Being Single Is Great – But There’s A Lonely Price
Single? Happy? Despite your awesome life, do you get lonely? Have you answered yes to all 3?
COME SIT BY ME. puts kettle on
Single? Happy? Despite your awesome life, do you get lonely? Have you answered yes to all 3?
COME SIT BY ME. puts kettle on
I’m 37 in less than 2 months, and I’ve got a new addiction that up until recently would have been meant for the confines of a Kindergarten or a Junior Infants class of a weekday morning. I’m addicted to colouring books. More specifically, colouring books made especially for grown-ups. I’ve called them Adult Colouring Books, but that just conjures up images of pages upon pages of boob, fanny and willy drawings, or outlines of a page or ten from Kama Sutra; although, I’m sure somebody’s thought of that already. Nothing new under the sun and all that… *goes searching on Amazon*
So why is there such a fascination with Grown-Up Colouring books now? Well from my uneducated lay-person standpoint, it seems to be a branch coming out of the Mindfulness movement – giving people a chance to be ‘in the present’ (feckin’ hippies I know, but it works) and calm the mind, giving it focus and having a moment or two of time to yourself doing something pleasurable and visually stimulating in the process. A little bit of Occupational Therapy for the price of a colouring book and some markers.
Years ago in the midst of a very dark patch, I was in town and I got a notion that I wanted to colour in. It seemed that my love of stationery was a gateway drug to it; but there wasn’t anything in the way of a wide assortment of books to choose from. Either that or I just didn’t have the wherewithal to go looking for it online. So into Michael Guineys I went, bought a jumbo kids’ colouring book and a packet of markers all for under a fiver, and headed home all excited to stick my head into a bit of childhood regression; anything to alleviate the ball of twine-sized anxiety in my stomach that nothing would shake.
It didn’t last long, mostly because there’s only so many giant cartoon dogs you can colour in before you get bored. You’re engaged in a childlike activity, but that doesn’t mean you need child-centred content. This year I started to properly discover more advanced books with detailed patterns and shapes, repetitive geometrics, paisley-style prints, mandalas, and detailed cartoons of the most beautiful things in the world. I’d seen one or two books in the senior classrooms of the schools I’d taught in, given to kids who would finish work faster than the others and needed to keep themselves occupied with something a bit more challenging, and I was SO JEALOUS. So imagine my delight when I saw how huge the range of colouring books had become for overgrown kids like me.
So if you think it’s something you’d like to try out, I can’t recommend it enough. For so many reasons. I suffer from Dermatillomania, which is basically a compulsive skin-picking disorder, and has been the bane of my life ever since I developed my fine motor skills. At its simplest, it’s anxiety-based, and left unchecked, causes huge pain and discomfort and scarring. It’s like a mild unconscious form of self-harm, so the doc tells me. When anxious, I’ll tear at the skin on my body, face, hands, to the point where my fingers are so sore from having pulled hangnails (imaginary or otherwise) that they leave infections and swelling behind, and I’m left disfigured, bleeding and in pain. So when the chance to get stuck into something that would otherwise occupy my hands, I pounced on it like it was the last Krispy Kreme on earth. It’s the artistic equivalent of a stress ball for me, and what it saves me in disfigurement and low self-esteem cannot be measured.
I really think you should give it a go. You don’t have to be a Salvador Dali type, there’s designs and pics out there to suit everyone. If you think a book of complicated mandalas might add to your stress levels, then there are others with simple yet adorable pics and lettering you can sweep a marker or pencil across with delight. Click on any of the pics to find the books pictured here on Amazon, or to go to my Instagram to see what manner of a colour scheme I’m chucking down on to a page.
Pen, pencil, or ink?
You all know the usual suspects to get hold of in any bookshop or stationery (yum) shop; Crayola, Sharpie, Faber-Castell and all those are obviously perfect to kick off your colouring habit. I got a 24-pack of brilliant Crayola markers in Heatons for under €8 (with a free blank sketchbook thank you vey much!) to start me off. I’m a markers girl myself, being a cartoon lover until the day I die, but there are some amazing colouring pencils out there if you take a bit of time to wander around art supply shops and see which ones you like.
If you want to pimp out your colouring experience, Staedtler Fine Tips are the mutt’s nuts altogether. Having explored the wonderland website of artist Johanna Basford (click the pic below to see her work), I decided to splurge on the Staedtler so when I decided to take on intricately detailed drawings and patterns, I could keep my perfectionist side at bay by staying inside the lines. Her books are an absolute treasure. They’re next on my list. Click the pic below to be taken to her website and have your mind blown.
There you have it, a short and (hopefully) useful guide to get you started on the road to regression. There really is nothing like taking a bit of time to yourself and indulging in a pastime that makes you feel like a happy kid again. It’s also a lot more socially acceptable than, say, firebombing your workplace or quitting your job in spectacular Jerry Maguire-style fashion following an epiphany / nervous breakdown. Be nice to yourself; make a bucket of tea or grab a class of wine, curl up on a comfy couch with your pencil case and book of choice and GET COLOURING IN. You won’t regret it. I promise.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
I hate exercise. HATE IT. Yeah I get it, it’s good for you, Nature’s anti-depressant, blah blah blah, you won’t know yourself…fuck the fuck off! I just DON’T. LIKE. MOVING. Unless it’s to turn arse-cheeks and reset the butt-groove in the couch after a two-hour marathon. And don’t tell me that’s not an effort. You’re also not taking into effect the amount of times you’ve to lunge forward to click the ‘Continue Playing’ button, lest you end up staring gee-eyed and a paused screen for the remainder of the night until sunrise (or your bladder, whichever comes first) alerts you to the fact that you may have to vacate your trusty cosy haven of sloth, otherwise you’ll end up with some serious stain issues on the couch. Take it any further, and firefighters will have to crane-lift you and your new furniture-shaped adult diaper to the hospital so the doctors can try and separate your bloated flesh from the leather settee it appears to have fused itself to. I’m not even joking; it’s a thing. I saw it on Nip / Tuck.
It’s all well and good lauding exercise as Nature’s Anti-Depressant, but that just means that in my opinion, Nature is really shit at making anti-depressants. Gimme hard chemicals any day. Nice little pills wrapped in foil, like tiny promises of mental peace & quiet for anyone who opens them. They’re fantastic. They have the ability to stop me running, crying and terrified, into the arms of complete strangers on the footpath because I’m too afraid to walk a few blocks down the road to Dunnes. You know what else comes wrapped in foil and makes me feel better, Nature? Chocolate. Chinese Food. A kebab at 3.30am after a night of delicious gin (which doesn’t come wrapped in foil, but it sure as shit makes me feel better).
Some would say heroin and meth also come with a foil accompaniment, and to those I say shut up; this is my blog where I’m ranting without fear of logic or consequence jumping in. I’m venting. You want calmly presented facts and all that shite? Go look up some medical journals and feel smug while the rest of us enjoy a good mental blowout. We’ll all behave again tomorrow. If you’re going to keep reading; suspend all realities and known benefits of exercise, and join me in my Circle of Hate.
You know what else is utterly cock-rotten about exercise? It interrupts my day. I’ve become quite used to spending up to twelve hours a day worrying incessantly about nothing and everything, while trying to write some coherent thoughts as a thousand voices roar behind me into my ears that I’m complete shit. I’m an expert at Anxiety Management; well, to be more accurate, Anxiety is an expert on J-Ro Management. It gives me full-time hours and expects me to work weekends and nights at a moment’s notice, and if I could turn in some reports on why I should never leave the house and socialise with mates again, that’d be great. It’s the mental health equivalent of that douche-bucket manager in Office Space.
Also can we take a moment to call bullshit on all those exercise videos with women who don’t sweat? They can kiss my fine white Irish plus-size arse. There they are, sighing gently through The Insanity workout with only a little ‘eeek’ or ‘oooh’ emanating from their perfectly over-glossed lips in between the kind of fitness regime that I’m pretty sure was previously rejected by Navy SEALS or fucking Black Ops for being ‘A tad harsh’. All of these skinny bitches in the background behind their slave driver / trainer grinning widely and yipping in between sets as they’re tortured are the best living example of Stockholm Syndrome I’ve witnessed since Patty Hearst. Sweat? NOT ONE DROP. Oh no, not these gals. Sure, they’re lightly misty across the face, but they just look glowy and dew-fresh, like a Stephanie Meyer vampire walking around in the sunshine. In the meantime, just getting in the main door of the gym makes me look like this:
Anyway, I joined Zumba. I know it’s not the ‘in’ thing to do in the face of all things TRX and Crossfit and TR-fit and Cross-X (or whatever the fuck they’re called – are they the same thing? I bet they are the sneaky bastards), but as I mentioned in my previous post “Life As A Living Before Picture“, my lung capacity is in dire straits, and I’m tired of breaking a sweat and needing my inhaler every time I so much as open a book, so I decided to jump in at the deep end and really give them something to give out about. It seems to be working. I’m pretty sure I left half of one on the floor at my very first class. Must check with reception to see if anyone handed it in.
I would never submit you to an actual video of me trundling my sweaty way through a Zumba routine, so to get a fair idea, please watch this clip of a cartoon potato giving it socks to a dance choon.
The girls in the class are all lovely, mad eejits…and you kind of have to be. To engage in a ferocious cardiac workout like Zumba is (despite what others think, it’s fucking INSANELY tough) for a full sixty minutes in front of a full-length mirror, stuck in a body that you hate, wishing the inches away as you pound the floor, and still have a laugh with those next to you, tells me that my fellow Zumba hostages are a decent bunch of lasses. Added to which our instructor Sarah is a legend of a woman, part insanely happy Energiser Bunny, part Drill Sergeant. The best way to be when you’ve someone like me in your group.
So onwards I waddle, trying to get myself together. Some friends have told me that I’ll eventually get past the seething hatred I have for moving, and be all super-psyched about the prospect of getting up and out to burn away the calories in time. To them I say “I love you, but take a look at who you’re talking to, and revise that statement.” I’ve been on this planet a good while now at this stage, and I have NEVER, I repeat, NEVER, liked ‘activities’ that involved leaving a couch or a bed or the house when there is no discernible threat to my person from fire, flood or famine. It doesn’t mean I won’t do it, sure anyone with a toast crumb-sized piece of common sense knows that it’s the only thing that’ll shift pounds and make you feel better while you get your eating habits in order. So it’s a necessary evil in my world. Doesn’t mean I’ll be a fitness fanatic any time soon. I’ll leave that to all my fabulous fit friends who enjoy a couple of 5K runs of a weekend while I slave over a hot laptop trying to make a name for myself writing shit like this.
So to all those who love a good calorie burning session in whatever form takes their fancy; rock on, you mad, jammy fit, well-toned bastards. I’ll stick to flipping the bird at my workout gear and undressing my couch and fleecy blankets with my eyes. In the meantime, I’ll still continue to venture out to Zumba on a regular basis to engage in a fat-threatening habit that may, if I stick with it and remain consistent, actually be responsible for me needing to invest in smaller jeans and taking longer to use up my inhaler, as opposed to taking longer to, you know, GET UP A FLIGHT OF STAIRS.
Better keep at it, so.
You’d think when my trip to Edinburgh finished up that I’d sit back and collapse in a heap after nearly three weeks of madness – oh you don’t know me at all! As I scrolled through my FB timeline while I waited to get the plane back home, I wasn’t too mad about the prospect of coming back to that pot of pasta & stir-in sauce I suddenly remembered sitting on the hob. I could only imagine what furry mouldy creature awaited me when I eventually removed that lid.
So on I scrolled listlessly through my timeline not really paying any attention, until I saw a post from the page “The Queen Of Ireland”, a documentary about the now world-famous drag artist and Grand Dame of Dublin, Panti Bliss, which had set up a GoFundMe campaign in order to raise the finances to extend the documentary up to and just beyond the result of the Marriage Referendum. I had offered my services to help with spreading the word about it in my little corner of the internet and in the Midwest in general, and had gotten to know lots of the crew and PR team involved. It seemed to be a real labour of love for everyone, and the fact that we’d gotten the result we’d all campaigned and worked so hard for in the Referendum (spoiler alert rock-dwellers; we smashed the bigots in the ballots!)
By now I’m sure anyone with internet access in Ireland knows about #Pantigate, so I’m not going to go into all that – but it was the response of Panti to all the furore around it, in the form of The Noble Call, that captivated everyone. Here it is just in case you felt like upping your daily recommended dose of goosebumps.
The documentary team had been following Panti for the last 5 years or so, and when all the controversy kicked off, they were there to capture every second of its evolution, and the lead-up to the referendum, and the aftermath. Suffice it to say that it’ll be a hell of a Hollywood ending, even we DO know the outcome.
The documentary team were looking for anyone who would be around Dublin on the Wednesday after I got back, who would like to be in a studio audience for what would be the final day of shooting. Naturally, in the spirit of saying ‘Yes’ to as many things as possible in order to make life interesting, and because I had time on my hands, I emailed and secured myself a place in the audience. So I flew into Dublin, getting in rather late and thanking the stars for my awesome mate Katia who picked me up from the airport and saved me serious hassle. I stayed with her that night, and arose at half six in the morning (WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING) to get out the door and make my way to the National Film School at the IADT Dun Laoghaire where the last scenes were being filmed.
Tell you what, if you’re going to get busted putting your make-up on in public, it may as well be by a crew of a documentary of a drag queen. My only regret is that it wasn’t dramatic enough by any means. These gals have SURRIOUS contouring skills. I must have looked like a boring pleb with only one shade of foundation on my face. The transformations were worthy of CGI skills. Having met Rory that morning halfway through his metamorphosis into Panti, he was laughing and joking with the crew discussing the plans for the day’s shoot. I swear, if I looked a tenth as fresh and happy as he did if I were in his Jimmy Choos, I’d be doing well.
There wasn’t a huge number of us in for the audience, but there was enough to get some good crowd shots and for Panti to engage with and share her anecdotes. There was no mistaking Panti for Rory either. She was Panti, as if Rory had been merely acting as her personal assistant that morning, carrying her personality in a make-up and clothing bag until it was time for her to emerge, sacrificing his entire physical being to help her come alive. That’s the best kind of personal assistant a diva could ask for. She did it all, in form-fitting dazzlers of gowns and super-high heels. That takes some doing.
(I need an assistant. SHUT UP I TOTALLY NEED ONE.)
I’m sworn to secrecy about the content of the shooting and of showing pics of the sets, until the documentary is released (which is fair enough; besides, I fucking HATE people who post spoilers). Fortunately that won’t be too long, it looks like there’s a desire to really get this done as perfectly as possible and to not lose any of the fantastic momentum and spirit surrounding our little island’s victory for equality. So instead, here’s a clip of Panti’s triumphant return into Pantibar on the afternoon of the referendum result as it began to emerge that we were looking at a massive resounding Yes vote. Having been around Dublin city centre as the news was starting to spread, myself and my friend Emma were walking around getting teary-eyed one minute, hugging each other and grinning like stoned apes the next.
So basically I’m telling you I had a really interesting, long, tiring, awesome day watching some of the best drag queens in the country do their thing, and giving feck-all away. But sure who doesn’t love a story full of suspense? I guess the point is that just when I thought all the adventuring had stopped, up popped another opportunity to do something out of the ordinary – and get to be a part of something a wee bit historic. I’m a very grateful J-Ro to be able to do stuff like this on a whim, and every day I’m thankful that I can share my adventures with people who seem to enjoy it! You mad eejits…
Lord knows what’s lined up for me in the next few weeks, but in July…I GET MY VOICE BACK! So between now and then I’ll try not to dissolve in terror at my first surgery since childhood and post some word-vomit on here to distract myself from The Fear. Please don’t hate me…
I’ve been with my boyfriend for a few months. He’s sweet, funny and kind. The only thing is, I’m not attracted to him. I’ve known that all along but I’ve been trying not to be superficial. I tried to ignore it but now I feel like I resent him because I don’t fancy him. Should we break up?
In a word; yes. Why are you with him if you don’t fancy him? Sure he’s sweet, funny and kind, but so are puppies and friends. And you don’t have to go to the effort of going out with them to get that. If you don’t fancy him, then he shouldn’t be your boyfriend. The ‘fancying’ part is one of the fundamental defining points of a boyfriend or a girlfriend, so if that’s missing, you’re selling yourself short. You’re also not being fair to him; he deserves to be with someone who gets tingles in their tummy at the thought of being with them. Would YOU like to be with someone who didn’t fancy you? My guess is you’d be gone before you could say ‘Chemistry’.
You’re not being superficial by wanting to end it because he doesn’t do it for you, among other things we’re visually-stimulated creatures, and physical & sexual attraction is what separates a guy who is a friend from a guy who could be a potential love interest. It’s the funny feelings in our fuzzy bits that keep this world of ours turning 🙂
I could labour the point, but I suspect you know all of this. I think you’re maybe trying to find a way out of this without hurting his feelings, and without feeling bad yourself. I don’t imagine you were going to just grin and bear it for the next few years, having absolutely no sexual attraction to someone you’re stuck with just because you don’t want to be the breaker-upper. Unfortunately, it’s gotta be done. It will hurt his feelings, but you’re doing him a favour and it’s not out of nastiness; it’s out of honesty and respect. You’re giving the two of you the gift of freedom to have something way better with other people who will melt your butter in ways you never imagined. Sure who wouldn’t want a present like that? Go forth and take the step, it’ll sting but things will be far better for the both of you. Let some chemistry into your life!
Best of luck <3