Identities

me
Me 1.0

I tried to be a girl once.

A few years ago, when I still lived in Leicester and I was still trying to be normal whatever I thought that was at the time. Whatever that is now. It’s hard to know for sure. Anyway, I was trying to be a girl, be normal, like other girls. Learnt how to apply make-up, considered wearing skirts and shoes.

Realised all that shit looked great on other girls but not me. I was that girl. I wear eye make-up but that’s my limit. I wear shoes for work but only because I have to and they do not have heels. I don’t have the balance for heels. I don’t always have the balance for walking.

That was a long time ago. I was a different person back then.

I’ve been a few different people – I’ve had so much trouble trying to figure out who I am. I know everyone does, especially when they’re younger – hell that’s what being a teenager is all about. Most people figure it out before they turn thirty though. And I always felt it so deeply, as if not just my identity was in question but my soul too.

I remember my mum saying to me once that I seemed like my old self again and I had to wonder at how long back she was thinking cause I can never remember being this person, this version of me. I’ve been a few different versions of myself, this current incarnation is just the final settled version I think. It’s hard to say for sure. I’m certainly the happiest and feel the most stable as this person – as version Bread (my current nickname) than I ever did as whoever I was in the past. Being unsure of your identity, this unstable sense of self, is actually part of the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder

“you have an unstable sense of identity, such as thinking differently about yourself depending on who you are with”

Possibly the closet version to who I am now.
Possibly the closet version to who I am now.

I certainly feel more stable now, most of the time. At least when it comes to who I am but again, sometimes, I still need someone to help me with that. To help me see straight. My wife however is someone I can trust to do that.

I carry the rest of those versions of myself around with me from place to place – tucked away in the back in my head. Not by choice, they stay with me, picking at me from time to time because I never can forget about the people I have been. I try. I never forget about anything that can cause me some sort of embarrassment or anxiety. Or both. Usually both.

I think this is who I am going to be. I mean people are always changing, maturing and learning new skills, but I that fundamental change in myself – I don’t think that’s going to happen again. I’m just me, just a weirdo in jeans and a t-shirt who can admit she’s a weirdo in jeans and a t-shirt.

New Hamsters

New Dwarf hamsters – called Hank and Cameron – continuing our tradition of naming dwarf hamsters after Stargate characters. They’re very fat. It’s awesome.

2015-01-20 21.19.34
Hank

 

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Cameron

 

2015-01-20 21.19.53
On the loose

 

Things I Don’t Talk About

The last post I wrote was pretty hard to write, which considering I have a whole category for mental health problems, talk about my family and my self harm and pretty much anything and everything I think about – not counting the poetry I write – is probably pretty surprising to you. To me not so much, but then, I’m me – I know me – I know what I’m thinking obviously.

Well, I usually know what I’m thinking though not always why.

Anyway, there are a couple of things I don’t talk about. One is sex, two is my relationship with my wife (which also includes any and all current sex). The reason I don’t talk about sex is not because I’m a prude but it’s just never been something I’ve spoken about. I think because my sex life can be categorised in three stages sex with the ex – single and getting none – sex with the wife. So, I don’t really want to talk about my ex, so that sort of includes the sex – which was fine but comes with all those complicated feelings that I still feel like I’m working through. Being single doesn’t really involve having any sex – so hard to talk about what you’re not having. And sex with the wife is private, and brings us on to point two: My relationship with my wife.

My relationship with my wife is the one thing in my world that is private, my own, our own. Which includes the sex. Plus I doubt my wife would want me to talk about our relationship. Talking our wanting a baby, trying to get a baby, the top layer of everything is fine I guess, the rest isn’t fine with me anyway. It’s too much, too intimate, too important – not that everything else isn’t important or any less important (like my health, or my words, or my childhood) but Kate Ellen is the most important person in my life, in my world and that isn’t something I even want to share. Beyond that I can’t really explain it. Not in a way that doesn’t make me sound a bit psycho or dependent or like a toddler. It’s all mine, it’s not yours.

I know, I know.

I’m not even sure why I’m basically writing about what I won’t write about.

When I first thought about this post, maybe a year ago even, it seemed like a simple enough thing. And when I thought about it again last week it seemed clearer but now it’s just a mish-mash of thoughts that I can’t quite straighten out.

Oh well, such is the state of many of these blog posts.

2015: The Year Of The Baby (At Least That’s The Plan)

It’s three am, I can’t sleep. Partly because of a touch of insomnia borne out of a messed up sleeping pattern from being ill and partly because I am still ill. My throat is killing – still – when I swallow, when I yawn, when I cough. I can’t tell if it hurts less when I clutch my jaw and throat or it I’m just braced for it better. Either way, it’s definitely worse when I’m lying down, and I swear I swallow and yawn more just lying there not sleeping, thinking about how much it hurts when I next swallow. Or yawn. Or cough. It’s the worst I’ve been for a long while.

So it seems like the right time to try and gather some thoughts together about the coming year, because as much as I do not like that whole look back/look forward part of the New Year (or any part of the new year) I do have plans for 2015, plans that have been in the works for a little while now, plans my wife (who is currently sleeping) and I have been talking about for a while now and talk about every night before we go to sleep (or in this case, before she goes to sleep and I lie there for two hours, read fanfic, listen to my ipod for a bit before ultimately giving up and getting up).

Big plans. Big scary plans.

I will have a clean baby like this please.
I will have a clean baby like this please.
We want to have a baby this year.

Now this comes with a set of problems, some normal, some unique to being gay and some just odd cause, well we’re odd and we have four cats, four chickens and two live hamsters (plus a dead one in the freezer I keep forgetting to give my mother for burial).

The most obvious one is the fact that I am definitely not a bloke. I have bigger balls than some blokes, but they are metaphorical and metaphorical sperm just doesn’t cut it.

Trust me.

So we have to outsource our genetics (or sauce as my GP called it), which isn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be after some thorough research but is something that bugs me terribly and am working through my issues. It bugs me that I can’t give my wife a baby just like that, that my part in this is actually procurement of genetics rather than creation and sharing of them. Not that my genetics are particularly great or anything (read a bit of the family tag and you’ll see why) but it’s the effort that now has to go into getting her pregnant (my wife will be having the baby) where as most straight people can just have them by accident, without even thinking about, without even wanting to first.

So that sucks, but as time passes and we come closer and closer to finding a donor and the reality of it all seems clearer I do feel better about it. Either way, I want children, her children, children with her regardless and I will do whatever I can get them (bar kidnapping obviously).

The other problems, are money – we’re both working part time now so we have less money coming in and while I’ve actively started looking for a full time job (I like my job but I won’t get more hours there) we worry about bringing a baby up in a household like that. I think it bothers my wife more than it bothers me. I grew up skint, I’ve never really had money, my mum managed it and my sister manages it and we will manage it but my wife is middle class. Her mother’s an accountant, a good accountant with a good income and her father teaches. Her house where she grew up is ten times bigger than our little bungalow, it’s only since being here, I think, that she’s really felt, well, poor. And we’re not poor per se, just skint.

Scraping by.

Is that fair? To bring a kid into that? Knowing we’re actively trying for a child and not accidentally getting pregnant. Maybe not, but if we waited until we were rich or even well off, we’d be waiting for ever (I do not see big money in our future). It’s a choice we have to make, and we deserve family as much as anyone else.

There is also the problem of parents. Mine and hers. Parents who we both love dearly, but parents who are completely insane. On varying levels. My mother told us not to rely on her when we told her we were going to try for a kid – that’s literally all she said – something I think comes from the fact that the last two times we’ve had a ‘we need to go to Accident and Emergency’ emergency we’ve called her. I tend not to rely on her because she is notoriously unreliable. She’s terrible. I wondered where I got my ability to be brilliantly late until recently when I realised it’s probably genetic. She’s worse. If she shows up at all. Assuming she hasn’t already cancelled. She also has a number of complicated illnesses that you can’t make up. Like a virus in her spinal cord and Reynards which turns her hands and feet blue but a complete indifference to it all. My dad is pretty ill, he has Parkinsons, a slow degenerative disease that is going to kill him, sooner rather than later. He’s only 58. He also has epilepsy and drinks. And lives 147 miles away. He’s a sweetheart, deep down, when it comes to kids, he loves my niece and nephew to death, but it’s a minefield.

My in-laws are 3000 miles away, across a sea and yet caused us the most amount of grief and amusement (there’s probably a great German word that combines those two feelings). As well as my wife’s grandparents, they’ve all chipped in opinions on everything from who the donor should be (and, what he shouldn’t be) and when exactly my wife can give birth (after tax season, before the school year starts). This was something that was discussed on Christmas Day, over Skype, during their Christmas Breakfast, while I was taking a nap (I was ill then – that’s how long it’s been) and my wife was making gingerbread chickens (and biscuits).

To top it off, obviously my wife is American and here on a spousal visa that needs renewing this year so god knows how that changes if we have a kid (the news has not been good) and I worry all the time about losing her to immigration and the idea of losing my wife and my child just breaks my heart without it even needing to happen and I don’t even have that child yet.

This one's probably taken right?
This one’s probably taken right?
It’s a myriad of problems, but I’m pretty sure having a baby is going to be like that but at the end you have a baby right? Which is a good thing, assuming it’s you know, it doesn’t end up being a little jerk or thinking it’s a cat cause it lives with so many of them (or a chicken).

I want a baby, I must do, cause I wrote a thousand words at three am (now four am) about all the problems we face and tomorrow we’ll still talk about it when we go to bed.

Anyway, as stated it’s not four am, my throat is no better – the usual hot chocolate has not helped and I think I’ll have a cup of tea and play Roller Coaster Tycoon (it won’t help me sleep but at least I won’t be lying in bed swallowing my own saliva painfully).

Night all.

N.B This post was harder to write than it would seem because I’m not one for talking about my relationship with my wife and the intricacies and intimacies of it. And this feels intimate, important. Expect a future post on that thought in the future when it’s not the five am. Or at least this current five am.

‎Insecure Writers Support Group

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2I never know what I’m doing with this blog, writing in it certainly, this is obvious. But is it a platform or a voice. Both. Who am I? A blogger who writes poetry or a poet with a log. Both. Neither?

Neither seems more likely some days when I’m not writing poetry or blog posts and I’m just squirrelling away my thoughts in my mind, keeping it all to myself until I can’t keep it in any more. I do think that some days. Eventually I will explode and a millions words will come spilling out. When I die I will degrade and decompose into letters instead of cells.

There is so much life to live that I don’t always have the words for it. At which point do I stop pretending I am anything more than just a hack with a pen and blog and start living the normal life of a some average sale assistant and regular weirdo.

I’m not really special or talented.

I’ve never really thought I was though. I just liked to think that maybe I was something else.

I’ve always thought maybe I was someone else.

Doctors tell me it’s part of the Borderline Personality Disorder. I just call it hope.

This started out about writing about writing as it always does, but the two are woven so tightly, me and my words, I could never really tell the two apart. Even when I haven’t written in ages.

I continue on though, always will despite how it sounds.

What Have You Done Today To Make You Feel Proud : A Miranda Rant

Image from BBC
Image from BBC

What I have watched this week that disappointed me enough to rant about is Miranda.

Miranda, Miranda, Miranda…she finished her show with these last couple of episodes to tie everything up because season three ended on a cliffhanger and she didn’t want to do it any more. Which was nice of her, because she didn’t have to do that if she didn’t want to, though I don’t know what her contract was like with the BBC.

The thing is, I wish she hadn’t bothered.

I knew it wasn’t going to make me happy, as soon as Gary asked Miranda to marry him – in response to Mike proposing – and despite years of Paolos on tv showing me that the new guy never gets the girl for a brief moment I really did think that he would, that he and Miranda would be happy together and that Gary could go whistle for all Miranda cared. But no, television is depressingly predictable (there’s a reason I write fanfiction) and Mike is the Paolo and she ends up with Gary. And if that’s a spoiler then I don’t know what tv show you’ve been watching. (And if you don’t know what a Paolo is read this.)

The thing is, that’s not even the worst problem. A little disappointing yes, because it’s obvious and boring and they actually made Mike to be a really nice guy who actually loved Miranda and wanted to marry her out of his own volition (not as a reaction to another guy asking) and Gary comes across as desperate and, well, he was undeserving about two seasons before this.

No, the worst thing is those last two episodes where we get this hackneyed break-up and then an entire episode about how Miranda doesn’t need Gary – a man who couldn’t even tell her he loves her without breaking up with her instead by the way – doesn’t even need a man to do all the things she wants in on her bucket list and in her life.

Then she changes her mind and marries him anyway (in a ceremony that is in no way legal and if you’ve ever gotten married you’ll know the hoops you have to jump through to get married but I digress).

She learnt nothing and we gain nothing. As women or a species. Don’t worry girls, you don’t need your Gary to enjoy life, you don’t need a Gary at all.

Except you do, and you will.

Bullshit.

Now two points I’d like to make – One – just cause I’m married doesn’t mean I’m a hypocrite. At the point in my life which I had met my wife I was settling into a long life of being single (having been single for a few years already) and was prepared to be single for the rest of forever, it was working quite well to be honest. So was my wife in fact. Then we met and everything changed. It happens.

Two – My friend pointed out that the message she took away from the episodes was that you can free yourself from the influence of family. And yes, that was shoe-horned in there like a size ten foot into a size five shoe but Miranda ends up doing exactly what her mum wants her to do anyway (get married) and the odd little scenes of Tilly struggling with her family over her wedding do not an episode about family make.

It’s very frustrating and I think the entire thing was written in the rush it seems to come out in and written by Miranda Hart herself. Every time, it’s the women who let women down the most. If it was a bloke I would have a moan, on facebook like I did, and then leave it and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. And by conversation I mean these 700 odd words of a rant while listening to angry music.

You don’t need men. You don’t women. You need yourself. You don’t need anyone else to cement yourself and the way you live your life. It’s nice certainly, it’s why we have friends and family, why we as a species form communities over and over. But as RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love anybody else.”

Don’t bother with Miranda if you haven’t already seen it. Watch Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot. That’s damn adorable.

It’s A Dark Day Cause It’s January. It’s Always Dark.

Reb and Seymour
Reb and Seymour

What does 2015 bring? Well, at the moment a serious sore throat and laryngitis. What did 2014 give me? I have no idea. I have an awful memory. I got a job. First job in years. We got new cats, Reb Brown and Seymour. Our house-mate Jen moved out and got engaged. My neices from America came to stay. My wife started a new job in a nursery. We have chickens. Hamsters came and went. Things happened. Life continued on as it does. I don’t understand this desire to look back, to look back, look forward, start over.

Why start over? If you weren’t willing to make the effort to live your life six months ago why do you think you’re going to be able to do so during January when it’s cold and dark and wet. You’re down on your vitamin D, down on your serotonin, and wrapped up like a sausage roll trying to remember the last time you saw the sun and, and lose weight/quit smoking/give up whatever.

You should’ve tried that six months ago in July, when it was sunny and you were happier and weren’t carrying around an extra five pounds of winter fat underneath the five pounds of winter clothing you’re wearing. Trust me. Start in spring. Spring is about new beginnings. January is about trying not to kill yourself as the depression finally hits it’s peak and you realise you enjoyed Christmas while sacrificing the ability to pay your bills and people don’t care any more. They only cared for that damn day we pretend Jesus was born on when we know he was born in the summer. You know, summer? Do you remember it?

Me neither.

My plan every new years eve is to stay sober, stay okay. I guess I struggle with winter more than I realise. Christmas is okay, it’s fine. I prefer thanksgiving I guess. I get cake and presents and I appreciate everything my wife does and everything we do together but I still feel like something is missing.

New Years is worse though. I’ve had serious problems with New Years since I was a kid but I couldn’t tell you exactly when it started. Or why it started. There is something dark about it that I can never fully explain to anyone. Something happened one year. Something bad that set it all off but I don’t know what it was or when it happened.

I don’t care to find out.

The Amazing Balls Of Justice
The Amazing Balls Of Justice – recipe available on request.

I don’t think about it much any more, the worst of it. I don’t drink it away or overdose or cut it away. This year I worked until five and came home to my wife, my niece and my nephew who had spent the afternoon baking and had made biscuits and ‘Amazing Balls Of Justice‘ which were little cakes that were supposed to be doughnuts but the oil was too hot and it was a little too dangerous. I missed this, probably for the best.

This year there are plans, some big, some small. Like I need to get my eyes tested. Not something I’ve been waiting for the new year to do, I’ve just not had time. Few other appointments I’ve not had time to do cause I’ve been working. Some other things there are to talk about. I’ve had this post in my head about recycling bopping about for a few weeks now.

Anyway, that’s my dark little ramble, the usual way to continue with my life. However, of all the year reviews/looking forward to 2015 things out there, there is only one bloke who can really match the way I feel about it all: Charlie Brooker.

Reasons to be fearful 14. Epic.

Nostalgia

1984 Miners Strike Rally - Hmmmm Nostalgic...
1984 Miners Strike Rally – Hmmmm Nostalgic…

I’m not really into nostalgia. It’s not for me, that looking into the past and seeing it through rosy glasses and thinking it was better back then. Trust me, it wasn’t better. It was worse. The past was shit. The future may or may not be, but at least that’s on me. The past, that faraway past when I was a kid, the eighties and nineties, was something that was done to me, something I felt, I did not have control of. Actually, I’m not sure I had much control in my twenties either, but for different reasons. Childhood was something that was given to me, something I had to experience in whatever form it took at the time.

Now I’m an adult with fewer issues and better mental health and life is mine to experience as I want to.

Well, that’s the ideal isn’t it, and it’s getting there, to that point where I am in charge of the things that happen in my life. Good and bad.

The only thing worse than this film was the actual disaster itself.
The only thing worse than this film was the actual disaster itself.

So nostalgia is just something that reminds me of all that crap I’ve been through, picking and choosing the little bits of those decades I enjoyed (mostly television and music) suits me fine.

What I do like about nostalgia is that it gives me the opportunity to share bits of my childhood and what it was like growing up in Britain with my wife who is from the States. We’re of the same generation but our experiences are very different for many reasons, especially geography, and of course a lot of the popular culture. I mean, there is an overlap, but there’s also a hell of a lot that we grew up that never made it across the Atlantic.

I was reminded of this gem today: A Milky Way advert from 1989 (I was seven). It popped into that brain during the final of The Apprentice, those first lines and – something I love about the internet – of course I could find it online and share it with her. I really like sharing the funny and oddities from growing up with her, we spend a lot of time talking about the good and bad stuff from our childhood, our pasts. We’ve both shared tv shows from when we kids. We’ve found episodes of all sorts of kids shows online.

It is a tragedy that this never made it across the pond.
It is a tragedy that this never made it across the pond.

I think it helps her understand some of the stuff that comes out of my head to see how I grew up. That and meeting my family (she still married me). Eventually I will take her to Coventry, where I lived until I was ten and the comprehension will be complete.

It does make a little nostalgia acceptable now and then, to have a reason behind other than randomly sharing those annoying facebook posts that proclaim life was better when we were kids. And how when we were kids we played out until dark and ate stuff off the floor. That’s not better. That’s just different. When our parents were kids, they only ate stuff off floors and didn’t play at all and, according to my mum walked fifteen miles to school everyday. Which is surprising considering how little my mother actually went to school and how little it snows during the school year. I never ate stuff off the floor, cause my dad took Epilim and other medications that looked like smarties and had it drummed into me not to OR I COULD DIE (emphasis his). Also, I didn’t play out until it was dark. Cause my mum didn’t let me. And then I lived in the middle of bloomin’ no where. Also I had a snes.

Sorry, off point a little.

I don’t have those rose-tint glass for the eighties (seriously Thatcher stole my milk and screwed over my family) or the nineties (it sucked, really, I was miserable). I do enjoy sharing the little bits though with my wife, knowing she can enjoy them without any of the baggage that may come along with my own memories of them.

Finally, here is that advert for Milky Way that makes me smile because it made my wife smile.

Bookworm

bookworkThe bookshop in my town in for sale.

It’s been there for twenty years, since I was a kid, and I’ve bought and sold so many books there over the years. When I had no money for new books, I would sell them back some of my old books and use the money there and then usually. Back then I read book after book after book, without pause. I loved that bookshop.

When I was a teenager I wanted a bookshop of my own.

I actually made out floor plans of where I would live and how where everything would go in the shop and in the flat I would live in above it. I would paint the building purple. I’ve always loved purple.

So I kinda want to buy the bookshop.

It’s a pipe-dream.

For a few reasons. I don’t have the money for starters and I doubt I could get a loan. I would need money for the lease and for a few other things and I’m struggling to pay the bills here. I work twenty hours a week, and I actually really struggle with that some weeks. The full day I do on Wednesdays is a killer sometimes, I was ill today (sore throat and cold) and it was a nightmare. By three in the afternoon I was pretty much working on sugar and tea. I could go to bed now and it’s not even ten pm. I could’ve gone to bed when I got home for work and it’s been so long since I’ve needed an afternoon nap.

If I ran a shop, I would have to be there everyday. I would need to be. All day. Working. Trying to keep a shop above the water in a tough economy in a town that’s actually been quieter than normal this winter (it’s a tourist town, but this is even quieter than usual). It’s a risk. My job is relatively solid even if the hours aren’t enough.

I don’t know much about running a business. I’ve worked in retail, done some financials for shops, but I don’t know nearly enough to run a shop.

Part of me thinks I could do it. Part of me wants to so badly I actually made an appointment to see it tomorrow and asked to see the books for the last year or so.

I would hate to see it close, would hate to see this opportunity pass me by but goddam I will have to. Pipe dreams and all. I feel like I’m just torturing myself a little, because the depression isn’t enough on itself that I need add to it.

I will probably cancel this viewing tomorrow and spend the day sleeping off this lurgy and spend some time with my wife.

Grey

A single shade of grey.
A single shade of grey.

Everything is grey and I’m tired.

I’m not sure what’s started it: December, the weather, general malaise, missing my meds for a single day, messing up my patch for a day (different days) but the grey started before that. I’m tired. I didn’t sleep properly for a few days but now, now I am sleeping and now I’m tired.

The grey means I’m just not excited or interested in anything. Everything is grey and uninteresting and all I want to do is watch endless repeats of shows I’ve seen before and play Oblivion on the xbox. I don’t want to work, I don’t want to write. I want to sleep and sleep and sleep in the grey.

Christmas is coming and I’m hardly interesting. A little more than last week now some of my wife’s presents have come and I did some wrapping. I like buying people presents and wrapping them up and knowing they will enjoy the things I’ve gotten them. That has helped but not much, and I hate it because my wife loves Christmas and I want her to enjoy it but I am ambivalent at the best of times about the holiday.

Pancake Day, that’s the holiday for me.

I’m tired.

Did I mention that? I have stuff to do. A piece to write for The Cult Den and fanfiction to write and stuff to learn for my HCA course for work. Things. But I’ve clocked over 50 hours on Oblivion and watched the first seven seasons of Mock the Week. It’s good background noise.

I need background noise.

I need sleep.

I need to feel better.