Thursday, 27 March 2008

LOOKING DOWN ON EVERYTHING

At half one in the morning today, I was sitting on the balcony of an 11th floor flat, looking out at the world. Glasgow, like most places, is prettier at night. But I barely noticed that. I was thinking about the fact that seven or so months ago, I was sitting on that same balcony, in the early hours of the morning, when I should have been sleeping on the couch, drunk, wondering what had went wrong. And just over half a year later I had come full circle. Mourning that relationship all over again.

As I sat there, in the dark, watching the odd car pass by, I contemplated falling.

Not jumping. I'm not a suicide type of chick. Death scares me too much.

But for the last six weeks or so, I've felt like I've been in some sort of a freefall, and not a good kind. I feel like I've fallen eleven floors, hit the ground, broken my bones, and continued to fall. To where? I don't have a fucking clue. All I know is my plunge downwards is ongoing. I'm finding it increasingly hard to deal with everyday life. I'm counting the moments virtually until I go away on holiday, until I can escape my everyday life, such as it is, for a mere week. Once I come back, things will probably feel even worse. Post-holiday-comedown, they always do. But at the moment, I have that to look forward to and it's the one thing that keeps me going.


So anyway, I was sitting on the 11th floor looking down, despite my fear of being in tall buildings. As a kid, my grandparents used to live on the 19th floor. They had a verandah and I LOVED it. I loved to throw paper aeroplanes off it. Now I think if I was that high up I'd be whimpering and holding onto the railings for dear life. The idea of falling terrifies me. But I'm already on the ground, feeling broken. Impact has already taken place. Who knows where I'm going to end up. Or whether I'll ever be fixed.

At the moment, I'm not particularly hopeful. . .

Friday, 21 March 2008

THIS POST IS ABOUT GRIT ON MY FOREHEAD AND KISSING JESUS

As you probably know about me, I was brought up Catholic and went to Catholic school. . . in fact, until I was twenty three, I even went to mass every week. Not so much because I WANTED to, but because my mum is pretty strict like that, and it was the one thing she wouldn't bend on. But from the moment I moved out, I stopped going. My gran's funeral last weekend was the first time I'd set foot inside a church in more than five years. Mainly because I don't really get the point of certain traditions, two in particular.

These two traditions I am talking about are at the beginning and the end of the forty days prior to Easter which comprise Lent. The first is Ash Wednesday. For those who are not lucky enough to know about Catholicism, this involves you going to church and having the priest smear some sticky, gritty grey-black goo on your forehead. Apparently this should be a cross sign. It rarely works out that way. In fact, you end up looking kinda like you're taking part in an ink-blot test. ("I see a . . . butterfly. No - wait! It's a man wielding an axe!") Anyway, THEN you're meant to walk about for the rest of the day BRANDED with this mark, saying to all and sundry "I'm Catholic and I'm proud". Clearly, this is NOT what it's meant to say. I believe it's meant to be about people realising their mortality and that one day we will all be ashes and so on. It doesn't say that to me.

When I was younger we would go to the nearby chapel with my school on Ash Wednesday and my class always seemed to end up in the balcony. At the end of the mass, we would line up to leave and a priest would smear the gritty shit all over our heads before we went down the stairs. By the time we got to the bottom of the stairs, my ashes would always have mysteriously disappeared and the back of my hand was suddenly covered with the goo. Don't know HOW that happened. All I knew was, I wasn't walking about like THAT! People might think I hadn't WASHED!

The second tradition which I don't get is almost more humiliating* in my eyes, but at least only the people in the church with you are actually privy to it. It is something that Catholics all over the world might be doing at this very moment, as it is a Good Friday tradition. Kissing the cross.

You line up for the privilege of bending down and kissing a crucifix. Or, more precisely, JESUS on the crucifix. I can't even remember what PART of him you kiss, I just know it's utterly humiliating. I always felt like the altar boys holding the cross as you bent over it were amusing themselves by judging your kissing technique (you have to remember here that I am so self-conscious that sometimes I feel eating a baguette is a trial because anyone who witnesses it might be judging my FELLATIO technique!) I found it so embarrassing, and dreaded Good Friday as a result.

So these silly traditions, among a few others, are some of the reasons why I no longer go to church. Add to this: confession (why would telling an old man the bad things I have done absolve me of my sins - especially since, let's face it, I'm going to be selective with my truths - don't want to shock/arouse him TOO much), first communion (why do I have to wear a pretty white dress to eat some unleavened bread for the first time? Although at least it means I've already walked down the aisle of a church in a white dress, albeit at the age of 7/8), the sign of peace (having to shake hands with strangers isn't exactly my idea of fun, unless I'm inebriated at the time); and the church's stance on contraception (they do realise that encouraging a bunch of horny teenagers NOT to use condoms etc is not going to stop them from having sex, right???)

But anyway, that's my rant over for now. Apologies if I've offended anyone, I just think I'm developing a problem with organised religion and, let's face it, the only one I have really any experience of is my own. I still believe there is a God out there, I still pray on occasion, and I like to think there's a Heaven. . . but I don't believe we necessarily need to all troop en masse to a church to celebrate that. Especially when mainly we just end up humiliated.


*That being said, the most humiliating thing that ever happened to me in a church was nothing to do with any of this stuff. I fainted. How embarrassing. Luckily we were on holiday at the time so it wasn't my local church. Phew.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

I THINK I'VE FORGOTTEN HOW TO FLIRT . . .

So I've mentioned in the past (in my previous incarnation) that guys often think I'm flirting with them, when I tend not to be. The weird thing is, this misunderstanding has only really been a problem for me in the past few years.

As a child and a teenager also, I was pretty awkward socially. Even with my FRIENDS. I often just didn't know what the fuck to say to them, partly due to my shyness and partly due to my belief that I was just pretty dull in general. How could I amuse other people when I found myself boring after all? So if I couldn't even talk to other girls, how could I talk to guys??? I used to fantasise (in a harmless adolescent way of course!) about many good looking boys at school but the idea of talking to them was impossible. Even if I ever came face to face with one, I would stammer, go red, and feel like the most uninteresting girl who ever existed.

One day, it all just clicked into place with me. I can't pinpoint the exact moment when, but it just did. I realised I DID have some interesting things to say once in a while, and that I did actually have the ability to be funny with it. And I realised that talking to guys is pretty damn similar to talking to girls. Although there is limits to this.

For example, talking to guys I vaguely know already is fairly easy. Talking to a stranger in a bar or on the street not so easy (although sometimes the latter is fairly easy if I'm kinda inebriated at the time).

And the guys I DO talk to always end up thinking I'm flirting with them. I find this amusing because presumably if I'm talking to them the same way I talk to girls, does that mean the girls think I am flirting with them too? I guess perhaps my non-verbal behaviour must vary a little, but then surely I'm likely to be a little more guarded with guys I know there is no way I will ever be interested in. Like I won't want to subconsciously give them signals surely? Because I wouldn't WANT them to think I am flirting with me. Yet they do. So confusing!!!

Anyway, this isn't really my point. I think, of late, I've kinda got out of the habit of flirting. Me and my ex never so much flirted as just joked around and made each other laugh - which to be honest is my preferred mode of flirtation anyway. But he completely GOT my sense of humour, whereas I'm not sure everyone would. For example, a once-boyfriend told me when we broke up that he didn't find me funny. Which is probably to me a bigger insult than being told he didn't find me attractive. I know (without modesty, I might add) that my newest ex found me funny, as I did him - sometimes, even after we broke up the first time, we would try to outdo each other via text or email with the lamest jokes ever. But I don't think most guys would get our brand of joking around.

I have had SERIOUS flirtations in the past, believe me . . . and I think when I'm single and really into a guy (and possibly a little desperate) I can be a FABULOUS flirt. But I can't remember the last time that happened too vividly.

So anyway, the other day I decided to at least try and brighten up my day a bit by flirting with someone. No one special, just a guy who is semi-cute and I suppose possibly worthy of a little flirtation - I mean, I'm not gonna try it on any old person. But when I found myself momentarily in a room alone with him, suddenly all the witty quips on the tip of my tongue vanished and I dried up. I kinda just ended up mumbling "hi" and smiling and walking away, wondering why I'm such a moron.

It's not like I wanted anything to happen with this dude, believe me. I just wanted a bit of validation or something, proof that I was still attractive, that I wasn't going to be single forever despite my fears.

But I seem to have just lost the ability to actually put myself out there. To be honest, I'm not sure I ever had the skill down pat in the first place. But whatever semblance of the skill I have definitely appears to have disappeared.

Get me to a nunnery, perhaps???

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

HAPPY BELATED ST PADDY'S DAY!!!

The furore which seems to surround St Patrick's day is something which has always somewhat bemused me.

For example, St Andrew's Day is at the end of November. But Scots barely seem to notice this. On St Patrick's Day everyone comes out of the woodwork and heads straight for the pub for a pint or several hundred. I find this particularly funny in Glasgow given the hardcore sectarianism which is rife around here. You have people so bigoted that they don't want to own anything green (I think they're worried they might be infected by Glasgow Celtic and therefore Catholicism, something I find hilarious and disturbing at the same time) but are all too happy to jump on the St Paddy's bandwagon. Seems somewhat of a contradiction, methinks.

When I was a kid, my mum used to always make me wear something green on the 17th March. Since the day usually coincided with a schoolday and we had a uniform to wear, this usually meant I got green ribbons in my plaits. Which didn't really bother me, although I often thought I was a little old to still be wearing plaits! Although looking back I do find it a little odd that my mum felt the need to make me wear green. While I'm sure there's some irish roots in my family somewhere, she doesn't make me wear a Scottish flag on St Andrew's day. It seems odd I should be celebrating someone else's culture and not embracing my own.

My funniest St Patrick's memory was from two years ago. We arranged a work night out to coincide with St Patrick's day (I believe it was a Friday night) in the West End. I invited along one of my old flatmates, who hailed from Northern Ireland - and she LOVED the 17th March. "I'll be along shortly," she warned me via text, "and I'm dressed for St Patrick's day." I assumed this meant she was wearing some green and told my co-workers this. I had my back to the door of the pub, and about half an hour later, one of my colleagues said "Er - I think your flatmate just walked in." Man, HAD she! She was wearing a massive hat, a Guiness t-shirt and shamrock stickers on her cheeks. Oh, and she was pretty much the only person in the pub dressed remotely in celebration! I could have killed her at the time, but I suppose looking back it was pretty funny.

My best St Patrick's memory, however, is last night's memory. Forget going to the pub. When you're single and hating guys, what you REALLY need is a trip to Carling Academy to see Kelly Clarkson. Absolutely AMAZING! I sung along with all the man-hating lyrics, identified thoroughly with them, and realised that so many others out there singing along with more than likely identifying with them too. I could barely SEE Kelly herself due to the fact that everyone was in my way CONSTANTLY (just like at Travis - although it made me sad to remember that as my ex had taken me to that gig) and I nearly pulled the hair of the two girls in front of me as they kept just having conversations and getting their stupid UGLY HEADS IN MY WAY. But I resisted. And despite my gig-rage, it was an awesome night.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

SO FRUSTRATING!

I just spent the last ten minutes typing a post then half of it disappeared with one click of a button. This keeps happening to me and I still can't work out what button it is I've been hitting to make it happen. But I spend enough time on blogger as it is, I don't have time to retype a post when I can't even remember the exact words I originally typed.

One day I will write a post that will be THE ULTIMATE POST, the post to which all other posts will be held up in comparison . . . and probably accidentally delete it before it can be published. What is WRONG with me???? Grrrr.

For reference, it was probably a good thing this one was deleted as it certainly wasn't the ultimate post. I'm not even sure it was interesting to me.

Anyways . . .

Saturday, 15 March 2008

A HARD DAY

It's felt like such a long day. I woke on my friend's couch, got a taxi to my sister's, a lift to the church with them. The second I saw the rest of my family, tears were never far away.

People say you should see a funeral as a celebration of life, but how can you? You can't really celebrate the life of someone who isn't there. It's like going to someone's birthday party only to find the guest of honour isn't actually there - but harder than that. I learned a few things today. The first was that I cannot actually remember the words I'm meant to say in a Catholic mass. I've not been to church for about five years, and apparently the words I used to recite almost unconsciously on a weekly basis, the points where we stand and kneel and sit that I could virtually sleepwalk through . . . I have pretty much no memory of anymore.

The priest spoke about my gran's life, reminding me of things I had known long ago but forgotten over time. Like the fact she worked in an ammunitions factory during the second world war (she must have only been about fourteen when the war began), or as an usherette in a theatre. There was other things I didn't know, like how she had worked in a newsagents and it was when my granda had came in to buy a newspaper that he had met her and fallen in love with her. It's weird the things you don't know about the ones you love, isn't it?

The priest also managed to get my gran's surname wrong while talking about her. That was quite the point of conversation afterwards, believe you me! She attended his parish every single week, and while I'm sure he never called her by both her names, you'd think he would at least have made sure her name was correct when he said her name!

But it was all very emotional. I didn't realise how upset I would get, but my granda was so strong, I felt so in awe of him. I didn't see him cry, although he did look close once or twice, and the swelling round his eyes indicated that he HAD cried, perhaps just not in public. But he was fantastic. My great uncle too, my gran's little brother, put on a brave face. I spoke to him later on . . . he's the only one left of his siblings now, and he told me that with the other loved ones he had lost, seeing them after death had been a struggle. But that when he'd saw my gran's body she had looked fantastic. He said she'd had a slightly quizzical look on her face, weirdly. I felt a little bad because I was crying while he was talking, and then his daughter came up and interrupted to ask me an unrelated question. I don't know whether she thought I needed rescuing or what but I felt awful that I didn't get to finish my conversation with him.

For some reason, me, my sis and my brother ended up sitting at a separate table to everyone else after the service and cremation. We were given cans of juice and later on, the little women serving came around to take drinks orders. "Can I have another soft drink?" I asked. "No, have a proper drink," the woman demanded, much to my brother in law's amusement. I wasn't going to argue - I took a wine. It made me think of Mrs Doyle in Father Ted though, except she was plying me with alcohol rather than cups of tea and cake!

Afterwards me, my brother, mum and dad went back to my granda's flat with him, and it was so sad sitting in the flat knowing she wasn't there and he was on his own. I get the impression it was only maybe fully sinking in for him at this point, and felt awful about leaving him. I could see the picture on the wall of me, my sis and my brother (we decided it was my baby brother who died, not my other brother) with my gran and granda, us tiny kids and them looking absurdly young. It made me sad. As did when I went to the bathroom and saw that there were still two toothbrushes sitting there.

I really hope he is going to be okay. He's being so brave though under the circumstances. I know you have to just get on with things, but I'm not sure I could if I was in his position. I keep forgetting too that my dad has lost his mum here, but he too was so strong. It sounds cheesy but I feel like their strength has inspired ME a little.

Okay, time to get some more alcohol down me now I think. Think tomorrow I'll have to give my liver a break.

Friday, 14 March 2008

THE HAPPY FACE IS STARTING TO SLIP . . .

I can act happy as anything in public but the second I'm alone, I fall apart.

I loved drama as a kid, and even took Higher Drama in my last year of high school (I got a B, which isn't too bad I suppose) but I was never BRILLIANT at it. I would have LOVED to have been an actress, I really would have. The very idea of seeing my name in lights or rolling down a tv or cinema screen thrilled me to the very core, and still does. But I'm nowhere NEAR good enough, and I'm honest enough with myself to know this.

Right now I feel like I'm acting my most challenging role, and that I'm actually doing surprisingly well at portaying the role of a happy, unbothered girl with no hassles and no heartbreak.

But acting your heart out can have its costs. Think of all the actors who threw themselves so far into a role that they ended up sick, or losing too much weight, or just depressed as a result of all the pressure they were putting on themselves. That's how I feel right now. (Not losing too much weight, unfortunately. But the other things.) I hoped by pretending to be happy, I would fool myself into actually believing I WAS happy, and that the happiness would inevitably follow. Instead I appear to be feeling more and more miserable - whenever I am alone, the mask slips and the tears run free.

I hate to think what I'll be like at the funeral tomorrow, especially when I see my poor Granda (who is apparently being so strong right now). I'm hoping to rein in the tears but I'm a notorious crybaby and tears come way too easily. And I loathe crying in public, although I do it often.

I just hope nothing else goes wrong because I seriously don't think I can handle any other problems at the moment. It's all just too much to take right now. Everything is piling on top of me and the weight of it is distracting me from everything else.

THE DEFINITION OF FRIENDSHIP . . .

. . . The friend who goes out of her way to come over and see you, even though she doesn't finish work until 8pm.

. . .Who brings wine, even though she doesn't particularly want to drink it herself due to a Christmas drunken incident.

. . .Who brings sweeties and chocolate for you to enjoy.

. . .Who listens while you cry about all the crap you have been going through lately.

. . . Who makes you realise you are lucky because while you might not have a bloke in your life, you still have a great friend, and that you still have others willing to do the same.

Friends, i love you all. You rock!!!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

I WISH THE NATIONAL LOTTERY WERE A LITTLE LESS ENTHUSIASTIC . . .

When I checked my email at lunchtime today, I noticed an email from the National Lottery. "We have good news about your ticket! Log into your account to find out more."

I'd won the lottery, oh my god! I was unbelievably excited for a moment then I remembered that no matter what amount you win (and I won the grand total of sixty four pounds once but have also won a tenner a couple of times) you get the same email. But part of me couldn't help but hope . . . what if I'd won big? What if I could walk into work tomorrow and throw in the towel and solve a big bunch of my problems in one fell swoop? Realistically I knew it was more than likely to only be ten pounds but you never know . . . Perhaps the bird shitting on my head was lucky after all.

I couldn't log into my account in work as the lottery website is one of the forbidden sites (along with blogger - boo!) so I had to spend the rest of the day wondering, trying to stop myself from hoping too much for a couple of mill, or even a hundred grand at a push.

Got home just there to discover . . .

I'd won two pounds on the dream ticket number or something like that.

TWO FUCKING POUNDS!!!

What a load of absolute shite. The National Lottery need to reword their emails because they are just setting a lot of people up for inevitable disappointment.

By the way, I used the two pounds to buy two more tickets for Saturday's draw. Fingers crossed . . . (yes, I'm SUCH a sucker).

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

MY POST TODAY WAS MEANT TO BE ABOUT A BIRD SHITTING ON ME THIS MORNING . . .

. . . but unfortunately something far worse than that happened. It seems bad things come in threes and today the third thing, apart from having my blog exposed and being dumped, hit.

I met my sis and brother in law after work for a quite bite to eat. I was worried I would be a gooseberry but turns out I couldn't have been in better company when my mum called my sis to tell us that our gran had died. I had an inkling it was coming as she had been in and out of hospital and no one knew what was wrong with her. And when my sister gasped out "Oh no"and her eyes welled up with tears, I instantly knew. She's over eighty and let's face it, death comes to us all. But it's more than anything my granda who my heart aches for. Who went out to the shop this morning and came back to find she was no longer there.

Me and my sis were sitting in tears in the middle of the pub. I mean, I can get upset about a six month long relationship ending, but how must it feel when you lose the person you have been with for sixty or whatever years? Never to see them again?

I just feel like shit right now, I really do. It just reminds me ever more clearly that we all die, and it's the ones who are left behind that have to face their lives without us.

Sorry for the downer post. But I don't feel particularly cheery right now.

R.i.p. Gran. x

Monday, 10 March 2008

THERE'S A POINT WHERE KINDNESS HITS IRRITATION

At lunchtime today, it was chucking it down with rain, raining cats and dogs, pissing it down . . . however you want to say it. It was wet, needless to say. Annoyingly so. Me and my mate headed out to a sandwich shop for a panini, rushed from his car to his shop in an attempt not to get too wet. I was served first and was about to leave the shop when I remembered it was wet. I didn't particularly want to go outside when my friend had the keys to unlock his car and was still inside the shop. So I stood to one side to wait. Unfortunately at that point, an older couple walked up to the shop and opened the door. The guy apparently believed I was wanting to leave the shop and waved me through. I shook my head and smiled, indicating I was staying put. He then practically FORCED me outside, not in a horrible way, but clearly thinking he was doing me a favour, being chivalrous and all that shit. He was preventing the woman he was with entering until I left, so I felt obliged to go outside and wait in the pouring rain. "He MADE me go outside!" I wailed when my friend finally joined me. "I wanted to stay inside and be dry and he MADE me get wet!" I was absolutely RAGING!

See, perhaps it's just me . . . but I find someone can THINK they're being nice . . . but they are actually putting me out in the process. Like the motorists who think they're doing you a favour by stopping and waving you across the road. In actuality, they are just holding me up. Because if they just drove past, rather than slowing down to a stop before they reach me, and then having to wave or flash their lights to get my attention . . . then I would probably actually be across the road far quicker. And not have to make a frantic dash, then smile and wave my thanks while inside I'm silently fuming.

Or people who hold open doors for you when you're actually a good ten steps or so away and wearing high heels which have been killing your feet all day but you're obliged to then CANTER to the door (or trot at the very least) just so they aren't holding the door open too long. And then through gritted teeth, wincing in pain, having to THANK them for the privilege of causing you further agony? Yeah, thanks for that.

I hate to be a bitch here, I really do. (Who am I kidding? I LOVE to be a bitch. But still, even I have my limits.) But sometimes you're better off just being rude. Because perhaps the person in question doesn't WANT your help. Perhaps you're just adding to the stress of their daily routine by putting ourself out. I'm not saying let the door slam in my face if I'm right behind you (that's the other extreme and is just RUDE, let's face it.) I know there's no set rules for this type of thing, but just know that if your good deed is going to just irritate me ultimately, you might as well not bother wasting your time.

There's a good samaritan, and there's a pain in the ass.

And it's a thin line.