Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now..

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I was crap at PE. Not only was I crap at it, but I hated it as well. I hated everything about it down to those horrible scratchy pants we had to wear. Having been blessed with the coordination of Frank Gallagher after a few hours in the Jockey, it’s safe to say that sports were NOT my forte!

This post sums up my sporting achievements and woes (mostly woes) throughout my school life.

~ Infants ~

Lets face it, It’s OK to be crap at PE when you’re five.

GymnasticsOnce a week we went down the local drill hall to do gymnastics. The smell of feet was overwhelming along with the whiff of sick where someone had barfed up their Spam fritter after doing a forward roll. Mum bought me a black leotard, which I spent a lot of time extracting from up my bum! My one and only BAGA award was for a near perfect bridge. GO ME!

~ Juniors ~

The ante was upped in the juniors. Suddenly sport got serious and we were placed into houses, like in Harry Potter, only, shit. I was in yellow house, so in Potter world that would be Hufflepuff..

Rounders – The rounders kit came out and we were picked in teams. Fully expecting to be crap at it, I amazed myself by not being totally crap.

For every few miss-hits, the bat would connect with the ball and I would wallop it across the road. I even managed to win my team a game or two which ensured me being picked by choice the following week instead of being picked last, which was the norm for me.

Things were relatively bearable until we moved across the other side of the city. It was a new house, new school, new people and I was a walking mood, having just started my periods. The new school was big on sports. It had a massive brag cabinet with trophies and row upon row of team photographs (with some hilarious hairstyles) taken over the years.

Dance – All legwarmers and leotards with a really annoying teacher who fancied herself as Lydia (the dance teacher) from Fame. We didn’t pay with sweat. We paid with detention. She soon realised that I looked shite in a leotard and was about as coordinated as a fly after it’s been blasted with Raid.

HockeyI knocked a girl’s tooth out the first time I played.

JavelinI gave myself a nasty clout round the back of the head first throw and nearly impaled one of the teachers with the second.

High JumpSpent more time face-planting the safety mat than I did in the air.

Long Jump –  First (and only) attempt required first aid.

HurdlesAfter knocking them all down (and bleeding all over the PE instructor) it was decided that my talents did not lie in hurdling.

Shot-putt – Hand to eye coordination issues nearly rendered a fellow pupil unconscious.

100 metre sprint  –  Feeling thoroughly dejected by this point, I found myself back on the track (plasters on both knees) with the PE teacher (lets call him Teach for simplicity) shouting ‘For crying out loud, just run when you hear the bang, OK?!!’

Teach fired the starter gun and I ran like my mother had just caught me with one of her fags. Seconds later I was rolling around on the ground trying to get my breath back (I genuinely thought I was dying) when he sprinted over in his obscenely tight tracksuit bottoms and slapped me on the back saying. ‘1st place! You’re in the athletics team!’

I momentarily basked in the glory of actually winning something. But as Mozzer from The Smiths so eloquently puts it…

I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour But heaven knows I’m miserable now

Because within a short time, I found myself racked with anxiety as I was loaded onto a bus on route to the local athletics stadium to run for my town and county.

I didn’t want to be in the athletics team, truth be told. I was agoraphobic even then and the thought of running in front of hundreds of people had me dry heaving for weeks before the events. In his infinite wisdom, Teach put me down for the 4 times 100 metre relay race as well as the 100 metre sprint because, well, he was a bit of a twat. I was still having baton issues in the practice runs before the race. Hadn’t I already proved that I was rubbish at relay?

In the event, it was a fumbled baton exchange. On seeing my team-mate sprinting towards me (all red faced and jowly) I assumed the position, stuck my arse out and prayed that I wouldn’t drop the sodding thing. Somehow I managed to keep hold of it and pass it on to my teammate. I think we came fourth and I can’t remember where I came in the 100 metre but it’s safe to say I didn’t win or even come a close second. Teach (NOT a happy bunny) was sulking away in his X rated track suit.

The euphoria of my sports day win had turned to a misery worthy of a Smiths song. Here was something that I was genuinely good at but my useless brain wouldn’t allow me to take it further without sending my anxiety levels through the roof. So I gave up.

It isn’t just about confidence. It’s about having a brain that doesn’t cope well under pressure. All my life, this is how it’s been. Maybe if I’d have persevered I would have found a way to cope? But the truth is that I didn’t even enjoy running because I was self-conscious of my Brad Pitts and the fact that I wasn’t allowed to run in my cardi.

High School

My sports life consisted of a series of excuse me notes (thanks to Mum), a near drowning incident, a nervous twitch every time I heard a starter pistol and a phobia of batons for life.

Nuff said?

Creative Commons Photo Credit ~ ‘Pete’

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Life is a Highway

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From the day we are born, we’re on a journey. All of us are headed to the same destination (aka Death De Mar) but we each take different routes along the way.

Throughout our travels, we encounter challenges. We all experience love, joy and happiness as well as sadness, tragedy and hopelessness. Life can be good and a total bitch in equal measure.

Sometimes the road is bumpy as hell (with annoying roadworks and potholes) and we feel frustrated like when we get stuck behind a tractor for an eternity (or Stop/Go man takes the piss) and sometimes it’s smooth and enjoyable. In my experience, the moment that I acknowledge happiness, life throws down a stinger.

The ‘Big C’ became part of my journey when Dad was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer, on my birthday as it goes.. You could say that his life choices of slumming it at the ‘Greasy Spoon’ cafe (despite my mother’s nagging) and smoking were a contributing factor in his illness. His choice not to act on his early symptoms, combined with him being misdiagnosed twice, cost him his life and my insistence that Mum saw her GP on her mentioning a bloated tummy and brown discharge (at the age of 65) probably saved hers.

Cancer made short work of my dad but I liken my mum’s experience to swatting an irritating fly. In her case, one well aimed whack got the bastard and she lived for another six years to die of something completely unrelated. Mother 1 Cancer 0.

Our journeys aren’t just about us.

As with any journey, who you travel with can be more important than your destination.

Cancer has entered my life once again but this time it’s my friend who is suffering from this horrendous disease. I haven’t known her long but our boys play together so we’ve become friends. She has advanced cancer but If you saw her you wouldn’t imagine she’s ill. She looks well. She’s certainly fitter than me and by her own admission, she doesn’t even feel ill. However, the scans tell a different story…

I have been around cancer. I’ve experienced the effects of cancer but I don’t know how it feels to have it. Nobody can know unless it happens to them.

My friend is a wonderful lady. By her own admission, she chooses to be positive. Despite the indifferent attitude of the cancer specialists, she’s giving it a run for it’s money and good on her, I say.

She told me that some days she finds it hard to get out of bed to face the day, which is totally understandable. So I made her a card with a quote which reflects this along with her desire to be positive.

Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.

I am deeply sorry she’s going through this. I can’t stop this from happening to her but what I can do is be there for her for support. Nobody should ever have to go through this alone. Cancer is an incredibly difficult journey to to be witness to so one can only imagine how it feels to be living it.

Most of us have times in our life when we struggle to face the day, for whatever reason. I’ve got lost a few times and questioned what it’s all about but ultimately, all roads of thought lead back to the fruits of my womb. My body resembles a clapped old three wheeler (think Trotter van) but I look at my boys and know it’s all been worth it.

My latest run in with one of life’s proverbial potholes resulted in me having to assume the ‘On your side, bend your legs and face the wall, dear’ position while my GP swiped her index finger around my rear-end. No doubt I’ll end up having a camera up it (oh-the-joy) before the year’s out  but as long as it gives me peace of mind that my botty probs are simply an IBS flare up or yet another menopausal perk, I can cope with a bit of bum invasion. Dignity, me dears, went out the window the day I went into labour. These days, ‘dignity’ is a song by Deacon Blue!

Nobody’s journey will be free from heartache. Bad things happen but It’s what we learn from the experience that matters. Reading stories about the Holocaust has taught me that hope can exist even in the most horrific of circumstances. Our freedom to choose our own attitude throughout any given circumstance is something that nobody can take away from us. Nobody can make us feel bad about ourselves without our permission!

People enter our lives and the journey changes direction. It’s like a Sat-Nav that keeps re-calculating. However, in the journey of life, there isn’t a reverse gear. We don’t get to go back and do things differently. We can only learn from our mistakes and move forwards. Maybe if we knew how our lives will pan out, we’d be too scared to live them? All I know is that I’ve made it to almost 45 years of age so far and count myself lucky. The journey so far has been full of tears and laughter and with each sharp bend of the road, I’ve learned a little bit more about life.

There are a few more miles left in this ol’ jalopy yet (despite a biological age of 102) and I’d like to think I’ll manage a cheeky sideways skid when it’s ‘destination reached’ aka, the big scrap yard in the sky. Knowing my luck, I’ll be towed in on the back of a recovery truck but a girl can dream, eh?

Until then, it’s on with the ride..

I think it’s my adventure, my trip, my journey, and I guess my attitude is, let the chips fall where they may. ~ Leonard Nimoy

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OOPS!

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I’ve made mistakes in my time, who hasn’t?

Some of those mistakes have been arse clenchingly embarrassing, like when I wrote “pubic act” instead of public act in my history book at school. Not content with putting a big red line under “pubic” with the words “OOPS!!” written alongside it, the history teacher decided to have a laugh at my expense by revealing my little faux pas to the ENTIRE class.

Course, I can laugh about now, Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, couldn’t then – went home and died.

Then there was the time I underestimated how slippy grass can be in the rain..

A short sharp shower stopped play at a local cricket match and I decided to run and rescue my deck chair, as you do. Needless to say it didn’t end well, tripping and sliding across the outfield in full view of, well, everybody.

Aaaand there was the time when I went to school without my knickers.

Nope, I wasn’t the school tramp, let me explain..

We had swimming lessons first thing on Monday mornings and I used to put my uniform on over my costume to save having to strip at the baths. Only on this occasion I’d forgot to put my knickers in my bag so having confided my lil dilemma to the teacher, she issued me with a skanky pair of PE knickers from out of the lost property box which, by the musty smell of them, had been in there since 1962.

Then I had a near death experience at high school when I got mixed up in the ability groups in swimming and was pushed in at the deep end of the swimming pool by a sadistic SS trained PE teacher (and cow) I nearly drowned. My friend had to jump in and save me (cus the teacher couldn’t be arsed) and I eventually surfaced with more snot on my face than a two year old and, WORSE, my swimming costume around my midriff. Yes, I flashed my Brad Pitts to everybody. Oh, nearly forgot to mention that it was a MIXED session!

Or maybe the time I’d worked up the courage to go to college as a mature student. After many self-help psyching sessions, I marched in the PACKED room, flounced up to the important looking lady sat on the table at the front and announced in my most confident voice, “Hello, I’m T, pleased to meet you. Where do you want me to sit?” to which she replied, “Wherever you want love, the tutor isn’t here yet!” I smouldered my way over to a seat with a set of cheeks that would fry an egg in three seconds flat.

Have you ever wished for a big hole to open up and take you down?

Plenty more little anecdotes from where these came from only I like to limit my posts to under 1000 words!

Then there are the mistakes which eat you up from the inside.

The things I’ve done that I wish I hadn’t.

The things I said.

The things I didn’t say.

But I’m human and to err is human, as they say.

So now I look at my life, my gaffs, my faux pas – my mistakes and acknowledge that they have all been learning curves. Life is one big learning curve and it’s OK to make mistakes.

But what about the mistakes which cost lives? Doctors, police, firefighters, paramedics and military personnel all have the burden of other people’s lives in their hands on a daily basis and then there are other professions which are responsible for the safety of others. They are human beings so it is inevitable that mistakes will be made and while they will no doubt learn from each one, I don’t know how they are able to cope with the knowledge that their action or decision cost a life. It’s an immense responsibility and not one I envy. I accidentally knocked my mate’s tooth out the first time I played hockey and I felt bad enough about that! Yet another mistake!

Mistakes are essential for our personal growth and we’ll keep making mistakes until the day they put the toe tag on because we never stop learning. If you get to the point where you feel you have nothing more to learn, you might as well shuffle off your mortal coil and make some room for someone else.

My mistakes were embarrassing but nobody died. Well I nearly did but in the end I survived to the entertainment of my class. You’re welcome, folks!

Even though I’ve been shifting about uneasily in my chair as the memories have come flooding back, I’m able to see the funny side and laugh at myself even it’s a manically insane, hide the knife, laugh. At the time it would have been a full on crisis because I was a teenager and a teenager’s very existence is fraught with angst over the slightest thing. Such as:

  • Zit = angst
  • Broken pencil = angst
  • Period = psychotic angst
  • Flopping boobs out in front of the class in the swimming pool = kill me now my life is over – angst

I dealt with it by locking myself in my room and playing Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now on repeat.

I was (and still am) a complete disaster zone but, in my humble opinion, there are no mistakes that we can’t learn from – it’s just that some mistakes are harder to live with than others.

Some of the worst mistakes of my life have been haircuts. ~ Jim Morrison

You’re So Vain (you probably think this post is about you)

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but my idea of beauty differs greatly from that of the media.

Facelifts, Botox injections, teeth whitening and veneers are becoming common place for women these days and for television presenters of a ‘certain age’ it’s expected if they want to keep their jobs. Seemingly women have a shelf life, as opposed to their male counterparts, who’s only other requirement is a pulse. Men can go on presenting into their 80’s but women are put out to pasture on Radio 4 where they can still be heard but not seen.

The message from the media is that old is not beautiful.

As Catherine Tate’s ‘Nan Taylor‘ would say, “WHAT A LOAD OF OLD SHIT!!”

Women are becoming completely obsessed with their looks, desperately trying to eradicate the effects of time for fear of being replaced by a younger woman.

But what is beautiful?

The media portrays surgically altered and photo manipulated women as beautiful and as a result women are aspiring to be something that’s unrealistic.

Bigger boobs, smaller waist, thinner nose, bigger lips, smaller piss flaps, thicker hair, whiter teeth and muff styling – anything to change their appearance.

The result of continually going under the surgeons knife is something that wouldn’t look out of place in Madame Tussaud’s – only the really shit looking waxworks which look nothing like the celebrities they’re meant to be.

Then there’s these two…

I was stunned to read about the ‘Human Barbie‘, Valeria Lukyanova.

Er, what’s going on here then?

There is also Justin Jedlica ,dubbed ‘The Ken Doll” by the media, who has had 140 plastic surgery procedures in the last 15 years including 12 implants in his torso that mimic shapely arm and chest muscles.

According to him his body modification comes from a place of artistic creativity, not a mental illness.

Not deluded in the slightest!

If I was to come face to face with one of these creepy creatures, I’d presume that I’d been mixing my household chemicals again, or that I was actually dead and this was karma paying me for snapping the leg off a Barbie in 1978.

Recently Valeria claimed she wants to live only on light and air.

As you do..

In recent weeks I have not been hungry at all; I’m hoping it’s the final stage before I can subsist on air and light alone.

No, that’ll be the final stage before you die, but I’m sure you’ll look just fabulous in your coffin!

Normally, I’m a ‘whatever floats your boat’ person. If celebs want to take the risks with their looks, it’s tough false tits when it goes wrong but these ‘dolls’, especially the food dodger with her “food nihilism” and her message that surgery is the essence of beauty is alarming. They have a fan base, no doubt made up of perverts and impressionable girls.

For the good of humanity – load her and all the other ‘dolls’, including Ken with his fake pecs, into a rocket, light the boosters and fire em off into space before they have chance to reproduce.

Why in the name of Cher would anybody want to look like a doll? I had a Holly Hobbie once but I don’t want to have freckles tattooed on my face and wear a bonnet!

I’m not sure what alarms me more – the fact that people choose to do this to themselves or that unscrupulous surgeons are willing to exploit what amounts to mental illness. I am all for corrective or reconstructive surgery when it’s about quality of life, but this is insanity.

Celebs will go to extraordinary lengths to hold onto their youthful looks.

Mrs Beckham for instance, is rumored to be using a facial which involves bird poo.

Go sit on Blackpool prom with a tray of chips, Posh – you’ll be graced with more bird shit than you’ll know what to do with!

What’s so wrong with wrinkles anyway? They certainly haven’t done Dame Judi Dench any harm. She is proof that older women can be naturally beautiful and desirable.

I’m hardly Waynetta Slob when it comes to my beauty regime. I do try to look keep myself presentable but a twice weekly exfoliation and tash control is about as radical as it gets.

I’m growing fond of my lines. They show I’ve lived.  Many people don’t live to see their first wrinkle and at 44 I count myself lucky.

And I’m not totally against a little maintenance work here and there. Helen Mirren has had a subtle face and neck lift. The look is natural and in keeping with her age. She’s not trying to look 18 again.

I’ve grown up watching my mother trying to fend off time. She spent that much money on creams and potions, I expected a sympathy card from  L’Oreal when she died.

Her self esteem plummeted as she aged. She didn’t do age. She wasn’t comfortable with it. She’d get stroppy when we playfully ribbed her about it then she’d flounce off upstairs saying, “Sod the lotta yer!”

She had these amazing brown eyes and never looked more beautiful than first thing in the morning before the make up went on. She despised her wrinkles but I loved them, partly because I’d helped to put them there – especially the furrows in her brow.

I prefer natural beauty – amazing eyes and a great smile do it for me.

Maybe if society appreciated older women more, Ma would have been more confident with her looks.

My mother was a beautiful woman, she just couldn’t see it.

Lets take a look at these crows feet, just look
Sitting on the prettiest eyes
Sixty 25th of Decembers
Fifty-nine 4th of July’s
You can’t have too many good times, children
You can’t have too many lines
Take a good look at these crows feet
Sitting on the prettiest eyes

~ Prettiest Eyes – The Beautiful South

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Rediscovering the Magic

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Childhood is a magical time. It’s magical because children are looking at the world with fresh eyes – everything is new and exciting.

Imaginary friends, climbing trees, making daisy chains, running, shouting, skipping, dancing, making mud pies, building sandcastles, giggling at anything and everything and not caring what you look like…life at it’s most carefree.

So, when does the magic stop?

The magic took a direct hit the day I saw my dad putting the presents around the Christmas tree.

The “There is no Santa coz my dad says so” had been doing the rounds at school and that night my fears were confirmed.

I’d slipped downstairs to get a drink of water and through the glass pane in the door – I saw the truth.

There was no Santa.

The whiskey and mince pie were gone but the carrot was there – allbeit half of it missing.

I looked at that carrot the next day with the heavy heart of a child who wished she could turn back time.

It’s a sad moment in a child’s life but just as gutting for parents because it marks the end of that magical part of childhood.

That and the “Santa’s watching you, so behave!” bribe no longer works.

Life was still semi-magical on account of me not having any worries except trying to keep my mother sweet in order to safeguard my pocket money, but the sparkle had gone.

I’d already boarded the puberty express, not that I understood why I was such a cow.

I morphed into the bitch from the bowels of hell. I HATED THE WORLD!!

And everybody in it except for Duran Duran.

Worry, bills, debt, illness, grief, loss, depression, sadness, bullying – all destroy the magic.

I’m almost 44 now and recently I’ve come to look at the world with tired eyes.

Pain, suffering, fighting, hate, killing, stealing, abuse, lies – a daily bombardment of misery – especially if you read the Daily Mail.

You can’t hide from it.

If you manage to avoid it in the media- you hear it in the cafe, “Did you hear that terrible story on the news?”

Terrible things were happening in the world when I was a child but my parents did their job well – warning me of the dangers in life but protecting me from the horrors.

Another reason why childhood is a magical time is that children instinctively live in the present and I believe that living in the now is where us old gits will rediscover the magic. Finding the magical in the mundane doesn’t mean taking leave of your senses, it’s the opposite – it’s making the most of them.

We’re not talking Peter Pan here…

Peter Pan only exists in books, movies – and in the form of Cliff Richard. It’s not about reclaiming your childhood – you can never get that time back.

It’s about living in the moment.

So often we walk around but miss things because we’re too busy thinking of the clothes that need ironing or the guttering that needs repairing.

Boring stuff.

Necessary but boring.

Meanwhile, we’re missing the rainbows.

Living in the moment means keeping distractions to a minimum.

At some point in every day..

Close the laptop.

Turn the PC off.

Switch the mobile to silent.

Use every one of your senses.

Tell yourself that, no matter what you are doing, you will think only about what you are doing.

If you are watching your children play –  watch them playing.

If you are reading a book – lose yourself in the story.

If you are playing some music – put the headphones on and listen to the music without distraction.

Enjoy the food you are eating. Make it a pleasurable experience as opposed to throwing it down your neck before Corrie starts.

Choose foods which tantalise the senses and uplift you – for me, it’s the smell of Earl Grey tea and freshly baked bread.

I’ve lost my way recently. I’ve allowed the difficult situations in my life total head space. I have been the perfect example of living anywhere BUT the moment. I’ve been feeling so shit, it’s almost as if the Dementors have paid me a visit – draining me of every happy thought.

However, while I can’t control the situations, I can control how I deal with them – and when.

I took advantage of little man being home yesterday (due to the strikes) to practice what I’m preaching.

These were my magic moments.

  • Having a snuggly lie in.
  • Enjoying a milkshake and a cake in the cafe.
  • Listening to birdsong and counting how many we could hear.
  • Sitting in the garden under a sun-shade – eating ice lollies.
  • Doing sums on his black board. (I hate sums but he lights up and that’s the magic)
  • Walking the dog with little man swinging his pink Bratz handbag.
  • Hearing a sleepy voice say, “I love you, my lovely mumma.” and feeling my heart fill with love.

The magic that I’m talking about is the feeling that you get with magical moments that you make or those that are unexplained.

The universe is amazing and some of my most magical moments have been out of this world – literally.

When you open your mind – you open up the possibilities.

Do you believe in magic?

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. ~ Roald Dahl

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