Monthly Archives: January 2012

Lie back on the couch and tell me about yourself

It did help.  It always helps and I don’t know why I doubt it every time.  Writing does soothe the soul and smooth the brainwaves in my case and every time I write more I feel a little freer.  But then I get out of the habit, I put up obstacles and somehow it gets put to the back of the queue.

Reminder to self; stop doing this!

 

Let’s see how I get on from here.

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Supressed

I’m grumpy and fed up today.  I don’t think it’s anything specific just a lot of stuff all wrapped together.  So, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to reduce this is to address each issue one by one to find out what the problem is, whether I can resolve it and if so what can be done.  Here we go:

  1. I don’t really want to go home and I’ve got to the point in my convalescence where I can think about that now as a proper possibility in the not too distant future.  Unfortunately, instead of appearing as a milestone I will have reached, it is looming as a pinnacle of everything I don’t want to return to.  The job, the house, the situation of money, life and everything…
  2. I still feel like I’m skiving and I have the physio and doctors in the next ten days and I just feel like they’re going to be wondering why the hell I’m still lounging around on my arse and not back at work as I’m obviously perfectly capable.  Yes I know this is probably not what they’re thinking when I’m being rational but I’m not rational.  I’m paranoid about it.
  3. I don’t want visitors!  I have created this comfortable cocooning routine that doesn’t include anyone else except my parents and the dog and I am truly loathed to let anyone else in to ruin it.  Also there is no-one right now that I want to see who won’t bring alone news of the ‘home’ I don’t want to return to and the people there I just don’t want to see.  I know I don’t have to go anywhere or see anything but at some point this will not be the case and then I worry that the longer I postpone it, the tighter my cocoon will become and the worse it will be when the time comes to breaking it open.
  4. Money and housing worries as July is creeping up and by that point I should have either procured a house or come up with some excellent reasons as to why I want to throw good money after bad in the renting market yet again and all the entailing shit this brings with it.  Such as who will be paying for what…?  Oh if only life were that simple!
  5. I don’t know how my back is doing as I have not been doing a normal day’s activities so I have no idea if my back will hurt as much as it did, whether it can stand up more or less to normal workloads and whether I am doing more damage to it by not doing as much as I used by even a fraction of the amount.  I know I can’t go round lifting, bending and twisting as I did because that would be stupid but I don’t walk about all day as I used to and is that counterproductive or is it just what the doctor ordered.  Which brings me on to…
  6. Medication being as it is, if the doctor reduces it this time and I can cope a lower level then point 2. feels even more significant, however if I can’t cope with a lower level I will feel as if the whole operation has been for nothing as I’m still not able to live without the pain killers.

 

Basically, today feels like it’s been a bit of a write off.  Time to stop wallowing and start finding solution!  And yet I can’t manage the desire to find solutions when I’m feeling like this which is a conundrum for another day I feel.

 

Fuck it; I’m going to sleep.


Time after time after time after time

Slipping through my fingers and I barely notice.

 

What else can I say; I’ve been busy!

 

Catching up later on today though…


Guilty sub-conscience

It’s been three weeks and one day now since I had my operation and I’m starting to move more, manage more and feel better.  The physio yesterday told me to continue with the exercises I’ve been given and to come back when it had been six or seven weeks for progression exercises.  I’m even being allowed by my mum to bend down!  These are all excellent signs and coupled with the fact that the wound has healed well, with no infection, supple skin with the regular application of E45 and little pain, overall it seems to have been a rip-roaring success.

Except for me.

I seem to be in some kind of withdrawal spiral whereby I feel guilty for recovering and yet pleased to be doing so well therefore striving to keep up my recovery which only embellishes the guilt I feel about my recovery.  Daft, you must cry; why on earth would I feel guilty about recovering?  But I do and the only way I have worked out to deal with feelings such as this is separate them into their basest format and deal with things one problem at a time.

 

Work:

I am doing little at the moment but eating, walking and sitting using my computer.  The nurse in the hospital told us that some people go back to work after as little as three weeks just as the physio said it would be two to three months.  To which of these comments does my subconscious cling to; obviously the milestone I have just passed.  This is compounded by the fact that I hate my work.  Not just dislike it as I thought I did but having time away and the opportunity to take a good, hard look at my life has brought to the forefront how much I loathe my job and everything surrounding it.

This has been exacerbated by the announcement from my boss the week before I was off over Christmas for my operation that HR in all their wisdom has finally decided to allocate full time positions to the two temps who have been working with us for a time for little reward.  However having opened up the jobs as brand new roles they have evaluated the work roles, found them to be unique and demanding and therefore on an identical pay level as me.  I am in charge of their work; I instruct them both in their job roles, take the blame for their failures and get none of the praise when they perform well. The only consolation in the whole thing I could tell myself was that at least I was getting paid for my work and now I find out that in fact I have been getting the salary of someone who could have been doing my job without any of the extra responsibility, without the extra stress and without the additional weight of my boss leaning on me because I was only an assistant.  Instead I have spent the last three years at possibly the wrong salary and as I have been notified with a week to go before I am off for an extended period the only thing I could do about it was write a list of additional activities I do over and above the boys’ job description, hand them to Maya (the boss) and hope she passes them onto HR for consideration of a pay rise.  If I return to work to discover nothing has been done, not only will I be totally unsurprised, I will also be leaving as I will not be staying to work somewhere at the same level as those two.

I suppose I could contest it and go to my union and shout and scream and everyone available but in the end, I want to leave anyway and all the screaming in the world at HR will only result in a hoarse voice and a supercilious smile as they slime under the blame and palm it off on another section of the working machine.  If I’m truly unlucky, as I seem to be, then it may even be me!

 

Time Off:

Technically this also comes under work and was touched on briefly in the first of the paragraphs above but because of the amount this weights on my mind I decided it deserves an anxiety section all of its own.

The amount of time I have had off so far is three weeks and my surgeon felt it would fine for me to return to work with 3-6 weeks as well.  Now as I have blogged previously, I believe pain is very subjective and as such my next statement has no significance beyond my own meandering experience through twenty nine years of being, well… me!

I am not a wimp and I do not shy away from work through a little tiredness, stress, pain or any other reason and mostly if they do cause a problem I keep this very much to myself.  I know people who are louder than me about every aspect of their distress, whether a bout of man flu or the splitting of their longest fingernail, as well as taking days off for lesser things than I have such as a hangover, cleverly disguised a migraine.  I also know those who would not take off even if they’d lost an arm in a car accident that morning.  Instead declaring ‘I can type as fast with one’, they would continue their work at twice the pace and only when the blood loss began to cause an issue would they submit to medical intervention were it left up to them.  However due to the medical information telling me such different information I start to worry that at some point I may be well enough for work and yet not feel able to go back, not because of my physical health, but instead because I don’t want to.  When I asked the doctor for my fitness to work certificate he asked me how long I wanted to be off for.  I stammered a little and said ‘February?’ as a suggestion.  He wrote 29/02/2012 on the certificate, handed it to me and told me to come back if I needed anything.

I effectively just decided my own recovery time.  Oh, yes it’s been signed by a health professional who is well aware of my operation and the fact that he signed it when I had been recovering for just under two weeks, but still…  And it is this point that worries me and leaves me with a stone of guilt lying flat and cold inside my stomach, shifting with every swallow, every motion, every twinge.  The feeling that I’m doing the very thing that disgusts me in other people; trading off my illness against the desire to be pitied.

I will not become that person.

 

Jobs:

Oh yes, it’s another related worry but again one that I think deserves its own title and paragraph.  Even before I know I was going to need a fair amount of time off work due to the issues with my back, I was already thinking about the fact I hated my job and it was about time I did something about that.  Now if I have up to three months off work, it means I will not be going back until after March which is then in the downswing to summer, the end of the school year, the start of the next and the busiest single time of the year for my office.  I have done this, pretty much single handed for the last three years and have dealt with all the negative fallout coming from it, which is consistently considerable.

I have the perfect opportunity now to sort out the CV or as I’m coming to gather, write one, as my CV of university days is a little obsolete now and pretty useless in trying to take a step up when it names one of the tried and tested skills as being ‘lacking in practical skills but extremely enthusiastic about learning’.  I wouldn’t hire me!  I also have the time and motivation to look and see what is out there and find out exactly what sort of area I want to get into.  Opportunities like this do not come around every year let alone every day and I do not intend to let this one pass me by, however the cold press of guilt in my gut is stifling and uncomfortable with every inhalation because I am using the very time my job has kindly given me off work and paid me full pay for, to look for alternative employment.

I wouldn’t obviously start applying for jobs before I can go back to work as that would be a betrayal, but I won’t be looking to stay in my job for more than a couple of months on my return and this will leave them just at the beginning of the busy season as I am looking for alternative employment, possibly not even in the same company.

 

Bam:

This would be the other half.

He has not been mentioned before because to be honest, it has not been on my mind much what with everything else that has been happening, but now I am contemplating my life worries and guilty feelings, this is one that springs to the forefront.

Having been together for the last four and a half years – bar a messy month last December that is a whole other kettle of sharks – we have both gotten used to having the other around and being a source of constant support to each other as equals among other things.  Or so I thought.  It seems to me that the more time I spend away, the more I relax and am able to consider what is best for me and the less I think about our relationship which causes no end of unidentifiably complex feelings.  I am not going to air laundry of any sort, dirty or freshly pressed on this site however the fact of my recent selfish indulgence in considering little outside of my sphere of immediate influence is weighing heavy on my mind and I know I should focus more on things outside of myself.  But I can’t seem to muster the inclination to.  This is where the feelings of guilt are stemming from.

 

I think that encapsulates the lot actually.  I can’t think of any more that may be lurking around in the back of my mind or even the bottom of my subconscious waiting to spring forward the moment a memory or incident triggers the trap, but then that is always the case with these sorts of feeling.  I think the best thing to do will be to sign off, extinguish the light and perhaps re-read this again tomorrow, with a less jaundiced eye, with a view to solutions.

With a well rested conscience.


Every 6 seconds…

This was something I wrote many years ago, a little edited to sort out the details but otherwise, just as I found it.  On a very old blog I thought had been lost in the ether.  It was a post a thoroughly enjoyed writing and reading it again has made me smile.  So I thought I would share it with you:

Limb from Limb

Sex is a strange thing.  And not just the action that makes your wobbly bits wobble, your body strain, your hands clench and generally makes men pull the most amusing faces…  I mean the build up, the event itself, the whole experience and all its surroundings.

You usually start with a kiss.  Now I’m not knocking kissing, it’s a wonderful thing when your lips brush together and you feel the gentle, moist warmth of another person’s tongue tentatively stroking your own as you lean into it and run the tips of your fingers down his back whilst he pulls you closer and strokes his fingers through your…  Nope definitely not knocking kissing.  But that’s in theory; it’s not always exactly how it goes, is it?

From the gentle, somewhat tentative start, to the mashed together biting, grasping finish, the first kiss sets the mood for the sex or has the power to stop progress before it has really begun.  The first kiss shared with someone is one that can never be recreated no matter how similar the circumstances because once the initial mystery has gone, it can never be restored.  In the beginning the unknown is waiting out there, a tense breath from discovery, a moment from unexplained compatibility or seconds from total Platonism.

And it is shortly after this that it becomes necessary to remove the clothing.  Whether it is a slow seductive strip tease, or a rushed ripping removal of the other person’s clothing, there is always something to disrupt the proceedings.  A button stuck in the hair, a jumper that snags on the nose, a bra (need I say more?) but the most likely criminal out of all of these is the socks.

Whether you leave them until last to avoid the difficulties they cause, or try to surreptitiously whip them off before it’s all begun, socks are never a good item of clothing to have to remove.  You have the awkward wobble as you try to balance on one foot, or the moment of horror during your carefully planned strip tease in which you realise that you’re swaying and undulating in your most seductive fashion in your brand new, sleek and silky matching underwear, running your hands over your body and tilting your head back, with your eyes half close, your mouth partly open, tongue moistening lips…  And a pair of slightly damp and sweaty trainer socks, usually the ones with a hole in the toe.  Sensuality set, you move on to the next stage

Foreplay is exactly what it sounds like; a game.  A little teasing, tickling and tantalising in the build up to the main performance and it’s more often than not swept under the carpet in a rush to get to the feature event!

This is followed by a fumbling mass of limbs writhing in an attempt to gain control of a situation designed to make you totally out of control.  The increased heart rate, elevated breathing, flushed skin, widened pupils and inability to form coherent thought during this time show the lack of control your body had over its own usually autonomic response.   I believe this is part of the reason people crave sex; the fact that you can be so vulnerable with someone else and yet hold so much power all in the same instant.  Or it could be that whole making babies crap…

After all the excitement is over and you settle down to bask in the glow (or in some cases glower at the bastard), there’s often a sense of stillness that wasn’t there before.  The intangible tension and electricity has dissipated in a cloud of sexual energy and now the world seems that much calmer and reality insinuates itself quietly into the background once again.  Or, as happens in many more cases, reality reasserts itself with a thump and you run around the room trying to get dressed in the correct bundle of clothes and find the bloody socks that caused all the hassle in the first place, while putting your t-shirt on inside out and trying to tame the bird’s nest you have somehow created in your hair in the last 15 minutes using nothing but a pillow and enthusiasm, before you need to run out of the door on the way to work/lectures/meet their parents.

Sex is a strange thing that humans have made into a sport more than anything else.  First you pick your partner (s) and then you chose your position, location, condition, arrangement and audience to suit your needs.  In order to even find a suitable partner they must first conform to a set idea you have about how your partner should aesthetically appear.  If we’re going to be brutally honest here, there’s only two parts you need for sex; everything else is just bonus material!  Sizes, shapes, colours all make a difference in people’s perceptions and these can determine who is the next person you want to have as your children’s parents or just the next person you jump into bed with.

At the end of it all sex is our future.  Without it we would die out and then who would be left to pass on our secrets, treasures and findings.  But on the other hand, if we were purely supposed to have sex for procreation, then maybe whoever designed it shouldn’t have made it quite so addictive.


Lost for Words

I have spent the last three or four days – I lose track of the time – writing but none of it for here as I am doing what I promised I would do two years ago and starting my writing course in earnest.  However knowing what to write is a challenge I have to work through and one I have definitely never faced before.

I love English and writing and consider myself to be fairly well-read and literate but somehow in the face of a broad and open writing assignment I have to do in my own time, with no restraints on topic or focus, I suddenly find myself without a thing to say.

I consider the use of language on paper to be the greatest expression a person can give and perhaps that’s because it is my forte in this field.  If a picture paints a thousand words then mine would sigh ‘oh dear!’ repeatedly, musically I can produce a squeaky rendition of 3 blind mice on the recorder and as for the stage, I can regularly be found hiding behind the nearest settee should the opportunity of acting come about.  This could suggest that writing is therefore my only option but though this is the case I also hold an affinity with writing that I do with no other source of outpouring.

The sentences you can write, the words you can twist and the tangles you can weave with the power of language – especially the English language – is something that brings me joy every time I hear it or have the opportunity to use it.  I used to write poetry that would twist round in ever decreasing circles, skirting the point and not quite touching on the heart of the matter until the end of the verse when it would become apparent the words had been circling the point like a vulture round a wounded animal; too easy to dive right in for the kill, better to wait and watch to see how events unfold.  They would never have been great works of art but now when I re-read them I can see through the layers of description and flirtation with the subject exactly how I was feeling at the time, which meant the most to me and which I wrote because I thought I should.  The years between an anguished teenage mind – a warped sense of priority and importance – and the adult I’m trying to be today simply melt away within a few lines as the words on the pages describe in infinite detail the very memories I was trying to capture.  That is something a picture or tune could never manage.

I don’t underestimate the power of these things either having felt the power music has to contain a memory.  I am a great lover of music and believe there is a song for every occasion, the control music can have over the subconscious to bring thoughts and feeling roiling to the surface, even those you would have considered buried deep or almost forgotten.  The dip and swell of a powerful song has the power to sweep away a bad temper or reduce you to tears in the course of a chorus and leave you feeling drained and used by the end, this I do not deny and is the very reason I usually have music playing whenever I’m writing [Ed Sheeran today – what an amazingly talented bloke, buy +, it is a rollercoaster of an emotive, softly spoken album].  However this is not something I am capable of creating myself.

The skill is in creating a landscape of information and intrigue no matter the medium used.  When a creation sucks an outsider into the centre of your piece because you’re able to not only plot the course of your own experience but also project the feeling emotions, colours of the moment and taste of the atmosphere, the piece takes on a life of its own.  A self-sustaining energy that grows with every viewing/hearing/telling.  No matter what any artist of any style says, the epitome of a successful piece is one that speaks beyond the ears of its architect.

Why else would the hidden diary, stuffed beneath the mattress of the bed evolve into the publicly viewed, rated and open to comment blog of the 21st Century if not to be accepted by others.  Unfortunately it seems that the idea of art for art’s sake has died out with the ability to socialise without leaving the confines of your computer.  But then perhaps this has always been the case and those proclaiming their art has been created for their own sake and no-one else’s are in fact those that would love to be accepted into the fold by ‘the audience’ but fear of rejection keeps them two paces back.

And so it turns out I am not without subject matter or the words to express just simply without structure and the twisted roads of illustration cannot be mapped, only travelled.  Even if the destination is somewhat alternative to the expected.

Let’s face it; it’s all just asphalt.  It’s how you tread it that matters.


Misery Loves Constancy

As I sit here in bed with my laptop thinking about the many things I shall NOT be doing tomorrow thanks to my stupid operation on my stupid back at this stupid time of the year with nothing but recuperation to look forward to, it occurs to me that I may be a little miserable.

It’s definitely not that I don’t know how lucky I am because I do.  I really, really do.  Not everyone would have the support network of friends and family that I have around to text, phone, talk to as and when I want.  Nor would they have the darling parents I am blessed with who have rearranged their lives to nurse me back to health and have done so in the best possible way; by leaving me to my own devices with the occasional much needed warning of ‘don’t overdo it’.

I also know that in operation terms I have been incredibly lucky in getting out of the hospital before Christmas day and getting to spend the majority of the last 2 weeks at home, as well as the fact that my operation went as planned and now seems to be healing on schedule, if not faster.

No, what’s made me peeved is a silly little message I got early on Sunday evening from an old friend asking if I was back in work on Monday.  Now, had this question been concerning anyone else, I would have told them not to be so bloody stupid, spinal fusion surgery will take more than 13 days to heal and as such whenever they wanted to kick that tin can run by an apparently off duty hamster they call a brain into gear we would all consider it a real favour.  But instead, I replied with what I consider to be a slightly whiny ‘I should be off for up to 3 months so, no.’

I should be?  I should be?! What am I doing?  Trying to placate the silly arse who asked me the ridiculous question or convince the world in general that I’m not putting it on, I really do have a reason to not be in work and that according to my surgeon, the internet and people I have spoken to who have had this, that 2-3 months is considered normal for recovery.  Or perhaps I’m still trying to convince myself…

For the last two years I have had an unseen, unnoticed injury and, not to put too fine a point on it, I’ve moaned very little about it.  I have told the people who genuinely care about the response what is wrong with me and to all the other polite enquiries I’ve given a brief description and little else.  I do not see the point in foisting the information on people who have not asked for it, but then again I also don’t like the fact that people who do not have the full information are also those inclined to contribute my pain to ‘a bit of back ache’.  Or as one girl thought was a reasonable conclusion to draw, my weight loss from ‘using Class A drugs’.  As far as I’m aware, Tramadol has many weird and wonderful side effects but I don’t think its reached Class A yet…

The problem is I am as bad as everyone else in that I understand injuries you can see or ones that have immediate results like a broken leg or appendicitis, but chronic pain was something that I had only ever attributed to hypochondriacs or old ladies talking about their rheumatism before.  Acute pain seemed to be the youthful version; the short sharp stab of a bone breaking, or the deep seated fire of a torn ligament or tendon, eminently preferable to the dull, draining throb of the continuous wearing chronic pain.  And ever since I have been told what is wrong with me, I’ve felt like a fraud, passing off the obligatory ‘back pain’ everyone has had as something more serious.  Towards the end of December I was starting to worry that I had passed it off as more than it was to the doctors as well and that was the only reason I was having the surgery!

Now, it has been two weeks and I’m slowly beginning to start doing things I used to take for granted, like being able to reach things that are below waist height and sitting down for the length of a film.  This is the point I think when I most feel like a fraud, because I can spend the day talking, moving about, on the phone, on the internet, yet still off work and that small but extremely noisy part of my subconscious keeps prodding me in the metaphorical injury and shrieking that there is nothing wrong that a couple of weeks in the office couldn’t cure.  Even procuring the doctors note signing me off until the end of February at least has not placated this unending tirade of back-related doubts.

It is silly because pain really is subjective as I have said before but in my mind that works against me.  People who claim to have a high pain threshold; how can they possibly know?  If pain is individual to the person who experiences it then how on earth could one person have a higher pain threshold than someone else??  And yet still there is this inbuilt quality in me that desires not to share my pain with anyone else around me and keep any knowledge of it to myself.  Except I don’t think I’ve even been doing that.  I seem to think that if I forget what the pain was like over two weeks ago through a combination of stubbornly choosing to disregard the realities of how I was and being too afraid to remember how incapacitated I was, how much it overshadowed my every action, it won’t truly be real.

You would think that the fact I was choosing to live through the nausea, dizziness and irritation of eight Tramadol a day because it was the only way I could get up, sleep, or for want  of a better word, function would be a good enough reminder of why I should have needed this surgery.  But instead I have found myself on occasion wondering if the doctors made a mistake and this was something that in another, stronger person would have been something they could slung back two paracetemols once a week and carried on with their job of carrying round scaffolding poles all day.

I know, even reading this back through, it comes across at best as silly and at worst as self-pitying tripe, but the problem is that until the moment I put it down on paper so to speak I didn’t even really think about what I was thinking.  And it is harmful rubbish but its been whizzing round my brain for months.  So this evening I made a decision.  The next person to ask me a ridiculous question about my recovery, I shall not get angry at them or myself, I shall come back and read this passage I have just written and then either explain the situation calmly and confidently, giving them the basic details of the operation the recovery and my expected recoupment time.  Or I shall scream.

I’ve always thought a good scream is soothing to the soul.