the crazies

Sometimes I forget how bat-shit-crazy my family are (and not in a good way) until I’m trying to explain it to someone else. Sometimes they’re more ridiculous than mean. Take the other day for example, when my 22yr old sister was being a nightmare, not in her usually mean way but more sort of childish (as in, pretending she couldn’t hear me, singing really loudly when I was talking, that kind of thing) and then decided she wanted me to give her a lift to the train station. I wasn’t really in the mood to do anything to help her until I remembered that in giving her a lift to the station to visit her boyfriend, she’d be out of the way for a while.

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So we were pottering along in my car, she pretending not to notice I was there, and me contentedly daydreaming about my soon-to-be-empty house. When we’re almost there she suddenly acknowledges my presence and mentions a birthday present we had planned to get together for our mum. I happened to mumble that I had thought we were getting her something else and BAM, she flipped the switch into crazytown. All of a sudden she was screaming at me, obviously quite upset about this joint birthday present misunderstanding. The train station was in sight across the road and since her screaming and arm flailing in my face was quite distracting when I was trying to drive, I suggested pulling up and walking, but no, out came the phone, she dialled The Crazy Mum, and informed her that I was ‘refusing to drive her to the train station’. I tried to shh her- you should never bait the beast that is The Crazy Mum, it’s kind of like:

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and said I’d drive the 2 minutes further if she’d stop screaming. She then decides, out of the blue, to tell mum I slapped her.

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Just to clarify, I did not slap her. Firstly, I was driving, and secondly, secondly, why?!

Apparently that had awakened The Crazy Mum- by the time I’d dropped the sister off at the station, still wailing away, I’d had a text from The Crazy Mum- I was ‘not welcome to return home that day’.

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Ah well. Regardless of the harpies I’m still pretty happy so here, have a happy song: Ride A White Swan, T.Rex

I’m baaaack…

Do you ever have those days where you feel like you’re going crazy?

Not like this:

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Or this:

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But more sort of:

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I had to go back home to my mum today which I have not been looking forward to. All the drive home I was in a foul mood and was sort of hoping the weather would be too; bad moods feel a lot more justified if it’s also stormy/dramatic but no, it had to be gloriously sunny, which just made my bad mood look a bit ridiculous:

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It was the combination of seeing mum and anxiety brain which was making me all:

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and on the way to a full scale meltdown. I, at almost 21 years of age, was this close to a 5yr old temper tantrum: why do I have to have a crazy-bully mum, it’s not fair… and so on. So I, at almost 21 years of age, like a mature and respectable adult, resolved said almost-tantrum by getting the biggest easter egg I could scavenge, putting on ‘Inside Out’, making a nest of defence on the sofa with my fat terrier and slightly less fat lab, and proceeding to demolish the egg.

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If resolving your own tantrums isn’t being an adult then I don’t know what is.

 

anxiety brain

So today Kieran went out for the evening, and while he was out I stayed at his house, had dinner with his parents and watched a film. They’re lovely people and lately I’ve been WAY more confident, so 9 times out of 10 I can behave like a normal human being around them. I just want to stress how lovely they are, and how much they try to make me comfortable, and normally it works. It was a lovely evening.

Except.

Except.

Right before uni, I kind of defeated my anxiety more than I’ve ever done before and don’t have to deal with it nearly as much, and as if to reward me for this victory it doesn’t pop up much but when it does, it’s when I least expect it. Like tonight. Meal, film, friendly parents, all I had to do was behave like a normal human. BAM. Anxiety brain pops up, and, oh, what d’you know, I’m battling it all evening. It’s the anxiety brain that makes you forget how to do things like answer the phone/talk/move your limbs as if you actually control them/speak English. I was determined it wouldn’t make me mute again and we wouldn’t spend the evening like this:

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To anyone else, it was a chance to relax, no worries involved. To me (anxiety brain) it was an evening of constant pitfalls where I could make a muppet of myself. Thing is, I know I’m a nice person to talk to. Kieran knows it. So do his parents. Anxiety brain, not so much. So it was me vs anxiety brain all evening. All of a sudden I couldn’t remember how to make conversation- what did people talk about again? Weather? Work? What? Tried to tell them about my course, all of a sudden forgot what I was studying. Remembered it was English. Suddenly forgot how to say English. The word didn’t sound right, was I saying it right? Tried to talk as if I was a human and not a nervous wreck: how long did people make eye contact for? Forgot what they were talking about whilst trying to maintain correct eye-contact time length. Never mind the fact that I’ve known these people for over a year and am comfortable around them, anxiety brain was having NONE OF THAT.

Tried to help in the kitchen.

Thinking: I’ll just loiter here for a bit, see if they need help

Anxiety brain: You should stand silently for a bit, and then leave without saying anything.

Me: What? Why? You sure?

Anxiety brain: Totally. Leave the room without saying anything, then come back in a few minutes later and repeat.

Me: Ok, great, I’ll just hang about in the hallway for a bit and try to remember how to talk.

Kieran’s mum tries to hand me a plate of food.

Thinking: Yeah I’ll just take that, I know how to control my hands, I can DO that.

Anxiety brain: What would happen if you dropped it? You should drop that. Drop it. Drop it now.

Aaargh.

During dinner:

Anxiety brain: You haven’t said anything good in a while. You should talk now… But we have nothing to talk about. But you should also eat and drink whilst making conversation.

Try to do all three at the same time and almost choke. Now look like a person who cannot feed themselves.

Thank god Kieran’s parents are wonderful!

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wander-panic

Lately it seems like there’s a lot of pressure on younger people to be doing so much stuff in a short space of time. They’re somehow meant to be uni-ing/travelling/working at an amazing job/doing an internship/maintaining a perfect social life all at once. Facebook and social media makes this so much worse- people only share the best bits of their lives, but if you look at it all added together on their profile it looks as if they’re always living the most perfect life, as if they’ve managed to get something amazing out of every second. It seems like 18-25 yr olds in particular are being judged if they’re not doing everything people think they should; it used to be that going to uni was sufficient for the judgey people to think you were doing enough with your life, and now Facebook has a whole category of people ready to judge you if you’re not planning to drop everything and travel to Australia to become a kangaroo whisperer RIGHT NOW- it’s not wanderlust, it’s wander-panic. I’ve heard quite a few people worrying that they should be doing this placement or that holiday, not because they want to, but because they think they should. If people want these things, and manage to achieve them, then I think that’s great, but it’s also ok if you’re not doing all this stuff. You should be travelling when you want to travel, because it’s somewhere you really want to go, you feel ready for it, you’ve been saving or looking forward to it, not because you’ve just seen someone you once went to school with post an album entitled something like ‘finding myself in Thailand’. People seem to be genuinely stressing out that they aren’t achieving all the stuff they think they’re meant to be achieving at this age, and it seems to me that it’s also important to remember you should only be doing that stuff when you want to. You have all your life to do everything you want to. A lot of my friends are travelling now and I don’t know if it’s because I’ve done one of those significant travelling adventures already, or just because I’m not suffering from wanderlust at this point in time, but I’m happy where I am right now. I know a lot of people who didn’t travel in their twenties, saved up for it and did it later in life and still had the best time ever doing it.

What this long-winded ramble is trying to say is that it’s ok if you’re not doing everything right now. You shouldn’t be doing stuff because everyone else is doing it, you should be doing it because you want to; it’s your life and not theirs after all! For instance, my course had an option to study abroad this year and while it was an amazing opportunity, I preferred to stay at my uni. I’d spent ages choosing this uni, I’d had the first year to settle in and had relaxed into it enough by the second year to enjoy it even more; I was loving my course and loving being at uni, and I don’t think I would have been this happy if I’d gone away. People seem almost scared to tell people if they’re not doing some life-altering thing over the summer- it’s ok if you’re not. If what you’re doing is making you happy then that’s the perfect thing for you. If you’re spending your days reading, writing, drawing and it’s making you happy then that’s great. If you go climb a mountain and it makes you happy that’s great. If you do nothing more than go outside and see something beautiful or the sun or the rain and it makes you happy then that’s great too. As long as it makes you happy, you’re living your life just the way you’re supposed to.

I’m sort of ashamed to admit this, but just to show things on Facebook shouldn’t be taken as 100% genuine: my sister (my own sister, the shame) once came downstairs the morning after a party to ask me to take a picture of her pretending to be hungover and asleep on the couch, so she could put it on Facebook with the caption ‘must have had a good time at the party because my sister found me like this’.

Bit embarrassing.

Hyperion’s cattle

Last year we had to write some poetry for a creative writing module and I’m awful at poetry, but we were writing it on mythology which I love. I did mine as a take on the Odyssey: this one’s based on the part where Odysseus and his men ignored a prophecy and ate the cattle of Hyperion, the Sun god- basically Odysseus had been warned by the prophet Tiresias not to do this (as if it was a good idea anyway) or he and his men wouldn’t get back home, and they went ahead and did it anyway, and since I’ve been missing studying mythology and classics and latin and stuff, I thought I’d share my terrible first year poetry attempt with you:

Hyperion’s cattle

How hard was it.

Don’t eat the cattle.”

Teiresias had told them, 

even the goddess Circe.

If they committed this one violation, 

they wouldn’t get back.

It had been said so plainly

I still can’t quite believe they did it.

Back then, oracles and goddesses

all used to blather on at length;

and if you got any meaning from it,

all the better for you.

Yet this time, Circe had stated a singular

clear, concise warning,

four words.

Don’t eat the cattle.”

Even Teiresias, who could’ve 

out-chattered a monkey,

had reined back his blustering,

as if he suspected Odysseus might need him to

(maybe he was a bit simple)

Don’t eat the cattle.”

And this man, this one, great,

foolish, obnoxious legend,

who had to be warned not to eat

a god’s pet cows, 

parroted the warning to the other buffoons, so all would know.

Don’t eat the cattle”. 

All their longing to get home,

the incessant grieving, hand-wringing,

foot-stamping, moaning, groaning,

weeping desire to get back to that crummy rock,

all the immortal, divine provisions they’d been given,

all the dire, hair-on-end warnings, it wasn’t enough. 

For someone to be that foolish, I guess nothing would be.

Guess what.

They ate the cattle.

hidden terrier 2

After the first video, I found this one which is my favourite. He had really buried himself this time, and I’d tried to get him out a couple times which he did not want to do- apparently he preferred being stuck in a blanket sandwich- but when someone arrived he regretted his decision. I had to make a Vimeo account to share this with you, which was very scary and confusing for a technology-cursed person such as myself, but totally worth it because see:

 

crouching blanket, hidden terrier

Despite the fact that he’s clearly not that fussed about me, I’ m very excited to see my little terrier again, and kinda just had to share this video of him. To explain: his name is Panda, and he’s very odd in that he likes to submerge himself in blankets, like so:

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That picture is one of the rare times when he’s kind enough to leave his head out- when I say submerge, I mean he not only covers himself like that picture; he somehow wraps himself up in several blankets and buries his head in too, so that he’s impossible to see, and then lies completely still like a little terrier trap, so that you have to test-prod a blanket to make sure he’s not in there. When I say you can’t see him- there have been so many mini-heart-attacks where I’ve gone to sit on an innocent-looking blanket on the couch and let out a little ‘SQUEEEE’ sound when it’s suddenly moved. To be fair, sometimes he’s polite enough to let you know he’s there and does a little ‘grrr’ when you go to sit down but most of the time he’s a little bugger about it and if you have accidentally sat on him (of course, I’ve never done that…*ahem*…) he looks incredibly offended, abandons you on the couch, and goes to hide himself under another layer of blankets. Which brings me to the video. He’d hid himself in blankets again, and I only knew he was in there because when I’d tried to sit there he’d politely farted to warn me of his presence. He likes to dig himself so deep in blankets that he can’t always get out straightaway, but he does not like it if you try to get him out of his blankets, and has “grrrr“d several times to remind me of this. Anyways, as I was trying to get a video of him to prove how unseeable he is when he hides, I managed to capture this as someone arrived at the door:

pet love

One time I was on my way home from uni,  waiting for mum to pick me up from the train station, and there was a middle-aged couple standing next to me with the teeniest tiniest little terrier. He was clearly very excited and bouncing around and happened on one of these bouncings to bounce over to me. The couple trotted over after him to apologise- ‘We’re so sorry, he must have thought you were our daughter, she’s coming back from uni tonight and we’re waiting to pick her up, he hasn’t seen her in 4 months’. As they were speaking the daughter in question had arrived, at which point the teeny tiny little terrier wiggled away from us and launched himself at her.

I waited for my mum amidst all the happy squeaks of the terrier and the “AWWW”s of the daughter and was thinking affectionately of my little fat terrier, who’s no longer a puppy:

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but is still the cutest thing ever:

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He’s almost 14 now and kinda smelly but I can’t actually remember a time when he hasn’t been around. He hadn’t seen me in 4 months either- mum said she’d bring him along to pick me up, and so I was thinking he’d be bouncing around all excited to see me too, so when she pulled up in front of the train station I threw the car door open and stood with my arms open expectantly, waiting for the welcome to begin. Sat on the front seat was my fat little terrier. At the sound of the door opening he looked me up and down as though he could not be more unimpressed and pulled a face which just said: ‘Don’t even think about trying to move me out the front seat’.

Rude.

sandal socks

So for Christmas Kieran got given these by his parents:

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Behold: these are sandal socks, which he loves. He gets a lot of laughs out of them, pulling pranks and just generally pretending to be an old man in socks and sandals, so I thought I’d get him these:

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I think he likes them.

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