askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 You know that sensation of having a word or name or fact on the tip of your tongue?  And it's so acute that you really can feel it on the tip of your tongue?  Well I get that with sense memories.  I touch or smell something and I get tip-of-the-tongue syndrome and it drives me nuts - for days.  Only unlike with words and phrases I can't google what I can remember to relieve the frustration, I just have to keep revisiting the smell or texture or single note and see if I can finally ease my mind into recalling the associated memory.

I got a new mattress on Tuesday.  My Mum has been threatening to surprise me with a new one for over a year now and stubborn, slothful stig that I am, I have maintained I was happy with my knackered, misshapen, budget mattress - and I was.  The last few weeks I've been having more back aches and less sleep so I finally conceded and gratefully accepted my Mum's offer to buy me a new mattress (they are surprisingly expensive - who knew?) However, since it arrived on Tuesday the satisfaction of laying down on a firm but forgiving new mattress has been gradually giving way to a nagging sensation of familiarity.  

Then questions.  Every moment of ever unoccupied thought was given over to the resolution to my unsolvable mystery; when and where had I become acquainted with a mattress like this before?  Where have I slept for long enough to imprint on my muscles the impact of a certain combination of springs and foam?

Finally, as I climbed (and I do mean climbed, the new mattress is twice as deep as the old one - I mean, good grief! I keep thinking of the illustrations of the Princess and the Pea in story books I read as a child) into bed tonight it struck me like a thunderbolt - as these tip-of-the-tongue memories so commonly do - and I remembered where I remembered a mattress like this from.

I wish I hadn't.

Encapsulated in the moment of relief and release at realising where the familiarity came from was bittersweet recollection.  The climax of remembrance is tainted with all the moments connected to that other mattress - a person, a place - a life - that is behind me.  But here it is - in every nerve and muscle - the memory, and the memory trigger, of something long past.

Let go, body, just let it drift out of my muscles.  Let the touch, the smell, the softness, the calm, the sensations of that time be put away and when I find those textures and tastes again, let them be new to me.  Let me sense the world again, afresh.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
The Big Move of adjusting (largely unsuccessfully, I might add) to living with my parents.  The Big Move of leaving behind the most important friends I have ever had or made.  The Big Move of quitting a job I hate, bolstered by self confidence that it was a Big Move to get a Big Payoff. All of it was, in short, Big.  Was it worth it? 

Today is day 7 of the new job.  I have done most of the jobs in the office now; filing, personnel file updating and management, purchase orders, making travel arrangements for teachers going on trips or courses and communicating those arrangements to them, shredding, more filing, delivering post, database usage, management of the school calendar.  It will come as no surprise to anyone that this is deadly boring.

I think, were it not for the fact my fellow office workers are a cheery, friendly bunch who assume greater knowledge when explaining something rather than lesser, I would have quit already.  As it is I am torn.  I am finally getting office experience - something that has been a gap in my otherwise excellent experience section on application forms - and if I join the union I could volunteer to be the union rep for the school workers and that would be brilliant experience but...

I can't help but feel I'm missing out on something much, much better.  I am really angry about the fact the job centre had me booked in for a one-on-one careers advisor session - specifically designed for 'professionals' and people with degrees who find themselves unemployed - on Friday gone but I had to cancel it as I had started this new job by then.  It might have been useless, but I really didn't feel like it was going to be useless.

I hate being unemployed, largely because there is nothing to do and nowhere to go because you don't have the money to do it.  But how is trading Brighton and all my friends therein - a place I love with a job I hate, for a place I hate and a job I hate? I explicitly weighed up no money to save for PhD/great city/terrible job against good job/money to save for PhD/terrible place to live/no amazing friends.  I feel short changed.  

And I don't like feeling short changed, so I need to act.  I'm just not sure whether quitting is the right course of action or whether I should stick it out and then quit say, in the new year claiming my reason for leaving on future application forms as being because I wanted to get office experience and stayed only until I had.  The latter is the obvious, hedging-your-bets choice, but no part of this move was supposed to be hedging my bets, it was meant to be bold and daring, and it was meant to be the shock my working life needed to get it on a decent track.

At the end of the day, I don't want to be rich - I want to be happy in the way I spend my days.  And yes, money is an excellent facilitator; house, garden, holidays, food, books, PhD; but that is all I want or need it to be.  Yes, I want to work.  But I want to enjoy my work.  And I want to feel like I am doing something appropriate to my needs; which are, quite simply, to be engaged by my work. 

Either way, I need to make a decision.  I haven't slept since, well, since I started really.  No more than 5 hours a night.  Feel like the living dead.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 So, ArtFor Pride is nearly upon us.  We have hard copies of flyers and private view invitations and a final meeting with the other artists a week on Monday.  As a result, we're looking to the future and, on my suggestion, we're almost certainly doing our next ArtFor (on the condition this one doesn't crash and burn) for Mind.  I proposed we do a call for artists specifying we're looking in particular for artists who deal with madness in their artwork, which will double up as publicity.  Art/madness is such a popular theme I really don't think we can go wrong in terms of getting people through the door, which in turn means money in the bank for Mind. I met up with Becky today, two days after I proposed Mind and she said she can't believe we didn't think of it before - it basically markets itself.

In other Pride related news, all being well, I'm going to be in the parade in Brighton Pride this year! My friend works for the Terrance Higgins Trust and they want to bulk out their numbers for the parade so they are recruiting their friends.  I'm mad excited.

In less awesome news I'm tired beyond words at the minute, no amount of sleep - or lack thereof - is fixing it.  Customers at work are even commenting on the fact I look exhausted....Not got time off again until the beginning of August, 4 long weeks away.  Mentally I've been at a low ebb and as usual that gets borne out on my face. Le sigh.

Weird dreams and confusing daydreams which merge too readily into reality abound.  They have, if nothing else, furnished me with a bit of artistic inspiration and a new journal title here on dreamwidth.  Always a bright side....or something.

I have, however, got an interview, finally.  It's for the position of science technician in a high school in the village where my parents live - aka the place I was at school some 11 years ago.  There's actually another high school job I want more that I'm applying for - Art and Design technician in the nearby town.  Can't imagine a better job than spending 20 hours chilling out with art students in the art department at a school, but we shall see whether or not I can actually get an interview for it.  Need to book train tickets for the interview tomorrow. My credit card is already groaning.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 So, I was under the impression that all cis-women were wired up in such a way that they woke up from dreams of an erotic nature just before orgasm, however, conversation this evening has revealed that is not always the case, so I put it to you, Dreamwidth and LiveJournal; do you wake up pre or post dream orgasm, and what is your sex and/or gender identity (aka: whatever info you wish - or do not wish - to include here is fine)?

Anonymous posting is, naturally, enabled on both sites, so bombard me with responses, please, I'm fascinated by the concept.


askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (conor)
You could be happy and I won't know...

Is it too late to remind you how we were
But not our last days of silence, screaming, blur...

For the tiniest moment it's all not true
Do the things that you always wanted to
Without me there to hold you back, don't think, just do.

 
It's funny really, the way songs can make everything come rushing at you. I've written about this before, I know. And tomorrow I am starting another NaBloPoMo which this month means I'll be writing to prompts, so you can at least be assured I'm unlikely to write about it again, but I wanted to do a bit of a free writing blog post, working from an audio prompt*. So here we go...

And miles from where you are
I lay down in the cold ground
and I pray that something picks me up.

That's where I arrive, after that first lyric. Pick me, oh god please let something come and pick me up and return me to that place. Make the line "you could be happy and I won't know" a lie, make it something I create not respond to.

Increasingly though it's not her arms I want to be delivered back to - just someone. I miss that intimacy. Indeed I miss it so much I had a very confusing evening with my ex on Saturday where we fell back into a coupley-intimacy we rarely shared when we were actually going out. But then copious amounts of wine spritzers (yes, really. And no, I've never drunk one before) will do that for you.

In my dreams I keep saying "I love you" and then turning around to find out who I have said it to. Not once has it been Ali. Friends, family, acquaintances, strangers. But not once has it been her.

All of this is probably particularly confusing because the last week has been spent in a manic haze. The end of this period of nervous activity was bookmarked in the usual manner - I slept for an inordinate amount of time. Saturday night I went to bed at 1am, slept until 3pm, got up for 2 hours, napped for an hour and a half and then went to bed at 11pm - bringing the grand total of hours I was awake on Sunday to 6 and a half. An unremarkable 11 waking hours continues the trend today.

with a name I've never chosen
I can make my first steps as a child of 25....
just because I'm sorry
doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it at the tim
e

It's coming to that - I'm none of the things I wanted to be - would have chosen to be, but it's time to try and dismiss that nagging feeling of being some how displaced from my own life and attempt to forge ahead with what I have. I have contradictory feelings of regret (I regret I regret things I regret I regret anything, I regret nothing...)but there simply isn't time to sort through them. Somehow I need to just step out of the place I have been in for the last year and a half.

I realised the other day that I really do want to stay in Brighton and the move back to the East Mids if I don't get a job by September is a second choice, not a first one. But part of taking this step as who I am not who I want to be is going to be sucking it up and doing that if that is what is required to move closer to some of my longer term ambitions.

I've waited here my whole damn life
And I've forgotten what I wanted
Maybe I can do it
If I put my back into it

I am so saturated in regrets these days that I find it near impossible to look forward. But increasingly I am recognising that is what is holding me back. Or at least, I think it is a big component.

I've got one thing coming up next month - the ArtFor Pride exhibition - and I really want that to go well. I've got one painting sketched out to do on Wednesday and I'm hoping to get a couple of others done in the next few days as I have some holiday from work and apparently the weather is going to be shit so holing up in my attic room and getting on with it is a really appealing prospect.

It's the longer term which it remains difficult to envision. I need to let go of how things ended with Ali - no amount of self flagellation, soul searching or in depth analysis of the dynamics of our relationship is going to provide me the answers I was once convinced I would eventually find.

In slow motion the blast is beautiful

I think my Romantic inclinations are at least partly responsible for turning what was, in the end, a disastrous relationship, into something tragically beautiful. I rewrite my own history as some sort of tortured artist who creates the apotheosis of her academic career as the defining, life-giving relationship crumbles unacknowledged around her ears. Falling into a pit of alcoholism and despair in the face of a betrayal she rewrites as a refutation of everything good and pure in the world.

Except it wasn't that.  It was mundane, and yes, hurtful and distressing, but mundane.  Why is it that I can only understand my own history by writing it down and translating it into something more than the sum of its parts?  I need to learn how to make my life and my actions worth more because of their objective value rather than because of the value I can impress upon them through the smokescreen of forcing them into a neat narrative.


* Snow Patrol's Final Straw and Eyes Open.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
So, as the interwebz is well aware, Janet Street Porter is a class A prick. Her article in the Daily Mail (aka the Daily Hate, Nazi Daily and Toilet Paper) today is entitled 'Depression? It's Just the New Trendy Illness!'. Personally, I prefer to call it I'm Janet Street Porter and I'm a massive knob

It's hard to know where to begin when responding to an article so utterly motivated by ignorance, intolerance and downright stupidity, but I'm going to try.*

My family isn't so much 'touched' by mental illness as saturated in it. I try and count up the number of grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, siblings and cousins afflicted with anxiety, stress, depression or any of the myriad of other mental health issues and I very quickly run out of fingers. It's pretty much
all of us.

Janet Street Porter may be interested to hear, however, that my family are working class. They *are* shelf stackers, cleaners, care workers, caretakers, administration staff or simply terminally unemployable. Is their experience of depression, anxiety or stress any different to that of the middle class Street-Porter so doggedly condemns? No. Or, in the longer answer, yes. They don't have the ear of the media inclined towards them. They do not have the education of the people who write books (what's that, Janet Street Porter, you've written two books? Goodness, aren't you clever!) that sell thousands, they do not have the high flying careers that afford them the opportunity to talk about their depression/anxiety/stress on tv, radio and in the paper, but they do have the shared experience of insurmountable despair, blackest depressions, unmanageable stress and ultimately, the horrific isolation that is being diagnosed with one or all of these conditions and having to work through it; speaking to as few people as possible in order to minimise the outpouring of intolerance those words provoke.

I was delighted to read that depression didn't exist until just a few years ago. Presumably what I, and my relatives had been suffering until then was some sort of general malaise, perhaps a touch of ennui. Indeed I found it remarkable to discover, from Janet Street Porter's article, that depression didn't exist
at all in the sixties. I'm sure my Mother, whose first husband killed himself at the end of the sixties, will be most relieved to learn he wasn't suffering from depression as it didn't exist, no doubt he was just testing the strength of the tree branch with the rope he tied around it.

It's also been a delight to learn that 15 years ago that when my Father was forced to retire from the Police force - a job he had aspired to throughout his teens and was passionate about during it's execution, due to stress which he simply couldn't recover from whilst continuing to do the same job - it wasn't in fact stress that forced him to leave. No, as that particular condition is only an invention of the last 5 years he was in fact suffering from hypochondria! The wife and child under 10 who he placed in financial straights by his 'illness' were in fact callously endangered! If only he'd decided not to be friends with the people who were upsetting him, that would have fixed
everything.

Finally, it has been reassuring to see that had my eldest older brother been successful in his suicide attempt Janet Street Porter would have attended his funeral encouraging us, his mourning family to laugh! Because the world being rid of yet another misogynist bastard, another 'man [who has been] in charge of everything'. After all, the miserable mental state he was in, the continued non-existent self esteem that frequently prevents him leaving the house for days on end? All of that is, in her words, "
karmic revenge" on mankind.

But of course, my brother is gentle, and kind, and loving and, unfortunately, deeply unhappy. He is not a misogynist, he has never been in charge of anything, on account of being working class. He deserves none of the things the world has thrown at him. He does not deserve the chemical imbalance in his brain that foils his every endeavour. He does not deserve to die by his own hand.

And yet Janet Street Porter believes he does. And she believes I should be happy about it, she believes I should laugh.

The thing that perplexes me is why stop with a critique of depression, anxiety and stress? What about the incidence of OCD? Are all those sufferers just being pathologised for being a good housewife! What about schizophrenia? It's nothing if not an attention seeking wilful neglect of reality! Indeed, if we're going to argue that every disease that doesn't have the same rate of occurrence as a Brazilian slum isn't real then we better add anorexia to the list. Those skeletal boys and girls are just a bit too keen on exercise and attention seeking in their rejection of food aren't they!

It's perhaps rather reflective of my intrinsic belief in human compassion that I thought ‘articles’ like this were a thing of the past. I’m so, so unhappy to learn that they aren’t. Indeed the only positive I can seem to find is that I wish I was as lucky as Street Porter that neither I, nor my family or friends had been touched by depression, anxiety or stress and I could be so ignorant of it all that I could simply write it off as the new yuppie malaise.

*There have been lots of responses already in the blogsphere and in the press, all of them condemning Street-Porter as far as I can see, with this in mind I have decided not to tackle her on the 'facts' she presents, but rather the reasons the article enraged and saddened me, on a personal level
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
I have two songs absolutely wedged into my head. I think both of them say quite a lot, in one way or another. Indeed the second one I'm linking to is the one complete with the John Lewis advert that is currently running, because I think it's kind of beautiful. And I know that makes me woefully prone to the effect of advertising, but whatevs, I loves it. The first one is beautiful too, only more lyrically than visually;

We still lie together every night, while I sleep I dream that we're all right, if this is love I'd rather keep dreaming, you could never be an actress, I know the knife's underneath the mattress, if this is love I'd rather keep dreaming, dreaming like a fool
The Boy Who Trapped the Sun

Billy Joel/John Lewis


My Northern getaway is drawing to a close and I can say with confidence that I am in no way ready to return to the South. Life down there needs to change dramatically in the next few months or I simply don't know what I'm going to do.

Actually, I think I do. Will review life in September with an option until November to make a decision. Leaving Brighton being the question at hand.

Strange, I thought I loved that city, but a few days away with the situation that is awaiting me on my return? Not so much. "Lately it feels like we're drifting apart". That's the way with love, I suppose.

askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
So, in what can only be described as a predictable development, I have been signed off work with 'stress exhaustion'. As I remarked to a friend on Friday, I can and have continued to work whilst this stressed but it does not end well, and why make myself ill over a job I hate?

I've just begun reading Moby Dick and, like Ishmael, when I feel the hopeless melancholy and pervasive paranoia descend my greatest wish is to flee the soulless city for the wild and absolute anonymity of nature. I find myself in my parents house where the question of how I've come to have a week off work remains prominently unasked.

I'm finding some sort of comfort in the silence which envelops this house, only the birds break the silence morning or night. In the void left by city bustle, of course, rests my frantic thoughts. A lifetime of listening to the anxious nonsense which spills forth provides no help in trying, as I am now, to quieten that hysterical rambling.

On Saturday night I attended a family gathering for my Mother's brother's 70th birthday, it's been around 8 years since I have seen that side of the family and once again I was misrecognised as my brother's girlfriend; a peculiar and embarrassing mistake. My Mother's other brother asked me if I still wanted to do a PhD, I told him I was desperate to, he told me he anticipated it's completion so that he could boast about having a Doctor in the family. I smiled. I am the first person on both sides of my not unsubstantial family to go to University, an honour which seems to leave me irrevocably distanced from a family of the terminally unemployable and the lifelong incapacitated. It's odd to regret your success in that sense and harder still to sense the weight of pride which urges me on to gain appropriate employment and fulfil that most loaded of words, my 'potential'.

Which all leaves me firmly where I started, laying in bed at my parents house, reading a book by torch light wondering just how much the protagonist and I have in common. Am I, like Ishmael, fated to go down this disasterous road too blind to change course, too weak in the face of hopeless destiny to break out an original course?
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
Well my reading list here on dreamwidth has fairly well exploded as a result of the friending meme, the content is all delightfully varied and interesting but alas does not seem well suited to mobile browsing as most posts are longer than is comfortable to read. Alas alack etc. Time to get the laptop fixed and relaunch my online life.

I'm having a peculiarly exhausting week and have resolved that whilst I can at present do nothing about my depressingly bleak working life, slogging away as I am in retail, I should take the opportunity to enhance the quality of my free time. I have decided to begin reading, and in some cases, re-reading queer theory. If, as my ambition continues to run, I am to return to academia, this activity will at least keep me thinking in the right way. Lucky bloggers that you are I intend to post short reflections on what I'm reading and hopefully spark some decision.

Happily my brother selects books from my Christmas wish list at random and along with a Terry Pratchett this year I also got Mad for Foucault which looks to be a fascinating reevaluation of the roots of Queer Theory.

This brilliant plan of academic recreational reading coincides nicely with a period of insomnia. I say 'period' as though it's a fairly inoffensive blip but of course insomnia never is. I'm stumbling through my days like the living dead as countless people tell me "you look tired". Yeah, thanks. Getting to the point where I'm having memory blackouts, was I asleep? Did I dream that? How did I get from the kitchen to the living room? I'm quite sure the rats are taunting me, every time I go into the room they yawn and stare blearily at me from what must be the most decadent of comforts: a fluffy, urine scented, slightly holey, hammock. Ah the life of a rat.

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askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
a sky gone on fire

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