Fits

Yesterday I rode in an ambulance to the hospital for the first time ever. I felt pretty stupid for doing it because I didn’t think I was near sick enough for that, but the paramedics reckoned I was.

It all started after a bank holiday Monday lie in – during which I enjoyed watching an episode of the US Office. I was just getting up when all of a sudden my right arm and shoulder was shot through with a stab of excruciating pain. I thought I dislocated my arm, and told my husband so. Then I began to feel quite woozy, and a loud ringing began in my ears. I also began to feel rather sick so I told my husband faintly that I was going to get up to go to the bathroom.

He tried to make me sit but I was insistent – when you feel like you want to throw up you do not want to sit on your fresh sheets.

I got up but didn’t make it to the door. The last thing I remember was leaning my head on my husband and mumbling that I didn’t feel well at all. He thought I was joking, because he laughed.

Then I remember waking up from an interesting and vibrant dream, the details of which vanished the minute my brain registered where I was, lying on the floor with my husband’s arm under my head and my mother in law calling the ambulance and telling them of my state.

I also realised with great shame that I seemed to have lost control of my bladder. And this was not the first time this has happened during a fit. I could faintly hear, above the buzzing in my ears, my husband anxiously telling my mother in law that I was fitting and seizing.

So this is the third time I have had a ‘seizure’, so to speak. I don’t remember any of it but the people who were there (nurses, when I was volunteering at the hospital, and my husband) said I was fitting while unconscious.

And the paramedics were concerned because it is an unusual number of seizures within a short time frame. So they wasted no time in taking me to hospital, where after a seven hour wait I was put in a ward with old ladies who were very distressed, crying out at night and requiring bedpans and nurses at all times.

The doctor reckons I do have epilepsy and has now referred me to a neurologist.

Well that was an adventure. It means I can’t drive or go swimming anymore which is sad. And a large part of my brain really thinks that I’m completely fine and I just fainted.

When I told the doctor that she emphasised the incontinence while unconscious and said that was highly indicative of an epileptic fit.

Great, right? Anyway. My lesson from this experience is that I am not exempt from sickness. I also learned that life is unexpected. I also learnt that growing older and being dependant on others for everything, down to toiletting, is a severe test, and I hope to God I never reach that stage. I also learned that when pushed, I can be quite patient. Who knew I had it in me, hey!

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All Families have Problems

Here is a fact: All families have problems.

The problem is, though, that problem is that I think I am emotionally – I am full of emotions. Things affect me more than they should, and I somehow become burdened with all my family’s problems and I can’t solve them but they just pile up in my brain and suddenly it is like the world is ending.

An emotional sponge, as it were. A hole in which all the bad feelings trickle into like shower water in a drain. And it just eats away at my system. Munch munch munch.

My mum says I am making it sound worse than it is. But to me it is worse. Than it is. My stomach constricts horrendously and I feel like I want to vomit my organs out. I get anxiety when men raise their voices. I don’t know why. It makes me terrified. I think it has something to do with the past abuse.

Also when my father used to have temper tantrums back in the day and throw things. He has curbed that. And is still trying to. He is only a human with weaknesses as we all are. But whenever a man raises his voice I am suddenly trapped and frightened.

Like today my husband yelled at his brother. I never hear my husband shout. He does not shout at me. He is only ever kind to me. Unless he is angry, in which case he is silent towards me. But today he shouted and I felt horrible even though he wasn’t shouting at me.

But the fact remains that all families have problems. And it isn’t always so bleak but it feels that way with mine. I feel very little happiness. From them. And I try to pour loads in but the end result is shrugging indifference. And bad moods hang around. And some people are unfair and there is very little compromise and it is just one person holding it all together and people don’t know how to communicate.

Some families are dysfunctional. I don’t think mine is. But they do fight a lot. And horrible words are flung around like nobody’s business.

But.

All families have problems.

It is normal.

 

 

Right?

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Finding Inspiration

I have my timetable from work, finally. I am swamped. With no breaks. Busy busy. Every minute. Which is awesome yay.

But also means I do not have any time to think. Or any inspiration. So I am still uninspired. Which bodes terribly for the novel I am currently writing. With a deadline in December. I just don’t know how this is going to go down.

I know a girl from college who is a freelancing graphic designer. She designs so beautifully and uniquely. And I really desperately want her to design my book cover. But since I have made zero progress in the last two weeks, I might have no content to present to her for her to design anything!

I really must buck up, if I am to produce anything. And if I am to produce anything close to what I see in my mind.

Lately I have been watching the film ‘Coraline’ on repeat. The making of that film was extremely complex because it was all done by hand, everything, down to miniature knitters and a number of puppets with replacement limbs and different faces with an assortment of facial expressions! Can you imagine the laborious effort it took to create such a detailed movie all by hand? That is so inspirational to me. I watch it and I sometimes slow it down to see movements clearly because it fascinates me how they could pack so much fun detail into a two hour stop motion film. It stands out because it is so unusual, and the story behind the making of it is incredible too. You can read more here if you are interested.

Didn’t they get tired of it, or fed up? I know I would. Their dedication in the end produced something so beautiful to watch and re-watch multiple times.

So whenever I watch Coraline, I let the artwork seep its dainty tendrils into the folds of my brain and maybe spark something there. It almost always produces an idea or two.

So, this is what this uninspired girl has resorted to. Where do you go to find inspiration, when it evades you?

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Keeping Busy

I am finding that my days now are very busy. I am jumping from one thing to another without a break in between!

I am enjoying this immensely. A busy mind is not an idle mind, that’s for sure. And an idle mind is a dangerous mind.

I am also learning a great many new things. I feel as though the more busy I am, the more happy I am. I feel more content, and as though my days are finally rewarding.

The only downside of all this is that I have less time now to spend with my family and my husband. FAR less time, in fact. In fact, I think I only have around two or three hours all week.

That is not a good sign. Maybe I have taken on too much? Well. We’ll see how it pans out. I want to be this busy. It will distract me from all the problems arising.

I also think keeping busy is good for the mind and the soul. Also the body, if the busy is an active sort of busy. As long as you aren’t completely stressing yourself out mentally then being busy is immensely healthy.

What do you think?

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The Menacing Drizzle

It’s raining dismally here in the UK.

Or at least, where I am anyway.

When it rains in the UK, it does not rain for an hour or even two hours. It rains all day. It rains slowly but surely. A menacing drizzle.

Why is it menacing?

Because it comes down seemingly innocently. You step outside and hold your hands out, and say, ‘Oh, this isn’t too bad. I can nip down to the shops in this.’

But off you nip. And as you are walking along, enjoying the fresh air and the tiny soft droplets, you are slowly getting soaked without realising it. Once you buy your milk and bread and whatever else, and you go back home, you realise what a terrible mistake you have made.

Your socks are soaked to the skin under your shoes (how on earth did that happen?!), your face is dripping, your hair looks like rat’s tails, the bottom of your jeans are wet and the wet is rising all the way up to your knees.

And all day you can hear the soft pattering like a thousand little mice all over the tarmac outside, all on the car roofs, all on the bike covers, all on everything. And there is not a single dry space outside to put your bottom when you go to the park. And your hands are cold and slightly grimy and always very wet.

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My mother doesn’t like to talk about things. I don’t know why, she is just like that. My mother is half blind because of an accident leading to a retina detachment. It hinders her greatly, because it would anybody – to go from being able to see just fine to being part blind.

She still carries on with life, though. And she never ever talks about it. And she gets very annoyed when I ask her about it, so I don’t.

I respect that she doesn’t want to talk about it. Maybe that is her way of dealing with it.

I don’t think I understand my mother very well. I think we are very different. She is more similar to my sister than she is me. They are both very stubborn, which is why they don’t get along most of the time. It isn’t pretty. It makes me very sad.

Today I accidentally found out that my mother might have cancer. She would never have told me. She doesn’t know yet. She is still waiting for results. But she has cysts in her uterus and a high number of white blood cells. But the specialist will be able to determine if she does or not.

She did not want to tell me because I worry too much. Which I understand and respect. But I wish she did tell me. I told her I was not worried and will only worry when the time is right to. I don’t want her to worry about me worrying. I want her to be relaxed and peaceful.

So I left my mother’s home and came to where I live and I have sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Which is so ridiculous because nothing is definite. But. I just. I just thought about all the suffering she goes through. And how rude and disrespectful my brother and sister are to her. And how upset that makes her. And how nasty I used to be back when I was a rebellious little witch.

And. How I can never forgive myself for putting her through hell.

And. How she sacrificed EVERYTHING for me. For us. Her health. Her happiness. Her stability in marriage. Her life. Her career.

And. If it is bad. And if she is sick. I want her to be happy. I just want her to be happy. I just want

her

to be

happy.

I am really upset. And I shouldn’t be because this is not about me, it is about her. So I am only going to show her happiness. I am never going to cry in front of her because that will hurt her. I am only going to be good and kind and make her laugh with my ridiculous stories and listen to her and take her out and treat her to a John Lewis facial because those are super luxurious – and I am going to make sure my siblings buck up and move their sorry asses and help her out.

If they don’t they will have a furious big sister to deal with.

And I just want my mother to be happy. Did I mention that?

My mother is everything to me. She is my whole world. She made me who I am today. I hear her voice in the background of everything that I do. I hear her encouragement and her soft support behind all these words that I write. My mother is one in a trillion humans. There is nobody like her on earth. I know she will love me when all my hair falls out and when I am a fat blob of misery. She will tell me to dry my tears and stop being so silly. She will stomp on my self doubts and tell me I am so beautiful and wise and interesting.

If I don’t have my mother, I don’t have the earth at my fingertips.

 

What is Life

The world is a beautiful place. So stunning and ethereal and vast and ancient. And humans are also ancient, though perhaps not as ancient as the mountains or the seas or the many many animals and plants we don’t know anything about.

The hearts of people are mysterious things. The hearts of people quite often are what determine how we look out on to this world. And how we treat it, and often influences how others perceive it too. Oh, everything is part of the something massive we call life, so everything is too complex and complicated to understand.

For example, who can we blame for all the death and corruption in the world? The truth is, we cannot blame anybody. Because everybody who is a part of it all, are all part of a massive and ancient machine. And we can serve justice all we want, but it won’t mend it and it certainly will not make it better in the future, because there will only be more evil hearted people and more sadness and destruction.

Oh, I don’t know how to put this thought. I feel really bitter and upset sometimes, and I feel it in my heart even though I know my brain is doing all the thinking, and it makes the world look so bleak and grey. Even when the sun is out. Even when the sky is bright blue. Even when the flowers are nodding away brightly. And I try to say, well, it is not real. Stop thinking horrid thoughts. But they carry on coming and manifest themselves into very real self made problems.

And we have been around for so so so so long. And so many before have felt this way and so many after will also. But it fixes. And it breaks. And it fixes again. And it will never change.

The heart is so strange, folks. So odd. I am constantly at war with mine.

Well, there is that lovely lyric – ‘Don’t worry, be happy, don’t worry be happy now!’

So, I guess I won’t worry. I will be happy. HAPPY. GLAD. Fun fun fun.

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Love Letters #20

Rising above the hills was the smallest cottage you ever saw. When you looked out of its single glazed, diamond pane windows, you could see the hills sloping away, trees lining their edges, and a magnificent lake glittering in the groove the hills made. And if you raised your eyes a little higher, you could see the mountains pale blue in the distance. If you squinted, and if it was a clear day, you could even see their ancient, snowy caps. The cottage was the perfect place for a newly wed couple to start a family.

They said the murderer was born here. In this cottage. With its gleaming wooden floors and solid oak tables. Its hewn shelving, built not into, but out of the walls. The windows lovingly scrubbed, the garden tenderly kept – roses on the border, colourful hyacinth along the pathways and in the summer, the explosion of colour almost obscuring the little white house on the hill – with hydrangea of purple, blue, white, pink and magenta bobbing gently in the breeze, cascading over the small wooden fencing that formed a perimeter around the cottage gardens.

Two upstairs bedrooms overlooking the lake, one living space, one small, cosy kitchen, one bathroom out back and a tiny attic accessible by a pull down hatch with a roped ladder.

How could they say the murderer was born here. Walking under the low ceilings, seeing the stunning scene out of the windows – this place could only spawn motherly souls and gentle young ladies. Gentlemen who tipped their hats to you as you walked by, and who held doors open for you and gave up their seats for old folk.

If you went into the bedroom where he was born, you could see little white curtains framing the window. A wardrobe built of pine, in the crevice in the wall. A large double bed, a bedside table with a lamp and frilly lamp cover. Paintings of the scenery outside dotted the walls in odd places, and a little writing desk. A small journal lay open on top of it, on a blank page. A small rocking cradle under the window, a baby rattle hanging off the side.

I leaned on the wall. I felt so at peace with the world. The stillness of silence pressed into my ear drums, I could feel, then hear my heart thumping gently, regularly. I was alive. I was breathing. The world outside was alive, alive and beautiful. Unaware of the evil that walked its earth. This house was still, restful. This house that brought generations into the world and housed them under its sturdy beams. This house that helped rear the murderer, unaware of his innocent little brain flourishing and blooming and then plotting within its pristine walls. Satisfied another child was in its mother’s arms, away from the ragged winds outside.

My heart ached.

Everything was still.

I turned my head to look out of the window, and closed my eyes for a moment, just breathing.

The man who murdered my husband lived in this cottage. It’s funny. How circumstance can get you. The man who murdered my husband was reared in the cottage we bought together just after our honeymoon.

When I exited the building, and turned the key in the lock of the last time, I faced the lake and the mountains and breathed deep.

 

The Age of Miracles

This is a review.

The Age of Miracles is a coming of age debut novel by Karen Thompson Walker.

As debut novels go, this one was outstanding. Walker did not waste a single moment getting to the point, which I found refreshing and mesmerising.

The tale followed the story of an eleven year old girl ascending slowly and painfully into adolescence, chronicling all the awkwardness of the age, in an apocalyptic time when the earth begins to slow, rendering the days longer. With each cycle around the sun, more minutes are added to the day, and this phenomenon is called the ‘Slowing’.

It was a new idea, and what made it plausible was that it was backed by scientific theory – which gave life to the events unfolding.

I loved how Walker combined the coming of age with this almost sic-fi plot line, and wove them together seamlessly. This was a girl, growing up, going to school, experiencing what we have all experienced with friends and parents and troubles that might seem insignificant to an adult but could make or break a child struggling to make sense of their rapidly changing world – and to have that world very literally change around her too, is remarkable.

Walker, I felt, took a great idea and delivered it excellently. I did not feel as though I was reading words. I felt submerged in the tale and when I was jerked out of it at one point because it had got so dark out that I literally could not see the words on the page anymore, I felt as though I had resurfaced from another world.

It takes a great deal of skill in writing to make you feel like that, and I think Walker has delivered this very well. I would say it was the defining factor of this book. It is a beautiful tale, tragic and extraordinary. I had me thinking about it days after I had turned the last page, and I found myself wanting a bit more.

I would give this book five stars out of five, and would love to read more from Karen Walker.

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Every Last Drop

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Loch Ness

Maybe we can pause the world and escape to a little cubby hole. Maybe we don’t even need to pause it. Maybe it can carry on without us but we would be content because we are not needed or required to help turn its magnificent cogs.

I suppose we don’t really need to turn its magnificent cogs. I suppose if we didn’t, the world would carry on as usual, and it would be exactly the same. But our little nooks would slowly vaporise away and we would be mere wisps on the fringe of it all struggling to find a parting in the heavy, stampeding traffic that is trundling along.

And it would be very hard to get back in.

And everything we worked for would be gone. Snap. Crick crack. Like a click. Or a tock.

That is why we need a holiday. To refresh and recharge our tired little arms, to carry on turning our very own special cogs.

Mine included driving all around this Island I call home. From the south to the topmost North. I only have four days left before I have to set the record player again and fall back into the stressful mess that is my real life.

The worry, the anxiety, the terrible marriage situation where the in-laws and commuting to work suck all the life out of my husband so all I get is an empty moody shell, the awful living situation, the nomad-like bouncing from house to house everyday, the exhaustion, the feeling of not finishing half what I set out to do by the end of the day because I do not have any private space for my work – aaaah!

I don’t want this peace to end. I really, really don’t want this peace to end. I could cry because I so desperately hate it back at ‘home’. But it will end.

And so.

For now.

I will find the Loch Ness monster (that’s Nessie, apparently), I will enjoy the scenic beauty of mountains and water and views and bagpipes for the last four days and squeeze out

every

last

little

drop.

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Loch Ness as we saw it

 

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Edinburgh from up top 🙂

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York – this man was blowing bubbles in return for a small donation to sponsor his trip to Japan!

All images are credited to my husband – he takes the good ones. 🙂