Babies

baby

So I’m a single woman rapidly approaching thirty. Let’s talk babies. Why not? That’s what everyone else does. All the bloody time.

For me it started at  around the time of my 25th birthday. My mother suddenly started the when are you going to find a nice man and settle down conversation. After all you don’t have forever darling… Now it seems I’m reminded about my rapidly decreasing clock life several times everyday.

I’m twenty eight. This is not a disaster. Still plenty of time to get shackled to nappies and baby wipes. However, twenty eight and never been involved in a serious relationship is another thing altogether. If I met a man tomorrow it would take a good few years of working out whether or not we could make a go at the whole marriage thing (for those old fashioned ones amongst us all) and then a couple of years of just enjoying that which would mean I might be just about primed for pregnancy at around 34…ish. And that’s if I meet the man of my dreams in the very immediate future, which banking on my last twenty eight years of loveless failure I’m not counting any pre hatched chickens on.

So this explains the concerned look begind the parentages and already coupled up or sprogged up friends when they tentaviely bring up the subject of when do I want kids. And this is all assuming that I actually want to have kids in the first place. The question, from those that ask at least, is nearly always when as apposed to do.

The reality is, dear fellow friends from the blogosphere, I’m really not sure that I do.

I’m yet to experience that legendary whoosh of maternal longing, yet to hold a baby and go gooey eyed and teary. Sure I do what I’m supposed to and coo and aaaah and say, gosh doesn’t she look like you, whilst frantically thinking – she smells of your stale milk and poo and she’s getting all red faced and itchy which either means she’s having an almighty shit or she’s getting ready to rain down the mother of all tantrums… In either case please remove her from me now please.

Yet despite all this uncertainty I still experience that frantic impatience of a woman who needs to get a man quick just incase she changes her mind one day and decides that maybe she does want a family after all.

Is it because deep down, hidden beneath all the faint gross-outs and commitment phobia – I secretly nature some fervent desire to further advance the worlds overcrowding programme? Or is it because I have been so  effectively programmed by societal expectations that, despite all my best efforts to resist, I’m coaxed into the mass hallucination that no relationship and no family equals failure.

I mean it’s everywhere isn’t it. ‘Love’ makes you happy, families make you happy. Its normal to want both things. to shun either is a slight against everyone who have spent their lives investing so heavily in those extended conceits. Everyone worries about you if you’re not in a relationship and, once you pass a certain age as a woman, if you don’t have children. And couples who have each other but don’t have children? Either there’s sympathy muttered behind doors through the assumption that they can’t conceive, or they’re branded selfish for preferring their lifestyle as tis without bearing the inevitable life clutter of a child. Sure, because having a resource guzzling western child in order to satisfy some societal endorsed longing to create a little version of yourself is a totally selfless act.

So here’s a question for you –

You read a story about an eighty year old woman whose decomposed body was found in her apartment. She’d been there for a week. She never married or had children. The proceeds of her estate will be distributed to various charities of her choosing including, lets embrace the stereotype, a large chunk to the local cats home…

What do you feel. Do you assume that this woman’s life was lonely and tragic. I know I do. And this very definite judgement of a fellow human being, who’s life and triumphs and sadnesses and joys are entirely based on the fact that we read the above and think – she died alone with no one loving her.

I feel angry with myself for leading to such conclusions, how dare I pity the brief story of someone I know nothing about. I forgive myself because I realise its society’s expectations speaking through me. I work against it.

I create a different possible story. This woman had a long and fulfilling life. She travelled the world and worked in many different jobs. She saw so many things that not a strand of DNA in her  body would allow herself to shackle herself down to a husband and a family. She had dozens of fabulous lovers who taught her endless lessons about life and culture and pain and love. In her later years she was surrounded by friends, young and old. She never lost her appetite for life and new experiences until the day death knocked on her door and invited her to undertake a whole new adventure.

Well. Why not.

Still, despite these other stories – I still don’t want to be the woman who leaves the remnants of her life t be auctioned off to raise money for the local cats home. Society always has the last laugh. It’s too big a beast to escape entirely.

Oh , and happy Valentines day.

M xxx

Tagged , ,

Bend it like Maggie

yeah - that's me... yeah it is... (it's not.)

yeah – that’s me… yeah it is… (it’s not.)

Today I decided to try something altogether new. This is part of the new me that moans less and does exciting new activities in order to progress to  more healthy and rounded world view. Oh yes.

Todays enterprise was in fact in pursuit of become slightly less rounded, in tummy at least…

ladies and gentleman – drum roll please… Get ready to hear about my eye opening and VERY sweaty brush with…

Bikram yoga.

So – a brief introduction, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this particular form of yoga:

The yoga form was invented by someone called Mr Bikram (go figure) in the 1970s. To get all wiki-ed up about the bendy ins and out of it read more here, but if you want it in a nutshell – it’s 90 minutes of sweaty hell in a smelly oven from which you emerge looking like you’ve been pummelled through a mangle, feeling every so slightly nauseous, but generally full of overwhelming gratitude at still being alive.

I’ve been feeling rather podgy and unattractive since the excesses of Christmas so there was some definite need to take action. Being the impatient git that I am I wanted something that worked, quick. I have a delightfully stringy friend – Jasmine – who’s got a killer figure – long slim limbs wrought out of pure muscle – who’s always trying out the latest sports fad. I gave her a ring to get some advice of how to tone up fast. Apparently Bikram’s the answer – by the time she got as far as ‘you lose something like 750 calories per session’ I was sold – and totally ready to sign my name away in any hot penned deal for a better body. Another enticing factor for the impoverished post christmas fatty is that most studios do a good ‘beginners’ rate – obviously hoping to ensnare you into a bendy sweaty addiction. I went to the Hot Bikram Yoga Studio in Balham (website here) which currently does 20 days unlimited yoga for £35 which, considering each class is normally an extortinate £16.50 a class, is bargainous – and particularly good if your planning a post Christmas detox.

Wow – listen to me turned saleswoman for Bikram.

So what’s it like? Well, first off the studio was totally crammed. When I went the class before had just got out so the small changing room was heaving with sweaty bodies from the studio colliding with frozen bodies from the great outdoors. I changed into leggings and a t-shirt and immediately felt very self conscious. Everyone else seemed to be dressed in their bikinis – with teeny tiny shorts and scraps of material covering their breasts. Even more distressing was just how bloody gorgeous these women were – they had bodies to lay down and freely volunteer your life for. It was all I could do to not stare, open mouthed like the pervy tourist I was. I desperately scanned the room for some normal looking women and spotted one or two huddled in corners with too many clothes on like me looking just as shy and out of place. I decided these women were my friends. Nice normal women. Horrid amazonian beauties with your enviable taut tummies and your tanned smooth bikinied up skin. How are you even tanned for god’s sake – it’s January?

I followed one of my ‘normal’ friends into what I assumed was the studio – only to discover I was in fact trying to occupy a toilet with her. Apologising profusely and realising my stupid newbie bumbling presence had demoted me to the very bottom of the normals.

Entering a bikram studio is a tad overwhelming. First the heat hits you like solid wall. Its unbelievable. They say it’s 40 degrees but the humidity (about 40%) makes it feel even hotter. Then there’s the smell. I’m guessing a lot of the humidity in the room consists of the evaporated sweat of the previous class – the deep pungency of this is vaguely covered by a pumping out of tea tree air freshener. The result is a pungent cocktail that climbs up inside your nose and firmly takes residence. Then there are the people. The room is impossibly crowded with yoga mats topping and tailing up and down the room. At first I can’t see a gap to place mine but eventually I manage to squeeze in between an Amazonian and an Adonis of a man, with blonde sunkissed locks falling to his shoulders. I smile at him shyly as he begrudgingly moves his mat to make room for mine.

I’m not going to describe the class in infinite detail – rest assured to say it’s tough – really tough, and when you’re in the midst of it it feels like there’s no end to its torture. The heat works on you like a parasite and within five minutes the 70% of you that consists of water is desperately trying to make an escape through your overheated pores. I felt continually dizzy, and more than a little embarrassed about how shitty my balance and postures were compared the impossibly bendy pair that flanked me. I felt like the podgy kid at school who was rubbish at sports that the other kids quietly laughed at.

So were they any redeeming features?

Yes there were – and believe it or not I’d recommend anyone who hasn’t tried it to give it a go – just for the sheer sense of achievement of surviving a class if nothing else.

Its a proper work out and you feel yourself becoming more supple as the class goes on. You have moments of total exhaustion but then you also have the occasional burst of a second, third, or fifteenth wind. This new release of energy from where you thought there was none is totally exhilarating. Although I didn’t fare particularly well today I can tell this yoga is very reliant on mind over matter – and is very good for focusing a flabby mind. With a brain that is fundamentally weak willed and prone to negativity this kind of mental workout can only be a good thing. At the end of the class you lie down for five minutes, legs splayed and arms outstretched in blissful darkness. You’re exhausted – totally spent  – and this more than anything you’ve before experienced is heaven. you forget everyone else in the room, you forget the smell, you even forget the heat – and you just feel a deep and satisfied peacefulness settle into the very core of you.

Sadly this feeling is blown to smithereens on return to the hustle and bustle of the changing room, but for that fleeting moment you believe in the potential of what you and your body can do together.

So I’ll be going back. There’s nothing like going through hell to make you appreciate the everyday.

M xxx

Tagged , , ,

A tall tale

50ft

I’m afraid positive Maggie is on a temporary leave of absence. All normal services will be resumed shortly, but for now dark angry Maggie the grump is featuring in a special guest blog spot.

Reasons I hate being tall:

1 – Whilst other little girls (emphasis on little) could get away for numerous extra years with being cute, my precociously long limbs made every surrounding adult think I was always a lot older than I was. As a result I was allowed to get away with a lot less.

2 – When I was a teenager and outrageously skinny and probably at my lifetime closest to resembling the unhealthy physiques of  those models plastered all over magazines, my poor stretched body was riddled in stretch marks through the perils of shooting up ten inches, TEN INCHES my friend, in one year.

3 – Andy Scott, the love of my life during the summer I was fourteen, told me that he suppose he wouldn’t mind kissing me, but the fact that I was taller than him put him right off.

4 – Generally, until my late teens, every single boy my age seemed to be significantly smaller than me. Therefore if and when I did get any action I looked like a heffalump devouring some unsuspecting prey. Not the feminine elegant picture of romance you get in the movies.

5 – It’s nigh on impossible to get trousers that are long enough, presently I often unwillingly don that attractive dweeby look of having an unattractive sliver of pale ankle… or worse – a whole reservoir of sock.

6 – Tallness has led to insanely large feet. This means that that favourite woman’s past time of shoe hoarding has always eluded me. I’ve taught myself to not fall in love with impossibly heavenly architectured footwear, as they never, ever do them in my size. Instead I content my myself with grotesquities that resemble huge sensible boats strapped to my feet.

7 – Most men I seem to like always go for tiny pixie like demure whips of girliness (Dan, alas, included). Don’t get me wrong I’m sure all those towering supermodels are getting some, but in general the fantasy that men like a tall leggy woman isn’t all that accurate. A lot of blokes are intimidated if you look like you’d put up a good fight in an arm wrestle.

8 – When I got into drama school one of the things I was most looking forward to were the dance classes… Imagine that – earning a qualification by putting some moves in on a Monday afternoon. This enthusiasm soon died when I realised all the men were clambering over the small girls as dance partners. They didn’t fancy throwing someone taller than they were in to the air, or through their legs in a lindy hop move when there was a strong likelihood that  i wouldn’t fit and there would be an unfortunate meeting of hard skull and groin. (this actually did happen once – sorry Tim…) Thus the lessons turned into some awful selection procedure where, like the shit girl at rounders, I was always left to last – staring at the scuff marks on my dance shoes and desperately trying to pretend that I didn’t mind.

9 – Again at drama school, because I was taller than most of my male compadres – I was never cast as the love interest – but always the mother or the eccentric. Not so fun. The one boy who was taller than me – and who therefore I got partnered with for most classes – had severe halitosis.

10 – Launched into the real world as a non so little fledging actress I realised that the same prejudices lay outside the drama school gates. For some, to me inexplicable, reason – small actors rule supreme. I’ve lost count of the number of jobs I haven’t got because of my height…

Which brings me to the reason for my rant.

Today was my hotly anticipated, life changing, palpitation giving audition. I’ve devoted the last week of my life in priming myself for the all important ten minutes in the audition room. I read the play three times, and prepared all the sections that they might possibly ask me to read. I learnt two new monologues which I inflicted on my poor housemates for two hours last night. I prepared a song – as they asked – and spent £60 of my non existent riches in paying for a singing lesson to make sure it was as good as it could be (admittedly I’m not much of a singer – but I do okay). None of this made me any less nervous of course. I woke up at stupid o’clock this morning with my heart doing some seriously acrobatic somersaults and my mind racing like it was in a world qualifying sprint. I quelled the nervous energy enough to don my best outfit and apply some sturdy make up and headed out to my own personal judgement day.

I arrived at the venue way too early which meant an achingly long sit-in with the other girls going for the same part. We all sat there smiling sweetly whilst obviously tearing each others’ chances apart in our heads:

she’s far too blonde, she’s wearing too much make up, she just looks like she’d be a little bit shit

Then, of course, you have the one that looks totally perfect for the part. She sits there, a picture of calm and collection – oozing confidence and high self esteem. You hear her asking if it would be possible to slot in a little earlier as she has two other auditions to get to this morning and a matinee of a show she’s doing at the Royal Court this afternoon.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

You desperately try and blank her out and try and build up the house of cards that is your own confidence again before your name is called…

‘Maggie Adams’

Damn it – my thumb fisted attempt to re-assemble my morale was only a job half done. Fuck it. Never mind. I am a model of cool and preparation. And Breathe….

I steeled myself and went into the room.

On the far side of the room, in front of a huge dance mirror was a desk with five people stacked behind. Five. Dear God. I recognised the director and the casting director and I assumed the others must have been the musical director and a couple of assistants. It was a peculiarly large space which meant I had a good ten metres to cover before reaching the sanctuary of their desk with its lonely sole chair perched on the other side of the eagle eyed panel.

‘Hello’ I said brightly with a huge grin painted on my face.

“Hi’ – came the cold clipped voice of the director. The others all remained silent – just numerous pairs of eyes staring at me, examining me.

I am a model of cool and preparation, I am a…. I walked across the space whilst desperately trying to not examine and judge my own walk reflected in the unforgiving mirror that loomed in front of me. As I walked the director scowled unattractively and leant into mutter something into the casting directors ear.

Shit – why are you scowling? What did you just whisper? You hate me. You hate me already. What have i done?

Despite the fact my soul was experiencing a car pile up inside, the smile was still plastered on on the outside by the time I reached the table and fell into the chair. The director was still muttering into the CD’s ear and I strained to hear what he was saying but he was somehow, magically totally inaudible to my stretched ear. I swear I don’t know how directors do this – but it’s a phenomenon I’ve come across more than one. Maybe at director school they’re taught how to speak at a resonance that actors can’t detect like the lowly dogs we are.

I sat there feeling terrifically awkward and praying for the earth to open up and greedily swallow me down.

When he finished his indiscernible monologue he turned and stared at the stack of papers in front of him without bothering to lift his heavy eyeballs to deign to make eye contact with me.

‘Hi Maggie’

It was the casting director – a skeletal woman in her fifties with a mass of brown frizz for hair and a voice that would cut glass

‘I’m afraid that you’re just too tall for this part. We’ve already cast the man you’d be playing opposite and I’m afraid it just wouldn’t work. Thank you so much for coming in – maybe next time’

It was all I could do to stay sitting upright and not instantly crumple into a quivering wreck.

What??!??!?!? They weren’t even going to let me read? They weren’t going to let me perform the speeches that I’d spent hours picking to ensure they were the right match and spent days painstakingly preparing? I’ve gone without solid food this week so I could afford a singing lesson and you aren’t even going to let me open my mouth?

I breathed in deeply. Goddamn it – I was going to try one last jab of pushiness – maybe if they saw me act they’d instantly sack the short arse they’d hired and look for a taller boy rather than a smaller girl. Or just give him some stilts for fucks sake. Or cut me off at the knees, I’m not proud…

‘Would you mind if I gave you one of my speeches anyway?’, my words were slow and steady and forcibly bright as I concentrated very hard to dispel any quiver of emotion from my voice. It wasn’t easy – I could feel a wave of despair crashing up from my stomach and pulling in the walls of my throat

The CD looked at the director who, eyes still fixed on the desk, gave the slightest shake of his head.

‘Sorry Maggie – not today – we’re running late as it is.’

‘Okay. Well thank you for calling me in’

Why are you thanking them? The bastards – it says how tall you are on your CV – can they not read? They’ve just wasted a week of your life and – worse – dashed a dream that you could easily have done without the pain of having. They won’t even give you a couple of minutes to perform a crappy bloody monologue, and you THANK them?!

God I hated myself in that moment.

Needless to say I got out of there as quickly as I physically could and darted through the waiting room with my eyes firmly drilled to the floor. I could almost feel the wave of glee that went up from the awaiting auditionees at the girl who’d been in the room for just two minutes. At least their audition was unlikely to go that badly.

When I got to the safety of the street outside the tears blurted out.

I just felt so stupid. And, ironically, so very, very small.

I’m off now to find an incredibly TALL bottle of wine to lose my troubles in.

I’ll look out for positive Maggie and tell her to drop you a line next time she’s around…

Till then,

M xx

Tagged , , ,

Girl Problems

yeah. Bitchy.

yeah. Bitchy.

Happy Monday all you great burly invisible lot – I know there are some of you  – my shiny word press bar chart tells me so. I’m going to ignore the likelihood that you are in fact in an html devouring spammerator that is deploying clever tactics to get me to visit suspect websites;  instead I’m imagining you as a fresh faced friendly thing sitting in front of your computer screen with a steaming hot mug of coffee and for some reason interested in the mind meanderings of a bordering on insane London single girl.

So hello you lovely caffeine influenced thing – welcome to my Monday – I hope you’re enjoying yours.

Positive Maggie is here to stay for a wee while it seems.

Had a great weekend free of work and not bogged down by the guilty conscience of being lacking in work. Saw my Best Friend Love on Saturday. I’m going to have to give me a name, Best Friend Love sounds too damn sappy and BFL looks like some kind of builders workmate – how about Dan, Dan the man.

Dan’s been seeing a new girl for the past few weeks – someone he met doing a play a few months ago (sound familiar?!) He held a strongly lit torch for her right from the get go. I’ve endured hours of hearing about how beautiful and clever and funny and talented she is which, inevitably, made me want to dive screaming into the nearest steaming crevice instead of donning the obligatory ‘go get ’em’ smile that I wear whenever Dan tells me about his latest crush. So eventually – around a month ago – she returns all of his advances out of the blue and bish bash bosh they’re an item. I’d have been happy for the love sick puppy if I wasn’t so eaten up and regurgitated inside with righteous jealousy.

I’ve only met her – Zara – a few times – once at Dan’s play and once a fortnight ago at a friend’s party where they spent the evening digesting each others faces. Now I know I’m hugely biased and not the best judge of character in this scenario, and I did try and like her, I promise I tried – but inevitably I came away thinking she was a bit of a bitch. She is VERY pretty – in every way I’m not. Teeny tiny delicate which instantly made me very uncomfortable – being a strapping tall thing myself (5’11”) small people tend to scare me a little. Scare is probably too strong – they just make me feel like a big gallumphing elephant creature with inhumanly large feet and hands and no elegance whatsoever, not a shred. So there she is in all her annoying petiteness with glistening luxurious thick brown hair which makes my blonde frizz look like an accident at a candy floss stall, and piercing green eyes that look straight through me and tell me I don’t deserve to even register on her radar. But it wasn’t just me she looked at like an odious swamp thing, every human in that room not in possession of a penis got shot down by either a look of total disinterest or a scathing shot of disdain. I won a smile from her when Dan introduced me. When I arrived they were straddled on the sofa lips already locked in for the long haul, I busied my self by drinking a lot of wine very quickly and pretending to be totally engaged in a deadening conversation with some bloke about his jobdesperately trying not to look at the PDA flagrantly taking place on the sofa whilst, much like a car wreck, my disobediant eyes kept finding their way back there. Bad eyes. When Dan came up for air and caught sight of me ‘not looking’ at him he jumped up with his gorgeous huge grin on his face and bounded over to me

‘Maggie – you’re here! You’ve got to meet Zara’ and he put his arm around me and bundled me towards her leaving the stock broker looking a little confused. I steadied myself repeating the words ‘Be nice, be nice, be nice’ over and over in my head when Dan leant over and whispered in my ear’

‘Isn’t she gorgeous!’

‘mmmmmmmm’ I assented, though it really wasn’t a question.

So there we stood Dan’s lovely long arm around my shoulders, me frozenly smiling down at this pixen beauty still draped on the sofa whilst trying not to appear to be too obviously breathing in the heavy and familiar smell of the man I’d spent the last five years deeply in love with.

‘Zara – this is Maggie – one of the best women I’ve ever met’ he said – grinning at me with a best friend’s complicity.

I went for it: ‘Hi Zara – I saw you in Titus a little while back – you were really great’

She wasn’t.

She has one of those mouths whose place of rest is a permanent scowl, as her cold green eyes met mine at that moment I saw nothing – no spark of interest – no good natured desire to be genuinely interested in the best friend of the bloke she’d been chewing on.  The corners of her mouth curled into a stiff and impoverished smile,

‘Hi Maddy’

She replied in a flattened voice that essentially told me

I’m not interested in you human with breasticles, do not try and engage me in conversation, do not talk to my boyfriend, do not ask me to remember your name, and do not pass go.

Then she grabbed out for Dan’s hand and said in a syrupy sweet girly voice

‘Hey Danny boy, will you take me to the kitchen to get another drink sweetie….’

And so they disappeared. I watched her with fascination for the rest of the party prowling round the room, when not whacking out tonsil hockey with my best friend, being giggly and flirty and strokey with every man in the room, and totally dismissive and cool to every woman. After enough wine, I stopped watching her and fell into inappropriate behaviour with a regrettable man in a bathroom, but you already know all about that now don’t you.

I hate this breed of girl, the kind that chooses to ignore a good 50% of the world’s population because they don’t offer the adulation and sexual return that so obviously is the sole basis of her self esteem. Any one who writes off another person on the strength of their particular collection of sexual organs is just downright shallow surely.

So I was left a little conflicted  – the poorer part of me took some snide glee from the fact that Dan’s new girlfriend was a bit of a bitch, it would have been too much to bear if she’d been a real magnanimous gorgeous thing on top of being so beautiful. But the bigger, person who loves Dan unreservedly, part of me was a little concerned. Someone so involved with themselves and so uninterested in getting to know his friends that they rock up to a party where she’s surrounded by them and flirts with everyones boyfriend and disregards every girl – surely can’t be a good long term promise for my friend.

And she wasn’t. I met Dan on Saturday to soothe a battered ego and a bruised heart. She’d texted him the night before to say that she’d been seeing another bloke (from the same play believe or not), and she’d decided that he was more bankable than our Dan so she wouldn’t need to see him anymore thank you very much.

Cow.
Dan was sad but philosophical about it all and after a few beers he seemed more like his old self and we had a good, funny, sozzled evening.
At the end of the night he walked me to my bus stop and waited with me till it arrived. It was freezing so he had his arm around me and his hand was tucked into the pocket of my coat. I awkwardly rested my head on his shoulder, awkward as he’s only an inch or so taller than me so in persuing the picture of model intamacy I got a nasty crick in the neck.
“Oh Maggie. We’re bloody crap at this aren’t we?”
“What?”
“The whole love thing.”
I felt myself stiffen and resisted the urge to say the obvious.
“Maybe we’re just not meant to be in relationships”
“Maybe”
“I’ve always got you!”, He said with a playful elbow dig to my ribs, “What on this stupid blue earth would I do without you?”, and with that he destroyed the lovers photo opportunity by releasing his hand from my pocket and tousling my hair like I was a golden retriever rather than a woman standing there with her heart dissolving. Just call me Rex.
“Hey you know what we should do?”
Forget everything and everyone else, passionaltely kiss till dawn then elope to a seculded life on a Hebridean isalnd??!
“We should make a pact – if we’re not with anyone by 35 we should totally give up on the whole rat race and settle for each other.”
The word tore through me like Jaws did the smaller boat.
Settle.
So there it was – the best friends pact. As far as I’m concerned the totally passionless kiss of death.
Why – I hear you ask – isn’t this a good thing – you just have to spend seven years of waiting and gently sabotouring Dan’s relationships till you reach your love nirvana, to which I would recommend you go and watch a good compendium of romantic comedies and/ or stories of the emitionally unrequited. The pact girl NEVER gets the guy.
What I wanted was for Dan to hold me and whisper in my ear that all those girls he’s wasted time shagging don’t even begin to hold a candle against his blaze of passion for me, I wanted him to tell me he spends a good proportion of every waking hour thinking of me, I want him to tell me how he dreams of the day when we would finally with get it together and make good on all these years of waiting. You see, if I had a backbone or any shred of courage then those are exactly the words that I would say to him. I would not, under any circumstance, ever ever ever suggest one day when devoid of all other hope we might be forced to settle for each other.
I’m not totally insane. I’m fully aware that he doesn’t feel for me the ways do for him, but when we’re together and we laugh and we share and we finish each other sentences and sit squished next to each other taking comfort from the other ps presence, I kid myself that maybe, hidden under all those other women, he just might. That maybe, like me,  he’s just scared of fucking it all up.
His sad little proposition blew such hopeless thoughts out of the water.
I smiled weakly.
“Naaaaaah. I’m taken I’m afraid. I’m already promised to Paul”
“But he’s gay”
“So?”
“Well he wouldn’t want to have sex with you”
“Well neither would you”, I couldn’t help but let a bit of bitterness leak into my voice, but followed it up with a coy smile to disguise any real feelings that he might be able to decipher
“Maggie Adams, thats absolute rubbish. I would totally do you.”
And with that I felt a little better.
Plus I now have an exciting trip to look forward to. The new absence of Zara on the scene meant that he asked me to be his plus one at a wedding up in Scotland next month. He’d already booked a posh hotel, I suppose with the thinking that they’d be lots of highland sex on the menu. I’m not allowing myself to fantasise too much, but i’m imagining open fires, whiskeys and…. well you know.
In reality we’ll get lathered, he’ll try to pull a bridesmaid and I’ll find myself being inappropriate in the loos. It is my forte after all.
In other news. My audition is this Wednesday… Wish me luck. The initial joy has passed and been replaced with good old fashioned terror, but god darn it, I’m going to do everything I can to land this job.
I’ll let you know how it goes!
Till then!
Positive Maggie xxx

Sunshine on a rainy day

sunshine

Today is a good day.

Reasons why:

– I am in work – and have been for a full English week.

– It is a Friday which in this particular sunny basement land means pay day.

– I have been remarkably efficient in my mind numbing work this week. This means I have completed my set task a full week before I needed too. This is not as remarkable as it sounds – when you’re paid a certain amount (i.e. not a lot) employees tend to think your hourly rate equates to your intellect. I am in no hurry to undeceive them of this particular assumption as I would then be out of said work and said pay  (we’re hired on a ‘by task’ basis here) – which would be a whole raining down of bad days. What this does in fact mean is I have a week to sit and write and not worry about  how every second ticking by unemployed adds to my bottomless debt…

– I have an audition next week. Oh yes.

– I nearly destroyed my oh so precious – and already seriously on its last legs iPhone today but because the Gods of charm and good luck were smiling down on me from on high it bounced where it should have smashed and all is well in phone screen land.

– It is a Friday, which means tomorrow is Saturday, which means a day in the white December sunshine with beer, all paid for by said pay day.

– Just got a call from lovely housemate who told me that bastard dickless Dick (you remember him – hawk nosed mammoth eg0-ed poncy thing who wasn’t ‘feeling it’) didn’t get that part that he was so convinced he was a sure thing for at the National Theatre. I know it’s small and nasty and makes me a lesser person but this news makes me very happy.

I’m a bad person. I’m never getting near to heaven. Not remotely. St Peter won’t even bother to glance up from his ledger.

Very excited about my audition. Was making a coffee this morning in our pokey little kitchen down here when the phone rang. My agent hasn’t contacted me in such a long time I barely recognised her name as it flashed up and merrily vibrated the phone across the cracked linoleum of the worktop. A split second later my brain defogged and my heart leapt out of my chest with excitement (it doesn’t take much) as I let out an involuntary high pitched yelp. I launched myself for my phone with such force and enthusiasm that I entirely neglected to make my fingers work – which meant I effectively punched the sad purring handset and sent it flying in a devastating arc. Everything slowed as I saw my poor trusty companion on a sure-fire collision course with the hard concrete floor (it’s a very glam office – can you tell?!)

But as previously marvelled on – there is a god somewhere who likes me  (maybe he pities me for my unavoidable encroaching damnation) – and Mr iPhone lives to see another day.

So – the audition… Its quite big news – for a part I’ve always wanted to play in a theatre I’ve always wanted to work in. Had written several fervent letters to the director insisting that – dear god – I was perfect for the part. Only stopped in the torrent of epistolar abuse as my flatmate pointed out it was starting to verge on stalking.

But yay! Yay Yay Yay. I’m doing a little sedentary bum dance on my chair as I write this. It’s moments like this that can seem to make the hell of living the insubstantial life of an actor worthwhile. Right now, here in this particular transitory moment of happiness anything seems possible. I wanted that audition and I got it (despite the fact my CV is woefully inadequate) – if I got the part life would be a whole series of new experiences and adventures for the next six months.

But even as I write this I know I can’t enjoy the small victory of getting an audition (and believe me in this industry, with my agent that is a victory) for too long, or indulge my daydreams of what might be… I can’t bloody want it too much or the desolation of not getting it would send this new positive Maggie on a spiralling descent back into mopey whiney Maggie. And no one wants that now do they.

So I going to be philosophical and totally cool about it.

Ice cool.

Frosty Maggie.

But it would be, perhaps, the most AMAZING thing ever.

Please universe – give me this one – I’ll owe you big time…

M xx

Eau de Toilet

the love shack...

the love shack…

So today highlights another day of mortification for the roadcrash existence of Maggie Adams.

So – a few days ago this scaly ridiculous singleton managed to pull at a gloriously debauched house party. My friends have a band – they’re woefully mediocre – guitar based grungy stuff that sounds like a shit nineties support band on a bad day. Despite a lack of musical prowess they’re totally lovely boys who possess an enviable self belief that has them totally convinced that they will be one day’s next big thing. And maybe they will be – I hope so.

A decade of playing small bars and pubs hasn’t got them a record deal but it has got them a throng of groupies. Alas, these girls haven’t exactly come from the top drawer of amorous groupy selection and most of them are, to put it bluntly, nerds – and the rest are ludricously (by which I mean certainly not-legal) young.

So their parties are always stuffed to the rafters with these girls – who when you can get a word out of them are really rather nice. The nicest thing is I always end up feeling almost glamorous and sophisticated at these events. Result.

As well as the girls they always have a reasonable selection of men  – none of them are particularly worth a write home about, but you can often while an evening away with them and grab back at some self esteem while you’re at it.

This particular Saturday night was different – if only for the presence of the raven haired, deliciously brown eyed Alexander. I first spotted him talking to a gaggle of loud voiced teenagers in the galley kitchen. He had a painfully thin smile adorning his ridiculously square jawed face, and he looked like he was going to drop through the floor if he had to survive one of more minute of discussing the finer qualities of Justin Bieber and One Direction. Suddenly I caught his eye, and smiled a complicit smile of sympathy. His own smile brightened and he raised his eyebrows and ever so slightly rolled his eyeballs.

My god he was gorgeous. I’d first seen him earlier that evening – at the gig that necessarily preceded the party – and couldn’t take my eyes off him then. He was tall – probably about 6’3, with thick dark hair that fell in irresistible short curls around his face. Okay – yes – maybe he had a slightly affected head toss, and maybe he enjoyed the luscious bounce of his curls a little too much – but I forgave him that. Looking like he did I’d forgive him a lot of things.

He had a lean, muscly body which was decorated with with dark blue jeans, a crisp white shirt that showed off his winter tan (again a slightly suspicious clue in the vanity stakes – but never mind…) and a close fitting brown leather jacket.

He was a thing of great beauty – and someone I knew full well that I normally probably wouldn’t stand a chance with. But if he had a prejudice against girls who liked Justin Bieber then my chances in this particular room had just shot up.

About ten minutes later whilst I was trying to engage one of the sweet nerdy girls in conversation over and above a few monosyllables I felt a smooth hand touch my elbow and heard a low velvety voice

‘Hi – you’re Maggie aren’t you?’

Dear god, he was standing there, inches away, and he was holding my bony elbow – a strange move – but still one that sent a shiver straight through me.

‘Hi – yes – that was a good guess.’

He chuckled deliciously

‘John told me. I wanted to know who the tall beautiful one was’

Oh god. Oh god. I felt all the blood rush to my face and felt it heat up till I knew it had reached crimson.

“I… I erm – er – well… thank you?’

Oh God Maggie – where’s your sparkling wit? Of all times for words to elude you.

‘I’m Alexander’

I liked that. Alexander. A full throttled four syllable name – no 21st century shortening to Alex or Al. Alexander – in all its drawn out loveliness. There’s a reason why Alexander was great.

We spent the next hour or so chatting squashed up to each other on a sofa and speedily getting more and more drunken. I’m not going to lie – he was no great conversationalist. We talked about him. A lot. But I was happy as long as his beautiful lips were moving and his deep brown eyes were looking into my blue ones – probably made black by the severity of the dilating of my pupils.

Then came the moment of truth. He edged in closer so his nose was millimetres away from mine, and his hand came up to my face to brush a stray stand of hair out of his firing path.

‘You know you’re really pretty Maggie’

His words were only slightly slurring

‘You have, you have lovely…. eyes’, he continued, his hand now stroking my cheek.

‘So have… you’ – I replied, again competing for the crown of  the Queen of Wit.

And then his lips were on mine – gently caressing them open before sliding his tongue over my teeth and into my mouth.

I could barely breathe I was so excited. Things got heated quickly and soon the rest of the party were throwing cushions at us and telling us to get a room.

‘Come with me’ he whispered and tugged me upstairs. We fell into the first door we found, still madly kissing. A moment later I realised we were in the noticably grubby, lynx saturated bathroom of an all male household. Fuck it I didn’t care – just as long as Alexander didn’t stop.

Then he was pulling my dress over my head and unclasping my bra and I was groping around trying to unbuckle his belt and undo his flies.

You’ve never really lived until you’ve had fumbled sex on the dirty linoleum of a bathroom  floor to the soundtrack of hefty doorknocking and jeering from the angry queue rapidly forming outside.

After the heat of passion cooled I did indeed feel a little silly – and walking out through the leg crossed mass of party goers leaving the tell tale smell of sex behind us was more than a little embarrassing.

Still it was also bloody fun. And he was the most gorgeous man I’ve ever been with – or probably will ever be with.

This has all been a slightly delicious memory for the last few days. Delicious that is – until the fall out of today.

I was merrily distracting myself with facebook at work when a status from Alexander popped up in my news feed. That’s odd – I thought – I hadn’t befriended him as I was fully aware that the other night was just the other night, and I didn’t want to look like some desperate stalking cow.

It turned out he’d popped up through one of the perversities of the ‘book: he’d tagged one of my friends (John – band member and party thrower) in his post which had led to him featuring on my own exclusive wall.

Very funny *John Cooper*, don’t remind me please –  there’s one night I regret. Beer goggles or what?!

My heart sank with a leaden thump as I, against my better judgement, went to John’s page to read on. The conversation went something like this:

John: Yo ‘Xander the man – what was that with you and my friend the other night?! You dirty whore!

Alexander: Very funny *John Cooper*, don’t remind me please –  there’s one night I regret. Beer goggles or what?!

John: Awwwh what? That’s not fair, she’s a great girl. Anyway you looked like you were going for it.

Alexander: Yeah well you know – desperate times. Next time you invite me to one of your gigs I expect some better specimens! LOL!

LOL. LOL. I’ll give you fucking LOL.

First off – do not publicly slag off someone that you had sex with just a few nights ago. Second – do not, DO NOT do it on bloody Facebook where she can read it and any other number of people can read it FOR ALL TIME. Third – get a personality and some sense of class you total egotistical self loving wanker.

I had a little cry and have spent the rest of the day trying to scrub the memory from my big soapy brain.

I also sent John a private message asking him to take the posts down – just for my own sense of ill gotten pride. He replied instantly saying how sorry he was and that Alexander was a ridiculous tosser and he wasn’t going to be invited to anything ever again and he thought I was lovely and gorgeous and not to listen to nasty minded toads. Thanks John.

Horrid boys. Maybe it’s time to give them up all together. Or at least go easy on romantic trysts in toilets.

M xx

Tagged , ,

Charity begins at home

So some words on the streets of London – a fairly unfriendly and unforgiving terrain.

They can mess you about, and batter you down, break your heart and leave you black and blue and every now and then they turn you into a monster.

Today was not my finest hour.

I was late for work – a one off waitressing gig I had covering for a friend. I’d been stood on an overcrowded rush houred up northern line for the best part of an hour, and had finally emerged into the cold grey uncomfortably clammy and thinking one or two unpleasant thoughts about my fellow man. I scurried down (or should it be up) Upper Street in Islington when I was suddenly accosted by a bright eyed gangly young man with a huge smile and a inescapable look of terror in his eye

Ex………….cuse me

(impenetrably long pause – but his engaging gangliness was enough to get me to stop and listen despite already being late for work)

Could…………..

(longer pause)

Could I…………have a mo………….

(painfully effortful)

mo…..moment of your………… time

So there I was getting more and more frustrated by his terminal pace and suddenly full of irrational anger that this random bloke had dared to stop me when I was so obviously in a hurry to get to my shitty evening of handing out canapes that were each apiece worth more than my hourly wage … my rage unfurled:

Me: Look – I’m not sure what you want but can you be a bit quicker. I’m already late for work so if you want something from me then just spit it out

My tone was icy and spitting. I saw the poor gangly boy stiffen and turner a paler shade of white and take a deep breath

Thank….thank you…. I… I’m on a c……course to over…….over come my….. my…. my….. stammer

Cut to me turning a rather unfetching shade of puce.

The boy had been sent out to the unforgiving North London streets to approach fifty strangers and introduce himself in a fear overcoming exercise to beat his stammer. The poor bugger hadn’t anticipated running into clammy angry old me though I rather suspect I wasn’t the worst type of character he had to confront during his mission.

I remember when I first arrived in London seemingly umpteen years ago, I was shocked and appalled by the unfriendliness and downright aggression that radiated off these none so golden streets. There I was, dewey eyed and full of excitement and hope, getting more bumped and bruised by the day by angry elbows on the tube for being someone who had the audacity to walk a little too slow, or – heinously – who stopped on the left hand side of an escalator.

Now, seven years later – I afraid to admit that I’ve fully mutated into one of those fury fuelled pointy elbowed people who give Londoners a bad name. It happens without you realising it – a less muscly, less green, but no less foul tempered Hulk erupts out of my milder mannered self each time I step out of my front door.

It’s the rush, the overcrowding, the sheer bloody relentless noisy cacophony of it all. So I pity the poor soul who has to approach angry pavement hitting Londoners with any request – even if it be just a ‘hello’ in the case of my poor stammerer friend.

Which brings me on to the merry subject of the Chugger – or ‘Charity Mugger’ for those less au fait with their brilliantly apt nickname. You all know who I mean – those fearlessly young people in bright tabards on your high street, with painted on smiles and a insatiable appetite for bank account details. They have strict instructions to flirt, quirk and entrap before praying on every shred of guilty over privileged Westerner conscience to solicit a £5 direct debit from your bank monthly.

There you are walking innocently down the street, probably in a bad mood if you’re in London, and you make fleeting eye contact with a sparkly eyed man with a smile to die for. He has artfully toussled hair and a bounce in his step and, dear god, he’s heading straight for you

‘Hi – I love your dress – how are you today?’

Your giddy lonely heart misses a beat and you’re caught in a grin that stretches from ear to ear and you think suddenly today might not be so bad – and then you look down and see his bright green Save the Children tabard and you know that he’s only interested in one thing. The bastard.

Sometimes you see them coming – they tend to move in packs but steel yourself and you can make it through all of them relatively unscathed. If you’re anything like me you’ve finessed your avoidance tactics to an art form – here are just a few from my repertoire:

– the head down quick footed ‘I’m in a terrible hurry disturb me if you dare’ move

– the dreamy looking in to the distance with an ominous smile ‘I’m in my own world and very possibly on mind altering drugs so try and talk to me but I’ll just think you’re a floating man-sized banana’ move

– the glue your ear to the phone and pretend to be the midst of an important / life changing / world altering call move.

– the when inappropriately approached scream in their face and run up the street with all limbs flailing move

I’ve never actually tried the last one – but it’s tucked up my sleeve just in case it’s ever needed.

I know there’s a good argument for deploying this kind of fundraising – it’s now many charities’ largest source of income – though it’s become such an old trick I can hardly believe that it still continues to work.

My bugbear is the very simple fact that I don’t want to be confronted by a phoney cheery stranger who will employ every method of guilt induced persuasion open to them to get my account number and sort code. And the stranger is desperate to get a few quid a month from you – not through any philanthropic fervour of his own – but merely in order to up his hit rate and be in with a chance for getting that day’s bonus. Most chuggers in London are of course out of work actors, so they can turn up the charm and the sad eyed earnestness when telling you about how just £5 a month would let Poopie the spaniel live out his days in poppyfields rather than meet a cold end at the end of a veterinary needle. Of course this was just the script they learnt this particular morning and tomorrow they’ll be donning a differently coloured tabard and campaigning for Greenpeace. You can bet your tight arse that they’re not giving to the charities that they’re trying to guilt you out about .

It’s a wonder I’ve never chugged in my merry myriad of shitty jobs over the years. I’ve dressed up as a fluffy pink dinosaur in the height of summer, I’ve been chased with a broom for delivering junk mail and I’ve had old eggs thrown at me for having the audacity of handing out free cans of diet coke – so it’s not as if my standards are high… the necessity of having bovril to eat and a leaky roof over my head puts pay to any integrity. But I could never never somehow face standing on a street with a clipboard and a ‘please talk to me’ smile. I have… however done something nearly as bad (some would say worse) which is why I speak of the lack of honesty of the charity stalker with some small authority… More of that another day.

M xx

The Blues

blues

I’ve been thinking more recently about what exactly I’m trying to achieve by keeping this blog. If it’s not just to diarise my misfortune and have a internationally distributed moan – then what is it?

I’m writing about me. I’m sharing my life and my wishes and my regrets with a host of invisible strangers. Maybe it’s a self endorsed form of therapy. The force of writing words that are universally public (rather than scrawled internal rants in a diary kept under the mattress) certainly forces my mind to have a different perspective when looking back at itself.

One thing I’ve noticed in writing this is that I try and maintain a sense of humour when scrutinising the various hapless twists and turns of my life. But if I being totally honest with you – you crazy invisible lot – the harsher reality is that my sense of humour hasn’t always been a very reliable crutch to keep my spirit tall and proud.

From time to time my general moany dissatisfaction with my unsuccessful search for a life has turned a little darker and I’ve hit some pretty black depths.

My relationship with depression is a confusing and conflicted one. It took me a long time to confront my reflection in the unfriendly bathroom mirror –  sallow cheeked and black eyed  – and accept that this strange feeling of hopelessness that permeated most of my waking and sleeping hours might be what other people call depression. Make no mistake – doing this was a HUGE admission. It never seemed to be a word that would happen to me.

As soon as I admitted it to myself something of a weight was lifted. Maybe giving the problem a diagnosis would lead to a cure I told myself as I dutifully took myself off to my doctor. As soon as I walked into the surgery I was hit by crushing wave of self doubt. What was I supposed to say? I mean there wasn’t really anything wrong with me was there? I didn’t have a pulsating sore or a raspy set of lungs or any kind of angry virus racing through my blood. You couldn’t see or test for this darkness that squatted on every bright thought in my head.

The wave of self doubt was followed by a breaking ebb of panic. The doctor was going to think I was making it up, his eyes were going to deaden for which I would read ‘here’s another over privileged, over indulged time waster’ radiating from his silent skull. I was so worked up by all these imagined reactions that when in fact the quiet natured and soft voiced doctor did turn to me and ask what seemed to be the problem I instantly burst into tears and was unable to articulate anything for a good five minutes.

I’d like to tell you that all my fears were unfounded and that my doctor was exemplary and eased my discomfort and set me on the road to recovery. Sadly it didn’t happen quite like that. My doctor, whilst not looking at me like I was the time waster I felt, did look a little embarrassed at my outburst. He struck me as something of a shy man and I could tell he’d be much more comfortable with an ingrown toenail than a bruised psyche. He called up a document on his computer and he went through a list of questions whilst doling out NHS edition scratchy tissues that silently ordered me to control myself.

Q: How long had I been feeling like this?

A: About six months

But the really terrifying thought, what haunted me and kept me awake at night – was how much longer would I feel like this…

Q : Did I know why I was feeling like this?

A: No.

I wish I could tell you I had a legitimate feeling for being like this – you’d understand it more if it was some rational response to a parent dying or a job ending – but no – there’s no reason why it started and no reason why it should end

Q: Was I having suicidal thoughts?

A: No god no

See listen – there’s even a little laugh for you to show just how ridiculous I know that idea to be. That word belongs to a whole different breed of depression. After all what right have I to feel suicidal? There’s nothing really wrong with me is there? 
So – yes – sometimes I think about how much more peaceful it would be not to exist, maybe, occasionally I’d go so far as saying I kind of long for that sensation. An eternity of feeling nothing – a calm soothing blankness like a luxurious coat to snuggle up in. A unfathomable lightness far, far away from this debilitating weight of sadness that turns all my skies leaden grey, makes every room I move through a boxy prison.
But this is a much darker, deeper silent truth that I can barely admit to myself , let alone you… 

At the end of his exhaustive list that I answered with half truths he offered me anti-depressants.

I know there are many different schools of thought about anti depressants and I know they have been vital in many people’s struggle to control their depression. However, personally I’ve never felt that comfortable about taking them. I totally get that depression can be about hormonal imbalance – and that medication is a good way to even things out, but for me it just never felt that that was what was wrong. There was a sadness in me that I wanted to address and exorcise. I didn’t want to push it to the bottom of an already cluttered closet of a brain by doping it with chemicals.

So I said no to the pills and this left the doctor a little thrown. I suppose he felt that they were the only thing he could manifestly offer me. He then said, with a peculiar expression on his face, that the NHS offered a few counselling routes but in order to be elligible I would need to complete a depression questionnaire. This they would use to work out whether or not they could help me. This felt suspiciously like my sadness was being graded. It also struck me as a little misbalanced that I could get magic pills by just rocking up and turning on the waterworks but if I wanted to bypass that route and just talk to someone about what I was going through I would have to enter into some kind of selection process.

Despite these misgivings I agreed that counselling seemed to be the best course of action – and with a visible expression of relief he sent me back down to reception to fill out the necessary forms. There followed another slightly excruciating experience where I had to ask (in hushed tones in a crowded waiting room) the haughty middle aged aged receptionist for a ‘Depression Form’ (I shit ye not – that’s actually what they were called).

She scrunched her face up and eyed me with a definite sense of suspicion and, much to my horror, shouted to the other receptionist who was lurking in the back office,

Dragon lady: ‘Ere Marge – this lady ‘uld like a depression questionnaire – do you know where they are?’

Marge: ‘A what?’

Dragon lady: (painfully loud) ‘A depression questionnaire’

Marge: ‘A preshun questionnaire – what’s that then?’

Dragon lady: ‘No – DE-pression – DEPRESSION’

Marge -‘ Ooooh Depression. Naaah ‘aven’t got any left – I’ll ‘ave to print one out. She alright to wait?’

Dragon Lady: ‘You alright to wait?’

Me: (in a voice so tiny I’m amazed she heard me) ‘yes’.

Eventually the questionnaire was thrust into my hands and I huddled in a corner rating my feelings of ‘dread and anxiety’ on a scale of 1 to 5 whilst desperately trying to ignore the rest of the full waiting room who were obviously fascinated my this red eyed mess with mental problems. I could positively feel their smugness over the fact they were there for a pregnancy check up or a chesty cough. They were worlds away from this wreck who struggled with just holding her head up and getting on with her life.

After submitting my forms I was to wait for up to four weeks to be contacted by someone in the appropriate department. Three weeks later someone did indeed phone who told me that the results of my questionnaire were positive (oh the irony), so the good news was that I may indeed be eligible for counselling. There was a peculiar rush of exhilaration that my ‘depression’ had passed the test – a misguided relief that something was indeed wrong with me. It’s a bit like going to Casualty (the ER for all you international readers) with an injured wrist and after waiting for fives hours and being pushed and shoved through x-rays and consults almost willing there to be a break so the visit wouldn’t have been a waste of time…. insanity. However my relief in my official diagnosis was to be short lived.

‘The next stage of the process is a telephone interview to assess what kind of help we can give you’

‘Great – I’ve got time now’ – was my reply.

‘Oh no – the purpose of this phone call is to to simply organise a time for said telephone interview. Our next available appointment is – lets see – the 8th June’

‘The 8th of June – but it’s the 10th of April’

‘That’s right – is that date alright for you. After your interview we’ll be able to best assess your needs, however I’m afraid it does take a little while, it takes on average about three months to place a patent within a counselling group – shall I book you in then?’

Switch to my newly born relief being dashed against the hard unforgiving wall of NHS waiting times…

I’m afraid I never made it to the telephone interview stage, but scraped together every last penny in my overdraft and took myself off to a private counsellor. My experience there was somewhat mixed too (I’ll tell you about that another time I’m sure).

What am I trying to achieve by telling you about the walls I ran into when trying to get help with my depression? However disappointing all these experiences were, in a strange and wonderful way they helped. Seeking help – helped, and through the roughs of confronting my depression head on I did get to a happier place. I would always, always encourage someone who is feeling down to ask for help – not so much for the advice (or lack of it) that you will receive – but for the tiny but vital switch this flicks in yourself. Depression is a indefatigable, ravenous beast of a thing and it takes its victims where it can. Standing up and facing the beast and making a conscious decision to not be its victim, but to instead start to try and figure out an escape plan, is a crucial step in recovery.

Is there a cure? Can you rid yourself of the beast for good? I’m not sure. My moods still very often resemble a bad game of ping pong, but I’m not scared of admitting to myself when there’s a problem, and I know myself better for grappling with my beast within.

So back to why I’m keeping this blog.

I’ve felt desperately alone at certain times in my life. Being surrounded by a loving family and having fantastic friends doesn’t matter one bit when you get lost inside yourself. If you’re reading this because you’re feeling like there are no answers, that no-one can help you, that life’s a big steaming mess of shit, then know that you’re not alone. If you’re racked with guilt for feeling a sadness that you don’t think you’ve earned the right to dwell in – know that you’re not alone. If you’ve got totally lost when you thought that you were directly en route to a proper life – then you are very definitely not alone. I’m not talking about me – I’m not talking about the 1000s of people worldwide who could sit down and share experiences that are so similar they set your nerves on end. You’re not alone because you always have yourself – and you are the best person to get yourself through.

Tagged , , , ,

There’s no business like no showbusiness

Angry Maggie. This is how I feel today.

Beware invisible readers – I feel a rant coming on.

In our beauteous household of three there are two miserable self loathing unemployed actors and one smugly luvvied-up ‘in work’-er. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t begrudge him the job (which is an enviably good one in the West End) – he’s a talented glorious man who I love dearly and honestly wish all the success in the world to. What I do begrudge is his flagrant tactlessness when it comes to his two sad, poor, artless housemates. There was a particular heinous transgression this morning that has left me gently reeling and full of the urge to kick something small and fluffy. This I may regret so I thought I’d vent here instead.

Employment tactlessness is a common trait amongst us odious actors. The fact is you have to trample down seemingly unlimited amounts of envy and bitterness when those around you are cast in productions that you would give an important limb just to be seen for – fuck that – just to have the casting director breathe on your CV. Therefore – when you become one of the unreachable enviable few that actually have a job you exact revenge by surreptitiously gloating to all who surround you. Full circle baby – you become one of those very people you have bitched about and despised.

Facebook is scary territory to luck around when you’re an actor who feels especially down about their career path. Just a wee scroll down the news feed of friends (heavily populated by the actor breed) makes you want to sink into the duvet of no-return. A few examples:

‘Excellent audition today at the Nash (smug actory slang for the National theatre) – fingers crossed people!’

No – no fingers crossed – fingers darting quickly towards your eyes, or heavily engaged in trying to extract your head from your self important arsehole

‘Eeeeeeek so excited about my first night tonight’

Thank you, thank you person I’ve not seen for three years and never much cared for in the first place, thank you for announcing to your 947 facebook friends, most of whom I’m sure don’t much care for you either, that you are successful and working. It’s been delightful witnessing you roll about happy in your own shit – I’d rather not smell it though if it’s all the same to you…

‘OMG – sooooo many lines to learn, I’m literally drowning!’

(apply heavily sarcastic tone…) Gosh – not only are you in work, not only do you seemingly have a lead role, but – poor you – here you are trying to solicit sympathy from your 564 unemployed facebook friends about the huge misfortune of this situation. AND – by the by – you are not LITERALLY drowning, figuratively perhaps. If you’re going to be smug at least be accurate in your hideousness.

I know, I know – I sound like a bitter shrivelled up old bitch. Let’s face it that’s probably exactly what I am. To all the non-actors out there (or the perpetually employed ones) this small selection of statuses that send my mouse flying towards the ‘Block from News Feed’ link (a genius invention) – probably don’t seem that bad.

But the thing is I’m only too aware of that slightly vindictive vainglorious urge to self publicise when you (for once) join the chosen few. You know it will hurt other people, you know that you’ll hate yourself the next day – but you can’t resist. It’s sweet revenge for all those statuses you’ve had to endure.

To put in context for those out with the sense to have a real job – imagine that your facebook was dominated by those in your chosen vocation. Imagine that you and most of your vocation orientated crew had gone through some almighty profession cull. No-one is working. You feel lousy, unimportant, your self confidence and self esteem are at an all time low. As if this wasn’t enough you’re poor, hideously poor, been surviving on rehydrated bovril all week poor. You spend far too much time at home on the computer in an attempt to live life vicariously and cheaply. And then – a couple of your friends in said vocation – who have experienced your pain and your poverty themselves – have the luck and opportunity to get said jobs back. Are they sympathetic to the tens, nay hundreds of people who are still in the situation they have just escaped? No – of course not. Instead they continually post about just how amazing their jobs are. They post pictures of themselves in their new workplace, laughing with their new colleagues. They post pictures of all the riotous nights out they’re now enjoying with said new employees (not you anymore – poor unemployed hasbeen friend) bought with their bulging new pay packets. They do this with the full awareness that many of their ‘friends’ will read of their success and feel just that little bit shitter about their own lives.

I know, I know. I’m moaning. Whiny posts – don’t you just love them. It’s just a particular bug bear of mine – and I’m feeling a touch on the low side of down today – so indulge me!

I’ll be more positive tomorrow I promise!

Tell me to buck up – I think I need some harsh words of encouragement.

M x

Tagged ,

To write or not to write?

Isn’t it pretty!

It’s a peculiar sensation writing to an non-existent audience – not that I haven’t had plenty of experience of barren auditoriums on my illustrious acting career to date. I’m slightly suspicious of my motives in starting this blog and am wary of becoming another self involved, self indulgent, whining entity on the web (though again – plenty of experience of all three character traits.)

I kept a diary as a kid – my first pink leather day a page arrived under the christmas tree aged nine. I loved it dearly – mostly because of its cute golden lock and its implicit promise to keep any secret I bestowed upon it. Of course my nine year old self didn’t have any secrets that really warranted a lock and key. My twenty eight year old self on the other hand has a whole myriad of secrets of the heart and darknesses of the soul that would be best off shackled and bounded and buried deep in the crevices of the earth, but instead here I am publishing them to the universe on the internet.

What do I want or expect from this? Especially when (at the moment at least) no one appears to be reading my plaintive confessionals. Truth told – I’m not sure at the moment – any enlightenments on my own psychology form all you more experienced bloggers out there would be very welcome. But I’m enjoying it. It seems writing about the foibles of my existence somehow lets me handle them with a sense of humour rather than a crushing sense of doom. And no one likes a crushing sense of doom now do they?

M xxx