Tag Archives: meh

Big Expectations

fatWell, that’s several hours of my life I’ll never get back.

I wanted to buy a plain navy blue t-shirt.

And that’s it.

Not much to ask?

I’ll admit, I’m big, although not excessively over the UK average.

Yet searching online I seemed to fall down a rabbit-hole of ghastliness.

I won’t bore you with the details of my ever-frantic searches, but suffice to say, if you’re a big gal, you bound to wear clothes with:

  • Ruffles
  • Huge dropped hems at the back
  • Sequins and cheap beads
  • Ridiculous slogans (no, I don’t ‘Blame It On The Prosecco’)
  • Garish patterns, swirls and side-ties (why?)
  • Lazy tailoring and all-round general baggy fits, i.e. sacks.
  • Lace. Lots and lots of lace.

Even at the higher end price range, the choice was dismal. Nothing was understated and elegant, or just … basic but well made.

In my job as a building project manager, I only spend one or two days a week in ‘normal’ clothes. More often than not I’m in steel-capped boots, cargo trousers and a hoodie. Hair pulled back in a ponytail and some lip balm for the chilly mornings. My other outfit is jim-jams as soon as I get home and fall asleep on the sofa.

So when I wear ‘normal’ clothes, it would be nice to wear something smart but casual. Well-made, classic. I’ve never been known for my fashion sense and never well be, but it’s refreshing to emerge from a cocoon of dust and mud with clean hair and no black bits in my ears.

Back to my tale of woe – a navy blue t-shirt. I dismissed the one with the sequinned pocket and dropped hem. The baggy one. The one with lace inserts. The one slashed in odd places. The one exposing bare shoulders.

Instead, I dug out my huge pile of ‘too fat to fit now, could possibly fit in the future’ clothes from my cupboard. And there, right in the middle, was a lovely t-shirt. Ok, so it has a scattering of tiny beads, but they’re so small I might snip them off.

If I breathe in, it fits perfectly.

I might not be able to talk much, but it makes a change from my hoodie?

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When MS Is Your ‘Significant Other’

datingBefore work one day this week, me and The Builder were busy slurping our McDonald’s coffees, nattering away.

We usually talk about screws, fixings, grout and such like. As you do.

But today, he was telling me all about his neighbour and his have-to-be-seen-to-be-believed dating adventures.

Apparently this neighbour has six women chasing him and has recently been proposed to. Gah.

I have no men chasing me and am sadly lacking in the Sorrento Engagement Experience.

This got me thinking.

Quite soon after MS popped up, my partner scarpered. And I’m quite glad, in hindsight.

But now, three years down the line, where does that leave me?

I was recently contacted by a TV  company. They were lovely; they enjoyed my book, liked what I was doing to raise awareness about MS and asked if I would like to take part in a dating show.

Well, my heart leapt. At last! I could find a croissant-eating academic with an interest in knitting. I was sold.


The email.

Thank you for expressing an interest in ‘Too Ugly For Love’.

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Que Sera Sera

spinsterSome people know just how to pop my little bubble of happiness.

I had finally finished watching the film ‘Love and Other Drugs’ – took me three days with all the pausing and starting as essay inspiration struck.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s a recap: handsome man falls in love with beautiful woman who has young-onset Parkinson’s.

They split up a few times but then they get back together, Parkinson’s and all. Love apparently conquers everything.

Anyway, I got talking to a close friend about the film and as I was waxing lyrical, she interrupted me and said, ‘well, yeah, it’s Hollywood. Not going to happen in real life, is it? I’m sorry to say but I think you’re going to have to get used to being single. You know, what with the (whisper) MS thing’.

Before I resorted to violence, I remembered that this was the same person who once told me you can gauge whether or not someone is single from how high the pile of books is at their bedside. The reckoning is, if you’re out gallivanting with a Significant Other, you won’t have time to read books.

I’ve just been upstairs and counted. I have eight books on my table, and a photograph of me and The Teenager circa 2009. Plus I have a large canvas of some barren, wintry trees and a lone cyclist on the wall above my bed. ‘Nuff said. Maybe she has a point?

It got me thinking. Her remarks were infuriating in two ways; first to me but also to the people who can see beyond MS and fall in love with a person for who they are, MS and all. I guess I was unlucky. The person I was with during diagnosis skedaddled for the door so speedily he couldn’t open it fast enough. It took me two months of mourning before I recycled his toothbrush into a handy wotsit for cleaning round the taps.

I remain single. To be honest, and it’s not an excuse, it’s been an enlightening way of discovering how empowering it can to be. Solitude has been a patient teacher. Yet, I appear to be ‘damaged goods’. Believe me, being over 40 (only a year, mind) and divorced with a Stroppy Teenager is a death knell in itself for finding a life-companion, even without the MS thrown in.

So, if I am alone for the rest of my life, so be it. I refuse to engage in the whole coquettish  ‘ooh, get me in a sparkly dress with a hold-everything-in contraption, and l’il ol’ me over 40!’ Just waiting, desperately, longingly,  for someone, anyone to reply, ‘you? Over 40? Well I never! Drink?’.

Nope, I’d far rather keep on wearing my jeans, schlepping to Uni and understanding, for the first time, that there is more to life than a possibly-elusive search for ‘The One’. When/if it happens,  it will  happen.

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Erm, What Am I?

starvingOk, ok, violins out – my chosen career path is, well, dead. Withered. Mothballed and shoved to the back of a cupboard in the spare bedroom next to the Nordic walking poles.

Apart from the fact that there’s a distinct lack of translation jobs in Cardiff, not many companies are inclined to convert their English brochures into Norwegian. And why would they?

And that’s fine. Honest. Gulp. Takk, and all that.

So now, who exactly am I in the grand scheme of things?

Well, pull your Ikea chair closer, for I have The Answer.

I. Am. A. Writer.

I know, strange, huh? We had a new peep on board this week at our latest project. He took in my overalls, my notepad, my, ahem, probing questions about the job. And then he asked me what I did in my real life. Hmm. I stumbled. I stuttered, ‘well, I, like, you know, erm, blog?

‘You’re a writer then.’

‘Erm, ah, no, not really, I, you know, blog, kind of…..’

‘You’re a writer then?’


*Pauses for a very, very long time to let this information digest, totally forgetting that I am enrolled on an MA in Creative Writing*

‘Erm, Yeah, s’pose. Never thought of it like, you know, ‘Writer’.

Eek. A writer?

A seductive thought. The clouds, they are very dark and they are bright. And dark! And light again.

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MS Never Sleeps

knackeredThere was me, down to no afternoon sleep, dropping off to Loose Women, no slumping over books.

I had ENERGY, the MS currency of choice.

Yup, it had to end, and boy, it did.

On the one hand, the pesky thyroid was a gift from above.

I had an obscene abundance of energy. I am ashamed to admit I cleaned round my taps with dental floss and vacuumed my house to within an inch of its life. Dust was banished.

On the other, I ended up in hospital. On Sunday, my mum took one look at me and called a taxi, ‘um my daughter can’t stop moving and shaking, no it’s not drugs, um, apart from Amantadine, but no, it’s not speed, and she won’t throw up in the cab’.

So I spent the next five hours staring at a lovely man who had no idea where he was. I cried. He was wheeled away and I stayed in limbo, with a cannula in my hand and a difficulty talking to the Doctors children who were looking after me. Plus I had an ID band around my wrist. In case I forgot who I was.

They wanted me to stay in overnight but as much as I was tempted by the gruel they serve for breakfast, I demurred. I had to get home. A nurse gave me beta blockers. Sigh. Divine. The trembling stopped and I could breathe again.

At 1.30am, I went back home and sank into my bed. Today, I had an appointment with the GP. Thyroid meds – These will help, but if you get an infection, you have to get a blood test straight away.EVEN if it’s the weekend. Meh.

I was quite happy, just checking in twice a year with the MS team. Now I have to see an endocrinologist, have more blood tests, see the GP on a fortnightly basis. But if it’s the same endocrinologist as before, I’m looking forward to hearing his Italian dulcet tones.

There has to be some recompense, no?

p.s. I had to miss book club too…

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