Tag Archives: diary

McFly Were Incorrect

McFly

Good morning dear reader, and welcome to midweek!

Today I’d like to talk about something that I think a lot of us struggle with, and that McFly were wrong about: it’s not all about you.  I don’t mean that in a narcissism-busting sort of way, or want to imply that you are self-centred.  You’re obviously a tremendous and non-selfish person.  I actually mean in it in a really positive way.

When we were in Year 9 or 10, a girl in my form was keeping an online diary, or “blog”, if you will.  (Blast from the past, right?  I know.  Whatever happened to those?)  One thing you should understand at this point is that in those days the internet wasn’t broadcasting for us in the way that it is now.  Teenage girls saw the internet as a virtual locker, and only certain friends could open it with a special key, i.e. if we told them which obscure website our stuff was on.  This applied to various things, including fan fiction writing and blogging. Someone unexpectedly finding your blog in 2004 was the virtual equivalent of somebody breaking into your locker.

Anyway, some other girls in my form (who were nasty to everyone all the time for funsies – not quite bullying, but on the cusp) found this diary, printed a load of pages of it out and brought them into school.  They went and found anyone who was mentioned in the blog (including me), and charmingly read out the passages of text pertaining to them.  It’s not always easy to look back at your fourteen year-old self and find things to be proud of, but this is one of those moments for me:

Me: “I don’t care.”
Sort-of Bully: “But she’s said mean stuff about you!”
Me: “You say mean stuff about me all the time.”
Sort-of Bully: “She’s been horrible about everyone!”
Me: “YOU’RE horrible about everyone!  Is that why you’re showing it to us?  Because it saves you the effort of thinking up new insults?”

BOOM.  Well chuffed.  High five, past me!  Etc.  Anyway, the reason that I brought that story up is because I knew at fourteen that people will say unkind things because they’re upset or hurt; it’s not necessarily about you.  Teenagers can be very unhappy and/or confused, so it’s not surprising that a lot of them lash out.  For instance, when I was a teenager I said some dreadful things to my mum (who, as discussed in previous blog posts, is very awesome and did not deserve that), but unfortunately it’s not exclusive to adolescents.

The people who love you the most are supposed to cherish you and build up your confidence.  They are supposed to be proud of you and encourage you.  They are also supposed to take the mickey out of you and embarrass you occasionally.  They are not supposed to take bad stuff in their lives out on you, blame you for things that you can’t possibly help or make you feel guilty because their life is not what they want it to be.  Loving somebody is difficult, because you’re essentially giving another person your favourite type of cake and hoping that they enjoy eating it rather than smashing it in your face.  Ultimately the choice is up to them.

Sometimes your boss will be unkind to you, or a stranger will swear at you for crossing the road when you shouldn’t, or you’ll discover that a friend has been bad-mouthing you behind your back.  You have to ignore it.  If someone gives you a fair criticism, use it to learn from.  If someone says something about you that you think is based on truth and you could improve yourself based on it, absolutely go for your life (for example, maybe wait for the green man before crossing next time).  But nine times out of ten, people who say nasty things to you are just not worth listening to.  It’s not about you; they are hurting, they are lashing out, and they are trying to make you as unhappy as they are.  Do not let them succeed.  I have said this to you before, and I will repeat it many times: you are a wonderful human being.  You do not have time to listen to rubbish like that.

Bearing that in mind, I hope that you have a lovely Wednesday filled with small victories and lots of moments of random kindness.  I’m off to Surrey to help my best friend clear out her garage, because I definitely did not choose the thug life.

 

Truly Madly Busy

dory_2525738b

Good morning, dear reader!  I hope you’re revelling in the glory of a well-earned Saturday.

Today’s blog starts with a confession: my short-term memory is beyond appalling.  This will come as no surprise to those of you who know me.  I can clearly picture many of you smiling and rolling your eyes, probably thinking about a conversation that you had with me at least six times before it got lodged in my head.  Sorry about that.  It’s not that I don’t care; it’s that my brain is a very leaky sponge.

Having a rubbish memory is both a blessing and a curse.  In one way, it’s a joy to go through life in a Dory-esque fashion, constantly believing myself to be discovering things for the first time.  On the other hand, my lack of retention heralds in the slow but sure descent into dementia that definitely awaits me in my old age, and it tends to make my diary a lifeline rather than a useful reminder.  Even when I do look at my diary, I appear to have started writing things down in a haphazard manner, without any reference to times, places or even dates.  It’s a miracle that I’m ever on time for anything.

I would love to be able to say that at least some of this woolly-mindedness comes from the fact that I’m very busy, and that it’s difficult to keep track of all of the things I’m meant to be doing.  In some ways this is true, but I know lots of people who are far busier than I am who cope just fine.  My friend Laura has only recently stopped working 82 hour weeks, and another friend balances drama school with two jobs (and still finds the time to learn lines, write emails and – I sincerely hope – sleep and eat at some point).  My life is full of self-employed people who co-ordinate incredibly complicated schedules, and still more full-timers who find time for very active social lives.  One of my friends lives in Singapore working something ridiculous like 7am – 8pm every day, and he finds time to explore local countries, play music and be on a sports team.  I cannot get my head around any of these people’s schedules.  Their diaries must look like the Matrix in paperback format.

I love being busy, and I think that most of us can agree that being busy (even if we are perhaps a bit stressed) is much better than being bored and feeling unproductive.  Sometimes we feel the need to occupy ourselves to the point of frenzy in order to avoid thinking about a certain person/problem, and that’s ok, too.  I am a big fan of denial as long as it’s making itself useful, and if you can use your issues to make yourself more productive, more power to you.  You might even find that a solution pops into your head unbidden while you’re doing something else, or that bit of space from the problem makes you feel differently about it.   At some point you’ll be forced to confront your fears, but in the meantime I firmly approve of using the fingers-in-ears approach to get stuff done until you work out the solution to your dilemma.

Having said that, in yesterday’s blog I tasked you lovely people with the challenge of taking a chance this weekend, so maybe this is the perfect opportunity to get your head out of the sand and go and fix the issue…you never know, you might end up solving the problem.  If you don’t, I hope you’ve got access to some nice coffee and a friend who will hug you.  If not, you can borrow one of mine (friends, that is.  Mine are pretty awesome, as friends go.  I’ve also got enough coffee for everyone, so do feel free to pop by if you’re running low).

Have an insanely good Saturday.