I woke up with a crashing headache due to sinus pain today. This weather, wet and warm, humid, humid, humid, is not good for a person who can produce fourteen cubic metres of snot an hour, such as myself.
I’m sorry, but as my lovely blogging friend May used to say on her blog: too much information will definitely be shared. My sinuses give me almost as much grief as my periods, and when you figure in my mental health which is always precarious at best, it is fair to say that I am never entirely well.
I was feeling very sorry for myself today, because the weather has been like this for weeks now, and I have had two weeks of period related crap, with a week’s worth of cold and the sinus thing on top, and it makes me tired, and it makes me crave sugar and it makes me not want to do anything physical, and it’s been a bit of a spiral, frankly.
I did manage to talk myself out of the ‘your life sucks’, ‘you’ve probably got a brain tumour’, ‘you need to spend all day crying relentlessly on the sofa,’ and get on with things, so go team me. Pom poms aloft and all that.
I was talking to a lady about periods (she asked, OK?) earlier in the week, and she asked me how I managed to keep my sense of humour about it all, given that sometimes it’s all a bit grim and most days it’s there for me to deal with, and just something I have learned to live with.
It was an interesting question.
I thought about it a bit today when we went for a walk in the drizzling rain, because we made ourselves, because it is good for us, and we could buy coffee and walk to a book shop and back. That was also good for us.
Basically, as lots of elderly women and Les Dawson and Victoria Wood would say, whilst shifting their bosoms about their person: ‘It’s bein’ so cheerful ‘as keeps us goin”.
Here’s some of the stuff that keeps me going.
The sure and certain knowledge that life is short and I might not get to come back and do the things I missed. I might, but then I might get to do them as a Russian hamster, or a Tory, so you know, I need to do what I can in the body I’ve got right now. It may be a cliche, but it’s true. Please God don’t let me come back as a Tory.
I could spend my days giving in to what ails me and never doing anything, or I could thank Cheezus for the fact that a packet of paracetamol is about 16p and get on with things. Mostly, I get on with things. Drugs are my friend. I love them. Little matter that my handbag looks like a travelling pharmacy and I might be sorry about it when I’m 79. I shall be doing crack by then. It will be too late to worry about it.
My friends are also my friends, which is awesome. My family are also my friends which is even more awesome sauce. They love me, even when I am grey faced and insanely sharp tempered because everything hurts. They love me, even when I am crabbing around the house with a hot water bottle welded to my stomach/back/face/life. They make it ok, because they don’t really care that I am not a superwoman who can do everything. I’ve learned to ask for help, and they’re willing to help when I need it, and it makes me love them more. They are also really good at telling me that I do not have a brain tumour, that it’s ok to moan plangently like a whale (it is, in fact one of my more attractive qualities), and they like standing next to me in photos when I look like a freshly dug up corpse. Also they are very good at making me laugh. Special shout out here to Jason and the kids who, even when I am feeling insane and like I want to run away from my very own self, can still make me cry with laughter.
I know for a fact that whatever makes me feel grim, I do not have anything to complain about in the grand scheme of things. I’m not saying that my health is a ‘first world problem’. I’m not complaining that Waitrose has run out of my favourite hummus, or the fact that I have an unhealthy addiction to granola (I do. I really do). Having randomly awful periods, a uterus that is trying to kill me, weird migraine, revolting sinuses and a brain that can keep me awake panicking for no good reason is not terrific. But on the other hand, I don’t have cancer. My arms and legs work. I can function, mostly. I can see to read books, which is the best thing ever. I can eat cake, which is pretty up there too. There are people in much worse situations than me. I know some of them. I am inconvenienced by my health, or the lack thereof. I am not dying. My quality of life is pretty good. I’m winning. Mostly.
Stuff is just funny. Life is funny, and I have a pretty dark sense of humour. This means that I do laugh a lot, particularly when other people think there isn’t anything to laugh about. I am, thankfully, able to laugh at myself as much as everything else, and my perpetual addiction to the chaise longue of death (TM) is one of many things that can, occasionally, be very funny if you look at it the right way (slightly squinting with your head on one side). I cry a lot too, but I happen to think it’s very good for you. I have to say that, because I do it anyway, and it’s a really good reframing of something that makes me honk like a goose and my nose go all red and blotchy.
I can take comfort in the small things. Today for example, my sinuses hurt like a mother fucker, but on the other hand, I wore black and white stripy tights and silver eye liner and totally looked like a middle aged witch woman, and that pleased me. It made life more tolerable. As did finding two books on my Amazon wish list in the second hand book shop for £2 each, and eating an extra helping of granola when I was feeling particularly shitty. I also enjoyed watching the tortoise trying to climb into Tilly’s school bag, watching Parks & Recreation, and making kick ass, shakshouka.
On that note, food makes everything bearable. Sometimes, when I am deep in the throes of my womanish ways I take enormous joy in the fact that I can eat sausage and mash with onion gravy, or cut a piece of bread and slather it with an inch of salted butter, or eat six biscuits, or walk down the street eating steaming hot chips covered in salt, straight from the paper. I imagine how miserable it would be to be, say, Kate Moss, and be feeling like shit, but not being able to fall face first into a massive bag of chilli heatwave Doritos, and I feel that my life is a lot, lot better, despite not being able to get John Galliano to make my wedding dress.
I come from a long line of Boudicca style women who just get on with shit, regardless of what shit it is. I haven’t got time for giving up. I’ve got things to do. I like to moan like an absolute bastard while I’m doing them, but I’m damned if I’m not going to do them, even if it does take me a long time and a lot of swearing. Also, when you’re doing your thing regardless, you generally get to meet people, and see stuff, and go to places that sometimes make you forget yourself entirely, and before you know it you’re just enjoying yourself, despite yourself. Even if you do have to vomit in a lay-by on the way home, or change your clothes because you bled on them. Meh. Worse things happen in Leicester city on a Friday night clubbing and people survive it.
Also, the internet. You cannot possibly not be cheerful when you get to see footage of a snoring dormouse, or a hedgehog being tempted by a cube of cheese. You cannot possibly not laugh when you read about people’s worst ever school trips on Twitter, or repeatedly play weird gifs of Donald Trump’s head exploding, even if you’re feeling really, really poorly.
Who doesn’t love the thought of Donald Trump’s head exploding, even if you’re not poorly?