It’s been another non-day; watching old episodes of ER while playing Bejeweled and smoking, trying not to fall asleep in an attempt to rearrange my ridiculous sleeping habits. If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that I often suffer from insomnia, interspersed with periods of extreme fatigue which can leave me stuck in bed for days, sometimes sleeping for fifteen hours or more. Lately I’ve been sleeping late and staying up until the early hours of the morning, getting stoned and, well, I don’t know how to describe it. Half-sleeping. I’m awake, but I dream; I don’t know any way to express how it feels, and I just hope somebody knows what I mean. It’s a sort of fugue state, but not borne from any depression. I’m very anxious, but happy on the whole.
I just lie there and think. Mostly about stupid stuff; crazy plans and thoughts inspired by dope and tiredness. Sometimes I imagine having conversations with S and finally admitting to all my failings with the codeine and thoughts of self-harm. I know I planned to speak to him about it at the weekend, but it just never seemed like the right time. Is that an excuse? I don’t know. Everything was just so nice and happy and lovely, and I didn’t want to bring anything down with my issues.
I was sitting around wondering how I could make a post about the weekend, still stuck in the “how do I start this?” dilemma. I procrastinated for a while, reading through recent comments I haven’t had time to reply to, and saw that Gypsy has nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World award; giving me a much-needed happiness boost and also the perfect excuse for actually writing about what happened since Friday. The rules for the award are much the usual:
1. Thank the giver
2. Post 7 things about yourself
3. Pass the award on to 7 other bloggers and let them know they’ve been nominated
4. Include the logo of the award in a post or on your blog
So, number one; the thing I want to say here is that Gypsy was one of the first bloggers I followed, way back when I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Reading about her life – in the wonderful detail she uses – showed me for the first time in life that there are others out there like me; others who think like I do and have the same struggles. Before reading about her experiences with BPD, I truly thought I was alone. She’s a wonderful woman, and somebody I would love to meet one day. She’s worth a million pounds and more in the blogging world.
As for the seven things, this is where I will write about my weekend. Good cop-out, eh?
1. On Friday afternoon, Halfway Between The Gutter and the Stars reached 100,000 views. I’ve been writing this blog for a little over a year, and I never, never expected to reach so many people. For a long time, my stats showed that views were almost entirely from comments I’d made on other blogs. It averaged around 30-60 a day, and I thought that was a lot. Sometime around six months ago, visits picked up to the point where I now average 600 views a day; not bad for a little diary written by a crazy girl from a small town in England. As much as it may sound like I’m throwing my ego around, knowing this blog reaches so many people – from so many different countries - is a happiness I can never begin to describe. I always wanted to be a writer, and now, in a small way… I am. I write, and people read. They choose to read. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how grateful I am for every reader; even the ones who look in just to snoop. I’ve decided that any publicity is good publicity.
Thank you. All too often, I’m terrified that I’m doing the wrong thing by putting the bare roots of my life out there.
2. For most of my life, I’ve avoided social gatherings; this much is obvious from what I’ve written in the past. I’ve always been that way – as well as having anxiety problems, I’m also naturally shy – and for the longest time it didn’t bother me. I was happy being mostly alone, because the world stretched ahead of me and I thought I had forever to make mistakes and sequester in my bedroom. However, for the past five years or so I’ve felt an unbearable yearning to be like everyone else – or at least, everyone else as I see it – and I’ve craved the normality of socialising.
Still, I’ve shied away from actually taking that step, because my insecurities hold me back; telling me I’ll make a fool of myself or I’ll be laughed at for my weight or clothes. So making a move towards entering that world is a big deal for me, and I managed it this weekend.
3. Although I was with people I knew – S, Z, her boyfriend and a friend – I was going to meet a lot I’d never spoken to in person before. For me… it was like running at the wall and having it break apart before me; meeting others from the internet is always difficult, and a large gathering… eh, it was difficult. I nearly backed out so many times, but I wanted to see if I could achieve something big. A long time ago, I joined an online forum for body modification; I think I was having trouble with one of my first piercings and needed advice before I hyperventilated. Over the years they’ve held regular meets, and I’ve always made my excuses; usually pretending I’m too skint or have made other plans. The usual lies.
However, something inside me wanted to go to this year’s Manchester meet. Z was already going, which gave me the courage to accept the Facebook invite.
4. For the first time since I can remember, I got a train on my own. Although S came with me, he left early; we’d originally planned to stay in Manchester until 5pm then head back into town for a friend’s birthday meal. Despite all my fears and reservations, I really enjoyed myself at the meet and I think S could tell I was comfortable drinking half a pint (Lyrica and alcohol; a bad combination) and chatting, so he suggested I stay if I wanted to. Anxiety aside, I was giddy from the tiny drink and general atmosphere, so agreed. I decided transport worries could wait until later.
Of course, things didn’t work out as planned. I missed my train by two minutes, and even though there were only a few platforms at the station, I got lost and ended up on the wrong side. By the time I got back to the right place, I’d started to panic. Going to the station entrance and finding everyone didn’t even enter my mind; my head told me to sit down and freak out, so I did. It’s at times like this I truly believe my mind and I are separate entities, held together by a strange glue neither of us wanted.
Retreating to the women’s toilets, I sat in the locked stall and allowed myself to fall apart. Although the station was almost empty at 22.30, a middle-aged couple and a few drunk men – staggering and shouting like banshees – were nearby and I couldn’t let them see me freak out. I’ve cried at too many station platforms in the past.
An hour later, after narrowly avoiding vomiting Snickers cocktails all over the waiting room floor, I got on the train, tucked myself away in a walled-in seat, and distracted myself by reading the BBC website on my phone. Mobile internet is a wonderful invention. When I finally got home another hour and a half later, S met me at the door with a hug and a take away vegetarian pizza. I could have kissed him. I did.
5. On Sunday afternoon, S and I sat in the garden as usual, shouting for the sun to come out from behind the clouds and me getting happily stoned while he drank cans of Kopperberg. In the midst of geeky conversation I mentioned how it’d be nice if I didn’t have to go home that night. S replied by saying “you don’t”, and so I sent my mother a text saying I wouldn’t be home until Monday morning. In an ideal world I shouldn’t have to tell my mother at all, nor fear a phone call demanding I come home (it’s happened), but I’d never say no to an extra night spent with S. He cooked dinner for me and we cuddled together before falling asleep. In the morning, as he scrambled around trying to wake me up and have a shower before work, I lay in his warm bed, pillows smelling of his hair and deodorant, and felt okay. Properly okay. Despite the train debacle, I’d really enjoyed spending time in a social group; not only that, but some agreed to come to our flatwarming party. Two messaged me on Facebook afterwards to say how lovely it was to finally meet me, and one offered a bed at her house if I ever wanted to spend the day in Manchester together.
6. Flatwarming party? Yes. I’ve kept this quiet, partly because things don’t tend to work out for me, and partly due to the whole fraud allegation mess. I wouldn’t be doing anything wrong by moving in with S; I’d still be just as in need of DLA, and I’d still need financial assistance to pay for the extras being disabled causes. Nothing would change, and it’s not income-based. I’d still need the same amount of care. Still, I worry. Being accused of wrongly claiming benefits has terrified me.
We’ve been told that the flat owned by a friend’s mother is being rented out, and we can move in around the end of the month. S and I are going to be living together soon.
I knew I wouldn’t make it to seven things, and it’s probably good that I couldn’t be bothered writing more; this post is getting long enough. As for nominating other blogs… this bit is always difficult. The award is called Sisterhood of the World; I’m not entirely sure what that means and who deserves a nomination.
I know “strong women” is always a bit of a cliché, but I’ve chosen to award this to the bloggers who keep on writing and fighting, even through adversity.
These bloggers all inspire me in different ways, and all too often I can identify with their words. They use language I like, and write beautifully. Most importantly, they all have their struggles to carry, yet write about them with such elegance and honesty.