Sometimes You’ve Got to Steal a Tin Opener…

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The sharp-eyed amongst you may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet lately. Whether this prolonged silence has put you in particularly good spirits, or left you with a painful me-sized hole in your social media perusals, I’m back now, so suck it up.

I’ll start with an explanation. My failure to keep up with the pressing demands of rambling on about miscellaneous topics of my choosing for approximately 900 words once a week has been precipitated by two things:

1) My hitherto absent fiancé has returned from New Zealand and yes, he does still want to marry me.

2) Despite attending the previously mentioned job interview with no eyelashes (a bit like Tilda Swinton, but without the striking resemblance to David Bowie), they only bloody gave me the job.

(N.B. Blogging about how you can’t afford mascara is a great way to get your mother to buy you mascara, along with beans and Linda McCartney sausages, in case you ever need any of the above.)

As you can imagine, both of these things take a considerable amount of my time, and whilst I’m thrilled not to be planning a wedding to someone it had started to feel like I was making up anymore, having a job sucks balls.

I’m sorry. I know I should be thrilled. There’s lots of people out there who can’t get any kind of job so perhaps it’s a bit insensitive of me to complain that somebody wants to employ me, but if I’m perfectly honest, thrilled I am not.

I shared an article on Facebook a day or so ago about getting sucked into the nine-to-five and not having time anymore to do the things you love. The piece argued that as a consequence of this, we’re all spending our increasingly precious free time spaffing all of the suddenly not-so-precious money we’ve started making in a vain attempt to try and have the fun we were having before we had the stupid job. Or one that took up so much of our time, anyway.

Bloody hell, deep breath, stay with me.

I found the piece particularly struck a chord with me because it eloquently put into words something that I’ve felt for some time, something that could in fact be the driving force behind my hightailing it the minute I come close to actually getting any kind of significant job. And no, it’s not just because I’m lazy.

I suppose a few examples are in order, so for today’s trip down memory lane I’m going to take you back to a time not-so-long ago when I nearly got a grownup job in London Town.

It started out well. The job was copywriting for an Internet marketing company (much like the one that I currently do the odd bit for) but full-time, and in London. Or so I thought. Technically it was in London, but not London London, you know, that place where Spencer Matthews twats around in his wankmobile (GOOD LORD, I JUST GOOGLED HIM AND THE MOTHER FUCKER WROTE A BOOK!), where Noel Fielding drinks craft beer in Kentish Town with the ghost of Amy Winehouse, and Boris Johnson goes joy riding on the Circle Line, not that London London. It wasn’t there.

The office was kind of in one of those containers where they kept the hockey sticks in school, in a car park behind a pub in Lewisham. I suppose that should have been the first sign. But I digress.

I suppose I’m over-exaggerating a little. It did have windows, which was nice, but the loo was pretty much in a cupboard in the corner so everyone (all three of the other staff) would most certainly know if you had to do a hangover poo in there at all ever, because that happens to everyone in work sooner or later.

Anyway. I probably could have gotten over the shitty offices. Maybe even the fact that the company’s website was full of typos, but what I couldn’t handle was the fact that their main source of income was marketing for hospitals in Mexico that performed unregulated operations on people with MS. Oh, did I mention that these operations cost tens of thousands of dollars?

FUCK!

So yes, I ran away. And although no job since has been quite as morally repugnant, I still find it extremely difficult to stay still and get on with shimmying up the career ladder in a job that I don’t really like.

The crap thing is, though, that having a job of some description is necessary. Mainly because it is frowned upon in some circles to steal back the tin opener that you left at your sisters before you went on your travels instead of buying a new one (the good ones are like £4.99, I needed one to open the beans that my mother brought me).

So no, I’m not jizzing myself because I’ve got a new job. Thirty seven hours a week getting intimately acquainted with spreadsheets is not my idea of a good time. But no, no I don’t have the balls to do a J.K. and stay on the dole until I produce something fantastic.

So what should I do? Work part-time and steal more kitchen utensils from my sister? Or stick with the spreadsheets then come home and type away til the small hours whilst occasionally grunting at my recently returned fiancé?

I’ll be buggered if I know. So, like they used to say on Live and Kicking (before Twitter an all that), answers on a postcard, please?

When Life Gives You Lemons…. Throw a Pie and/or Pee on Someone’s Floor

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So I moved. New flat, stabby area. It’s nice. My niece doesn’t wake me up by standing outside the door shouting ‘knock knock’ instead of just knocking at seven in the morning.

We had to borrow the deposit from my parents. It came out of the wedding fund. Which reminds me, if you are invited to the nuptials, would you mind bringing a packed lunch? Thanks.

But that means I have no excuses. Here, in the Anaglypta-and-Artex-covered flat (screw you spell check, they are bloody words), which, incidentally is owned by Damian Lewis’s father-in-law, the only thing getting in the way of me and my writing is, well, me.

(A side note on the Damian Lewis thing. I met my landlord for like half an hour. He managed to slip it into conversation though. Fair play.)

I started with the best of intentions. After wandering from room to room as though something interesting may have happened since the last time I was in there, then sitting for a while on the kitchen counter while drinking lemon squash and wondering if that counted as getting a new perspective, I got out the novel that I started during my MA.

I read it. I read all the comments from my old tutors and my super-brainy classmates, then realised that I’d thrown at least 10,000 words of it away.

Those comments though – they got me thinking about where all those uber-talented peers of mine had got to and how well they were doing. Turns out, most of them are doing brilliantly. Naturally I had to hide them all instantly from my news feed to prevent me from throwing my laptop out the window. All of this (finally) led me to the topic of today’s post – jealousy.

Gasp. It’s a touchy subject. No one wants to admit to it, but I don’t think it’s completely audacious to say that it’s something we all feel from time to time (uhum, every frigging day). So screw it. We all experience it. I’m just going to admit it and talk about it for a moment or two.

Social media has turned us all into painstaking curators of our own lives, flaunting the good whilst neglecting to share the bad so that it constantly looks like we’re all having THE best time with THE best people in THE best places in the world.

(Unless, of course, you decide to blog about the bad, in which case you probably have an ulterior motive. Would somebody reading this please give me a job?)

So, if you’re having a bit of a crappy time and decide to peruse Facebook for more than a second then it’s only natural you’re going to start feeling a tad envious of all the intelligent/stylish/ successful/young people (with lovely, springy eyelid skin) parading themselves for the world to see on your social media platform of choice. What’s worse, with Timehop, it’s now even possible to be jealous of your former self. What the fuck!?

It kinda makes me feel like this…

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Not that I’m going to pee on your floor. Just sometimes I kinda feel like. 

Anyway, back to jealousy. What should I do about it? I’m not going to delete my Facebook. I’m not going to spend less time every day pouring over my social feeds (although God knows I should). What I am going to do is to try and make a conscious decision not to wallow in it like it’s a two-day hangover. Hell, I’m going to embrace it.

Instead of seeing jealousy as something negative, I’m going to use it like a bloody big red flag that will help me to see what’s actually important.

The way I see it, if you’re jealous of something, be it someone else’s successful career, their international hijinks, their capacity to stay out past two in the morning or their bouncy frigging hair, then you should take a second and acknowledge the fact, and that at least this means you actually want something.  You should separate the ‘achievable’ from the ‘not on your nelly, love’ and go after the former with your big-ass sword swinging just like Brienne of Tarth.

In my case, it means I’ve not been totally trampled into accepting my lot. It means that not so deep down I really do want to keep trying and get the job I thought I’d already have by now. I’ve got a better bloody chance at that than I do of my eyelids regaining their former elasticity.

So, even though this week my sister, mother and niece are hanging out in Madrid at the swanky pad of a certain well known football player whilst I borrow £2 off my brother so I can afford to go to fat club, I’m going to take that cheeky little slither of envy and use it to fuel my success quest.

Must dash, I have a job interview to go to. Unfortunately I ran out of mascara and can’t afford a new one, so I’m going to have to go without.

On the plus side however, if I don’t get this job, at least I can blame it on my eyelashes…

Positive Procrastination Strikes Again

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I do not love to write. My urge to do so is somewhat more akin to discovering a not-quite-ripe spot somewhere inconvenient to squeeze, you know, like on the really fleshy part of your cheek where it’s nigh on impossible to get a really good grip on the bastard. Any attempts to do so will leave you with a face pitted with angry crescent nail gouges, and eyes watering like you’ve been ‘cooking a lasagne… for one.’

My failure to burst said spot leaves me with a sense of general malaise and dissatisfaction at being thwarted by what is no more than a teeny tiny physical symptom of all of the bile I’ve been storing up for the last 27 years come to a head in a none too pretty, ever so nearly pussy (read pus-y, I just had to Google that and was very nearly sucked into a vortex of ‘Must See! Abscess, Pus, Painfully Disgusting!’ videos on YouTube that would have demanded at least 17 undivided minutes of my attention) enough, viciously pulsating boil that I’m quite sure I can see from the corner of my eye (if I close the other one and scrunch up my face just so).

No? Just me then?

After the aforementioned 27 years of mediocre short stories (in uni I was ‘the one that always writes about sex’), abandoned novels, WordPress blogs created then left unfulfilled in the back of the wardrobe like that adventurous dress you just had to buy and will definitely wear sometime, like, you know, when you actually go clubbing again like you used to when you were 21, I’ve decided that the only thing I have the absolute authority on writing about is, well, not writing.

This genius bolt of lightning struck me (cliché, abandon immediately in favour of something more witty) wait, wait, wait, well, to  stay with the bodily urge images that I’ve so vividly created for you so far, I’ll say ‘this idea struck me like a spine tingling, sweaty-thighed compulsion to pee upon waking from a saucy dream involving a James May-alike’, at 5am, after five hours fitful ‘sleep’ during which I avoided the writing that I’m actually supposed to be doing on the scintillating subject of… tyres. Hang on, at least that explains the James May dream, although I’d be lying if I said it was my first.

I suppose I should give you a bit of context here. Right now I’m sat up in a single bed, in the box room where I currently reside rent-free courtesy of my sister and her super successful husband, both who endure my hopelessness with wry bemusement and a sense of ‘well, at least we’ve got a free babysitter again.’ My sister is younger than me, by some three years, and is more together than anyone I know, but does occasionally like to remind me that my uterus is pruning by the day, and I only have so many fruitful years left to furnish my niece with the cousin she so desperately deserves before I’ll be forced to ‘do an Angelina.’

Anyway, I live here because I have no real job, no money, and slim to no prospects. A month ago I left my fiancé on the other side of the world some six weeks after he proposed to me because I was homesick and the only job I could get was on a cheese counter where I would have had to wear a hat, and sell cheese to people I despised only marginally less than Michael Gove, Liz Jones of Daily Mail fame, John Malkovich and Kevin Bacon (the last two are unfair, I only dislike them because I’m terrified of various characters they’ve played in their esteemed acting careers).

It’s OK, we’re still engaged. I think.

I was very nearly offered a proper job in New Zealand, in advertising, being mentored by a bigwig to come up with catchy campaigns to sell probiotic yoghurt or to people with nothing better to spend their money on, but I pulled out at the last minute because I didn’t ‘see myself’ as a big balls career bitch (which is obviously where that would have led… or so I became convinced).

That isn’t the first grown-up job I’ve run away from. It’s the, um, third. But more on those later.

Ah yes, the tyres thing. I do work. I’m a freelance writer of sorts, but this freelance gig means goes as far as writing exclusively for an online marketing agency on topics ranging from photocopiers to ‘fall-themed wedding favors’. Sometimes I even blog as a soccer mom for them, encouraging my peers to attend exciting tourist destinations I’ve never laid eyes on.

So that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. And it’s the last thing on earth I want to do. Maya Angelou died yesterday. She said, ‘Nothing will work unless you do.’ So I’m doing this. I want to do this. I woke up, I followed Caitlin Moran and Dawn O’Porter on Twitter. I embraced my inner Lena Dunham and thought, fuck it. Part confessional, part ridiculously premature memoir, here’s my car crash experience of being ‘the girl most likely to become Prime Minister, Corpus Christi High School, 2003,’ who wound up a self-pitying, lazy-arsed mess, who didn’t take her makeup off last night and now has another one of those not-quite-ripe spots that just begs to be fiddled with.

It’s time to squeeze that zit.

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