The Aftermath

So, how does it feel in the aftermath of a crash and burn?

I’m not back to full strength by a long chalk but after some ‘me’ time over the weekend curled up in bed sleeping, reading, and staring at the wall as well as time with family and a couple of bracing walks along the beach I’m definitely feeling better than I was on Thursday. I still feel dead behind the eyes and my limbs are heavy as anything but my facial muscles are capable of smiling again which is definite progress.

I feel exposed though.

I’m fully clothed so don’t get any visions of me flashing my pants at you all but returning to the office the day after you’ve hit your depressive nadir and spent the morning snotting all over the place before throwing your hands in the air and saying you can’t cope leaves you feeling rather vulnerable indeed.

I felt awkward walking down the stairwell with the guy who ended up going to the Libya thing without me, there was an elephant in the room and I had to bite my tongue to stop myself apologising. Apologising for what exactly? For having depression. Ridiculous. It’s not like I want to have this after all.

So many people have held their hands up to me since Thursday and said “yep, totally know how you feel”. Some have done it on social media, some have done it privately, some have even done it face to face, but every single one has been very brave. It’s a crying shame that people are described as being “brave” for talking about mental health but for the time being that’s how it is. For the time being. Because the conversation about mental health isn’t going to go away.

In closing, to the person who said I should be less open about this so that I can attract a man?

Fuck that noise. Seriously, get fucked.

What Would You Do?

Yesterday I witnessed a horrific assault in broad daylight. On a busy thoroughfare at rush hour.

What would you have done? Would you have put your head down and scuttled past? Would you have carried on painting the wall in front of you like the very dedicated decorator who was approximately 2 metres away from a man getting the absolute shit kicked out of him?

I had pulled into a parking bay at the side of the road to answer my mobile when I saw the attack and in the split second when I realised what was going on opposite me I debated honking my horn to try and scare three people stamping on a man’s head but then what if they ran over to me? Then what? Sure I was in my car and protected but still, who wants to open a whole world of pain for themselves if they can avoid it. I knew I couldn’t drive on and leave this guy getting his face smeared across the pavement so I pulled my car forward so that I wasn’t directly staring at the fists and feet flying and called the Police.

It’s not the first time I’ve called the Police after witnessing a vicious assault and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The last time involved going to court as a witness against one of my neighbours, a teenage girl, who had delivered such a kicking to a student at the local University that the victim had to endure surgery to fix her jaw, her nose, and two broken cheekbones. But I’d still do it again without a moment’s thought.

I’m not some sort of vigilante or superhero who is going to wade in and get mouthy or punchy to stop someone getting hurt, I wouldn’t have put myself at risk yesterday by leaping out of my car and running over to haul the men off but I couldn’t have walked away, my conscience wouldn’t let me.

I was amazed and saddened at the people who pretended nothing was happening.

What would you do?

Sunday Sound Off: Complimentary Culture

Out in town with Barney today on a wild boot chase, catching up after she’s spent ten days flinging herself down mountains between necking ‘cough syrup’ (Jagermeister) and videoing some questionable dance moves from our friends and I couldn’t help but clock the assistant in Fat Face giving me the eye. So of course I automatically assume that my skirt is tucked in my knickers or I have snot on my face and am thus rather taken aback when she sidles up and asks where I got my dress from because I looked lovely.

Colour me chuffed! As Barney said, it’s one thing hearing a compliment from a friend, because they’re easy to shrug off through friendly obligation to be nice but it’s another to have a stranger say something complimentary. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole because I was so embarrassed by the positive attention though, having gotten used to negative attention over the years but it also got me thinking…

I wish more people were forthcoming with compliments, particularly to strangers because you never know if you’re going to make someone’s day by telling them you like their scarf, or that their hair is lovely or you simply MUST know where they got their bag. It takes literally seconds, doesn’t cost anything and gives you good karma, what’s not to love? Sure you might not get the reaction you want, the recipient might look at you like you’re in need of locking away or they might ignore you and march off without a backwards glance but in my experience what is most likely to happen is that they’ll grin like a lunatic, thank you profusely and go on their way with some pep in their step.

You’re not going to lose anything by doing it and in fact whenever I pay someone an unexpected compliment, I find that I put myself in a perkier mood by way of osmosis. It’s almost like magic. Be nice and you’ll feel nice. Sometimes you need to put the stiff upper lip to one side and not be such a chicken shit that a person you’ve never seen before and will most likely never see again might think you’re a bit odd for paying them a compliment. If you’re anything like me your head will keep up a running commentary on people you see as you walk down the street anyway, like

‘what on EARTH is that man wearing?!’

‘Release the hounds! Why? Because I see a FOX!’

‘Ooooh that handbag is nice, I wonder where she got it’

and it’s about ruddy time we all started expressing the good stuff a bit more. I don’t mean I’m about to go up to every bloke I see who is a bit fit and tell them so, but I am going to make a concerted effort to try and spread the love a bit more.

What’s the best unexpected compliment you’ve ever received?

N.B. Go easy on the compliments when you’ve had a few. I still shudder in horror thinking about a rather lubricated Long Tall Ally stroking the side of an upset stranger’s face in our local dive club whilst telling her she looked beautiful ‘even when she was crying’…

Sunday Sound Off: Sex, Lies and Rinsing Guys

I knew this programme was going to get on my wick when the announcer suggested it was “girl power”, oh do fuck off, there’s no girl power in it.

For those of you who didn’t see it, last night there was a programme on Channel 4 called “Sex, Lies and Rinsing Guys” about women who use their ‘feminine wiles’ to bag rich men who splash cash on them without getting any nookie in return. In some ways it’s fair play to them if there are men out there daft enough to part with their hard earned cash on some bint who isn’t even going to hop in the sack with them but at the same time, have some self respect! Why on earth do you think you should be entitled to being ‘looked after’ and not have to earn things by working hard and putting in the hours? It’ll carry on ad infinitum whilst there are men dumb enough to put up with it and you could claim that the women are clever to exploit the situation but I’m not going to.

This is all part and parcel of why little girls grow up wanting to be wags and glamour models, these dozy women shouting about how empowering it is to be lavished with expensive gifts. Actually ladies it’s far more empowering to be independent and do things for yourself. Who wants to be a concubine when you could be a career woman instead? I’d love to fast forward twenty years into the future when these women have plasticised themselves beyond all belief and the money and gifts dry up, what will you do then ladies? Fall back on the career you’ve spent years building up? Oh…

Watching the programme it became apparent quite quickly that these so called “rinsers” are materialistic, shallow and absolutely fake. I’d feel sorry for them but actually I found them so abhorrent I could barely bring myself to do that. What a shame that they’re more concerned with their appearances and what baubles the latest idiot is going to buy them, there are far better things to enjoy in life than Jimmy Choo’s or Cartier watches. Maybe it’s just me but I would feel utterly beholden to someone who was showering me with gifts, and I like being my own woman far too much to get involved with all that. They admit to preying on the weak members of the man herd, picking the ones who they think will fall for their shtick before oh so subtly “dropping hints” about needing a holiday or a new trinket.

They set themselves rules for rinsing as if that somehow makes it okay. They seem to fail to realise that they’re potentially putting themselves in dangerous situations. Imagine you’re the guy who is spending the money, sure she’s saying that it’s not going to be sexual but you’re the exception to the rule, right? You’ve splashed so much on her that she’s bound to relax her rules for you, right? So what happens when she doesn’t? Are you going to roll over and accept it or is there a possibility that you’ll get angry and force the situation? I’m not suggesting that all the men are rapists or abusive but you honestly don’t know what you’re playing with. You’ve got to admire their brass neck for thinking that there’s something so special about them that men should feel honoured to splash the cash, I firmly believe that all women should have a positive sense of self esteem but in my opinion there’s a limit and this madonna whore gold digger princess act crosses it. Especially when one says she’s doing what she needs to get money and compares it to being a nurse, you’re living on another planet love!

(I know, it’s Wednesday…. Wednesday Whinge anyone?)

Sunday Sound Off: Boozy Woozy Blues

Had a lovely evening last night drinking wine with a friend whilst talking about every conceivable topic in a variety of drinking establishments ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous and yet this morning I woke up feeling like my soul had been sucked out of my nostrils, the sun wouldn’t shine and I’d never know what it would be like to be happy, EVER AGAIN.

I like wine but it became very apparent this afternoon when I stayed in bed until half past one convinced the world was out to get me and that I should just hide under the duvet until the meteor* hits, that wine doesn’t like me. I’ve recently taken to drinking a white wine spritzer in a tall glass which seems to lessen the effect but last night with my wine aficionado friend I decided it was a really good idea to switch to drinking it straight. Turned out to be a bad idea for a variety of reasons because it tasted like Ribena with an after taste of warm vinegar, although that may have been more of an indication of the quality of pub we were in, and it meant I woke up with a very fuzzy head this morning.

I think I’ve gone through the change, where wine becomes something to be savoured slowly and not overindulged in so that I don’t wake up the following morning wondering where the nearest tall building is.

That or I just need a new drink of choice…

 

 

* Exchange meteor for whatever world ending event the crackpot crazies think is heading our way.

Sunday Sound Off: My Twenties

My last day of being in my twenties and what a decade it’s been.

It’s seen me drop out of uni, spend 12 weeks in the Priory, almost lose my remaining parent, gain a Stepmother, gain two sisters’ in law and two beautiful nephews, have 9 different jobs and 12 addresses, have 5 general anaesthetics, get diagnosed with a load of ‘disorders’ and start a heap of medication, gain weight, LOSE weight, gain wonderful friends, lose wonderful friends, go to some beautiful weddings, attend some heartbreakingly sad funerals, start a blog, write a book, get an agent, lose an agent, go on my first ever date, send my first ever Valentine’s card, be resolutely single, wonder what it’s all about, stress about becoming an old maid, spend £500 on a teddy bear, go on a ‘date’ with Greg James from Radio One, go through what was tantamount to a housemate divorce, attend my first music festival, dance barefoot in Hyde Park to Kings of Leon, go snorkelling and in a speedboat in Cuba, and throughout it all, have a crushingly low sense of self esteem and self confidence.

Tomorrow I’m getting a tattoo to bid farewell to my twenties in all their higgledy piggledy light and shade highs and lows glory. It’s going to serve as a reminder of everything that I have been faced with and come through stronger. Sure I’m a bit broken inside but am always in the process of healing myself and as my friends always tell me I need to give myself more credit for how far I’ve come, this tattoo in three digits will sum up the past decade and the journey I am on.

I’m having the weight that I was when Mr Shaw Somers saved my life on the 17th July 2008 inked inside my left wrist so that whenever I look down at it I can cherish how far I’ve come and remember where I was, without ever having to go back there.

Closure some might say.

Sunday Sound Off: Luluvise Wiki Date

Have you ever googled a man before going on a date with him? Had a cheeky Facebook stalk or tried to work out if he might be ‘the one’ by perusing his LinkedIn page? I think it’s something we’re all guilty of but perhaps won’t readily admit to, unless you’re the man I went on a date with a few years ago who regaled me with stories about my own family that he had found on the internet. Prime example, ‘Your older brother won a bravery award for saving a man from a pub fire’. You can imagine how freaked out I was because although it’s something most of us tend to do, we don’t tend to admit it.

I believe that having a cheeky Google of your date actually only increases the pressure of a first meeting because if you’re anything like me you’ll spend the night biting your tongue so that when they mention their holiday to Thailand you won’t blurt out the story that you saw on their friend’s Facebook wall (because oh yes, you went to the next level) about him getting hit in the face by an errant ping pong ball at a ‘show’. The other thing is that if you Google and go in to your date with preconceptions you could end up missing out on something good.

A new social network called ‘Luluvise’, a ‘private social network dedicated to girl time, all the time’ has come along with yet another way to add to your preconceptions and stalk your man with their ‘WikiDate’ function. It appears as though their intention is to build up a dating-base of men, all rated out of 5 in the categories of ‘appearance’, ‘manners’, ‘humour’, ‘ambition’ and ‘commitment’.

I’m sorry but what the fuck? Is that what we’re reduced to now? Rating men as if we’re in some sort of meat market all in the race for the prize bullock? I know that girls are prone to having those sorts of discussions with their friends but to contribute to a database that can be seen by anyone who registers? REALLY?

I would hope that if I were to even consider using ‘WikiDate’ on a prospective man shape someone would spring up out of nowhere and smack me upside the head until I saw sense. I can only imagine the outrage if the situation were reversed and  it was rating women and yet because it’s girls doing the rating it appears to be flying under the radar as a harmless bit of fun. Underneath it all it smacks of something that young teenagers should be using to rate their idols like One Direction, that Bieber kid and the Jonas Brothers, but having had a look round today it appears to be grown women who should know better.

 

Sunday Sound Off: A Whole Lotta Flack.

Oh Caroline. Sweet Caroline. What in the name of thundering fuck are you doing? Harry Styles? Really?! I can only assume you’re chazzed off your wazz on coke and haven’t realised that he is a child. A CHILD. Still, at least you won’t have to worry about him nicking your ladyshave because I doubt he’s starting shaving and your expensive Chateaunerf de Pape will be safe because he’ll be necking alcopops in an under eighteen disco.

The thing that’s amazed me most about this is all the women who are praising Flack as some sort of uber cougar for luring him into her den of zumzum but the same women would be the first ones to grab pitchforks if the situation was reversed and he was the elder half. There’d be uproar if he was 32 and she 17 and Styles would no doubt be painted as a deviant in need of chemical castration were he picking her up in his flashy sports car and sharing ‘sleepovers’.

People are free to do whatever (or whoever) they wish and if they’ve decided that in spite of everything that they wish to be “togevva” then good for them but what’s with the double standards? I can’t believe that people are saying “good on her” for bagging a hot teenager just because it’s suddenly seen as a girl power thing for women to take much younger lovers.

Cougars, how would you feel if she was “sleeping over” with your 17 year old son?

Sunday Sound Off: Dear Marie Claire

I’ve always been a fan of your magazine because it gives me all the stuff I want from a monthly and often more. I always get excited when my copy plops through the letterbox and I love curling up on the sofa to read it from cover to cover in one fell swoop.

I spent the entirety of my teens and most of my early twenties feeling drastically unfeminine and unlovable because I’m not a petite polly pocket woman with a small pert bum and normal sized feet who can be thrown over a man’s shoulder and spirited away into the sunset. At almost 30 It still hits me in those wobbly moments when I’m wishing I was a foot shorter and could chop my toes off to fit into the women’s shoes available on the high street but for the most part I just accept the way I am.

That’s why it was a bit of a shock whilst reading your article ’10 Ways To Tell If He’s Good Enough For You’ to see Shane Watson say that for a man to be good enough for you to date he should be able to carry you both physically and metaphorically. This 1900’s lack of independent women who need to be carried by men schtick is all the more worrying because contrary to what the name suggests, Shane is a woman. Whatever happened to the sisterhood?

So far so backwards step, however point 8 in the article also says that women shouldn’t end up with men who have smaller feet than them or who are less hairy because it’s important that the woman is the most feminine one in the relationship. According to this article I need a man who can pick me up and not be caught tip toeing round the bedroom in my high heels. Unfortunately as a woman who is 6’2″ and takes a size 12 shoe this somewhat narrows the field for me to the likes of Giant Haystacks (dead), Andre the Giant (dead) or Kris Humphries (Kim Kardashian’s cast off? Hell no).

Pardon my French but shoe size has fuck all to do with femininity and even less to do with choosing a man to date. In fact if you’re the sort of man (or woman for that matter) who uses it as a criteria for dating someone then you’re not the sort of person I want to date anyway and you should take your pedes paranoia and shuffle off into the sunset, alone to hopefully develop bunions in some sort of karmic retribution. Sure I might have the odd day where I feel like a lumberjack who could use canoes for shoes but everyone has days where they don’t feel great about themselves.

But thankfully for me I can sniff out poppycock when I read it and frankly, the entire article attempted to paint women as weak and feeble in need of hero men to make them feel feminine and graceful. A ridiculous notion I’m sure more than a few of your readers will agree with.

If you’ll excuse me I’m off to find a man who makes me laugh, makes me think and most importantly likes me for me, huge feet and big bum included.

 

Yours,

Long Tall Ally