It has been a bit of a paradigm shift for me but I think it’s a reflection of my inner recluse. There has always been the temptation to stay away from the world and I do dip my toe into that wonderful pool of swirling absurdity that is agoraphobia. My feel of losing control beyond my safe zone was very real when I used to drift in and out of consciousness. Imagine being stone cold sober and stumbling down the street midmorning as people pause and look at you, the occasional tutting to their friend. It is, I assure you, utterly mortifying.
It was however vaguely amusing the time I full on passed out in WH Smiths with my ex. He caught me, guided me to the ground and we were promptly surrounded by worried onlookers who offered all kinds of advice to his ‘It’s best to just leave her alone. She does this all the time.’ I used to come to almost instantly but would keep my eyes closed for a second or two to avoid the sick feeling that would accompany eyes being five foot above the ground then eyes being five inches above the ground. I opened my eyes in fear as my ex demanded that someone overly inspired by ER made a move to touch me. ‘Don’t touch her, she hates that!’
I suppose it made a change from people being completely focused on me, suddenly they were appalled at my unfeeling ex who was trying to persuade them all an ambulance was unnecessary. There was talk of ‘just to be safe’ and ‘possible head injury.’ Time to get up. I was cold and exhausted and wanted to sit on the sofa with a cup of tea. I absolutely did not want to go and sit in A&E while they looked up the details of my neurologist. I took my ex’s arm and asked to be taken home. I was very unsteady on my feet and the onlookers were blocking us slightly so he pretty much picked me up, barged his way through and ran out into the high street with me limply flailing as the crowd questioned whether they ought to be letting him take me.
So yeah, while I’m perfectly healthy these days there will still be that flash of doubt. The worst that can happen isn’t really so bad but it’s pretty unpleasant.
Being the sort of person I am, I hate being afraid. When the fiancé and I went to Go Ape there was a part near the end where you basically have to step off a ledge, trust your harness and get swung towards a net. I was terrified and absolutely didn’t want to do it. But I was more scared of not doing it. Oh and that argument that things are never as bad as you think they’ll be? Absolute rubbish. It was absolutely awful! So I moved to Malaysia by myself and faced those challenges.
I’ve been called brave before but I often feel like I’m the most scared person I know. My blood runs cold when I get on rollercoasters (I love them when I’m on them), I panic when the fiancé is even ten minutes late home.
OH MY GOD HE’S DIED. I CAN’T BELIEVE HE’S LEFT ME TO DIE IN A FIERY DEATH OF TWISTED METAL AND I’VE LOST MY BEST FRIEND. HOW WILL I LIVE WITHOUT HIM HE’S THE NORTH TO MY COMPASS AND oh hi sweetie, you stopped to get petrol?
The daft thing is even when the worst happens you cope. Still, it’s nicer at home. Even on a nice day out I’m often counting down the hours until I’m home again. For me, leaving the house is only ever about achieving or attaining something. Going to work, going to buy food, not being an irrational social outcast destined to die alone her face pecked off by her chickens. Stuff like that. And I like restaurants and watching films on really big screens and all the things I can’t do at home but I’ll admit that the major appeal of moving in with the fiancé was a vast reduction in the amount of times I’d have to go out.
I think it’s why I’m such a homemaker. I get people to come to me. Baking an elaborate cake is far easier than going out for cake. If I create a warm home and a charming garden for the fiancé then maybe he’ll be happy to be content with me in my haven.
Being ill has made me self-indulgent. I don’t generally allow myself to think like this. There’s a big exciting world to explore and it’s much more fun being a recluse when you’ve pictures and memories of the things you’ve done, places you’ve seen and food you’ve eaten (at least a quarter of my photos are of food). You can also pretend to be an interesting and vibrant person and not the hobbity creature you really are.
But nobody likes too much self involvement and so I need to strike out. My columns must have been getting horribly tedious of late and...
I just remembered! I went to the Bath and West show last week. I was a fashion scout and was going to write about fashion and be interesting and witty in my observations on style and everyone would love me and I’d be given a job as a columnist on a proper newspaper and get to go to Fashion Week and slap Liz Jones and have oh so much fun because I’d magically be transformed into a confident awesome person. And I’d be thin.
I really ought to concentrate more. Damn those secateurs and chickens!
Anyway, here are the pictures: