IWD

It’s International Women’s Day in case you hadn’t noticed.

Let’s get the usual shit out of the way:

  1. International Men’s Day is on November 19th
  2. If you’d like it to be more heavily covered in the media try a) knowing when your own day is, b) organising something, c) not expecting someone else to do all the work.
  3. Who do you think organises IWD? That’s right, women do. Are you expecting them to organise your day too?
  4. Yes. I know. Not all men.

Back to the women. My irony klaxon is all worn out.

Women today were encouraged to go on strike, not spend any money and wear red. I have worn red but I can’t go on strike because I’m the only one around today, although I am going to make everyone help me cook the dinner. I did spend money because the food I wanted to eat was not in the house and I might be a feminist and a great supporter of women’s rights, but I am also greedy and decadent.

I’ve spent the morning with my amazing, wise friend Kim who has been helping me deal with some of my mental health issues. That seems like a good way to spend any morning, but particularly special on IWD.

Thinking about how grateful I was to have Kim in my life has made me think of other people who I’m also grateful for, and I was struck, not for the first time, by how many of them are women. I am so lucky to be surrounded by and inspired by so many brilliant women and today seems like the perfect day to thank them.

Firstly to my amazing mum for being brilliant and for teaching me so much and for always being there. And to my gran, Doris, who although she is no longer here, has never been more present than at the times when I am in my full on woman power ROAR. To my beautiful, brilliant perfect daughters, Tilly and Tallulah who could not be more different and yet are both my favourites and who are both always right. You complete me and inspire me to up my game because I always want you to be proud of me. To Suki for loving my brother. To Lisa for loving us all and letting us keep Jason.

To Andrea, my oldest friend, who challenges me, supports me and puts up with me and who is always up for a heated debate. To Rachel, heart of my heart, who filled it, broke it, mended it and refilled it. To Kate who didn’t kill me when I went alcoholic AWOL in Germany and for which I will be eternally grateful. To Kate who turned her life around and became the author she always wanted to be and who is living proof of all the things. To Claire who doesn’t realise either how strong or how fragile she is and who is a rock and a ball breaking, raku loving mischief maker who I am looking forward to retiring with very much indeed.

To Kaz who is this woman can and does and is. To Jess who is the fiercest of warriors and the nicest of people and whose SOTD stories make my day. To Jane who gives even when she’s running on empty. To Jenn, who doesn’t have the words but who has all the dinners and all the love. To Sasha who is the busiest woman in the world but who always finds the time for kindness no matter what is going on. To Ros who triumphs on two continents and who continues to rise despite everything. To Emma whose words speak to my heart. To Danielle whose anger and eloquence is a joy. To Nicole for the love and cakes. To Rosalind who I know, even after all these years would drop everything if I picked up the phone and asked for help.

To Lynn for never giving up. To Helen who has given feminist zealotry a new lease of life in the best way. To Kim for wisdom and love and the best party games. To Anne for all the woo woo in the world. To MaryAnn who is all the passion and who talks about giving up but never does. To Shirley for her resilience and compassion. To Liz and Doris, training the warrior women of tomorrow. To Shami for always being kind. To Bonnie for care packages and for going on the women’s march on crutches. To Marya for always making me laugh and for bringing a bit of dancing back into my life. To Michelle who thinks she is broken, but can’t see that the gaps are where the light shines through yet.

To Gina who has never been a bad apple to me and who is the best of all fruits. To Nicki who is the yin to my yang and whose skills with the glue gun know no bounds. To Carmen who is beautiful and who is helping to teach me how to survive. To Lizzie who is a real life superhero. To Hana who is kicking feminist ass in the Czech Republic in the most peace loving way ever. To Lizzie who never, ever gives up but who still hasn’t made me a cape yet. To Saj who conquers the world in six inch heels and is the most generous woman I know.

To Emma and Denise and Claire and Nancy. You are brilliant, powerful women I am proud to share my time with. We are already changing the world. I look forward to changing it some more with you. To Holly and Lee who started off marching as strangers and ended up as friends. This is how all the world will work one day. To Gay who is now in the gang whether she likes it or not. To Casey who is quietly healing all the wounds and who has a perfect soul.

To every single one of you who has read my words over the last decade on this blog or Twitter or Facebook. To every single one of you who has taken the time to talk to me and message me over the years and who has challenged me, supported me, cared about me, turned up for me and made me laugh and cry in equal measure. I love you. You inspire me. Let’s keep this conversation going. Let’s keep connecting, spreading the message, being there for each other, speaking out, speaking up, turning up.

You are the best.

All the Tears

I opened this blog post to write this morning and I just couldn’t do it. Usually I don’t think about the blankness of the page in front of me, I just plunge straight in and write. I try not to edit or delete until I’ve got to the end of a piece of writing because sometimes the bits I chop out afterwards are the most important bits for me to write for myself, even if they’re not the bits that are important for other people to read.

Even though the blog is public, it is this freedom I feel as I write that has meant I have stuck with it through thick and thin. I’ve never felt so honest, been so honest as I have here in my little corner of the virtual word, plonking words down, finding my way through my days and thoughts and making my mark (s).

Today I found the blankness daunting, because what did I have to say?

What I had to honestly say was that I have had a rough couple of days since my last post and I was disappointed, bitterly disappointed, because I had thought I was on the mend and now I felt like I wasn’t. I didn’t want to say it to myself. I didn’t want to say it to anyone else.

I didn’t want to make it ‘real’ by writing it down, and yet perversely I knew I needed to, because all this stuff about failing is just more of those lies I’m telling myself, and when I write it down I have to think about and acknowledge all the twistiness of my brain. This morning it felt too difficult to do that. Tonight it doesn’t.

I have spent the last two days crying.  That spontaneous crying that you just can’t help. The tears that just well up and won’t behave and go back where they came from. The big, fat sobs that are just full of sadness and rip out of you whenever they feel like it.

It has not stopped me doing anything, this crying. I have cried while scrubbing the bathroom floor, while feeding the cat, while making bread and listening to Oscar read. I cried in the shower. I cried on the way to meet my friend today. I cried after my friend visited yesterday.

I don’t have anything to be sad about. I have everything to be sad about. There is a lot of sad, and I was feeling all of it. Or that’s what it felt like. It feels less like that now, which is good. It was almost certainly what I needed to do. It was cathartic.  It will probably happen again. This feels less good, but it does feel more ok than it did this morning.

My thoughts told me that I had failed. That I was not getting better.

The reality is that there isn’t any failure in this game unless I choose to stop breathing, which I don’t. Every day I draw breath in and out of my lungs is a day I win. Every day I put one foot in front of the other, I win. Every day I find ways to take care of myself, I win.

Recovery from depression/mental illness is not a straight line on a graph. That’s just another lie I tell myself when I’m not very well. Recovery for me, is a bit of a three steps forward, two steps back game. I gain ground, but some days it’s imperceptible and generally it’s only in looking back that I can see how far I’ve come.

The devil is in the detail with my mental health. Yes, I have cried my eyes out, but I have also managed to wash, sleep, cook and eat. These details are important. These boring, mundane things are the pegs on which my recovery hangs. Making sure I am turning up for my life in all the ways that count.

These things sound so unimportant and it’s easy to take them for granted, until I stop doing them and don’t know how to start again and get lost in the ever tightening spiral of carelessness that sees me sleep deprived and hungry and wearing the same clothes three days in a row, not because I want to be, but because everything else is too difficult. That’s when things get really bad, and I’m not there at the moment. So that’s good enough.

So I have been sad, horrifically sad. I have cried and cried and cried. And I can’t say it’s been great. It’s not how I would have wanted to spend my days, but that’s what happened, and that was what was real for me, and it was alright. And I got through it, and if it happens again, I’ll get through that. It won’t be pretty or graceful or Instagrammable. It won’t be comfortable, and yet it will be ok. And I have talked about it with my friends and my family and particularly my children, because it’s important.

When I was with my first husband and we were talking about having kids, he said to me (I paraphrase) ‘You’ll have to stop being mental if we have kids. You can’t pass your stuff on to them. You need to get well.’

It sounds brutal. It was. But to be fair to him, it was what had been haunting my own head. He was just brave enough to say it. I worried myself sick about having children and then being too mad to look after them, or worse, passing my madness onto them.

I didn’t really have a lot of choice about getting well at that point having said that, so that pep talk didn’t really help. I tried. I’ve always tried. I’ve been in and out of various therapies since I was seventeen. It wasn’t for the want of trying, but there really isn’t a magic wand for what ails me, at least not one I’ve found to date. So they had to put up with me as I was. I had to, too.

I had to do the best I could with what I had, and I have, I hope. And what I chose, given that a cure wasn’t an option, was to be as honest with them as I could (in an age appropriate way). I don’t hide my feelings from them. I don’t pretend or put a brave face on things. I figure that it’s important for them to know that things happen to people, emotions fill people up, and then things stop happening, and emotions change. Everything changes, even when it feels like it doesn’t.

It’s important for them to understand that ‘this too shall pass,’ and that it is ok to be human rather than super human, because one day that might be the most important thing I’ve ever taught them. I try not to see myself as broken, because if they ever feel like this, I want them to see themselves as perfect no matter what, because that’s what I see in them. I want to let them know that just being exactly how we are in this moment is good enough, even when it doesn’t feel like it. It’s hard for me to do, but it’s what I want for them, and so I try.

It’s important for me to let them see me dealing with my stuff, feeling my feelings and being their mum who loves them just the same on the bad days as on the good days.

And they’ve been brilliant and they’ve hugged me, and asked me if I needed anything and bought me tissue, and we’ve just carried on, with a bit more snot than normal.

And that’s good enough for me today.

 

 

Note to Self

You are all lovely.

Thank you so much for your comments. They have, as most things do at the moment, made me cry, but in a good way.

This post is mostly to reassure everyone, including myself, that I am alright. I am still here. I am buggering on.

My period started, and lo and behold, my mood began to lift. In fact, on the first day, I felt terrific, until I got a migraine, and then I felt less terrific. I’ve been dealing with that and my moods ebbing and flowing since then.

My goal for the week was to be well enough in body and soul to go to the Peter Kay dance-a-thon I had booked tickets for months ago, and which was last night. At the beginning of the week I just did not want to go at all. It seemed too difficult in every conceivable way. It felt pointless and terrible and stupid and scary. Really scary. I mean, how would I get there? What would I wear? How would I talk to the friends I was going with? How would I talk to anyone? How would I dance when I was so tired? What if I cried? What if I had to go and my friends had to take me home? And dancing was the last thing I wanted to do. I could barely shift myself out of bed.

And I felt sad because I love dancing. I really love it, and I was feeling so down about something I had been looking forward to for months. I could not conceive of how I would take pleasure from it. I decided very grimly that I would try to go because it would be ‘good for me.’ Like medicine. Then I cried because I didn’t want the rest of my life to be a series of once enjoyable experiences that I was now having to ‘fake it to make it’.

On Thursday, when my mood lifted I began to feel more optimistic, but concerned about the physical side of things. What if I bled everywhere? What if I fainted? What if I was in too much pain with cramps? I decided to use copious amounts of drugs and hope for the best. Then the migraine kicked in on Thursday evening and I decided that this was some kind of punishment for even daring to think I could go.

And in the night, nursing my poor head I decided that it was obviously retribution. I mean. I’d told everyone I was suffering from depression and then I was daring to go to a disco? You don’t go to a disco if you’re depressed. That’s cheating. That’s not in the terms and conditions. Everyone would demand their money back. It served me right for thinking I could do normal things like normal people do.

On Friday morning, when the migraine had receded to a mere thumping headache I was able to get more perspective on things.

I decided that I could do this. I could go and it was alright to go. I was allowed to do nice things, and if I couldn’t cope my friends, who are my good, kind friends, would not kill me if we needed to leave.

I decided that I could manage all the difficult things by just doing things slowly and being kind to myself. I took myself off for a sleep that was not hemmed about by the anxiety of acute pain. I made myself eat. I took myself for a bath. I spent ages getting ready to go out, not because I had lots to do (I am a twenty minute maximum sort of getting ready woman), but because I did everything in stages so that I didn’t get too stressed about everything. When I got a bit anxious, I took myself off and read a chapter of my book.

I got frustrated with myself at times. I was making such a big deal of out this, why couldn’t I just be ‘normal’ about it? Why had I not chosen to do work instead of something silly? What did that say about the kind of person I was? The ‘cut your hair and join the army’ speech, effectively. And I was still afraid that something that was once so joyous and colourful and life giving to me would be flat and monochrome, and instead of lifting my mood it would only confirm that this bout of depression was worse than I thought.

And after all that, I went, and I had a great time. My friends were, as expected, completely lovely and did a fantastic job of looking after me. I didn’t cry. I didn’t bottle it. My painkillers worked and I danced for three hours to cheesy tunes, and I felt good. I let go of all the worries and all my thoughts were drowned out by the music, and it was good. It was good to have a few hours off from myself.

And today? I should be on a march to save the NHS in London and I am not. I made the trade. I decided to try and enjoy myself yesterday and not to do this today because I knew that I couldn’t do both. Not at the moment.

I feel guilty. I can’t say I don’t. But I also know that it’s ok for me to do this and that the guilt won’t kill me. I do my fair share, and life is not supposed to be a long round of hair shirts and penitence any more than it is supposed to be about 24/7 decadence and parties.

And I’m writing all this down because it helps me to get all this stuff out of my head and into the light of day. I want to mark the progress and the process because one of the things about depression of any kind is that it lies to you. It lies to you about all sorts of things, and it’s easy to forget in the midst of the bleak times that it does, because everything it tells you seems so real and more true than anything else you’ve ever experienced and sometimes it’s good to make a reminder that it can lie and it does lie.

Keeping the Conversation Going

I still don’t have the words, but I am going to try anyway.

Long term readers will know that I had a breakdown when I was 17. It was pretty bad. Not as bad as some people’s, worse than others. It was terrible for me and I thought I would never come out of it. I lived in a crippling cloud of depression and anxiety. I wanted nothing more than to not exist (not to kill myself you understand, just not to have to be in my head anymore) and yet I could not turn my brain off.

I could not sleep. I could not eat. I could not read. I could only exist in a whirlwind of fear, sadness and worry. I worried about everything. The more depression gripped me, the more I felt unable to switch off or tear away from it. I existed harder and harder and harder until I was permanently exhausted by everything. And I was terrified. I was terrified of being alive and I was terrified of dying and I felt trapped by what was happening to me and I was convinced I was properly insane because existing was just too hard.

I worried about everything from the fact that it was too hard for me to eat breakfast to the fact that the hole in the ozone layer was growing. There was no scale of manageability. I worried just as much about getting out of the house as I did about terrorism. I was totally overwhelmed.

I couldn’t talk to people about it, not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t know where to start. I was also afraid, properly afraid, that if I opened my mouth to say anything about it, I would scream and scream and keep screaming until I basically swallowed myself in fear.

And how do you explain that to people who have absolutely no concept of what that is like? How do you, when you ‘look’ normal, explain how alien you feel, not only in your life, but to yourself? How do you explain that ‘pulling yourself together’, ‘counting your blessings’ or ‘taking more exercise,’ are not possible for you right now, because remembering to breathe and not dissolve into a gritty heap of unspeakable pain is about all you can manage? What do you say to someone when they cheerfully say, ‘What have you got to be depressed about?’ When you can’t explain that is precisely the point. You don’t have anything to be depressed about. If you did, things would be a bit more bearable.

I survived. It passed. I was lucky that I had people who loved me around me and people who were patient enough to keep being my friend even though depression can make you difficult, unreliable, a burden and boring. It’s not that you don’t know that you are all these things, and the guilt at being that person to people you love is one of the hardest things of all to bear, but the good ones, well they stick with you because maybe, even when they don’t entirely understand, a part of them knows that ‘there but for the grace of God go I.’

Depression has visited me many times since then. It’s part of me, and I’ve learned to live with it, navigate the paths, listen to the warning signs and seek help when things are tipping too far towards somewhere I never want to go back to.

Some times are easier than others. Sometimes a long time goes by in between episodes. Sometimes it cycles quite rapidly. The rapid cycles tend to be more intense but less prolonged. The episodes that creep up with a bigger gap between them tend to be harder to shift. They deal with more fundamental issues and require more gentle handling than I tend to give to the short blips.

I’ve never taken anti-depressants. It’s not something I’m proud of or not proud of. It’s just the way I’ve chosen to deal with my situation. I think drugs can help. I have seen them help other people. I don’t not take them as a sign of virtue. It’s largely a choice driven by fear that side-effects that could make me worse.

I know that the way I’ve chosen to deal with the emotional life I’ve been dealt works for me. It’s not perfect. It doesn’t mean I spend my days skipping through daisies Fotherington Thomas style. It doesn’t mean that I am cool with the way my mind can hi-jack me and take over my life for a while. But I’ve found a way to deal with things so that I can still, mostly, turn up for whatever I need to turn up for, look after my children and manage. It means I am at the mercy of the ups and downs of whatever it is I suffer from, but there are enough ups for me to consider it a fair trade. It also means I am pretty good at spotting the warning signs and can usually do something to help myself.

Since Christmas things have been a little more precarious thanks to the fact that my worsening menstrual situation means that my hormones are having a much bigger effect on my moods than normal. Last Thursday I woke up feeling incredibly bleak. Like winter had come back overnight. I checked my diary. My period is due this Thursday. My hormones have turned up to the PMT party. The one with raw sausage rolls and non branded pop where everyone eats so much sugar they go from happy to hysterical in half an hour.

The last few days have been spent trying to manage that mood so that it doesn’t spill over too much into my day to day life. Self care has had to be put at the top of the to do list, because ignoring it is a fool’s errand. I know this. I’ve done the ‘pretend nothing is happening and work twice as hard, smile all the time, say ‘fine’ when people ask you how you are,’ thing before. It ends badly, for everyone.

I’ve been listening to whatever my body/mind needs and trying to pick my way through the self care/harm maze. For instance. My initial reaction is to retreat. Cancel things, don’t talk to people, isolate. My depressive state tells me that this is ‘easier’. It means not fucking up. It means not having to explain. It means not having to be ashamed at bursting into tears. It means not being a ‘burden.’  My healthy brain tells me that this is not the way. This only makes things worse because there is nothing to stop me spiralling down. The healthy way is to make better choices. See this person because you don’t have to explain if you don’t want to, don’t see that person because it’s too hard to explain. Go to this meeting because it is important, but cancel that meeting because you can manage without it. Keep talking to the people who love you, because they love you regardless and they don’t think you’re stupid or bad, or wrong, or broken.

Mostly at the moment I want to sleep. I want to sleep because it is easier than being awake. It takes away my choices. It smoothes everything over into nothingness. It’s simple. The fact that I can sleep tells me that I am better than I think. If I were really bad, sleep would not be an option. My healthy brain tells me that there is nothing wrong with banking a few hours extra sleep every day, but that I also need to get up, get dressed and get out the house for a bit, even if it’s only for an hour, so that’s what I am doing.

And this is how I am approaching everything at the minute, and it’s hard, and it means that I am much more self absorbed, and much less present, but I am still showing up for my life, and this will pass, and I will get better and all will be well.

And I am reading the brilliant, Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, and I resonate with everything he says. I just got to the part about keeping the conversation going, keeping talking, and that’s why I’m writing this today, even though I don’t want to, and even though in a minute I’m going to go back to bed.

But I will get up, and I will go out, and I will get better, and if what I have written resonates with you, so will you.

 

The usual Sunday ramblings

How is February nearly over? How?

I turn around and days have spooled by.

My moods are fragile. I’m keeping up. I’m buggering on, and I’m remembering to breathe but it all feels like a bit of a tightrope balancing act. I have always got things to say, but I’m not really capable of sorting out my deepest thoughts, or edging my way over the crevasse between the blogging equivalent of punching people/stuff/things in the face and finding rational yet pointed and useful things to say.

So I won’t. Yet.

It’s the usual melange of random stuff for now.

Firstly. Call the Midwife. Lord. Why do I do it to myself? Yes, I know it’s populist tat, but I love it, and I am knee deep in a box of tear sodden tissues every Sunday night.Also the storyline about the Cuban Missile Crisis was a bit close for comfort this week, let alone the topic of FGM.

I read the comedian Joe Lycett’s book, Parsnips Buttered after hearing him being interviewed by Sara Cox on Radio Four’s Chain Reaction last weekend. I put the book on my Amazon wishlist, because it’s still only available in hardback and I knew it would take no time at all to read it. Lo and behold I found it three days later in a charity shop for £2.75. A bargain and a manifestation. It made me laugh a lot, particularly the chapter about bringing down ISIS by registering all its members on the Grindr app. Very, very silly and a good antidote to life in general.

I got my referral letter to the gynaecologist. I go in mid March. This is amazingly soon. I suspect there are warning notes on luminous Post Its stuck all over my file. Still, if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes. I am in the throes of PMT again. Not so bad as last month, but still noticeably messing with my head, let alone my vagina. Pass the foof glue.

Storm Doris was slightly more exciting than I anticipated, although we have all fences/trees intact. One of the huge poplars in a small area of parkland we cross on our way to school fell in its entirety across a populous footpath. Luckily nobody was harmed. There was so much damage generally I note that the council had to come and saw a hole through the middle of the trunk so people could still use the footpath, despite the fact that they didn’t have time to take the entire tree away.

I have been to depressing meetings about the state of the NHS in depressing buildings, with sub standard biscuits. I know there are hundreds of millions of pounds to save but don’t fuck with the biscuits, particularly if you’re delivering bad news. I’d rather have nothing than a cheap Rich Tea biscuit that sucks all the moisture from your mouth, frankly. I focus on the trivialities, but this is because if, as for the rest of the week I have to write about the future of health in our city again, I will cry all over the keyboard.

I took the day off on Saturday and spent it with two of my oldest and bestest, best beloveds. We went to Birmingham and despite the wind and that fine rain that wets you through, had a thoroughly lovely day. We went to the Jewellery Quarter, which despite me only living 40 minutes from the city, I have never visited before. We went to a place called The Coffin Works, which is a museum which was once the factory Newman Brothers, who made coffin fittings for none other than Winston Churchill. I love macabre things and I love social history so it was right up my street.

After a particularly decadent lunch we ventured forth again to the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. There are two floors of regular museum offerings, and then you get to go on a tour of the factory, which is in the remaining bits of the building and which was open from the 1890’s to the 1980’s. The owners decided to give the factory up in 1981 and just locked up and walked away. Most of the factory looks much as it did in the Thirties because the owners never saw the need to update it, and it’s absolutely fascinating.

How anyone managed to survive into old age baffles me. I reckon, given the preponderance of heavy metals and toxic chemicals people handled, the amount of killer machinery and the lax attitude towards health and safety, if I hadn’t cut my own head off in the first week, I’d have died of arsenic poisoning the next. It would have been a short life, but not a merry one, given that I would undoubtedly have been some kind of industrial age guttersnipe.

 

Foof Glue

A grim day yesterday, lost to migraine. I didn’t even make forty eight hours of efficiency, and now we’re back to the usual chaos. I must chase my referral letter to the gynaecologist.

Talking of which, someone sent me an article today about a chiropractor from Wichita, called Daniel Dopps, who has invented a lipstick shaped glue that sticks a woman’s labia together so that she can have a period without leaking everywhere.

Really.

He says that it glues the labia minora together. The glue acts as an effective, sealed barrier that does not leak. It unglues when a woman urinates, and allows the flow of both urine and stored menstrual blood to be discharged into the toilet at the same time.

No sanitary towels or tampons are required according to Mr. Dopps.

The patent was granted on January 10th, and Mr. Dopps intends to sell the product to a large pharmaceutical company for them to roll out.

I’m really torn about this.

On the one hand, yay, because you know it’s good to have alternatives to the more traditional towels and tampons, and along with moon cups and those absorbent pants you can now buy, this may be something else that is less environmentally terrible, and possibly more healthy.

On the other hand I have about a billion questions, which is a few million more than I had for Gwyneth and her jade, vaginal eggs.  I also, and I really need to get over myself I suspect, have a certain amount of ‘ewww’ about this.

Let’s get the ‘ewww’ over with.

Basically I will be waltzing about with a vaginal Pritt stick in my bag all day, which I will have to assume will be easy to clean and will not start to stink to high heaven. Nor will it dissolve if I need to rinse it off. I am fairly sure given the fact that I will be poking it about in my labia minora, I will need to rinse it off.

One must also pray it won’t melt in warm weather.  Or be really difficult to apply in icy conditions.

How will it seal effectively when I’m crouched on the Virgin trains toilet from Leicester to St. Pancras, praying that the automatic doors don’t slide open, and trying to roll with the movement of the train without falling down the toilet?

How do you apply a lipstick type substance to a labia minora successfully even if you aren’t on a train? Even if you’re at home, crouching around your bathroom like a demented crab, with all the lights on and a mirror it sounds fairly tricky and liable to problems.

To be fair, it would probably be easier if you were upside down, or lying on your back in a sort of horse shoe shape, so that you could stem the blood flow and gain maximum access to the lips, but then how many of us will be doing that on the floor of a Wetherspoons at 11.30 on a Friday night after one too many flaming sambucas? If you want to know what having your skin glued feels like, try lying naked on the floor of a Wetherspoons. It’ll take an industrial belt sander to get you off that sucker.

And let’s be brutally honest here. Blood does not stop flowing out of your foof neatly like urine. It doesn’t have a start/stop button per se. It’s more of a steady leak. So how do you apply the glue in a leaky situation?

The rest of my questions.

How will glueing my labia together not be uncomfortable/painful? If it has to make an efficient seal it means that the skin to skin contact must be fairly robust. What if my fanny rips off if I decide to go horse riding? Or simply have to run for the bus? Or in the unlikely event that I may want to take up doing vigorous star jumps during my period (I did say it was unlikely).

How long will it take for my labia to unglue? He says that the ammonia in urine will unglue the labia, but are we talking a steady stream? Are we talking a few drips? Will I have to carry around a de-mister full of piss as well as a labial lipstick in my handbag for pee based glue emergencies?

There’s so much more to say frankly, but at the end of the day, do I want to endorse a product created by a man whose response to questions which he asked for on his Facebook page was:

“[Y]ou as a woman should have come up with a better solution than diapers and plugs, but you didn’t. Reason being women are focused on and distracted by your period 25% of the time, making them far less productive than they could be. Women tend to be far more creative than men, but their periods that [sic] stifle them and play with their heads.”

How bout no?

Titles are too difficult today

Hello!

After two or three (one week away from school and I cannot function with regard to what day it is) days of mostly sleeping I am finally awake. This is, of course, ironic, given that tomorrow the interminable treadmill of work/school/endless chores resumes again and I will be a twisted husk of tiredness and shattered dreams by the week’s end. Still, the things I may do in the 48 hours in which I will be functioning at optimum efficiency may possibly drag me through the next six weeks to Easter.

Who am I kidding?

GAH.

The news is unspeakable. Just the bleakest of the bleak. The only possible cheer I can glean from the gigantic shit show that is current affairs is that political assassination seems to be coming back into fashion. No. I am not sorry that this is a terrible thing to say. I am, as long term readers will vouch, a terrible person who is generally only motivated to do nice things by a) the promise of cake, b) the fact that I don’t want my children to be too ashamed of me and c) the fact that doing nice things generally pisses people more terrible than me off.

I have been cheered by the hashtag PaulNuttalFacts and I urge you to check it out if you are vacillating between weeping and throwing your hands in the air or laughing until you’re sick. It sort of scratches the itch a tiny bit.

I have spent half term avoiding most hard core news. Instead I have been desultorily posting blurry images on Instagram and looking at other people’s less blurry pictures. I have been doing some therapeutic work on myself in recent weeks, and am feeling rather emotionally fragile and not really up to full blown social media immersion and the horror of my usual forensic news reading. I realise that the last sentence sounds unspeakably wanky. I have wrestled with how to describe it, and really I’m just not prepared to commit to anything more detailed. It’s all good. It’s all progress but it feels rather like weaving cobwebs and hoping they’ll keep holding me up for the foreseeable future. It’s not something I feel ready to stand on my soap box about yet.

In more cheering news.

I have finished reading Alys Fowler’s, Hidden Nature.  It was gorgeous. A truly lovely book.  It kind of reminded me of Amy Liptrot’s The Outrun, which was also beautiful. It has that same confessional/natural world vibe going on. I also finished reading Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings. I really did not like this. I am sure it is worthy and literary and very good for you and all of that, and is undoubtedly going to be a classic etc. Having said all of those things I found it a 700 page endurance test which I did not actually enjoy. One day I’m going to learn how to put down books I don’t like without finishing them, and it will be a marvellous moment.  I am now reading, Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer. I am loving it.

My friend Nicki and I went to see Sue Perkins do her thang last night at De Montfort Hall in Leicester. It’s a one woman show based on her book Spectacles. I loved the book. I love Sue, and it was a few hours of absolute delight. We didn’t want it to finish and we were both a bit tearful at the end,  because really, these days you have to snatch all the joy wherever you find it. She took questions at the end. One person asked about her show Supersizers Go, which she did with Giles Coren. Her memories of it were hilarious and it has inspired me to go back and watch them all again on Youtube.

Musically I’m revisiting Beck’s O’Delay album, listening to the new Elbow album in preparation for seeing them in March and enjoying Angel Olsen and The Wombats. Spotify is a marvellous thing.

Food wise I’ve been cooking from The Three Sisters Quick and Easy Indian Cookbook over the last few days. It does exactly what it says on the tin. Simple, pared down recipes that still give great flavour and are easy peasy to put together. My favourite so far has been the potato and spinach curry. The Tandoori recipe is good too, although I always add stacks more chilli, because we like the flavour but prefer more heat. It looks rather like one of those cheap, churned out cook books that are the cookery book equivalent of menus with photographs of the food next to the description, but it’s far from it. I’m really pleased with it so far and will be exploring it in more depth in the next few weeks.

Now I have to go and shout at small boys about cycling proficiency and basketball lessons (not at the same time, although this appeals to me) and teenage girls about whether that amount of eyeliner is a health and safety hazard. I need to talk to older teenage girls about what the tortoise is doing wedged there. I need to talk to myself about the ninety six crucial lists I have to get to grips with next week and Jason as to why a bobble head Yoda has suddenly appeared on the kitchen cabinets.

The cat is having a nervous breakdown because the cat from Norway (that got stuck in the doorway) has decided to take over our garden and she is cowering under the barbecue, panting, because it won’t even have to extend a claw to kill her. It will just squash her with its mighty, Norwegian girth. Jason is flailing about a golf course with our friend Rob who he co-erced into going with him. This means the house will soon be full of random trip hazards and clots of churned up earth, and I still haven’t decided what to do for dinner because it’s Sunday and I opted out of thinking.

A fool to myself.