Thursday, 24 December 2015

so here it is, merry christmas...

So, since it's Christmas Eve and all, and I've recently been reading Abigail Breslin's book This May Sound Crazy and completely loved her little rundown of her Christmas traditions and schedules and eh, I'm bored so I thought it might be fun to do a little rundown of what we often do.

Christmas Eve-usually my mother's up at the crack of dawn to get the turkey so usually I lie around in bed until about ten or eleven. Then, my mother's generally wrapped up in preparing for the Christmas dinner the next day, while I get ready for Christmas Day-washing my hair, picking out an outfit, etc. Then, generally, my mother wants the kitchen to herself, so my dad and I spend the day watching either a bunch of Christmas TV episodes or a Christmas film. My mum might pop in to watch but often we get relatives appearing to drop off presents and generally, we all end up sitting in the living room, watching whatever's on. (Today, it was Love Actually.)

In the evening, we go to church for the Christmas Eve service and we're so paranoid about the presents that we leave a relative there to watch the house. (Yeah, really.) We generally stick around for a  few carols after the service and then we get a takeout for dinner on the way home. When I was a kid, we used to just eat gammon my grandmother had baked for us, but the last few years, we've gone for the takeout. Then, we just spend the evening watching another Christmas film or some of the Christmas TV specials (right now, incidentally, we're watching the Not Going Out Christmas special.)

Christmas morning, we get up about nine then gather round in the living room to open the stockings and presents with cups of tea and the carols CD playing. Breakfast is generally quite a lot of chocolate and then my dad and I visit his dad and their family while my mum and her family help with the Christmas dinner at ours. We get back home at about twelve and then the afternoon's spent in front of the TV with gammon/prawns/lobster for snacks while we wait for Christmas dinner, which turns up at about six in the evening.
By the time we finish eating with the desserts, it's about eight in the evening and we then just end up opening more presents, singing karaoke, playing board games, and that generally goes on until about two or three in the morning.
Boxing Day-we just slump. Literally, it's the day of eating the Christmas dinner leftovers, and watching TV, while looking at the new presents.
If you're reading this, have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

a bizarre kind of rosary and chinks of laughter (on a day that we made happy)

I interviewed the amazing Carrie Ann, who is behind the hilarious Twitter parody account for Brooding Young Adult Hero, for Hellogiggles. You can check it out here, if you want.

In the meantime, today it was my mother's birthday. We spent the day curled up on the couch with my cousins, watching Have I Got News For You? L was tired. She's often tired these days. We counted out the illnesses we all have between us, like a bizarre kind of rosary:

OCD, depression, anxiety (generalized anxiety disorder), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, depressive tendencies, dyspraxia, dyslexia, arthritis. These are a few of our favourite things.

Those illnesses are shared out between just three of us kids and we're lucky enough to be in a family that can afford the treatment for each one. We're savvy enough, after all this time, to laugh about it, so we don't have to cry.

L being tired just meant she leant against me while we reading through Brooding Young Adult Hero's Twitter. C and K nestled on the couch while we all watched Have I Got News For You and K burst out laughing and rolled herself off the couch when we saw the scene of Ed Balls losing his seat after arguing with Dimbleby. We have an odd sense of humour, I suppose. A little bit of schaedenfreude.

It was a great day. It was surrounded by Christmas lights and family and the TV screen glowing. It was a day when the chinks of laughter could break through, despite our bizarre little rosary. It was still a happy day.

Friday, 18 December 2015

living in a song, with a blue streaked Christmas: tales of nostalgia masochism

I dye blue streaks into my hair for Christmas. When I watch the colour soak through in the hairdresser's, I feel like I'm in a Halsey song. I watch the blue streaks peeking through and I feel a little like me again. I find a replacement trilby and I feel like I'm coming back to myself. Sometimes, when I don't look the way I want, I feel as though I've been wiped away, as if the things that make me have gone, like a frame without a painting.

I've been writing. A lot. It's becoming easier, more of a world to disappear into. I've always loved writing but now it's the place to put everything down. When I'm angry, I relish the writing. I relish the chance to slap the traits and lies and evasions that I hate into a character. But then I end up exploring them. I have to understand them and even though I hate it, it's weirdly addictive.

I am now obsessed with this song. I cannot stop listening to it. It's something that I listen to while I work on my novel. It's that feeling when you find a new song and you know it's something you can hold onto a few days, a new anthem for your playlist.
It's a song that makes you sad and happy at once. It makes you, as Abigail Breslin says, "a masochist for nostalgia" and I want to scream at the whole world to listen to it.


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

strap a watch around your ankle and dye your hair blue (it's a wonderful, vile, messed-up place)

When I was younger, one of my friends used to tell me I reminded her of Cassie from Skins. I'd never seen it and didn't ask if it was a compliment or not. She said the same about Effy. Now that I've watched a few clips of them, I've decided to take it as one, even though that's probably not the way it was meant.

It's strange, having depression. I went to the Bootleg Beatles on Sunday night and could blog about that. The guy playing John Lennon had us sing "All You Need Is Love" for Paris and I could blog about that. I'm getting blue streaks in my hair in a week's time and I could blog about that. But instead, when depression climbs up out of the ether, that hangs over everything like a shadow but heavier. One bad thing can somehow outweigh ten good things, or pretend to, at least.

The worst part about depression is how hard it is to move. One task, like moving your hand to pick up a laptop, can feel impossible. You can see it in front of you, like a huge mountain you have to climb over. You tell yourself over and over to move but you can't, it feels like, because that's what depression does. It leaves you drained but when you try to sleep, it's almost like a physical pain, how bad you feel. Almost but not quite. It's worse because the pain is in your head and it's nothing you can touch and all it does is tell you over and over again how worthless you are.

Of course, some people don't understand or want to understand. Sometimes, you get strangers online who tell you you're using it as an excuse. "I've got depression" they say, snug in their knowledge of never knowing me. "Fuck you. You're weaponizing it." This'll be used in whatever disagreement I'm having with somebody. It's a wonderful place, the Internet. A wonderful, vile, messed-up place.

I could write a little more about social media and the person who actually went to the lengths of tracking down my blog just to leave comments but right now, I'm tired and drained and I can't be bothered. I'll post some screenshots of it in the next few days but suffice it to say this person (who was clearly so proud of themselves that they didn't dare post under an actual name) must have been pretty disappointed when they realised I have to pre-approve the comments that appear on my blog. That was a good decision that I made years ago, and one I don't plan on undoing any time soon.

In the meantime, I make a habit of finding a scene I like from a TV show and watching it over and over. Sometimes, just parts of a scene. A few lines, a few glimpses passed between two people that I catch and hang onto. This is the scene I'm watching over and over again, right now.

I'm watching that scene over and over again. Maybe I understand what it's like, not eating. Maybe I'll start wearing a watch around my ankle.