Saturday, 26 January 2013

Eeeeeeeeeeee... is that a pow-nd?

Love it. Saturday morning shopping. I don't do it often because the buzz of shopping has long since faded for me, partly, I suspect that I seem to have reached a shoe impasse (I just don't need them) and a clothes impasse (I just have enough. Possibly for the rest of my life) and one doesn't go shopping for DVDs and CDs anymore on the High Street. My early teen rituals of Woolworths, Boots, HMV, Virgin Megastore, small, independent record shop, WH Smith and Past Times (don't judge me) are no more.

The mecca of Miss Selfridge holds no sway. I'm too old and unutterably uninterested in fashion for High Street clothes shopping and I can't afford (or, most likely, fit into) the things I actually like (Westwood, McQueen et al), so it's charity shops and vintage all the way really.

All of which is tres 2013, but renders a Saturday morning shopping 'outing' pointless. But it's York Resident's Week and, when I was out last night, it snowed softly and steadily, until York was beautiful under a soft carpet of white. I wanted to experience that this morning, rather than sit inside and write and write and write, like some literary badger on a treadmill.

I woke up to a view of gleaming, sugar topped old houses and churches from my bedroom window, frozen in timeless beauty against the true blue of a mid-winter sky. It would just be wrong to not wrap up warm and treat myself to a coffee while wandering round, most likely hallo-ing fellow snow adventurers in manner of Dickens characters on Christmas morning.

I stepped out of my door. Into a foot of grey, noxious mush. A large lady used her buggy as a battering ram, such was her haste to get to Greggs. Teenagers stood, still in hotpants, laconically looking bored. The Minster FM music pumped from round the corner where they have set up a stage on Parliament Street.


I pick my way through puddles of deep, deep slush, wondering all the while how it's possible to be melting so fast but the in between puddles parts are still like sheet ice. A slow, painful crab walk took me to my new estate agents, where I handed over £1,400 for new flat expenses. That only includes the first three weeks rent.

Buying leggings in New Look took an hour, as there were actual squaws (my collective noun for the following) of really rather large ladies, apparently very much from Gateshead, on a big ol' trip to York, shrieking at the bargains to be had. "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, is that lipstick a pow-nd. Ah don't need it, liek, but it's a POW-ND", "Eeeeeeeeeeeeee, what're we liek, man? Wah're speendaholics!"

They were dead nice actually and so, so, so pleased at discovering the hard-to-find exclusivity of a branch of New Look that I uncharacteristically wasn't angry, just a bit bored waiting in the mile long queue.

I wandered around Coppergate because I like the church and was cheered by a snow-viking outside of the Viking Centre, but he was already melting, his head slipping sadly to the right as if he knows, that no matter how many tourists come, his glory days are over.

A food shop in M&S, which entailed a 15 minute discussion with the lovely, helpful man about rolled oats, their seeming dearth and their apparent complete absence from M&S's stock (that's odd in a place that sells tiny bits of dessicated coconut and things like ready made gravy, don't you think?), and then it was back, through the pie-eating masses huddling round my front door and home. Somehow £1,400 down and strangely unsatisfied.

Friday, 25 January 2013

That time again...

Every now and again you may have noticed that my blog goes quiet.

Maybe you don’t notice. I don’t know. Probably not. Why would you?

See, I’m doing it again. One of my problems is overthinking. And at certain times this gets much, much worse until I feel like I’m living in a prison of my own thoughts, the only escape route being to hide and sleep as much as humanly possible.

It actually comes pretty regularly, this period of self imposed blog silence. Purely coincidentally I’m sure, it’s at the time that my endometriosis destroys me, mentally and physically. You see, as soon as that feeling kicks in, and this can be anything up to 7 days before I’m due to enjoy my monthly treat of being a woman (yep, this is a post about my periods. Hi!), I can flip from being completely energetic, relatively sane and pretty calm to a feeling of creeping doubt.

Now, I know the second it starts to creep in. I feel its cold, clammy fingers sliding over my shoulders while it whispers in my ear, like some malevolent horror from The X Files. Not so much the devil on my shoulder as the paranoid fucktard in my head.

From confident gal about York, who has few problems rolling with the punches, deflecting banter, and judging situations appropriately (ie. someone you thought was a friend acts like a dick. Consistently and repeatedly. Even after you try and talk to that person about it on the basis that you thought there was a friendship there. Do you a) allow that person to leave your life with a bit of sadness but a minimum of fuss and regret and put it down to the fact that this happens, people move on, people are often not who you think when you first meet them or do you b) become really really quite upset about said person and worry yourself sick that you did/said/thought something that then caused their behaviour towards you, thus taking on the blame for every single personal interaction on yourself and hating yourself for being an intrinsically unlikeable fool? This is the kind of shit that I have to deal with every second of every day in my crazy freaking head during the Dark Times) I become a pain-wracked, anaemic, hemorrhaging, trembling, grey-pallored, weak and feeble, paranoid, weepy, rather unbalanced, neurotic wraith.

I feel like I’m apart from my actual self, such is the pain and head fog, and it is difficult to maintain a normalish persona throughout the working day. The biggest downside is being over sensitive. I mean, chronically, ridiculously, hysterically over sensitive. Stuff that would usually be dismissed with a witty riposte strikes where it’s not really meant to and lodges there to be churned around in my crazy mind, until I’m barely able to differentiate friend from total enemy.

The best possible thing I could do under these circumstances would be to gracefully retire from the world for 5-7 days, depending on how long it takes for the fog/agonising pain to clear. And then emerge, mysteriously and into the social sphere, as if I may have been gone for romantic or nefarious reasons, perhaps involving a Sheikh, peeled grapes and a hookah.

But life being what it is, I just grind to a halt. All the fun things I have recently populated my life with - classes, friends, projects - have to be put on hold as I crawl through the day and retire, whimpering slightly, to bed at 8pm, to sleep the sleep of the damned for 12 or 13 hours, awake unrefreshed and in pain and start all over again.

The good thing is that since diagnosis and subsequent operation to burn the endometriosis from my womb, I have known with relative surety that I am not, in fact, going completely insane every month and that it is actually a chronic illness. It is no more my fault than is the lottery of being born a woman and I should give myself a freaking break about it.

Too many years have been spent beating myself up that I shouldn’t be this incapacitated just because I’m on my period. And society’s general reactions to women with PCOS, endometriosis, any hormonal or period issues being what they are, ie. usually an eye roll and a tut, along with (from lucky women) the thought that period pain isn’t that bad and (from clueless men) bet she’s exaggerating.

This time, finally being lucky enough to be working with actual human beings who are intrinsically kind, I didn’t feel the pressure that I’ve been under in the past (not that I take time off work, but just not being under the constant threat of losing my job if superhuman levels are not reached is a relief). And I took care of myself. I cancelled classes, social life and everything else and gave myself the time to rest and sleep.

And today was the first day this week that I woke up with normal amounts of pain for a period and normal amounts of headfog, ie. none. I can think straight, I don’t feel like the worst person in the world, I don’t have crippling guilt about something extremely non specific and I don’t think that, just because a couple of people have been shitty to me, that necessarily means I’m a bad person.

It’s a long and lonely road is endometriosis and I’ve finally bitten the bullet and been to the doctor again. Which means hospital again. And most likely an operation again. The only other alternative is to have a baby and I just read an article that says it now costs a QUARTER OF A MILLION to raise a child up to the age of 21 so that’s never going to happen. So operation it is.

And back to blogging without fear. Yayyyyyyyyyyy.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Fear of falling...

When it's icy and snowy and the pavements are frosted over with sparkling crystals I am filled with a sense of wonder at the beauty of nature and experience an ever-present frisson of excitement.

I have never grown past my love of snow and ice. For so long when I was growing up, winters were so disappointingly grey and early spring-like. It was like early March right from September to April. That icy blast of winter never came.

And so that novelty feeling of a proper winter will never leave me I don't think. Breathing early morning air in sub zero temperatures is one of the very real pleasures of my life. I like walking during a winter sunrise and watching muted colours parting to reveal bursts of sheer radiance. Like a painting but real and vital and there in front of me.

I also always have a perverse feeling of gladness when anything out of the ordinary happens to disrupt routines. It's true. I'm not proud of it. But it is true. Maybe not being able to get into work or wherever you need to go, maybe routes being closed and having to walk, maybe people not coming in because they can't get off their driveway - it makes daily life a bit more interesting. I daresay it's mostly because I still get the feeling that it might be a snow day. Even though our schools never closed because of snow. Ever. And my parents were very much the kind that had no truck with that kind of nonsense.

These days schools barely seem to stay open during winter. And I always think how much I hated school and how ace it was to get a gift of a random day off. It's probably not as easy these days to skive off so I reckon the generations are even in the end.

So, even though I still don't have a working boiler. Oh yeah, you don't think a blog post could go by without a mention do you? I am currently fighting with the MD of the letting agents who is very, very keen to tell me that he and his staff are awesome and not actually fixing the motherFUCKING boiler. I've kind of become dependent on them, truth be told. If I didn't email them at least twice every day and hear their latest fuckwit rationalisation, well, I'd miss them. I think we've become codependent, between you and I. It can only end badly. After I've moved, I'll probably be phoning them and hanging up just so I can hear their voices.

And for this week only they've given me access to the flat beneath mine, which happens to be a holiday let and is relatively plush. It looks like your granny selected the decor but it's all very nice. Sunday afternoon was spent enjoying the luxury of a sofa, actual central heating and, best of all, a hot shower. The first for over 14 days. It's nice to have somewhere warm to go but as Fatty can't join me I don't feel able to stay down there much. Plus my friends are getting very covetous over a certain art deco lamp down there. I should probably keep them out of temptation's way.

But back to the snow and ice. For all its beauty and divine wonderment. For all it makes a shitty, 'orrible street look gorgeous and Narnia-like, it makes me walk like an 80 year old mental patient who has very probably shat her pants on the way to work. I just can't walk normally. I'm absolutely certain I will fall as soon as I set foot on it, despite the act that this has never happened to me in my life, and despite the fact that  I'm wearing heavy duty Dr Marten boots, the like of which Alexei Sayle would be proud. All I have to do is walk. You know. Normally.

But people keep lapping me. Small children. Actual old people. People just walk like it's normal while I adopt the shuffling gait of Tena Lady's finest customer. I get to the bridge over the Foss and slow down to an absolute tiny shuffle. In my head I visualise me doing a Bambi thing where my legs splay out and I can't get my balance. That's all that I can see. Sliding over onto my arse. Presumably it's an embarrassment thing? My usual mistake of thinking anyone would give a shit if I fell over or if I ran down the street naked. No one, especially in the morning, gives a fuck what anyone else does, as long as they don't get in the way or try and engage them in conversation. So what makes me walk like Hilda Ogden after a stroke? In case I break my hip? In case my dentures fall out? What's wrong with me?

I want to walk to work tomorrow, but as it's 2.75 miles and it takes me about an hour to get to the bus stop at the moment I don't think it's going to happen. I might just grab on to someone's coat tails and let them drag me along. Or hold on to the back of the bus a la Marty McFly. Or I might just be brave and walk like a fucking normal person. What's the worst that can happen?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A Christmas story

Scene 1 - Shortly before Christmas. A small cottage in Long Marston.

Me: Ma, can I have your new glowy Kindle Paperwhite that a man you don't even like gave you  if you don't ever use it because you can't figure out how it works?

Ma: Yes of course.

NB: (This has happened on every occasion when my ma has been the recipient of anything even slightly technological. Every single occasion. So I wasn't being an acquisitive bitch. Well, I was but it was OK. Look, it's my MOTHER, ok? That's what she's for. Shut up.)

Cut to/

Scene 2 - Shortly after Christmas. A small, arse-clenchingly freezing flat in York

Me [sad voice]: Oh. So you've got the hang of it then?

Ma [nonchalantly]: Of course Debbie. I'm not stupid you know.

Me [thought]: She's never off the damn thing. Searching and downloading and reading and using it in all its glowing touchscreen glory.

I go back to my first gen and try and pretend it doesn't matter.

But I weep inside. It doesn't even have, gulp, touchscreen. Sometimes I find myself uselessly jabbing at it, confusion reigning in my breast. And then. Then I remember.

It's a Christmas tragedy.

Suck on that Dickens.

That's what Twitter is made of

Since my self imposed Facebook exile, which - since you ask - is going marvellously - I have turned towards the Twitter hate machine. And I do like it. I find funny things, interesting things and snark. So much snark. And, as we all know, I love snark.

But jesuuuuuuuuuuuus is the snark not overwhelming sometimes? I still follow a lot of the gaming industry - developers and press and the like - so perhaps that’s what’s skewing my view. But post after post of boring, bitter bile feels a little overwhelming sometimes. Like no one anywhere likes anything at all ever.  

There is one rule for snark - that it makes one person, even if that’s just the writer, laugh. That’s the point of snarking. It’s not just slagging off everything. It’s a well balanced analysis of things and stuff to display righteous disdain and superior intellect. And snigger. It’s making me look at what I write and wonder if people just think the same about me. Has my snark become the equivalent of spam?

And it’s not that some of these people aren’t funny. They are. They really are. But some seem to hate literally everything. EVERYTHING. Every game. Unless there’s a bad review by someone they think is a douche. Then they hate that review. Every film. Unless  everyone else seems to hate it and then they hate the people that hate it. They hate fans, they hate critics, they hate the weather, they hate people talking about the weather and in turn talk about the weather to tell everyone how much they really hate that.

Every piece of media and news. The comments  following coverage of major events like the helicopter crash this morning in London are always the same. Starts off with sympathy and shock and then ends up slating the way it’s covered or how the news channels wouldn't exist without Twitter. They would you know. They really totally and utterly WOULD. Wouldn’t it be weirder if they weren’t using the on the scene resource? If they refused to run any footage until they had filmed some? THAT would be weird. 

And sometimes things are nobody's actual purposeful fault. Sometimes shit things happen. 

Today provided a veritable smorgasbord of amusing japery/borderline weird smugness about HMV and Blockbuster going into administration. So many people tweeting that they could see it coming. Really? In the middle of a triple dip recession you could see this coming? You. Must. Be. A. Genius. Twitter equivalent of buzzards, circling the bad news trying to make it somehow something to do with them

Which is surely part of the problem. On Twitter, every fucker is famous. Everyone is making their pronouncements grandiosely to their audience. Like anyone out there really cares. It's less about people listening to you and more about just talking. Sort of a metaphor for life really. Everyone squawking away, no one really listening. And yes, I am obviously including myself. Although I'm hilarious and what I say actually does matter.
The hashtags confuse me as well. You know the ones that are something like #thingsthathurtthemost. Who starts them? And, for the love of god, WHY? And how do they end up trending? In the defence of the mostly lovely, intelligent, erudite people I follow, I have never seen anyone use a hashtag so heinous. I clicked on one yesterday just to see and it does seem to be an army of illiterate 14 year olds.

So that’s what makes up Twitter: News + snark + illiteracy + celebs +clumsy advertising.

So it’s clear to me now. It’s the quality of the snark, not the quantity. I shall sprinkle my snark more sparingly in future.*

* This depends entirely on my mood/hormone levels/cycle/life drama/men. Entirely.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

What kind of music do you like?


There it is.

The most tedious question in the history of the world ever.

And every guy who asks me out, new friend I make, person I meet who either wants to impress me or I want to impress them, they'll ask me. And another version of me makes extremely loud and overdone yawning noises while the real me mumbles something about eclectic.

Truth is, I like music. I always have. If I'm in the mood I'll have a little listen. I used to buy it, I now download it, it's all good. I have my favourites. I especially like to listen while drawing and running.

But good CHRIST, when am I going to be old enough to not be judged on the music I listen to. You know when you meet a hipster or derivative thereof, obviously they're always a DJ on the side. Always. And they'll always know more about music than annnnyone else in the room or possibly the world. And they'll bang on about genres and dubstep and drops and fucking I don't know what.

And I don't mind that. You know, each to their own. But it's when they get all uppity and smug when they know something about some wanky genre that their mate invented last Tuesday, urban dub hardcore step lite or some such shit, and you haven't heard of it. Like it makes them superior.

Sometimes I just bring up Coldplay and Adele, just to annoy them.

And besides I do like some Coldplay and Adele. I bloody love rock music, and cheesy 80s rock and goth bands. I still listen to Sisters of Mercy. I still like The Cure. I LIKE POISON. I'm 36 AND I LIKE POISON.

I don't like dubstep. Mostly because  I still don't understand what it is. Why are there so many genres? Why? Who decided that was the thing to do? Maybe I do like dubstep and don't even realise it.

I don't understand how music is made or marketed anymore. DJs seem to have to be IT experts to even have a fecking chance of it. And all the zeitgeisty bands seem to last about two weeks before they disappear into whatever sweat stained ether they came from. And if this makes me sound middle aged it's because I AM MIDDLE AGED.

And I'm far too old to be patronised by 40 year old sad git 'DJs' or 'producers' who turn out to actually work in a kitchen and play a local club at the weekend. I'm not going to defend what you consider to be my parochial taste as if it matters in any way, shape or form. And if you're over 30 then for fuck's sake, stop trying to keep up with them. The kids'll over take you anyway. They've already got more tattoos and trainers than you ever managed.

So, music snobs, take your genre condescension else where because you're never going to shame me into giving a fuck.

Also, your hat looks ridiculous.

Small update: still no hot water

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Another whore's bath

If I was going to plan my perfect week's run up to starting a new job, it probably wouldn't cover the following:

  • Working three nights till stupid o'clock in the morning, meaning I look and feel like the living dead
  • Being evicted
  • Arranging multiple emergency flat visits to try and find an new place to live
  • Experience approximately 20 conversations over the phone with the Worst Letting Agents In The World (TM)
  • My freelance project to be so late running that I am doing it every second of every day that I'm not doing something else
  • Plumbers raiding my flat and turning my boiler off so that I no longer have hot water, a shower or any way to wash my hair
I start tomorrow and really need to start working out how I'm going to wash my hair in a bucket. Presumably in olden times people did this kind of shit all the time. But I really like showers. I do. I really like showers. I like being clean. I like having hot water. 

I can't help but think that if I was somehow hard enough I'd be able to have a cold shower like some kind of Stoic. But the thing about the Stoics, right,  is,k well, the important thing about Stoics is that they were mental. There's no glory in being abjectly uncomfortable and not whinging.

So a whore's bath it will be. But it's not difficult to boil a couple of kettles and wash your body. But when you have a foot of hair to contend with, then what are you supposed to do? I'm pretty sure as a child I used to wash my hair in the sink, so it must be possible. Although is that a real memory or something I read in a book? It seems an unlikely and peculiar thing to do. And so very 1940s slum. 

But the worst thing? Worse than having dirty hair and a twatty landlordHow the hell am I going to be together enough to leave the house at 8am? That's a time that doesn't happen these days unless it's when I'm going to bed. 

I asked my new boss the other day whether it would be possible to factor in my need for an afternoon nap into my working day. He replied in the negative, citing as the reason the fact that I am an adult and should be well able to stay awake all day.

I think he's wrong. 

Wish me luck. 

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Chicken's off...

You know my boiler that I've been trying to convince my fuckwit landlord and letting agents to fix? If you're a long term reader and/or friend, you'll not only know about it, you'll be sad that you're still having to hear about it. If you've stumbled across my blog for the first time, then welcome. I hope you like boiler stories.

The thing is this. I know it's knackered because it doesn't work. I know this because I have eyes and a brain. And three workmen have told me so. In spite of this my letting agent has consistently informed me that, in her opinion, it's fine and that the landlord won't fix it. This was followed a day or so later by said landlord serving notice on me because he would prefer me to leave than to fix the fucking boiler.

So, fine. Whatever. I got my head round it. I got angry. I calmed down. WhatEVER fuckhead, thought I. I'll find somewhere better. With WORKING APPLIANCES. And before I leave I will make sure the cat shits in all the cupboards. You massive knobtard.

In the meantime I settled down to work on a project for the English National Ballet which I'd quite like to finish before I have to start my new job on Monday. It was unlikely anyway, but in light of what happened yesterday afternoon, that particular fancy was totally kiboshed.

I'm happily transcribing the details of the principal dancers when I get a phone call. From the Cunt Letting Agent. The one who informed me that I am homeless just the other day. I don't feel massively inclined to be friendly as it is. When she informed me that they are going to enter my flat, whether I like it or not, for an emergency situation, I was even less friendly. When she told me what the emergency was, a part of my soul actually imploded with impotent rage.

Turns out the boiler, that they didn't want to fix, is so fucked that it's been leaking under the floorboards into York's finest chicken emporium below.

"So, wait a second," said I to Cunt Letting Agent. "Can I just get this straight? The boiler that you refused to fix? The boiler that I have been begging you to fix for two months? That boiler? That boiler that has now put a stop to trading at York's Yummy Chicken, a shop that has been open since 1736 and never, ever, EVER closes? You NOW want to fix it? How was it not important before? It looks sort of like you have been forced into it and now you expect my co-operation? Interessstiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing."

I hung up to the sound of mad squawking. Two seconds later my flat is stormed by a SWAT team of plumbers and someone else from the letting agency. The plumbers I let in. The letting agency twat I didn't. She was surprised by this. Weird.

Two hours later, the cat is frightened, the leak has been stopped, presumably the chicken shop is open again and me? Well, I've now been told that the boiler is broken. IS IT? IS IT REALLY? Oh, and that I don't have hot water or heating until they get round to fixing it.

Then something happened. I think I reached a state of such fury that something in my head popped. I think the impossible has happened and I've used up all my anger. I just don't have any left.

Instead I got decisive. First thing this morning I looked at a flat. Second thing this morning I insisted that Cunt Letting Agents let me out of my contract early, on the basis that the flat is worse than that house in The Money Trap with Tom Hanks and that if I don't get to leave early I will kill them with fire. Third this morning I put the cash down to take the new place off the market.

It's a three storey, two bedroomed flat above a rather pleasing vintage shop and I move in on 10 February. And as long as the boiler works, I am never, ever, ever moving again.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

They can take my job, they can take my home...

... but they can never take my will to stand up and fight.

This is what I should have learned over the last few months: if you don't want to be fired or evicted then don't fight for your rights and don't stand up to bullying behaviour.

If your boss, for example, decides to badmouth you in front of colleagues, trip you up (metaphorically, pedants), backtrack on what has been promised and lie all the time then the best thing to do - the thing to do if you want to carry on working for this penis - is accept the shit doled out on a daily basis, apologise for your very existence, work so hard you can't sleep at night and live in fear. Oh, and also be sure to stroke his monstrous ego every hour on the hour, giggle inanely at his revolting attempts to be amusing and agree with every word that comes out of his fat cretinous mouth.

Let's take another example, just at random, you understand. All resemblance to real personages should be understood and then discarded as if it's not true.

If your new landlord turns out to be some dodgy criminal fuckwit, currently residing in Thailand, and decides that no, he doesn't want to fix your broken boiler then you should acquiesce and thank him for his illegal and shit behaviour just so you can carry on paying him extortionate amounts of rent to keep living in a flat that is basically broken on every level. Perhaps you should even thank him in a daily email and pay him double the rent that he's demanding because you're so lucky to be living in a flat that costs a bomb and yet had no working boiler, shower, cooker, sink or drainage system.

Or how about an estate agent who continuously lies to you? Should you stand up to them? Point out, when they send you an email saying the plumber has found no fault, that you were there WITH the god damn plumber as he explained EXACTLY what the fault is? Or fails to tell you when you hand over the money and get the keys that actually, the flat is on the market and that people will be tramping through it whenever they choose to see if they want to take your home away from you.

No you mustn't do that. Because if you do stand up to these people, you end up unceremoniously jobless and, all of a sudden, homeless.

Biting my tongue just doesn't come easily though. I think about all the people who came before and the poor fuckers who will come after me. I think about the hard work I've done, the hoops I've jumped through, the rent I've paid, the fact that I have never ever missed a deadline or withheld rent. And I start to see red. I don't think it's RIGHT or FAIR that people who are in a position of power can make other peoples' lives a misery. On a whim. Or just because they can. I will always fight the fuckers. Even if it means I lose my job and my home. Because fuck you to bullying bosses who try to break people and fuck you to landlords who are amoral and ruin peoples' home lives. Fuck you, fuck you, FUCK YOU.

2013 starts with a new job and, as soon as I can find one, a new place to live. And so be it. At least I didn't give in to cunts. The day I do that is the day I lay down and die. If a life is worth living, it's worth fighting for your rights. Every day if you have to. Even if you lose again and again and again.

When I leave this flat I'm going to write a little note for the new person with all the information I wasn't given, all the tips and tricks of the knackered appliances and a heads up on what to expect from Mr Cunty McCunterson and the crappy letting agent so they have a better chance than me at getting fair treatment. And I'm going to start actively campaigning to local council to wake up and take notice of the bad treatment private tenants are subjected to.

May 2013 continue to introduce me to awesome people and awesome opportunities.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

"Enable social reading"

Erm. How about no? How about fuck off? How about leave reading ALONE? I've succumbed and fallen into the mire of social media. Heavily. But reading? That's mine. Just for me. All for me.

I need to go to some kind of Facebook Anonymous meeting. I'm suffering from massive withdrawal symptoms. My flat is like Renton's in Trainspotting. There's a baby Facebook logo crawling on the ceiling, crying and crying. I'm huddled in a corner using Twitter as methadone.

Everything I do and think has become a commodity to spaff over the internet. I compulsively write my thoughts, my hilarious bon mots, my traumas and my worries on Facebook. And YES OK, I used it for validation. I use it to feel part of 'it'. I don't know what 'it' is. I became convinced that I need it. What if someone has something important they want to say and their only medium, for some inexplicable reason, is Facebook Chat? I'm also addicted to following Colonel Meow and Henri Le Chat Noir.

It makes me feel included and like I have friends. It's entirely possible to live 95% of your social life through it. I know. I've been doing that. The more I've stayed in, feeling all introspective and wormy, the more I've sat on Facebook, watching other peoples' lives. Like The Little Match Girl. If she didn't sell matches. And without the death bit.

I do actually think there are many plus points to social media, as long as it acts as an addition to an already thriving life outside of the internet. It's when it mixes with depression and self loathing, it can become a stick you beat yourself with.

One of my main problems in my head is comparing myself with other people.

I'm 36, single, neurotic, phobic, anxious and live alone with a cat. I am a walking cliche, forever worried and worried and WORRIED about what people think of me. More now than ever before for some reason. Perhaps it's as I get older and Mr Right, or even Mr You'll Do, remain elusive. Perhaps it's some kind of vague realisation that I haven't achieved what a lot of people have by my age. I don't have a house, I don't have children, I can't even bloody drive, I don't have a mortgage, I don't have a cosy family. I'm just me. And, particularly over the festive period, being me didn't feel like very much at all.

As someone very important and wise, I'm going to say Einstein. Could have been someone entirely different, said: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results," I've cut the chord. It's gone. My password is now in the hands of (a very trusted) friend. And every time I compulsively click to Facebook I'm rewarded with a login page and no way to get into it.

It's weird. But good. And today, while I wasn't on it, I've signed up to not one, but TWO writing courses at York Uni and will be volunteering at York Cemetery on Saturday, cleaning up graves and that. Can't wait. Am intending to polish a crypt for me to skulk in when the mood takes me. I've also bought a Samsung Chromebook and achieved a lot of very boring but very necessary things.

So it's all good. I can live without Facebook. I just need to stop shaking and uncontrollably vomiting. As soon as that's over, it'll be GRAND. And reading will go back to being something I do for me. I might write about it, I might analyse it, I might talk about it, but I won't be 'logging in to see what my friends are reading' because that's weird and intrusive and, well, stalky. And I don't actually care.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Back to life...

... for a month at least.

It's a relationship that's doing me more harm than good. It's been around four years I think and, while there have been some good times, there have been many more bad ones. It's taken up my time, my mental strength, it's increased my neuroticism and obsessive thinking. It's fuelled my jealousy, over sensitiveness and isolation.

Sometimes it's rewarded me with validation and amusement. But it's no longer enough. I'm in a weird headspace, still caught between two lives and I want just one. I want this one. I left the last one for a reason.

So, in line with my giving up of meat, which I decided I would do for one month and 'see how it goes', I've decided to give it up. For one month. If it's anything like vegetarianism then it's going to be a lot easier than I think it will be, and will only have positive benefits.

So Facebook, it's not me, it is you and I just need a break. Some time apart.

I have 550 Facebook friends, but real friends? Could count them on one hand. That's probably normal, but it's still makes me feel like I've been punched in the chest sometimes. So, call this an experiment. Will my life be improved or not by ditching Facebook for a while? As it's now definitely unhip and cool kids either don't use it all, or pretend they don't while they just stalk people, this probably doesn't sound like a massive deal.

To me it feels huge.

Other resolutions for this year include apologising a lot less, accepting a lot more and living here, today, now.

Oh, and getting very very drunk a lot. Very.

I'll still be posting my blog by magical means - well with a little help from a friend - so that doesn't mean I've broken my Facebook fast, just in case you were wondering. In fact I literally won't be able to. I wonder how long it takes before I get the shakes?