Imagination: a fairy next to arailway line.

My children always want me to play with them. They seem physically incapable of playing by themselves, and I often have to ignore their pleas of ‘please mummy, PLEASE-WE DON’T WANT TO PLAY ON OUR OWN,’ not only because my house is a total shit tip, which is in grave need of my attention, but also because my imagination appeared to be completely dead.

They can hand me a Darth Vader, and they’ll be shouting: ‘And Luke Skywalker is going to jump out of God’s mouth, fall through heaven, collect eleven five ten thousand bajillion stars on his way down, then use the light power he collected to kill all the baddies, and the Ewoks will see him falling from God’s mouth and use power from their minds to save him. He will use his pants as a parachute, and use fart power to jet propel himself to somewhere safe, and the Ewok’s minds will stop him hurting himself, and build him a castle of chocolate to live in. What does Darth Vader do then mummy??’

‘Erm, get out his lightsaber and hurt some people?’

‘No mummy, that’s boring.’

‘Ok, yea, I am kind of lame…’

I always think that I could never write a children’s book, because I’ve lost that part of my brain that delights in simple, magical adventures. I can’t think of anything remotely exciting to bring to their games-I don’t know why they insist on trying to include me to be fair. I did think I’d completely lost all imagination-a brain deadened by a mundane adult life. That was, until a few recent car journeys…

I was getting really annoyed by someone driving a few inches from my bumper, recently. It’s the kind of driving offence I put up there with people who drive in the middle lane, and people who don’t indicate at roundabouts. ‘If he gets any further up my ass, he’ll need to use a condom,’ I muttered. ‘WHAT DID YOU SAY MUMMY?’ ‘Nothing!’ And my brain then proceeded to imagine a world where all bumpers were fitted with sensors, which when another car got too close, made a neon flashing sign rise up in the rear window, saying ‘STOP VIOLATING MY ASS, THIS IS YOUR FIRST WARNING.’ If they continued to drive so close, they’d get a second warning, then if they still didn’t back off, cars would spray theirs with condoms, which on impact, would cover their car with a corrosive material-surely a sure fire way to get people AWAY FROM MY ASS. Maybe repeat offenders could then have their heads placed on spikes at the entrance and exit to motorway junctions, along with those of people who drive in the middle lane, to serve as a deterrent to not be such a dick.

I realised I’d gotten massively carried away. I also realised I did in fact, have an imagination-just translating that into the innocence of my children’s games, is just a whole different ball game, right…?!

mental health

I’ve been telling myself for quite a long time now, that ‘it’s ok, you’re just a little bit mental at the moment, you’ll be alright soon.’ Because often, we find ourselves tired, stressed, juggling 6.2 billion plates with just two hands (often while the other halves casually spin just the one on the tip of their finger-they totally have the other hand free to catch it with, if it falls,) and it all can make us feel just slightly crazy.

Except I noticed that I was telling myself week after week that the mentalness was going to go away, and making more excuses when it didn’t. I needed ‘that event’ over with, or when I’d had ‘that day to myself,’ that’s when I was going to be fine. Except, I still wasn’t. Before I knew it, I was in a painfully familiar pit of not wanting to leave the house, making excuses not to leave the house, crying in secret, and trying to hide the fact that I wanted to be crying the rest of the time too, but didn’t want to do it in front of the children, and everyone else I know, and dwelling on the fact that I wished I’d punched Becky from school in the face in 1993, when she said the best thing that could happen to me would be for me to be run over by a bus. I know we are told that violence solves nothing, but responding like that would’ve been really fucking satisfying.

Here is an example of my stream of consciousness, when I’m particularly batshit:
*Wake up, ears are ringing, head feels foggy for no reason*
‘This is going to be a terrible day.’
‘Don’t leave the house today because BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN.’
‘The children won’t eat anything decent all day. Go on, give them the full sugar breakfast, and then they’ll get diabetes, and you’re going to feel like SHIT.’
‘Ooooh, what’s that on the news? Someone has a terrible illness? You better add that to the list of illnesses you need to be vigilant for, because the children can’t be left without a mother.’
‘Well, they could be, because you’re actually a shit one, and they’d be better off without you.’
‘In fact, if you did die, nobody would actually notice, because nobody really cares.’
‘Remember not to go out today, or if you do, just go to the park and stay in one corner, where you don’t have to talk to any other humans-you are shit at making friends, and you’ll make a dick of yourself.’
‘Oh, you’re looking forward to Mr W coming home are you? I don’t really know why he stays with you-you’re completely dragging him down. He should be with someone much prettier, thinner, funnier, and just, well, better, than you. He’ll probably be off at some point and then what will happen, you’ll have NOBODY.’
‘Stop snapping at the children, you used to be so patient. There’s another good quality you can tick off the list, that you don’t have anymore.’
‘Conserve energy for bedtime, because the children have decided that as you’re the worst mother ever, they’re going to bring you to your knees-you totes deserve it though, for being an all around crappy waste of space.’
‘By the way, while you’re being selfishly self absorbed with these thoughts, and only thinking about yourself, your mum told the eldest off for saying bugger. He’s replied with “it’s not as bad as fuck, nanny.” who swears in front of their fucking kids?’

Like I said-totally batshit. And it’s just soooooooo exhausting. I start every day feeling like I’ve run a marathon. Stuff hurts, that has no reason to be hurting. My eyes ache, my throat feels course, my stomach cramps, and my arms and legs feel like they’re made of lead. Everything sends me into fight or flight-even just handing over money at the till at the shop. The thought of coming to my laptop to write something, was making me feel sick. Plus, not going anywhere, and feeling like I was on the precipice of some kind of life destroying incident all the time, was becoming too much.

I went out last week to get my hair cut, which I was actually looking forward to, (I took this as a step forward,) until the hairdresser heard ‘can you please cut it a couple of inches below my shoulders,’ as ‘do whatever the fuck you want!!’ and gave me a long bob. I didn’t panic as much as I thought I would, about a) actually going there, and b) not being able to wear my hair in the bun it’s been sporting everyday for the last 5 years. It goes into a half bun now, so I resemble a mental hipster, minus ironic beard (unless you count the odd PCOS related chin hair flapping around.)

I’m also seeing a person. Someone actually qualified to deal with the mental. Someone taking my mental seriously, who has a plan. I feel better knowing there’s a plan, because although I’ve tried to embrace the crazy as being one of my quirks, and as a part of me, I also can’t and don’t want to, live with it to this extent anymore. So, it’s time to take a stand.

Censor

Just after I started blogging, a large parenting website asked to feature one of my posts. I was more than happy to say yes, and because I was new to everything, I just assumed they’d republish the post exactly as it appeared on my blog. Well, how bloody naïve of me. They basically took my post, rolled it over, held it down, and assaulted it- but should I word it like that?? Am I offending people?? Should I censor my thoughts, my personality, my humour??

They changed the title, and made what was a humorous post, into something that sounded really patronising. They also put a really stupid picture with it too, that before I’d even looked at the new title, I’d already thought would get people complaining. That, coupled with the title, and the reshuffled content, equalled the miserable trolls coming out in force.

As a fairly fresh faced writer at that point, and someone who is also way too oversensitive, I was devastated at the comments. A few months later, somebody said to me that they felt my writing had changed-that it felt a lot more cautious. She told me ‘you say certain things that could be deemed outrageous, but then it’s like you’re afraid people will take it all too seriously, and you seem to be adding disclaimers afterwards-what’s happened to make you add a censor??’ I hadn’t even noticed I was doing it, but having that happen to me, had subconsciously made me question every single thing I wrote.

So lets go back to what I wrote above: ‘They basically took my post, rolled it over, held it down, and assaulted it.’ There are people who will offended by that, but it’s how I talk, and it’s something that if I saw written somewhere, I’d laugh at it. It’s contextual. One of my favourite films is The Wolf Of Wall Street. I could watch it every night and not get bored, because Leonardo DiCaprio is just 50 shades of fucking awesome in it, and it makes me laugh from start to finish. It totally uplifts me. I was going to write something about it,  but remembered that it had come under fire by animal cruelty groups, for certain scenes-to be honest, these weren’t things that I had actually noticed while I watching it. But I thought that I better not mention I liked the film, in case I was accused of inciting poking fun at animal cruelty , which of course, I don’t condone at all. But again, everything is contextual.

Helen from Just Saying Mum said recently that she has ‘the fear’ before publishing anything. I completely get this-I spend a lot of time agonising over the bits of my posts that people are likely to take the wrong way. The thing is, you could end up never publishing anything if that were the case, because someone will always find something to complain about, in the most harmless of posts. I shouldn’t have to censor the things I like, or water down the things I want to say. I shouldn’t have to second guess what someone might not find PC, because it’s a really fine line, and what enrages someone, will not enrage someone else. What someone finds hysterical, will be distasteful to another.

So, there’s no pleasing everyone, and as long as it’s not inciting hatred, or anything illegal, I don’t think anyone should be censoring what they say, just for the benefit of pleasing others-that is a no win situation all around. I know I’ll still have ‘the fear’ when I publish something, but the best thing for me, and everyone who writes, is to say what I want to say, how I want to say it, and f**k the fear.