A Woman Belongs… On The Sofa With Her Feet Up

Sometimes it gets a little too much. I can’t control the tiredness and general exhaustion I feel from running my own home. Some days when my workload has been piled to the ceiling and all I’ve had all day is staff talking my ears off so I can’t concentrate on finishing my ever increasing to-do pile, my mind tires of everything in its path. In this heat my feet blow up like balloons, and the sweat is dripping off me as I sit at the desk using all my energy trying to ignore them talking about TV shows they saw and what their favourite colour is. Blah blah. I want to be asleep, I’d sleep standing up if I could.

Exhausted and sticky, I finally return home to find a counter covered in dirty dishes, empty boxes and my fiancé with his feet up after a long day of doing nothing and I can’t help but wonder why he couldn’t, just this once, wash the dishes for me. It’s not like I ever ask, or expect anyone to do it but it would just be nice for a change to not have to walk in from work and have to clean up the mess he’s made while he’s not being at work. One can dream. 

Any other day, I merrily plod along, cleaning, watering my plant pots, cooking our meals while he sits and watches TV. As the mere secondary bread winner, I attempt to earn my keep by cleaning house and cooking, because it is a fact that his job is intellectually much harder than mine, and for a lot longer hours, but that doesn’t make my aching legs not ache and my swollen feet not swell. I am tired, more than usual with an accompanying headache and my patience wearing thin with menial tasks. He didn’t make the bed either. I think I might move out instead.

I Got Engaged!

On the morning of the 7th June 2017 my partner brought me breakfast in bed while I rolled about on my crisp white bed linens looking out at the sunny morning in a state of rare contentment. In exchange I made him tea. He made plans to take us to the city, so I showered and started to get myself ready, in the meantime he told me he needed to visit the local builders merchant.

Once he returned he found me head first in my wardrobe looking for my shoes, and handed me the most beautiful bouquet of pink and red roses. I already felt so special but felt that he’d made far more effort than me on our anniversary. I felt a pang of guilt for my lack of thought but last year all we did was eat take away and watch a movie, I honestly thought that our time of extravagance was over now that we have the house to deal with. 


I was ready to go to the city, dressed for winter as the glorious grey clouds of the British summer had descended upon us, just about to leave the house, he called me into the living room (our one finished room).

He asked me if I’d had a good morning, of course I said yes, I was already so happy and no negative thoughts had entered my mind once. Then as he got down on one knee, I think I was prepared to walk away thinking he was making fun of me. I can’t remember how he said it, I think he addressed me by my full name but I’m not sure, all I was thinking was ‘he’s joking don’t get excited’.

After quite of while of debating whether he was making fun of me in my head, I said yes. Then went off to the city to choose my ring, the rest was a strange blur of coffee breaks and jewellery shops, I was amazed that I could take the ring home the same day.

I chose a simple solitaire in white gold. It suits me, it’s not too extravagant but is most definitely a quality diamond that blinds me in certain lights if I look at it for too long. 

I never thought that I would be this happy from a few small gestures but it feels surreal in the way that I’ve realised that this is what I wanted, and that life is now moving forward instead of stagnating in the present. I have something to look forward to, something to work for, to save for which does wonders for my depression. To have something positive to focus on is just what I need right now at the edge of another breakdown at work, and with unfortunate current affairs. A little happy news may just help me through it.

Searching…

It was dismissed as a child hood obsession that would dissipate with time. My grandmother handed me the family bible one day. A six inch thick black leather bound beast of a book, with beautiful illustrations and details on every page. At the front a delicately hand drawn design framing a ruled page which was where my great, great, great grandfather began writing the names of his closest relatives for his family tree. The list ends with my mother, as the youngest, and I have since added my sister and myself as the new co-owners of the book, disliking my own hand writing in comparison to 19th century calligraphy.

I of course, expressed the most interest – which is why it was given to me and not my eldest aunt as tradition would dictate and as she has often brought up in conversation a few times – in researching the family tree from snippets of information provided by elderly relatives. Delving into the pits and scandals of the family once brought me comfort or at least something to focus my mind on. I reached the limits to which I could clarify the legitimacy of my findings and had to give up, I couldn’t be sure I was on the right track, then as I traced my paternal side and got a only few generations into illegitimate children and touched on unregistered births I knew it was time to call it a day. It had become too easy to stray off course and into someone else’s blood line.

Most found it dull that I had dedicated such a large amount of time and effort into discovering people who are long dead and gone, and I couldn’t give a good reason for it until now. Reflecting on the desperate need to find them out, I was so lost and could not go forward so I went back. I was looking for something, a reason for why I was, perhaps an occupation I had overlooked. I found mostly black smiths, servants and infant deaths, seven births with only three surviving into adulthood, not the best answer to my questions, but it didn’t depress me like most things often do, it intrigued me. Always wanting to learn more from this new found appreciation I felt for the harsh reality of living back then, how it was a miracle to survive past the age of ten, a miracle to have an occupation.

It brought some meaning to me, if only for a short time, I had something, information from a different way of living that was as shocking as it was humble. 

I cried when I failed to complete it and often think of it now while I’m still begging for a sign of what to do with my life and praying for meaning. I can only hope that they lived more happily than we do now, only in the sense of them being untainted by the technological advancements that we are forced to embrace. The simple mission of marrying, working and having children without social media telling them that their lives are not good enough that way.

Oh I’m not saying they were better off, catching infections from poor sanitation and just barely living past 35, I’m saying that our ‘improvements’ on our lives have not improved us as people, we are living longer, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I feel that we went too far down the wrong path and I believe that all we have done is create a society with mental health problems, taunted by terrorists and other criminals hell bent on taking what the slightly more fortunate have. You used to be able to leave your door unlocked and not worry all that much, but people have more to take now and less respect for each other. It’s sad.

Not Again

I’m having a difficult time getting out of bed today. Watching movie after movie, I don’t want any of them to end but they do. The more movies end the closer and faster I get to returning to work after my mid-week two day break from my own personal hell.

Extraordinary lives fill my screen and flicker lights across the white walls. It’s like a cell not a bedroom, with a few dots of colour scattered, but mostly white, clinical. Imprisoned in it and left to watch subliminal messages telling me that my life is not good enough, forcing me to sob into the echoing emptiness. 

I wait for someone to report me to my doctor, tell them I’m sick again, keep me away from the place that breaks me down. There’s no one here to observe me. I live with the busiest man alive who doesn’t have a moment in his day to take in my deteriorating health and the distance I’m creating from him. I’m blank. Cooking and cleaning and reading books then falling asleep on the spot where I was frantically flicking through pages in search of answers that I will never find. He bowls through the door exhausted from working after midnight and thinks I’m asleep. This is our life. 

I can’t go to anyone and burden them with my sickness, they have worries of their own. I can’t even go out, I don’t get paid enough to afford the recreational activity of shopping or buying a hot meal. I can spend money when I need to and often I need to before the end of month. I’m sitting with my back pain recapping the agony of the first two days of the beginning of the week. Trying to see the end of a dramatic job that has no grand finale, it cycles around and around like a fairground ride until I’m sick and dizzy and can no longer stand let alone walk straight. Or see a straight line to the next ride, if I truly believe there is one.

Which I don’t.

I don’t believe there is an end to this anymore, that I’ll ever be happy again no matter what I do. I miss baths. They ended my days peacefully, I used to sit in them for hours, relaxing, crying, whatever I wanted to do in those moments of solitude, soothing my ageing muscles. Showers aren’t the same, they’re too quickly over, I can’t stand and calm myself down in a claustrophobic cubicle like I can in a tub, focusing my senses into a mindful state. We’ve lived here a year now, and in a year I’ve had no peace like that. It feels like a decade.

I’ve decided I’m leaving the house anyway. I’ll pay the consequences for it later.

Hungry

I need to feel alive again. I need to do something that makes me worth while. I’m just wondering from room to room around my cold empty house, waiting for the time to move faster so I can start cooking lunch. I don’t want to do housework, or read, or watch TV, I’ve been doing all of that for days and it’s not working. I want to stand on top of a hill and stare down at little buildings and tiny people going about their lives. I want breathe in the scent of trees and run through fields to feel my heart beating my body back to life.
I can’t stay here, confined in this little space, alone and left to play house while my partner goes to win his bread. I hate him for it, I hate depending on him for my own survival.

I loathe my pathetic life. I want to be at that peaceful stage where I’m grateful for oxygen but I only feel hatred for it, the more air I breathe the less air someone more worthy is denied. I feel guilty for being here, on this planet occupying space when smart, talented, more deserving people who were born into this world were wrongfully taken from it . When children die from starvation and I scoff bread and guzzle water like there’s no tomorrow. I don’t deserve to be here, nobody can say that I do, a snivelling wreck planted in middle class Europe to complain of the privilege. Except I am here. No drought or famine has killed me off, no disease epidemic or storm has taken me down, so shouldn’t I be doing something with the certainty of seeing in the next day?

Well I’m not and therein lies the reason for all of this. My precious time is not spent well, my fresh food and safe water are not savoured, my life is filled by making money for luxuries that I use to induce some sort of vague happiness from the pointlessness of the lifelong endeavour to get more from everything, to all but bleed rocks to feed the greed in human nature.

I look at my memories and the only ones of significance are the ones when I feel insignificant. When I’m standing on a mountain chewing a piece of ham and swigging water from a spring, proud of reaching the peak with only minor injuries that will take a few days to recover from, if that. 

I don’t believe we were made to conquer this world as we have, but only to enjoy it and help each other survive it and I think we’ve forgotten that. No one helps anyone, and if it came down to it I know we’d all sacrifice each other to get more, time, money, whatever… I’d be the first to go. I sometimes feel like the only one living, and everybody else are robots, programmed to group together and get along and I just want to sit in my garden and feed the sparrows.

A Perfect Day

I don’t think of my own life. I think of myself a lot but not what I’m doing. I don’t think of the experience of living and breathing much at all, I only find myself wondering what others are thinking, how happy or sad they are. Always worrying about what they think of me but I don’t worry what I think of me. I know my opinions of myself, but I’m not wondering how I feel, I’m not concentrating on what make me happy or sad in order to try and make things better, it always seems to revolve around someone else.

I’ve been to a shopping centre today, spending quality time with my mother. I have had so much fun I’ve forgot myself, I’ve been ‘ugly laughing’ and just plain having a good time. She’s hilarious. We started the two hour drive at ten, laughed and cursed and told the Sat Nav to shut up, my day was already infinitely better than the several previous, before we even reached our destination. It was nice talking to someone who understands everything and having full undivided attention.

Of course when we arrived we ‘ugly laughed’ some more at our packed lunches wrapped in tin foil and the stench of left over chicken tikka, finished eating and trekked the short distance to our favourite place. 
I forgot what it was like to be happy.
I bought things of course, but looking back on the day, the company was what mattered most to me, I was not bored or ignored or at any point hungry or thirsty. My feet didn’t hurt, I didn’t feel exhausted, I could almost say that I felt recharged, powered by the joy of it. Afternoon tea and shopping for handbags.

I think that when you live with someone who doesn’t understand you, it’s best to have a few days apart every now and again to distance yourself from the frustration of being brushed aside when you could really do with a long hug and being hugged when you could really do with a little space to breathe. It’s a tiring condition to endure for every one involved.

Endings

It makes me sad when things end, in real life and fiction. The ultimate end being death, I mourn for characters in books as I mourn in real life. I’m not sure whether that is a trait of my condition or not.

I finish a book, a life ends, a movie trilogy airs the final part of the story, relationships cease and all leave a mark on me. I relate so much to the stories in books and film that they plant a seed in my mind that uproots all other memories exposing them, projecting them high in the sky with all associated feelings laid out like stars in the darkness. I feel only pain and self pity and wanting only for peace I lock myself away.

Losing friends and relationships dug up from where I buried them deep to forget them, suddenly, like a headache they interfere with my day to day activities and I find everything sad, I cry all over again, the same pain I cried out for in that first instance, and it’s all because of one ending. 

An ending so final, one with death or one without any hope of happiness, but also the ones that do end happily, with sunlight and life and a future. These things I never imagined for myself during my suicidal youth. I never saw hope. These stories invoke a powerful envy, something that I desired more than anything, which I buried first just before my life fell apart, covered in concrete, cast in iron, never to return, somehow manages to surface, it’s glow filling my life with the wanting of a perfectly happy ending that I only imagined as a child before people and the miseries of this world tainted my pure mind. 

That was all before the deaths, the assaults, the failed relationships, the opportunities lost, the medical conditions, the medications, the stress, the depression, the suicide attempts, back to my pure state I saw only love. My parents loved me, I loved them and the sunshine and the world around me. I saw one day loving someone, having children of my own, and them having children. A simple life of hope that chipped piece after piece of me away until this ugly chunk of rubble remains, glowing with envy of a fictional fairy tale of everything somehow working itself out in the end. That somehow, something will build me back up to remake something that resembles what I once was. Then everybody sits in the sunlight smiling at each other across a field of wildflowers, at peace in the knowledge that the worst things that can happen are over.

My hope needs more tears for it to grow, more endings have to push me to my limit before I can fight for my life inside my own mind. I’m holding my own battle and that too must end someday, and I don’t know how I’ll manage to survive that one if a good bye in the final chapter of a book rips me to pieces with the thought, empathy or memory. I come back to the conclusion that I always did when I was young, this illness will defeat me and take full control or kill me, either way I won’t win.