Run for your lives

It will surprise no one to know that I have always leant towards the dramatic. “Run for your lives” was my childhood catch phrase. Oft repeated as I tore around the garden sporting a cape made from an old curtain and fully prepared to assist Wonder Woman in the foiling of dastardly plans.

I am the living embodiment of making a mountain out of a molehill and a drama out of a crisis.

Unashamedly.

I do really well in a crisis. I’m majestic under pressure. It’s the mundanity of daily life which I crumble under.

There is, isn’t there always, a downside. I am prone to panic. My imagination knows no bounds. Helped along by my extensive reading, watching and listening to post apocalyptic, dystopian and the end of the world fiction.

Should my long suffering husband be 10 minutes later home than expected he’s dead. No not in a threatening I’m going to hurt you way. In a horrible accident, police at the door, sobbing widow way.

Now a sensible person would use the tracking app thingy to locate him or phone to check in. I carefully and methodically begin planning his funeral. Agonise over how I am going to tell the girls. Break out into a cold sweat at the thought of navigating the parents in law without an ally. All because he’s stuck behind a tractor on the A96.

I am conscious that this probably isn’t terribly good for my mental health. Let alone my cortisol and adrenaline levels.

I have been attempting lots of mindfulness and distracting myself with gratitude lists and the like. It has had absolutely no impact.

About a fortnight ago I was having a bit of a wobble. In an effort to attempt to settle to sleep I put on radio 4, only to hear a news report about the escalating conflict between India and Pakistan in Kashmir. Immediately, I go straight to – do they have nuclear weapons? Shit I think they both do. I’m now navigating my way through the post-nuclear landscape to Tesco to get a shopping trolly and head out like in Cormac McCarthy’s Road.

Sleep was not going to come. I switched on the light and wrote. A big list of worries. It was a much easier list than those gratitude ones I had been agonising over.

Climate change.

Brexit.

School places.

The employment prospects of my eldest daughter – she’s 13 at the moment so I have a while to worry about this one!

Will we ever chose wallpaper for the bathroom.

India and Pakistan. Syria. Sudan. Yemen. All the other places where my limited geographical knowledge lets me down.

All featured on the list. The very act of writing them down released me of the need to continue to bounce them around my head. I slept better than I had in ages.

My new bedtime routine has me skipping to bed. Where I perch, pencil poised ready to list all the things that want to keep me up at night. I’m having such fun. As was my husband, laughing at me.

Although he shut up pretty sharpish when I threatened to put him in the blue suit when the grey suit looks much better open casket. It would appear that actually telling people you have spent large chunks of time planning out their funeral doesn’t lead to them sleeping quite so soundly.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows

It might have been because I was wearing my bright yellow jacket and mahoosive rainbow blanket scarf. But I hope that an acquaintances recent statement that I was a bit ‘Sunshine and Rainbows’ was more a comment on my sunny personality and steadfast determination to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.

For the purposes of this post we are going to assume she is not a serving officer of the Fashion Police and that my similarities to Pollyanna were being noted.

It is a description I like. One that I have every intention of putting to use the next time I need to describe myself. However, I’ve become aware that I’m guilty of vastly differing standards.

I will go out of my way to smile, chat and engage complete strangers. Make a conscious effort to remain positive and ensure that I am talking kindly and sending love and light out into the universe. Words are powerful, with the ability to help people soar or to tether. We manifest what we speak. The stories we tell shape. I am mindful that I want to project kindness not only to those I love but further, much further.

With one small, I previously would have said insignificant, exception. I treat myself like shit.

I criticise, admonish, disparage, undermine and downplay myself all the time.

I’ve only been aware of it for a couple of weeks and I feel so sorry for me. Hell, if a friend’s partner treated them the way I treat myself I’d be telling them to leave the bastard and helping the packing. I’d probably even put clean bedding on my spare bed and move them in. No, Mother-in-law the bedding would not be ironed, I still do not iron.

It’s hard to break a habit. I’m taking little steps, often. Refusing to beat myself up if I catch myself, well, beating myself up.

I’m writing daily gratitude lists to remind me of all the good in my life. Yesterday’s was:-

  • Surprise french fancy for the Bake Off. Best husband ever.
  • Denim pinafore and all the witchy brooches. Halloween is my favourite.
  • New make up contained an extra product that I wasn’t expecting.
  • Knowing that writing calms me. Thank flip I’ve got something. Today was tough.
  • Surprise Throne of Glass book. Might have forgotten that I pre-ordered that.

At least once a day I am making a conscious effort to prioritise myself over everything. It feels ridiculously decadent to say ‘sod it I’m giving myself a manicure’ when the house is a tip, the girls are engaged in guerrila warfare and the dog needs walked. It makes me feel like some kind of feminista rebel. One with beautifully filed nailed and tidy cuticles.

I am working really hard to speak to and about myself the way I would a friend. Remembering that just because it’s said to garner laughs does not make it kind.

The one causing the most hilarity is affirmations. To date I have done an awful lot of laughing in the bathroom mirror. I’m really visual I need to see myself as I repeat affirmations, hence the mirror. I am going to persevere until I can look myself in the eyes and believe

I am creative. I am powerful. I am confident. I am Sunshine and Rainbows.