Between savouring & shunning the Big Build Up

via Daily Prompt: Savor

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  I got busy, I guess.  And now one of the biggest events of my life is approaching at terminal velocity and I’m finally having a few minutes to actually think about it.  The Big Day is less than 2 weeks away, everything is ordered, dresses and suits are ready, hair trials completed, venues booked; there is nothing left to do but enjoy it.  Except I can’t.  Because I am a ball of anxiety.  Just waiting for something to go wrong.  Which it probably will, but not to the catastrophic scale that I am imagining.  What’s the worst that could happen?  His ex bursting in at the ‘does anybody object’ part, he doesn’t turn up, someone dying in the days before it happens… logically, the likelihood of anything like this occurring is extremely low.  Not impossible, but not likely.

I had my hair done yesterday, this is a rare treat for me.  Half of me was really enjoying it, while the other half was worrying about an adverse reaction to the products used and thinking my face would swell up and my body would shut down- really ridiculous, and any sane person would say just that- stop being ridiculous.  In fact, Husband-to-be took my phone off me when he saw me googling ‘reactions to hair dye’, despite me not having any reactions except a slight itch, probably a psychosomatic one at that.  I actually feel like I am going mad.

I’ve always been an anxious person, but I thought I was doing pretty well with it lately.  The last few years I’ve settled down and felt actually rather positive about life.  Just a few weeks ago I was positively brimming with confidence and feeling like a winner, like finally everything was just going great.  What’s burst the bubble?  I don’t know.  My dog was ill and I was instantly panicking about him, the joy turned to tears because I didn’t know what to do, visited an emergency vet and he said he would be fine.  I vaguely relaxed but spent the whole night listening to my poor hound pacing around not able to get comfortable.  The next day he actually was fine, it had been an upset tummy that’s all.  But that started a spiral of negative thoughts I suppose and imagining of terrible scenarios… I had been too upbeat, things were going too well, it was obviously time for that to change!  And yet, no, nothing has changed.  That was just a bump, everything is fine.  I just need to learn to control/switch off these calamitous thoughts and focus on reality.  I have a lot to look forward to, I’m very fortunate at the moment and I have supportive people that put up with my crazy and reign me back in when I start to float away with it.  So I should get back to savouring this time, not shunning it in a panic, and enjoy what will hopefully be a relaxed day filled with love!

See these headphones?…

Been sitting on my butt all morning, so I decided to go for a walk at lunchtime.  I’m in a small office by myself, so I largely talk to no one for most of the day other than via written methods.  I was, by lunchtime, not even in the mood to talk to anyone having various musings about boredom and frustration swirling round my brain, so I plugged my very visible headphones into my phone, placed them on my lugholes and set off listening to some old tunes.  What a ruse, I thought!  No one will approach me in the shops now, it is quite clear from my giant headphones that I do not want to be spoken to!  I thought this was remarkably clever and couldn’t believe I hadn’t tried it before… How wrong I was!  Perhaps I looked especially dodgy and overt, trying too hard to not be spoken to that the shopkeepers felt compelled to come over and ask me if I needed any help, despite not really being able to hear them so they had to come especially close (invasion of space- another pet hate!) in order for me to know that, yes, I’m talking to you whether you like it or not.  No, my music wasn’t ridiculously loud, I’m not trying to make myself deaf, they’re just good noise cancelling headphones.

We’re not in America here.  It’s not all ‘hi, how are you today?’ as soon as you step foot over the threshold.  If I wanted help, I’d ask for it!  And if I DID actually want help no doubt the assistants would be nowhere to be found, because that’s how it goes!  It’s one of those unwritten rules. Over attentive shop assistants eyeing you like you’re a thief just because you’re idly browsing should be banned.  Let me look in peace.  Look at the visual clues I’m providing that are screaming ‘leave me alone!’  I didn’t see them approaching anyone else in the shop, why pick the one person perusing un-obstructively by themselves?

Sure, some people like chatting.  Me, not so much.  Obviously I am an introvert, I’m uncomfortable often in big social situations.  I figured out the other day that my ideal number of people to be talking in a group to is 3, including me.  4 at a push.  Obviously 2 is great, but that’s not really a group.  Any more than 4 and I’m rendered practically silent, always missing the moment to interject with my relevant anecdotes/information/comments.  I’m not interested in being the loudest or shouting over others, to me more isn’t necessarily merrier- I prefer quality small group conversations.  So that’s out there now, that’s just how I am.  Rant over.

 

 

 

 

Waiting

My left eyelid is twitching furiously as I write this.  It’s been doing it for the last 3 days, intermittently.  Waiting for it to pass and hoping no one misconstrues my eye rubbing and winking to mean anything other than I’ve got an itchy, twitchy eye.  My whole head feels fuzzy at the moment, weighted with sadness and frustration and boredom.  I’ve not felt so down for some time, I just want to lie in bed and sleep.  I contemplated ringing in sick, but that’s just not me so I forced myself to get up and journey into work.  Part of the problem is that ‘work’ isn’t much of a distraction, I’ve hardly anything to do.  Sitting at a desk for 8 hours trying to fill in the time is in itself quite disheartening.  I know I’ve talked about it before, it sounds great doing nothing… but after a few days it’s really not.  I also know I can go from doing nothing to being crazy busy in the blink of an eye… blink…blink… no, not yet.

Apart from my professional slump and wondering what to do there are other, real, heart-breaking situations involving my dearest friends that are making me feel unhappy.  Because I can’t help and I can’t make things better for them and they’re some of the nicest people you would ever meet so why are these things happening to them?  One has cancer and her treatment isn’t working.  There are other options, but I know she is tired of all of it.  She has a 3 year old who is gorgeous and needs his Mummy.  I can only remain hopeful and try to be as positive and strong as she is herself and do anything I can to help get her through this.  Of the options, quitting is not one of them.

My oldest childhood friend who I’ve known for 34 years was recently pregnant, I was touching her bump just a few weeks ago, but there were complications and the baby was delivered at just shy of 6 months; she was born sleeping.  This was devastating news and I can’t even begin to imagine how they must all be feeling.  She has a little girl who was looking forward to being a big sister, they’re amazing parents; where is the justice in all this?

I continue to wait for some good news, this year has not delivered much of it.  It seems everyone has their own suffering and to most, you’d never even know.  I acknowledge that I currently have very little to moan about personally, I am grateful for all that I have, I just wish I could do more to help my friends, to help make their pain and sorrow go away.  Others tell me all I can do is be there for them, it just doesn’t feel like enough.

No more ‘the fear’.

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For the first time in a decade the first week of September has not induced “the fear” in me.  Going back to work after a week’s holiday did not result in sleepless nights, panicked and anxious about returning, fretting about the months ahead.  It was most welcome to feel ok and un-agitated about work.  In fact I had a rather pleasant first day back, donning my post-grad gowns and attending a graduation ceremony in Harry Potter-esque surroundings as a member of staff.  (Although I’m admin and not an academic, it was nice to be included!)

I managed to get up on Monday morning and leave home with a spring in my step and a twinkle in my eye.  People say ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’, but I tried that for 10 years and it was not doing me any favours.  I did do it, I worked really hard at it and quite frankly it was making me ill.  And I knew that change was needed.  For a long time, but perhaps I also feared change.  Teaching was what I did, it was what I knew, even if I didn’t enjoy it.  It seemed impossible to break away from it.  And I worried I would be going backwards, taking a step down… I was proud to be a teacher if nothing else, I thought it was something worthwhile.  I was caught in a bubble of benchmarking, was I a failure for leaving the profession?  Answer:no.

There are many paths to success and none of them have to be defined by your job title.  For some people it may well be wealth, prestige, a high flying career… for others it could be raising a family and caring for others… it could be finding love and getting that happy ever after!  Success doesn’t have to be identified by others expectations, I’d do well to remember that- although I think all the pressure came (still comes) internally from me in reality.  Yes I still have something in me that thinks I could/should be doing something more, but what that is, well I’ve no idea.  Because really, I’m much happier and in a far better place (emotionally, psychologically, generally) than I ever have been.  And to me that’s got to be counted as success!

 

 

Moonshine magic.

Maybe it’s because it’s almost a full moon and the tides are turning.  Maybe it’s because the sun is trying to poke out through the bubbling clouds.  Maybe it’s because I’m listening to some nostalgic old school songs and they’re making me feel pretty darn happy.  Whatever it is, right now is good.  Seems like things are on the up.  Small victories perhaps, but victories nonetheless.

Sometimes you have to take the little wins- the fact that a parking ticket got cancelled, that you managed to track down a small indpendent shop the other side of the world and they were willing to send a replacement for a hat that had been lost, that the dog has seen the vet and will be fine!  Hurrah!  It all adds up and so I’m feeling productive and positive.

Perhaps it’s just because there’s one more week at work until a holiday week… always helps!  😉

 

But it’s just a party…

So, I’m engaged, have been since last Christmas.  It only took 34 years to find Mr Right, then another 4 to get to where we are now (a lot later than some, but if this is something you think about perhaps this is a it’s never too late story…).  Most of my friends are already married with 2.4 children, I’ve attended a fair share of weddings- some peers already on their second marriage before I even got a hint of a proposal!  That doesn’t matter though, being married doesn’t define who you are, not to me.  In fact I was always rather anti marriage, stating that it is just a very expensive piece of paper.  It really is.  But one that I’m now ready and willing (and excited) to buy.  Recently I’ve been planning the wedding, having always thought- well, it’s just a big party, right?  Hell, no- had no idea how complicated it can get!

We’re trying to do it on a budget, but I can see how easily costs spiral out of control.  I believe you can spend a lot less than we are and still have an amazing day, but somehow the ideas in my head started taking a grip and only x would do for the ceremony and the reception venue had to be y.  This was all after a considerable amount of research- flitting from getting married abroad with a select few, to eloping by ourselves, to eventually deciding actually we’d like our friends and family to celebrate with us- and now it is all coming together, the date is set for next year and I just really hope it will be a fun and relaxed day.

My main concern isn’t about the venue or anything like that though, but other people.  Everyone always says it is your day, do what you want- hard to do that when you’re really trying not to offend anyone or leave anyone out (when in reality they probably couldn’t give a rats).  So I’m inviting people I haven’t spoken to you for several years because we were friends at school (yes, why?!), picked a specific date so people with children could get babysitters more easily (yes I have drawn the line at bringing children, even this has been a bone of contention in my head, though in fact I think most of my friends are pleased to have a night off) and generally tried to plan to please everyone.  Impossible!

I do have some very wise friends who’ve been here and done it already and they assure me that the people that count will attend, and if not then it’s their loss.  They will be missing a party after all!

I just hope that, when the day rolls around, all these little stresses will melt away, that I’ll wonder why on earth I was getting het up, and that we’ll just enjoy the entire day, along with everyone that turns up!  I do, I do, I do!

Under the surface.

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Outwardly we all appear similar, underneath we are all bubbling with idiosyncrasies and memories unique to our very own short stints on this Earth.  Scratch away at the top layers and, if a person is willing, you can discover what’s underneath.  Sometimes it’s better not to know.

But for each and every one of us there lies some magical long hidden memories that might only be triggered into consciousness because we hear a song, or smell a certain scent, see a particular object… and right there in the midst of everything we can vividly remember moments of joy.  And despair.  (But I’d rather focus on the positive.)  What was once a rippled, faded and distorted image comes sharply into focus as you travel back in time, even if just for a few seconds.  Recalling events that have moulded us and made us into who we are, that can carry us forward, give us inspiration, hope, comfort.

I’m listening to some music and suddenly I’m 14 and at Wembley Stadium, the artist is about to come on stage, there’s a surge in the crowd as everyone clamours to get closer to the front… I start to go forwards with everyone else until I feel a hand on my neckline hoiking me back- my big brother!  Looking after me, making sure we don’t get separated, then viewing together what is still the best concert I’ve ever seen, with the best brother anyone could ask for.

Memories of experiences like that bring a smile to my face and remind me of who I once was and that the excitable little girl still lives on inside of me, somewhere, under the surface.