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The Sitcom that is my life

Published November 22, 2012 by crazyinpink

You probably wouldn’t even believe me if I told you what I’d been up to in the last few weeks.  When I tell various friends and amigos they give me that “You’re making this up, right?” look.  But I ain’t.  My life and the lives of those around me have just been so crazy lately that I’m thinking of writing a sitcom based on our experiences.

Here are a few of the subplots of late:

The One with Losing the Big V

A friend of mine sleeps with her boyfriend for the first time.  In fact, her first ever time.  This friend, Bella, decided earlier this year that she needed a man in her life, despite having survived the past 27 years pretty well without one.  Enter the dizzying world of online dating and the various catastrophes associated. A brief relationship ensued only to end after a month because the guy turned out to be a cowardly lion.  Cue depression and endless questioning.  Bella has anxiety issues and last year had a breakdown.  After a grieving period, she threw herself back into online dating, texting numerous guys simultaneously and generally behaving quite erratically.  We watched nervously, waiting to swoop in and rescue as she became glued to her phone, having combustive text arguments with a guy she hadn’t even met. Then, suddenly, one came along who wanted to be her boyfriend.  Things were obviously moving fast as a week after they first met, Bella asked me for tips on oral sex (no idea why she came to me as I have never partaken). But it was still a surprise plot twist when, meeting for our regular weekly coffee, she announced that she had slept with him.  And was not handling it well. At all.

The One with the Bisexual Boyfriend

As if the Bella storyline wasn’t enough, another friend had drama of her own when she returned from a holiday to discover that her boyfriend had multiple dating profiles on gay sites, actively looking for hook-ups.  Ellie had met her boyfriend through the choir that we both sing in.  He made it obvious one night at a concert that he was interested and relentlessly pursued her through facebook til she agreed to have coffee.  Soon enough they were facebook official.  Ellie wasn’t completely head over heels but figured that she would give him a chance.  He, on the other hand, was overly keen, lavishing presents for their one month anniversary and talking about hotels for wedding receptions. Ellie went away on holiday and decided that she just didn’t feel that way about him.  Before she could actually meet him to break up, a gay friend of hers admitted that he had found her boyfriend on a dating site. Not believing it, she looked for herself and found at least five different sites belonging to him with various degrees of detail and pictures of an inappropriate nature. Completely shocked, she turned to me.  I then had two women reeling from their love lives.

The One with the Office Politics

Sharing an office with your best friend might sound like a dream but in reality, it is anything but.  Settling in to life as a PhD student is tricky and it is only made more difficult when you share an office with someone as bewildering as my Best Friend. It has only been a month but we’ve already had our fair share of ups and downs.

Scene One: I get told off by Best Friend for not attending research seminars often enough and then get a second lecture by grumpy PhD guy who doesn’t like me.  I leave for the research seminar half an hour early although it is literally across the road.  BF questions this and I tell him that I need to get a seat in the back so I can fidget. “Don’t fidget then” I have to, those seats are so uncomfortable and hurt my back. “But your back seems fine now” Yes, but sitting in those chairs for an hour and a half will make it sore. “You’re so over-dramatic.  I think you just decide when to be sore so you can get out of things.” *exit scene before I punch him, followed by hour and a half seminar during which I say all of zero words to him*

Scene Two: I enter the office Monday morning after a meeting. I see BF has already been and left his stuff in. On my desk lies a paper bag with a post-it on top. It’s from BF. Inside the bag are two yummy buns from the bakery, something nice for me because I am always doing nice things for him. BF returns about an hour or so later, by which point I am sitting on the floor as it is more comfortable than my chair.  He chats away merrily, occasionally dropping on the floor himself to tell me things. After a while I get up and stretch, hands on my back.  BF is watching me and asks why I stand like that sometimes. When I explain that I stand like that (the way pregnant women stand supporting themselves) because it helps, he scoots over in his chair and starts rubbing my back.  He says that he has seen men on tv do this when their pregnant wives are in pain and asks does it help. I cannot even register if it does help as I can only think bout the fact that his hands are on my lower back, my very low back, dangerously close to my posterior. The rest of the day is filled with touchy-feely gestures, hand holding and hugs from him as I remain utterly bemused and start wondering if he’s done a Dr Jekyll-type experiment.

 

I could go on but I really need to practise my paper for the conference tomorrow. Oh yes, I still have to function as a normal PhD student in the midst of my drama-filled life.

No new storylines are allowed to happen until after this weekend.

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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.

 

I get by with a little help from my friends

Published September 7, 2012 by crazyinpink

The last few days have been quite stressful.  I am still no closer to making a decision on what to do with the rest of my life.  Yes, I’m being melodramatic but my PhD will be my baby for three years and will determine my future career. It is a big and scary decision.  Yesterday morning I was leaning more towards PhD B until I had a meeting with my supervisor (and mentor).  Best Friend and I expected Supervisor to remain neutral and not try to influence my decision.  We were so wrong.  He immediately started expounding all the benefits for PhD A. Part of me thinks he just doesn’t want to lose me and wants me to stay at my home uni. But another, more rational part, knows that he has obviously been thinking about me and what is best for me.  He has always had my best interests at heart and I wouldn’t have achieved what I have without him.  

In fact, the last few days have shown me just how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life who really care about me.  I just wanted to record my appreciation of them so that next time I’m feeling down I can look back on this and realise how awesome my friends are.  In no particular order (as they say on tv talent shows), here are some of the things I’d like to say to my amazing friends.

Toyboy

Thanks for going out with me on Tuesday night and making me laugh.  At times you are like a little ray of sunshine and you make me smile. Other times I want to slap you, especially when you vowed to find my mysterious blog.  I’m sorry I ever let it slip that I have one.  I know you probably spent ages trying to find it, I hope you haven’t but if you’re reading this now, GO AWAY! 😛

Best Friend

I’m so glad we are back to normal again after all the weird sexual tension earlier this year and the awkwardness that followed. You have been a really good friend lately and I really appreciate you trying to understand me.  Thank you for talking to me on the phone for hours trying to help me make this decision.  Thanks for not trying to sway me even though I know you don’t want me to leave you.  And thanks for all the odd emails and texts you’ve sent to try and cheer me up.

Fairy Godmother

You are my newest friend and yet I can’t imagine not having you in my life. You were so amazing about the whole Butter thing and continue to support me even when I’m not making any sense at all. Thank you for dropping what you were doing to visit me in work yesterday just cause I said I needed a hug.  Thanks for being there when I need you. 

Al

Even though our lives are completely separate now and you live in a different country, you still sense when something’s wrong.  I can never hide anything from you (do you know how annoying that is?) I was so glad when you popped up on facebook chat and let me moan to you for a while. 

Butter

I still don’t really know what’s going on between us but you seemed to sense that I just needed a friend yesterday.  It’s hard in work to get a private moment but I know that you were worried about me.  I had tried to hide the fact that I had been crying but you saw a tear track I had missed and wiped it away. You held my gaze and I knew that you wanted to make me better. When someone else appeared the moment was gone but you passed me a tissue and tried to make me smile. Thank you for being a friend to me even though you didn’t know what was going on. 

Church friends

Thank you for always being there when I need you.  I know we don’t hang out as much anymore since I stopped being a youth leader but you always have my back.  I can always ask you to pray for me without worrying that you’ll judge or question me.  You are such great listeners and I value all your prayers and words of encouragement. 

 

Basically, my friends are the bee’s knees.  I should really tell them that more often.

Skipping in public

Published August 22, 2012 by crazyinpink

Yesterday, I had an after-work thing with Butter.  It was quite unexpected.  It wasn’t a date or anything but I was so giddy afterwards that I actually skipped for a bit.  In public. 

I don’t know what came over me but on a random trip to the kitchen, I stopped by Butter’s desk and mentioned that I had a few hours to kill after work.  I asked him if he was free to go for a coffee or something.  A momentary flicker of surprise crossed his face.  He quickly said yes and invited me to come round to his since he lives near work.  It was at this point that I realised what I had said.

Now, back in my Jam phase, I used to agonise for hours over how to casually suggest a casual cup of coffee with him.  Casually, of course. I spent 9 to 5 planning what to say, practising how I was going to say it.  I never worked up the nerve to actually do it.  When I eventually asked by text, I got a polite brush off.

Yet, there I was.  Only days after I stayed late at work on Friday afternoon just to keep Butter company as he waited for a package to be delivered.  I loitered and chatted for more than half an hour after everyone else had escaped to the pub.  It was great to be on our own and not be constantly interrupted. Somewhere in the midst of our conversation he gave me his phone number.

Yesterday afternoon passed in a state of anticipation.  I was simultaneously impressed by my own spontaneity, excited about hanging out with him away from the office and anxious about how awkward it could be to go to his house.  We would have to walk there with Jam to the house where they both live. Was it going to be just the two of us? Or would we be in a strange ‘friendzone’ trio?

In reality, I needn’t have worried.  At the last minute, a technical issue meant most of my team had to stay late to rectify it. That meant Jam.  So, Butter and I set off together.  We had a pleasant walk out of work, chatting away.  I pointed out a milkshake place I had been to a few weeks ago with a nearby gym that had a balcony.  It had proved quite hilarious to sit and drink milkshakes while watching poor souls lunge and squat just across the street.  He suggested we go there. 

I went on ahead as he popped into his house, literally a stone’s throw from said milkshake place. He, for some inexplicable reason, got changed.  We sat for over an hour talking.  It was really nice and really easy. There were a few quiet moments, mainly when we were both too interested in our milkshakes but it didn’t feel awkward.  It was great.  When we parted, I had to go to a friend’s, he was going to football, I contemplated hugging him.  I didn’t, a huge group of people on their way to a gig came at us at that precise moment. 

I walked slowly back to my car.  I was grinning to myself and had that giddy feeling I haven’t felt in a long time. It wasn’t a date but it was the closest I’ve had in a while. Caught up in my own head, I forgot myself and skipped a few paces. My phone beeped. Still, grinning I checked it, assuming it was my friend I had been texting earlier.

It was a tweet from my Fairy Godmother. Thanking me for covering her shift in work and saying I was such an awesome friend.

Tiny bubbles of guilt fizzed in my giddiness. I haven’t spoken to her about this whole thing yet. Nothing had happened between Butter and I. But I still felt guilty.  I had asked him on a pre-date. Surely that’s a violation of the code of sisterhood. She told me a week ago that she was over him. She still has no idea of the feelings I’ve realised I have. I’m seeing her on Friday and asked if we could meet up before the scheduled event (a treasure hunt) to catch-up.  I have to tell her how I feel. Nothing can happen until I do. Nothing might happen anyway. I just have a feeling… Our paths haven’t crossed much in work today but I caught him glancing at me repeatedly while talking to someone a few desks away. Daydreaming early, I imagined how our goodbye might have been if I had just hugged him.

The giddiness is back. I just need it to de-carbonise.  

When to give up on a crush

Published August 8, 2012 by crazyinpink

I can’t believe I’m even thinking this but I’ve been mulling it over in my head for the last few days.  I think it might be time to call it a day and let the sun go down on my flirtationship with Jam.

Last week, I asked him out for coffee.  He had to work late that night and so asked if we could reschedule for this week instead.  I managed to wear down my boss by constantly annoying him and wangled my way into getting a couple of hours of work. (Result!)  I saw Jam on Monday for a few hours and I’m currently sitting facing him but nothing has been mentioned about it.

I think the fog-crush has lifted a bit. I’m beginning to think that maybe all those little things that he’s said or done that I got excited about haven’t been signs that he liked me at all.  He is a really nice guy and he is positively lovely to everyone so him being so nice to me perhaps wasn’t such a big deal.  

And anyway, since my return to work someone else has been a lot nicer.

Butter instantly asked me how I am after surgery and, although he doesn’t know the technical details of my health problems, was asking me all sorts of questions about what happened and my future treatment.  In my experience, its only ever my closest friends that care enough to ask in-depth questions because they want to try to understand what you’re going through.  The fact that he had picked up on little things I’d mentioned on ‘bad days’ and was genuinely concerned when I had a ‘really bad, nearly ended up in hospital, mascara all down my face’ day, really surprised me.  No one in work has ever really strayed into the sticky subject. Except, of course, my Fairy Godmother.

Ah. The Fairy Godmother element. I could never be the girl who goes for a guy her friend has a thing for. I don’t even know if I necessarily want to pursue this intriguing new aspect of my love life. The rumours are rife that Butter is fond of me and there was that time he asked me to come with him and Jam to the cinema. I didn’t know what, if anything, I wanted from him. Then last night, after a weird date with Lucius that involved a moonlit walk singing Disney duets, I dreamt about Butter. The details are hazy but we were definitely together and I was really happy.

Dreams, of course, don’t mean anything…though, my first boyfriend when I was 15 was the result of me having a dream about him, telling a friend who then gave him my number. I came into work this morning in a new dress I’ve only worn once before. I told myself it was to distract from the fact that my hair needs washed.  But I had a jittery anticipation in my tummy.  I really wanted to look pretty today. Then, Jam arrived and greeted me.  I realised that the jitteryness was still there. Before I really digested this, I heard that Butter is off sick today and I felt a wave of disappointment crash over me.

Now I’m trying to work out exactly what is going on in my Tramadol-filled head.

Yesterday, I considered drawing a line under the Jam episode and start trying to move on.  Last night I had a great evening with a friend and even noted when he kissed me goodnight how easier things would be if I had feelings for him.  During the night, I dreamt about another guy and woke up happy.  Today, I just don’t know anything.

Unemployed and unimpressed

Published August 1, 2012 by crazyinpink

I am now, to all intents and purposes, unemployed.  It was only a part time job but I’ve worked there for nearly two years and I’ve always loved my job.

For some reason, I was excluded from the latest rota and when I asked why I was told that there simply isn’t enough work for everyone at the moment.  Last week I begged for some hours but was again refused.  I don’t know what I’ve done wrong to warrant such treatment.  I am far from impressed.

As I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of girl, I’ve decided to look on the positives.

First of all, I have more time to work on my dissertation.  I sent the first chapter of it in on Monday.  6,000 words.  As unbelievably geeky as it is, I quite enjoy my research and I loved weaving it together to tell a story no one has heard before.

Secondly, I will be okay financially because I know that come September I’ll be bringing in a steady salary with my PhD studentship.  I’ll get paid at the end of August for the few days I worked in July so its only really the end of August and beginning of September which will be tough.  But I’ll cope.  I’ll cut back, no more magazines or fancy coffees.  I’m not going to be a Scrooge or a hermit.  I’ll still hang out with friends doing cheap things, crazy Tuesdays cinema outings with sweets from Poundland, movie nights at my house.  I’ve also taken on another tutoring student so that’s a little bit extra income.  I’ve arranged for my direct debit to be temporarily reduced. And, most impressively, I finally managed to chase up the prize money for an award I won in March but never received the cheque for. So, all things considered, I will manage.

Thirdly, and the most petrifying, I have been forced to do something about my confusing, stalling love life.  The last month or so has been quite bewildering as I’ve found myself in a bizarre love square.  The original situation was that I liked Jam and my friend, Fairy Godmother, liked his friend, Butter.  I am friends with both guys, although I find it easier to talk to Butter.  Then the office was buzzing with the rumour that Butter liked me.  Even Fairy Godmother suggested it.  The week before my operation, Butter invited me to the cinema with him and Jam.  I already had plans but what an awkward situation.  I have grown rather fond of Butter but I have had a crush on Jam for months so I think that I should persue that line of inquiry before even considering what to do about Butter.  I’ve been telling myself that I couldn’t ‘make a move’ on Jam or even hint that I liked him as more than a friend because we work together and it would be awkward if he didn’t feel the same.  That’s not really an issue anymore.   So, last night, after thorough discussion, I texted Jam to tell him that I had some time to kill between researching and meeting some friends to see The Dark Knight Rises on Thursday (tomorrow) and would he fancy meeting up for a coffee or something after work. He hasn’t replied and I don’t feel very confident that it’ll be a positive outcome.  But I think it’s better to find out exactly what is going on with him before addressing the Butter problem.

Finally, recovering from the operation has taken it’s toll on me.  I have been so tired since.  I’ve also been trying to work on my dissertation, though I have been mainly working from home but I now have to go to the archives to get some research done.  One of the wounds has become infected so I’m on antibiotics and takng salt baths daily.  Typical really.  I have such a low immune system, I pick up infections like pennies in the street. It’s not as sore as it was but I think I’m going to have a pretty impressive scar on my belly button when it eventually heals. I’m actually quite relieved I don’t have to worry about 8 hour days in work on top of everything.  There’s a lot whirring round in my brain since the operation and it’s revelations.  I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to sleep (which is normally something I have a natural talent for) because I just can’t shut up my thoughts.  Maybe I should take up Legilimency…

An unusually deep conversation

Published June 20, 2012 by crazyinpink

As seems to be the way of it lately, I had a lot of boy news for my workmate (and Fairy Godmother) after the weekend.

I had gone to the barn dance at church on Saturday night. My first dance partner was a five year old boy, then a man in his 40s and his girlfriend dragged me up for a trio dance. Although a group of us were there, the rest mysteriously disappeared when the dancing started, leaving me and Dan, an extremely quiet guy around my  age.  There were high hopes for me and Dan to get together when the young adults group started about two years ago, but I was just starting my romance with Mickey at the time.  Anyway, after both of us being pulled up by random people, we decided to be dance partners.

The first time we went to awkwardly hold hands, there was a tiny electric shock. We pulled back and I laughed nervously, suddenly struck by how brown his eyes were. We learned the dance and as we waited for the next instructions we kept holding hands, even though no other couples seemed to be. The two of us swung around, held hands, promenaded and all the rest for the next few songs before taking a break, walking back to our seats still (yup, you guessed it) holding hands. Dan is a nice guy, the quietest guy I’ve ever known.  I used to think he just didn’t like me as he never really spoke to me then I caught him smiling to himself at all the stupid things I say and realised that he had a wee twinkle in his eye and seemed to be the only one with my sense of humour.

We spent the rest of the evening either sitting talking or dancing together. When the others eventually returned they were all winking and grinning at us. I’m not entirely sure of what was happening.

But wait. I like Jam, don’t I?

This was essentially what prompted the discussion with my Fairy Godmother. I know that I like Jam (butterflies don’t lie) but then there are all these other guys that keep coming in and out of focus. On Monday evening we continued talking about all the men and how I felt.

In an uncharacteristic move, I found myself saying that I think I’m ready for a serious relationship. I’ve always been a bit Chandler-esque about committment in the past, loving the chase but not the couply phase.  Now I think I’d quite like to see what a long-term relationship would be like. It’s just finding someone to have that with.

I worry sometimes about finding someone who can handle me.  I’ve never been ‘normal’ and I don’t know how to be the perfect girlfriend.  I don’t necessarily need a boyfriend, there are too many girls like that, I’m happy enough being single. I know who I am and I know what I want from life, if I get married then great but it’s not the only goal I want to achieve.  I would love to have kids but I know that with two diseases festering in my woman parts, that might be difficult if not impossible.  How do you go into a relationship with that knowledge? Holding a bomb and deciding when to detonate it. Too soon and you could scare the guy off.  Too late and you might be too invested in the relationship.  Even besides the whole baby business, my condition, my treatments, my lifestyle.  It’s taken me three years to come to terms with it.  I found out that some friends just couldn’t. I’ve yet to find a guy who could.  Someone who would understand and take care of me when I need taken care of.

I spilled my guts to my Fairy G and she said she hopes I get that relationship and how great would it be if I found it with Jam. Then she said that if I find it with Butter (Jam’s friend and housemate upon whom she has a bit of a crush) then I have her blessing. I found this strange but she said she had a feeling that something might develop there.  As if I wasn’t already confused enough.