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…

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On Blogging vs Box Set Binging

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Bloody hell. That escalated quickly.

It flew from my fingers and out into the world to become breakfast, bog or bus reading material before I had half a second to think whether or not it was a good idea to say ‘fuck’ in a post that quite likely, my dad was going to read. He’d refer to it as an ‘F bomb’, you see, and you’re not supposed to drop them in the family home.

But read it he did, and then, bless his heart, he shared it. He didn’t mention the F bomb. He didn’t even raise his eyebrows at ‘in uni, I was the one who always writes about sex’.

And it wasn’t just my dad I forgot to worry about. The fiancé. Post-blog he’s concerned about the James May fetish. He wants to know exactly how much of our dirty laundry is going to be pegged out in public (only the good stuff).

I joke. He’s been great. He’s still stuck in New Zealand though. Maybe we will have to sell the ring to get him home.

Anyway, I definitely should have thought this through. You see, the thing is, if I’m writing about not writing, I suppose I’m writing about what I’ve been doing for all of these years instead of writing, and that’s quite a lot. Carpet F bombing, soiled sheets and all. And I think I’ll say writing once more in that paragraph, just for good measure. Writing.

So should I have kept it anonymous? Gone all ‘Belle de Jour?’ I mean, regardless of upsetting the nearest and dearest, I might end up a teacher one day, and you’re not supposed to put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t be comfortable having tattooed on your face, are you?

Oh well. Too late.

So I’m going to see how it goes. Take it slowly, drop the odd profanity, ease in an uncomfortable anecdote, then mention an illegal substance or two about three or four months in, when the novelty’s worn off they’re both bored of reading it.

That’s the thing though. What if they don’t get bored? What if no one gets bored? What if this actually goes well and people actually read my writing? Basically, I’m about 11 and a half thousand times more self-aware writing this post than I was spouting rubbish to no one in particular on WordPress at seven in the morning.

It’s horrible. Kind of like that slick-palmed ‘I’ve just sent an incriminating text to the wrong person and now I’m watching those bloody ellipsis dots flashing while they write me a reply that’s going to make my bum twitch’ feeling. Only this time, it’s not a text. It’s a friggin’ essay. And I did it on purpose.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that people read it. It’s been nice. Friends sort of asking about it, helpful advice proffered, etc.

‘Why don’t you write about fashion?’ said my sister.

Ha! My go-to look is lumberjack chic.

‘Current affairs?’ said the brother-in-law.

Um, sure. That could work. As long as he means ‘current affairs from the perspective of an ill-informed layabout who gets most of her news from Twitter’.

But that’s the thing. Even with something to write about, now that I’ve declared war on procrastination, it’s worse than ever. You see, they have Netflix.

It’s freaking awesome. I’m a box set glutton. If box sets were spaghetti I’d be the fat guy from the beginning of Seven face down in a bowl of them. And I’d have died happy.

Orange is the New Black. I love it! And if Obama can find time to watch it then I for one certainly can (see, I told you I get my news from Twitter). Plus, it features Jim from American Pie as a self-indulgent, lazy writer who wants to write about questionable sexual practices.

Sherlock. I’m going to say it, even risking the wrath of all those feisty Cumberbatches in the world, it’s crap. And I persevered, I really did. I wasted hours trying to get into the ridiculous cheese fest. It was better than writing about whatever I was supposed to this week (the tyre piece was reasonably well received, thank you for asking).

Luther. Good Lord, even worse. Who’s that duck-faced Alice bird? Idris, get back to Baltimore where you belong, you’re better than this!

Happy Valley. Not a Netflix one this, but iPlayer. Thank God for Sarah Lancashire. She’s badass, and she knows good grammar. It’s fantastic. It restores my faith in British drama. It makes me want to write (kudos, Sally Wainwright).

So the guilt sets in, the screen darkens for a second and I notice my reflection in the giant flat screen TV; unwashed, pyjama wearing, and, if I’m completely honest, eating my niece’s last Petit Filous while she’s in nursery.

That’s a new low. Even for me. So I peel myself off the sofa (after the episode’s finished, I don’t feel that guilty) and climb the stairs to my little cubby hole to get cracking. After I’ve had a shower. And come to think of it, my eyebrows could do with a pluck. And if I’m serious about this writing thing then maybe I should clean my room, you know, so I can concentrate…

Uh oh. Siobhan, you were going to write a BAFTA winning BBC crime drama.

This might take a while. Sarah Lancashire