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December 2019

Life

Fuck. This. Sorry! I mean butterflies.

26th December 2019

 

Christmas is tricky. I’ve found it hard for me since I was a child and my parents split up, it all of a sudden was a dislocating horribly alien timestamp every year in the calendar. I remember the first year they’d split up my mum said dad could come over in the morning. There was so much crying and misery at how much everything was entirely fucked up it didn’t happen again. He had got better presents than her I think, on reflection she had no proper job and no money so that’s really no wonder, nevermind the chaotic backstory. Anyway it didn’t happen again and we ended up shifting between family friends and our grandparents on the day in the future. It never felt properly very Christmas-sy again for a long time, no special place mats, an underlying sadness, everything took so much longer on the day, it lost its bright, stifling almost. I can’t even get into the bits in between that and now, but it had for a period suddenly felt more, more substantial and happy, like I was a part of something. Now it’s the same, but a different decade.

The first Christmas I spent as a single parent I remember the drains outside in the back garden blocked (no surprise, like fucking clockwork I noticed they had blocked again yesterday) a big van pulled up on Christmas Eve while my cousin and I wrapped the stocking gifts at the Christmas table. The children and I went to really close family friends on Christmas day for the dinner. It was ok. The food was fantastic and the company was fun up until my friends elderly mother said some incredibly kind words  during a quiet moment while we sat alone in the kitchen and I literally felt like I’d been punched and winded and just wanted to burst into tears.

The second time the drains blocked this year, I’ve just remembered, the man that sorted them out and then asked what ended up being the wrong question shook my hand and said ‘all the best to you, you’re having a shit year’ (2019 has been all sorts of fucked up. again)

God I could keep going about how 2018’s Christmas compared to this (an entire Christmas dinner purchased to heat up from M&S for me and the kids) and this year: I actually cooked! It felt like real progress (I love cooking usually but it’s ALOT on your own. This year, I was in bed by 8.30pm)

Before dinner yesterday, Ruby and I walked the dog, I’d done her hair and been caught breathless by the colour of it in the light. We were surrounded by robins singing the entire time we walked. I place probably more than usual significance in this. Then we saw a butterfly. I looked up the symbolism of course when I got back. It was fairly general but encouraging. At one point a robin came so close to us while sitting on a tree stump and sang so loudly Ruby turned to me and said ‘I think that is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen’.

Last night George hauled his new bean bag up to my room and nested in it to sleep. He fell off numerous times and rearranged himself. He was happy. I was happy.

Today was flat. I had expectations it would be. I had places I had been invited to. I just couldn’t quite shift the knowing that when the children left the house to have their ‘second christmas’ I didn’t want to be around any other people when my energy felt like this. It’s loneliness of course. Of a very particular kind, intertwined both with grief and knowing what was, but you don’t want to be with anyone else, so it’s loneliness of a despairing self defeating kind.

After they left I ran a bath (after picking my way over the paint on the stairs that is falling from the ceiling because THERE’S ANOTHER FUCKING LEAK). I fell into a deep and ready asleep after that and then woke to hunger. For the last 30 minutes of semi awake I was imagining what I would eat from the fridge. I ended up having a great plateful of leftovers and fed some to the dog. I looked over the plants downstairs and read a little of my book. I have things I want to make, a course I am in the middle of, I’ve got stuff I had planned on doing, but I honestly couldn’t concentrate on words or process. I can’t explain it, it’s not simply a lack of motivation, it’s a displacement of self. I made a hot water bottle and got into bed and slept again. I woke up to George calling me, except he wasn’t there, I had imagined it. I knew I had to take the dog out for a stretch and pulled on my thickest coat and walked to the park at dusk, the sky was honestly cerulean blue, the clock in the park lit up. I saw families through the window eating by candlelight, great swathes of recycling in the bins, I saw a mother and her two children walking back from the park in christmas onesies and coats, I saw a light fitting in a lounge that was the same as my grandparents had in their dining room at Oakdene. I saw a dog with a lit up collar and a child with light on his scooter zip around the tennis courts. I slipped in the waterlogged mud and thought about other boxing days walks I had taken and who with. I thought about all the people we had lit individual candles for at the dinner table yesterday who aren’t with us anymore.

On my way to the co-op I bumped into the same family I am incredibly good friends with who hosted that first year who were honestly delighted to see me and the dog. I was invited over. I hadn’t even brushed my hair, it was pulled up, I had on no makeup, wearing pyjamas under my  coat. I said this and they looked at me like I was nuts, ‘anyway you come would be great’ I was reassured, ‘we’ll take the dog, see you in 5’. I quickly popped into the shop, to see one of the cashiers who’d once asked me how I was and then when I’d come back with ‘honestly?’ replied ‘yes, honestly’ and I’d said ‘really fucking shit my entire life has hit the fucking skids.’ He nodded at me, probably wondering how life could still be a car crash and how I could still look so bad. I sat at their kitchen table again and had a small glass of red. I told them about the robin. And my friend’s husband said ‘that’s like out of the secret garden… the robin out of the secret garden,’ and I remembered, that was my nana’s favourite book.

 

Life

Sunday

22nd December 2019

Picture of crochet

 

Sunday’s when the children aren’t home and I am, are harder than Sunday’s where I am out of the house, out of Brighton. They’ve got better but they have been incredibly hard to get used to. This morning hasn’t been ideal, I heard the dog’s whining at just gone 3am. He is the quietest dog usually but he needed to tell me something and he was insistent. To be woken to the sound of canine panic that reaches my ears from two floors away mainly means one of two things, sick or shit. Previous experience has taught me swiftness is the safest option and minimises damage so I HONESTLY jumped out of bed like my life depended on it and ran down the stairs. Yesterday I found the paper packet of a slab of butter next to the dog on his bed. He’d basically eaten over 200g of it and was lying looking pretty contrite, fairly aware he had probably made a mistake. It’s taken 24 hours to reach a full realisation of just how bad it would make him feel. I got him outside in time to hear the most horrendous yakking as he threw up in the garden. When he got back in and I got back into bed I ended up having the most unsettling, angry dreams, that were their own other thing.

Hours later George walked into my room complaining of growing pains and coughing until he was almost sick as well. I had to half heartedly massage his legs until I got left alone and fell back asleep. The next thing I knew it was five to ten and they would be leaving to go to their dads. That was a frenzied rush and within a very brief moment of time it was just me knocking around the house. Again. I hate it, it’s loaded with meaning and it feels hugely unfair that weekends are now so thoroughly fucked up.

Trying to retrieve something positive from the free time I’ve decided to try for 2 hour 40 minutes of study (sounds arbitrary as a timeframe – sure I’ve read it somewhere this week??)  and after making a coffee and a slice of toast sat down at the kitchen table, set a timer and began typing code. I feel like throwing myself into learning to distract myself and consistently working for the same length of time in the holidays is the smartest thing I can do both for my sanity and for my progression. It’s not easy to concentrate when you are tired though. Fifteen minutes in I heard a strange yet familiar noise, the sound of pressure building up, almost mechanical, I cocked my head to one side, was it the underfloor heating? the boiler? And then the penny dropped and I realised it’s the bloody dog about to throw up again. Running into the lounge to a bright pool of yellow vomit next to the xbox I kind of chased him out of the room. He threw up another two times en route to the garden. Rug cleaned, floor cleaned I sat down again to learn about stack traces and scope, I’m so tired I don’t think anything can have possibly gone in.

This weekend I finished reading ‘The 5am club” by Robin Sharma. Possibly the worst writing I have ever read in my life. There is a reference to an inspirational quote from some notable person on pretty much EVERY PAGE. I love an inspirational quote but a crappy storyline and crappy prose don’t elevate them. I think it’s been written like this so it’s acts as an inspirational parable but truly it is absolute dross. Hal Elrod’s the miracle morning is much better. I want to start getting up early again. I was getting up early a couple of years ago until it genuinely felt impossible but I used to get such a lot done. Sunrise runs at the beach! learning and refining! Feeling like I was making progress. Then everything fell to complete shit and all I wanted to do was sleep.  This break is my time to reclaim that practice, today wasn’t the morning for it clearly but hopefully I’ll get back my fitness and clarity if I begin again.

Apart from that the plan is to get the house into some sort of order in time to relax over the Christmas festivities. The house is always a mess at the moment despite some serious decluttering. I’m going to listen to a bit more of “Have you heard George’s podcast” while wrapping the kids presents, I thought about going into town and dropping into the gym but I think town will be horrific the last weekend before Christmas so I’m. not. doing. it!

 

Life

Why I didn’t blog really

18th December 2019

I started blogging when there was flickr and blogger and designsponge was around but no pinterest. I was lonely and I was undefined as a mum in 2010. I was in my twenties, SO NO FUCKING WONDER. To be honest I felt like a bit of a reduced version of myself… mired (though so grateful) in the repetitive and thankless tasks of caring for my lovely babies while everyone else seemed to be establishing their careers or getting on it and having a different kind of fun. I had no family close to me, friends were a bit flaky and my partner worked shifts in a shop that took him an hour to get to with an erratic shift pattern. I was INCREDIBLY lucky and I lived in London but I really did feel slightly (VERY) isolated.

To take any photos for that blog I would take a photo on a camera handset plug it into the usb, wait BLOODY AGES for it to upload, try and sort it to acceptable levels in an online picture editor and write. I’d just learnt to crochet. My work was not great. I just tried to do a bit everyday. I know some of you genuinely remember that. And I’m what some people I hear on podcasts refer to as a sharer but interestingly as most people admit, a fairly introverted sharer. In any case I was bored. I wanted to sort of write a diary, to remember all these seemingly inconsequential bits of my life and I wanted to learn more about the internet. You can read some of that blog here, because for whatever reason they still have it up even though I don’t pay for it.

Anyway I’ve had this domain since I don’t know…. 2015/2016 when I switched my instagram from amysinsta to discostitches. At a loss of anything I was going to be able to do alongside to small people I could maybe make some money from crochet? HA! What could I call myself after no more disco? Hannah my sister came up with disco stitches.

What’s prompted this post is my yearly reminder I am and have been paying out for the hosting etc…. FOR YEARS and that I’m not using it – this has happened for a variety of reasons and I will note some of them here though I’m sure it will not be exhaustive. I’ve just had the longest day at work and I met up with my aunt, my dad’s sister at lunch and that brought on a slew realisation of why I go silent. Big things, important things lie in the background that are horrible memories, unsavoury and unfair and they have to stay under the hood, to the point where it feels safer to do and say nothing.

Back to the blog and why I haven’t: reasons I can think of are as follows :-

  • NO TIME OR ENERGY (this year alone) – two kids, one dog (that’s also had cancer this year), two family members dying in 2019, a household of perpetually broken shit (on the fucking daily – probably to teach my spirit (obvs) not to base my corporeal life in the material) , full time work, commute, trying to see people I love in my spare time (which is fucking limited let’s face it) FUCKING BASE LEVEL HOUSEWORK (and to be fair there’s also nearly 100 plants under this roof at the moment) I feel fundamentally broken alot of the time. I often feel incredibly lonely in the place I used to call home.

 

  • Having a colleague at work tell me they’d read my blog. OK, note to self. Strong no to putting anything out there anymore.

 

  • Genuinely feeling fairly humiliated given the last almost three years I’ve lived. So that’ll come down to MASS RETICENCE.

 

  • A TOTAL CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE which I probably didn’t have to start with. There is no point in going into the whys and wherefores.

 

  • WHAT IF I GOT MISINTERPRETED.

 

  • I’ve wasted a fuck ton of potential blog time in 2019 on instagram.

 

  • Huge concern over any idea this could be a vanity project when I’m still picking up the pieces of my life and patching it up, there’s a tory government and the planet is basically on fire, my spare time has been spent doing laundry, fixing cupboards, meeting the emotional needs of two small people who have not been happy and so much flooding in this place we’ve called home. What point do these online things serve? Who are they for? It is: C.o.m.p.l.ex – but it also feels better than instagram…..