Not my finest week. Not my worst week, but not my best.
I have been for lunch with my lovely friend Jenn. I ate amazingly delicious panzanella and sticky, dark brownie with salted caramel sauce and cocoa nibs, and had to be wheeled home.
I am going out with my friend Kim tomorrow. It is my birthday day out. We will eat cake, frisk charity shops and laugh a lot. This is just the job.
My joints are slowly improving. My hands and wrists are almost back to normal, although I cannot deal with sustained pressure on them for too long and my grip is not its usual vice like self. Please do not send me any jars of pickled onions to open. It would be a wasted effort.
I went with my mum and dad to see the jazz band at our local pub, The Donkey on Tuesday. We ate lunch, we listened to jazz. It was traditional jazz, i.e. stuff that you can still hear the tune in, rather than stuff that goes on for eight weeks and sounds like a lot of pans falling downstairs. I prefer this sort of jazz. At one point my mum leaned across the table and said. ‘Remember. I’d like this music at my funeral,’ and then carried on tucking into her lunch. I think I’m going to improvise to Minnie the Moocher and accompany myself on the spoons, when the day comes. It will take my mind off things.
Then mum and I sloped off to Homebase to buy lots of tester pots so that I can paint a sky on my dressing room ceiling. Dad isn’t keen on such frivolities, so he stayed in the car and frowned at the newspapers. We frisked all the Farrow and Ball and got very excited about colours called ‘vole on a sad day’ and ‘rotting lemon,’ and the like, but at £4.50 a pot we abandoned it for the Dulux tester pots, which although less artisanal, are cheaper.
Painting progresses. All the walls have had two coats of magenta paint now. The paint is crappy Wilko’s paint. I bought it because it was cheap and I wanted to slosh it on my door fence outside. Then, because I had so much of it, I decided to use it to paint the dressing room. It was a false economy. After two coats, and three in others, it is still quite streaky. However, I cannot be arsed to throw pink paint around anymore. All the fun has gone out of it now that I have had to do it nine billion times, so I am living with the streaky bits and proclaiming them a lifestyle choice.
Half the woodwork is now painted silver. I am using the wrong type of paint for this, so it will undoubtedly come off. Again with the words ‘lifestyle choice.’
Half the ceiling has been painted in a vague approximation of clouds by me. I have called it: ‘Storm und Clud.’ This is taking ages due to joint pain and me not being particularly brilliant at farting around on ladders. Nevertheless, it is happening. I wobble about. sloshing a bit of cream here, a bit of blue there and then scumbling it about. I leaned on it earlier as I veered on the ladder, so I cunningly swirled my painty hand print into the general cluddiness. You can hardly tell at all. This is definitely how Michelangelo approached the Sistine chapel. I will write a paper on it when I am very old and my beard is very long (and painty).
When it is finished, it will not look beautiful. It will look funky. It will be a bit bohemian, which is code for a little bit rubbish. I don’t care. I started painting it on a whim, and it has been fun, and that’s all that really matters. That and the fact that it will no longer be dirty white.
The best thing about this whole painting experience is that I had that realisation, the one I get from time to time and which cheers me greatly. It is this. I am a grown up. I can do whatever the fuck I like. When I was a kid I thought that this was all that being grown up was. As I grew up I realised that really, unless you’re very rich or very selfish, a lot of the time that isn’t the case. I let myself get bogged down in all sorts of stuff that I felt ‘had’ to be done, that I was responsible for because I was grown up. Some of it I am responsible for, but there is actually quite a lot of stuff that I don’t have to do, and quite a lot of stuff that I can do if I want. Painting a room streaky magenta with silver bits is one of them. It’s very liberating, doing things like this. I think it’s really important to wake up to the limitations we put on ourselves sometimes, even if it does involve the realisation that it is OK to eat double raspberry Magnums for breakfast and have a diabetes test at tea time.
On the less excellent front, I have been told by the hospital that I cannot have another jab to keep my chemical menopause up and running. My jab runs out twelve days before my appointment with the consultant. I wanted an extra jab to bridge the gap. I have been told that in order to prove that the jab is working, the consultant wants me to have time off from the jab as well, so that there is proof that without it I am a stark, staring lunatic with blinding migraines, buckets of blood and mood swings that could chop a tree down in three minutes.
I totally understand why this has to be. This does not mean I am happy about it. In fact, since getting the call about it on Monday I have been frantic, hysterical, terrified and a whole load of other appalling moods which have consolidated since last night into a huge sadness that makes me want to cry all the fucking time. I am absolutely shit scared of going back to that place I was in four months ago, and also being there at the unravelling of the all the other effects that the drug itself chucked at me.
Jason wisely pointed out that four months ago, ‘that place’, was my norm, and I had managed it perfectly well for forty odd years. This is true, but it isn’t very consoling when the effects of the jab have given me the first genuine peace in my mental state I’ve had since forever and I have finally realised just how batshit I was, and what an enormous effort I had to expend on a daily basis not to end up in the basket weaving department.
Still, as my friend says, it is what it is, and as much as I want to burn that statement to the ground and then stomp up and down on it, she is right.