Seeing as it is 3.24am and I am so, so very awake with insomnia it seemed fitting when I originally titled this post “The End of The World As We Know It” but, hey, that’s not a good way for me to contribute to anyone’s day.
Even happy people get grumpy sometimes. Lack of sleep normally. Having written this post as three examples of why I feel glum and irritated this sleepless week, I am quite chuffed to see that I can retitle it as ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ and it all still works with minimal tweaks.
It’s all a matter of perspective. Cup half full. Things end, thus freeing us up for new beginnings. To quote my fave movie character: “Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera”.*
1) I have no more shame: I am becoming a regular bra-less leaver-of-the-house.
This morning: dry cleaners, newsagents, bakers, pet shop. Schwanging free.
Nothing bad happened.
I could say hurry up abscess and do one but I’m weirdly hesitant.
A little voice in my head says, “hey, don’t be ashamed, doesn’t it feel good to not be trussed up all the time? Your backache seems to have settled down…” and rubs me gently and reassuringly on the arm……….
Then I step back from the brink. The last shreds of my dignity have withered away with the last shreds of elasticity in the ligaments in my breasts. What have I become?
Actually: no one different to who I was an abscess ago but with one less semi-irrational hang up.
I am going to celebrate it all as a positive step towards the complete self-acceptance that any forty-something woman should be embracing. Today I celebrated by wearing a funky oversized tee covered in broad horizontal stripes, the ultimate rebellion in pattern choice for the short and fat. I looked really summery. Like a trendy windbreak.
Goodbye builder’s whistles, I don’t expect I will hear you again.
2) Most of the UK’s humanity: since when does losing mean behaving like that?
I am wistful about the UK General Election result (whichever way I vote, I accept that the due process has been carried out and we now need to get on with it, even when it doesn’t go my way) but I am galled and truly saddened by the spiteful anti-social behaviour of a number of (mostly) Labour voters over the past several days. Some of the vitriol has been shocking, unacceptable and uncalled for.
I am not overly political, I don’t have that kind of oomph or intellect, but I do give a shit in my limited, rarely get a chance to watch the news, way.
Before I break up the soapbox to make burning torches to defend my property, well done to the over 33% who still didn’t make the effort to vote.
Apparently the UK ranks 76th in the world for voter turnout. In the (unrelated) Quality of Life Index, 76th position is held by China. Maybe those of the 33% who were apathetic (as opposed to incapacitated in some way) could go live there and learn about democracy.
Seems I am a hater too.
I had been trying to write an election-related blog post for a while. A month ago, I fired off an email question to six candidates standing in my constituency about their positions on home education. Two replies (Greens and Lib Dems). Nothing from the Conservatives or Labour, UKIP or the other nutters – the Class War Party.
On a tangent – The Class War Party – W. T. F. ? With only five candidates across the whole country, I wonder why one chose to stand in Croydon South – a 50%+ Tory majority since forever – well done to the 65 angry 18 year olds who voted for him: did you drive to the polling station in the new car that your Tory Dad bought you?
The Green Party candidate, Peter Underwood, was the only one to send back a fantastic response, not only in terms of their position on home ed but also its warmth, genuineness and the obvious time taken to make a personal comment. It was then followed up by another excellent email from the Croydon Greens. Wonderful.
Big. Up. Greenies.
Poor Peter was also fighting a hard battle in Croydon South, there’s more new 4x4s as second cars around here than there are baked bean cans in food banks.
In a dirty-fought election where many politicians were being slated for their looks rather than their beliefs, I was never over confident about Peter’s chances. This is not Shropshire. BBC CountryFile: that’s how we Croydon South’ers do rural. Vicariously. On the telly. Wearing North Face.
We are scared of livestock.
In real life, we drive out into Sussex at the weekend and go to nice neat National Trust properties or perhaps to a bigger garden centre than our local urban one because we are chasing down a particular type of Japanese Acer, then we then go to a quaint pub. Then we get twitchy about the lack of 4G and go home.
So the other night I’m sat up again, sleepless, watching BBC News and feeling at a loss for less-than-Great Britain and I noticed I had received another email from Peter with his post-election thoughts, here is the most important part:
Look after each other. Whatever party we voted for, we must understand that a lot of people will be very upset and angry at the election result. It is important that we don’t turn that anger on each other and lash out at friends and neighbours. There will also be a lot of people who now fear that they may lose their job or have their pay/hours cut and will no longer be able to pay their bills. Others fear having their benefits cut or removed altogether. We need to look after each other, making sure that we offer all the support we can to those in most need.
What a human being. Shame on a lot of us.
A timely reminder that in reality only a small part of our contribution is rocking up to vote for someone we’ll likely never meet in person. It’s what we do every day, dawn til dusk and at 3.24am that counts. We can make a positive peaceful difference whoever is in power.
3) There is no fucking Santa. No tooth fairy either.
Yes. Chez DNH, we have hit that most dreaded milestone. I wasn’t ready. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I cried for hours.
We have been on the cusp for a long time. Husband and I have tried all sorts of tactics from acting confused and surprised, changing the subject, laughing it off, turning questions on questions.
Tooth fairy only really lasted for the first two or three teeth. Money is an excellent motivator to feign believe for Mummy’s sake when a quid is a lot of money. Unfortunately this 7.5 year old talks tenners and is adamant fairies don’t exist.
A tooth came out the other night. Daughter didn’t even want to look to see if the fairy had been. In fact, the pound coin is still sat, wrapped up prettily, somewhere in the bed two days later. She looked at me with such frustration and hurt and asked me why I kept lying to her that I knew she knew. So we had a chat about that.
Seems that this little Aspie didn’t appreciate the whole fun make-believe side of things. From her perspective, we had lied to her. There was no justification for that. It was going to take a long time to forgive and trust us again.
Immediately I knew what was coming: she asked again whether Father Christmas was a lie too.
I WAS NOT READY FOR THIS! Not the conversation, the end of the belief!!! I was physically shaking! I very briefly toyed with the idea of spontaneously doing the full-blown birds and bees chat instead, gambling that the concept of sex would horrify her enough that she needed to cling onto the idea of Santa for a couple more years…
Yeah, I’m not that bad.
The first chinks appeared when daughter was five and we caught her analysing the most recent visit to Father Christmas photo with the one from the previous year. Oh how stupid were we to get that out…
Santa’s eyesight had got better (well, maybe he had got contacts!), he’d lost a lot of weight (you know, when you are older the doctor can tell you to lose weight to stay healthy!), his face shape had completely changed (are you sure? I think it’s just different lights, he’s more shadowy in that photo!) and… and…
Feck. The guilt. We ruined it.
A couple of years and a diagnosis later, I feel a lot less guilty. We have a highly-sceptical-about-all-things-fantasy-and-fanciful young lady. One of the only 7 year old girls in the country who hates Frozen. What with the year-round flip-flop wearing, Mummy never really got to build a snowman and she never got to sing about it either.
Sometimes when it’s the little things in life that suck, they truly suck hairy ass. I just want to sing Let It Go from start to end at the top of my voice in my own home without causing a meltdown. Can that really be too much to ask? Anyway…………
Eventually we got past the “you are terrible, you have been lying to MILLIONS OF KIDS ALL OVER THE WORLD!” moment and daughter conceded that it was not all my fault, I was not acting alone and I had acted (in theory) with the best intentions.
It turns out that for as long as she can remember she has dreaded Christmas due to Father Christmas. We haven’t done the traditional visit since she was 5 but I thought it was more to do with sensory overload that she hated it. More recently I assumed that the novelty had worn off, we had made the first concession that the men at the shopping centres were not the real Father Christmas, just his helpers.
It turns out that daughter was pretty confused by it all, that we “would let a stranger come in our house, let a stranger decide if I had been good or bad and let a stranger choose which presents I got”.
It was obvious with hindsight. She had never once been truly excited to hang up a stocking. It was more than the insistence we left it downstairs (a phase we knew many kids go through).
She gave reasonably good fake excited, I’m sure hubby would be shocked to read this, but I never felt she wanted much to do with it all. She’d go through the motions of getting the milk and mince pie and carrots ready if she had to, but was just as happy to let me do it.
For a little Aspie with huge anxieties, it must have been an awful feeling that every year this strange man came in our house, crept about, didn’t want us to see him…
I had a proper weep. Selfishly I am sad it’s all over (forever!) but I’m just kidding myself that it ever was what I wanted it to be.
On the other hand, I am so thrilled that at last, as she put it, daughter can look forward to her perfect christmas “it’s just where all the family share presents to say how much we love each other”.
I am looking forward to it too.
*The King from The King and I