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My mum bought up four boxes of my old memories. Abi and I were having a good giggle at my diary from 1993 until we got to the moment in it my dad beat my mum up - the defining moment of my childhood. Then I realised how young I'd been then, how stupid, how I'd just glossed over it with endless tales of school romances and breezy friendships. But after that there was less written in the diary. I changed schools and everything was broken. The next year, I started having sex and taking drugs. The rest really is history.
So I'm still going through the boxes, and there's letters from Lydia, valentine cards from Paul and Adrian. Then Mogsy came up for a kiss, and I thought, is all this stuff interchangeable, the cat, the best friend, the boyfriends? I promised to love so many people forever. And all the way through, there's just writing, writing, writing, the only thing that ever kept me sane. And now write for a living, it's hard to write for fun. Everything I write seems throwaway. But I know without it, I wouldn't survive. My writing, being a writer - it's the consistent factor.
So yesterday I had cognitive behavioural therapy for my eating (another consistent factor of my personality). But does it have to be? I cried during the session, which I wasn't expecting. Does my eating define me? Can I become a better person if I change my eating? Can a person change? I think I can. Why would I keep trying otherwise? It's the intelligent part of myself that knows I have to wake up. It's that childish part of myself that goes back to the safe, avoidance tactics. And no wonder I wanted to be safe. Now I am safe.
I think I have too strong a sense of injustice, but I wouldn't invite two conflicting people to a party, I'd choose the one I liked better, or who I thought was in the right, and sack off the other one. As it is, I'm in a tricky spot today. And I want to say goodbye because my friend is going for two years, but I don't feel like being polite to someone else who hurt my feelings. I don't do civil. I just want to go home, see my cats, hide on the sofa. I'll only make a scene.
So I didn't go to the party, which isn't exactly a surprise, but the friend I was avoiding didn't go either, so it was a complete fuck up. Oh well. I went to Tebello's leaving drinks but snuck out after about an hour. I just didn't feel like socialising. On Saturday Kellie came which was really nice, we can talk about anything and she's a very good friend. She's so different to me in some ways, but she's so strong-minded, too. I like the way there's no grey area with her. She taught me a lot about feminism, too.
Christian sent Nic a friend request on Facebook, which is sickly amusing as he ran her out of town and stalked her for years. He's my brother and I haven't heard from him in years. The funniest part is that he's actually put down the spliff and entered the digital world. I can't imagine him uploading photos to Facebook. What would his status update be? 'I've never had a job or been on a plane?' I told Nic to check her privacy settings. I wouldn't be surprised if he turned up outside her place of work weilding an axe. Family!
Today is the money edition. Kenn's mum is giving him and Nic 60 grand towards a house. I'm very happy for her but I wonder what conditions are attached. I don't think I'll ever be able to buy a house, but I'm quite happy with my set up right now. My sort-of stepbrother has got a 50 grand salary working as a manager for Tesco. Again, I'm on just over half that, but I really love my job for the first time! And I think that's worth more. Mind you, ask me that at the end of the month.
So I had my three month probation period and my boss gave me the biggest compliment I think any boss could ever give. She said when someone asked why she picked me out of 150 applicants she said 'because she's better than me.' Have you ever heard any boss ever say that about someone? It's just not done to say that about someone underneath you. It's also not true as she's brilliant, but I was really thrilled when she said that. I've never been appreciated in a job before and I'm being appreciated as a writer and for my personality.
James lost his new job yesterday. It's been quite an eventful month! One of the drivers called him a 'fucking prick' and was really aggressive so he walked out and his boss didn't back him up at all. I don't blame him for walking out because I would have, too, but I can't help but worry about money. I just wonder if we're ever going to get on our feet money-wise. James thinks I'm not backing him but I am, it just sucks because the money and hours were good. Will he be back on the dreaded nights again?
We're taking our babies to get neutered on Monday. It's hard to imagine life before Mogsy and Towie, they are like little people, little furry teddy bears with distinct personalities. Mogsy is outgoing, super affectionate and greedy. Towie is meowy, graceful and likes to sit up high. Towie steals earplugs and kitchen sponges. They both love balled-up crisp packets and licking each other and fighting. I hope their personalities don't change when they get 'done'. I hope they have road sense when we finally let them out in the big, wide world. I want to protect them from everything.
This has been quite a shitty month. I feel quite distant from James, which doesn't matter as we'll come back together, but him losing his job doesn't help and worrying about money and thinking about Christmas doesn't help. It's ironic because we've actually got a pretty good set up right now, if only we could relax and enjoy it. But I'm not worried, things will get better, he will get a job because he always does, and our reationship will survive. I've never known that about a relationship before, and it's a wonderful feeling, to know I won't jeopardise it.
Yesterday was HORRENDOUS! We took the cats to get neutered and it was such a stressful day. James was meant to be starting a new job, but it took us half an hour to get the cats in the box (one kept jumping out and then the other!) and he ended up coming to the vet with me as I was freaking out. I cried all the way there! I felt so guilty all day, especially when they came home all mutilated, and then they were really hyper and crazy and I just wanted to climb into bed and hide.
Horrible evening. James was just doing that thing where he doesnít reply to me so I just went to bed at 8pm. Cried all the way to work in the car. The way things are at the moment remind me of when we were in Brighton and a lot of that was money-related, too. I hate to think of that time because it was so horrific, but at least it showed me we can bounce back from a situation like that. We just need to get close again, but I donít even feel like going home tonight.
I donít know why this month has been so fractious; itís always this way when I write my 100 words, isn't it? It wouldnít make for a very interesting month if it was just about going to the shops. I do feel quite hopeless at the moment but I know it wonít last. I actually feel depressed, I can feel it hanging over me, and Iíve not felt it for a long time. Everything is actually so much better than this time last year. Iím out of my old job, and out of London.
My brother sent Nic an illiterate message on Facebook, misspelling basic words and with no punctuation telling her he still loves her. I donít really understand why heís so criminally stupid now, as he was always quite intelligent and finished school. I think all the dope has rotted his brain. Nic is freaked out; she thinks heís going to find her like in some horror movie, and I donít blame her; that horror movie was real for a while. It just takes me back to a horrible time, a horrible world when I was completely powerless.
I think if I didnít look like almost every single member of my family, I would suspect I was adopted. I mean I can see how Iím related to one brother - we have very similar tastes in music and books - but my dad? My other brother? Even my mum seems like sheís from a different planet. Where did I get my brain from, my creative streak, my strong sense of right and wrong? I suppose it was my sense of injustice that shaped me in some ways. But that still doesnít explain my general genius, ha.
Ok so things are on the up now. James started his new job today. I had to extend my overdraft to help James out but weíll be all square by Christmas. We let the cats out for the first time this weekend. I was expecting them to scale the fence and bugger off, instead they were too scared to come past the patio. It was nice to see them (well, one of them, Towie) sniffing the fresh air and watching as birds flew overhead. Mogsy, who pretends to be the bravest, isnít really, and he barely tiptoed out.
Nic is coming over this weekend; I miss her, even though sheís still in London, but not sure she will be for much longer. When thereís a North/ South divide and a baby in between us I wonder how things will change. At the moment our currency is the same; we think the same way. I want to hang onto that time for as long as I can. What a clichť to say sheís the only one who understands me, but with her and James, thereís no effort, no pretence. I just am.
So the latest saga (there have been many this month) is that my flat might be falling down. There are cracks appearing in the walls and apparently theyíre related to the large trees in the garden, which they now want to cut down! Itís the first garden Iíve had in years and they want to butcher it. I say, let the house fall down. Just get your hands off my trees. Theyíve already cut down a palm tree I liked that was in the front garden. I mean, how often does someoneís house fall down?
Iím starting to think my interests are too niche to be able to conduct decent conversations with people anymore, which is why Iím always going on about my cats. They are a lot more palatable to people than discussing my mdma-abuse, my eating disorder, the racist and sexist newpaper I read, the awful TV programmes Iíd rather watch than go out. My favourite things to do are: eat crisps and read, spend the day on my own, or stay up all night taking drugs with one of two people. Pretty much everything else bores me rigid.
My memory is so criminally bad, itís actually worrying. Itís always been this way; my brain hit delete on most of my childhood after I witnessed what I did. Since then itís not got much better. I canít remember people I went to school with. Not one teacherís name. I can remember one person who taught me at university. I was just looking at a pen pot on my desk that a colleague gave me in my old job. I canít remember her name for the life of me. That was two years ago.
I am still a lot more like Steph than Iíd admit. I hide in toilets, I hide in the park. I hide in bad food, I hide behind words. Iím a lot better than I was; I think some people would actually consider me quite normal and confident, here. But Iím still the same inside. I can just fake it better. I am happier, of course. I have most of the things I want. Iím a grown up. But that girl is still inside me. And that teenager is definitely still inside me. And Steph - forever.
The work Christmas party was horrendous! The cheap and nasty pub forgot we were coming and refused to take our drinks vouchers when we arrived. We waited about an hour and a half for the cheapest, greasiest cobbled together buffet ever Ė weíre talking school dinner cheese sandwiches and sausage rolls. This delightful spread was served on a pool table covered in a cloth outside the stinking mens loos. What class. Then they ran out of wine glasses (at 7pm). Then they ran out of diet Coke. Then I went home. No word on if I won the raffle yet.
The Christmas party reminded me of last yearís Christmas party in Farringdon, gossiping with Katie and Adele, I had proper good friends (plus it was plush, they were bringing round decent food on platters). Cut to now and Katie is done with me, Vibekeís off back to Norway to marry, and Adele is off working in Ireland. James says work friends Ďarenít proper friendsí. But I really cared about that little lot. Vibeke didnít even leave her forwarding email! And Katie chose a man over her mates. Tragic, really. I hope she looks back with regret.
Thereís not much to look forward to this Christmas. James is working so Iím going to have to go to my mumís alone. Last Christmas on the way back I stood on the platform crying because weíd been treated psychologically abused by my mumís boyfriend. I told my mum James didnít want to come this year and she acts all offended like weíre the ones in the wrong. But it doesn't cost to be polite. If he acts up again this year, then Iím getting in my car, and Iím gone.
I wish I could be honest with my mum about a lot of things. I want to tell her about Jamesís sexuality but I know she will never understand. I think if she was alone I could explain it to her, but she will never get it with Daveís bigotry in her ear. I want to ask her if she thinks Dave has changed. Iím not even sure that heís a nice person anymore, and I used to love him. Maybe that was just because he was good in comparison to my dad. Now he's... what?
I havenít spoken to my dad for about two years now, not even the awful awkward annual phone call. I think heís given up trying. It took him long enough. But he never really tried, did he? It was always just a barrage of me, me, me, as if he was justifying his existence. If he really wanted to break the ice, he could write me a letter, repenting, and then maybe heíd put me on the spot and force me to act. As it is, he canít be bothered. And nor can I. It's easier.
I suppose it could be considered depressing working for a suicide prevention charity, but I actually feel right at home! At last a subject I can actually understand, instead of international development, where I was routinely made to feel like a thicko. No I havenít got a PHD in economics. Iím a writer! It was hard urging people to Ďsave the childrení when I donít even like children. Now, depression I can understand. Family problems, I get. Drugs, violence, money problems, I hear you. I fit in here. Working here is like living in a Morrissey lyric.
I get to edit a magazine. I am a magazine editor. I am a real writer now, after eight years slog. The bad part is I have barely been doing creative writing at home, just writing my blog. Iíve not been writing poems or books. Does this matter? Have I adjusted my ambition? I think Iím just glad Iím being paid to write. Is there another book in me? I bet there is. Who knows when Iíll get to see it. I think I need to quit social networking and go on a retreat or something.
It is totally cheating to write a Ďwrap upí entry but itís 14 December so Iím well over schedule. Itís actually really hard to write a monthís worth of these, which is why I only achieve it once every two years. I wonder if anyone ever does a whole year? It has been a crappy month, but itís not representative of life as a whole. Iím a lot better off than I have been, although 2011 can fuck off. See you in 2013? Maybe Iíll be married then. Maybe Iíll be dead.
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