Fighting the decay

Failure is always there.

As long as we remain human, as long as we fall short of the 46+2 that would spark the transcendence from this limbo into another plane of consciousness, we are destined to fail.

Our limbo in-between beasts and gods plays havoc with the ego. So certain are we that we are each in control of our own destinies, that we are gods among ourselves, that we are worthy of self-worship, or otherwise investing our spiritual energy into someone else’s vision of a god, that we forget our primal instincts.

So quick are we to congratulate ourselves for meaningless social achievements, that we too often leave untended the parts deep within our psyche that are responsible for the tidal waves on which the ego floats. Every time that you choose to ignore your instincts, you starve your ability to sense through the ancient wisdom that we all bear. The part that does not see failure, that does not judge, that simply is.

Judgement can be a human tragedy, and we are all its victims, and in its eyes are nothing but a list of failures.

Maybe in your eyes I am nothing but a list of inadequacies, as maybe in time, you become to me, but how about lets go and take a stroll into a deeper forest together, where none of that matters and we can accept and be accepted?

I can’t bear this weight of such frailty, can you?

“Is there life beyond the sky?
Does it matter if we fly?
Or is it enough to be
Simply as we are?”~ heather nova, humanness

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In which I carefully packed my anxiety in my luggage and took it for a trip over the ocean.

2015-06-26 16.41.13It feels good to have time and head space to kick back and write some non-scientific words. It’s been pretty non-stop since I left England and it is, in a way, nice to be home. I’ll try to actually edit this post before I publish because there is an astounding probability of utterly contemptible drivel.

Preamble

A few days before we flew my boss came out with a comment over coffee that I was CRAP! and it was my fault that a project wasn’t working (in response to a shameless attempting at fishing for compliments)- apparently I have been deemed tough and resilient enough not to take this to heart as it was meant to be sarcasm, and it mostly washed off my back, and Iw as going to write a blog post about how this meant she fully accepted me and it was a good thing etc,  but there is a lingering fear that maybe I AM crap? (though i’m reasonably sure I’m not). What I have learned this week is that Principal Investigators aught to come with a warning captions like “has a potty mouth” “is likely to be tactile” or “is never wrong” and my boss would have “does not give gratuitous praise”.

Before we even got on the plane, my boss had told me that I wasn’t pretty or leggy enough.

I may, or may not have presented this information out of context.

OK the context was that my male colleague’s girlfriend got £50 tips when serving in a bar and I never did….and admittedly his girlfriend is incredibly pretty and bubbly and all-round adorable, so I can’t say I’m surprised she got such tips, but I don’t really need people spelling out to me whats wrong with me :(. In fact, those words have kind of haunted me all week, to the point that when he and my boss were discussing how attractive another (very hot) female delegate was, I felt really quite ugly and frumpy, when I usually wouldn’t indulge in comparing myself.

Bearing this in mind, my colleagues were, blessed with the dubious opportunity to see me in some very short shorts (sorry guys, it (not I) was hot!). You, however, will not have to see that because there were no photos – Ha!

The conference

The social situation was already scary, plus dragging around these self-doubts and lack of confidence Mr anxiety thought he’d like to pop up his ugly head for an impressive metamorphosis into a sweaty, bug-eyed, palpitationous blob on the floor. As I have described before I am a very nervous speaker, and conversing with  unknown people is terrifying, especially when they are super smart and esteemed scientists – but talking to them is necessary part of the conference process. Sitting down with some unknowns for breakfast, lunch and dinners was actually kind of fun and I tried my damnedest to get out some words and introductions (though mostly in the other order). Presenting data to people who looked at my poster incurred some sweatiness and shaking to the extent that it was embarrassing! I figured if I had a drink it would be easier, so I paid up my dollars for a week’s worth of booze for the post-lecture socializing (fully expecting to have at least one beer a night). What actually happened was tragic stress headaches for two days (so no booze) followed by getting a cider, sipping down to about a quarter of the bottle then getting dizzy and stuffy and taking myself to bed where I felt wheezy, and took my inhaler.

If you’ve ever taken salbutamol or ventalin you will know that it can make you a bit shaky – and what you will also know is that you are supposed to shake it before you use it. Apparently if you don’t shake it the dose is HIGHER than it should be, sooooo, I took waaay more than I needed by accident, which gave me palpitations and triggered a panic attack (yay me!), but as I’d had alcohol I couldn’t take valium so I had to just lie there at midnight freaking out for a couple of hours, and then had to get up 4 hours later for breakie! Brill! it was around about now that I found out I had to present my work in a 5 min talk in front of everyone in the lecture theatre and that borderline level of tolerable anxiety sky-rocketed and I had to admit defeat and take valium rather than alcohol in order to keep my body from imploding or the inevitable degeneration into a twitching, gibber-jabbering pool of sweat. sooo, $40 for a quarter of a cider was a bit steep and I totally pissed at myself for not being able to relax and just enjoy myself but I just couldn’t :(. I wanted to be able to just walk up to people and start chatting but I was crippled with the fear that I’d look stupid or that I didn’t know what to say to them.

Needless to say, my talk was OK – not award-winning but perfectly adequate and I was satisfied with it.

The rest of the conference passed with no dramas, and I went horse riding with the boss lady (though they call it horseback riding -is another part of the horse that you can ride on that I don’t know about?) weird. The flight back was ok but I really could have done with those 5 hours of sleep that we all missed out on thanks to time zones. grrrr.

One thing that really struck me, was how considerate and nice everyone was. In particular my colleagues that I was travelling with were very tolerant of me (I know I’m a nightmare to travel with) and yet they checked I was ok – they took into account my food requirements, and y’know, little things, like giving me a hand when I was struggling with something, and reminding me that I was going to be ok when I got stressed, and generally treating me like I was worth being nice to. That male colleague with the cute girlfriend was really great the whole trip and I only wish there was a way to tell him how much I appreciated how nice he was being, it was like travelling with my brother or something – but I think he’s just like that with everyone – This guy and his girlfriend invited me over to their place for my birthday one year because I wasn’t doing anything to celebrate – that’s the sort of people they are and I can only hope that some of that kindness has rubbed off on me. Clearly I can’t SAY that to him, it would sound really weird – like, hey thanks for not acting like a total dick the whole time…geees, I’d be pretty offended if someone inferred that to me! I just wish I wasn’t so damned inhibited, its terrible, I feel so BORING because I’m just so afraid of anything that might be fun, not to mention how selfish I can be…eugh! I was offered the opportunity to stay in boston for an extra night at the airline’s cost and would get a free return trip to the location of my choice and I turned it down just because I was freaking out. I want to be the person who CAN do those things, who CAN take opportunities without just losing their shit. How do I do that?

The fallout

When I got home, I’d been up at 6AM, spent the day in Boston (YAY aquarium time take 2), flew at 11pm, dozed a little, arrived in London 5 hours later at 9AM, taken the tube and train and then hoped I could be a lift home but no, SO couldn’t get me so I had to queue for ages for a taxi. By the time I actually got home I was exhausted – genuinely pooped. I dragged my luggage up to the flat and SO was there watching TV. At this point I was jet-lagged and sleep deprived so all I wanted to do was take a quick shower then sleep until my brain caught up. I had a conversation like this:

“Hello, how are you”

“fine, what’s the matter?”

“I’m tired”

…gets a drink of water…

“what’s the matter?”

“I’m fucking tired”

…sighs…

“What;s the matter?”

“You keeping on asking me what the matter is!”

..pulls annoyed face…

“whats the matter?”

“FFS I’m fucking tired and Jet-lagged for fucks sake I’ve been awake since 6AM yesterday what the fuck else do you think the matter is? other than you keeping of fucking well asking me what the fucking problem is!!??

I was, at this point offered the generous opportunity to exit my own property if I was going to be moody because SO didn’t want to deal with it.

I won’t continue and tell you exactly how unpleasant this homecoming was but I was expected to change the bedclothes as soon as I got home and there are still dishes from yesterday that I am going to have to wash. Needless to say I am now really quite depressed about certain things. You know how you rose-tint things when you aren’t close to them? Yeah, that happened.  It kind of hurt when I was dragged to the supermarket so that SO could get something, he got mega moody and so I carried the shopping (despite holding up a long skirt so it didn’t get wet) and he didn’t even open the car boot for me. It’s almost enough to make me want to make his jetlag 10 times worse if he ever has to go to the states without me. Almost, but I won’t let him turn me into that person.

all in all, an educational trip in the scientific, social and psychological fields.

Oh and I was in Boston when we heard about the gay marriage legalization in the states (woohoo), and I proceeded to have a dream about a (already married) female friend proposing to me! Hahaha!

“I know you know my head’s not in this now
“sneaker pimps, destroying angel

What a difference a couple of months makes!

My lovely friend Buster was a bit poorly this winter/spring and looked very much unloved (though was actually very spoilt).

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See? So tired and old-looking. Now after a few months of decent grass, continued bucket feeds and more exercise he has been transformed into this:

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I hope that you will agree that there is really quite a big difference, not just in his coat. You’d never guess the second pic was if a 26year old would you? I’m so glad he bounced back from his winter tummy woes so he can make the most of his retirement, frolicking in the  field and being a noisy beast.

Now I get to see this gorgeous face all the time

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Where are my mints?

And this cheeky face

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He doesn’t need mints, where are MY mints?

I love those silly horses.

“I’m always drawn to the dark horse~heather nova, paper cup

the blog tour

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I have never before participated in such an activity as this – mostly because I don’t ‘know’ any bloggers and don’t relish the imminent dejection upon engaging in such a sport- but, that said, JUST THIS ONCE, if awesome undead gremlinesque kitty cats like dead cat are standing over me with a poised and bartonella-ridden claw, then I guess it’s ok….maybe..I’d like to send people to blogs I like and its interesting to learn more about people’s writing. Plus this breaks up my inspiration drought quite nicely. I’m going to treat this like a roadtrip and select some guys who I think would make a fine cup of coffee for you when you stop by to see them.

Apparently the rules are something like this –

1. Pass the tour on up to four other bloggers
2. Give your nominees the rules and suggest or dictate a specific Monday to post.
3. Answer four questions about your creative process which lets other bloggers and visitors know what inspires you to do what you do.
A) How does my work differ from others in my genre?
B) How does my writing/creative process work?
C) Why do I write or create what I do?
D) What am I working on at the moment?

4. Compose a one-time post on a specific Monday (date given from your nominator).

so onto the business of rule adherence then…

1. On this tour I’m taking a stop at The V-pub because he loves these things and actually, despite the name, doesn’t blog much about weight. Next I’m popping in to see the incredibly talented Mr Flanders because I’m hoping to lure him out of his hibernation and back into the cyber-world (though I won’t hold my breath for involvement in this endeavour). Thirdly I’d like to take the tour to katzenworld, not because I expect them to necessarily respond, but because anyone who likes cats can’t help but go ‘nyaawwwww’ when you see what’s involved in their tummy rub tuesday editions! Finally, I’m pretty sure that they will be too busy writing postcards to Ellen Degeneres to respond but I’d like to take you to meet Dumbfunnery.

2. In the unlikely event of one of the above actually reading this, then presumably you can either do the stuff it says above for Monday 22nd June, or y’know, get on with something else, because I’m totally not going to feel awkward about directing my monumental blog traffic your way!

3. Oh the questions –
A) How does my work differ from others in my genre?
I don’t know what genre I am in, so I guess my work differs from others firstly by uncontrollably spanning genres and being consumed by erraticism (no that a is not meant to be an o). Also I write quite candidly about mental health issues and that is something that too few people do.
B) How does my writing/creative process work?
I switch off my consciousness as much as possible and let words fall out of my semi and subconscious. The process usually takes place in the bath on my smartphone, and therefore my SO (who doesn’t read my blog) can’t figure out why I spend so damned long in the bath and STILL sometimes come out without shaving my armpits! I often don’t look at what I’ve written until I’m verbally exhausted, so I never really know where I am going or how things will end, occaissionally, before I start I have some vague senses of ideas but it is very rare that these things are planned or structured intentinally, they just kind of spew out. Sometimes I don’t read the words until I publish and then I kick myself for having to fix all my dumbass grammatical errors and fat-fingered typos.
C) Why do I write or create what I do?
I write and create what I do for several reasons. I am an unskilled and clumsy vocal speaker, yet can usually express myself with a degree of clarity and depth of feeling in written words. I feel almost elegant and very confident reading and writing, but vociferous discourse is intimidating and at times overwhelming for me. In addition, being so poor at talking, certain things still need to be vented, and some embryonic ideas need to be written down in order to realise what they mean. Writing is a way of staying a bit more sane than good old depressed non-writing me and is a good deal cheaper than my old therapist. Also, in my daily life I have to be very analytical, rational and logical, which is exhausting because clearly I am none of these things, I’m just pretending because I wanted to be Dr SPMP (which, incidentally, I am), so going to town on a short written blabber about whatever the antisocial, freaky liberalist side of me has been aching to shout out in serminars is definately the better option!
D) What am I working on at the moment?

Right now I’m working on a couple of manuscripts, but they are of a scientific nature, so I guess you want to know about creative things. More of the same I’m afraid – no big creative projects imminent because of too much science and not nearly enough sleep.

Shapes and sizes (and stupid comments)

Figures.
As an hourglass lady, I sometimes have issues with clothing ranges that are designed for those women who resemble a pear in shape. This time around we are talking about a new mac. You see, the problem is, that I sometimes laughably find that the chest is too small compared to the hips! I.e that my chest is too large! If you know me then you’ll understand why this is so hilarious, but even if you don’t then I expect you are getting the picture loud and clear.  What I find even funnier is that my SO thinks it is because of the tshirt bras I wear. He genuinely thinks that because I’m wearing a brand famous for their pushup and cleavage-maximising products, that my plain comfy tshirt efforts must be heavily padded etc. He asked what would happen if I wore a different brand….Presumably aside from any fit or comfort issues? Yeah, that’s what I thought…what would happen is I’d be super uncomfy and moody. Maybe if men needed metal wired undergarments to keep their bollocks in check then they would have a bit more respect for our decisions to stick to a brand that fits! As for asking what if I lose weight! Well! That’s nice isn’t it! Recovered anorexic determined to maintain her healthy weight is asked by partner what if she get thinner again. Dumbass.
I did a survey of 14 UK highstreet size 8 measurements and ALL of them were based on a pear or spoon shaped figure. I understand that pears make up about 20% of women, and actually. Oblongs (with less waist definition) are actually contributing over 60%. I am in the minority as an hourglass, but it still narks me that I can’t get clothing to fit. I read articles about the woes of pear-shaped ladies who can’t fit into the clothing designed for 1950s hourglass figures, but that simply is not true, if you are a pear have a thought for those many oblongs who have to have baggy clothing around their hips and bust so that their waist is comfy..or have to have super tight stuff at the waist so their chest doesn’t fall out. Now THEY have a bum deal of the clothing market. Someone needs to start making dresses with different body shapes in mind.

I daresay that the mac will give a bit in the (ahem) necessary areas and it’ll all be fine.

“Boys in their dresses
And you’re not here
I need a big loan from the girl zone”~tori amos, caught a light sneeze

Another round with health anxiety

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I wonder if I’m addicted to….antihistamines? I’m going to tell myself that actually I need them because of all the pollen and dust and spores around here and that I have no problem at all, I mean, it’s not like I only sleep like a rock after taking an antihistamine or anything…or that the humble ceririzine functions as a cure for most hypochondria…
Speaking of which, I haven’t decided with any conviction, that I am dying of something for some time. With the dubious exception of the high blood pressure that I made my Dr check (100/60) huh?! While I should have been asking her about continual use of antihistamines and how soon after diazepam you can have a beer. She said eat more salt. Can you imagine being told to eat MORE salt by your Dr? Well I don’t need to be told twice 🙂 and so begins the era of much marmite and cheese.
As the time of travel draws near I expect the usual symptoms to manifest, but I won’t let it all get to me unless it can’t be fixed with the foolproof combo of antihistamine, diazepam, Paracetamol and gaviscon. I think I might be singlehandedly supporting the production of gaviscon these days, and all so that I can drink coffee and alcohol. Is it worth it? What do you think?
Speaking of alcohol, I have had some weird experiences with it over the last couple of years, to the point that I’ve almost stopped drinking. You might think this is a good thing, but the reason wasn’t because I didn’t feel like it, but because I developed a (perfectly rational) fear that I’d get crippling stomach cramps, bad headaches and get dizzy to the point of fainting. So every time I had a sip of cider, I freaked, felt dizzy and got more scared. I’ve got tablets for my delicate tummy (though I’d NEVER drink with full-on gastritis) paracetamol for the next day and now I know my BP is low, presumably that’s why I get dizzy, so I just need to eat something salty, dance around (this might raise a few scholarly eyebrows) and drink plenty of water and I’ll be fine 🙂 I can’t freak out because there’s no diazepam until the next day. I’ll be landed on a beach of my own creation, but hopefully someone will join me and talk utter nonsense with me until the (hopefully hidden) anxiety or anticipation thereof subsides.

I think my Hypochondria has got a lot better since I started to accept that one day I’m going to die, and there is nothing I can do about it. I’ll be pissed if I die before I get to present my conference poster (its getting really pretty now) but if that’s my fate then I can’t really argue. I’m not worried about flying, I’m only worried about the other passengers infecting me with unpleasant and unwelcome agents. I guess I’d better refrain from catching people’s coughs, sniffing people’s hair and licking the seatbelts then, huh? What other in-flight entertainment IS there?
Antiviral hand foam at the ready!!

So I let Crazy
take a spin
Then I let Crazy
settle in
Kicked off my shoes
Shut reason out”~tori amos, crazy