The End… Or a New Beginning?

This is something I have been mulling over for a long time however it’s only just started to form into a decision I feel capable of making.

This is going to be my last post on Long Tall Ally for the forseeable future, possibly forever. God that sounds so dramatic like I’m about to hitch up my skirts and flounce off into the sunset with one hand pressed to my bosom and the other against my forehead.

I’m not. I’m just not going to be updating here for a variety of reasons. I’ve never been what I would call a ‘good’ blogger, one who devotes time to blogging and who cultivates their site into a place people want to be. In fact I tend to ignore this place until I feel guilty enough to post, bash something up and then go back to ignoring it. Sure I’ve had dreams of trying to turn this site into something bigger but dreams are just that, and actually when your heart isn’t really in it at the end of the day they don’t tend to materialise out of thin air.

I started writing Long Tall Ally when I was going through a massive change in my life and I needed some sort of outlet to be able to deal with the feelings. Only it’s become clear that whilst this outlet has become a way of getting my feelings out I’ve spent precious little time actually dealing with them, or y’know feeling them. It’s time for me to focus on me for a while and sort out some stuff that has been going on for far too long.

So it’s with a sense of sadness that I sign off and say goodbye. I’m going to keep this site up just in case I want to come back to it one day so you’ll be able to delve through the archives if you want to. Thank you to every single person who has read my wittering, commented, shared posts or interacted with me in any way. Losing a person’s worth of weight isn’t something that you can do alone and I’ve been very lucky to have been surrounded by wonderful people, it’s now time to get myself healed a bit, quit living in the past and finally slay some demons so I can be as wonderful to them.

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.

Depression Doesn’t Care

It doesn’t care that it’s your birthday and you’re supposed to have a lovely day. It doesn’t care that you’ve somehow managed to crawl out of bed and make yourself look presentable to get through another day in the office. When it strikes it doesn’t give a fuck what you’ve got planned, or what you should be doing. All it cares about it swiping the rug out from underneath you feet leaving you wondering how on earth you’re going to get back up.

Depression made me sit and sob at my desk all this morning. It made me lose all of the joy in being sent heaps of cards, messages, presents and well wishes. It made, oh who am I kidding, is making me want to crawl into bed and pull the duvet over my head for the forseeable future. I’m currently battling with the greatest wish to cancel my weekend plans to see my family, because who on earth wants a weeping thirty two year old hanging about like a wet weekend? The drinks with work mates to celebrate next week? Hanging precariously in the balance due to the soul sucking depressive state I’m currently in. Even the long awaited weekend in Paris with some of my favourite girls next weekend had a moment of ‘well I could go, but I could spend the weekend lying in bed staring at the wall’ wobbliness. I know that in the grand scheme of things this will pass and I’ll go back to feeling normal and not like I have a ten ton weight pressing down on my shoulders whilst wading through treacle but for the moment it’s really bloody tough indeed.

It’s really scary to go in to your boss and say ‘You know what? I don’t want to go to a seminar on Libya tonight and it’s not because I’m being a Princess about having to work on my birthday, it’s because actually I feel like shit and am having enough difficulty in staying upright let alone getting to London and not weeping openly in front of a room full of industry colleagues”. Add to that the guilt (oh the guilt!) wrought upon me by this fucker depression that I’m letting everyone down and I’m useless at my job and a waste of space and may as well just quit because I’ve ruined things. What a sorry damn state to be in. To his credit he was really good, he didn’t tell me to cheer up or that I was being silly, both of which I berate myself with when things are like this anyway. Instead he very quietly told me it was okay, that he was sorry that I was so low and that the Libya thing wasn’t a big deal at all.

Some people will probably be wondering why I’m being such a buzzkill on my birthday when I should be posting about the wonderful cards and presents I’ve received, but here’s the thing… I made a pledge to keep the conversation going about mental health to remove some of the stigma and for me, admitting that actually I’m wiped out with depression at the moment on what should be a really nice day is a very important part of that.

It’s like I said earlier, depression doesn’t care who you are, how much or how little you have, or what you should be doing, when it wants to rear its ugly head it does, and bugger the consequences.

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/pledgewall

Sunday Sound Off: Lingo Wankers

I bloody hate lingo wankers. Those jargon tosspots who speak in ‘TLA’s’ (three letter acronyms) about ‘pushing the envelope’ and ‘quick wins’. The sort of ballbags who think they sound cool and hip when they weave this nonsense into daily conversation, particularly when they’re in public and preferably shouting it into a tiny mobile phone whilst striding about looking purposeful. Let’s face it, they’re also the sort of nobs who say that things are ‘hip’ in the first place. Arseholes. Whenever I hear one of them dropping this twaddle in to conversation I have to physically restrain myself from doing my ‘dickhead drawl’ which involves putting on a ‘yah, yah totes’ voice and repeating their wankerism of choice slowly over and over because that is surely a shortcut to a punch in the face.

Every industry has their jargon or their hyper clichéd phrases that make you grind your teeth to nubs whenever you hear them. Like Grimmy talking about listeners being ‘locked in’ to Radio One, a sentence that makes me want to jam on my brakes and smash my head against the steering wheel for relief, and the sweeping sensation that is ‘off of’ which I hold Scott flipping Mills entirely responsible for. The beautiful fashionista types talking about ‘a lip’, ‘a pant’, ‘a shoe’… WHAT’S WRONG WITH PLURALS, FASHION PEOPLE?!

I know it’s all about tribes and fitting in and being identified blah blah but isn’t there an easier way? Does it really have to be through jargon that can make you want to punch yourself square in the gut to distract from the aural pain? I realised that I was totally part of the Thunderbird family when I found myself talking about ‘tossing it off’, ‘homers’ and ‘town halls’ and I’ll admit it felt nice, but god to those outside of the work family I must sound like a right eejit. I get that we all like to feel accepted and if using a special dictionary that only people in our little tribe can understand is what does it then I suppose (through gritted teeth) that’s fair enough but I’d still like to think that there is a special place in hell reserved for Mr Generic Businessman and his ‘low-hanging fruit’ which totally sounds like he’s talking about bollocks, right? Still, talking about bollocks makes a change from spouting it!

I’m Bic’s Bitch

5th February 2014 and having just almost ripped my 40 denier tights clean off me on a sticky out bit of coach I was pretty pissed off. I’d been herded through the tube strike traffic from my hotel to Earls Court with the rest of the buyers who were in various states of hungover after the party at the London Transport Museum the night before. Two blokes sat behind me were trying to convince their colleague that they weren’t in fact hungover, but that they’d picked up D&V at the party and were prettypoorlyactuallythankyouverymuch whilst I tried not to laugh in the faces. I was feeling quite sprightly having not over indulged (too much) and having made sure I downed a couple of pints of water before hopping in to bed. The fact that my hotel shower was made for midgets and I had to contort myself into various positions in order to wash my hair certainly woke me up too.

So there I was in the queue for the VIP cloakroom *sniffs* *pops collar* when I realised that literally looking like I’d been dragged through a hedge perhaps wasn’t quite the professional look I should be sporting so I needed to take action. I dragged my case off to the nearest disabled toilet cubicle and cracked it open, thanking my lucky stars that I’m a chronic over packer (as well as over sharer?) as my suitcase contents spilled forth. I fished out a pair of frankly hideous 15 denier “natural” tights that I once bought thinking they might come in handy, although history does not relate how they came to be in my case.

I popped them on and then realised that my legs weren’t quite 15 denier tights ready (after what can only be described as a “booty voicemail” from the night before) so I stuck my head in my bag of tricks again and hoped for the best. I rustled up a Bic razor and some vitamin E cream and nipped out to the sinks to try and make a lather on my legs. It failed miserably and so I basically ended up doing a Bic dry shave peppered with a lot of under my breath swearing and then slopping on a LOT of cream to delay the inevitable rash whilst wincing at the thought of having to repack my case.

I dread to think what the other ladies thought I was doing in there but of course I told pretty much anyone who even glanced at my pins throughout the day of my calamity. Note to self… Zip it!

The date was important because what was I doing almost EXACTLY three years earlier? Why I was having a Bic related toilet incident in my first week as a Thunderbird of course! *rolls eyes*

Doodle a Day: Thirty

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This one is dedicated to my friend Frankie. Leaving Saino’s earlier I was cruising down one travelator as he was schlepping up the other. I greeted him from opposite ends with a cheery “HELLO!” as he nonchalantly leant on the handrail to continue his journey up the slope. He had almost cruised to being level with me when I said (in a vaguely smarmy voice) “So, do you come here often?”

Hadn’t really clocked the guy who was in front of Frankie when I said that & who did a double take as I sailed down past him having delivered what he clearly thought was some sort of drive by sleazing.

Frankie’s face was an absolute picture!

Don’t Look Down

I didn’t watch it because I have a fear of heights that makes the mere thought of being stood on something as insignificant as a kick stool makes me want to cry however if my Twitter timeline was anything to go by, flipping loads of you did. I’m talking of course about the Channel 4 documentary, ‘Don’t Look Down’ about local Southampton Spiderman, James Kingston, scaling the highest heights without any safety equipment.

I remember the day he first came to my attention as I distinctly remember announcing to the office that ‘some dick’ had free climbed the crane in Ocean Village, ‘yes’ I said, ‘that massive behemoth that dominates the skyline outside Tesco’, ‘yes, free climbed as in no ropes, no harnesses, no PPE!’ I exclaimed. PPE being ever the watchword in these parts you’ll understand. ‘What a prick’ was my summing up of the situation.

I drove in to work the day after the documentary and found myself queueing in traffic past the Northam gas works which James has also scaled and I could see people around me pointing, gawping at the sheer size of it, and wondering how on earth he came to be at the top.

An unexpectedly beautiful picture snapped out of my car window whilst sat at the lights.
An unexpectedly beautiful picture snapped out of my car window whilst sat at the lights.

My stomach was doing somersaults and I was glad when the lights changed and I could drive on because if I’d stayed there any longer I’d probably have been sick. I had a similar reaction when the gas works loomed in to view on my way home as well. It’s funny how things change though.

Driving to work yesterday after hearing some tragic news I was brimming over with tears and emotions and found myself yet again queueing to go past the gas works, only this time I saw it with fresh eyes. Yes it’s still an incredibly irresponsible thing to be doing, and I pray to God that nobody copies him or that anyone attempting to rescue him (God forbid he should need rescuing) comes to any harm but it’s his choice to do it. It’s his choice to make the judgement call that climbing up these structures is more important than thinking about the risk of something going wrong and of those he’d leave behind, however putting that aside for a moment…

I can’t get the image of him standing at the top of the gas works out of my head. The air looks so still around him and in that moment he must have felt invincible. Perhaps it’s because it’s an image that we so rarely see of the busy, noisy, smelly city that I live in that’s got me thinking about it so much. Perhaps it’s because yesterday morning, when life seemed so futile and fragile, I’d have given anything to feel invincible, even for a moment.

28 Days Later…

I have made a promise with myself to write a proper blog once a week this year and today is the deadline for this week but the ideas aren’t flowing.

I’ve been ill since before Christmas, been to the doctor twice and been told to just ride it out and now have definitely reached the end of my tether. I’ve done really well keeping a brave face on and riding out the storm but having spent the last two nights rolling round in the foetal position in between pacing up and down making noises like a hormonal Chewbacca, enough is enough.

I should have gone to the hospital yesterday morning but apart from being weepy I perked up after some food and was with also the Urbans (6/9 are doctors) so was in good hands. Last night I stayed in Salisbury and lo and behold 3:30 rolled around and I was in agony. Felt like I was giving birth without any painkillers type agony. It subsided after about two hours and I thankfully went back to sleep.

Except I can feel the pain ramping up again and am dreading another night of not knowing what to do with myself. There’s no loneliness quite like the one experienced when you’re in pain and yet I don’t want to go to A&E because I’m still hoping that my GP is right and the problem will stop of its own accord.

I struggle with being “the sickly friend” because it really feels like it is just one freakin’ thing after another with my body. I know I screwed my body into the ground by being so big but I just wish I could catch a break. It scares me that there is always something going wrong because it reminds me of Mum who always said she knew she wouldn’t make it to old bones, and is this my body’s way of telling me I’ll be headed the same way?

Gosh. Doom and indeed gloom.
Come on Mother Nature, back off a bit eh?!

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?