Thursday, 23 December 2010

still here (more or less)

You know what? In many ways I've had a pretty shit year.

It hasn't ended well. I have a new job in a new career and I've fucked it up. My future is in jeopardy, and people are not queueing up to tell me how great I am. It's tempting to look back at the last few years and list all the ways I've failed.

I'm a forty-one-year-old woman with an eight-year-old and a two-year-old and it's fucking hard. I've had to make hard decisions. About what, who, when to prioritise.

There was a time when I was sitting in a training session. I was invited to think about how I could make someone close to me happy.

I thought of one of my very-best-most-loved persons, who I had nursed through an anxiety attack only the night before, and who had felt so much worse when I told them how amazing they were. "Don't", they moaned. "It doesn't help."

"What can I do to make this person happy?" I asked myself. And the answer came, "Nothing."

So I thought about my son. "What can I do to make him happy?"

I considered the conversation we'd had. "I wish you still worked at home," he said after I failed yet again to pick him up early and save him from the parent-stealing tedium of after-school club. What could I do to make him happy? I could give up my new job, the thing that had me sitting here discussing what I could do to make people-important-to-me happy.

Not long after that I found myself in an office, crying, as someone senior to me listed all the ways in which I was falling short of expectation.

But I'm still here.

Not that anyone will read this, as I haven't been here for ages.

For the first time in years I have shaken with the wide jaws of anxiety open before me. Threatening all that they brought before.

But I'm still here.

This is a bloody stupid job. It destroys its practitioners, yet they come back for more, those endless streams of unthanked fodder.

But I'm still here.

And I'll still be here when I'm there. And I'll get there because I'm stubborn. And bloody-minded. And bloody bloody stupidly-fucking bloody stupid.

Anyway. It's Christmas, and a birthday, and bloody Christmas, and merry bloody stupid fucking Christmas bloody birthday to you all.



Queenie said...

Oh yes someone will read this. Someone who thinks you're amazing, whether it helps or not. So there. Bloody-mindedness rocks. And so do you. So there. Ner.

Gordon said...

Here's to the bloody-minded and stubborn, to those people who persevere, to the people who stick with things when they are at their worst, who lose sight of the good things they do, the qualities they have that others admire, and who will look back on these such times with a wry and knowing smile (and who, deep down, know it will be so).

And I too will say you are awesome. Bloody-mindedly awesome!

HelenMWalters said...

You said it, Honey. You're still here. And we're still here. And still thinking you're awesome x

Alice Turing said...

Aw, bless you - you are all lovely. You may have guessed that I was slightly drunkinated when I wrote this, due to being at a birthday party.


looby said...

A difficult FT job (with all its stresses), an 8- and a 2-y-o, and yet you still managed to get the book out - well done! Hope you enjoy Christmas and a few days with the people who really matter.

Anonymous said...

I'm also still reading (via the power of RSS feeds, admittedly). Here's to a better next year {raises glass}. Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush say things better than I can. Okay, a bit cheesy but you get the idea.

Alice Turing said...

A comment passed on to me by Rachel Thomasina:

"Ah, but with drunkinated comes passion! Your honesty leaves me breathless, yet again. I would like to join in Gordon’s toast.

What would have happened if the training session had asked “What can those closest to you do to make you happy?” The two year old could just smile, the eight year old could give you a huge hug and say he loves you anyway best of all mothers on the planet, and the one with the anxiety attack could get a bach flower remedy down his neck – they do actually work, even on animals (I mean it’s not placebo effect) and the stern employer could just give you a break and HELP and ENCOURAGE you instead of criticising. Then you could write the same piece again and see what came out!

And I think you’re amazing too.

Hope your actual bloody Christmas is a whole lot better than you expected....... xxx"

Jenny Beattie said...

You're too hard on yourself. It's bloody fucking hard JUST being a mum let alone having a tough job to do too.

I think you're brilliant.

JoeinVegas said...

Yes, I liked your book -
What's up with the job? Sorry it has not gone the way you expected.

Best wishes for the New Year -

Jen said...

Yeah. Wot the others said. Your kids are delicious and you're a cracking lass with bucket-loads of oomph and sheer bloody determination that I admire bigly. Seriously. You've really inspired me in many ways since we first met.

Wishing you as bloody fab a New bloody Year as you can manage without popping.

Kath McGurl said...

I read your book while on holiday over Christmas and loved it. You write really well - hope you are still writing! Sounds like you needed a virtual hug or two, or maybe things are better now? Good luck for 2011.

Alice Turing said...

Currently things are worse rather than better. But nothing ever stays the same. SOmehow or other I'll get through this.

Thankyou all for all the kind words.

Womagwriter, thankyou so much and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Sadly I haven't written for a while now and am not likely to either, but it's nice to have the vote of confidence.