C’est ne pas une pipe

December 8, 2011

Good afternoon, Internet!

Actually, you know what? It is a good afternoon here. In fact, it’s been a good few days here in wonderland. Here are some reasons why I am in a good mood:

1) I finished a first draft of my PhD thesis.

2) I Finished a First Draft Of My PhD Thesis

3) I FINISHED A FIRST DRAFT OF MY PHD THESIS.

4) I FINISHED A FIRST DRAFT OF MY PHD THESIS THANK FUCK !!!!!!!!!! (whew, yep, that’s the one)

Here are some other significant things that have happened over the last few days:

1) I went to the Central London ADHD meeting. It was bloody brill. So nice to meet people of the Internet (yes, people of the Internet, I did not mean to type people off the Internet, since if that is what I meant I would clearly write people from the Internet. Sorry to be a stickler about this, but people have drawn my attention to missing ‘f’s before and because I can’t stand the thought of anyone reading this and thinking about that missing ‘f’ which is, in actual fact, not so much missing as purposefully excluded from the party, I thought I ought to clarify the point early. We all sorted now? Good. Off we go.) Where was I? Oh yes. So it was wonderful to meet people who previously I had only met on the Internet. Shiny was every bit as shiny (in personality, I mean; she didn’t look like she needed a wash) as I expected her to be and more so. Indeed it reminded me that I love ADHDers for their sparkle and the way the everyday world goes into their brain, gets all mashed up like a play-doh fun factory and then comes out of their mouths in weird and unpredictable arrays of colour.

What I loved about Tuesday was the way I could look around and recognise familiar little expressions or patterns of speech. I could tell that people were already thinking about what they wanted to say next when they were listening to somebody else, I could see them biting their lip so as not to interrupt. Of course we are all different people with different lives, backgrounds, and personalities, but it’s like there’s a base level of shared understanding that can be taken for granted and doesn’t need to be explained. There’s something incredibly comforting about that, and something very refreshing too. It’s like a cold lemonade in summer, and a cup of hot bovril in a storm. Not together, obvs. I feel like I really need that at the moment (the ADHD meeting, not the lemonade/bovril cocktail. Bovade. Lemonvril. Ugh). It did me good, and I had a fantastic time. Top bloody banana!

2) Right, I’ve totally run out of time now (am going to buy a small Christmas tree in a minute. I only have six baubles so it is not going to be an extravagant affair) but I do want to briefly tell you about SuperCoach Bev. She’s ace too. I had my first coaching session with her by phone yesterday and not only is she Northern and very nice, she has also proved to me already that ADHD coaching is not the waste of time I feared it might be. In fact, I am feeling quite hopeful. Short of getting myself medicated again, I think SuperCoach Bev might be the answer. I will tell you more about this tomorrow, when I also have some other things of importance interest value total pointlessness to tell you.

In the meantime, I had to share this with you. The other day I got a sign. A sign it was going to be a good few days. I am a great believer in the universe giving us signs. Actually that’s a complete lie. A massive lie. I am not at all a believer in the universe giving me signs (why can’t I tell a lie on the Internet without confessing? What’s the Internet for if I can’t pretend the universe sends me signs???). The universe prob does not give us signs, people. If it does, it should probably be targeting someone a bit more influential than me. Like Obama or Cameron or the people who invent internet memes. It should be telling political leaders to stop fucking up the planet and killing and torturing people. It should be banning Littlewoods from advertising on television and the radio until they can produce something that doesn’t make my brain vomit out of my eyes. Yep, the following, which I saw in the remnants of a vegetable stir-fy, was probably not a message from the universe, but it did make me smile:

Read the rest of this entry »

December? Already?

December 4, 2011

According to Chaucer, April is a fine month for a pilgrimage. According to T.S Eliot, April is the cruelest month. According to my calendar, it is also the longest:

 

So I was rather startled to find myself in December. Not feeling the Christmas cheer right now, Internet. In fact, all I want for Christmas is a completed PhD thesis. Sadly, it’s not the kinda thing you can put on a wishlist. Or is it?

Does it count as plagiarism if Santa writes your thesis?

 

 

But she started it…

December 3, 2011

A number of years ago (nine, in fact, is the number in question), I lived in a shared house with four other girls. Take five girls who haven’t yet lost the adolescent appetite for drama, and put them in a house share. Shake vigorously, open lid with caution, contents may be explosive. It was a fucking nightmare.

I did actually like a couple of the girls and although we’ve drifted apart over the years, we got on well enough at the time. Had we not lived together, and so not associated each other with the horrendous house-share from hell, we might have stayed in touch. The other thing I’ll point out is that all of these girls were, in fact, drama students. I hate to generalise (but I’m going to anyway so I guess we’ll all have to live with that) but drama students do seem to have a higher than average collection of neuroses, and feel a compulsion to draw attention to these neuroses in a variety of ‘interesting’ ways. Of course we all have our issues but in my experience, there is certainly a correlation between obtaining a BA in Theatre Studies and a propensity to see the world as a play in which you are the fatally flawed heroine and other people are mere bit-part players, who wander in and out of your scenes. Every time the action flags and your lines aren’t showing off your talents, you rewrite a little and ramp up the melodrama. Either studying Brecht and Artaud is enough to put you in therapy, or UCAS recruits drama applicants directly from the books of therapists.  If this stereotype seems a little cruel that’s because it is. But a lesser-known fact about me is that for two years, I was one of these students of drama. For two years I ‘externalized the internal’ for dramatic effect, indulged in ‘invisible theatre (which meant standing in the middle of Covent Garden in a bra and sandwich board). I ran around with no shoes on, cultivated an image of a tortured soul, and cried late into the night, raking through every corner of my cushy middle-class life for more ‘material’. The thing is, I wasn’t very good at all that self-loathing combined with self-adoration and after two years I realised that a 2.2 in BA Exhibitionism  was not what I wanted out of my university career. So I switched to English where the pretensions were just as pronounced but of a slightly more tolerable flavour. But my point is, that I speak, if not with authority, then at least with some first-hand experience. I am sure there are lots and lots of talented and well-balanced students of drama the world over. Perhaps I’ll meet one of them one day.

Anyhow, in this shared house, we were all a bit like this – total emotional fuck-ups, mostly by design. But there was this one girl who was possibly the best example of all of these things that I have ever come across, and consequently the most irritating person in the world.  And maybe also a little bit evil. We’ll call her Tit. This wasn’t her name but it’s not wholly dissimilar to her name and is certainly apt. She was competitive, manipulative, and totally self-absorbed. Anyway, the point of this is that after two years of living together, a sort of vague generalised dislike intensified into white-hot burning anger. I think this is the only time I’ve ever hated anybody. Day after day was ruined by her very existence and any interaction we ever had became a tense, point-scoring dialogue of thinly veiled fury. My mum would tell me to avoid her and stay out of her way. The thing is, when you live with somebody, you can’t stay out of their way. It’s impossible. I remember sitting in my room, crying angry tears of frustration because I could hear her on the phone outside my room and every time she spoke it was like somebody stabbing me in the eye with a fork.

I despised Tit so much that it became almost an obsession. It was all I could think about and therefore all I talked about. Conversations with friends and family became a monologue  – me just listing the things she’d done or said, going over them from every angle: her audacity, my outrage, how she started it, how justified I was. People listened sympathetically at first but (understandably) began to get bored and even a little disturbed. What I wanted, I guess, was for them to feel what I felt, for me to somehow bypass words entirely and just plant the picture I saw in their heads, transplant the ball of rage and hatred in my stomach directly into theirs.

Eventually I moved out, took stock, and the anger faded and with it the hatred. From this vantage, I looked back at myself with more distance and was thoroughly ashamed of what I saw. I let her turn me into somebody I didn’t want to be, somebody who was fuelled by bitterness and anger, somebody who had no room for anything else in her life, somebody who was petty and childish and who had become every bit as despicable as Tit herself.  I resolved never to let that happen to me again.

The reason I’m writing all of this is because I need to remind myself just now that in the face of provocation, I can walk away. If somebody attacks me, then it doesn’t matter who starts it, who’s right or who’s wrong. It doesn’t matter who was to blame originally. If I react with anger and enmity, it will eat away at me, not the other person. It will damage me, not her. If she throws acid at me, it might burn me. If I throw it back, it will ricochet and still burn me, gradually corroding everything until I’m just the skeleton of the person I would have been.

So, Tit, and all those who come after you…do your worst. You can’t touch me.

P.S. Well done if you’ve read this far. I think we’ve all learned something here today. Mostly, that I am a little bit insane.

P.P.S. Just re-read this and can’t help thinking I might have belonged on that drama degree after all. As a wise man (my dad, I think) once said to me, you can take the student out of Drama, but you can’t take drama out of the student.

Another Lesson Not Learned

December 1, 2011

So a couple of weeks ago I lost my passport. I was v annoyed with myself because it had been a good long while since I last lost anything. In fact, Internet, I think the last time I lost anything, y’know, important was the day I found the spare keys to my flat lying next to the wheelie bins. And I didn’t even know I’d lost them until I found them so that just doesn’t really count as lost.

Anyway, I realised the passport was lost some time ago but couldn’t remember when I’d last had it. Which didn’t give me much to go on in terms of retracing my steps (plus I had an uncomfortable feeling that it might have somehow got inside the book I posted to Cambridge last week. This has happened with a variety of objects including bank cards, library cards, to-do-lists, and my cat’s vaccination certificate). What I should have done, was ring some places I go to sometimes, ask if they had the passport, and if that investigation didn’t generate any promising leads then I could conclude it was, indeed, missing presumed dead, and reported it.

I didn’t.

Rather, I decided I’d look for it for a week first. Of course, other than repeatedly turning my handbag inside out (that’s where it’s usually kept) in disbelief, I didn’t do much looking. I asked the guy in the shop whether I’d left it on the shop counter when I’d been in to buy beer. He asked what it looked like. I said it just looked like a normal British passport. He asked if it had my name in. I left the shop in bewilderment.

After that, the trail went cold and despite the threat of identity theft, and lots of very sensible people advising me very sensibly to report it missing, I somehow just never got round to it. Fast forward to today. M and I are walking back from our place of work in the rain, squabbling about which of us should carry the umbrella, when a man we vaguely recognise from ‘about’ approaches us.

Man: Your passport is behind the bar in the Hobgoblin.

Me [with surprise and gratitude]: Squark! (Am not articulate when feeling both surprised and grateful at the same time – brain deletes words at random)

M: For fucks sake

Me: What? My passport has been found. Isn’t it a good thing I didn’t cancel it when you told me to. I told you it was better to wait and look for it.

M: But you weren’t looking for it. You didn’t look. At all.

Me: Well, it would appear I didn’t have to.

M: Another lesson not learned.

He has a point of course. These things have a habit of working themselves out and a small part of me never gives up hope that everything will resolve itself without me lifting a finger, despite all evidence indicating otherwise. When, as tends to happen, things do magically resolve themselves, this only reinforces my belief that in the face of possible identity theft or other dire consequence, the best place for my head is most definitely the sand.

In way of a conclusion Internet, I will offer no flourish, no moral message. and no sign-off. I will merely acknowledge that it is Thursday and serve up another meagre portion of the customary (it’s the third) Thursday Haiku for ADHD:

 

A picture of you:

Two years and the glass still cracked

Will mend it. One day.

 

Well knock me down with a feather, Internet. I done good.

 

I got up at 4.30am this morning. That is 4.30 A.M. That is 4.30 A.M. IN THE MORNING! This in itself is quite an achievement for me.* I said I was going to get up at 5.30 and I got up at 4.30. That means I started the day with my time-management balance a whole hour in credit!

 

And then, because the rest of the world was asleep, and because the Internet held no interest (I’ve already read all the good bits), I sat down and did some work. Just like that! No procrastinating, no distractions. I am still in shock. I just keep running through it in my head, trying to recall each stage of the process in the hope that I can recreate it. It went something like this:

 

1. Open computer

2. Quit Firefox

3. Quit Email

4. Open new word document.

5. Start writing.

6. Finish writing with 500 precious little words in the PhD bank – kerCHING!

 

Examining this process more closely, I see where it usually breaks down:

 

[Note: What follows here is an analysis of the above process. Because that’s what I specialise in  – totally pointless analysis of mostly pointless writing. Just watch me in action]

 

Step 1, it could be argued, seldom presents difficulty. Indeed, there exists empirical evidence to support this theory. However, steps 2 and 3 are likely to prove more problematic, particularly where the subject engages in a process of reflexive looping in which the legitimate pursuit of knowledge inevitably gives rise to a decrease in productivity. Entirely optional, step 4 can often be beneficial, particularly where the subject might suffer epistemological crises in relation to previous attempts at expression. Nevertheless, the real problem here rests not, as one might assume, with the successful execution of step 5, but in fact with the slippage resulting from what is represented here as a seamless causal relation between step 5 and 6. It would appear, in fact, that there exists several hundred sub-steps between these parent sets, sub-steps not anticipated by the model above. Such sub-steps may include but are by no means limited to: examination of eyebrows to see if they need plucking; preparation of multiple cups of tea; investigation of back of the wardrobe; assorted activities associated with animal husbandry. Etc etc etc

 

What total bollocks. Sometimes I really do hate myself.

 

 

 

*Granted this is probably owing to me going to bed at the unusual hour of 8pm last night. And there’s probably only so much sleep one person can have in one night. But so what? I’m awarding myself a bonus cat treat from the cupboard under the microwave.

Sunday Night Observations

November 28, 2011

1. Sunday nights are cack. Why is it that however old I get, I still feel as though the weekend has slipped by and I suddenly realise that it’s Monday in the morning and I haven’t yet done my homework. Oh yeah, because I’m nearly 29, still have time management issues, and (whichever way you dress it up) I still have homework. Progression fail.

2. Search terms: “fucking littlewoods advert” I applaud you, whoever you are – you restore my faith in the general public. And mostly I hate the general public. Hate them. Go away, general public, leave me out of your generalness. I infinitely prefer people who are both specific and private (clearly I do not practise what I preach since I am blogging publicly and indiscriminately about random crap. Gah! I AM the general public! Please excuse me while I have a brief existential meltdown).

3. M came over today and cleaned the flat. WIN. I am in the unusual Sunday night position of having a presentable flat. He didn’t come over specifically to clean the flat but that was a highly pleasing by-product of his visit. In the same way that chaos follows me, order and cleanliness follows him. He did however rebuke me for two cups of mould he found at the bottom of the pending pile of washing up. They weren’t always cups of mould. I think they used to be cups of coffee. Or possibly chamomile tea. I like it when M wears a hat because I can measure the frequency of his shock-disgust response by the number of times I can’t see his eyebrows. Without the hat, I have to guess.

By the way Internet, M is taking part in Movember which is now nearly over. I don’t usually use this blog to chug but it’s for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men, and it’s a very good cause. If you feel you would be prepared to sponsor him (even a teeny weeny little bit) you would be doing a very good thing. You can see his moustache, and donate in its honour, here. Thank you x

(Almost) Fully Operational

November 24, 2011

[Notice: It seems my brain has been experiencing some technical difficulties. Whilst I am working hard to resolve these issues with the minimum of disruption, some services (such as coherency, quality, and bracket-impulse control ) may be limited. I apologise for any inconvenience or frustration this may cause.]

Good morning, Internet.

After several days of distress, things have vastly improved. Most of these days were spent playing Sims3 on my phone because the pixellated world of Lou, my sim-avatar,  seemed a far less shitty place to be than Real Life. Being new to this type of strategy game (which is apparently what we call them – thanks M!), it took me several attempts to work out how to prevent Lou from starving to death. On my final attempt, she was flourishing in health and got a promotion at work thus doubling her income. Sadly, on her first day in her new job, she choked on a pretzel and died. I couldn’t cope with the cruel irony of this latest demise and have now deleted the whole bloody game.

Nevertheless, after recent events (in Real Life. I am talking about Real Life now people), I think having limited autonomy of my own actions is possibly the way forward for me so I’m now accepting applications from people prepared to manage my life in this way. Duties include: reminding me to shower, take a pee, and eat; restricting my interactions with people to a friendly greeting; and managing my budget and life goals. The successful applicant must be patient, reliable, and willing to work anti-social hours. Time-wasters need not apply, (that’s one area in which I’m already fairly competent).

Anyway, it’s Thursday, so it’s time for the second installment of Haiku for ADHD. This week, it’s a pair of haiku/haikus (how do we pluralise haiku please Internet?) for additional emphasis.

Conversation fail:

Speak, listen, speak, listen, speak,

Speak, speak, speak, speak, speak…

Let’s try that again. Go:

You then me, you then me, me,

Me, me, me, oops….

Haiku for ADHD

November 17, 2011

Hey hey hey, Internet.

Today finds me in a reasonable mood, despite productivity being low and distractibility being exceedingly high. So far today the only things I have finished are a whole packet of polos and the last of the loo roll (never did get round to buying any, despite repeatedly noting to self that it has been running low). Hopefully the laxative effect they warn you about only applies to the sugar-free variety. Otherwise I could be in trouble.

Anyway, because I am running out of day in which to achieve anything remotely useful, I thought it would be good for me to start a blog post that I could complete quickly and without becoming distracted. I therefore decided, Internet, that I would impose some restrictions upon myself. For, example, a 17 syllable length restriction, a three-minute time restriction, and a strict prohibition on the curly bracket, my Achilles heel of appropriate punctuation. For this reason I am introducing what may well be the beginning of a regular series of posts (in the name of brevity): the ADHD Haiku (really, the inventor of the Haiku should be given an ADHD genius award. Or summat).

So here it is:

ADHD HAIKU number 1*

Angry driver BEEPS:

The man is green and has been

For some time. Sorry.

 

Edit: You Americans and Canadians have green men on the traffic lights, yes? If not, apologies, and google is your friend.

*(where the fuck is the hash key on a Mac pls??)

Q: How many cups of tea…

November 14, 2011

does it take an ADHDer to write a PhD?

A: Not sure. Am on cup 5 and still counting.

Cup 1: Faff about.

Cup 2: Check blog stats. Notice that somebody searched for “restaurant bus” in russian. That’s автобус ресторан for anyone wondering.

Cup 3: Send some self-pitying texts about how much work I have to do. Modify plan.

Cup 4: Faff about. Check washing machine for napping cats. Put washing on. Realise once it’s too late that I forgot to add washing powder. I am reminded of the time I made biscuits and forgot to include the flour. But my childhood baking catastrophes are a tale that deserve a post of their own someday.

Cup 5: Open Word document upon which I have 800 of the 1500 words I need. Have some kind of minor brain melt and somehow accidentally disapperate and end up on WordPress relating the whole sorry tale.

Gahhh (or as oooshiny might say ‘shitpissfuckandbuggerybollocks’ – hi shiny!), I really need to sort myself out. Need to send work to Supervisor P by tonight latest. Need to get started now. Right this minute…

 

 

 

 

…I better just nip and pop the kettle on.

 

So to bed…

November 14, 2011

It’s been one hell of a mixed up weekend. I would say more for therapeutic purposes but it’s late and I fear that if I start, it’ll all tumble out like when you try to pull one item of clothing at a time out of the washing machine but it all comes out in a big wet tangle of tights and jumper-arms tied round each other like string round cat guts (Ugh. That all went more unpleasant than I thought it would). And I have to be at work in the morning so no time for washing machines or cat guts right now.

Speaking of cats, here’s the one in my bed. Think I’ll go and join her. Goodnight, lovely Internet.

How to coat a clean bed sheet in fur and influence people