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All posts for the month October, 2012

A mint, a scratchcard and a baby

Published October 31, 2012 by crazyinpink

It’s all been a bit doom and gloom around here lately.  Sorry about that but there’s no use pretending I’m strong when I’m really not.

I’ve felt incredibly sorry for myself lately and, yes okay, things have been pretty crappy but I need to give myself a good shake and sort my head out.

Brief update on last post:  aware of the many, many things that were/are going wrong in my life (daily pain, feeling faint from not being able to eat due to said pain, car repeatedly failing MOT and therefore not having a car, troubles with Best Friend…to name a few) I forced myself to go into the office on Thursday.  I borrowed my mum’s car to get there.  Best Friend was a) shocked that I had turned up, b) anxious to know why I had fallen off the face of the earth for a week and c) slightly alarmed by my attire (fat jeans) and my messy hair with zero make-up.  I should point out at this stage that without make-up I look like a vampire, pale waxy skin, dark circles under eyes.  In fact, it is a constant struggle to find make-up pale enough to match my natural skin tone.  Maybe one day there will be a make-up range expressly for girls who resemble Scandinavian vampires…

Anyway.

Best Friend, upon realising my state of mind, tried his best to cheer me up.  This didn’t really work as I opened feedback for my Masters dissertation and promptly started crying (it did not go well, but that’s a whole other story).  I went outside to pull myself together and returned to find him standing awkwardly in the middle of the room holding his arms out to give me a hug.  Aware of his own limitations when it comes to social conventions, he then offered me an everton mint.  In his own odd way, he was trying to do something to help.  I then had lunch (well, I didn’t actually eat) with my Toyboy.  He didn’t have any mints but did give me a scratchcard in a bizarre effort to cheer me up.  The day got even weirder when I went to pick up my friend Chel who had offered to come with me to support group.  Her mum came out and summoned me in.  I was then handed a baby, my friend’s one month old niece.

My friends are very odd but I appreciated their random efforts to make m smile.

In responding to a comment on my last post, I started thinking about how the people in my life must see me.  It brought back something that happened about a month or so ago.  Toyboy and I went along to the young adults’ group in church for an evening of ‘Prayer, Praise and Pancakes’ (utterly awesome title, don’t ya think?) and by means of an ice-breaker we each had to reveal some facts based on playing cards.   We each had to pick two cards from a deck and whatever suit you got determined what you had to reveal.  Hearts = something you love, diamonds = something that’s precious to you, spades = something you’re working on and clubs = something you struggle with.

My two diamonds represented my education and my health.  As I said health, I saw a look of surprise in some of my friends’ faces.  I explained that when you have such bad health, you learn to appreciate the good days more because you know what the bad ones are like.

I think it might have been this statement that prompted one girl in the group to pray specifically for me during the first short time of prayer.  I know that people pray for me and it is something I am very grateful for but something struck me as this girl prayed.  It was like she got everything that I go through and exactly what I needed.  Her prayer was so sincere that it made my eyes a little leaky.  I never knew she was so aware.  I’ve said before that I have only recently been making an effort to talk honestly about my condition and I don’t spend that much time with the group because I can’t always do everything they plan.  It really touched me.

I’m so thankful for my friends, their caring, their prayers and their own bizarre ways of helping me.

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“…I’ve been living with a shadow overhead, I’ve been sleeping with a cloud above my bed…”

Published October 22, 2012 by crazyinpink

I had hoped that the cloud above my head and the pain in my tummy would pass by quickly and the next time I posted, I’d be back to my positive, smiley self.  Unfortunately, I was lulled into a false sense of normality before another wave crashed over me.  I feel like I don’t even make sense anymore so bear with these awkward expressions of what’s going on in my world.

Settling into life as a PhD student is difficult, more so than I thought it would be.  It’s very isolating, you just have to go off and do your stuff while also attending all these academic things so you’re seen to be a serious student.  I guess it’s tough for me to get going because I’m doing something I know next to nothing about.  In most cases, a PhD is the ultimate expression of your research interests so you already know a little about it and want to take it further.  With me, I’m doing mine on something somebody else picked.  I have no idea what I’m doing and have, like, zero motivation to actually do it.

The excitement of moving into my office lasted all of three days until it became clear to me that while sharing an office with my Best Friend is great in some ways, it’s also a giant pain in the ass.  Great because he ignores my random habits and lets me pace around when I’m too sore to sit still.  Pain in the ass because we are spending way too much time together and living in each other’s pockets.  He’s actually started accidentally calling me ‘mummy’. :s

On top of that, he says things when it’s just the two of us in our office then says the exact opposite when we’re with other people.  Mainly this is over conference organisation stuff, he takes credit for my ideas, takes on all the work when in reality we do it together and constantly contradicts me in front of the others.  I don’t even think he knows that he does it.

On Friday, after our committee meeting, a group of us went out for lunch.  Since I still seem unable to handle actual meals, I ordered the smallest thing on the menu.  I ate my four chicken goujons while everyone else chowed down on burgers, pizzas and steaks.  Then I felt that all-too-familiar twinge.  After a while of fidgeting and squirming at the table, not even paying attention to whatever stupidly intellectual conversation everyone was having, I went outside.  I had intended on just getting myself together for a few minutes and returning.  I stayed out for twenty minutes.  Eventually, someone came to find me.  It wasn’t even Best Friend.  It was a lovely American girl who got my bag for me, sympathised as she has a long-term health condition.  She’d even heard of endometriosis and gasped in horror when I said that that was what was wrong with me.  She offered to walk me to my car but Best Friend insisted that she didn’t ‘waste anymore of her time’.  He walked me through the park to my car, barely speaking, letting me carry my bag and coat.  When I had to stop for a minute and steady myself, he pointedly looked at his watch and sighed.

I was already fighting back tears from the pain but I couldn’t understand why he was acting like this.  I thought we had moved on from the days when he didn’t get it.  I thought he understood, or was at least trying to.  I told him to go back and he disappeared without a hug or look back.  He never contacted me to see how I am (though I got a lovely facebook message from the American girl).

I feel so hurt.  What happened to the guy who not two months ago was asking me all kinds of questions about endo and how it affects me?  It’s like he can only be sympathetic when he has the time to.

 

Anyway, I’m slowly lifting myself out of whatever fog has been gathering around me lately.  Maybe things like this wouldn’t bother me so much if I were feeling myself.  I’ve spent time with some friends and although I don’t like moaning and complaining to people, I’ve tried to be more honest about how I’m doing.  I think that’s helping me a bit.  It doesn’t feel so much in my head now.  Feeling down is so exhausting, I want my optimism back now please…

Breaking down in public

Published October 10, 2012 by crazyinpink

People tell me I’m strong.  I like it when they do because it implies that they have an appreciation of what I have to deal with in my life.  I also don’t like it because it makes me feel like a fraud.  Sometimes I don’t feel like being strong.  Sometimes I break down and can’t see how my life will ever be what I dreamed it would.  I haven’t felt very strong lately.  There are a few reasons for this.

The Guy

I did a Brave Thing and asked out the guy I like thirteen days ago (now that I’m counting or anything) and he hasn’t replied.  Not only am I hurt and rejected but I also can’t help but feel a bit stupid.  I really thought he liked me and not in that way girls usually trick themselves into looking for ‘signs’ and hidden meanings.  We got on really well and he used to invite me out with his friends, tease me, help me, always took an interest.  I’m as guilty as anyone for over-analysing men (or ‘manalysing’ if you’d prefer) usually just for a bit of a laugh.  I’m not an OTT giggly girl who NEEDS to have a boyfriend in order for her life to have meaning.  I’m not even someone who is desperate to get married the older they get (although I know a lot of people like that).  If anything I’m hopelessly pragmatic when it comes to seriously considering a relationship.  I love flirting but actual relationships I take seriously.  And when I weighed up everything I knew about him, I thought I was making a good decision with this guy.  He can be quite shy and I thought I’d go for it since I no longer work with him and I won’t be seeing him any more.  But I got it wrong.  And now, ironically, I realise how much I like him and how I miss hanging out with him.

The Conference

Best Friend and I were asked to organise a conference to be hosted by our university next year.  This conference is held at a different university every year, I’ve been to the last three, Best Friend to the last two. We were advised to have a committee to help us.  Our committee met for the first time last week.  Aside from Best Friend, the rest are girls in their final year of PhD. Most of them are lovely and very helpful.  But one has already made it clear that she doesn’t like me.  I don’t know whether it’s because I’m ‘new’ and a first year in a position of authority, though I have the most experience.  It could be because I’m on such friendly terms with the staff and have contacts throughout the university.  There are few parts of uni where I have not worked at some stage over the last five years so I know a lot of people as our staff member on the committee was quick to point out.  It could just be because I am the complete opposite of her.  She is rich, I am poor. She is serious, I have a pink Little Miss notebook. She is married with her own house and grounds, I am a single girl who still lives at home.  Her attitude throughout our meeting made it clear that she thinks I am not someone worth listening to. It didn’t upset me really, more made me think ‘what have I got myself into?’ I have to work with these people for the next six months.  I’m only starting my PhD career, I don’t need enemies already.  That night I went out with my Toyboy and watched the latest Will Ferrell movie then had a McDonalds.  My mood was considerably improved after this.

The Concert

Saturday night was a big concert with my choir and orchestra.  I turned up to soundchecks raring to go but my good intentions quickly evaporated when I discovered that I was sitting in the far corner of the stage.  It was actually a separate stage a good foot lower than the rest, added on the end almost as an afterthought.  There were no lights or microphones and my two fellow sopranos and I were surrounded by altos. We couldn’t even hear the rest of the choir and could only occasionally see the conductor.  This isn’t a big deal except that this is always what happens at concerts.  The last three years my friend and I are always put into the back row at the end as if we’re distant relatives that no one wanted to invite to the family wedding so you seat them as far away as possible from everyone else.

Pain

The last week or so I have really struggled with my pain levels.  Sometimes it seems to operate in weird cycles, like for a while it’ll constantly wake me up in the middle of the night or just appear at a certain time in the day.  At the minute, it seems to crop up just after I’ve eaten. On Friday I had lunch with a friend and barely half an hour after I’d finished my pasta I was bent in double over the table with painful spasms. I was already a bit cheesed off at the concert on Saturday then I discovered that I couldn’t eat any of the tea provided for us.  It all contained fish, eggs or cheese.  My friend ate an egg and onion sandwich and found a bit of shell in it so quickly decided she wasn’t eating any more.  Her boyfriend was called on and arrived soon after with some chicken nuggets for us which we scoffed in a darkened room so we wouldn’t get caught.  In our usual pre-concert prayer meeting, I felt the familiar twinge of my ovaries deciding they were going to wreck havoc on my body.  I spent the twenty minutes before we went on stage alternatively hunched over and pacing, trying distraction techniques to help relax my muscles. The heat patch I slapped on in the interval did no good and by the time I came off stage I was wrecked.

I completely broke down in the dressing room and the tears started.  My friend quickly pulled me into a hug and let me cry onto her shoulder.  I don’t often cry in public so when I get teary it freaks people out.  I just felt so worthless.  I was exhausted and couldn’t keep up appearances any more.

Have you ever kept going even though you want to stop?  Fueled by the thought that everyone thinks you’re strong so you mustn’t let them down by showing a sign of weakness.  I just want to curl up and watch old episodes of Friends until I feel strong again.  Right now, I think I need to let myself feel weak for a little bit.

 

One Lovely Blog Award

Published October 8, 2012 by crazyinpink

Not only am I completely flabbergasted by another award from the ever awesome Rachel at doilooksick but I am so excited that it’s pink!!!

one lovely blog award

If you are one of the nominees for the One Lovely Blog Award you must do the following:

– Thank the person who nominated you and link to them in your post.
– Share seven unknown things about yourself.
– Nominate other bloggers and blogs that you like or admire – 15 or so if possible.
– Contact the bloggers you nominate to let them know and to link them back to your post.

My Nominator: Rachel is beyond cool.  She is a wonderful, inspiring girl who kicks butt on a daily basis.

Seven things about me:

1. My favourite colour is pink.  Hot pink to be exact. It is my signature colour.

2. There is a Spanish hot chocolate drink called Cola Cao that I am obsessed with.

3. I have a red acoustic guitar called Betty and a pink electric called Penelope.  I wish I had more time to play them.

4. My favourite Disney princess used to be Ariel but then Tangled came out so now it is a very close tie between Ariel and Rapunzel.

5. I’ve always loved the Rapunzel story.  This might have influenced the fact that my hair is three feet long.  When it does what I want, I love it.  Other days it is just too much trouble and I wear a hat. (Luckily, I suit hats)

6. I’m a bit of a Harry Potter nerd. I read the series at least once a year and every time I enjoy it.  When I am hanging out with guy friends I feel a lot like Hermione.

7. There is only one type of cereal I like which is this awesome maple and pecan cluster stuff.  My brother then decided he liked it so a box went from lasting me a week to lasting a day.  Now I bulk buy three or four boxes at a time and leave one in the kitchen and stash the others in my bedroom behind a bookcase.

My nominees:

1. http://andreahughf.wordpress.com/

2. http://endohope.org/

3. http://painfighter.wordpress.com/

4. http://ohwhatapain.wordpress.com/

5. http://lamartin91.wordpress.com/

 

 

Now that I’m (apparently) a grown-up…

Published October 1, 2012 by crazyinpink

I officially became a PhD student four days ago.  And, suddenly, it is as if I’ve stumbled past the fur coats and into the magical world of adulthood.  Doing a PhD means you’re serious, you’re intellectual and you are somehow wiser than you were when you were finishing your Masters two weeks ago.  At least, this is the impression I’m getting.

Exhibit A:  There is a guy at uni, a third year PhD student, who has always treated me with disdain and condescension.  It all started over two years ago when I was giving a paper at a conference in Dublin and happened to be in his panel. He took one look at my pink dress, blonde hair and shiny lipgloss and decided I was a bimbo.  In a world where grey is not just a cultural source of excitement in its current literary form but an unspoken uniform for ‘boring academics’ with bad shoes I do tend to stand out.  I’m used to people making a snap judgement and talking to me like I’m five.  I know that after one tutorial with me or academic discussion, they backstep and realise they were wrong and actually, I do have a brain underneath all this blonde hair.  But not PhD guy.  He listened to my paper, even asked to see a copy in writing, and has continually met me at academic events since but has always held fast to his original impression of me.  But at some point over the last week, he has decided that I am worthy now that I have ‘PhD candidate’ after my name in the university.  And other people have been treating me differently too.  The transition from Bachelors to Masters was nothing like this.  Everyone just accepted that spending another year at uni was my way of hiding from the big bad job market. But now…it seems that they see me in a whole new light.

It has made me wonder if maybe I should see myself that way too.  Therefore, I present my PhD Resolutions both serious and ridiculous because, in reality, that is exactly what I am.

Now that I’m a grown-up…

1) I will not just go to academic functions for the free coffee and biscuits but will make an effort to ‘network’

2) I will buy a pipe that I never actually smoke but will sit in my office for me to chew on while I’m thinking deep thoughts

3) I will decorate my office in pink because that is who I am and to hell with the boring beige people

4) I will memorise one important-sounding quotation and use it in every situation when I don’t know what to say

5) I will recite this quotation while staring off significantly into the middle distance

6) I will find a way to incorporate Victorian crime writing into my research so I have a viable excuse to be in the same room with Benedict Cumberbatch

7) I will write everything important down in a notebook because thanks to all my medication I will forget something important

8) This notebook will, of course, be pink

9) I will stop waiting for things to happen and make them happen myself (Note: I put this into action the day I got my new student card, with an expiry date of Sept 2016, scary.  I decided that I would ask out Butter as we no longer work together and it would resolve whatever it is that has been going on between us.  It’s now four days later and he hasn’t replied)

10) I will stop worrying about whether or not I am eating too much chocolate because clearly, there are more important things for my brain to be thinking about.  And chocolate cures all things.