I haven’t changed a bit…

I got a notion this morning to have a look at my very first diary, after seeing @anniewestdotcom chatting on Twitter about her youngest child finishing primary school, and I remembered I had started writing a diary around the time I was embarking on that new exciting phase in life. When I found it and checked the date, I got an awful shock. Twenty years ago exactly (plus 3 days) I sat in my room armed with my favourite Staedtler red pen and my brand new hardback, peach-coloured crushed velvet effect diary and sat down to write my first¬†ground-breaking¬†masterpiece. I’ve been writing ever since. So here’s the second entry, the first one mentioned names and I didn’t want to drag any poor unsuspecting souls into my madness! I had to smile when I read through it. Life is pretty much the same now, just add bills and paperwork for added adulthood.

So here you go, a little glimpse of my past, a small snippet of how an ‘almost thirteen’ year old thought on this week in 1991. Don’t get all misty-eyed now…

I love that I tell you straight up that my thoughts are 'very interesting'. Cocky young one, so I was...

I called myself a 'dufus'. Must have been watching a lot of 'Saved By The Bell'.

Before you ask, I can’t remember which boy that was. I had a list of about five boys at any given time who tickled my fancy. I hadn’t quite grasped the concept of ‘narrowing down’. I also can’t remember which friend that was either. ‘Copsewood’ is the secondary school I went to, what a place. The six years that followed in that institution deserve a book all of their own.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this mini trip into the mind of a 90’s adolescent Irish girl, with all her insecurities about her looks and her height and getting nervous about talking to boys…and an apparent ability to feel ‘good, angry and depressed’ in a single mood moment. As the title says, I haven’t changed a bit.

A tribute from a recluse to Dr. Seuss

Oh, he would be so proud…

Oh how I love to sleep at night,
I do not want to wake at light!
I do not wish to wake in the morn
I do not wish to feel forlorn
I do not want to leave my bed
I do not want to raise my head
To face the world and all its charm
Would make me feel the most alarm
I just want to be alone
To hide away, to moan and groan
I do not want to face the day
I’m anti-social, that’s okay!

Life as a Home-Groaner..

To be fair, at least I ACTUALLY left home first.

This is a brief look into the life of an adult child who, for one reason or another, has decided (and been allowed) to return to the homestead from which they came. There’s a lot of us out there, in our twenties and thirties who, due to money reasons (or in my case, that plus a complete U-Turn in career choice), have ended up living back at home with our parents.

Don’t let their eye-rolling fool you…they secretly LOVE it. Why pass up another opportunity to lay down some Home Rule? A second chance to say those immortal words ‘Not while you’re living under MY house, young lady..’ Every day that passes is another day to ask ‘are you going to wear a jacket with that?’ with a sly knowing smirk as they watch that little vein in your temple throb to a crescendo as you scream “I’m a grown-up!!”. The fact that you’re having a tantrum about being said grown-up only serves to bring their point home. Oh they’re skilled creatures these parents..

Living at home as a grown-up puts you in a strange position. You’re eternally grateful for the down-time while you figure out your next move in the big bad world, but you’re also aware that you have stepped into a sort of time warp. Or a loophole in the universe. For in the years between when you first left home and forged your way into the land of the grown-ups and the time you return battered and bruised and needing a time-out, somehow you survived all by yourself.. Your clothes were cleaned on a semi-regular basis, you got yourself up, dressed and out the door to work or college all by yourself more or less on time, if you drove you hardly ever mowed anyone down on the road or went through a windshield due to non-wearing of seatbelt…and most of all, you didn’t starve. Either you developed cookery skills or managed to have all the local takeaways on speed dial. Either way, you did okay. And then you moved back home.

By moving back home you are unaware that you signed a contract with Father Time. This contract wiped clean any of those skills you developed outside of the home – in the eyes of your parents. So now you are nothing more than a big old twenty or thirty-something menace in their kitchen who is going to burn the house down if left unchecked. I could write an entire blog on the choreography my mother and I engage in while we both attempt to cook dinner. How I was ever left alone near electrical appliances without my mammy coaching me while I lived in Cork for 6 years I’ll never know.

“It’s starting to boil now.”

“Yup, I know. I can see bubbles..God bless Junior Cert science.”

“No need to be smart..”

“Yes there is, I’m making ‘BOIL in the Bag’ rice. It’s in the name!! If it was ‘Lukewarm in the Bag’ rice I may need you to intervene cos obviously the power’s gone straight to my head”

“I’m only trying to help..*sniff*..”

Ah, that sniff…it’s the universal symbol for mothers the world over. It can mean many things. In this case, it meant “I had nothing else to say on what you were doing but I walked all the way out here and I hate wasted journeys. I’m going to act hurt now because my attempt at mothering you ended in disaster.”

My favourite has to be the wake-up call. Not the symbolic ‘moment of clarity’ one, the actual rising from one’s slumber.

*knock knock*

“I just wanted to tell you that it’s ten to two.”

(groggily looks at her alarm clock, then her phone on the bed) “Yup, I know, thanks.”

“Okay so, I wasn’t sure if you did.”

Now I should point out it’s a Sunday. And I’m 31. But here’s where the mother’s skill comes in. Rather than burst in with a lecture about how I’m wasting the day and I’m sleeping a lot lately blah blah, she comes back 20 minutes later with this.

*knock knock*

“Do you want a cup of tea?”

“Okay, okay, I get it, I’m getting up…”

“No, it doesn’t matter, sure I’m heading away in a few minutes anyway.”

“?????”

It was pretty sweet to be lured out of bed with a cup of tea, I’ll admit. But why if she was going away did she want me up?? I’d happily have slept all day! And that never happens. Because as much as I love my mammy, she’s a bit of an insomniac who wakes at all hours..and not quietly. I call her the walking drum kit. Well worth the slap I get for it!

So I get up, and there’s my lovely tea..

“Did you put sugar in for me as well? You didn’t have to do that..”

“Course I did, my little sugar plum..”(I added that bit :P)

“How many did you put in?”

“2 teaspoons”

“Oh, sorry I only take one and a half” (have done for a few years)

“But this is the way you always liked it!” (see what I mean about the loophole in time??)

For all the adjustments made on both sides when a grown-up child comes back home to the nest they once flew out of, you can’t beat putting the key in the door of a place you can always feel like yourself in, with someone there who knows instinctively when to make you a cup of tea just by looking at your face as you walk in the door. You drink it gratefully, and even though there’s too much sugar in it, it still tastes rapid cos it’s made with love. And I am eternally grateful to be allowed back home while I finish the mammoth task of forging a career for myself, and we’re both glad of the company because to be honest we’re so flippin’ odd I don’t think anyone else would understand.

*braces herself for a clip around the head*

It’s good to be home.

Why Carrie Bradshaw is a disgrace..

"What can I change today to fit the man I'm sleeping with in this episode??"

I used to love Sex and the City. It was a great way to shut off the brain and indulge in a glorified fashion show with women living the life an insignificant percentage of people actually live. The shoes, the outfits, the hair..all very nice at some point. But as time went on and I got on with my life, it would come to disappear from my life. But then every channel under the sun started running it and re-running it every night, with different series on each channel so if you weren’t up on the goings-on of Ms. Bradshaw and Co. then all it looked like was desperate very well-dressed women apparently past their sell-by date looking for a man. But that’s not why I’m ranting.

As a lot of my thinking goes on at night, and therefore all my college work gets done then too, I found myself leaving the TV on in the background as I got stuck into whatever mountain of work had been bestowed on me. And that show was usually what I would leave on, more often than not because i had already seen the episode, and mostly because it didn’t demand anything of me as a viewer. Then I started looking at it with a critical eye. Granted, I should have been using my critical eye to elevate my English Lit essay to an ‘A’ standard, but the past is the past. I saw something very disconcerting in Carrie. As I saw the different episodes from the various series, I began to see a timeline of her disintegration as a confident secure woman.

If I was to do a PhD on women and their portrayal in film and TV, she would be my prime example of a weak woman. I’ve watched her change her personality and her fashion to suit every guy she’s ever been interested in, from uptown and city chic with Big, to gingham crop shirts and pigtails with Aidan (whom she should REALLY be with but that’s cos I love him!). However, you can forgive that. I mean, we’ve all made slight modifications to our outer selves and inner musings when courting potential sweethearts, it’s a psychological drive we have to establish an affinity with that person and help us bond. I include both sexes in that.

It wasn’t until I watched the movie that it really hit me just how spineless the character of Carrie really was. She started out being a woman who had always wanted the wedding of her dreams with the man of her dreams wearing the dress of her dreams. She eventually settled for a courthouse marriage with about 10 guests and wearing a pants suit, getting married to the same man who dumped her in front of New York society and all her friends, leaving her in a designer dress-shaped heap on the steps of the hotel cradling what was left of her sanity. And we were led to believe this was her happy fairytale ending. Cheers.

Now before you get all riled up, I’m not for one minute knocking small weddings. The idea of a big wedding makes me want to create a J-Ro shaped hole in the wall frankly, so that’s not an issue. What I took exception to was how Carrie did a complete 180 degree flip on who she was just to snare her man. This was Mr. Big, who has known her for 10 years, and couldn’t have been ignorant of the fact that fashion and all its trimmings were a huge part of Carrie’s life. This was never going to be a small intimate affair by anyone’s standards. He knew this before the question was even popped. He knew before they moved in. He knew before he ever went to Paris on that big gesture of being her knight in shining armour to rescue her from The Russian. So what gives?

Fair enough, he bowed out in the most chicken shit way possible. That’s not what annoys me. What annoys me is her decision to go sailing right back into his arms without an iota of compromise. She threw all her dreams out the window just to get the ring on her finger. A big wedding, while not the most appealing to me, or very many others, was what she wanted and reflected her personality and who she was. And her settling for the small nuptials and discreet classy trouser suit outfit, while a gorgeous idea for some, just wasn’t what we as viewers were led to believe Carrie Bradshaw stood for. She gave it all away just to get married. And that annoys the crap out of me.

Roll on SATC 2…let’s see what kind of a doormat Carrie will strap to her back this time..