Running From One Year To The Next, Screaming.

So it’s 2012 already. How did that happen? It seems to be mostly a blur; shell-shock from what came before, perhaps? But it had ups as well as downs this time, rather than downs and ohmygodno’s. Eager as I was to leave 2010 behind, escaping its shadow was never going to be that simple. So what do I have to say for 2011? Well, as far as snappy blogs go… er… yeah get a cup of tea in.

My father’s condition improved rapidly, to the point his consultant was beyond surprised at his progress. They take a ‘protein count’ to gauge how well he is doing, and by May the count was too low to even be measured. But while physically, he’s faring far better than most of those his age who’d been through what he has, mentally, he is a fragile shadow of his former self. It’s mildly traumatic to be around it on a daily basis, and a frustrating obstacle for an independent pensioner. For all his physical weakness since coming out of hospital, it’s the inside of his head that is holding him back the most.

It’s understandable that a man would be frustrated and upset at the loss of ability, strength and mental capabilities; but he is linking almost any accident or problem to his deteriorated state. Spilling tea is something most of us do; I, for one, would bring home gold at 2012 if they made it an olympic sport. But to him it’s a direct consequence of what happened to him last year. And he beats himself up about it as if he never spilt tea before he got ill. He beats himself up for tripping on a step, for knocking drying cutlery as he puts a new item in the dishrack, the list lengthens by the week. Some things – being unable to change the tiny bulb of his desk lamp, or to take the AAA batteries out of the remote – are an understandable difficulty for someone of advancing years, but he should not be bringing himself down for having those little annoyances we all fall foul of from time to time.

I’ve tried to calm him, but my reserves of patience are running dry after so frequently hurtling down the stairs, hearing the crashing and screams of world war three’s instigation, only to find the trigger for the onslaught of self-abuse is that some of the milk missed the mug. Trying to broach the subject is difficult. Skills that have not departed him are his abilities to deflect and change the subject. He lashes out and becomes agitated and upset. His increased fragility has made him over-sensitive, and try as I might, I’m unwilling to upset him further. But it cannot carry on this way. I have to help him regain the independence he is perfectly capable of. I will be needed, but having to tread eggshells and run upstairs a few times a day to check he isn’t throwing a tantrum has worn me down. I feel trapped and helpless, and I’m not only losing my patience, but my temper. I feel helpless about too many things these days. Glum face.

Oh, me? What about me?
The above has taken up a lot of ‘me’ this year, but it’s not all bad. In fact, some wonderful things have happened to me. I’ve met and spent time with some wonderful people. I’ve had my confidence raised by one wonderful girl, and had it crushed by another. I have made new friends, and had a reality check seeing my closest friend move away after the bottom dropped off his world. Through it all, as ever, was music. I don’t even care how pretentious that sounds. If I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t have made it. Fact. A proper Glastonbury (ie: fuckloads of rain) and the tiny 2000 Trees were highlights of the year, as was an impromptu ‘goth’ weekend with friends I wouldn’t have if I wasted my time with grudges. And Tellison came along; a band I didn’t care about until they wrote an album from inside my head. That isn’t supposed to happen after you leave your early twenties.

Writing has come and gone in reliably intermittent bouts of activity. I was in dire need of motivation, and that arrived when it really needed to. But at a particularly low point, I was saved! A Polish work colleague asked me to help her with her dissertation. Though her spoken English is excellent, she has problems handling the written form of our ridiculous language, so she paid me to copy-edit and proof read it for her. While she thought I would be bored out of my mind, the project was just the kick I needed. It excited me and gave me some much-needed confidence. Suddenly, those three years I spent building a massive debt were worth something again, and I felt that I could be of some worth and use to someone. WIN! I’m helping! I’m now looking at courses and into how I go about earning money doing such fun word-tweaking – and overcoming the paralysing fear someone will notice my horrific grammar (shhh, I are good at it’s, promise). The colleague got an excellent result, too, and will be working on further research papers and projects – asking me to assist again. Motivation? Twice in the space of a year? Madness.

What do I need to do this year? Well the same thing I say I’ll do every year, Pinky; try to take over the world… But learning to drive and getting a car is a must. Now I don’t have reviews to do, the unreliability and inconvenience of public transport has worn down my sanity. Thankfully there were a number of drivers who attracted such chaos that each week had a new adventure (seriously; breakdowns, police cordoned roads, joyriders, detours of doom, near death experiences…). But most of them work for different companies or routes now and the majority of drivers are so dull. They just turn up and drive you home, with journeys rarely causing any thoughts that I might get stranded or die. It’s just not as fun. So I have to learn to drive. Oh, also because of convenience, having more time to myself and becoming generally being less repellent to the opposite sex. Added to that, I’ll be able to get to more gigs further afield, and get to Bristol to take on the more respected copy-editing/proof reading course (I’ll go sfep myself). Win.

I also need to write. Odd, that – what with me wanting to be a writer, and all. I need to face fears, I need to say yes more. I need to succeed. Personality’s nice, but I need to be worth something if I’m going to be more than a minor role in people’s lives. I want to be the main event to someone and I’m not going to manage it being this. While that’s not easy, it’s easier than I think… I think.

Thanks for not being 2010, 2011. That would have killed me.
Here’s hoping 2012 is a further improvement, and that I can thank myself for the results.

Run at it, screaming.

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