Housekeeper’s Diary

By Alison June 2, 2023 No Comments 6 Min Read

I am going to turn in to a tub of Greek yoghurt. I live on the stuff and lately I have been dabbling with turning it into bagels and muffins and chucking it willy-nilly on this, that and everything else. I’ve never (thankfully) managed to cultivate a true addiction to anything at all but I am prone to foody fads and for a while nothing else will do beyond my latest obsession. I used to feel the same about cucumber. And latterly pineapples. Though even I admit that incorporating plain chocolate digestives in to all my other meals was a challenge in my teenage years that my Mum was having none of.

Oh yes, I am a woman who obsesses. It’s almost as though my brain latches on to something and decides she will not be bothering with anything else because clearly this here is the answer to live, love and the universe. Though even I, Pollyanna herself, am struggling to convince myself that Greek Yoghurt is the answer to my current rash of problems.

I feel a little deranged. And I’ve been wondering if everyone else is wandering about feeling deranged too and just doing a better job of disguising it? Is this to do with my slightly ludicrous commitment to living out loud? To telling my truth? To saying well heavens above, this aches and that’s not paid and he is getting on my nerves and oy you, I’m not sure I like the tone of that text! Are other people just going about tolerating the outrageous, wearing their martyr’s halo, gritting their teeth and girding their loins? Are those who cry in their sleep, weeping because they cannot let themselves weep out loud in their waking hours? Or (and oh please don’t let it be this) are other people just wandering about denying their feelings and announcing at every turn that they feel great even when people that matter have keeled over dead and the roof is about to fall in?

It struck me recently that I don’t understand people. I should be approaching my wise old crone era, but I suspect wise cronery is going to give me a miss and life will instead shove me into a pit of perpetual bewilderment! I poke at people, you know? I have the kind of “female need to know” the late Martin Amis referred to in The Information and I spend much time shoving Greek Yoghurt into my mouth while debating what the heckity-pie is up with people in general! And wondering why I CAN’T HOLD IT ALL IN: my opinions, my deepest truths, the things people said to me that I want to demystify by debating endlessly with anyone who will listen. All of it.

Do we get madder as we get older, in all the ways it is possible to be mad? Nuttier and angrier? A year after Stephen went out and never came back I feel absolutely LIVID with the fall out. The dis-respect. The financial issues he bears no responsibility for and the failure to acknowledge a child who mourns a man who isn’t dead but has never had the decency or guts to apologise to him. I’m mad as hell and the madness has nowhere to go for brick walls are terribly difficult to bash down when your anger is as soft as a marshmallow and will probably never manage to be otherwise. We are what we are, and even if we are capable of recognising our transition through all the stages of grief that follow a shattered relationship, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we will ever be capable of letting anger fuel anything other than the kind of raging insomnia forcing us to confront all that terrifies us in the deepest and ugliest part of the night.

A year! Life is so different now. I date and I clean and I write and I worry. I talk way too much. I never stop, from the hours I spend talking to my dad as I type each morning to the late nights I lie in bed texting like a teenager with whoever remains awake – oh yes, if my eyes are open I’m probably boring somebody somewhere! And heck even when they are not, there’s a good chance I’m still waffling: in fact Finn had cause to text me in the middle of the night last night to ask me if I was talking in my sleep as he could hear me wittering on.

This is a new kind of contentment I barely yet understand. I spend an inordinate amount of time shuffling clothes destined for Vinted and Finn’s laundry around the house and losing silly amounts of time rubbing almond scented polish in to the coffee table and swooning as if, for all the world I am at a fragrant spa while I sing at the top of my voice and quote poetry at the cat. I drink more coffee than I have since I was twenty-five, and I watch tv at night with a facial roller zipping all over my face to keep the dreaded marionette lines at bay. And it feels like living. It really does. A year later and I am more alive than I ever was. Letting myself be who I am with those who really want to know. Letting my truth seep out without trying to make it more palatable. Processing my anger and grief with more clarity and less excuses now. Asking for help! Oh how huge that has been: letting myself ask for help and taking it when it is offered. How kind people are.

And in the midst of it all there is Greek yoghurt stirred into chocolate muesli and there is hope. And Greek yoghurt stirred in to soup and poetry that speaks to my heart like this from Morgan Harper Nichols

Let July Be July

Even here, you are growing.
When August is approaching
and you feel a little restless
thinking about how
this month might end
and how
this year might end
and how you are supposed to
start again,
you are growing,
you are growing,
in grace

And it is okay
if it does not feel like it.
It is okay if there are moments
where you cannot see
the way you have grown,
because far beneath the surface
the seeds have still been sown.
The ground beneath your feet
is still a bed for new beginnings.

So much is changing around you 
but you are changing, too.

You are so much more than the brokenness
that you were certain would define you.

It has not been easy for you.
You have worked so hard
to be the positive one.
You have given your best
in areas of your life
where the effort was not returned. 
And this has made it so hard
for you to keep going,
and there have been days
where you were not sure
if it was even possible.
But after everything,
here you are,
just a little stronger,
holding on a little longer,
and you still found room for hope. 

So take heart
breathe deep
you are still becoming
who you were meant to be.

Let July be July.
Let August be August.
And let yourself

just be
even in
the uncertainty.
You don’t have to fix
You don’t have solve
And you can still
find peace
and grow
in the wild
of changing things.

(Morgan Harper Nichols, 2021)

I may not be able to hold it all in, but in the spilling of my truth there is a whole host of new and important friendships and for that I will be forever grateful.

Nobody tell them I’m MAD.

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