Monday, January 29, 2007

Get me on Oprah... or maybe Dr. Phil

I’m going to try and recreate the blog post I was writing in my mind last night as I couldn’t sleep. Now I’m pretty sure that everyone who reads this blog knows me well enough to be able to cope with this post, and I really need to get this stuff out of my head, but if you don’t think you know me intimately stop reading know. There is one person I spent the weekend with recently who won’t know what the hell I’m talking about, and that is purely because I haven’t had the chance to chat to you yet – but feel free to ask the other girlies that we there for the gory details, they have my permission to tell you.

Husband and I didn’t have the easiest pathway to getting married. We split up twice. The first time was for a month after we’d been together about 9 months – so not too bad. The second time was after three years, we were living together, and we split up for about four months, but had to keep living together as we had neither of us could afford to move out. Both splits were instigated by my now husband. The second one was horrible, I really lost it for a while, but somehow managed to pull myself together enough to do some soul searching and work on a way of trying to fix us. Thank God/ess it worked. Two years later we tied the knot and I am 100% certain it was the right thing to do.

There are lots of reasons why we had such a rocky road. I had a massive CFS flare up 3 months after we met, and spent the next 6 months recovering – not conducive to setting up a run of happy times to lean on when times get tough later – and my illness always adds an extra layer of stress to life in general. Husband had a fair few issues to do with relationships (and particularly marriage) and I’m sure I had a few of my own to throw into the mix. We also had various times of fairly high stress involving finances or family.

By the time we were getting married, however, although some of the stress factors hadn’t gone away (and we were living 250 miles apart at the time), we had pretty much learnt to deal with them. That was until “the bad thing” happened. Not going to say here what that bad thing was because I don’t want it floating around in the ether going “whooooh…. I’m bad”. Let’s just say a whole ‘nother heap of crap landed at our doorstep (particularly my doorstep). After an initial analysis of why “the bad thing” happened and deciding we still wanted to get married, we decided to put it in a metaphorical box and stick it in a cupboard until after our wedding day.

The tactic worked, we had a wonderful wedding and a blissful honeymoon. Some of the box got unpacked, and the significance of the “bad thing” has faded with time. But there is a part that remains in me and has an effect on our emotional and sexual life. I figured out that as far as the sex part is concerned my basic emotionally reaction (ignoring the no sex drive problem – now that’s in a really big box) is one of fear. He touches me and I just freeze. Now just to explain, there ain’t no technical problems in the bedroom – this one is all in my head. I just don’t want to let him get that close to me, for us to be that intimate – I just freak out. Sex has always been something that has been important to me (hell I’ve even considered a career as a sexologist) but is something that Husband and I have never found our ‘normal’ at. Not having that experience, combined with the “bad thing” just seems to have thrown me totally off and over the cliff.

A similar thing goes for our emotional intimacy. This has actually got worse for me over the last year as I just feel so disconnected from him – and from most people actually. I take medication for anxiety which I know has a dulling effect on my emotions – but I can’t stop it as I just end up having panic attacks. Being sick with my CFS also doesn’t help. But again the “bad thing” seems to have pushed me past a tipping point and I’m having a hard time crawling back up and over the hill top.

For all those of you who know me, don’t worry, we are ok – really! But this isn’t how either of us wants our married life to be. He is my best friend, gorgeous, and a fantastic husband. I just want to want to connect with him again – then the emotional and sexual stuff will fall back into place again. Our one year wedding anniversary is next weekend, a year’s been a long time to be feeling this way. I just wish I knew what to do to fix me.

Friday, January 26, 2007

In hiding

That is where I intend to be for the rest of the day, and the weekend to come. I'm feeling totally and utterly crap. It started on Tuesday night with an earache and severe nausea. Then I felt a bit better on Wednesday, made it to work, bit achey... ended up leaving at 2.30pm. Worked at home yesterday feeling crap. Dragged my arse out to see the Wailin' Jennys (who kicked acoustic, three part harmony arse) and realised that my muscles hurt so much that I couldn't lift my arms above my waist. Woke up feeling not so bad and so headed into work. Now feel like crap warmed up but don't feel able to bail just yet. Damn these pesky viruses - who can I blame for inventing them? (no MM.... we don't want another God related rant just yet.... bide your time)

Husband is away up north this weekend to babysit his 3 cousins while his sis takes Mum-in-law and her sisters out to a concert. 250miles seems a long way to drive to be a babysitter but none of the family who live 5mins away seemed willing to step in (grump). Although I'll miss husband, I'm actually quite happy to have two days and night pretty much just me and the cats. I've just been to Boots to buy some pampering equipment, Capturing the Friedmans should have arrived from Amazon on rental (not comfort viewing but a film then Husband would never want to watch), the cupboards are well stocked, the cats need grooming, and I just want to sit somewhere being grumpy with no-one to be accountable to.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Waking up my inner voice

I think I've had internal laryngitis lately... my inner voice has just been so quiet. But, inspired by Rand's post reminding me of the beauty of language, I thought I'd put a few words down about a couple of songs that have been playing on my mind lately.

I've been very bad and not bought much music lately, finally managed to pick up a CD in Sainsburys last week - the new album from Pink. I've been a fan of hers for a while - I listen to most things under the sun: prog rock, americana, lesbian folk rock etc. you know the usual - but I feel like she does the thinking woman's pop rock extremely well. If I'm feeling like I need a pick up then on goes Missunderstood and I get to the washing up.

Anyway... enough side tracking. The song that got me when I heard it for the first time the other day was Dear Mr. President. Yes, it could well be considered a little twee and pop-political but the thing that gets me is the sound of disappointment in her voice.

One of the songs that has always got to me as being so desperately sad is 'From a Distance', written by Julie Gold and made famous by Nanci Griffith. I've often seen it sung on Songs of Praise or on other religious programmes and I've always been a little puzzled. Its a beautifully simple song and sounds on the surface like it might be suitable for Christian worship. But if you dig a bit deeper, and think more carefully about the lyrics, it really isn't. From my understanding the Christian God has a few key characteristics i.e. loving, involved, omnipotent, omniscient etc. The God that Julie Gold describes is too far away to see what has become of his/her creation.

The (scary?) thing is that it fits my idea of what God might be like - too far away to see what is really going on. When I studied philosophy of religion at school it gave me a way to articulate why I had such a problem with the loving God portrayed in Christianity - the problem of evil. Despite all the theodicies that have been developed by great theologians over the past couple of thousand years I wasn't - and I'm still - not convinced that you can reconcile the Christian qualities of God with life here on Earth. Something in me likes the idea of a creator god, and a good hearted one, so maybe he/she just isn't omnipotent or omniscient or both. So maybe 'From a Distance' is my song to God.... its just not one of worship... more of puzzlement.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Feeling a little...

Well... deflated actually. I had 'the interview' today and I just came out thinking 1) I'm not going to get the job as I don't have enough experience (which is fair) and 2) is that it? The interview was fine - not nasty or anything - but it was rather odd, they didn't as a single question about me. It was pretty much all 'in this very specific situation in our organisation this might happen.... and what would you do? Now I'm used to a few of those questions thrown in with a few 'Tell me about a time when you solved a problem and how you did it' and 'where do you want to be in 5 years'.... but not a whole hour of just them...

I can't say I performed very well. About half way through I was beginning to get rather bored and frustrated. Needless to say I don't think they will offer me the job. I will be a little disappointed as, on paper, the job looks just what I want to do. But would I want to work somewhere were I come out of the interview feeling just so 'blah'?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Quite pleased with myself

I've just updated my book blog with my latest literary experiences. I always feel that I'm not keeping that blog up to date as often as I should, but looking back I've posted about 11 books I've read since September.

11 books in four months - not bad going really. If I keep up this pace throughout 2007, I'll have got through 36 books by this time next year. And if I keep going for the rest of my life - with a life expectancy of say, 80 years - I may have read another 1944 books before I die. That is one hell of a lot of books. Where am I going to put them all? (local library is rubbish).

As well as picking up whatever comes my way this year, I think my literary aim is going to get to grips with the great 20th century American writers - and possible start by reading a decent book about the whole development of the American novel. I love Steinbeck and have been getting into my late 20th century authors (work book club is reading Bonfire of the Vanities at the moment - at my suggestion)... so I think I'm going to try and fill in the some of the gaps.

Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman

I am already an Alice Hoffman fan (Here on Earth has to be in my all time favourite book list) so I was quite happy to pick up Blackbird House and dive in. I can't say she's a 'feel good' writer, as generally the characters aren't often found smiling, but when I'm feeling a bit emotionally anemic, Hoffman who I find helps me reconnect with my emotions.

In contrast to what else I've read of hers, this novel doesn't follow one character or group of central characters, it follows a house over the course of about 200 years. We learn about romance, loss, family and class in the stories of the people who come to live in the Blackbird house. Her writing conjures up the air and light that is only found near a cold sea and the bleakness of a land left to become wild again. Beautifully written with uncomplicated prose as always. If you like Anita Shreve - this is different, but you'll like it too.