It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

…Until it isn’t.

I absolutely love Christmas! The tradition, the cosiness, the festivity.

And then bam it’s gone; it’s the 26th and it’s all downhill from there.

I literally despise this time of year. I have not left the house since the festivities ended. I am blank and grey and empty.

It is the one time of year that I look forward to so much – the anticipation, the preparation which never quite goes to plan.

The 25th is always such a huge anti-climax but the 24th? Oh the 24th is a magical time because there’s still the hope of something wonderful!

Is it any wonder that the festive period begins shortly after Halloween these days? The world can be a stressful and dark place – we live at a pace that many are not cut out for. No wonder we embrace the magic of Christmas way ahead of the day. We look forward to the season of tradition and goodwill. A time of joy and laughter spent with our nearest and dearest.

Yet we know the truth. We know that our lives aren’t like that of a TV commercial or magazine shoot, yet still we hope, we dream that maybe, just maybe…

And in a flash it’s over. The endless bleak months of winter lay ahead with nothing to look forward to, other than the hope of a rare snow-day.

Will 2018 be a repeat of all that have come before? Or will 2018 be the year I’ve been waiting for?

Advertisements

The Bunny Story…

Everybody-Loves-Raymond_1024-768

I’m sat here watching ‘Everyone Loves Raymond’ and this episode sees Ray setting himself the challenge of writing his father’s eulogy in an attempt to elicit an emotional response from the family when his father’s time eventually comes.  In the eulogy he talks about the asshole his father was but ‘sweetens the deal’ by adding in a sweet story about his father secretly petting the boys’ pet bunny in the middle of the night, that he remembers from his childhood. As always, hilarity ensues when the mother discovers the eulogy and Frank is made aware of The Bunny Story.  He vehemently denies it.

It made me think about my own childhood and my virtually non-existent relationship with my father, From an early age, I was to be seen and not heard.  I was aware that I was not wanted – I was my mother’s idea.

Every evening at the dinner table, he would bat at my elbows, tell me to hold my knife properly and to keep my mouth closed as I chewed. I would be scolded for picking at the 1980’s woven placemats and given ‘The Look’ if I ran my finger along the thread of the tablecloth.

Each day, I would return from school and by that point my father would already be in ‘His Darkroom’ – my dad’s office where the red light would click on and that meant only one thing: DO NOT DISTURB.

We rarely took family holidays together.  Instead my mother would take me away 3 times a year to a seaside holiday park on the East Coast (the reasons behind those frequent trips became very clear just a few years into my young life, but that’s another story).

Dance has been a huge part of my life since the late eighties.  Even now I teach dance multiple times a week.  Back in the late eighties and early nineties, it was my life.  I trained 10 times a week, I competed and regularly took examinations receiving the highest grade possible.  This was the focus of my youth – it was my strength, my talent and a rare thing I was proud of.

My father never came to watch me dance.  This broke my heart.

And so my relationship with my father consisted of 2 strangers living under the same roof, sharing nothing but an address and a surname,

And yet, in that bleary fog of lonely memories, I see myself and my father, playing with my huge dog puppet, which we named Roger.  He was black and white with flappy ears and huge googley eyes. He had a bright pink tongue which would dangle from his mouth as you used your hand to make him talk. That day we climbed mountains, trekked through jungles and explored the deep blue sea.  It is my fondest memory of my father.

My daughter must have a billion similar memories of her father – he is the epitome of Best Dad Ever.

But like in Raymond’s mind, this recollection of my father sticks.  It sticks because it was a blaze of colour in a monochrome world.  That one spilled droplet of vibrant colour that falls onto my black and white story and provides a bizarre but welcome contrast.

 

Erase and rewind

I am exhausted with being me.

Not a day goes by when I don’t consider “If I left all that I know and started again, would I be happier?”

Being the odd one out in every chapter of your life is exhausting. I am the person who everyone turns to in times of need but doesn’t really want to be friends with. I can only assume I’m a “small doses” kind of person.

How fucking pathetic is that?

I’m the back-up plan. The one who people will call if nothing better comes along. But the thing is, I’m not ok with that.

I would rather stand alone, than be a last resort. I am far too good for that.

I am a good person. I deserve real friendships but I am not so desperate that I will take whatever is going.

It is soul-destroying to be misunderstood your whole life…

Imagine there are 2 ways every situation that occurs in life can be interpreted – 1 is the correct way that is honestly and exactly as intended and the other is the creepy, rumour-mill type way that makes a person look ‘odd.’

Well imagine that ‘wrong way’ assumption being made every single day of your life.

I run a kindness project on social media. This is who I am. Random acts of kindness have always been something I get a real kick out of. How can you misunderstand kindness you would think?

It’s amazing how fucked up some interpretations can be when you’ve got pink hair and a ‘Zero Fucks Given’ aura.

How is it that someone who is a school teacher, does voluntary work, coordinates kindness projects in the local community to help those in need and who regularly helps and meets with the homeless can be viewed with suspicion?

I am avoided.

No this is not paranoia, this is fact.

I am treated like a leaper. There are awkward glances in my presence. Conversations often stop when I enter the room. Social occasions I organise, end up with me arriving alone whilst all other cancel at the final hour. Each and every time.

I don’t deserve this.

If I scrunch my eyes up tight enough and click my heels together, could I be gone from here? Could I wake up in a place where no one knows me? Where I am not tarnished by my dysfunctional upbringing, my diagnosis, my string of failed friendships and my general oddness.

If I could start again, I could pretend. I could act like all the others do. I could read the celebrity magazines, I could laugh and sneer and bitch over girly nights out fuelled by self centred -ness and Prosecco. I could contour my face and streak my hair with honey highlights. I could watch television and actually give a fuck about the latest drama in the world of Kardashian. I could make Christmas lists that request Michael Kors, & Gucci.

36 years of practise and I still can’t get it right. You see the main character is established, but the setting’s all wrong. The 2 don’t complement each other. I need a new setting and a new cast of characters.

Generally people fall into 2 camps: blood is thicker than water or friends are the family you choose for yourself.

But what if neither apply. What if you’re the black sheep of both friendships and family?

It hurts. It really fucking hurts.

Here we go again…

I love my job. I do not love my colleagues. As a teacher, I get to spend my day with incredible children who are pure and sweet and who blow my mind with their sheer awesomeness.

I feel comfortable in the presence of children. They are uncomplicated, they say what they mean and they have no hidden agenda.

Unlike my colleagues.

Yet again, it would seem, I have or have not, done something wrong. For the past few weeks there has been a very tense atmosphere, awkward glances and limited ‘chatter’ in my presence.

I attempt to ‘jolly’ the atmosphere, making jokes, attempting to initiate conversation but it falls flat. Answers are prompt and curt, then silence ensues.

Until other members of staff arrive. Then it is all joviality and banter.

A month ago we were fine. We were a strong team and our days were filled with laughter and a sense of togetherness. Now I feel I am in the presence of strangers.

I have accepted that my personal life is a lonely one but I cannot handle being treated like the bad guy in my career too.

Why is it that those who are genuine and wear their hearts on their sleeves are treated like freaks, yet the sneaky fake bitches who have more faces than a highly cut Kardashian diamond have others flock around them, kissing their asses?

I don’t understand people. I never will.

Shades of Grey…

At what point does bipolar disorder end and Asperger’s Syndrome begin?

I had not realised until recently that the 2 conditions frequently exist in a state of co-morbidity.

My entire life, I have felt like a square peg trying so hard to ‘belong’ – at school, college, university, the workplace.

I have never wanted to ‘be like the others’ – I just wanted to be accepted. To have friends, to be myself without judgement.

Which elements of me are the aspects that others stay away from, the pink hair? The ability to speak nothing but the truth? The generous nature that puts others before myself, always.

I am literally clueless as to why I find myself alone, whilst those who hide behind multi-faceted facades seem to be surrounded by friends.

I would be friends with me. I am honest, real, intelligent, witty, generous and loyal but apparently that is not what people want.

I cannot be something I am not. I was once sent a card that read “I tried to be normal once: worst 2 minutes of my life.”

Such honest words. I cannot be what I am not. I will not be what I am not.

So I will remain in my quirky little bubble – my 1 woman Wolfpack containing me, myself and I.

I have to accept that I will always be misunderstood.

My honesty will be interpreted as bullshit. My generosity will continue to be treated as a scam used as a form of ulterior motive.

My straight-talking will be misconstrued as passive-aggressive.

My thoughtfulness and generosity will be identified as intensity.

My pensive nature will be deemed as moody or rude.

My friendliness will be assumed as flirting.

I do not have the energy to ‘prove myself’ anymore.

Not anymore.

This is me. People have chosen to ‘leave it’ but I’ll ‘take it’ I accept who I am. I love who I am. Sadly others don’t but as a quote I once saw read, “What other people think of you is none of your business…”

So here I am. Just me, myself and this white page ready to accept the thoughts that tumble about in my confused and lonely brain.

The Waiting List…

I am officially on the waiting list with the local Aspergers referral unit. The letter states that an appointment with the assessment team is at a waiting time of approximately 14 months.

It’s not ideal but at least I’m in the ‘system’ – having a diagnosis will help me find peace within myself but I’m not under any illusions that it’ll ‘fix’ anything.

I will still find myself here alone. The ‘odd’ one who is always left standing alone, wondering what she did wrong this time.

It’s a good job that I enjoy my own company but I’m not going to lie; sometimes it’s a dark and lonely place.

I am the person that people turn to. I am the one who listens and supports. My phone stays silent until people are in a funk and need emotional support. That’s when I’m remembered. But apart from then? I may as well be invisible.

Fuck them. Fuck the lot of them.