Serenity Now!

November is traditionally The Month That I Can’t Cope With The World, if you can call something a tradition after just two occurrences.

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but I was miserable and confused this time last year and plagued by a crushing inability to write. I thought I would find the transition to the 4PM Darkness easier to cope with this time around but I’m just as bewildered. And tired. I feel like a little old granny that needs to retire with a cup of cocoa as soon as Eastenders is over. All I need is a cardigan and a small, yapping terrier to kick around.

It now seems a lifetime ago when I woke up in Spain and looked out the window of the World’s Shittiest Hostel and screamed "MY EYES! MY EYES!". What was this blinding light assaulting my irises? What was this strange warmth I felt on my skin?

So, how to get the body to cope with the lack of light? I keep meaning to step out for a lunchtime walk to but the times I’ve actually remembered this plan I looked out the window and it was raining. My other tactic has been to Exercise Like A Motherfucker in the hope of producing some happy chemicals in the brain. I’ve been managing a good three gym sessions as week (around 1.5 – 2 hours each) consisting of a Body Pump or Body Jam class as well as some running and/or some elliptical trainer and rowing machine. I’ve been so haphazard with my exercise this year, but now I’m in a routine I’m finally starting to see some results.

This has not, however, turned me into a beacon of sparkly happiness. Mostly due to me being a lazy whining bastard. Yesterday at 5pm I stood in the darkness outside the gym, bitching down the phone to my sister, "I don’t wanna go in. I wanna go home and sleep. Don’t make me go in there. I can’t do this today."

Her reply, "So don’t do it!"

"But I suppose I have to! I lugged my gym gear all the way to work and now I’m right outside the door. FINE, fine. I’m going in. GoodBYE!"

Even when I was standing on the treadmill, headphones in place, doing a warm up walk, I was still moaning to myself, "I can’t do this today, I just can’t." Fifteen minutes in I was whinging in my head, "This sucks ass. Why can’t I just eat chocolate?".

And then I was cranky all through the Body Jam class afterwards because I had my running shoes on and they are so bloody sturdy and determined to hold my feet in a forward direction. Fantastic for running but utterly useless for dancing. And just the week before I’d worn my cross trainers and had a Cranky Attack on the treadmill because of course the cross trainers give no support for running at all and I ended up having to walk coz it felt I’d do damage. I realised last night that I will just have to take both pairs of shoes. JUST GREAT!

Tangent: WHERE THE HELL can you buy cross training shoes in this bloody country? Every sporty shop here either has running shoes or stupid colourful trainers that are meant to show the world what a hipster you are, ie. not intended for sporting use at all.

I asked one pimpled teen at Foot Locker, "Do you have any cross trainers? What happens if I want to play tennis or do an aerobics class?".

"Oh we don’t really stock any of those. But look at these running shoes!"

"Are they suitable for anything other than running in a straight line?"

"Well, no."


I bought my cross trainers in September 2000, which happens to be the time I first went to a gym, and in the following four years as you know I have basically done more exercise than the preceeding 23 years combined. Thus, the shoes stink, are full of holes and have no tread left on them. I know for a fact that every bloody sporty shop in Australia has at least a dozen different cross trainers for me to choose from, even with my gigantor size 10 feet! Not so in the Motherland.

My sister, the lucky bastard, will be buying new cross trainers when she goes back to Australia in a couple of weeks. She has scored herself a job in London and consequently a work permit that will allow her to stay in the UK for years to come. Now please please please don’t email me to say "Why don’t you do that?" as I have a stack of rejection letters as testament to my attempts to do this. I will just say her industry (luxury hotels) is more open to taking on foreigners than in any field of mine. Work permits are all about proving to the UK government that they cannot find a native to fill the role, and my sisters new employers could not find a Brit as well-qualified and dazzling as herself.

Anyway, she starts in January and is off to Oz for a flying visit to see everyone since it could be a couple of years til she makes it back. And so, she will be able to get new shoes. And get them SO MUCH CHEAPER. I’d ask her to get some for me but it’s risky with my awkward, freakish hoofs.

One good thing is that she is cleaning out her wardrobe and has given me some suits that no longer fit her. Remember my Jacqui E suit from Oz that I finally fit into last year, size 18? Well now I can get into hers, exactly the same but SIZE 14 (US 12). Holy crap. I cannae do up the jacket yet, but give me time, mark my words.

I was close to tears as I zipped up those pants. Sure they were a bit too tight but crikey, I never ever thought in a million years that my flesh could be successfully arranged into a garment of such small size. The last time I had anything in a 14 was 1993. I thought it was a fluke coz the Jacqui E sizes aren’t particularly small, but sis gave me a skirt from Myer that also fits (just a bit too clingy on the arse). This certainly was a change from the week before when I almost kicked the mirror at H&M as I had to buy new trousers in a size 20. My sister assured me their sizes can be Euro tiny but still, ARRGH! I was raging and felt sure the United Kingdom was united purely to make me feel like a heiffer.

Well as you can see I am just full of rage in general today, aren’t I? I am just emotional as my sister will be in Glasgow two weeks from today, where she will fly to Dubai and then to Sydney in AUSTRALIA where it is WARM and mangoes are in season and all our friends and family will be there and they will have Christmas together while I am working at Geriatric Rescue on both Xmas and Boxing Day.

YES YES, I am still doing shifts at that evil place to pay off my stinking credit card. My sis and I had previously agreed I’d do Xmas and she’d do Boxing Day as it is triple time and we’d have our little Xmas dinner on the Monday instead. But then a few weeks later she got her new job out of the blue, and now this whirlwind trip to Australia. I tried to wriggle out of the Xmas shift, but ended up with another – my bosses begged me to do Boxing Day as no other staff can/will do it. HUMBUG!

So I will spend my Xmas Day feeling depressed as hell, as the only old people who call us needing help on Xmas Day are those old people with no family all alone in their cold houses and fall over and can’t get up or who have burned their Marks & Spencer Turkey Ready Meal For One and set their smoke alarms off.

But! Realistically, i’s not like I had anything better to do. And triple time, my friends. My credit card balance will be zero for the New Year. Woohoo!

Anyway, yes. I’m an emotional disaster. My sister and I are breaking up. We’ve been living together for four years. I know the time is right and we have to move on but it is scary. Everything is changing. Her future is sorted, now I have to figure out mine. And I can’t even bring it up with the Scottish Companion right now as his PhD exam thingy is coming up and is stressed out of his brain trying to revise his thesis and worrying about whether he will be upgraded to Doctor Scottish Companion or not. His boss has already printed business cards stating that he is. NO PRESSURE!

So of course I am trying to Be There, all supportive and patient, when all I want to do is scream at him most selfishly, "WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME! WHAT THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO DO!? I NEED ANSWERS!"

For once in my life, the only thing going well is the food and the exercise. How bizarre.

Thank you for letting me vent. You guys rule the school. I will be back as soon as sanity returns.

27 thoughts on “Serenity Now!

  1. (Hug) Hang in there. And yay on the Jacqui E suit, and the eating, and the exercise! You go girl.

    As for all the other stuff…well, I don’t have any brilliant advice (as usual! hahaha) but I did have a thought about the cross-trainers. Why don’t you ask your sis if she can find the same pair back here in Oz? Sometimes they keep making the same models for years…worth a try?

    Oh and the mangoes aren’t very good this season. So you aren’t missing much. Would I lie to you? πŸ˜›

  2. Ditto everything Kimba said (except the mangoes, I live in Melb where they are never v. good & don’t like them much anyway). Can you get yourself some stronger lights for your house? Bloody good on you for keeping at the gym when you soooo don’t want to go, you are a legend. Waiting for answers is so frustrating but they will come, and I’m sure they’ll be the right ones (we wanna see the elopement photos LOL). HUGS

  3. Well done on the exercise and eating front. As for everything else, well, it doesn’t sound the best and I know the weather there just doesn’t make for any enthusiasm for life whatsoever.

  4. I’ve been a reader & non-commenter for ages, but i thought i’d pipe up and say… the mangoes are great, but i’ve eaten about 17kgs of them this week – and now smell like said mango. Be happy you don’t have this problem!! Good luck with the cross trainers, when you find a solution let me know – i lug around 2 pairs of sneakers.

  5. I’ve been in visa-limbo land and it sucks. Exercise and eating right was the only thing that kept me sane (well, that and getting rid of the crappy boyfriend but that doesn’t sound like your problem you lucky girl!). Hang in there! All will be well. Sending postive energy from California!

  6. Chick, you made me cry. I wish I could hug you. Stay cool, things will work out I’m sure. At worst you just need to make SC drag his mankey arse to Oz to live for a while – see how things go.


  7. “as soon as sanity return”??? You are indeed very sane! What wonderful, discriptive venting you do. Your writing always entertains, amuses and makes me think. Oh.. I just don’t know if I can wait to see what happens with Scottish companion though.. Please write a happy outcome for that one.

    I myself am off to Australia in a few hours and I just know that when I see all those cross trainers I will think of you.

  8. Oh sweetie… I know JUST how you feel. There is a name for it, you have SAD (no, I’m not kidding), Seasonal Affective Disorder. Aussies are really prone to it when they live in the northern hemisphere, we’re such delicate little flowers, we wilt when there’s not enough sun.

    Go here for more info:

    Unfortunately, the best treatment really is light, so even if it’s raining, put on your macintosh and go for a walk. Your body (and mind) will thank you.

    I suffer from this, even in Australia, and it’s what spiralled me into my recent depression (along with some other stress). For the love of all that’s holy, be really kind to yourself, keep up the exercise and do things to make yourself feel good.

    I will mourn the lack of mangoes with you, now that I’m allergic to them. Grrr.

    And YAY for fitting into new skinny chick clothes. That’s fabulous news!

    [Hugs] and take care of you.

  9. Poor kitten, I feel for you on the losing-of-a-sister front, all my future plans involve her coming along too, so I don’t know how I’d handle the inevitable split up.

    Good work on the exercise though!

  10. first of all let me say congratulation of the weight loss, saw that you have not only got in better shape but also lost weight the last couple of weeeks.

    Im still standing and jumping around 100 kg up and down 1-2 kg. But I know that over time it will be down.

    We have the darkness too and yes it does get you tired as nothing else. I forget it every year.

    and for the shoes of course you can find other shoes there as well. Maybe you will have to go to London? I mean Im in a small country and we have all kind of different shoes all from running, aerobic, spinning and flashy ones. Must be over there as well.

    Keep whining I do the same this time of year.

  11. Try 2002/NBUK-Dealer-Scotland.htm – don’t know if any of these are near you or if you’ve tried them already, but I gots a pair of NB X-trainers and find them very good, having size ten clodhoppers myself πŸ˜‰ And even better is finding a pair you like there and just getting your sister to pick up the same type cheaper while here.

    As for the visa thing, all I can suggest is using that spanking clean credit card for a visit to an immigration lawyer. They’re the professionals who should know of any route possible for you to take.

  12. Awwww chick, well, everything that everyone else said (hugs included) but on top of that why don’t you book yourself in to some tanning sessions? The UV light they emit has the same effect as the sunshine does on our psyche and hey when everyone sees your fabulous sunny tan (while they are walking around looking pasty), you can lie and tell them you went to Australia too! Good luck, hon, thinking of ya!


  13. I second Redlilocks’ suggestion. I tried tanning last year and it made quite a difference in my outlook. If they’re available at or near your gym, it’ll be even better. You’ll come out warm and ready to go! It’s something to look forward to when all you want to do is go home to a warm bed.

    Also, if you haven’t tried tanning before, don’t worry about turning orange. That only happens if you go too too often…Start out easy (I started at 4 minutes and worked up to 12) and go once or twice a week. I did that for most of last winter and I was healthy looking; not at all dark or orangey.

    My only warning — protect the girls. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing worse than burned cleavage.

    One more thing — the first month of darkness is always the worst!

  14. It breaks my heart that you and your sister are moving apart. Because I know how it feels!

    But you’ll still be close, so please don’t break my heart anymore!!

    My thoughts are with you. And, seriously, vent away.


  15. I live in Australia and the sizes here are smaller. For some reason we Americans made ours bigger to accomodate our growing sized people. So if you wear a 14 in Aus, it is an American 16.

  16. (((hugs)))

    It’s tough when the one you want to pour out your worries too is going through stress himself. Best of luck to the SC and best of luck to you too. It’s a horrible worrying time… but I am sure that you will work it out somehow. What’s for ye’ll no’ go by you, as my Mum keeps saying to me (I haven’t exactly cracked the career thing either).

    Look after yourself. Less than a month now until the days start to get longer again. I wouldn’t be so sure about the sunbed idea, but then I am a pale Celt and paranoid about UV. My boyfriend used to go to a “solarium” (same idea) to try to ward off depression and wasn’t sure it made much of a difference, but some people find it helps.

    Weird – last night I dreamt I could borrow my sister’s clothes! (Not likely for some time.) So I am happy for you about the suit, while sorry that your sister is leaving. My own sister is away studying and I miss her like anything.

  17. Whoever mentioned SAD (seasonal affective disorder) further up, good on you! DG, I grew up in Edinburgh, and the full-on Blahs usually didn’t hit me until January, when it seems as though you will NEVER see the sun again.

    There are fancy ultra-bright full spectrum lamps you can buy, which you are supposed to bask under for an hour a day or so. Last time I was home Boots had them with their appliances.

    Or you could look for a regular “full spectrum” lightbulb and put it in an ordinary lamp in your room. Artists use them so they can work through the dark months without screwing up their colours from working in artificual light. I first got one to use for needlepoint, and ended up spending all my time sitting by that lamp, needlepoint or no. I finally realised it was because it felt like sitting in the sunshine.

    As a Pasty White Scot (TM) I STRONGLY advise against the sunbed thing. You’re a redhead, so you’re probably also pale, and sunbeds always always are damaging your skin. There’s no way around it. A full spectrum lamp will give you the UV you need without the damage from sunbeds.

    As to all the other stuff…I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you and (soon to be) Doctor Scottish Companion. Chances are, if his boss thinks he’s got the PhD, then he’s got it.

  18. Sorry to hear about all that stress – life really is cruel sometimes. Keep up the writing and exercise and do NOT give into that chocolate bar.

    It is an obnoxious but true statement that life has a way of working itself out.

    Stay strong and keep busy so you don’t lose your head.

  19. although you sound a little upset, I love the way you put some humour into your writing. Some might say it is a way of hiding your true emotions but I don’t think so. I mean you are writing your true emotions! So to me it shows what a wonderful person you are, how enlightening. I was reminded by Kimba and Lynda what an inspiration you are and by reading and checking your stats I have to agree. Hang in there mate, all will come good for you, I promise (well I will send out good vibes for you πŸ™‚


  20. Oh goodness. I just had to chime in because this entry is straight taking me back to those good ol’ Diary-X days. I’m going to offer that the reason why shit everywhere seems ass-backwards right now is because you’re on the verge of something fabulous. Hanging out on the edge of anything is supposed to be SKEERY. You’ve got momentum, girl. Just ride it, and beware the chaotic frenzy. The cosmos will sort things out–and you’ll make it happen. Three years and I’ve read you do it time and time again. Isn’t that always the way? I have faith in you galore!

  21. How ’bout visiting me? There is always a bit of sunshine to cheer you up…and I will cook ALL your meals too!

  22. Longtime reader – first time poster.

    perhaps you could focus on this as a positive – eating and excercise are in good order! Just a matter of building a (large) bridge of the ret of your troubles!

  23. Hey Shaunie, I also have big hoofers. Size 10 shoes rule my friend and don’t let anybody tell you any different. Just think how much harder we can kick butt. πŸ™‚


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