Monday Blues

I am feeling the Monday Blues.

The sky is grey, and I feel tentative. A small hole, from which to peer into the world. Is it safe to exit? I feel achey and vulnerable.

I don’t want to smile at anybody or engage in conversation.

How was your weekend? People are quick to ask.

It was alright. Quickly move on, how was yours? Now I can sit back and listen, or pretend to, while I to try to figure out what is so unsettling.

I was told recently that I am not good enough. In so many terms. It felt horrible because it came from somebody very valuable. I don’t try hard enough, apparently. In what way? In all the ways.

I think I am good enough. I think I am struggling, sure, but aren’t we all?

I think I am trying hard enough. Everyday I wake up early to meet my goals and achieve what I want to achieve.

Everyday I try to look better, be better, work better.

I don’t think it is kind to put somebody down because they don’t meet your unrealistic standard. I think that is cruel, and puts pressure on an individual.

I think some people have a standard in their heads and they expect other people to meet that standard, without accepting their strengths. They look only at their weaknesses and focus on those. I think that is a bad attitude to have.

I think people ought to look at themselves first, and try to improve themselves, before they treat others badly and say hurtful things to them.

I think – well, I think some people should not speak until they are absolutely perfect. And that is impossible. So they should just grow up. And hold their malicious judgement.

As if I don’t put enough pressure on myself, to have it from somebody who is supposed to be supporting and encouraging, is simply soul-crushing.

Monday Blues.

 

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Friday

Here is another Friday, and another … failed week. I shall review Friday as opposed to anything else, because once again I have not finished anything of importance.

This week I intended to get up and leave the house by 5:30am in order to get to the gym for some intense spin classes, and incorporate a weight lifting workout, before work. I also intended to keep strictly to my proper healthy diet and not give in to overeating or anything that would wreak havoc on my digestive system. But oh, how alluring are those foods that wreak havoc on digestive systems!

I overslept three mornings out of five due to exhaustion. I tried to make it up on those three mornings by attending lunchtime gym classes. The first was a complete failure. I signed up for a Pilates class at my gym, and I spent an hour waving my legs in the air and yawning out of complete boredom. It did not challenge me at all and I kept thinking of the hour I could have spent doing a strenuous leg day! The second day I overslept, I tried to incorporate leg day during my lunch break, but time was my enemy and I only managed to do half of what I was supposed to. I pat myself on the back, however, because at least I DID something, no?

I truly failed when it came to my diet. At work, people love food. They love to bring in treats and desserts, and it is always someone’s birthday, or someone has returned from a Congress in another country and brought back goodies from said country, or someone brings in platters of cheese and crackers, or bowls of snacks because it’s their one year anniversary at work… the list goes on! And, try as I might to avoid it, I always manage to succumb. Always.

Added to that, I am sitting at my desk all day, and the 45min to an hour gym sessions I force myself to attend are not enough activity. So I am snacking all day with minimal movement, and I got on the scales this morning to see I have gained around 4 kilos since the beginning of October. I looked at my tummy and realised that the garish protrusion is not due to a bloat… who bloats in the morning after having skipped dinner last night?… it is due to fat deposits making themselves at home in my midsection. The worst part is, they are uninvited, ugly and don’t pay rent!

So today I am in a horrible slump. My week has tumbled down a rocky crevice and is lying at the bottom somewhere, in a crumpled heap. It is fine, but it has no energy to drag itself up and its heart hurts.

You see, I was reading Anne of Avonlea through to Anne of Ingleside this week. The years of Anne’s blossoming into adulthood, taking her stunning imagination with her, and also the burgeoning romance she has with Gilbert, and the beautiful family they produce.

Ah, Gilbert. How I always yearned for a Gilbert. Gilbert is handsome, reliable, ambitious but aware of his own limits and those of the world around him. Gilbert is worldly, but also a kindred spirit. Gilbert loves Anne relentlessly, wholly, truly, fully, and has always loved her. Gilbert has no eyes and heart for anybody but Anne, and he revels in her words and thoughts and takes active part in her musings and her worlds. Gilbert says he didn’t notice a ‘very beautiful woman’ because his eyes are only on his wife.

What a lie. No man would not notice a very beautiful woman. Some men notice them too much.

And, you see, when I first got married, I too thought I had a Gilbert. Sometimes I still do think so. But rereading these books again after a good nine years, I realised that Gilbert is as real as a blue moon. As passing as a little baby spider floating on a gossamer thread in the spring wind.

This week, I feel as if it is going to shambles.

I feel misunderstood. I feel ignored. I feel as though barriers have been put up to me, and while it might be partly due to my own attitude, I feel like no real effort is being made to truly understand me. I feel like I am the one trying to do the understanding, and nothing is being done to try to understand or appreciate my thoughts and needs.

I feel neglected.

I feel halved.

I feel sore and missing.

I wrote an ode to Friday, some time back, and today, Friday has done me no wrong, but I don’t feel happy in her warm embrace. She is still comforting, however. She gently reminds me of rest to come, warmth and tea. She reminds me I will be seeing my family soon, and that I have two glorious days in which to take care of myself. She also reminds me bitterly that I will not be able to take much time out for self care during these two days, but adds that some time is better than no time.

Marriage is hard. Sacrifices have to be made, and I want to make them, but my heart hurts when I think that perhaps, maybe, sacrifices don’t want to be made for me?

Oh. I’m feeling blue.

 

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Dinner and Charlotte

When Charlotte made dinner, the kitchen was a bomb site.

A no-man’s land of waste and debris.

Two children flailing their arms, running in and out of rooms.

Screaming.

The smaller one, with the large, round, peachy cheeks, chasing the older one.

Large, fat tears rolled gently down her cheeks, which wobbled with each step she took.

Charlotte wailed, taking her burnt chicken out of the cracked oven. Her blue bows twitched atop her head, sitting on a pile of chestnut curls, all askew.

The older ones watched, shell shocked, from the corners.

Charred vegetables. Broken chair legs. Fire licked the stove ring, the choking sound of gas a gentle, whirring background noise.

What’s wrong, Emilia?!’

‘She isn’t giving me my balloon!’

You should share with your sister, Emilia.’

Charlotte wiped the sweat from her forehead.

A car drew up outside. The engine rumbled, jittering, vibrating, humming through the floor. Then silence as it switched off.

The screaming indoors worsened.

A sigh, in the car.

Then he emerged, his shirt rumbled and his face drawn.

When he darkened the front door, the screaming stopped. The children froze. Charlotte bit her lip, staring at the charred remains of dinner.

He took a deep breath. The damage could be heard from outside, but it did not prepare him for the abhorrent sight before his eyes.

Let us go out for tea,’ he said, calmly.

Charlotte dried her hands on a dishtowel.

It appears,’ she began slowly, ‘that a tiger came to tea already.’

Her crimson face, in all its weariness, broke into a gentle, oh so faint, smile.

The End.

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N.B. I didn’t like this at all. I wrote it, it needed to be written, but it left me with a strange, disgusted feeling in my gut. So I tried to insert a Carlotta-the-fourth feeling around Charlotte, although I’d hate to think of Carlotta-the-fourth feeling like that. Given her era, however, it must have been inevitable. I also wanted to try a ‘Tiger Who Came to Tea’ ending, because making reality a little surreal takes the harsh, uncomfortable edge off it.

My mum says my dad drives her mad. My aunt says her husband drives her nuts, and that he intends to retire in a remote, mountainous area and she doesn’t want to retire there with him. My old neighbour buys her groceries separate from her husband, and they bicker like cats and dogs. They have been married for fifty odd years. I told my mum, ‘I really don’t want to end up like that.’ She replied, ‘well, you will, eventually. Married couples do eventually get sick of each other.’

I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want to rely on my kids to make my marriage interesting. My mother in law doesn’t like to travel or be alone with her husband unless her kids are there. They just don’t have a relationship. And, I don’t know if its because I am 23 and ‘inexperienced’, but I strongly feel that that situation can be avoided. I feel like you can make an effort to like each other, and change with each other, and complement each other over the years?

What is your opinion on the matter?

 

A Small Thought

I don’t have a favourite colour. I never have had one. I just tell people its blue, but when I picture blue in my mind it doesn’t please my guts.

Lately I have been saying it is metallic pink. Everything I own now is metallic pink. Even the shoes I am wearing. Deichmann, 19 quid.

I don’t particularly like metallic pink but it pleases my gut, so there must be some sort of spark there.

I think some children are embarrassed to talk about marriage and children. It’s a strange phenomenon. An eight year old boy I was teaching was trying to explain storytelling through the generations, and he said, ‘When I’m, well, when I have a child of some sort. Well, a small cousin of some sort, I will probably have a lot of stories to tell too.’

I chuckled at that. I was like that. I told my mum flat out that I would never get married. Ever. That it was a ridiculous notion and intolerable to me, at age eleven. Secretly I was crushing hard on my now-husband. He was fourteen and quite dashing. Did I tell anybody? Of course not. And I was quite cruel to him too. He must never be allowed to find out. I even prayed that when I was older, he would want to marry me. I actually got on my knees and prayed.

I said, ‘Oh dear God, please let me marry him when I am older.’ Every day for two months. I didn’t even say, ‘please let him be my boyfriend.’ I wanted something more solid than that, I suppose. Something in writing. 

Then I forgot, of course. Or it didn’t matter to me so much. My attentions were drawn elsewhere. Life. Exams. Stories to write and read. Exciting social events. Friends. Everything took over.

I even deviated a little and lead myself astray by mixing with some Bad Folk. Let us not tread those waters.

But at eleven, I prayed for him. So weird.

Seven years later, though, I married him. I guess prayers are answered. I married him after only four or five dates. That is weird. But I so wanted to. And I still want to. And I would do it all over again and get really excited to.

I have also never told anybody this. I fear I will appear a fool.

If I ever get to be old, I want to be old with my husband. I want to sit on a bench and stare as the world rumbles by. I believe it will be rumbling by then, not screeching as it is now. My hearing shan’t be as clear as it is now so that might contribute to the rumble.

Who knows.

All I know is that we are here on earth, and earth is fleeting. The people we meet and live with and accompany will leave us, will die, will be separated from us.  All I know is that we are still whole, with or without our loved ones, and that one can love wholly and completely without giving a piece of oneself away.

And that is what I am trying to do.

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I didn’t SORN my car.

I only have forty minutes left to do something productive. Writing this blog post is as productive a thing as any, eh?

In four days it will have been an entire month since I have left work. I have not done much since then. I have slept a lot and have vamped up my fitness regimen, but I still haven’t pumped my bike wheels (I keep leaving the pump at my mum’s house which is two hours away) and I still haven’t joined the gym. I wrote 5600 words in my ‘novel’ and I baked plenty. I also applied to plenty of jobs but nobody is hiring so I will inevitably have to wait forever and just keep trying.

I am being extortionately lazy and unproductive.

It’s becoming a little desperate.

I put off SORNing my car for so LONG that now I have to pay £50 in addition to filling out the SORN form. My front tyre is BUST and I can’t pump it up because there is no petrol in it and it is not insured so if I am caught driving it (which I can’t because the TYRE IS BUST) I will be fined £1000. Also have six points taken off my license, right? Oh I don’t know. Bad things will happen.

I kind wanna blame my husband, though? Even though it’s my car?

Listen, before you get all angry and het up about my ‘men-mysogyny’, here is why:

  1. He forced me to cancel my insurance because he was going to insure me on his car.
  2. He decided he didn’t want to insure me on his car, and refused to let me drive my own car home saying it’s too dangerous since I have only done motorways thrice.
  3. I had no car so I gave him two options, 1. either sell my car or, 2. let me pay for insurance and just drive home.
  4. He said he would sell it, but failed to do so.
  5. He said I shouldn’t insure it because he was selling it, BUT HE DID NOT SELL IT. So I didn’t SORN it thinking it would be sold. BUT IT WAS NOT.
  6. It is all his fault

Now he will be mad at the fine because it was my responsibility to declare my car off road (SORN) but HOW COULD I DO THAT WHEN HE SAID HE WAS SELLING IT?

See? So confusing.

Here is what I will inevitably have to do:

  1. SORN my car.
  2. Pay the damn fine.
  3. Smile at my husband  and pretend it was not his fault. Also don’t tell him because he will have a fit. EVEN THOUGH IT IS HIS FAULT.
  4. Sell my own goddamn car regardless of my husband’s controlling protests about my incapability to do it to his standard of perfection *rolls eyes*.
  5. Buy a better car and refuse to listen to my husband’s protests about insuring me on his car (Which he won’t do because he doesn’t trust his WIFE with his PRECIOUS). *ROLLS EYES HARD*
  6. Feel relieved that I now have my own car and don’t need to keep wasting money I am no longer earning on those damn trains.

A Toothbrush Away from a Happy Marriage

I stood in the bathroom, my face blinking back at me in the greenish mirror. I look disgusting in white light, that’s for sure. The toothbrush was too high up and the toothpaste required too much effort to squeeze anything out.

Maybe I shouldn’t brush my teeth. I thought to myself. One night doesn’t matter, does it?

Gross, I KNOW. But I was feeling lazy.

But then my mind went to the inevitable scenario when I did get into bed.

D: Did you brush your teeth?

Me: No.

D: Why not.

Me: I am tired.

D: Go brush your teeth.

Me: I don’t want to, I’ll have to put my clothes on.

D: *moody silence*

Me: *ugh* *Gets up to brush teeth*

To be honest, I would have got away with it if it were any other day. But he is moody with me. Disguising it with a few jokes and a fake smile here and there. But he is unhappy with me. And frankly I have no idea why. Maybe I am too fat. Maybe I am too unsuccessful now that I don’t have a job. Maybe I don’t look good because I haven’t bothered to try lately. Maybe I said something mean about his family. Maybe I annoyed him. I DON’T KNOW.

But I won’t add fuel to the fire by not brushing my teeth before I go to bed.

So. I sigh. I scrub at my teeth and rinse and spit, and scrub again. And rinse and scrub and rinse and – for three minutes because my dentist said so. Then I grin at myself from different angles to see if I would get that classic *TING* only the pearliest of pearls can give you.

Nothing.

I brushed my teeth to make my husband happy. I wouldn’t have brushed them if he wasn’t around. I did it, for my husband.

What does that make me? Annoyed, that’s what. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

ALSO. Brushing my teeth is good. So, I did myself a favour there. Hahaha. What am I even complaining about?

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Romantic Cake

Once before my husband was even my husband, and he was just my ‘beau’, I mentioned to him that I really like cake. Sponge cake with cream and fruit. The next time he came over he got me a massive fresh cream cake topped with the most fresh and sweet strawberries I’d ever tasted. It came in a white box and was frankly the most beautiful cake I’d ever seen. That was probably due to the fact that nobody had ever bought me a cake before, and the entire cake was mine.

Did my siblings have a bit of it? Oh, sure, they had a lot. Did I have any? Possibly a third of it, for breakfast the next day.

I was all dreamy and floaty thinking he’d got me the cake because I’d mentioned how much I love cake. It wasn’t even a Victoria sponge! It was A FRESH CREAM CAKE. Which is seven steps above a Victoria sponge, and three above a chocolate gateau. Three below an ice cream cake, of course, because nothing beats an ice cream cake. BUT STILL. It was my own romantic cake.

Turns out, he didn’t actually get me the cake because I said I liked cake. Who doesn’t like cake, anyway? It was just something he thought he would get me. He didn’t even register that I’d said that. He was thinking about something else. So much for romance, eh?

 

On Christmas in Spain and British People

Christmas day for me was spent in Granada. Actually, travelling from Granada to Cordoba. In Spain.

They drive on the right hand side of the road, as opposed to the left side which is the side we stick to in Britain. This was confusing to say the least. There were several incidents where we drove straight into oncoming traffic. To say we angered the Spaniards is to make a colossal understatement.

It was a great holiday. We did not have brussel sprouts at all, which I am glad for. I went through a period in 2013 where I had brussel sprouts daily for months. Needless to day my stomach suffered horrendously. No, on Christmas day we ate dry cereal for breakfast, then for lunch we didn’t have anything and for dinner we had, well, I can’t remember. I think we had a late lunch in an Italian restaurant. We had a very cheesy pizza with almost no crust and a beschamel soaked tortellini stuffed with something sweet. It was a very cheesy meal, and also very delicious. Later that night I awoke from some very cheesy nightmares involving a particularly stinky brie. We walked miles and miles that day, I think we did around 18,000 steps. We relaxed and watched the sun set.

My husband checked some women out and I got super pissy about that. He did it blatantly and not just once but hundreds of times throughout all seven days. And it made me severely doubt the power of my booty. Which is a pretty good one if I do say so myself.

I am, still pissy about it and it has ruined my holiday and makes me not like him very much at all.

But the holiday itself was lovely. So peaceful and I saw and learned a host of incredible things about the Nasrid empire and the Catholicism that took over soon after. The battle of cultures is emphatically displayed in the magnificent architecture of the palaces and castles and mosques in Granada, Cordoba and Malaga. It’s a clash of religions and you know, it’s stunning. You can clearly see the gothic architecture competing with the Islamic designs and there are places where whole ceilings have been replaced, only to be broken in some corners and the mathematically intricate designs of the Islamic architecture carries on along the wall and some floors are mosaic and some are flagstone and you just stand there and stare at the deathly silence of it all; and if you stand very still you can hear the echoes of civilisation forming and building and living and dying and flighting.

It is phenomenal. Humans are phenomenal.

There was one point in Granada when we were exploring the Nasrid palace in Alhambra, when a tour guide was explaining the history of the palace to an older couple. I was eavesdropping very blatantly, because we didn’t get any audio guides and there was no information at all anywhere. What he was saying was so captivating, I simply could not help myself. The guide saw me eavesdropping and I felt like such a cheat. But he did not say anything, he just carried on talking. Maybe he felt I should have given him a tip at least, if I was too stingy to pay for a tour!

But oh, Spain was so beautiful. Courtyards and cobbled alleyways and mesmerising views and palm trees and thunderous beaches and orange trees galore.

When we got on the plane to go home we were surrounded by British people and I was reminded of how much I really don’t like British people. Maybe that is a generalisation. But a man of fifty odd years was swearing horrendously at his mother who was limping along using a walking stick. And he was effing and blinding in a most British fashion. And it just reminded me of city streets and uncouth louts.

And I got this super strange stare from him on the plane and it felt very judgey because of how big my bag was. But I guess I am judging him and maybe he was just reminded of another bag in some other place which made him angry. Or something.

Anyway this man who was around 65 started talking to my husband about the forty years he served in the Navy. He spoke to my husband during the entire two and a half hour flight and while I didn’t hear much of what he had to say because the general sound in the plane is thunderous, I learned some interesting things.

And I felt bad for generalising my own people. The British. We are not so bad. Sometimes we can be awful, and drink too much alcohol, and reveal our pale, hairy bottoms in airports, and be generally quite stiff and awkward, and not like to speak what we think but like to show it in a manner of tuts and glares.

But some of us serve in the Navy for forty years and others do a myriad of different things and are their own people.

And some of us are not strong because we react to emotion. A strong person is not one who can fight and win. A strong person is one who can control themselves when they are angry. That is what I learned this Christmas.

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My photo of one of the courtyards in the Nasrid palace of Alhambra, Granada.

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A stunning view over Sacramento from atop Alhambra, Granada.

 

Marriage.

I think I am ruining my marriage.

I don’t know how to be a wife. Hell, scrap that. I don’t know how to be a decent human in a relationship.

I think I have pushed things to the limits and I don’t know how to bring anything together. And it makes it worse because there is a severe lack of communication, or even the will to communicate. Because I always ruin everything. And I don’t know how I am ruining it because I am not told what I am doing wrong.

I know I am doing things wrong, though.

I just don’t know how to fix it.

Last year I thought marriage is hard. This year I wish I was in my shoes from last year.

 

Love Letters #30

I am a liar.

Em, can you help me with this tie?

Didn’t you hear me? I’m a liar.

He leant his forehead on the doorframe. His hair was thick, black, shiny. It was straight, almost spiky and fell over his wonderfully tan forehead. He was outlandishly handsome. There was no denying that.

Don’t you want to know what I am talking about?

He looked at her sideways, and there was tiredness in his hazel eyes, green in the dim haze of the dingy hotel room. Then he walked slowly towards her, slouching, his back a weary hump, and put his head on her shoulder. They stood like that for what seemed like an age.

Dean?

He didn’t say anything. He just leant on her, and she had to bend her knees slightly to support his weight. He smelled of leather and expensive spice. A hint of manufactured tobacco essence, and cinnamon. She could smell his hair, so human and masculine, clean sweat. She closed her eyes and loved him incredibly in that moment.

I lied to you, Dean. I lied ab-

Shhh. Just – shhhh.

His finger was on her lips. He straightened up, tied his tie, slid his watch on to his wrist and went to the door.

Come on.

She went.

They were silent, walking down the stairs. Her heart was racing, and she glanced sideways at him as they emerged through the dirty glass doors of the hotel. He glanced back at the sign, ‘Hotel Mariano’ the ‘O’s were blacked out marks where the metal letters were welded on once. The orange street lamps gave his face angular shadows. His forehead jutted out at night. It reminded her of a gorilla.

Why won’t you talk to me about it?

Just drop it, Emily, won’t you?

And now we’re just going to the party and pretending everything is normal?

Everything is normal.

You don’t even know what –

Just drop it. Please. I don’t want to know.

Do you even care?

I do. 

She dropped it.