Monday, October 24, 2016

It's only a four year all clear post.

I just can't seem to let the 24th October go by without some kind of comment. Four years is simultaneously a lifetime ago, and scarily recent. I haven't banged on about it so much this year, but it is still very much in my thoughts. A lot has happened since that day, yet I can't help dwelling on it. It feels oddly lonely that it still means something to only me.

Today is also the first day of my first contact as a self enjoyed grown up, so I have lots to distract me.

Happy brain day to me.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Next chapter.

I've only flipping gone and done it - I am officially, and voluntarily, unemployed. Soon to be self employed. This may be what's known as a midlife crisis. Eek.

People often ask me if having kids has changed me. I mostly say no, I'm still me underneath, just more tired and a even more bedraggled, if that was ever possible. But I'm starting to notice that actually I have changed. I'm not so sure it's down to having kids, or even braingate, so much as just getting older.

I often find myself not giving much of a shit about things that would have previously bothered me. Like sitting in a pub on my own. Or having clean hair. I mean *not* having clean hair... what's clean hair? But at the same time I have become weirdly focussed on things that I care about.

Nowadays, I care about my children and spending time with them. But a lot of what I really like doing with them is expensive. It's sitting around with our friends in cafes and pubs and groups where they jump around and exhaust themselves. It's getting pizza for lunch and going to the London Transport Museum. It's buying comedy mini clothing and brand name trainers. (Guilty).

So I need to work. Not just to pay for all that stuff, but also to keep me sane. I love being useful at things and adding value, but only some of the time because I really, really want to see my children at least three days out of the week. Ok, four.

Having initially found my employer wasn't too keen on me only working three out of five days, I focussed on finding a way to go it alone, as a contractor. My plan was to earn a shed load of money - full time if I needed to - on an astronomical day rate, then take some time out of work to dally around in the cafes of Camberwell. So I gung-ho-style handed in my notice.

THREE MONTHS down the line, and I have finally left.

I have always been the most risk-averse person I know, except for Dad, so I'm not quite sure how I managed to convince myself to do this, and why I'm not more terrified. I have changed. The things that matter to me now, matter more than anything has ever mattered, and that makes the risk worthwhile. I am more confident, more willing to go for what I really want and genuinely excited that things are about to be very different. (And I'm also a little bit terrified...)

Hit me up if you need any freelance writing or project / change management doing :)

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Scan day 2016.

This morning I had my annual 'toe ring removal' panic, but it came off quite easily when I actually tried. And the whole day seemed to follow that example - things are far more frightening in the run up, but you just get on with it when you have to. And then it's done.

Since my last scan I had a fragment of metal stuck in my eye (don't ask, I don't know) which I ignored for quite a few weeks until it got nice and rusty and I had to have it scraped out over several sessions. Horrible as this was, it didn't occur to me, until I was in the waiting room this morning, what it would mean to have a piece of metal in my eye. They gave me an x-ray to make sure (thank you thank you NHS) and of course it was all fine. Just another thing to stress about.

And then there I was again, ears stuffed with plugs and sponges, knees resting on a pillow (new design from last year - very comfortable!) and my head lost in an oversized clanging washing machine for an indeterminable amount of time. Which was fine when I got there. I quite enjoyed the lying down part actually.

That might be because yesterday I got a bit drunk which is a rare occasion for me these days. I thought it would distract me and help me sleep. It did distract me for a bit, but sleep was not having any of it. Sleep doesn't like alcohol, or brain scans. So I woke up really early and fretted. The kids slept until after 8am, MIRACLE, so I caught up on some of yesterday's Olympics on my own on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. It was really nice.

Incidentally, I was thinking earlier. I wish I'd done one of those fashion blog things, of scan day attire, from the very beginning - I'd have quite a collection by now. It still causes me a lot of anxiety planning what to wear (mostly because I would rather do most things than go out in public not wearing a bra). And I already can't remember what I wore in the early days.

For future reference, today I sported some hareem pants, a long vest and short floppy top and a ridiculous sports type bra thing. I took a normal bra with me to immediately change into afterwards.


Two things worry me about scan days. One is that I feel glum and tetchy and defensive. I am rude and thoughtless and I blame it on the scan and get away with it. I know I shouldn't do this but I still do, which really annoys me. I feel like after all this time I should just get on with it, but instead I take advantage of scan day to get a bit more attention than normal. I should just grow up and stop whingeing.

The other thing is that deep down, I don't think there is anything wrong. (Hence why I shouldn't be moping around). So if it turns out there is actually something wrong then I am woefully unprepared for it, mentally. And then the doubts start to creep in, just to mentally prepare in case, and then I really am a bit jittery and emotional and we haven't even left the house yet.

I hate scan day. It forces me to think about things I don't want to think about. And it forces me to contemplate different potential futures and it makes me selfish and introspected and a total bore.

And it is so lonely. No matter how many people you have waiting outside (and I was lucky to have loads today, singing "if you're happy and you know it" so loud I could hear it during the x-ray") you still have to do the scan alone. Nobody else is in that room. And it's so lonely in my thoughts too. Not for the first time, I wish I could swap brains.

Roll on results day HA. Not.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Angry days.

I am a seething bag of fury at the moment. It has been steadily bubbling since Friday, when more than half of the people who bothered to vote in the EU referendum chose to make our country worse. It hasn't been my first taste of political frustration (erm, last May anyone?) but it has hit me much harder. I feel actual nausea, how did this happen?

And THEN, I found out that my application to work three days a week was rejected. Although not yet clear on the reasons, it has really made me angry. Angry because I am effectively being forced to choose between my career and my family. Angry on behalf of all womenkind.

Is it any wonder that there are so few female CEOs or senior management or directors? I have of course heard it all before, but somehow it didn't sink in. I guess it wasn't relevant to me, and I didn't think about the mechanics. Well, now it is.

I am furious because I'm not done working yet. Me and my parents and various previous employers have invested huge amounts in training me up to be a valuable asset. I could have the best qualifications in the world, but because of the lack of flexibility in the medium term (two years), I am looking at chucking it all in to work as a school secretary, or a waitress.

Not exactly the role model I wanted to be. So bloody predictable. And to top it off, we'll have to move out of London and live amongst the Leave voters.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The news.

It's been quite I while since I felt compelled to write. My voice feels increasingly irrelevant, and in the wake of yesterday's news continues to be, but I finally feel compelled again. 

Today, Rae turns one. I have just been up with her shushing and patting and feeding and squeezing and crying. And now it's 4:30am and I've come back to bed to write a blog post. 

Once upon a time I was obsessed with the news. All through my life I can date things I have done by events in the national and international press. I would scour my favourite news sites before I got out of bed every morning and any time I got a couple of minutes to spare throughout the day. I participated in lively discussions about current affairs. Not any more. 

I've always been emotional but since being ill and having children it's become ridiculous. I cry at everything, I've learnt to hide it quite effectively most of the time. Adverts get me, songs, my own mental thoughts, but worst of all, news stories. 

A few months ago now I stopped reading the news. I went cold turkey and at first I got loads of time back and revelled in my complete ignorance of what was going on in the world. I actively shunned conversations about the refugees, about economic cuts and our completely out of touch and cruel government. It felt comforting to not think about it, protected from the bad news. 

I feel guilty about it though. I don't like reading about, particularly the refugees, because I feel guilty, and unfairly lucky. It reminds me what we have, and the fact I have done nothing to deserve the good fortune of being born in the UK, to intelligent, kind and hard working parents. To have a family of my own, and a support network I can rely on. A house. Maternity leave. Two heart wrenching children. A life. 

I feel guilty for what I have in comparison, and I feel guilty for not having the emotional resilience to read about others or be able to help. So I have basically stuck my head in the sand. 

Social media is now my main pointer to world events, which is hardly a good indicator - my faith shattered after the Tory win in the general election last year (still hurts). 

Already emotional about Rae's impending first birthday, and my dreaded return to work, yesterday's shooting and stabbing of an mp has really got to me. Regardless of the political leanings of the victim, this is shocking news - have we really come to this? I can't quite get my head round it.

But then to hear about Jo Cox and the integrity and intelligence and kindness that she is, and the dignity of her husband in the wake of disaster, the fact she is northern, compassionate, an incredible role model for our children, a mother. I can't understand the unfairness, I am so upset. 

And once again I am given some perspective. There are more important things than poos on the kitchen floor and who last emptied the dishwasher. Today, Rae turns one. I want the best world possible for her to grow up in, people like Jo Cox to inspire her. 

I think it's time I started listening again.