Monthly Archives: December 2014

Happy Holly-Days

This is just a very quick post to say happy Hanukkah / holidays / Christmas. Not just because I’m laptop-less in Scotland, but because I’m assuming most people will be too busy munching turkey or tofurkey and watching crap tv and playing bop-it with their own families to be reading about the stereotypical festivities I’ve been partaking in.

Lots of love.  I’ll be back in the new year.

Return Journeys

It’s been twenty-one weeks since I moved four-hundred-and-one-miles from a housing scheme in Glasgow to the rural confines of sleepy Suffolk, yet despite the knuckle-biting relocation not much has really changed:

For instance, I am still the same prison-drama-obsessed, rom-com-watching supergay weirdo (even though I have exhausted all the cutesy lesbian feel-good movies and the new episodes of ‘Orange Is The New Black’ and ‘Wentworth’); and the only reason I recently took a break from episode two-hundred-and-seventy-seven of ‘Prisoner Cell Block H’ was because I’d become hooked on ‘Misfits’, a sci-fi comedy about a group of young offenders who acquire superpowers.

Weeks after I arrived in Sudbury I joined a gym and I took up running again (nine point five miles is the furthest I’ve gone this year) but only on the treadmill; I also enrolled in wado-ryu karate and six weeks later notched up a first class pass that enabled me to acquire my *cough* white belt.

My writing continued as always: I finally finished a manuscript that I started nearly a decade ago, and I twice received a hundred percent scores for assignments three and four of the long distance crime fiction writing course I started in September; I also read an Agatha Christie novel for the first time, and set my new vegan-lesbian-detective-parody novella in Sudbury – ideas are also brewing for a London-based follow-up story.

I had high hopes that I would join a local writing group and go into London more often. However, there was no local writing group (although I believe there will be one starting in January for the over-fifty-fives), and commuting on the train was trickier and more costly than I’d anticipated (particularly since Antonia has had to travel with me so that I don’t get lost).

My parents came to visit in October and then Sophie followed for eight days in November. And although we’ve had a few good trips around East Anglia and a lot of nice meals in various eateries (some exclusively vegetarian, some not) it’s not the same as seeing them on your own familiar soil.

So I’m going back to Scotland on Monday. And it’s slightly daunting. I’ve had to seriously cut back on christmas presents and clothes to wear because I can’t fit everything in my suitcase – and no way am I leaving my hair straighteners behind! There’s also the lone train ride from London Euston to Glasgow where I just know I’m going to lose my seat when I go to the toilet because I can’t remember the way back to it – and also, what happens to my suitcase if I go for a pee?! (Antonia and I decided I should go home alone this christmas but she’s travelling with me half way)

I’m looking forward to it, of course: the jaunt back to Renfrew for Tofurkey Roast with my family; seeing my friends, Sophie, Nicola and Fiona aka The Original Mixed Bean (whose house I am staying at for most of the trip); and I can’t wait to darken the doors of my old haunt ‘The Thirteenth Note’ because I’m desperate for a bowl of chips with rosemary salt and a soya rum’n’raisin hot chocolate.

Strange Proposals

So recently, I had a dream that I asked Sophie aka the Bean-cruncher to marry me. I was at a huge house party in this dream and there were lots of other people there that I knew, including Antonia, my mother and the identical teenage twins from my karate club.

I was sitting at a table facing Sophie, and Antonia was to my left; and Sophie was talking about how she really, really loved weddings. I started to tell her that if I ever got married then the best part of the day for me would probably be the wedding waltz. Antonia harrumphed at this. (Which is probably what she’d do if this conversation manifested itself in real life, because I’ve asked her many times to be my partner at ballroom or salsa dancing classes but she refuses to indulge me.) Anyway, I then sent Sophie a proposal via text message. And she accepted.

In fact, I clearly remember her saying: ‘Lynsey, I’d like nothing better than to marry you.’

She looked very pleased with herself. And then she went round texting and telling everyone she knew.

Antonia was not amused. Understandably, I suppose. She hissed at me that she’d waited years for me to marry her, so what the hell did I think I was doing going off with someone else.

She then dragged me towards the toilets to give me a further earbashing in private, but my mother accosted us on our journey and gave a tearful speech about how she was so pleased for Sophie, and how Sophie was a wonderful who person who deserved happiness etc. She didn’t, of course, congratulate or even mention me.

Once mum had gone I explained to Antonia that I was only marrying Sophie for the wedding dance. It seemed like a perfectly logical thing to do during this dream. And I have to say, it did feel like Antonia was over-reacting. I told her we could carry on seeing each other as normal and that I was sure Sophie wouldn’t mind. Antonia didn’t think that was appropriate though, and she made me promise to tell Sophie that I couldn’t marry her. But I wasn’t allowed to tell her at the party. Because she said it would ruin everyone’s night.

There is a bit of a gap after that where I can’t quite remember what happened. Possibly we all just got very drunk. Because Sophie did seem to be reeling in a lot of free cocktails on the basis of the whole ‘I’ve just got engaged’ thing.

The next thing I remember is when the dream sequence jump cuts to a different day in a fuzzy coffee shop location with lots of arm chairs. I tell Sophie that I’m really really sorry but I can’t wed her after all. And she laughs in my face. And then says: ‘You didn’t honestly think I was going to marry you, did you?’

Apparently, dream Sophie had a bet with our friend, Fiona, over how long it would take for me to call the whole thing off. Sophie lost. But she said it was worth it to see me squirm under Antonia’s wrath. Plus she saved a fortune on alcohol.

When I told the real-life Antonia about my dream the next day, she was not impressed. Sophie thought it was hilarious though. And we ended up talking at about how we both love social dancing. She prefers the waltz. My favourite’s the tango.

Then I sent Sophie a text that said: ‘Will you marry me?’

And she replied: ‘YES!!!’

The conversation got sillier as we planned out what we would wear if and when we got married: a morning suit and a cravat for me.

Antonia harrumphed for real and pulled the duvet covers over to her side and told us that we weren’t funny in the slightest.

Eventually, I said to Sophie: ‘I think we’re going to have to call off our fake wedding.’

And none of us have mentioned it since.

I still think it was quite an exciting dream. It made a change from the ones I usually have where I’m pregnant or I have just given birth (to a large velvet teddy bear or something equally bizarre); I even had a dream one time that I went into labour and then delivered my own triplets… and then my ex-girlfriend ate one of them.

I can’t remember my dream from last night, but Antonia had a nightmare that I accidently committed suicide…

Coming Out Processes

Coming out as vegan might have been harder than coming out as gay, but coming out as brain injured is even harder. I was reminded of this today whilst filling out a ‘limited capability for work’ form for the dwp: one of the categories on the form concerned itself with asking about my social life, or more specifically how I survived ‘coping with social situations’.

Now, it may come as a shock to some people who know me, but the truth is I have a significant lack of self-confidence when it comes to going out and meeting new people these days, and this is largely because I’ve learnt from the mistakes I’ve made and the dicey situations I’ve gotten myself into in the past when I’ve been out.

Deciding whether or not to disclose my brain injury to new friends and acquaintances is and always has been a major cause of anxiety for me: usually, if I disclose my brain injury, people either feel sorry for me or they avoid me because they don’t want the burden of being around someone who has a disability. But if I don’t tell people, then interacting with them becomes awkward because I constantly have to make excuses as to why I don’t have a job or children or any of the other normal things that most people my age have in their lives – the only saving grace is that people often (wrongly) assume that being a lesbian is the reason I don’t have a family.

In the past, I have played down reoccuring problems such as getting lost (sometimes for hours) inside pubs or night clubs; and I’ve often made jokes out of my inability to being able to find the toilet or the bar on my own. And sometimes it is funny. But sometimes it’s just not.

It’s even worse when people I am socialising with decide that they want to change venue while we are out. When this happens, I am faced with an entirely new dilema: I can either make my excuses and go home early (like a right killjoy), or I can follow them to a place where I am in potential danger because of my topographical memory impairment*. In the past, I have gone along with others’ suggestions on the basis that someone else has said they will help me to get back home, and as a result I have ended up seriously lost and bewildered (because although a lot of people mean well, they just can’t grasp that I really don’t remember how to walk to my bus stop or that taxi rank we passed that is just two minutes walk away; and they’ll often trot off and get drunk and then forget all about me). Because of this I don’t go out at night on my own or to places that I haven’t been to before.

Sometimes when people later find out from someone else that I’ve had a brain injury, they often become annoyed, hurt and offended because I have hidden things from them and lied by omission. I’ve been called ‘irresponsible’ for not making them aware of my memory deficits, and perhaps they’ve got a point. But why should I have to come out?

No matter what I do, I often feel socially isolated.

* Topographic memory involves the ability to orient oneself in space, to recognize and follow an itinerary, or to recognize familiar places.