Sunday 13 June 2010

Running away from it all.

School wasn't a place I enjoyed being, often. The only times I "enjoyed" being at the juniors' school were trips to caves, museums or castles, or when we were allowed in the field on the hot days of Summer. OK, hot day of Summer. Apparently unusual for schools, the food was good. Very good. I always wanted to be liked, to have my company requested but it didn't happen, much. I was shy, quiet, didn't like to join in, feared being looked at, mocked and bullied. But I wanted to be a part of the games and fun and laughter. It wasn't all bad, but mostly, it was. I didn't like being alone and frequently, I sat on the bench or in a class, on my own, and cried. At home, though, I was a happy child. I loved being at home, with my family and our cats. The hawthorn tree in the garden made for a goalpost, a tree (obviously) and the other secure bit for the washing line which, in turn, was the basis for a tent made of a sheet and some old pegs. Brilliant! I loved that house. Still has the stained glass in the front door and side window. And I loved that tree. It's gone now.

One aspect of secondary school I didn't despise was P.E. - I know. I liked being outdoors far more than in. Perhaps it was the lack of sweat and 14-year-old B.O., and the sight of a road along which I longed to escape, to run home and away from that hell of a place. I wanted to be good at P.E. and be praised. Can you tell there were [are] confidence "issues"? But I did truly want to be good at it. Possibly, this is because I wasn't as good as I knew I could be. But I enjoyed doing it. My hypermobile knees and joints, generally, gave me so much pain, sometimes, especially the day after P.E. - only years later would I be told that I had hypermobility, which explained why I hurt so much for days. A bit late, say 8 years, but still...

Associations with school and activities done at school, which I hated, utterly, for a long time, inevitably led to my not wanting to speak French, or exercise, or learn. Horribly ironic, as I adore languages, being active and studying. Unfortunately, due to the now infamous "bad periods" - undiagnosed-for-10-years endometriosis - I was unable to walk at certain times, let alone throw myself 5 feet in the air over metal pole and land, ungraciously, on what looked like a giant's mattress. Shame really. Sounds fun.

I used to really enjoy cycling. No great distances, nowhere in particular, but the action of doing it. But my knees cracked. Well, not cracked, but there was air under the kneecaps and the air "popped" as I moved. Or something. Anyway, it was deeply unpleasant, so I got rid of my bike. It was very heavy, that bike. Nice, but very heavy. So, I haven't and don't cycle. I still would like to but that clicking and snapping in my knees is... eurgh.

Lately - the last few weeks - I've had dreams about running. Not running away from an unseen horror, or from memories of school. Just me, running. Or, rather, jogging. I know some people who do it, as a "leisure"/pleasure activity. In the dreams, I enjoy it so much that, when I awake, I feel disgruntled that I wasn't actually running. Jogging. Whatever. I've always thought I would "do stuff", like other people do, like work, drive, run, learn French (again), visit a country abroad, go to Glastonbury, move out of the family home and into a flat or house of my own. Or at least, out of the family home. But it's always "later", when "I'm ready". The problem with this thinking, though, is that "later", like tomorrow, never arrives. When will I be "ready"? How will I know? Will it be instinctive? Will there be a sign? Or do I assume everything will be all right one day?

The answer to that last question is: yes. I assume things will improve but neglect to admit to myself that I have to DO something(s) to make those changes happen. I remember how hard it was to get myself out of the depression pit when I was 15, and how hard it was to face the changes that had to happen to make my life worth living. It was one of the most difficult times of my life and things I have done. But I did it. That rut in which I found myself was a bad one. Depression seemed to grab me by the throat and cause me to hyperventilate whenever I thought about going outside. It put up a glass wall around my bedroom, which I managed to smash. And then it build one around the house. I desperately wanted to get outside but being there terrified me. And I can't even explain why. I don't know why I felt so scared of the outside world, of being alone, of travelling alone, having no friends, having no-one understand what was going on in my head... quite disturbing, as even I didn't know what was going on in my head. Or why.

I have to break these glass walls. There's no glass ceiling; I don't want to be a trampolinist. I want to run. All right. I want to jog. Not for races, not to finish first, but to "just do it". I want to be like the endurance runners, not the fast runners. I want to build my stamina. I want to exercise, to be outside, to see places and people and feel good about myself. I don't often feel good about myself. There's always something wrong, always something about myself to criticise. I don't want the attention, nor do I want praise for doing good, like the charity fund-raising. But I do want to do the things I've dreamed of. Literally dreamed of. Not all the things. I dreamed once there was a ladybird the size of our house (with the hawthorn tree) in the back garden and I lost my voice. Not keen on experiencing that for real, if it's all the same...

Most importantly, I want to run - through pain; remember endometriosis doesn't stop when a period stops. It carries on hurting every day, for me, at least, leaving me constantly tired and aching. Not forgetting my gammy knees, which (presently) hurt after standing in a supermarket queue for 8 minutes. So this isn't something I will be able to do easily. It will hurt me, I will be even more tired and I will wonder what the HELL I'm doing. Why am I going on about this? I want to run and be sponsored to get money for Breast Cancer Care and Endometriosis UK. I'm not starting anything yet; I'll talk to my GP, whom I trust, and see what he says.

But I will do it. I will run for me, for Breast Cancer Care and for Endometriosis UK. I will do this. And I may go to Glastonbury, after all...

Friday 4 June 2010

No show for Glasto...?

I'm not ready.

It's a simple, short, painful sentence. It's painful for me because I know, no matter how hard I try to convince myself that it's not as difficult or challenging or even emotionally demanding as I know it is, that it IS all of those things, and more.

I try to not pity myself, because when I see it in others' characters, I pity them, sometimes feeling unreasonable contempt for them and their ways of always seeming to be a victim. Poor them. Aw. Diddums. Et cetera.

But there are times when situations, circumstances, our health (or lack thereof) prevents one from working, or driving, or going to a festival one has dreamed of, literally, for years. I know, too well, that I am not emotionally or physically capable of going to Glastonbury this year, in a mere three weeks from me typing this blog entry. I have tried to convince myself that I could do it. Perhaps I could. For a few hours. But for me to be there for three days, not sleeping well, being among thousands of people, not eating properly, meeting new people and seeing and hearing things I may never hear or see again is, even more my imagination, a RIDICULOUS notion.

And that hurts me so much I can't even put it in to words. I've bought walking boots (very sturdy, very comfy and they look good, too!), a sleeping bag, an air-bed, very short bungee ropes to secure stuff, ear plugs, a new waterproof jacket, a folding mat on which to park my bum, train tickets and, of COURSE, my Glastonbury ticket. It's beautiful, with the exception of my face on it. It's so colourful, and with its shiny numbers, it's like a piece of magical twinkling Art, ready to take me in to the world of AMAZING, for memories to be formed and friendships to be made.

But I don't think it will happen. For as long as I car to remember, I have been shy, not confident, worried what others might think of me. What if they know I'm rubbish at talking to new people when I'm feeling generally bad? Isn't everyone like that, though? Doesn't everyone have times like that? Probably.

This Glastonbury, I will not have a wretched period and all its Satanistic agonies with which to contend, on account of my oestrogen-suppressing injection to help relieve me of my endometriosis symptoms. I can not guarantee I will be well for next year's festival. When I was awake early that cold October Sunday morning last year, I assumed and hoped (as always I do) that I will have made sufficient personal progress in order to "live the dream".

I haven't. And, this is not pity, but fact - I can not control my body nor can I say when I will have a period. Plans are scuppered because periods happen whenever. Not outlandish plans, either: to go to see the ducks at a local pond, or visit a museum not six miles away are simple, easy, enjoyable activities but so often, I end up not doing what I want to do. I don't want much. I'm not spoiled. I don't want a flash car, nor a grand house, nor a three week holiday in Marbella.

I want to not be controlled by my body.

I want to not hurt all the time, in some way or other.

I am so tired of being here, like this, feeling so tired, being so tearful about my ovaries and their hormonal attitude, buggering up so many days out, or walks through the countryside.

I am so tired of being humiliated by my lack of self-belief, because of depression caused by a malfunctioning womb and accompanying ovaries.

But "little steps" and "making progress gradually" haven't worked. Look at me. Tears are falling from my eyes because I feel stupid, like a failure after thinking I could do it and be "grown up" and do what other people do, every day, in every city, in every country in the whole world. But what if I can't do that? What does that make me? I see people doing jobs, driving, dancing in fields to music or no music, having the TIME of their LIVES and I want to be there, watching Rolf, Stevie Wonder, Billy Bragg and Cherry Ghost and, yet... I'm so frightened.

I just don't know what to do. Hysterectomy, maybe.

(Here endeth the self-absorbed crap.)