NaNoWriMo : Where I Possibly Upset A Few Folk By Calling Them Tampons.

Write what you know.

It’s a piece of advice that crops up time and time again, and yet it bears repeating despite being so incredibly obvious.
Met an interesting woman behind the counter at the local chemist? Voila! You have your rambunctious Madam at Ye Olde House of Ill Repute and Clap Ointment Emporium. The spotty teenager who has the shelf-stacking job at the supermarket around the corner? He’s Patient Zero, fresh off the first commercial space flight ready to infect the Southern Hemisphere with a rather nasty epidermis-melting plague that rapidly decimates the human population. Except the Australians, obviously, cos they’re a hardy bunch.

Literally anyone can be lifted from reality, moulded by your requirements, and utilised to make you a crap load of cash. Some woman once met a hairy biker with a passion for urban horticulture down the pub, and decided a few years later to write about him in a bunch of books, and named him Hagrid. That turned out pretty well for her, so it’s good enough for me.

So the plan is:
1) Go out.
2) Meet interesting people.
3) Steal them.
4) Do a bit of writing.
5) Sit back, count money, move to tax haven.

Except…

I’m an introvert with social anxiety issues.
I kid you not.
I don’t really seem the type, do I? But like it or not, writing about what I know would end up being a 100,000 word monologue on the latest exploits going down in my fish tank.(The harlequins are a rather pleasant shade of pink, much like a freshly boiled prawn. Whenever I sit, nose pressed against the aquarium glass, I can’t help but wonder as they dart around exactly what they’d taste like dipped in cocktail sauce. In case you were wondering.)
It’s hard to write about people when you generally prefer to avoid them. I didn’t always.I dimly recall social interaction in my distant past, but what can I say? People can be bastards and I’d rather have a nice evening in with cats. And by “evening” I mean “rest of my life”.

People, to me, are like energy tampons. Some are heavy-duty and you just know from looking at them that they’re gonna suck and suck, others are moderately absorbent and you can hold out a bit longer. My Hubby, bless, is more of a pantyliner. He can be around all day and sometimes I need him, and sometimes I don’t, but he’s reliable enough to not potentially give me Toxic Shock Syndrome ( which, incidentally, comes second in the list of most embarrassing ways to die, directly after “death by much too large object being placed up your own bottom”) . He also doesn’t take it personally if I sneeze and accidentally pee on him… but I digress…

So what do you write about when you have to “write what you know”?

Day 3 : The enlightening self-help book.

Whilst I may seem to be the glowing poster girl for mental health, I am in fact just a smidgen mental. I flit playfully between “slightly eccentric” and “within spitting distance of psychotic”, but I’m largely just a big ol’ pain in my own arse, and that’s kept me out of the local nuthouse. Sadly, a lot of Borderliners can’t say the same. The stats for self harm and suicide are pretty depressing. We’re a damaged bunch and often a lot of hard work all round. I like to think I’m worth the effort, though the voice in my head says otherwise. ( The voice is me, by the way, not Jesus or Satan. I’m not *that* barking. But I do go on and on, one long derisory load of bull that makes me want to slam my head in the fridge occasionally ).

What life-changing advice could I possibly offer?
Here’s what I came up with :

1) You are not your diagnosis. All is not black or white ( though your nature may be screaming at you to see it that way ), and this is just a part of what you are. It’s no more you than that cracking pair of jugs you’ve got, or that genius IQ, or the propensity to ingrowing toenails, or that ability to roll your tongue. Those are you too, but they shouldn’t define you either. It’s not something to be ashamed of, you didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to let the cheese slide right off your cracker, it just is what it is.

2) It’s vital to have a happy place, physically and mentally, and I’d heartily recommend sensory aids. Mine are:
a) My cats. My cats are freakin’ awesome. They’re just regular cats who do regular cat stuff ( nap, leave fur everywhere, vomit under the sofa ), but who *like me best*. Being followed around the house makes me feel like some sort of cat whisperer guru. You just can’t buy that sort of self-esteem boost.
b) Ice cream. It’s a cliché , but it works. Not that cheap nasty crap though. Buy the stuff that cost 4 times the price and that you have to hide at the back of the freezer behind the frozen spinach to keep the kids from eating it. If they want some they can just bloody well go buy their own. Freeloaders.
c) My dressing gown. It’s fluffy, huge, and it loves me. When I’m at my worst I’ll even go to bed in it, like some sort of onesie security blanket. Hubby hates it and says that it occasionally smells like a dead dog, but he’s just jealous of what we have.
d) My filofax and stationery. So I like to stick pretty stickers of frogs on stuff… don’t judge me! My extensive selection of washi tape doesn’t, and neither should you.
e) The sound of rain, and sitting on the beach. It’s probably a white noise thing, but it’s soothing in a way that medication isn’t. Not that I’m anti medication. If that works for you, then by all means take those babies and do it without feeling like some sort of life failure. People in pain take painkillers, same for you. Just a different drug.
Some people include photos of their kids, I don’t. Instead I include pictures that my kids have drawn for me. The distinction is very clear. The photos are a cause of stress when I’m already pushed to the max because it tricks me into thinking that I’m letting these kids down. Pictures that they’ve made for me, however, highlight that I’m doing ok. In them everyone is always smiling and Mama is always pictured biggest with a heart for a face and lots of kisses. Apart from the one where I’m depicted as a big ball wearing a bra. Not quite sure how to take that one, but I make sure not to walk around in my underwear anymore, just in case. Which, ironically, brings me to my last point …

3) Yes, you can still be a parent. Whilst a lot of Borderliners are the product of bad parenting themselves, you can step up and procreate without fearing for the sanity of your offspring. You’ll need a supportive partner. You’ll need to take turns and sometimes you’ll have to be absent whilst you go stroke your dressing gown behind a locked bedroom door. And you will, on occasion, stumble. But guess what? “Normal” parents do that too. It’ll be fine. Have faith in yourself, it’s half the battle.

OK, so maybe just a short book then. Less time reading, more time on working on it and taking it easier on yourself. I can live with that.

Tomorrow I may take a bash at erotica. At the very least that should do my viewing stats the world of good.

Photo post, totally devoid of photos.

Sometimes I find that if you need answers then asking someone else for their opinion and then passing it off as your own often works at a push. (  I say potato, you say Plagiarism … and totally ruin the song). Occasionally some moderate re-wording is involved, but basically all that tedious thinking stuff is bypassed, which is something I’m all in favour of… especially when I’m sleep deprived / hormonal / slightly mental / all of the above.

Cue the arrival of today’s Daily Prompt :
“Take a subject you’re familiar with and imagine it as three photos in a sequence. Tackle the subject by describing those three shots.”

Sorry… what ?

I’m familiar with a lot of subjects. My children’s bowel movements, for one, but I doubt very much you’re gonna want photos. Or you might. There are a lot of very strange and depraved individuals on the internet, or so my Mum tells me. But then she also tells me that you can catch a cold by not wearing a scarf, so she might not be the world’s foremost authority on Things You Should Take As Gospel.

So I read this prompt and thought “I know! I’ll ask the family”, though I thought for the sake of clarity that I’d simplify things a bit by asking them “What am I good at?”

Big mistake.

After a long and painfully contribution-free few minutes my children came up with these gems:
Brandon : Playing games on the pc. Papa works. You play.
Lily : Picking food out of your teeth.

Well, cheers guys. No really. No chance of my ego spiralling out of control any time soon here, no siree.
Hubby, on the other hand, has had considerably more experience with delicately tip-toeing around any potential emotional minefields, so he came up with a list of things that he thought I was good at and that wouldn’t shove me headfirst into a mudslide of floundering self-esteem issues. Good save.

None were quite right though. Gesture appreciated, however.

It came to me an hour or so ago. I was going to skip this prompt, but then I came up with an idea. An idea which isn’t particularly humorous ( sorry about that ), or witty ( oops ) or even entertaining ( *apologetic look* ). However, it is honest, it isn’t stolen and refurbished, and it isn’t 3 snapshots of broccoli-infested gums.

What am I familiar with?
I’m familiar with Depression.

Every now and then I write about being a teensy weensy bit mental, and in all honesty I’ve made my peace with the whole issue. It’s not something I’ve done wrong, I do my best not to be a complete nightmare for everyone around me, and I think I cope pretty well. In my opinion, all you can do is cope, and some times you do better than others. Some days it isn’t even an issue and life can be good and fluffy and sugar-coated-doughnutty. And then there are the days that are huge and crushing and there isn’t a pastry in sight… and those are the ones I’m familiar with.

So here are my photos.

Photo 1 :  Black. Nothing to see. Just endless, soul-mashing, lonely, unfathomable black.
Photo 2 :  More Black. It doesn’t end. It just doesn’t. Not ever.
Photo 3:   Black….. with the tiniest spot of grey in one corner. Because whilst the black is still huge and painful, there is hope. There is always hope. Sometimes you have to wait one photo for it… sometimes a whole album. But it’s there. So don’t give up, because you’re not the only one sitting in the dark… there are other people too, you just can’t see them. But when the tiny dot of grey comes you’ll realise that you were never truly alone. You just have to wait.

There you have it. It’s not particularly well worded, and in all honesty it’s not even a new concept, but it is easily forgotten. So if you find yourself sitting in the dark one day, remember that there’s a chance there’s someone else in there with you who’s also having a crappy time of it. But at least you’ll have less mashed vegetation between your teeth, and that’s gotta count for something.

The 52 Week Project. A demonstration of self-inflicted agony.

I hate photos of myself. It’s not that I’m pathologically vain, I’m just wired to pretty much sit in the corner of the buffet party of life and watch the other more interesting / prettier / younger / smarter / better dressed / well read do their thing. I’m a moderately amenable loner. I’m happy in silence and I don’t feel the need to cram it full of crap just for the sake of it. I’m embracing mental minimalism.

That said, I like to think I’m not a bad sort of chappie. I can hold a conversation and I’m genuinely interested in what’s going on with you.

But me? Well, not so keen.

So why on earth I decided to sign up for the 52 Week Project is totally beyond me.  A small amount of analysis has led me to these possibilities :

a) Phrogmom led me astray with her lovely photos

b) Maybe, just maybe, I’ll finally be able to take that in-focus, bright light, no hiding behind Photoshop self portrait that I’ve always wanted.

c) I really need to get more use out of my beautiful camera, even though actually leaving the house isn’t always an option.

d) I’m a masochist with Signing-Up-For-Stuff tendencies.

Anyhoo, this is this week’s photograph.

Right here, right now, this is how my not too friendly friend Borderline is making me feel.

However, being Borderline means that could all change in an hour. Fingers crossed. It’s too dark, too vague, and almost entirely unfocussed, which ironically is exactly how I feel.

A confession.

Usually when I’m blogging I write it all down longhand, review, spellcheck, review again, type it out, review, post, review and then spend the next 2 hours looking at my site stats ( yes, I *am* that neurotic ).

This post is not going to be like that. In fact, this post is going to be unlike any other post before or to come, and I hope that after having read it it won’t put too many people off reading any further garbage I may throw at you 😉

I have a problem. I can’t post.

It’s not like I have writer’s block, or I lack inspiration. I have loads of ideas and a little notebook full of scribbled bits waiting for internet immortality.

What I do have is *deep breath* Borderline Personality Disorder.

I’ll spare you the details of why I have it, it’s not really important, and I will stress that I have “multiple traits” as opposed to all-out BPD. Only someone who’s lived with someone with BPD will appreciate the distinction. I think it would be fair to say that BPD sufferers are hard to live with, I’m only hard to live with when I’m triggered. Otherwise I’m a bundle of light and joy 😀

Being Borderline has meant that I’m BIG on starting stuff. Insanely, passionately, obsessively keen on starting. But once it becomes a commitment we hit a brick wall. And it really is like slamming face-first into concrete. You can’t go around it, you can’t climb over it.  I have so much in my head that I want to do, my house is full of craft stuff stored away for when I can face actually using it, but I can’t. And I do mean that.. I can’t, rather than I won’t. It becomes a huge battle and I end up doing nothing, or worst still, I end up doing stuff I don’t want to do purely because it’s not a commitment.

I’m hoping with this post I can somehow keep this blog going, cos it’s becoming hard, but I really don’t want to drop it like I have so many other blogs before. It’s important to me that I do this, to see if I can. To show that I can. So some posts might be a lot smaller, but I hope you’ll bear with me cos knowing there are some people who actually subscribe to this nonsense is pretty important. Incredibly scary for someone with Borderline, but very important.

Thank you.

Michelle x