Wednesday, July 05, 2006

new routine
I'm feeling different and hence all kinds of things are different or seem different. I'm up at 6am and can look the day straight in the eye. I put on my pajama top (there's no curtain in the kitchen and neighbours directly opposite) and get my yoghurt and a banana. I put the radio on for the Today programme and make coffee for both of us. I sing "happy, happy, happy, happy, happy pill" to the tune of Happy Talk and take my own advice. I take TA his coffee and pull back the duvet to let the bed air, then I join TA in the living room and sip my coffee. If I'm not taking leftovers, I make myself a packed lunch - today I had leftovers of salad and roast chicken. I select my clothes for the day and get ready for work. I make the bed. Raise the blinds and check the bedroom to make sure it's presentable. The bedroom is beautiful and I take a few moments to admire the loveliness of the crisp white paintwork, the solid wood furniture and the walls that we painted the colour of wet sand. I like it in there. I put the cups in the sink ready for TA to wash and head to the door. We kiss. Sometimes if I can arrange it we kiss goodbye in the living room, but the goodbye doesn't count if it's not at the door - that rule means that I can get two lots of kisses!
I walk to work - it's an hour of strolling along backstreets and then along the Thames path. The weather has been hot and I've been enjoying the relative cool of the early morning air. My feet are completely trashed from wearing sandals, oh well, I guess they'll heal and harden up eventually. Work is work, but I'm a little more focused, a little less desperate and slightly calmer. I think my customer service has improved - I don't get as rattled and take setbacks in my stride a little more often. I make sure that I walk around the piazza at lunch time even if it's only for 15 minutes. Yesterday it was quiet so instead of working a full day I nipped out half an hour early, caught the bus and got home at 6pm, a whole hour earlier than usual.
This week it's been too hot to cook - I roasted a chicken on Sunday and we've been feasting on it ever since with lots of different salad accompanyments: bulgar wheat with lemon and oregano, beetroot and carrot slaw, chickpeas with tahini dressing, green salad... I've been experimenting. I seem to be gradually losing a few pounds, which is great particularly as I haven't been consciously depriving myself.
After dinner I ask TA to wash dishes, which he does, while I do the rest of the clearing up. If the carpet looks as though the mouse might be able to find a sesame seed I vacuum, otherwise I just put away the table mats, polish the table, dry up and wipe down the cupboards. I feel happy. I have two hours before bedtime to fill but get ready for bed now so that I have nice clean teeth. I could sit with TA, I could write a letter, I could write my journal, I could read, I could sit on the bed and think for a while, I could play a game of balls - most evenings I do a little of all those things, trying to find a good balance or as my fancy takes me. I make time to look out the window and admire the view of the heavy, golden summer dusk hanging over the docklands in the distance. When it's dark outside it's time to sleep.

old routine
Old routine was the same, but vastly different. The house was a tip because I thought about tidying, but hoped that TA would do it if I ignored it. Piles of clean laundry would migrate from the living room to the bed to the windowsill as I avoided putting them away. Breakfast! Breakfast was difficult! I either had yoghurt and a banana and wanted (and by wanted, I mean thought about in exquisite detail and got angry about) porridge and toast or had porridge and a banana and felt guilty (and by guilty I mean intense self-loathing) or had lots of toast, peanut butter, a banana... you get the idea. I wasn't sleeping well, I was mainlining coffee at work, at home - five cups a day was not unusual. I often felt I needed sugar mid-afternoon. I felt oddly contained and bulging - like a whirlwind caught in a balloon. I'd get the urge to run away or jump. When I was at home empty hours would open up like an abyss and I'd think about ways to bridge them - with reading, writing, talking or some other activity - but inertia and a sense of creeping inadequacy/desperation would keep me shuttling betweeen a chair at the side of TA's computer and the kitchen cupboard. I felt heavy. I was heavy - my clothes had to be chosen from a very limited selection. I couldn't see a way out. I knew that I wanted to exercise and eat healthily and listen to music, dance, laugh and enjoy myself, but I simply couldn't summon the capacity to do any of those things and I hated myself for it. At night I didn't want to sleep and when I did I was having nightmares.

Everything is different because I am different - it's like the Chinese story of heaven and hell: long chopsticks with the starving people and the well-fed people - the only difference being in heaven they feed each other.

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