta count the pennies, pay for childcare.  Gotta save up.

Ah, water.

I choose water.

At the till, I’m served by the only looney, and even she eyed  me carefully like I’m some kind of rabid creature. I told her I needed electricity.

‘We were just wondering how old your little girl is.’ She said, looking at me with one eye, the other pointing off to the left.

‘Boy actually.’ I corrected her. It’s rude, isn’t it, to correct someone like that, but I’m crazy. Crazies can do what we like.

She looked embarrased and I pretended I didn’t notice her flushed cheeks.

‘He’s eighteen weeks.’ I removed my card from the machine without paying and it beeps angrily at me.

The girl next to me looked at me with sorrow and pity.

‘My youngest, she’s seven months and she’s half his size.’ She said, like it’s some kind of thing to have a little baby.

Like he’s some kind of transvestite giant baby and I’m to be pitied because I’m there in my mismatched clothes. I suppose she thought I hadn’t done it before.  I didn’t know what to expect, obviously, being stood there with just one child.

Just one child who looks fucking grumpy.

‘Yeah thanks.’ I smiled at her anyway.

She doesn’t know.

I left the shop and gulped back water like there’s no tomorrow.

Time to take my crazy home.

(Disclaimer: This is a brain-dump, semi-fictional account of what happened.)

Health Visitor

Today a health visitor came to see me after concerns were raised about my mental health at a routine appointment.

I’m sure I feel fine.

I’m exhausted as last night was a bad night for Ru and talking about certain subjects always makes me upset but is my mood that low?

She pulled out the questionnaire I know so well and I did it while she took Ru out in the sun because he was crying uncontrollably (again, thanks boy.)

Twelve. I scored twelve. So yes, I’m in the not good place, apparently. Weird thing is, I don’t really feel any different. I’ve felt pretty consistently like this for years so I’m not sure that there is anything that can be done to “fix” me.

More terrifyingly though, I disclosed my pain about not feeling like a proper parent and the torture I put myself through every time I’m out with my older children. Then followed that with the wallop of guilt I get when I’m not looking after them but not doing much else (like now).

The only way to “fix” that is to go out more with them and take time to get to know them.

Is this more pressure I need to put on myself to try and be the parent I want to be?

*Ticks yes to having ALL OF THE ANXIETY*

Run to your man!

I am a woman.

I am a strong woman.

I am a mother, partner, a female role model.

I work in the male dominated world of IT.

So when it’s suggested that there are things about the house that women need to be given confidence to do I get a little irritated.

When you live with someone, you do fall into roles, especially if one of you is the designated Stay At Home parent. Even if you don’t have that though, like us, you still have your jobs. A little list that each of you do to keep the house ticking over.

And if one partner leaves or is unavailable, then it can be daunting to have to take over their jobs.

But is there a question of gender division here? Should there be?

Neither my partner nor I can put up a shelf, and we’ll both have a crack at the Ikea flat packs before deciding it’s better if I take the kids away before the hammer gets a bit excited.

He gets all the exciting jobs looking after the neighbours computers because I was wise enough to plead ignorance when they asked why we have a large collection of machines (mostly mine!).

The cars are a bit of a difficult one. More often than not, he’ll sort them out, but I’m perfectly capable of phoning the garage myself. I’m also not bad at making a judgment as to where the issue is.  I spent three years helping an ex nurse his Jaguar back to health so know a bit about how a car works and what kind of sounds they make when they’re broken.

You see, these are things that anyone of any gender can do. We shouldn’t need encouragement.

We, as women, should definitely not be hearing, seeing, or ingesting the words “run to a man!”

We can and will do anything we need to in order to get by, men or not.