10 Day You Challenge – eight fears

1. Cotton wool. I am absolutely terrified by raw cotton wool. Pads are fine, but the cotton balls some use to wipe make-up off… they make me want to be sick everywhere. It’s not just that cottol wool disgusts me, it’s much deeper than that. I can’t be in the same room with it. Somewhere in my past, I suspect I had a traumatic experience with a cotton ball.

2. Clowns, puppets, dolls, and anything which looks slightly human but isn’t. Puppets and dolls are the worst, followed by clowns. Marionettes send me screaming from the room, it’s the jerky arms and the wobbling head, they just send me west. I also hate those statue performance artists who paint themselves silver and wear stilts. They’re horrible.

3. Being alone. Or rather, being alone in social status. I enjoy my own company hugely and find it easy to entertain myself, but I fear being rejected and abandoned by friends and family. Sometimes I worry that they’ll all go away, and I’ll have nothing. Nobody to rely on, nobody to talk to. Considering I’m a bit of a loner, I feel much better knowing I have people out there who know me. Who want to know me. I consider myself to be an intelligent woman, but I still subscribe to the playground popularity belief that you’re nobody without lots of friends. I can’t help it.

4. Being fat. Yes, I’m another woman who is scared of being fat. Now, don’t get me wrong; I find curvy women incredibly attractive and like to see a woman enjoying food. I don’t judge anyone on their weight; except me. I judge myself constantly throughout the day, I find myself glancing in mirrors and sucking my stomach in, I scour calorie content on packaged foods and I console myself after a bad day with mountains of unhealthy food. I worry that I won’t be taken seriously because I’m overweight, I find myself overcompensating for my perceived physical flaws by being outspoken and bolshy. Weight means nothing to me when it involves other people. When it involves myself, it’s the whole world.

5. Never marrying or having children. I have always wanted to get married and be a mother, it’s the old romantic in me. I know the reality is never quite a fairytale, but I’ve always seen it as my ultimate goal. I love babies and children, and I would love to have a child of my own. However, I’m sub-fertile due to polycystic ovary syndrome and untreated infections (get yourselves checked for STDs; it’s the best advice I was ever given). There is a chance I will never have a child. I have also suffered miscarriages, and the risk is high that it will happen again. For the first time in my life, I feel ready to have a baby and, dare I say it, I think I may have found the man I want it to happen with. Not that I’d ever tell him that; I may be crazy, but I’m not freaking him out by forcing commitment on him. I think I may have found the man I want to marry. Yet so much has gone wrong in my life, that I sometimes fear it will never happen.

6. Recovering entirely from depression. Yes, it sounds odd, but hear me out. Depression has been an integral part of my life since childhood. It has shaped me, it has changed me, it has taught me lessons. It’s been my constant companion. Without depression, I simply wouldn’t be the person I am now and, although I have many flaws, I accept who I am. I would like to recover from anxiety and eating problems, but that’s a different issue. Neither of those have ever shown me any respect. Depression has enabled me to be myself.

7.  Being seen as ugly. Another womanly stereotype I fight right in to. As with weight, I don’t care what other people look like, but I care intensely about my own appearance. I’m not naturally beautiful; I have a bump on my nose, I tend towards being overweight, my lips are too small and my hair never behaves. My skin tone is very pale, bordering on grey at times. I have a massive collection of toiletries and make-up scattered around my bedroom in an attempt to look like the women on magazines. I fall for every new mascara and moisturiser claim. If I feel ugly, my day is ruined.

8. Never being independent. I rely on others for so many reasons; to keep an eye on me, to make sure I’m taking my medication, to get me out of bed, to watch out for side-effects and breakdowns. I want to be free. I want to be my own person.

They Say That Danger’s Gone Away

Suddenly, I find it difficult to respond to comments, especially on my poems. Somehow I don’t feel worthy; it’s not that I’m receiving massive amounts of praise, just that suddenly my private life is out there for anyone to see, and I’m not sure how that makes me feel. Only two people know who I am (as far as I’m aware) and both of those are internet friends. To have strangers poking around in places I’ve previously only kept inside… it’s strange. It’s what I wanted, so I can’t complain, but I’m not sure how I should react to it.

I suppose I thought I’d have given up writing by now. I’ve certainly been putting it off lately.

It’s been a strange few weeks, emotion-wise. Romantically, it’s been amazing; I really can’t begin to describe how happy I am with S. We spent this weekend lazing in bed, drinking vodka, watching Citizen Kane and playing Black Ops. We’re in our late twenties and perhaps we should grow up a bit and stop acting like teenagers, but it feels like the welcome break I always needed; no pressure, no pretending. I lay on the bed and read the whole of Tortilla Flat while S worked on programming, and it felt so blissfully comfortable. Tonight, he held me while I waited for a taxi to take me home, and I told him how happy he makes me. I know saying such things leaves me open and vulnerable, but I figure it’s time to grab with both hands and allow myself a bit of bare honesty.

The strange thing is, confessing my feelings to S no longer scares me. It’s like all the fear of rejection and humiliation has left me. I never imagined that would be possible.

My declaration to stop abusing my body with painkillers hasn’t really worked. True, I’m not swallowing codeine by the minutes, but I’m craving it. In fact, I’m currently craving everything; opiates, cannabis (having a horrible time trying to get hold of any – M will have some in a couple of weeks, but that feels like forever), food, alcohol, exercise, company, solitude… my life is one big craving at the moment. I’m chain-smoking, eating like a pig, worrying, drinking into the early hours of the morning. I have no real reason for it, I’m happy, I shouldn’t be falling on addictions.

Yet I am.

Being in constant pain from sciatica doesn’t help. I don’t cope well with pain anymore, so  reach straight for the co-codamol. I’m on Naproxen, which helps but doesn’t have the same calming effect opiates do. The Naproxen makes me feel sick and gives me stomach pains, so that gets me down. When the painkillers wear off, I’m reminded how feeble I am; few thoughts are more depressing than knowing that my body simply doesn’t work properly. When the sciatica gets better, I know I’ll still have pain from a thousand places in  my ineffectual body. It sometimes feels hopeless.

I’m becoming more depressed and affected by the constant pain and lethargy. I know that tomorrow I’ll be good for nothing, all because I spent the weekend with S. I wouldn’t change the weekends for anything, but it’s hard knowing that it takes me days to recover from simply sitting around with the man I love.

So it’s been a happysad couple of weeks. Better than just sad, I suppose.