Today, Monday, arrived like any other day. At midnight I quietly left the weekend and life became Grown Up again. When I woke at 6.30am I knew I wasn't going to have a run because it was school holidays and my dear sunburnt 12 year old didn't need to go anywhere. So there is the first hole in my day. I stayed in bed till 8.30am by which time my life was ruined and there was no point in continuing it's the workhouse for me and my boys. My daughter in Brighton will have to work extra hard to get us out and keep us.
I got up and decided to wear my new shorts. They fit, and I am entitled to wear shorts, and I am normal and so on. But I never wear shorts because of my varicose veins and the unhealthy state of my legs. Be Bloody Bold and Resolute I told my face the mirror. Today, you get used to wearing shorts, if nothing else. That is your task. And when friend comes to drop son off to stay with my son, don't answer the door with only your shoulders showing. Don't make them precede you into the kitchen and hide behind every waist high piece of furniture on the way to make the tea. And don't wait till they are blinking before darting from behind them to hide behind the bit of the kitchen on which you put chopping boards and prepare the vegetables. No. Be tough, like Nelson Mandela, and walk like you invented shorts.
I go into 12 year old son and check on his face. Yesterday at his football tournament he got a ball full in the face and was carried off the field. Today his nose is large and I think he is getting black eyes. On top of that I didn't give him any suncream so he is daglo pink. And so are his knees below his shorts and above his shin pads. Except funnily enough, where there were lumps of mud on his exposed skin. Poor kid. He certainly starts his first day of the holidays with war wounds. Aaaag Mum, he says as he wakes up. What happened to your legs. It's gross. I put on a Mary Poppins smile and say Darling it's Mummy's varicose veins. Thinking that if he says any more I will tell him it's his fault as he was such a big baby he caused, single handed, these veins. But I didn't, because that wouldn't be either fair or true, and Nelson Mandela wouldn't do something vengeful like that.
So I am holding my shoulders back and in the studio. There is so much to do and all of it bitty and too difficult. I feel on the one hand, my life is an open book blah di blah and I can make it all work blah di blah. On the other I think What on earth am I doing? What's today all about? How can I justify my existance this jolly Monday morning, how can I make a start if I don't know what I am doing? So I made some tea. I decided that my legs were going to be my best feature from now on, and I would wear shorts, in public, a lot. No, not at night. During the day. At the shops, answering the door, on the train. I decided that my veins were not half as bad as my 12 year old son's poor pink bashed up face and that he was just jealous. I decided to do as my very wise and wonderful friend Eileen (photographer extraordinaire) suggested to me ages ago, Just Turn Up. I decided to file away all the bits of paper on my desk and see what happened.
Well, nothing atomic happened. But, I made a list of things to do on my whiteboard that were easy to cross off (check emails, research facebook and twitter, see how far away Nottingham is). I went through the mountain of notes and scribbles on my desk and wrote down all the relevant stuff on a fresh piece of paper. And do you know, it only took an A5 piece of paper to contain all my anguished notes and thoughts? And now I have a future. My life will not end because I didn't run today. My legs are my best feature. 12 year old son is swinging around on my hammock having had 3 sausages, 2 fried eggs on toast, a tin of beans and some flapjacks I just made (so he will recover and has forgotten that his face looks like a cauliflower and his legs look like those old red and white barber's signs). My mind is getting clearer, and I have an A5 piece of paper on which my future is based. Nelson Mandela would love me.
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