Unavoidable things

Does Yve shit in the woods?

Just fucking barely.

After I dropped Makaloo off at school this morning, I returned to my car and was immediately met with a disturbing sensation. My bowels required evacuation. And urgently. I was planning to head over to the cafe at a nearby country park to do a bit of typy-typy. Could I make it there? Well, it was either that or shit all over my fucking heated seat, so I guessed I’d have to.

It was an eight minute drive of putting more faith in sphincter muscles than I was remotely comfortable with and, even once I parked, I wasn’t convinced I could make the thirty or so metres I would be required to perambulate to reach the toilet .

I made it to the main doors, but then…crisis struck. The building was closed. There was only one option left. I dashed back to the car, grabbed a packet of baby wipes, then doubled back so I could slip round the side of the closed visitor centre, the situation in my GI tract growing ever more desperate. There were dog walkers to one side and the car park to the other. I was surrounded. I stalked further and further into the nettles and brambles, hoping to reach a sanctuary far from where any sane people would dare to tread. There was no time to think. No time to strategise. I was running on instinct, adrenaline and primal necessity.

Finally I reached a ditch, hidden from the passers-by the best I could tell, and far enough from the beaten track that the discovery of my deposit wouldn’t be inevitable. It was over in seconds, but I remained in my squatted position, hind-quarters exposed, for a minute or two at least, awash with the kind of relief that reminds you how trivial most of your worries are. During that time my gaze landed serenely upon the long, dark windows of the visitor centre. A clear line of sight. Anyone in there could have witnessed the entire thing. And to my back, I realised, the car park still but metres away, the tree cover sparser than I had imagined. A driver pulling into any one of those bays would have come by a harrowing eyeful.

I didn’t care. I could have been encircled by a mob of jeering spectators at that point. This was bigger than pride or self-respect. This was a matter of simple biology.

Once I’d dealt with the aftermath as best I could, I bushwhacked my way back out of the greenery, not back the way I’d come but pressing on until I emerged further along the mainstream route. I’d simply been taking a detour, nothing suspicious about it. And then I kept walking, wanting to put both spacial and temporal distance between myself and recent events.

While I was walking, I found myself repeatedly amused by the idea of a dog unearthing the poorly concealed prize, and returning to its owners smeared in my disgrace. Under many other circumstances this kind of thought would have me feeling terribly ashamed for being such a disgusting inconvenience. How dare I be so irresponsible? But in this instance, there was just nothing that could have been done. I did my very best with the situation I was presented with. If events had unsavoury implications for other parties in the future, well, shit happens.

Forty-five minutes later, I was returning to my car when I heard a couple on the other side of the trees trying to call their dog out of the undergrowth…

Sifting sharp pieces

Something I have realised I need to do some serious work on right now is owning my mistakes, missteps and failures more authentically.

I instinctively absorb blame whenever a situation doesn’t go as I’d like. Because of this, and because of the story that blame creates in me, I will ruminate over how to make it better, and how to be better, endlessly, if the wiser part of myself doesn’t intervene. But I am also so cripplingly ashamed of being at fault that I dare not speak it. I want to fix the problem, fix myself, and never make the same mistake again, so I can move on and never have to look at how wrong, and thus unloveable, I was in that moment.

This creates a strange dichotomy whereby my inner world is swirling with blame and shame and deep remorse, usually far outweighing the requirements for the situation, while my outer facade dances around the admission of guilt, and clings to all the reasons why it both wasn’t so bad and wasn’t all my fault. I’m suffering enough, I don’t need you to add to it.

And that’s entirely right; I don’t. But what I’m learning that I do need is a space to openly admit the exact boundaries of my failings; to examine them with considerate and compassionate eyes, and to find validation that they don’t in fact make me the terrible monster my shame would gleefully tarnish me as.

There aren’t many people in the world, I don’t believe, who can hold space for that kind of deconstruction of events, particularly in the throes of conflict, so it’s not that I should try to do this the in the raw, unfolding moment. But I’d probably be better served removing myself before I start to hear the defensive claims of victimhood or rationalisation gush from my lips. Take a breath, take a step back, save it for later. Save it for a space where I can tip all the failings onto the floor, and sift through for the pieces that are mine.

And then fucking loudly announce to the world which pieces are mine, and revel in the freedom of the proclamation.

Not so lady-like lumps

I have a lumpy head. Or, rather, I had a lumpy head. I just had the last couple removed earlier today. It’s the third time I’ve been in to Doctor Proctor’s minor surgery clinic. He’s a lovely man; very personable, humble and curious. I always feel a bit egotistical during our chats as he cuts open my scalp and pries out sacs of gunk, because he asks me considerate questions and responds so warmly to my responses, and I never really ask anything back because I’m a bit scared to interrupt his work by talking when he didn’t specifically prompt it. And not even because it might impact my scalp, just because I don’t like to interrupt people when they’re working.

By the time it came to today’s appointment, I half wondered what the point was, because I’ve barely noticed these remaining offenders since having the last two removed. They were, of course, removed in order of severity, with the biggest and most painful going first in the most traumatic of the de-cysting procedures, where I even got to enjoy the thrills of cauterisation when I was a bit too bleedy. There’s really nothing quite like the bubbling, hissing, crackling sound of your flesh burning, vibrating against your skull. Now that we were down to the least troublesome, I wondered if removing them was worth the trouble.

I’m not particularly squeamish and, adequately numbed, it’s not like I find the removals especially perturbing. Each time, however, I have found myself with shaky, sweaty hands by the time the stitches are in. It always feels disproportionate to the amount I suffered during the procedure. I mentioned it the first time, in case it was a side effect of the anaesthetic, but it didn’t seem to have a neat explanation. I’ve been trying to dredge up the parts of my degree that taught me about the biological response to pain, so I can speculate on whether, if the pain receptors are blocked, the body still has other ways of knowing it’s been hurt that may result in me having this kind of reaction. Maybe I’m just bluffing myself into thinking I’m fine and the shaking is a manifestation of how fine I’m not.

I’d become quite self-conscious about my lumpy head. Specifically, the idea of a romantic interest feeling them during a moment of intimacy made me squirm. My ex teased me about them and, while I don’t think his intention was to make me feel bad, it pushed on some tender spots around feeling unfeminine and thus unattractive, and created a problem where once there hadn’t been one. Beautiful women don’t have lumpy heads. I was surprised to find myself so affected by an ugly idea like this. It wasn’t the kind of person I thought I was, and it led me to unearthing a bunch of other ugly ideas that I’d pushed down and papered over.

While the lumps were objectively causing pain and discomfort, the blight on my self-esteem was probably the main reason I wanted them gone. It feels like a nice bit of closure to realise that, at the same time as I was going through the process to have these blemishes upon the silhouette of my scalp removed, I was also doing the inner work that disentangled their existence there from my sense of worthiness.

So I guess now all the loose ends have been nicely stitched up.

Roar.

Earlier today, I had been for a run, because I’m still doing that, and stopped by the local shop to get something for lunch. After I left the shop I took the shortcut round the side of the building. The shortcut involves going through a few trees and jumping over a wall and, while I’ve never seen anyone else go that way, I’m well-acquainted with it because for some reason it’s one of my son’s favourite hangout spots.

So that’s how I came to be leaping down from the darkness of the foliage onto the pavement, nonchalantly clutching a meal deal at chest height in a t-shirt with a t-rex and the text ‘ROAR!’ across it, to a small audience of slightly alarmed pedestrians.

I felt that quiet satisfaction and amusement I get having done something adequately weird without having priorly realised it was going to be weird. Hmm, yes, look at me in bemusement and secret admiration, oh meek onlookers, for I am not one of you.

And then my right foot decided that was a good time to just trip over nothing and put me back in my place.

Like watching paint dry

I’ll be honest; I’m a bit disappointed by my life at the moment. I thought something exciting would have happened by now. I like exciting things. Bolts from the blue. Severe weather warnings and any halts to business as usual.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we had the pandemic. Yeah, yeah, yeah, careful what you wish for. I’ve been wishing for exciting things ever since I learned to wish; you’re not gonna stop me now.

I know I can make exciting things happen. And I intend to. But it’s not the same. I want something to happen to me. I want something to happen for me. I want something to just breeze into my life with no warning and turn everything a little bit upside down.

Come on already! What’s taking so long?