Monday, 30 January 2012

‘Cos I’m guilty, guilty as a girl can be.

So sang Bananarama in their 1987 hit Love in the First Degree.  Do you know it only got to number 3 in the charts; it was beaten to number 1 by Pump Up the Volume.  A classic no doubt, but my pocket money went on the ‘Rama. How can you not love the ‘Rama?  Anyways, I digress.  I was 10 in 1987, my clothes came from Tammy Girl and C&A, I fervently believed my toys came alive when I left the room and I had an almighty crush on Phillip Schofield who had broken my heart by leaving the Broom Cupboard.   I was also well on the way to developing the guilt complex I carry around with me every day. Poor 10 year old Bearface.

I feel guilty about everything.  Really, everything. I feel guilty about the books on my shelf that are shoved to the back, never seeing the light of day because I have to double them up because I have more books than shelf space, I feel guilty about the sweet cat that’s taken to frequenting my balcony in the mornings, even though she is clearly well fed and looked after, I feel guilty about the old people who now have to walk a bit further down the road to the temporary bus stop that’s outside my house.  I recognise these are ridiculous things to feel guilty about, and yet feel guilty I do.

Never mind how I feel about the people I know and the things I do, or don’t do.  This is where my guilt complex really takes over.  I feel terrible that I have let down a number of friends whilst I’ve been in my depressive slump.  Not that anyone has said “You’ve let me down, Bearface” – well one has but that’s a whole other story – but I feel like I have.  I feel like I’ve been a bad friend, selfish and self-obsessed.  I have a huge amount of guilt about my mum, that I didn’t do enough to support her through the last months and weeks of her life, that I didn’t love her enough to put her first.  I feel guilty that I don’t do enough to help my siblings cope with our rather difficult father.   For fuck’s sake I feel guilty when I see people arguing in the street and don’t intervene, when clearly it’s got bugger all to do with me! See?  Guilty about everything.

Now it hasn’t escaped my notice that in a certain light this could be viewed as entirely narcissistic – it’s all about me. But guess what? Yes!  I feel guilty about that too.  My therapist and I are going to be exploring all this guilt, where it comes from and how I can stop it from controlling my thoughts and behaviour.  It’s pretty easy for me to trace where it comes from but it’s a vicious circle which I need to break free of.

Right this second I am feeling guilty about the face that in the opening paragraph of this post I expressed a preference for Love in the First Degree over Pump Up the Volume.  Yeah, this really has to stop!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

I guess I’m not in Singledom anymore.

I have a boyfriend. 

This is weird. Good weird, but weird nonetheless.

I haven’t had a boyfriend for three years; I liked being single and being in control of my own destiny, with only myself to please, and it was definitely by choice. Oh, alright, and also partly because my man radar was way off kilter and anyone I’ve got involved with has turned out to be highly unsuitable for one reason or another (or, just not that into me. We’ll ignore that).

Anyway, Mr Bearface as he is now known – I am nothing if not original – has odd interests. Odd to me as they are entirely outside my experience, that is. He does skateboarding and snowboarding and is as passionate about them as I am about singing and cheese, which is to say, very.   Given my complete lack of co-ordination and ingrained fear of anything approaching extreme sports it is unlikely I will ever be tempted to join him in either of these things.  I love that he has passions in life and feels like he’s come home when he does them, however, I must confess that on going to a skate park with him recently I did feel rather like his mum. Do I clap? Do I kiss it better if he grazes his knee? Do I sew up the patches in the jeans he only bought recently (fancy skating in them, young Bearface Esq) that have ripped from doing some kind of ‘move’?  I am really interested in the world surrounding his interests and the philosophies that accompany it, but I do feel slightly at a loss as I can’t contribute. I remember a girl I knew getting hold of a book like Rugby for Dummies or something and genning up on the rules, manoeuvres and positions of the game – it served her well, she made it with most of the rugby team as I recall. I, however, can’t quite bring myself to ferret out a similar book because I’d sound like a prick, suddenly spouting stuff about how to ‘ollie’ (I’m cringing right now)  so it’s a good thing I like listening to Mr Bearface enthusing; perhaps I’ll pick stuff up along the way.  It’ll be RAD.

Another weird thing is he’s a vegetarian.  And eats fake meat.  I’ll say it again. FAKE MEAT. I’ll be honest, I don’t see the point. Some of it does actually taste alright but I reckon that even as a carnivorous meat hound, I eat more vegetables than he does. I like meat.  I love meat. MEAT. That is all.

So from meat to flesh. Say hello to personal hygiene and grooming, everyone. Given that in the last year my ability to shower on a daily basis has been severely compromised by that fucker called Depression – seriously, getting out of bed to go to the toilet can be a seven hour process sometimes never mind actually washing – it is nothing less than extraordinary to find myself showering AND moisturising every single day. No one likes a smelly bear, after all.  Also (men, look away now lest you have all your illusions shattered) remembering to pluck those random granny hairs from your chin so that he doesn’t get stubble rash from kissing you; that’s a right old pain and yet I do it because I want to look good for him and for me and it’s been a while since I wanted to look good for anyone, least of all myself.

And oh how we laugh!  At nothing.  At each other. Laughing without even having to explain what I’m laughing at because he just knows.  I haven’t done this much laughing in such a long time and whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s the best medicine (I am all about the SSRI’s and therapy) it is certainly making my smile, a lot, which after the bastard that was 2011 is no mean feat.   Anyone who says when they see me in my shitty old-man style striped and faded pyjamas “I don’t know if they have a brand* but if they did it would be ‘Convalescence’…” is getting the funnies right in my book.

Probably the weirdest thing about it all is the fact that I’m used to being the strong one in a relationship. The one who picks up the pieces, gives the advice and encouragement, grits teeth when said advice is duly ignored.  I do the looking after and admitting I might need some looking after in return is difficult and frankly, makes me nervous.  I wasn’t sure I’d manage being the one who needed propping up but do you know what, I sort of don’t mind and I know I need it.  I like not having to be the only one navigating the good ship ’Us’ through the tumultuous waters of life; I like knowing that there’s another hand on the tiller, helping to guide us to calmer shores. 

2012 is going to be a difficult year for me, lots of challenges with health, work and finances are threatening to send me toppling over the edge, but knowing that I’ve started the year laughing so much with someone who isn’t freaked out by my mentalism and situation is definitely a properly good beginning.  Weird, but good.

*Primark, seeing as you asked.