So I want to tell you about the last two weeks of my life. They were fucked up. Proper fucked. Before anyone gets worried, everyone is healthy and well, we have a roof over our heads and food on the table and things have become slowly un-fucked (is that a word?), but they were grand and dramatic times. I felt all the emotions, ever. I probably drank double my quota of gin for the year. There was a point where I downed what was left in my glass and inhaled a whole lemon slice. I cried in the shower. I plugged in my earphones and sat in the dark listening to sad sad music. I cried some more. I sang along. Before any of you ask, I’m not a great singer as the dog pointed out to me after he started howling.
What music do I listen to? It depends on the level of shittiness that I feel. You know it’s bad when you’ve wheeled out Radiohead. This time, there was quite a lot of Coldplay. Us Against The World, Sparks, The Scientist, Green Eyes, Magic. Lovely stuff to get drunk and melancholic too and the good thing is that Chris Martin’s got a reasonable register which means when you sing along you don’t hurt yourself.
I also watched all my favourite Grey’s Anatomy episodes. Like when they killed off McSteamy and Lexie Grey within episodes of each other. What the actual fuck? They were meant to be together! You never even gave them a chance! Or that time when they killed off McDreamy, George, Percy, Henry… And I cry and shout at the television feeling all the feels, thinking, well, my life’s not bad, compared to this. Before realising it’s not actually real. And crying. Again.
But then I think everyone should have a good ugly cry now and again. The sort where your eyes bloat, snot foams out your nostrils and you hyper-emote on a whole different level. Cry away. Get that emotion out. Better out than in. You have my full permission. Because life isn’t always rosy. Money is hard to come by, people fight, kids give you a hard time, people leave, illness strikes, work gets stressful and horrible. I’ve cried about all these things. Real ugly crying. It’s not weakness, it’s a sign of emotional depth. It makes you human. Just always have good quality tissues to hand. Not the half-arsed Tesco Value ones I have which removed half the skin off my nose.
But here’s another thing I’ve learnt this week. Because I’ve been sad, conflicted, overwhelmed. I’ve felt like a lone pebble on a beach, sitting in the shallows waiting for the tide to wash over me, drown me. A little pebble looking up into the sky questioning everything, not able to see the horizon. It was a bit shit. Until, I worked something out. I’ll let you in on a secret here *whispers* you’re not the only pebble. Look around. There are lots of pebbles. Nice pebbles. They have wine in their fridges and can provide you with hugs and comedy FB stickers. This is my new favourite sticker. Check out that cat. I want to be that cat. I want a pint of gin with that cat.
And so this week has been all about the pebbles. I didn’t realise a lot of them were there but it turns out that all the days spent on school pick-ups and stood on frozen football fields, they are a chance to meet people. Nice, genuine people. And it’s a mixed bag that school gate, the ultimate social experiment. Let’s throw 30 random parents together and see if it sticks. Let’s do coffee and playdates and drinking and see what we have in common. And sometimes these initial friendships don’t work out. There are the silences and the awkwardness and the promises of meet ups that never really materialise. You’ll feel foolish for putting a lot into these friendships but not really getting anything out of them. You’ll cringe at how different you are to people. But I promise you, there’ll be at least one or two to hold onto. People who get you. Who prop you up and give you biscuits meant for their kids (yeah, sorry about that…). They tell you important truths, they hug, they text, they smile. One had me over and fed me Cava. She was awesome, she listened. Another exhibited her concern through the threat of physical violence. I’ve decided I like her and will keep her. The biggest surprise was the one I didn’t even know was a friend. He was wise, he was honest, he saved me from a continued spiral out of control. I owe him wine. But then the pebbles come in many guises. They reach out via the interweb too. They buy you Maltesers. Sometimes you're related to them. Or they live on your street. I'm going to quit calling you pebbles now. You're all diamonds.
And a word out to the old-school rocks. The ones I haven’t seen in donkeys but have picked up the phone; we’ve psychoanalysed, we’ve laid the situation out on the table and dissected that shit. They know you inside out and back again and have told you four simple words. It will be OK. They’ve been telling you this for years. And it will be. Because I was merrily skipping along, all was right with the world and then boom. Flat on my face. And it happens to us all once in a while. Sometimes a mere trip and you laugh it off and pretend you never lost your balance, sometimes the fall feels like a little part of you has broken. Just try and get back up. That’s all you can do.
I’m sorry. So this is the second post in a row where I’ve rattled on in analogies and clichés. Next week is half term and I’ll talk about how I have nothing planned and the kids have spent the week eating Frazzles and binge watching Netflix (speaking of which, where the fuck did Frozen go?). Don’t worry about me. I’m fine. I'm surrounded by diamonds. I also have gin. And gin is good, it’s fucking great. I’m on my way to drink some now, laugh at that cat sticker again and dance to Stevie Wonder. If you imagined my drunk singing was bad, you should see my drunk dancing…