And I ran, I ran so far away…

Sorry this post is a week late. Life is chaos, chaos is life.

Edited to add: Chaos indeed, in the first edition I forgot to put my finish time! Well, I did better than I thought: 2hr 28:55!

But well, I ran the Wales Half Marathon and it was amazing. Last year it was incredibly painful, and I could only call it fun in the most masochistic sense of the word. This year, with a tiny amount of training (a weekly run with Jog Belper, a bit of yoga, and one eight mile run) it was actually an enjoyable challenge to run 13 miles. Well, most of it. Some of those long evil hills could only be power-walked. Still, it was beautiful.

My last-minute sponsorship quest for Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity paid off, with £115 raised so far. This includes £10 given to me during the race itself, by two guys running for the equally excellent charity Hand in Hand for Syria. This was a really touching gesture of solidarity as we struggled up Manorbier Hill.

manorbier
A beautiful place for a run. It feels more hilly when you’re standing on it.

Thank you so much to everyone reading this who sponsored me. That money will go a long way towards supporting people displaced by the wars and unrest in the world. It seems a weird disjointed blog post, thinking about them and going on to write about champagne, but I suppose at least something good has come from this, for more than just me and mine. Spreading the love.

We stayed the whole weekend in Tenby, a big family affair. My cousin cycled 112 miles, which is an unimaginable feat of endurance. Mum, two aunts and brother did the half marathon, and my brother’s girlfriend did the 10k. Chris was my essential moral support, waiting at the finish line with a bottle of champagne.

mefinishing
Finish line: “Gimme the fuckin booze!”

Afterwards we went paddling. Because why the hell not? Champagne on the beach, the glow of athetic achievement… what a buzz. Never felt anything like it. All kinds of magic.

Oh yeah, just to be annoying, why not donate to:

Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity

Hand in Hand for Syria

Or hey, why not go for a run yourself? Or a walk, a bike, a stretch, a swim, whatever you feel like doing, whatever is possible for your own body. I was skeptical as hell about exercise improving mood, but I think I’m convinced now. I’m already looking for the next race…

 

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And I ran, I ran so far away…

Pathogen

I had The Illness That Makes Your Head Feel Really Heavy. This is a real illness that has apparently been going round at my mum’s work, making people sign off sick because the intense weight of their head became insupportable. It also gives you all the usual annoying cold/virus symptoms. I spent the past couple of days lying around being weak and pathetic. Now I just feel like I got hit in the head a bunch, keep feeling like I might faint, and have a scritchy scratchy throat. I’m also really tired because I helpfully had a load of nightmares about being bashed in the head and screamed at.

Being ill makes me feel crazy and sad and frustrated. To swith to therapy-speak, illness (along with tiredness, hunger, and being wasted) is definitely a factor in increasing psychological vulnerability. This we learned in DBT in the form of a snappy acronym. DBT loves acronyms. This one is PLEASE, for:

 

Physical

ILlness (treat it)

Eat balanced

Avoid mood altering substances

Sleep enough

Exercise

 

OK I lied about it being snappy. It’s pretty clunky as acronyms go, but it does describe the basics of taking care of your body. This is definitely something I’m getting better at, but it’s still more Bukowski than Buddhist. (And leave Burroughs and HS Thompson out of it!) But I do accept the importance of taking care of yourself – of not completely trashing the body that supports and carries you for your whole life.

The trouble is, I can’t really treat this illness, because it’s basically a really annoying headcold, which is not amenable to anything other than Cold & Flu pills and Tiger Balm (better than Viks vapour rub). Obviously these things don’t really help that much, so now it’s time to mindfully accept the situation.

HAH! Just kidding. It’s time to bitch and moan constantly and do nothing useful. It’s time to wrap myself in a fluffy blanket of free-floating anxiety and curl up on the couch, because outside is cold and the gaze of others makes me feel like I’m burning.

You can tell therapy is working somehow though, because I’m not getting drunk right now.

(I was supposed to be writing today.)

 

Pathogen

How to use up 2016 and become better. (A goal setting post)

From bitter experience, I know that New Year’s Resolutions are destined to fail. A year is an unfathomably long time, and there is no possible way I can plan that far. However, this year is different in that a lot of it is already planned for me. I will be living in Derbyshire, and doing Dialectical Behavioural Therapy twice a week. Which is probably going to be exhausting and take up a lot of my power. It also means that I want to look after myself a bit better. I can’t very well fix my brain if I’m tired, sick, or hungover.

I last made a set of goals in September. Of those goals, all I’ve managed to do is the dentist one. I got 4 fillings but think I need to go back because the most recent filling hurts. The pain has actually kept me awake a couple of nights. Oh, I also got a bike, because Daddy bought it for me. I rode some, but I admit that my lack of fitness and lack of road confidence have led to me not doing as much as I ought to. Also it has rained for the last 6 weeks so I refuse to go outside.

Journal writing has been up and down. I was doing well until December, I think. I did submit something, and got published! Now to submit something else… I also managed to take a massive backwards step by starting smoking again. Maybe that’s why I now have a hacking chest cough.

So, here are some new goals for the first bit of 2016:

Get Fit

  • Bike more places. Maybe do a cycling course so I don’t die in traffic.
  • Train up for half marathon in July, 3-5 days/week.
  • 5k & 10k runs. Like the Parkrun.
  • Find a yoga class or similar.
  • Eat in a sustainable way with actual nutrients and not just cheese.
  • Quit smoking, again.
  • Drink once or twice a week, at most.

Writing

  • Complete editing and design cover for poetry pamphlet, by April.
  • Polish and submit poems and short stories I already have.
  • Write more stuff.
  • Keep blogging.
  • Get some work experience/do some journalism/something something professional writer.
  • Do NaPoWriMo in April.
  • Daily freewriting.
  • Journalling

Social/Activism

  • Get in touch with local groups and see what I can do.

Mental Health

  • Do the therapy and homework (without constant sarcasm).
  • Fill in mood diary sheet every day.
  • Go to hypnotherapy that the amazing Si is giving me for free!

Other Stuff

  • Tidy my room. It’s getting serious in here.
  • Paint some stuff.
  • Learn to crochet.
  • Plan some actual holidays and adventures to do during the breaks.

 

OK. That’s a ridiculous amount of goals. I’ll check back in 3 months and see what’s happening. Positive thinking says I will have made great progress in that time. Experience says “HAHAHAHAHAA!!! Get to fuck will you?!”

How to use up 2016 and become better. (A goal setting post)

Morbid Crafts and a Dental Update. Toothy grins all round!

A couple of months ago, (among other things), I promised to visit the dentist.

I did that. As predicted, it was Not Fun. I’ve had two fillings since.Two of my teeth are now 50% metal. It was that bad. The dentists looked very sad about the state of my teeth, even bringing their colleagues in to observe and wonder at how my teeth got so fucked up. I’m only 26. I didn’t do that much crack, but I have spent a large proportion of my diet on sweets (pure candy, no chocolate or fat to get in the way of the sugar), cheap cider and wine. These together must be able to liquefy enamel in seconds. That, and crashing out wasted without cleaning my teeth, staying out on sessions long enough to bypass the recommended twice daily brushing, have done for my dental work. The long-since cured bulimia probably went a long way towards the acid erosion, and also left me with a nice case of GERD which has flooded my teeth with even more acid. I have spent a lot of time puking. Now I’m paying the price, with my translucent, carious, crumbling teeth.

What really spurred me on to get my teeth sorted was that a chunk fell off my premolar. I was just eating a blue raspberry BonBon (see, told you I have a tooth-friendly diet), there was a strange crunching sensation, and I was spitting out a chunk of enamel. I had to live with a jagged hole in my tooth for a few days, waiting for a dentist appointment to become available. It was unpleasant. The jagged edges cut my tongue, and having a foul pit of decay in the centre of your tooth actually tastes pretty bad.

This is how my lovely NHS dentists fixed up my tooth.

A tooth constructed mostly of amalgam filling
Cyborg tooth

So, now I had a piece of my tooth just lying around. I also had a pack of plain silver earring posts. (Link there to get some for hella cheap on ebay, just in case this post inspires you to do some weird gross craft. Or even some nice craft. Don’t let me bring you down.)

wpid-img_20151108_060755.jpg
All you need to make any kind of earrings is silver plated posts and Loctite. Loctite is the best glue, it will not let you down.

……

And so, the denoument. The tooth earring. It has power. It has decay. It has a subtle aesthetic, probably wouldn’t draw attention unless you ran around screaming that you were wearing your own decaying bodily matter as jewellery.

wpid-img_20151107_070943982.jpg

I feel there is plenty power to be had in keeping your own body bits close. 1. It prevents evil voodooists using them against you, and 2. It’s keeping it all close to home. What could be more emotionally and psychically meaningful than a tooth that took me what, five years to grow? That’s some attachment. There’s energy stored up in there.

And believe me, there is also a great deal of rage directed at my pathetic failure of a tooth. It’s not even just that tooth. It’s been 2 years since I got the all-clear from a previous dentist, and in that time my teeth have basically dissolved. They’re all weak and pathetic. I have yet another dental appoinment this week, for yet another filling. 3 fillings in 3 weeks. I’m just glad I don’t generally find them painful. The root canal was a walk in the park. But it is all getting rather repetetive.

If things don’t improve, I’m going this direction: VAMPIRE GRILLZIf Marilyn Manson can do it, why can't I? Gotta hide my busted teeth somehow.

If Marilyn Manson can do it, why can’t I? Gotta hide my busted teeth somehow.

Morbid Crafts and a Dental Update. Toothy grins all round!

Great Things That I Am Definitely Planning To Do

Get Fit

  • Buy a bike, use it to travel instead of bus/car
  • Train up for half marathon next July
  • By doing 5k then 10k runs
  • Stop eating sugar literally all the time seriously stop it you’re not five and your teeth are going to rot out of your skull.
  • Keep on not smoking

Writing

  • Enter all the free poetry competitions
  • Polish and submit to magazines poems and short stories I already have
  • Write more stuff?
  • Keep blogging
  • Get some work experience/do some journalism/something something professional writer.
  • Do NaNoWriMo in November, and NaPoWriMo in April. Actually finish.
  • Daily freewriting
  • Daily journal keeping. Or at least nearly daily.

Social/Activism

  • Volunteer with the Wildlife Trust to go ripping up invasive plants. I want to smash some evil plants.
  • Get in touch with local groups and see what I can do…

Other Stuff

  • Regain/improve German language skills. Shame to waste all my linguistic knowledge.
  • Get a really part time job, like 8 hours. And/or work experience. Gotta sample the world of work to see if it’s as good/awful as people say.
  • All the therapy next year. A proper course of DBT
  • Paint some stuff
  • Go to the dentist (This may take some time. It’s been a couple of years since I last went, and I wasn’t kidding about teeth rotting out of my skull.)

Check back in 6 months and see if I’ve done anything! (Note: don’t expect me to have done anything.)

Great Things That I Am Definitely Planning To Do