Whinesday #1 – Hugs

Join me as we cast our minds back to the early 90s when I was just a mere baby with out of proportion eyes and no hair.

My parents like to tell an endearing story about how they would lovingly swaddle me in blankets only to have me rip my way out of them, shrieking. Or the time that the doctor tried to hold me when I was a few hours old and I screamed so loudly that he said “Hmm. Prickly by name, prickly by nature”.

Oh how we laughed.

I think everyone thought (or hoped) that this was an endearing quirk that I would one day grow out of. But no, at 25 I am still living up to my namesake and I still fight daily with the urge to tell people to get the fuck out of my personal space. 

I thought the British were meant to be stoic and non-demonstrative. So why is it that within seconds of meeting any new person, they’re reaching towards me for a kiss or a handshake or – the horror – a hug. 

tumblr_n81uhdvuy41qft49to1_400

I am not a horrible, people-hating monster – I just want you to stop touching me. Not everything needs to be celebrated with an over the top display of affection. What happened to a nice handshake? Or a wave?

And it’s not just that I don’t like people hugging me. I am also absolutely terrible at hugging other people. I dread when other people tell me bad news because social etiquette dictates that I should hug them and then we get stuck in a situation like this:

giphy-6
Actually me

And guess what? Dogs hate hugs too. Every time you hug your dog, you’re making it sad. Next time you feel like giving someone a hug, think of the puppies and how sad they are in your horrid, sweaty embrace.

459472-dogs-very-cute-dog
Your hugs make me cry

 

Resolving to do stuff in 2017

It’s that time of year again! It’s the time where everyone convinces themselves that when the clock strikes 12, they can become a less shitty version of themselves. And as I’m a sucker for new starts (and also becoming a less shitty person), here are my resolutions for 2017:

FIND A NEW JOB

giphy

The contract for my current job runs out at the end of May so I need to get my shit together and start hunting for another job. This process would be a LOT easier if I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I had high hopes that when I turned 25 everything would suddenly click into place and I would discover my ambition in my life. Alas no, my dream job still involves not really doing anything except being flown to exotic locations, lying down a lot and drinking beer. Is anyone hiring…?

TRAVEL MORE

11392782_10153367165888564_3257536805018040128_n

Yes, yes. I know this is on everyone and their mother’s resolution list but I really feel like I can make this happen this year (unless I am unemployed after May). We are travelling to Venice in March and we’re in the midst of planning a holiday in June and a short break in September. And technically I travel to work every day and therefore I will have nailed this resolution by the 3rd January.

TAKE A PHOTO EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR A YEAR

giphy-3

This is something that I’ve always tried to do but I always forget until the 10th January and then I figure that I might as well not do it. This year I am determined to do it – mostly because I got a fancy new camera for my birthday and I want to get my money’s worth. I don’t know how interesting a photo of day of my life will be; I anticipate that there will be a lot of photos of me reclining in various positions at either work or home spooning my laptop.

GIVE FEWER FUCKS

lcmongaf_diagrams_flowchart

My sister gave me a copy of The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k for Christmas as well as a stern instruction to “read this and learn how to calm the fuck down”. Which is a shame because I’d thought that I’d nailed the whole calm, cool and collected on the outside thing while actually being a writhing mass of panic and anxiety on the inside. It appears that my internalised stress is beginning to spill out into my day-to-day life. I asked my friend the other day whether she thought I was a relaxed person and she laughed so hard that she got the hiccups.

So clearly I need to do something for my high stress levels, if only for the sake of my blood pressure. I’m quite enjoying reading The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k; it’s my kind of self-help book because it’s very sweary and straight to the point. So hopefully 2016 will be the year that I give less fucks… or I will at least try to give less fucks; it’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime.

PASS MY DRIVING TEST

giphy-4

Because if I put it off any longer, I will never take it.

The year we got a cat for Christmas

My sister and I used to be very cunning children and we would make it our goal each year to figure out what our parents had bought us for Christmas. The moment they left the house we’d be scrambling upstairs and rooting through cupboards and drawers trying to find presents or receipts.

My parents cottoned onto this very quickly and they resorted to hiding all the presents in the loft – a place where we wouldn’t venture because my dad warned us that there were “HUGE CHILD-EATING SPIDERS” lurking up there. But sometimes they’d slip up and forget to put the presents in the loft and instead they’d leave them carelessly strewn around their bedroom for anyone to find. And it was during one of these times, as I was rummaging headfirst through the cupboard with my sister holding my legs, that I stumbled across an unusual object: a tin of cat food.

Now we don’t own a cat; we’ve never owned a cat despite years of constant pleading. My dad is very allergic to them (along with all other fluffy, adorable creatures) and we’d given up on the idea of ever owning our own cat years ago. But then why did they have a tin of cat food? What did it mean?

Well we came to the only conclusion that we could: Our parents had finally, finally caved after years of begging and bought us our very own cat. There was a moment of silence and then we lost our shit.

giphy

We frantically hunted through the rest of the bedroom and managed to find another tin of cat food AND a cat toy and that sealed it, we were definitely getting a cat for Christmas.

The days passed e n d l e s s l y. December always feels like it lasts a lifetime when you’re a kid but this year it went even slower because we were finally getting the present that we’d always dreamed about.

By the time Christmas Eve arrived we were bouncing off the walls with excitement and anticipation. By this point we’d already named him, decided who would clean out the litter tray and planned out his entire life from kittenhood to death including who would have him when we moved out.

Christmas day finally dawned and my parents were horrified when we came crashing into their room at 4am already fully dressed and ripping open our stocking fillers in a flurry of wrapping paper and sellotape.

It was the same downstairs; we were like miniature Christmas tornadoes thundering through the living room. There was wrapping paper flying through the air as we unwrapped three presents at a time trying to figure out which gift held the new family cat. Toys were thrown aside unopened as we continued our frantic search and my parents could only watch in bemusement as my sister and I got more and more frenzied as the number of presents dwindled without finding the cat.

Five presents… two presents… finally the last one… it was a book.

We stared at each other in exhaustion as my mum tiptoed around us picking wrapping paper out of our hair and pulling a newly boxed Barbie out of the Christmas tree where it been flung by one of us during the festive carnage.

We finally turned to stare at our parents in wordless confusion as they looked back at us and then at each other and then they finally uttered the words we’d been waiting to hear: “Well we do have one final present for you. It’s a joint present”.

Our faces lit up and gripping each other’s hands, we were led into the dining room with our eyes shut so we wouldn’t spoil the surprise. Our parents instructed us to be very, very quiet because “we don’t want you to frighten him”. You could smell the anticipation in the air as we sat there vibrating with excitement as images of our new kitten danced through ours heads.

We heard shuffling, a muffled giggle and then finally, finally: “Okay, you can open your eyes”.

c0bd1525-3e71-4a9f-9240-03c12d911580
Bastards.

The Christmas Referendum

screenshot-45

First of all, obviously beef. Pork has been ruined for me ever since my uncle decided that pork was the ultimate festive meat and in a desperate bid to stop talking to us uttered the immortal words “I’m putting the pork in now”. I like to ignore the existence of turkey because turkeys themselves absolutely horrify me with their beady little eyes and flamboyant plumage. And while I do love a bit of roast chicken, it’s more of a hungover Sunday lunch food rather than a lovely Christmassy main dish. Also beef will go nicely with all the prosecco that I plan on drinking.

Last year we attempted a game of Cards Against Humanity and then gave up and watched Dougal and the Blue Cat. And then Matt arrived and managed to ham-fistedly explode one of his presents (baking sprinkles) which led to me capping off my Christmas day by hoovering his crotch in front of my parents:

dsc_1167

I am being hassled and grumbled at because I haven’t produced a Christmas list yet. It’s been a bit of a struggle this year – partly because my internal monologue just consists of panicked screaming at the moment and partly because I have become a stingy penny-pincher.

It’s an unusual position to be in because I have never been a penny-pincher. I have always been a dramatic and reckless money spender – particularly when I’m drunk; my drunk self once ordered £20 worth of cake to be delivered to my university.

But the year that it took me to claw my way back out of my overdraft after university has instilled a feeling of terror every time I spend more than £5. Whenever I start thinking about potential gift choices my brain just goes “NOPE. NO. NOOOO”. I’ve managed to Pavlov’s dog my brain so well that when I went to buy something the other day, I actually started sweating a bit.

It’s also a lot harder to think of gift ideas when you’re older because you start to want things that are either abstract concepts or just impossible. My ultimate Christmas wish would be for Prince to still be alive but that is tragically, heartbreakingly not going to happen. And if I had to write a Christmas list with things that I genuinely want it would probably look something like this:

2560x1440-white-solid-color-background

Which is obviously an entirely inappropriate list to give to my family because I don’t think my landlord would let me have a dog – even one that’s dressed as barbeque food.

I think socks are a pretty solid gift because everyone needs socks. I might even go a bit wild and ask for some new towels. Also I don’t think you can go wrong with a nice scented candle. Though last year I was inundated with them which is all well and good until you light them all, fall asleep and then wake up thinking your house is on fire.

I think I’ve reached the point in my life where I am far more excited about giving people presents rather than receiving them which is horrendously boring. I hope I don’t become one of those people who waxes lyrical about the spirit of Christmas and enjoying the festivities in a wholesome way. It’s complete bollocks anyway as everyone knows the best part of Christmas is getting day-drunk and eating so much food that you end up slumped on the sofa wearing a torn Christmas cracker hat and emitting groaning noises. fatherdrunksanta

 

Exit, pursued by a wheelie bin

I don’t like Autumn. It’s cold, it’s dark and it’s full of unpredictable, shit weather. All this bollocks about it being the season of snuggly jumpers and cups of hot tea is a load of SHIT. It’s freezing in the morning so you wrap yourself up in so many layers that you can’t move your arms and then by lunch time it’s practically tropical and you’re sweating your arse off.

The other day I was walking back to the office after my lunch break. It hadn’t been windy when I left work but 30 minutes later, it was practically a hurricane. I was innocently tottering down the hill when I heard a rumbling noise coming from behind me that was getting increasingly louder and louder. I looked back and saw to my horror that there was a wheelie bin thundering towards me and my first instinct – rather than just stepping out of the way – was to start sprinting away from it.

giphy

So there I was, a grown woman, legging it down a hill while being pursued by a bin on wheels and wondering why these things always seem to happen to me. Because they always do. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve a life in which getting taken out by a wheelie bin wouldn’t be the most ludicrous thing that’s happened to me.

Luckily the bin hit a pot hole in the pavement that sent it hurtling into the road where it came to a slow, juddering stop. I did consider leaving it lying there in the road in the hopes that a car would hit it and end its reign of terror once and for all. But then I felt the judgmental stares of the people walking by who seemed to think that the bin was somehow my responsibility. And someone – who was stood safely on the other side of the road! – actually had the nerve to say “Oh that really scared me!” as though they were the one who had just almost been flattened by a bin.

I did end up wheeling it back up the hill because I am a conscientious and kind person (and also because I don’t cope well with peer pressure). And it’s definitely not going to chase anyone else because I practically buried it in gravel. But it was a bit awkward when I had to explain to all my new work colleagues why I was late back from lunch… and then they spent the afternoon taunting me with wheelie shit puns about bins.

Flying ants are horrible and need to be stopped

I knew my run of unusual productivity would come to an end.

I’ve spent the day lounging around in bed watching Netflix and eating crisps and it was while I was sprawled out on top of my duvet that a thought occurred to me.

When is flying ant day?

Google didn’t give me a satisfactory answer so I decided to consult my friends.

 

It was a bit pointless to ask a Londoner, wasn’t it? I don’t think he’s ever even seen a sheep in real life.

I decided to ask my mother, the vast bastion of knowledge that she is:

“MUUUUUUUM! When’s flying ant day?”

“I don’t know but I don’t want a repeat of last year. We’re going to have to stay inside for the next two months and wait it out”

Understandable.

My mum has a huge fear of ants. We had a nest under our carpet one time and she refused to enter the living room for the next three months.

Unfortunately my mum appears to have transferred this phobia onto me and if I thought I was creeped out by normal crawling ants then that is nothing compared to the sheer terror it caused me when the fuckers started sprouting wings.

Picture the scene: It was a warm August evening and my mum had just returned from the shop with a bottle of gin: “I’m not pouring you one unless you come and sit in the garden with me!”

I don’t normally like venturing outside for extended periods of time because the wifi doesn’t reach that far but sod it, it’s a nice summery evening and I really wanted a gin and tonic.

Drinks in hand, we settled down at the table and it was all going swimmingly until this horrid beefy winged thing lands on my hand:

I did the mature thing and flailed around until it flew off. I was a bit creeped out at this point but again: sunshine, gin. I’m not going to let it bother me, I’m just gonna stay calm and enjoy this summer evening.

Until another one lands on my hand.

And then another one.

And then there are some on the table and OH GOD THERE IS A BIG BLACK CLOUD OF FLYING ANTS RISING FROM THE PATIO.

It was like a fucking Biblical plague. One moment there was calm and then the next there was a swarm of goddamn winged insects bearing down on us.

“SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!”

“ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH FUUUUUUUUUCK THE LITTLE ANTY BASTARDS ARE EVERYWHERE”

It was carnage.

Glasses of gin went crashing to the floor, chairs were knocked over, shoes were discarded as we both sprinted towards the house. I was windmilling my arms around my head and my mum was emitting a scream at a pitch I didn’t even think was humanly possible.

I had a sudden moment of clarity and shouted to my mum “THE RABBITS!!”

“LEAVE THEM. THERE’S NO TIME”

We finally made it into the safety of the house and slammed the door shut behind us. There was a moment of silence as we both gazed at each other horror-stricken.The garden was still swarming with ants and even the fact that there was now glass between us wasn’t as reassuring as we’d hoped.

My mum left the room and returned with two sizable glasses of gin. We sipped them quietly until my mum finally broke the silence.

“… I think that’s enough outdoors for today”

The Seven Stages of a Break Up

Maybe you saw it coming, maybe you didn’t. Either way it feels like the rug has been pulled out from under your feet.

How could this have happened?! You spoke yesterday and things were fine. He’d stopped texting you as much as he normally does and he’d stopped saying I love you first but those are fixable problems. He’s just tired… or maybe he’s stressed. Yes. This is definitely, definitely not happening right now.

Stage one: Denial

Nope, this is not happening. You refuse to believe this is happening and at this stage you are stuck so far into denial that you reach a kind of manic hysteria of willful ignorance. This is when your friends will be on hand to comfort you by telling you that he’s made a huge mistake/something must be going on with him/he won’t last a week without you.

They are lying.

You know it, they know it but at this point it is exactly what you need. You’re probably going to spend a lot of time alternating between staring at your phone and obsessively refreshing Facebook to see if he’s contacted you.

Guess what? He hasn’t.

Stage two: Devastation


 Look at you all snuggled up in your bed, waking up so peacefully thinking the world is so lovely an- BAM. It’s like someone has punched through your chest and ripped out your heart. Every time you wake up and remember that he’s gone, it is like being broken up with all over again. The misery is like a crushing wave of awfulness and there is nothing to do but let it crash over you. You didn’t even realise that anything could hurt, physically hurt like this and you are never, ever going to get over this. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to you.

You haven’t showered in days and you can’t do anything other than lie in bed weeping gently to yourself. At this point you’re probably so filthy that you are actually stuck to the bed but it doesn’t matter because you didn’t plan on leaving it anyway.

Stage three: Slightly more productive devastation (but not really)



You’ve managed to drag yourself into a slightly more upright position… kind of. You’re still prone to lying down a lot but you’ve changed up the location slightly, you’ve ventured out into the rest of your house (You’ve not managed to leave the house yet, that would be ridiculous). This is the time to be as dramatic as you want. When the sadness got too much I would just lie face down on the floor, it didn’t matter when or where. Mid conversation, during dinner, when people were visiting. I would just get up and lie on the floor. There’s no point fighting it. Just keep lying there and accept that this is your life now.

Stage four: Anger



You wake up one morning and it is like a cloud has been lifted. You’re not sad anymore, you’re not crying all the time or staring moodily into space while listening to every sad break up song ever recorded on repeat.

… unfortunately the cloud of depression has been replaced by something else: a red cloud of murderous rage.


That BASTARD. How DARE he break your heart. You hate everything about him -his stupid face, his stupid hair, his stupid existence. You hope he gets hit by a car. He is the worst thing that ever happened to you and you wish that you’d never met him.

No embarrassing moment from your relationship is safe at this point, guys. That “cute” pet name for your penis? That time you genuinely used the words “sensual back catalogue” without a hint of irony or embarrassment? Yep, all your mutual friends know about this now… as well as the rest of the world.

Stage five: The Rebound

Single Ladies is your life anthem right now and this break up is the best thing that has ever happened to you. You’ll earnestly tell everyone who will listen that you’re SO happy to be single and they’d probably believe you if you weren’t knocking back wine by the glassful and eyeing up everything with a penis within a five mile radius.

In between necking cheap shots and downing double G&Ts, you are giving “fuck me” eyes to everything with a pulse. People will tell you that the quickest way to get over someone is to get under somebody else and you are taking this as your life’s mission right now. Nobody is safe and you are a hormone driven, heartbroken woman on a quest to get with as many people as it takes to not feel sad anymore.

This stage is characterised by two day hangovers, regret and finding inventive ways to hide your disgusting hungover self from the mistakes you brought back to your flat last night.

Stage six: The relapse


Somewhere between the dirty bars, the unsatisfying hook ups and the perpetual hangover that a solid month of drinking will give you, you begin to feel nostalgic for how things used to be. Sure he was an arsehole but he was your arsehole. He might have forgotten your birthday but he did buy you flowers that one time…and he did bring you coffee when you were too lazy to make it yourself.

This is the part where you start slipping back into the dangerous territory of stage two but without any of the sympathy that you initially garnered because too much time has passed now. Have a bit of a cry, drink a bit more wine but do not under any circumstances contact your ex. I repeat: DO NOT CONTACT YOUR EX. It will end in disaster and embarrassment. Call a friend, watch terrible romcoms so you can cry about how terrible your love life is, write bad poetry about how you will never trust anyone again… whatever, just don’t contact your ex.

Stage seven: Acceptance


Eventually you begin to get bored of feeling sad and your constant mood swings are starting to give you whiplash.  You’ve had several drunken hook ups, consumed enough alcohol to sink a small ship and despite the painstaking effort you put into making your Spotify break up playlist, you barely even listen to it anymore. A few months ago you were talking through the break up with anyone who would listen – family, friends, that random guy at the bar – but now you are so over it that you can’t even be bothered to say his name anymore. It’s ancient history and you are ready to move onto bigger and better things.

Congratulations! You’ve made it through your break up and it feels brilliant. The world didn’t fall apart (even if sometimes it felt like it did) and most importantly you didn’t fall apart… or at least not enough that you couldn’t put yourself back together.

Remember: