I am trying to get back into the flow of writing every day again at the moment.
I am finding it hard, not because there isn’t anything to say. There are always myriad things to say if you are me, and I am.
But because I am tired. I love being at school with the children, but it can be thoroughly exhausting. It is exhausting because children are like termites, always squiggling around, eating away at things. One minute there’s a classroom, the next minute there’s a heap of dust on the floor. That kind of thing.
But it is exhausting for other reasons too. Weird reasons that I didn’t really foresee when I started.
Firstly there is the getting dressed in the morning. When it was just me and babies I just used to fling on the first thing to hand. Usually jeans and some kind of sick/snot encrusted t shirt. Sometimes I didn’t fling anything on at all, and just carried out my day in the same pyjamas I fell out of bed in.
School demands more. Jeans are not really allowed.
In volunteers like me, they are tolerated, but as I seem to live at school at the moment it doesn’t seem fair to slouch around in my jeans when everyone else is required to make an effort.
So I make an effort.
In lots of ways this is good for me. I have been slobbing around in jeans and t shirts for thirteen years now. I used to be creative. I used to be innovative. I used to enjoy dressing up.
Then I lost the knack.
Now I am trying to find it again, but I am not very good at planning what I will wear. There is generally a mad scramble for the wardrobe in the morning, in the dark, and it is not always entirely satisfactory.
I have also found that having to think about my clothes actually brings out my insecurities. I never really feel fat in jeans and a t-shirt, particularly in my favourite jeans. The jeans that were I the size of a hippo, would still be fabulous and make me feel skinny. The jeans that are almost threadbare (sob), after about four years of constant use.
Whereas there are some clothes I realise I have designated ‘fat’ clothes, and others that are ‘thin’ clothes. In reality they are all pretty much the same size, but it is the way they make me feel when I wear them, or the mood I’m in when I think about wearing them. It’s a bit troubling, as I really try hard not to be insecure about my weight because a) in real terms I am a weight and size lots of people would like to be and b) I have two daughters and I don’t want them to grow up neurotic about their weight, whatever weight they are.
To find out that I am prey to these neuroses is a bit strange. Mostly I try not to think about it, and go and eat another biscuit. But every now and again it rears its ugly head.
Then there is the talking thing.
I talk. A lot. A huge amount.
People humour me in this respect. They are mostly very kind about it, but I do know I go on a bit.
And when I am at home, alone, during the day I don’t say anything at all, for hours. And I love that. I actually love silence a whole lot. And I think it’s quite a good thing for me, to be quiet.
And when I am at school I am mostly not quiet, because I am pretty incapable of not talking to people. Sometimes I enjoy it hugely. Other times I can hear myself banging on because I am unsure of myself, or worried about something, or pushing people out of my path with the power of sound, and I think: ‘Oh dear lord, just shut the fuck up.’
And I exhaust myself with my sociability, or garrulousness, or whatever the hell it is.
And I think about how nice it would be to feel so secure that I could just be quiet in a room full of people.
And I realise that I have never felt like that. Ever.
And then I think, it would be pretty weird for someone who talks about and reads books to children to be quiet like that, because most children are not quiet like that, and maybe that would freak them out a bit. Whereas mostly they just accept me for the weirdo that I am.
Also, it would be very hard to read stories to them were I to become all Zen and mysterious.
But the whole talking thing still bothers me sometimes.
And I get very tired of all this clothing, and talking, and all this pushing myself to do new, challenging things that I have taken up. Because that is also rather exhausting, doing all this new stuff and instead of saying: ‘Hell, no! I’d rather stick red hot needles in my eyes,’ which is my default setting for everything, I am now saying: ‘Hell, yes, there’s nothing I would like better.’
And I mostly want to come home and curl up like a wood louse and just go ‘shhhh’ and eat biscuits until I fall into a coma.
But I shan’t.