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EVERYBODY STAY CALM!!

“Sometimes I’ll start a sentence, and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.” – Michael Scott, The Office, Season 5

It’s been a funny kind of a week for me professionally. And not kitschy American sitcom funny either.

Before we continue, I should warn you – I’ve recently discovered the American version of The Office and I’m spending an unhealthy amount of time binge watching it, so I only think about everything through the lens of The Office now. Apologies in advance if any references slip through the net.

Where was I?

So, my team at work have been in the run-up to a restructure for a while now, and midweek last week was when we all learned where we sit in the corporate family tree. To give you an idea of my initial emotional reaction on the day:


Heh. Sorry, it had to be done somewhere. It’s out of my system now. I think.

So, on Wednesday, I learned that what the restructure potentially means for me is that if I’d like to keep my current role I’ll have to compete with one of the loveliest humans I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I’m quite partial to said role – in the time I’ve been doing it, I’ve gone from fumbling my way through most social interactions  to driving up and down the country doing all sorts of things that would’ve previously had me cowering in a broom cupboard. Now, I’m not one for over-exaggerated statements, but it’s made me at least a billion squillion times more confident than I used to be. Plus ten.

To give things a bit of context, this new-look structure does come with a whole heap of other positions most of us can go for, and even in the event that I don’t nail the position/s I’m after, I’m very lucky to work for a company that gives you a tonne of opportunities to find something suitable in the rest of the pretty sizeable business. I’d be stupid not to acknowledge how rare that is. This whole situation is the very definition of “It’ll be fine. Untwist those undercrackers, ma’am.”

However, I am first and foremost a creature of emotion, and so upon hearing the news, I spent the entire afternoon oscillating between optimism bordering on psychopathy, and short, sharp bursts of ugly-crying. Apparently I process emotions by loudly feeling them all at once.

I’ve since gained a few days of restored sanity and perspective, so I figured I’d share some of the good things that this spell of unsettlement has brought up, because why not? Isn’t the whole point of all life experience to document it on the internet? No? Oh, well, I’ve started now:

Some good things

  • Whether I get to write for money (hands down the best bit of my jobbo) or not at the end of all this, I’m fortunate to have a passion that I can do anywhere, with little to no specialist tools. Case in point – I’m currently typing away in my spare room, with the dog wheezing at me in support. Or fear. My hair is doing some pretty crazy right angles right now because I decided that my need to blog outweighs my need to not look like the creature that lives under your bed today.
  • Not to brag (that’s a lie, I’m totally bragging), but I know some pretty excellent people. People from all corners of my life have been proper lovely and supportive this week without my needing to ask, including but limited to:
    • People I work with, who are in a similar position to me and owe me nothing, but have been brilliant anyway. Especially the one person who’s in the closed pool of two with me for our current role. They’ve been nothing but honest and sincere with me since the second we found out about the situation we’ve found ourselves in.
    • Family members, who know the way to my heart – chips. My heart is located in my stomach, and my stomach likes chips.
    • Resident Boy – bought me Nando’s (see previous point) and has been saving up amusing videos of dogs being awesome on Facebook to show me at the end of each day. There is no situation that can’t be made better by clips of puppies trying to get through gates with sticks that are too wide in their mouths.
    • Friends who’ve been thrusting my blogs in the faces of people they know to keep the flames of my undying need for attention stoked.
  • I’ve learned that I’m tougher and more ambitious than I previously thought I was. This could be denial speaking here, but I’m pretty much fine…like, actually fine. Granted, it’s not a ride I’d have voluntarily queued up for at the hypothetical theme park analogy I’m going to clumsily shoehorn in here, but now I’m on it, I’m seeing that it’s not that bad. Being put in a position where you have no choice but to adapt is uncomfortable, but kind of exhilarating. Yeah, you can still have a nice day out if you don’t go on the rides, but there’s only so much you can experience while you’re on the ground, holding the handbags and coats while everyone else is facing their fears and seeing things from a whole new perspective.

Anyway, worst comes to worst, I can always DECLARE BANKRUPTCY!!

Been through a similar uncomfortable situation yourself that’s come with its own set of surprising silver linings? I’d love to hear about it – pop it in the comments =)

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Sweet dreams are NOT made of these

My pet sub woofer (for he is smol), Jesse, looking much more rested than I feel today.

For the most part, I like my brain. It gives me ready access to puns when I need them (which is more often than you’d think), and is great at navigating me towards things I can eat. It has its “fun” neuroses, like the one where it tells me that my pets will spontaneously combust unless every electrical item has been deactivated in my house before I leave it, but largely, we’re on good terms. At least until I relinquish control and drift off to sleep. Then it’s grey matter party time.

I’m fascinated by sleep – particularly sleep disorders and dreams. I love a good documentary on the messed up things that happen to us in the land of nod, and I’ve read a few books on the topic (recommendations always welcome!).

Our minds are, for want of a less obvious term, fucking mental. I’m quite a light sleeper, so I often remember my dreams and can experience a few per night. Here are just a couple of examples of dreams I’ve had this weekend:

  1. I dreamed most of a movie (bar, annoyingly, the ending) about the misfortunes of a transitioning drag queen pursuing fame in rave culture and hiding a pregnancy. If I was less lazy and had the ability to screen write, I’d be penning the shit out of that one – it’s got Netflix movie written all over it!
  2. I’m on a night out with Ben and Chris from Parks and Recreation. At one point, we’re in a stadium, watching a school play over cocktails. The kids perform the song Never Enough from The Greatest Showman and I burst into tears. Well, it is a very powerful song.
  3. I move into a 3 story mansion with my pets, my boyfriend and one of my sisters. Mansion is creepy because it looks like the previous owners just upped and left without taking any of their stuff with them. My sister, who has chosen the top floor to live in, isn’t concerned by all the porcelain dolls and watering cans full of what seems to be petrol, but by the fact that the floor in her kitchen feels spongy.

*Baffled shrug*

I feel massively fortunate that I’ve never experienced the more “fuck that shit” spectrum of sleep problems, like sleep paralysis, but I’ve experienced my fair share of weirdness, so I’m going to share said weirdness with you here. Tuck yourself in and I’ll tell you some bedtime stories…

Hypnopompic hallucinations

This is where you “see things” as you’re waking up, usually when you’re moving out of a dream state. I’ve always had this from what I remember and these days, I’m usually aware that it’s happening. The things I see as an adult are more like moving blobs and sometimes face shapes in the dark with no clear form, and only for a few moments while I wait for my eyes to readjust. When I was in my early teens, however, a couple of my more “memorable” experiences of this were waking up and seeing my mum’s disembodied face hovering right in front of my nose before vanishing into the dark, and seeing a figure in a fluffy dressing gown shuffle into my room, stand at the foot of my bed and slowly turn its face towards me. Which was, obviously, a skull. Cool. Cool.

Exploding head syndrome

Where your head literally explodes.

Heh. Only joking. This has only happened to me once, but it very nearly made me soil myself. I was drifting off to sleep after another long and rewarding day of overthinking and snacking, when, just on the threshold of passing out, I hear the LOUDEST bang I’ve ever heard. It sounded like a lorry driving into the house or a plane crashing into my roof, a la Donnie Darko. Once the resultant inevitable hand flapping and heart attack subsided, I realised that the earth shattering bang came from inside my own mind. Just – why? What evolutionary purpose does going “BANG!!” to yourself while you’re at your most vulnerable serve?!

Teeth clicking

Something that makes me a delight to share a bedroom with. During times of stress (I have no chill, so this is pretty much all times), I click my teeth together while I’m asleep. Not grind. Click. Like an extra from The Walking Dead, or a set of novelty wind-up dentures. My sister, who was treated to a performance of this whilst sharing a hotel room with me a few years ago, informs me that this habit is “fucking creepy”. I like to think I do it because I don’t like missing out on a good chat while I’m asleep and my subconscious is just trying to strike up a conversation in morse code.

False awakenings

AKA the absolute worst. I think these are meant to be related to stress somehow too. You know when you get up in the morning and go through all the usual “getting ready” rigamarole? You do your teeth, get dressed, sort your hair out and get in the car. Only to then “wake” up again and go through the whole thing all over again another couple of times, assuming that this time you’re actually awake, for real -like Groundhog Day but with your morning routine.

I’ve even made it as far as most of the way through a day at work before I’ve realised that I am, in fact, asleep, and I have to get up in a few minutes’ time and do Monday all over again, this time in real life. I firmly believe that when this happens, I should be allowed to ring in to work and tell them I’m not coming in, because I’ve already been in today. Three times.

Last night, I had a fun mish mash of false awakening and night terror. As I type this, I am completely and utterly knackered and am only 50-60% sure that I’m actually awake and not trapped in some kind of Inception-esque loop:

I “woke up” in my spare room which I took myself took myself off to last night to go and read for a bit – I couldn’t drift off on account of the cough and cold I have, and t’other half was working the next day and I didn’t want to disturb him. The room was pitch black and for some reason , I felt total and absolute terror. Something was wrong with me – my heart was trying to beat itself out of my chest and my body felt slow and drugged, like I barely had control over it. I managed to stand for long enough to flop over to the light switch, which wouldn’t turn on, nor would the light on the landing, which made me feel even more frightened. I dragged myself on all fours to the bedroom, crying and clawing weakly at the bedding to try and get Andy to help me. He’s baffled and doesn’t know what’s wrong. The terror reaches a horrible peak, and I scream and scream, totally helpless and feeling the air rush out of my throat, not making a sound. Then I wake up. And the whole thing starts again, about 5 or 6 times.

Such fun.

Anyone else out there’s brain go haywire on them while asleep too? Reassurance that I’m not actually crazy (or that I am, but that there are more of me out there) would be nice, so be please a dear and share your freaky sleep experiences in the comments.

While you do that for me, I’m off to grab a coffee. A STRONG coffee.

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How to ruin your own weekend

This weekend, I had the house to myself while “him indoors” was away with the Reserves doing Army things with Army types in Cardiff (talking about how great the Queen is and doing that belly crawl thing up the beer aisle in Tesco? I’m not sure).

As a bit of an introvert (while sober, at least), I always love the idea of time to myself – taking the weekend at my own pace, not feeling obliged to go anywhere or do anything, and a chance to be alone with my thoughts.

It’s that last bit that invariably kicks my plans in the knackers.

I’m the sort of person who, when given time to herself, writes a to-do list on how I’m going to relax, because that’s how super chill people like me operate. But then I worry about relaxing too much, because that’s a waste of the precious, borrowed time I get on this planet and I should be doing something with it before I stumble off the edge of this mortal coil, shouldn’t I?

But, then, I think, you’ve got to relax, haven’t you? Because stress is terrible for you and can actually kill you dead, if that Google hole I went down that one time was anything to go by, and I don’t want to be killed dead from stress.

So, to have a good weekend, I have to be productive, but not too productive, and relaxed, but not too relaxed. Easy, right? Only thing required would be to tweak that to-do list a little, yeah?

Anyway, so here’s how that kind of thinking managed to turn my plans for a couple of days  to myself into a helter-skelter of existential panic. Enjoy:

Friday evening

  • Drove home from work like Satan was chasing me in a monster truck to see Andy before he left, because am good girlfriend and good girlfriends let their boyfriends make them dinner before they disappear on two gruelling days of tabbing and saving the queen.
  • The second Andy left the house, donned marigolds to do the dishes (my skin hates doing the dishes even more than I do) and angry-cleaned the house to allow for a blissful Saturday and Sunday of relaxation and gentle productivity (i.e yoga, walking the dog etc. etc.).
  • After house is clean, pets march in and out of the garden in planned-looking, two animal parade, happily trailing mud behind them as they do so. Been up since half five, so by this point all fucks have left me and I assume this means the parading means I no longer need to walk the dog, so I give up and binge watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which I’m extremely late to the party in discovering.
  • Midnight. Dog refuses to chill out, despite prior muddy pageantry. He also refuses to let me sleep. I lovingly call him a “fucking fuck” and let him drag me round the block, where all the pub people are starting to zombie their way home to bed. Am jealous of the pub people.

Saturday

  • Alarm. Time to go to yoga, except don’t want to go to yoga. Spend half an hour in bed stressing about whether it’s more stressful to go to yoga when don’t want to, or to not to yoga. Decide to skip yoga because now have headache, but opt compromise and listen to Headspace app and do a meditate, to check in with how I’m feeling. Surprise answer: am feeling stressed. Such zen.
  • Lunch with mum. Mercifully can’t overthink this one. Matriarchal company plus cake generally a plus.
  • Shopping. Need dress for work’s Christmas do, and retail therapy etc., so will be fun.
  • Is not fun. Is two hours of glaring at misshapen body in weird lighting only ever seen in dressing rooms. How do shops think horrible glare that makes people look like badly made clay figurines with fingerprints still on them will make them want to buy more clothes?! Spend majority of time in shops oscillating between thinking “waah, am gross bag of lumps!” and “Fuck society for making me feel like this and fuck shops for having multiple clothing items that are supposedly the same size, but some of them wouldn’t even fit over my big toe and others make me look like I’m wearing a pop-up tent.” Eventually landed on “This one’s shiny and fits over my head. Will purchase this one so can go home.”
  • Went home, binge watched entire last series of New Girl, wept at the finale because Zooey Deschanel is excellent and deserves my tears for her efforts. Wanted a snack, but decided couldn’t eat “rubbish” on account of lumpy sack body. Got angry with diet culture again for making me feel like bag of loose spuds and proceeded to pissily eat a whole bag of oranges because…I don’t even know, but they were nice and mad me feel better.

Sunday morning

  • Alarm. Andy due back in a few hours, so decided best thing to do would be to get that blog post and workout I’d been meaning to do all weekend done.
  • Opted to pack that idea in and downloaded I Feel Pretty instead because, despite all reviews I’ve read about it being problematic and no one agreeing to come and see it with me while it was at the cinema because “it looks a bit shit”, I still wanted to see it. I cry at the end. More due to previous evening’s changing room related PTSD than film’s rousing, albeit slightly naff climax. 
  • Andy home. Felt annoyed he’s back before I’ve started to feel suitably relaxed and “weekend-y”, and that if he’d been gone a few more hours, I’d have cracked relaxation.
  • We ate McDonalds. All is now right with the world. The weekend wasn’t so bad. It’s nice to have time to yourself, isn’t it?

Becky’s final thoughts

  1. You can’t think yourself into relaxing. That way madness lies.
  2. Despite this weekend being my most slothful one in a while, I feel the opposite of chill, so I’m thinking that knackering myself out at the gym as is the norm on weekend mornings is probably the way forward. It’s hard to overthink when your brain cells are sleepy and fugged up with endorphins.
  3. Oranges are great. I want an orange.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! I’m off to go relax now (help me!).