This is what I look like, and other twee crap.

I haven’t blogged for ages and ages, because I have nothing to say really. Unless people are interested in ‘Cray shit I hear via work’ blogs, in which case hit me up.

I can’t really write about how I am ~ded on the inside~ or anything to do with my children anymore. Because, reasons. Mainly because I don’t want to, but there are privacy implications too.

However. I CAN write about my obsession with what I look like, and how I basically live for vlogs and hauls. The hauls. Oh my, the hauls.

Bottom line, I would be all over vlogging myself if I could. The lighting in my room is shite, and my netbook wouldn’t allow for srs editing, and the last time I did any video editing was circa 2002 when I was doing Media Studies AS, and I gather things have moved on since the days of yore.

(As an aside, my ex is an editor and has an amazing camera. I believe it’s…a…Canon? Oh, the irony).

I digress. I love vlogs. This obsession started a few months back, one Sunday evening, when I was hungover as all hell. I just wanted someone to say soothing things to me and brush my hair. Unfortunately, my boyfriend and I don’t (yet) live together, so I couldn’t demand he do this, and I was putzing about on Twitter anyhow. I came across Charlotte Taylor, who blogs over at http://www.writelikenooneswatching.com/ . I’ve been following Charlotte for a while, but my creepy stalker (don’t hate) led me to her YouTube page and, ah, it was just what I needed. Lovely chat about slap that goes on yer face. Saw me right, it did.

From there on, I was hooked. I now religiously check the uploads of  three vloggers pages like my life depends on it (Sprinkleofglitter, BeccaRose,  and InTheFrow mainly.)

AND NOW I CAN DO MY EYEBROWS! AND CONTOURING! Sort of. I make my boyfriend watch me contour, I think it’s his favourite bit of my slap routine cos of the fishyfacepout which is necessary when trowling it on. I used to go mad for really lairy colours (UV rave dayglo eyeshadow , my signature look in 2006. Never forget.) but I have moved away from turquoise eyeliner and glitter, and now get excited about BRUSHES and PALETTES ( the Mac 266 brush for eyebrows , and the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette are on my wishlist for next payday)

I don’t use makeup to totally change my face now that I am of advancing years, I just do it to make me look like me…but better (cringe face). I think the mentally healthy amongst us call this ‘progress’ or ‘growth’. I have arrived at this ‘meh, I’ll do’ way of thinking by realising that…this is as good as I’m gonna get, folks! No, really. There is no point dieting my way to a size 8 (erm lol) because, this is my body, this is what I look like, and it’s not that bad. Nice. Good, even. I look the way I do because A) I’ve had two children, B) I love scran, all scran and C) I don’t go to the gym and spend a lot of time lying about in bed laughing at my own wit and hilarity, and taking selfies.

I have no business in wearing low cut jeans, because I have, ahem, love handles (someone loves them, I think) and I spent my entire time hoiking them up and feeling crap about myself. I wear high waisted ones, and now I actually like wearing jeans. Cropped tshirts? I think the ship has SAILED on that front. I think the expression is ‘know yourself’, and I know myself. I know that I am a bit overweight, and have cellulite (holla!) and stretchmarks (because, cake and babies) and hobbit type feet. But I also know that I have short hair because it looks banging on me. I can’t say that I love myself, oh my days no. It’s not like I preen in front of the mirror for hours doing a Jonny Bravo (I do preen a fair bit though, especially in my boyfriend’s office for some reason. It’s like a Pavlovian response, sorry bae) but I am accepting of the way I look, and happy. I definitely couldn’t have said that 15 years ago. Or 10 years ago. I could have said it at 22-23, but it was the total opposite from thereon in.

So anyway. The above was meant to serve as a sort of introduction, because I want to start doing words about other, possibly more, shallow things. More shallow than writing about my mental health, or the relationship I have with my children. But. I like makeup, and I like YouTube and I am all over Monthly Favourites. So that is what I will do.

*I wasn’t sponsored for this post, by any of the named individuals or brands. I just rate them. Safe.

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A time to be so small

Running down the escalators is always a bit risky, isn’t it? On one hand, you’ll get to your platform quicker, you might get a seat and not have to stand up, squished against the other commuters, overheating in your wool blend coat until you can shoe-horn yourself out at your stop, 40 minutes later. On the other hand, you could fall arse over tit and break yourself.

Normally I quick-step it down the escalators, stairs. Not tonight, though. My handbag has barely anything in it, but feels like it’s full of boulders for the rockery. And besides, my other hand is holding a bag with a full bottle of whiskey in, from my friend and colleague. That’s my colleague who is a friend, not two separate people. Just wanted to clear that up.

A quarter to eight in the evening, on a Friday night, and the platforms are still three, four, five people deep.

It’s all very normal, boring, banal even. And it’s bliss. The taste of mundane normalcy is sweeter than I thought. But this is a ‘new’ kind of normal. It’s the other end of another story that I used to be terrified of. It’s almost Bridget Jones-esque. It’s hangovers, and University Challenge, and running 15 minutes late for work. It’s Chip Shop Tuesdays, it’s arguing with my sister over use of the bathroom. It’s writing ‘pickles’ on the shopping list, and combing through Gumtree for house shares.

I’ve been normal before, I’ve been a stereotype, and I was smug about it. Married and a Mother to two babies by the time I was 25, a stay at home Mum who had left her job before it had the chance for it to turn into a career. I left it hapilly and willingly. ThankGOD I didn’t need to worry about the future, how relieving that it was all set out in front of me. I was, by my own admission, a smug married.

I hate the term ‘drama’, so I won’t use it. There is no more noise, there is no more crash, bang, wallop, there is only companiable silence, and it’s bliss. It’s not time to be bigger than I want to be, and it’s not a time for screeching. It’s a time to be so small.

Easy

Today is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Another year, a new start, and typically time to look, but not turn, back.

I’ve been living apart from my children for four months. It’s now September, and my son is starting school nursery. He was enrolled in a private nursery for a year or so, for two days a week, but this is different. It’s like a rite of passage. Almost everyone I know who has children are in the same position, starting school, starting nursery, moving up a year. It’s bittersweet. He originally got a place in nursery attached to a primary school right by where we lived, because it suited everyone’s needs at the time- after all, I wasn’t working, and I was at home, so it made sense for him to be as close to me as possible. He was going to do morning sessions, so that both he and his baby sister (who is almost two and a half now, so not really a baby) could nap in the afternoon and I wouldn’t go insane. But now? He’ll be going elsewhere. Closer to his childminder, because he HAS a childminder now. Everything has completely changed and it hasn’t gotten any easier, for me at least. I ask my ex if the children are happy? Are they settled? He says they are.

I can’t think of any better way to put this. I miss my children so much that if I think about it, I become hysterical. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t have the physical reminder of my c-section scars to remind me about them, even though trying to forget anything about them is entirely the wrong thing to do. It’s not over-dramatic to say that I feel like a part of me has disappeared, because they ARE part of me. When I go to see them at their home, the former ‘marital home’, if you like, it’s physically painful. I remember playing with them on that carpet, I remember lifting them out of the Snack Drawer in the kitchen. I remember having to lock the bathroom from the outside, with the aid of a fifty pence piece (don’t ask) otherwise my youngest would let herself in and start playing about with the sink and taps. This is all they’ll ever know now, which is good. They won’t remember the screaming and arguments, or me being on edge, their father too probably, the bad parts of our marriage can’t have only affected me, or anything negative and that’s the only way it can be. It’s how it has to be.

Daily life, the routine, was tough. It was hard, it was laborious, sometimes it was thankless and boring. But I miss it. Or rather, I miss them. The thing that gets me most is any talk about cbeebies. Bloody cbeebies, taking from my sanity once again. Show Me Show Me- ring any bells? That was on after breakfast. Lex would watch a bit with Seb, then she’d have her morning nap. I’d take her upstairs to her cot, change her nappy, put her in her sleep sack, and nurse her down. Then she’d sleep for a bit, and the TV would go off. Rhyme Rocket- second showing, at about 1pm. When that came on, it was time for both their naps. Sometimes, Seb wouldn’t want a sleep, he’d play instead or lie on the sofa with me and make me laugh. In the early days, just after I left, when I went back to see them, Seb would almost always fall asleep on me. And I loved it. My tiny, brilliant boy. He must have been exhausted. I know I was, it was so much to take in.

Lest we forget. I took them to the park last weekend and I’m already out of practise. It was difficult, really difficult, keeping an eye on both of them, keeping them in check. How did I do this before? Maybe I didn’t do it very well. I remember crying a lot, because I felt I couldn’t cope. Perhaps that’s why. I ask my ex-husband, how do you do it? How do you cope? “We all help each other, me and the kids. We look after one another”. He’s a natural, and I never was. I know he’s the best one for them, I know he is, but only we know why, truly.

The divorce is taking ages. It’s dragging on. I just want my Nisi through, but it’ll be months yet. I’m still married, which I don’t want, and I know my ex doesn’t want either. Everything is so fuggy, so up in the air. It’s as if I’m holding my breath, waiting for it to be safe to breathe out again. The situation is odd and complicated, and whenever I talk about it I have to start “Well, it’s like this…” I hate saying ‘My husband and I are separated’ because that makes it sound temporary. It’s not. We’ve moved on, we don’t love each other anymore. And that’s that. This side of things makes me feel done in, unable to do anything apart from panic and worry. There are other sides of things though, that make me deliriously happy.

None of this is easy.  Leaving, dealing with the fallout, the explanations. None of that was easy, and I am damn lucky that unconditional love exists and that my parents are incredibly understanding and sympathetic.

My marriage ending broke my heart. Obviously, it was the end of my marriage. I felt like I was on constant guard. Anyone, any MAN, who was nice to me…well…I didn’t know what to make of it. What are they after? Hmm, well. I never thought I’d really meet anyone else, not ever again. “I’ll be a recluse!” I told friends. I’m complicated, and I have baggage, and I swear and screech. What a prize. I put my hands in my ribcage, laced my fingers over my heart “I’m protecting you, but you can still see everything. Nothing will come close again. No one”. I’ve broken every single rule. I left my marital home, not my ex-husband because he was the one that stayed. I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t know how. I left the children, I’m not the single parent.

Leaving wasn’t straightforward. It wasn’t simple. It wasn’t, as I said, easy. But some things were. Some things after I left, after this all became the status quo, came naturally.  Some things, some people, are the best thing to have happened to me, in a long, long time. My Favourite And My Best.  And that’s all I’ll say about that *blushes* *clams up*

Thanks for reading, and L’Shana Tova.

Man, I feel like a Woman.

This is a post about feminism. Actually, it’s not. This is a post about myself and feminism. Or my take on it. Or how confused I get when I’m trying to get my point across. I’ve started and deleted posts like this so many times before, because I want to do the subject justice. I want to do myself justice.

ACTUALLY SCRAP THAT. This isn’t about feminism, but I’ll get round to posting something on this. Maybe when I’m doing a clever one day. This is about being a WOMAN. And a Mother.

I spend a lot of time inwardly conflicted about my views on it all, and how this all intermingles and works for me in the every day. I see an image of myself mirrored back at me which isn’t how I see myself and my beliefs sometimes, and that troubles me. I know I believe in equality. I know I believe in agency and ownership of the self, and I know I don’t have any time for anyone that believes men and women have innate biological or ‘natural’ roles. I’m going to use the only, and best, example that I have of this. I’m going to use myself as a Mother as starting point. I’m not naturally maternal. Bonding didn’t come easily. Motherhood wasn’t the only thing I dreamed of, and it didn’t become ‘all worth it’ and the be all and end all for me. There, I said it. But, I said this to someone recently, and they commented back with:

“Yeah, I guessed as much. You don’t seem like a natural Mum at all”.

Notice the use of the word Mum. Totally different connotations to Mama, or Mummy, or Mother. In any case, the statement really, really bothered me. Although it was, probably, true, I felt the urge to defend myself, explain away my actions. Instead I said “You don’t know fuck all about me, son”.

GYBAWS

It’s strange. During both of my pregnancies, I was fiercely proud and protective of my babies in-utero. When I became pregnant with my son, I said several times that I loved him (still an ‘it’ then, at 4 weeks post conception) already. I cried when I had all my scans. The reality was totally different and I looked down at my tiny, newborn son and thought, as most probably do ‘What the fuck do I do now?’. I always assumed that I’d be the one who was more confident, more immediately loving with our son but it was actually my ex-husband who was. Up until that moment, we’d had really traditional conjugal roles. I’d gone on maternity leave early, at 31 weeks, he’d worked, I was at home. It threw everything I knew, and my plans, into a spin. The traditional roles continued, and I became even more certain that the staunchly traditional family ideals didn’t fit in with my own. “We’re in serious trouble here”. I know my ex thought that feminism was a tokenist ideal, and it annoyed him. I believe he thought I couldn’t be a true feminist because I was at home  I was being supported ‘by my man’, and this bothered me. It bothered me because I, and everyone else, thought it too.

Whatever, it doesn’t matter now. ‘It’s like you’re the man, Ruth.’ I heard this so many times, I still hear it. ‘You think like a man’. ‘You’re not a natural woman, theres definitely something a bit broken with you’. (Stares at breasts. Looks at c-section scar. Nope, I think I’m pretty biologically female, thanks)

I don’t. I think like a person, and one who thinks that all roles are interchangeable. Nothing its innate, nothing is biologically defined for you. You are, what you are. You become what you want and fuck anything that says you should be X, Y, and Z because SCIENCE! Because HISTORY! This is what you’re meant to do! No ta, fuck that for a game of soldiers.

I’ve commented before about my friends who are so bothered and conflicted by the roles which are attached to the terms ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’, that they don’t use them. They’re referred to by their first names. I’d do this too, but at the moment, I can feel my role in my children’s life getting less and less. The thread that ties us together is becoming more frayed, and I’m relying on the tokenistic nature of the name ‘Mum’ to keep us afloat. So the very thing I am bucking against, I’m using in my favour, and I’m taking advantage of it. What a headfuck, it’s no wonder I spend most of my time looking like a confused rabbit.

Whasserface, that DeBeavoir bird, wrote ‘One is not born woman, one becomes woman’. This is meant to be comforting, I think. It troubles me. What am I supposed to become? Whatever it is, I’m definitely not there yet, and having children didn’t get me there either.

Half time

Half-time. Half-time. Mid-way. Middle. In halves. Mid. Life. Crisis.

I am 27 and, hello, according to the Telegraph, I reckon I am going through a midlife crisis. “But Ruth!” You cry “Not you, it’s not possible.” And to that, I say, oh reaaalllly? Let us refer, shall we, to an article-cum-list written by them brilliant babes and bros at the Telegraph, on July 3rd. Yes, let’s do just that. Some highlights which one can expect when going through a crisis, include but are not limited to (with my examples in brackety brackets):

-Longingly look at old pictures of yourself (Facebook is a fecker for this. LOOK AT ME WHEN I WAS 18! Wasn’t I a beaut?)

-Switch from Radio 2 to indie stations like 6 Music (*Looks at you*)

-Flirt embarrassingly with people 20 years your Junior- (this last bit is not so appropriate for me because anyone 20 years my junior will in fact be seven years old. Lets not go there. I am very much looking forward to being an overbearing cougar type in about 25 years time, however.)

-Obsessively compare your appearance with others the same age (did you know that Lady Gaga is younger than me? AND Iggy Azalea. And most of the cast of Made In Chelsea. ‘Kin hell!)

-Look up your medical symptoms on the internet (I have gout, or possibly, need a hair cut. Who knows?)

-Find that you are very easily distracted (STORY TIME. Was having a very serious talk with My Mate on the old dog and bone, and naturally I felt the need to point out how stripey and orange and badly faked tanned my legs were at the time, too. It helped, I think)

-Take up triathlons or another extreme sport (I WILL start doing half-marathons. Maybe. Next year. Or the next. DEFINITELY in the next five to ten. Maybe)

iDshootDalston0804(this is me, 18, on a roof in Dalston Kingsland. Told you I swoon over old photos of myself…)

ANYHOW. Because I do love a good list, oh yeah, I could list all night, baby…here are some of my own  musings to add. You can thank me later Mr and Ms Telegraphs.

Let’s totally bullet point! Or number point:

1) WEARING SHORT SHORTS. Always, and whatever the weather. Friends and family have tried to hint that it may be time to fold away the denim kecks, and to them I say: NEVER. ZERO TOLERANCE.

2) In a similar vein, wearing neon coloured bras under light coloured tops ‘Oh you can see my bra? Oh SILLY ME, oh what a rookie and teenage mistake. What am I like, eh? Do my tits look good, though?’

3) Wearing ‘statement’ and ‘zany’ jewellery. Ugly tat, really. Me and a friend were talking about this, he’s a bloke see, and pointed out that men should wear leather type jewellery. You know the shit I’m talking about. Bit like if Ian McShane had gone lentil weavery.

4) Using words like ‘zany’ and not ironically.

5) Asking my sister if I can go to Ibeefar with her. She, wisely, told me to piss off. Good call. Big fish, little fish, cardboard box.

Yeah, anyway, moving swiftly on. I do a lot of these. I can’t POSSIBLY be having a midlife crisis, surely surely SURELY? Maybe I am having some other kind of crisis; it could be argued that walking away from your marriage would spark some kind of crisis, perhaps (It’s okay, I’m fine. No really, I. Am. FINE.). If that telegraph 40 point list is anything to go by, I’ve been in the midst of such a crisis since I was 19. Now there’s a depressing thought. I think the whole crux of it, is that it’s all about behaviour, what you do and how you change. Seriously, though. Is any of this actually a crisis? Maybe a bit cringey, certainly but you know what? Fuck it. It’s fine. Do your thing (thang? Is that on the same scale as saying zany?)

Jagged Little Pill

Sometimes the internet is bad for your health. I was out, a few weeks ago. I’d been feeling a bit ARGH and anxious over the previous few days, but I went out like a proper human and all was well. I checked my phone en route elsewhere, on the top deck of the 243 (if I spend any more time on that bloody bus route, I might as well just go and live there. By there, I mean curled up on the back seat at the back. Mmm, cosy!) One text, one e-mail. The e-mail unleashed, what can only be described, as absolute horror. I changed my plans, changed my route, got myself to another part of London.

This is all very cryptic, isn’t it?

My night ended up with looking through a greasy bus window, out onto the Thames. I felt as dark and uncertain as it looked, it was freezing outside, windy. I felt like there was no hope, I felt about the impossible conversations I should be having. This is frustrating, so frustrating because I’m trying to put into words something I can’t. No one really knows how to respond to it. “You’ll be okay, it’ll be okay”. Maybe. But, I was definitely not okay. Within a few days, all was fine and dandy. I knew, logically everything would come up roses, because it all has to somehow work out, doesn’t it? And over the past week, just this week, it has been. More than okay. It’s been really, really good and probably in no small part due to the kind of people who I’ve been lucky enough to have around,

 

setraline

Let’s make no bones about it; 2013 has been the most emotionally taxing year of my entire life. I know of people who have gone through so much worse, so I do feel grandoise about making such a statement, but thems the breaks. I’ve spent most of the year scared, uncertain, anxious, depressed and clad in inappropriate short shorts. I’ve been scared about what may or may not lie ahead, I’ve been terrified about my job, I’ve been worried about money, I’ve been so, so scared about how everything that’s happened will affect my beautiful children. I’ve been depressed, I’ve been so down and out and so very much out of fight that I couldn’t make my mind up about what I should eat that day, so I didn’t. I lost a lot of a weight, and then I put it back on again.

The end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 saw me on anti-depressants for the umpteemth time since I was 17. This time it was Setraline (Zoloft) as is commonly prescribed to nursing Mothers. Lovely SSRIs, I thought they’d make everything better. I’d forgotten the side effects, and how long it takes for everything to even out- chemically wise. I spent days, and nights, feeling like I’d taken a lot of E; my heart racing and everything was too loud, too hot, too fast. The worst trip. I had the shakes a lot, and I felt sick. ALL. THE. TIME. It was like being in the early stages of pregnancy. At a bad rave, on a bad trip. Funsies! But, they did stop my anxiety. And they did stop my depression. But that’s because they made everything stop- it’s such a cliché but I couldn’t feel anything. Arguing with my husband? Whatever. Managed my money so badly that my phone was cut off? Okay. That’s fine. I had no opinion, no appetite. Nothing. But I no longer had the urge to lie underwater in a deep bath and never come up for air again, so maybe they did the job they were prescribed for. I started CBT, and that’s when everything changed, and turned a corner. As it turns out, yeah, I was depressed but I didn’t actually have depression. I had, I have, an anxiety disorder and depression was just a particularly lovely add on to it. And quite understandable, really. I think the term used was ‘disordered thinking patterns’, which sounds about right actually.

Anyway. I told my friend (who is so fucking brilliant he deserves his own blogpost, beeteedubs. I’ve been asking him to guestblog for me for ages, he’s got the goods to back it up) and I said I was finding everything, erm, really fucking difficult at the moment. Perhaps I should go back onto anti-depressants? And then he pointed out, and I remembered, that yes- they’d made THE ALL ENCOMPASSING SADNESS go away. Sure. But they’d also make everything else go away, too. All of the feelings. I’m not choosing that this time. I’m not going to be that person anymore, it just doesn’t work for me. Once it did, and now it doesn’t. I choose life. I choose drum and bass. I choose short shorts, and leopard print converses that I’m probably too old to be wearing, certainly at work anyway. I choose to stop hiding. I choose change, and I’m the only person who can make that change. People, friends, casual readers and tangible acquaintances. PLEASE don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not having a big ol’ go at meds at all. They work, they fucking do. They work really well for some people, and maybe if I’d had the confidence to go back to my GP and say ‘Hey, so, erm I kinda feel like these things are slowly killing me, yeah?’ I’d have found the right one for me. But I didn’t, so the right ‘one’ for me…is none.

I can still drink though, right?! Oh good, thankgod for that. Lets get the Gin out, babes.

Thanks for reading.