Conversations this morning

Because we’ve been specializing in bizarre today:

Motley crew of characters I drive into work with most mornings:

Me – a passenger

Person in the car #1 (P1) – the driver

Person in the car #2 (P2) – another passenger

Conversation One

Me: “I think it should be illegal to have to get out of bed on days like this. Or the sofa with a duvet. I’d be quite happy to work if I could do it from the comfort of my sofa with a duvet and a cup of hot chocolate, not going into some stinking portakabin.”

P2: “Well get some of the easy chairs and take them into the PM’s office and shut the door.”

Me: “But I don’t have a duvet….. Can we stop at Tesco in Carmarthen on the way?”

Cue laughter

P2: “In fact, you could lock the door if people are disturbing you too much and make loud grumpy noises at them when they knock on the door.”

Me: “Yeah! I also need a collection of stress balls I can throw at the door so they make a satisfying thunk but won’t hurt when they rebound and hit me on the head.”

Because seriously, that’s what would happen if I decided to live this scenario.

Conversation Two

On passing a lorry stating it was a “Milk, Cheese and Egg Merchant”.

Me: “I miss the days when being a Merchant really meant something. I know I wasn’t alive when being a Merchant really meant something, but still… I miss those days. When you had a boat or a few boats and you traded in things and there were busy, dirty docks, your life was lived on the water and it was all industrialized y’know. ”

P1: “Yes they’re more distributers these days aren’t they?”

A pause ensues whereby I ponder in my head rather than out loud as to whether or not at 30 something dramatically changes inside and you become a member of the grumpy party. As I get closer to 30 I realize that I spend a considerable amount of time thinking about when things were different or I’m ever so slightly more intolerant of something. I’ve started to think this is dangerous. Papers on a Sunday morning and babies (my sister’s baby – steady now) are an attractive prospect, sometimes more so than dancing and a night out.

I remain mostly unperturbed though; since I spent quite a lot of time on a see saw this weekend. I figure as long as I’m mentally five things will be okay.

Conversation Three

On arriving behind a transit van which boasted, “David A. Snickery Limited: Roofing and Restoration Specialist.”

P1: “Hmmmm, he’s a specialist, not even a Merchant, or a distributer but a Specialist. But what is he a specialist in?”

Me, in a humorous smart alecky tone : “Well, roofing and restoration…”

P1: “Restoration of what though? Roofs? Buildings? Garden Machinery? Fine Art?”

Me: “Morris Minors? (since we had just driven past two)”

P1 laughing: “Yes, Morris Minors?”

Me: “Dustbins? People? Picture frames? Statues?”

More giggling and wondering over Mr. Snickery’s restoration abilities.

Me: “Perhaps he’s a Goblin Hunter! David A. Snickery Limited: Goblin Hunter.”

P1: “How do you get to Goblin Hunter?”

Me: “Well, if he’s a statue restorer and the Goblins have been gobbling the statues* then he’ll have to catch the Goblins in order to restore the statue.”

“Goblins, can be a pain in the arse you know. If you’re a statue. And you have an arse.” I say with some authority.

P1: “Most statues I know have an arse. Since most statues are of people and everyone I know has an arse.”

Me: “Well you never know – they may have had a prosthetic arse…”

And that Ladies and Gentlemen is why you should either a) feed me coffee or b) let me sleep in the mornings. Otherwise I shall babble on about merchants, goblins and prosthetic arses mindlessly for an hour and a quarter.

P2 has also offered to be my agent once I’ve written the 7 book series about Mr. David A. Snickery: Goblin Hunter.


*This is an old one. We drive past a war memorial statue every day and it has been boarded up for the past year at least. Quite often P1 muses at the reasons for this to which I always reply, “I’ve told you! The Goblins are gobbling it!”

This is normally followed by an eye roll from P1, but hey! It’s my imagination and it keeps me company.



Tuesday’s dead*

The attack of grumps appears to have lifted and that is good.

It was accompanied by some epiphanies, which are hard to document whilst in the middle of assessing applications for payment, but I can say that this helped.


Reminded me to give myself permission to be where I am right now and that the “shoulds and shouldn’ts” running around my head weren’t being particularly helpful, even though they were trying with the best of intentions.

Helped me identify some stuck that I didn’t even know I had.

And perhaps I have a little insight into my seemingly permanently inflamed throat glands … but that’s a conversation I’ll need to have at another time.

Right… back to work. Hey ho, hey ho, it’s off to work we go …

* I’m not being morbid, that’s actually one of my favourite songs.

Grumpy Monday

And so begins the week of the grump.

A continuation of last week in actuality.

GAH. I’m a bit fed up of being stuck here on this building site – surprising as that may sound.

I think I may need a holiday.

Or a different site/ job.

In the absence of either – any ideas?

Dominatrix/ Super Hero – one or the other.

Last week I wrote about finding a dominatrix in my shoulder blades and promised to continue the story.

I left off explaining that I could not, under any circumstances, send my dominatrix into a rock and be done with it, so today I’m hoping to explain why.

Fear craves reassurance and recognition.

It holds a powerful message for us and is usually created in an effort to protect us.

It is our survival tactic.

Havi writes about this, Robyn Posin writes about it, Jen Louden writes about it and now… there’s me writing about it!

To be sure, in the company of the great wisdom and love that these other women write I’m not sure about the job I can do, but I’ll do my best.

We’ve been taught to deny our fear for many different and complex reasons, so rather than protecting us it now scares us. We are fearful of the fear.

Ultimately this often means we can’t hear the message it holds, we cannot see the situations it wishes to protect us from and it ends up creating stuck and patterns like crazy while we are tearing our hair out screaming, “AAARGH!” (Okay, that could just be me, but that’s okay too.)

So it shouts and shouts and shouts. We still don’t hear it.

It creates bigger blocks and bigger drama.

“Look at me! Look at me!” It pleads, as we gaze blindly with desperation in the other direction.

Finally it settles down into a good old temper tantrum, because fear has the communication skills of a two year old toddler.

It holds its breath and threatens to kill you.

It screams and lies down in the supermarket aisle after pulling all the produce off the shelf, leaving you feeling embarrassed, desperate and wishing to god you could just walk away refuting all claims it has anything to do with you let alone belong to you.

Fear, it is fair to say, can be one huge bloody pain in the ass.

Or the shoulder blades in my case.

Unless you change tactics.

When you give fear a chance to be heard it stops playing up pretty quick.

So that’s why, when I asked my big ball of tension if it was afraid I was trying to deny its purpose it transformed in the fierce dominatrix woman and delivered its message loud and clear.

Why, when she delivered her passionate response, I realized there was no option to send her into a stone. I had to listen to her message or put up with anxiety related tension in my back until I did stop and listen.

It seemed a clear choice to make.

Let’s hear the rest then:

Fierce Woman (FW), glaring at me – no glowering at me: “You CAN NOT mess up. I hold on so that you don’t mess up. You always mess up. It is always your fault. You have to hold on so tight because of this. On no account, can you Mess Up.”

Me: “Wow FW! That’s a pretty clear message you’ve got for me there. Am I right in thinking you are worried that I am going to mess up?”

FW: “Uh yeah! Dur- I just said you always mess up didn’t I?”

Me: “Yes you did and I’m glad I heard you right because it means I can get to the bottom of this, I think. I remember as a child feeling scared and alone and worried I would do the wrong thing, because it seemed that whatever I did was the wrong thing, because I wasn’t having such a happy time of things. I know that as an adult I’ve continued to take responsibility for those feelings, blaming myself for other people’s actions and assuming that if I do things in a certain way I can be protected from the rejection I felt so keenly as a child. This is something that does cause me a lot of worry I’ll admit. Am I right therefore in thinking that you are the guardian of these things? You are there to protect me from the pain of rejections?”

FW (not glowering quite so much now that she realizes I’ve given up trying to send her into a rock): “Yes. I don’t want you to hurt. I desperately don’t want you to hurt. Hurt is overwhelming and makes you feel so rotten. If there’s a way to avoid that then that’s what I’m here for. We can avoid the hurt by making sure you don’t mess up.”

Me: “Thing is, my back right now feels like a prison. I feel locked up in this way of being and unable to move from it. It makes me tired and anxious. I am always worrying about things. This doesn’t feel much like protection to me, it actually feels like it’s not doing me much good. It doesn’t feel like you’re a guardian, it feels like you’re a prison warden.”

FW jangles the keys on her hip and shrugs nonchalantly.

Me: “I’d like to take this chance to apply my “my shit/ their shit” theory to things if you don’t mind, to see if we can see a way around things here. Do you mind?”

More shrugging and jangling

Me: “Okay, is it possible that people weren’t actually rejecting me? Is it possible that they behaved as they did towards me because of their shit? Is it possible that as a child I could not reason this and therefore assumed responsibility for their actions; I assumed I was not loveable, I assumed I was not wanted, I assumed I was no good at making friends and that this was all my fault? Is it possible, now that I’m an adult, I can look at the circumstances and see that probably I was just confused and no one realized this because they were wound up in their shit? It doesn’t stop the hurt, the hurt is still there and that is fine (hello hurt *waves*), but it does take away having to take the blame for my hurt and having to hate myself for the hurt. What do you think about that?”

FW starts to squirm a little and look at her toes: “Uh huh. Yeah. Suppose.”

Me: “Okay, good. Because I like that way of thinking waaaay more than thinking I’m not such a cool human bean. I like it because it allows me the freedom to be myself without having to worry everyone will hate me for it. I don’t have to worry so much that being me is not so acceptable. The other thing is – I like that you’re a guardian.”

FW looks up, a bit surprised at this since she’d started to think she was headed for the stone now, and interested too because well, what’s going on here then?

Me: “Yup. I do. I’m quite cool that way. Remember how I gave another part of my fear a wendy house? See? So I was wondering if we could think about a different way to protect me maybe? How about … a golden bubble shield? Yes, I quite like that. How about if you were a Super Hero, a fantastic, sexy Super Hero who protects the good in me and helped me make discerning choices about people and stuff so I don’t get hurt by being blindly trusting and hoping like mad anyone, don’t care who, just anyone will love me? How about that?”

I look up to see her quite transformed – little skirt (belt?), boots, skimpy top, hair band thingy and cuffs – oh yes cuffs. Long wavy hair. Hovering on jet blasters, with the competent strength I imagine Boadicea had, waiting to see off the baddies.

The keys are gone.

We’re having tea together next week. Awesome.


You may now officially call me Aunty Wormy

May I introduce you to my gorgeous new niece?

I give you…. Natasha Jean Gifford. I prefer Monkey Potato Millicent Giffbug but apparently my sister does not agree with me.

Can’t think why. But she can be odd like that.

She was born in the wee hours of Saturday morning and my sister is my hero for going through 28 hours of labour to produce a (quite big) peanut (okay, human baby) weighing a stonking 9lb 8.5oz!

Personally, I’m a little bit in love and I don’t think she looks like a Monkey Potato at all. She’s called that because I thought she would, most babies do to me you see.

So that’s why I’ve not been updating here over the weekend – been otherwise distracted I’m afraid.

I have a Dominatrix in my shoulder blades.

I learned the funny way that asking my body for specific feedback is not the most productive way to engage in dialogue with it. So last night I went about it in a whole other way.

The conversation wasn’t a new one, I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep but my mind was too busy and my body too tense. With my eyes closed and in a position I found comfortable (I’m no purist, I’ll meditate curled in a ball if I need to) I took all the busy fluff out my mind and put it into some imaginary pebbles which I then threw into a steam to be carried away.

Ahh, a little peace in my mind now. But my body! Ooof my body! Ouchies.

I’m beginning to see a correlation between bad days and stressiness/ anxiety/ worry. It’s background stuff, not specific – more like I’m holding on too tight.

It takes an enormous amount of energy to hold on that tightly.

Like cliff hanging or holding onto a lamp post when you’re being blown off the ground by a big gust of wind.

A couple of nights ago I was unraveling myself in a similar way when I turned my attention to my shoulder blades. Immediately I had a mental image of this ball of stuff all wrapped up so tightly together that it was near on impossible to unravel it.

It was like one of those elastic band balls but it had paper clips, pens, bit of paper- you name it -all wrapped up with it. I got the impression that man, this stuff has History.

Anyway I think I then fell asleep.

However, last night I brought my attention back to that ball of tension but it felt like a band of tension now. Across my shoulders round the front across my chest and up my neck. Stretching out my awareness I realize this tension flows like a tight sheet down my back too.

So I tried to send it into a stone. Because I do stuff like this.

It told me where to go, and that’s where the conversation started.

The Conversation

Me (In my head, obviously. I wouldn’t be so loony as to do this out loud): “Okaaay, so no stone?”

Big ball of tension (BBT): “NOPE! No way… no effing way” (Foul mouthed BBT to boot.)

Me, thinking to myself : “Ah crap, I really need to go to sleep. How bloody inconvenient that this won’t go into a bloody stone. I’ve got to talk to it now.”

Me, to the BBT: “So what’s up then?”

BBT: “Not much, this is what I do, this is where I live, what’s all the fuss about? Eff off and leave me alone – that would be nice.”

Me: “Well I kinda need to go to sleep and you’re keeping me up.”

BBT: “Meh.”

So I got thinking to myself about the BBT. I was thinking, “Hmmm, it’s a little odd at how much resistance the BBT had to going into a stone. It just would not budge. Seems pretty familiar to me this, seems to me like fear, and well we all know by now that fear likes to stick around to protect us. Generally it does this by being spiky and not so helpful.” Soooo…

Me: “Would you be worried about me trying to get rid of you by any chance? Worried about losing your purpose? I’m guessing you have a Very Important Job round these parts and I’m being a bit ignorant trying to send you into a stone?”

BBT: “Yes. That would be right.”

Me: “So, what do you do then?”

Suddenly the BBT transforms into this fierce woman, dressed like a dominatrix, whip snapping, hair scraped back. I tell you she is FIERCE. I’m kinda scared.

Fierce Woman (FW), glaring at me – no glowering at me: “You CAN NOT mess up. I hold on so that you don’t mess up. You always mess up. It is always your fault. You have to hold on so tight because of this. On no account, can you Mess Up.”

Goodness! FW really hates me. She holds me responsible for everything that happened to me as a kid. Everything that I’ve been trying to avoid since I grew up and decided it didn’t have to be that way anymore.

Suddenly the tension makes sense, the layers make sense and I realize why it is imperative that I do not send my Fierce Woman into a rock. Why I cannot.

to be continued…


Yesterday I spent most of the day in a bit of a state after leaving work because I was so tired it made me cry.

At work. In front of my boss. On a construction site.


Of course it got me thinking about having M.E. and not being able to accept it because it’s a fucking bastard of an illness which has no rhyme or reason.

It is never easy to accept things that make no sense.

The thing is that if something doesn’t make sense, my first response is to blame myself.

I realized I was taking the illness very personally. Any tired attack was being viewed as my fault and so I brought my thinking (albeit amongst many tears and gulped breaths) round to the idea that perhaps this wasn’t personal.

Perhaps having M.E. and suffering the symptoms is not my fault.



In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not.

I realized that like any chronic disease there’s probably no cure that will work for everyone and that there is a lot to be said for learning to manage it.

Like Asthma, like Diabetes, like any other chronic illness that has to be managed so that it doesn’t interfere with your life too much.

I realized that I’m good at managing my Asthma because I was taught well, from a child. I didn’t have to figure it all out by myself.

I began to wonder about a CFS clinic – perhaps there is one in my area? I should ask the Doctor.

Acceptance doesn’t mean being happy with the fucker.

It also doesn’t mean stopping swearing at it – because by god it deserves to be sworn at.

Acceptance doesn’t take away the fear that I may become an old woman at 27, stuck in my bed unable to be with my friends.

It doesn’t stop me crying because I hate that I may have to contemplate giving up all the outdoor sports I love and do because I love them not because they keep me fit.

Keeping fit sucks.

Riding a mountain bike down single track through a forest that is whispering secrets to you while the wind rushes past your ears, filling you with a desire to whoop and holler is bloody good fun.

It makes my blood fizz.

I don’t want to have to stop. I won’t. So na na na na nah.

Acceptance does allow me to reason that I don’t have to do this alone and that I can learn to manage.

Gently I can allow myself to experience the inevitable learning curve that this will provide. I can look at the bad days and see that these do not represent failure but rather a glitch. A glitch which will pass and I will adjust.

Realizing this is a learning experience means I don’t have to be so hard on myself.

It allows me compassion when I’m scared by a bad day because bad days make me worry my world is ending.

Acceptance allows me hope.