Home baking, this week’s efforts include focaccia and carrot bread.
A tiny new arrival.
Having a manicure and a pedicure for the first time since March. I’ve had time during lockdown to consider my priorities. And I’m happy to support a small local business and have some pampering every three weeks.
Working from home.
Sending off ever more baby stuff to new homes. A bath, nightdresses, a double buggy and other assorted stuff we no longer need have gone. And knowing that we have no pangs of regret about letting go of any of it.
I haven’t been able to write lately. I’m in a fog. I have no coherent thoughts to express. I’m feeling lazy, selfish and stupid. I’m trying to appreciate how lucky I am. It annoys me that I don’t. We’ve had an ok month. Delicious food, happy moments, ticking jobs off the to-do list (see the first photo, we finally have some beautiful planters outside our house).
I’ve had a lot of down moments. I feel guilty that I haven’t done enough homeschooling. I could have done more, if I didn’t hate SeeSaw so much. And when I have these thoughts I feel angry with myself for not appreciating how much work the children’s teachers have put into trying to maintain some semblance of normality for them. I cried when I went to pick up happy meals from McDonald’s yesterday. The children get them as a treat every year on the last day of school. This little normal thing loomed large when I drove by all the bus shelters with ads about covid 19.
Work is hard. I have to listen to things I would rather not have to think about. And then I finish work and I don’t have my commute to decompress. And I then I remind myself how lucky I am that my income hasn’t dropped and I have a secure job that remains unaffected in many ways.
We were supposed to be in France right now. And I resent my feelings of resentfulness about not being there. I finished my last bottle of Crement De Loire last week. We’re probably drinking a little too much and I’m definitely eating too much, but I don’t actually care right now. I’m telling myself if we were on holidays we’d be eating and drinking what we want.
My gym won’t reopen. I miss the classes and I feel awful for the staff. I’m doing couch to 5k in an attempt to get back on the exercise wagon. I’ve done ballet classes, following a lovely ballerina’s videos on YouTube.
I know this is a big long rambling rant and there are loads of things I have to care about and even more I should care about but I’m taking a wee bit of time to wallow and I already feel better having written some of this down instead of constantly letting these thoughts swirl around in my over caffeinated brain.
I bought this Annie West print shortly after the repeal the eight result. It was really important to me to mark the occasion and I wanted a tangible reminder of what was achieved. I didn’t do much myself, I had the conversations and donated the money and ranted a lot on social media, but I always wish I’d done more.
Now my attention is turning towards the review of the current legislation. The law as it stands is imperfect. I was never happy with the constant reassurances during the campaign and the passage of the current Act that those who needed abortions because a foetus had been diagnosed with a non-fatal abnormality would continue to have to seek medical care abroad. Leaders in the Together For Yes campaign supported the three day wait. The campaign excluded and hurt people.
There was never going to be a perfect campaign. There never is. I’m happy with the outcome, but not happy with this outcome being how things must be for the foreseeable future. We have to do better. We cannot allow those who feel uncomfortable with why others need healthcare be a reason to shy away from change. We have had these conversations already.
I know I’m not alone in looking back on the campaign and the years before and after it with very mixed feelings. I’m not always able to articulate those feelings, even to myself. I’m happy. I was euphoric seeing the first exit poll at 10 pm on the 25th of May 2018. I was angry that the following day those who still opposed the will of the people still continued the same lies and made the same promises to be obstructionist. I’m infuriated at the comments from some that repeal was done and therefore our rights are safe.
Its been a long two years, and a long 27 years since the eighth amendment. We cannot let further reform wait nearly three decades because we don’t like people’s reasons for needing medical care.
Some time ago my mother gave me my old school reports. I was delighted to get them and looked forward to reading them. However, reading them wasn’t a nice experience. I felt shame at some of the comments and the memories they stirred. I felt shock at some of the marks I got, which were quite a bit lower than I thought. In fact, I had some weird dreams about them that night and the next morning the first thing I did was shove the plastic pocket full of them at the very top of the most inaccessible point in my wardrobe.
This episode made me realise that I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve had to accept there’s nothing exceptional whatsoever about me. I won’t be changing the world. I won’t be leaving a significant footprint once I’m gone. I’m not particularly clever, beautiful or different. There’s not a lot that’s unique about me.
It’s taken me a few months to process this whole thing. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my childhood and adolescent dreams of greatness aren’t going to happen. I probably won’t be writing a book. I don’t think I’ll have a glittering career. I won’t be spoken of in hushed tones as a public figure to admire.
I suffered from delusions of grandeur for too long. I had a weird dichotomy in my head, where I simultaneously dreamed of great things happening while also having a running narrative which constantly told me I was quite the failure.
I don’t think I ever had a concrete idea of what ‘success’ meant for me. I do know I spent far too long worrying about what others thought of how life was turning out for me. The first few years post college are years I dwell on, with an awful lot of what ifs. I berate myself for not having made more of some opportunities, while also knowing that if I had really wanted to do certain things I wouldn’t have let chances pass me by.
And now I’m 38 years of age and I’m pretty happy that I’ve reached a phase of life where I feel like this is the plateau for me. I’m not ambitious. I don’t have any desire to progress in my career. I could do more of the hobbies I enjoy, but I also enjoy a level of laziness. I’ve made some really good choices and some really questionable ones. I dwell on some trifles far too much, and I don’t think too much about some of the big stuff in life.
The reports are still on top of my wardrobe. I posted in a KonMari Facebook group, looking for advice on what to do with them. People told me to get rid of them if they sparked such unpleasant memories, and I think they’re right. Others told me I had to work through my feelings, that this is the beauty of this process, that you have to confront bits of yourself that you would rather ignore, and they’re also right.
It’s very egocentric to be so affected by something like this. But in a way, I’m glad I’ve had to work through some of the less happy memories of my past even though I didn’t even know they were there. I’m keeping my children’s reports despite all this. They’re so much more positive than mine are.
I’m looking on the bright side of having no commute and being able to claw back some time to deal with a few small but irritating jobs. I’ve tried to ignore entirely the annoying entreaties on social media to use the increase in down time at home to learn valuable skills or increase my desirability or functionality as an employee or human being.
This week my small but manageable goals included organising clothes recycling, wrapping birthday gifts and doing a full clean of our house. I’ve ticked all of them off my list and thus I have a guilt free weekend ahead. Another week over, another week close to things feeling ever so slightly more normal.
Yesterday was our second nine year wedding anniversary. We still have this candle holder in our home, and it comes out every so often and I remember our trip to Ikea to stock up on decor for our wedding. I can’t remember why, but I was a bit obsessed with having everything colour co-ordinated so that’s why there’s a lilac coloured satin ribbon tied around it.
Obviously, we couldn’t go anywhere to celebrate so we had a gin and tonic (me) and a beer (himself) to toast the day. I love having two anniversaries (pretty sure I write a very similar post every year) and I love being married. I think we’re getting good at it too. Sometimes I don’t know how he puts up with me.
I’m not trying to be overly dramatic. There’s no Aunt Lydia bearing me off to be raped to produce children for Gilead. There’s no coup. There’s no stripping away of women’s rights. But being forced into a role I didn’t choose has its downsides. I’ve had to get used to what normal looks like in spring of 2020.
I’m not stay at home material, and any thoughts I had towards moving into that role have been firmly squashed by events in recent weeks. I’ve found it hard to be nothing but a parent. The days are dull and I feel my brain getting foggy. I miss speaking to adults who have nothing to do with my children. I don’t enjoy being a poor combination of teacher, friend, entertainer, housewife and woman. I’m losing a little bit of myself in these days that stretch on and on and all look the same.
I try to make plans to give the days a bit of structure. I go to work when I have to and I try to relish that time. I downloaded the app so the children can do their schoolwork and the teachers can maintain some level of contact with them. I give myself permission to be a bit selfish sometimes.
I know I’m complaining too much. Things could be a lot worse. I’m much more whiney and annoying than I usually am. I suppose I can at least acknowledge this fact. I’m hard to be around sometimes, and I’m snappy and short tempered too often.
This is normal for now, and I know it won’t last forever. I know I’ll look back on these days with a certain amount of nostalgia. I hope the children will have happy memories of some of this weird time in our lives. We’re all safe at home, and we’re very lucky.
We have been married for 9 years. 9 whole years. According to a very cursory search, the 9th anniversary can be marked with a gift of copper, pottery or leather. I must hold my hands up and admit to having completely forgotten that this day 9 years ago we watched the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton while getting ready for our own wedding. We didn’t have a vintage car or horse drawn carriage to bring us to or from our marriage ceremony, but we did have a blast of a day.
It doesn’t feel like we’ve been married for 9 years. We agreed it feels like no time at all since April 29th 2011. We’re putting that down as a good thing. We still love being married.