Still in the land of unposts. Life at the moment is too chaotic for me to bring you sense or structure. Bear with me, or go and read something interesting by someone else. Life is short. I won’t hold it against you.
Poetry competition! Write me a poem that includes rhyming lines ending in Pilates and chai lattes. Leave it as a comment, and I will pick a winner at a time of my choosing. There are no prizes. Reading this unpost is not a precondition for entry.
I moved into my new flat a week and a half ago. The sense of overwhelm in the week leading up to the move left me almost unable to function, to the extent that all the final packing was done by my ex. I’m grateful to her for that, and very glad that she was able to help me in spite of what must have been an emotional upheaval for her too. I hope she’s doing OK.
I’m also grateful to the two friends from church who helped me move some of my stuff, and to my son for helping me do a little cleaning just after I moved in. They are the three people (aside from a couple of removal men and a broadband engineer) who have so far visited my little flat.
On my living-room window ledge, I have proudly displayed the five happy-new-home cards I received from those two friends, from my parents, from my sister and from the flat’s previous owner.
Other than that, though, I’m pretty much on my own. My two cats stayed with my ex and my son (the new flat really isn’t suitable for cats), so unless I find some reason to go out – I had to be at uni today, for instance, so I’m writing this from the chaplaincy centre – there is no one around all day. I haven’t been alone like this for 22 years.
I say ‘no one’, but I do have neighbours. There are sixteen flats in my stair alone, four on each floor. So far, though, I’ve only glimpsed a couple of possible neighbours at a distance. The neighbour in the flat right next door to mine has made his presence known in other ways – by having long noisy rants late at night or in the early hours of the morning, and occasionally banging things. I don’t want to meet him (and I must remember to buy some earplugs).
When I do spend time at my flat, I barely manage to function. I still haven’t cleaned out my kitchen cupboards (so the small worktop is cluttered with what little I have to put away). Nor have I cleaned my freezer yet, so I haven’t done any proper shopping or developed any kind of sensible eating routine. My bedroom isn’t much better: I haven’t yet put any clothes away. And the living room is full of unopened boxes of books, waiting for me to get around to acquiring a bookcase.
Even my virtual organisation has gone to pot. I normally try to keep on top of things like email messages, but suddenly find myself with over 500 messages in my inbox, maybe 50 of which require some sort of action. A few may be very important. I don’t know.
And in the past week I had to get other people to cover my three tutorials, and also dropped out of marking a mid-semester assessment, all of which means I have a little less income at a time when money is getting pretty tight. The tutoring income comes to an end this week anyway. I’m trying not to think about it. Actually, not thinking about how I’m going to survive is something I’m doing quite successfully. Add in climate chaos, Brexit and the rise of the far right, and life seems pretty grim. (Maybe it’s the same for everyone, of course.)
Pause. I can write again now that the fan has gone off.
On Monday, I called in to the Chalmers Sexual Health Centre (which is where the gender identity clinic I attend is based). I wanted to find out what had happened to my application for a second block of electrolysis funding. (I actually had to phone up later and discovered that nearly two months on it’s still ‘pending’.) Coming out of the centre, my gaze met a wall of people with placards across the street from the entrance.
The first placard I read was held by someone sitting on the wall a little to the right of everyone else. It bore a message supporting people’s rights to abortion and contraception. It took a little while for me to realise that this was a lone voice of counter-protest: the rest of the placards were horrible anti-abortion messages. I was really shocked, and it wasn’t hard for me to imagine how much worse it must feel to emerge from the centre having attended an abortion clinic.
I crossed the road (nearly getting run over, I was so shaken!) and went to thank the young woman who was offering a message of support rather than condemnation. She told me that the protesters were there every Monday during Lent. (They apparently see it as some kind of ‘Christian’ activity, but clearly they don’t have a grain of compassion between them.) I may be late to join in, but I will be there next Monday to offer a message of love and affirmation to anyone who comes out of that building.
Anyway, time for me to go now. (Don’t forget the competition!)