Getting Married Soon

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

So. As I believe I have indicated in my previous post, I’ll be getting married soon.

VERY SOON.

(On Halloween. This year.)

It will be the 4th year in a row that I’ve spent Halloween with my soon-to-be-husband, but only the 2nd one since we met properly. Please, allow me to explain.

In real life, I have 2 speeds: 1, anxiety-ridden-and-hiding-inside-my-house, and 2, party-girl-making-sexual-innuendos-and-drinking-too-much. The 2nd is a mask, to hide the 1st… but I’ve been pretending to be that girl for so long, I have, Nathaniel Hawthorne-style, forgotten which me is the real one. Or at least, I had. Last year, at Halloween, just before things got *really* shit, I let a nice boy see a little underneath the mask… we had a lovely chat, but nothing came of it.

Then, in March of this year, we saw each other on a night out, and by the end of the first hour, we were inseparable. We talked about everything: our shared religious upbringing, our similar thoughts on God/His potential existence, the state of the cosmos, socialism vs capitalism (I realise one is a form of government and the other an economic system, but let’s be serious, they don’t really mix well, now do they) the kind of books we like, the nature of love, the way we saw ourselves… I mean, we didn’t really leave anything unsaid… then he walked me home and we carried on talking until 9 in the morning.

Then he went home, and I sent him a message before I went to sleep. He replied, more or less instantly. I replied when I woke up. A few days later, we were at the wedding of 2 of our friends, and we more or less rinsed-and-repeated–it was officially morning before we stopped talking at the reception.

Who am I kidding. We *never* stopped talking, from that first night in March. I hope we never will.

And now, 7 months in, give or take, and he’s done me the incredible honour of letting me be his first serious relationship; he’s changed jobs, moved across the country to be with me, become integral to my kids’ routines, proposed, and we’re getting married in a couple of weeks. A COUPLE OF WEEKS.

The heck of it is, it actually feels like I’ve been waiting too long, to be with him. I mean, I’m in my 30s already–what if I only live another 50 years? That’s just not enough time to love him, and be loved by him.

For the first time in about a decade, I’m praying there’s an afterlife, just so I can kiss his face when we both get there… for the longest time in I don’t know when, I have no desire to send myself into that afterlife.

I keep saying I’m a born-again romantic, and it’s true–all the things I’d stopped believing in, I can at least hope for, now. And the one thing I always really wanted–unconditional love, from someone who wants the same from me–I’ve finally got. It’s not a cure for chronic depression and anxiety, of course it’s not… but it is, finally, after years of wishing, someone to share the load: a Peeta Mellark to my Katniss Everdeen, a Samwise Gamgee to my Frodo Baggins, a Perrin Aybara to my Faile Bashere, all rolled into one.

As an adult, I have never felt such joy, nor such peace. I didn’t think those emotions could be experienced, in an adult life… turns out, all it takes is finding your soulmate. Easy as¬† ūüėČ

I wish you all luck in finding yours¬† ‚̧

Update: Marriage Soon

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Before I talk about my new guy, a little background:

At the start of this year, I was with a guy who blacked my eye the week before Christmas, who continually made snide comments about my children, who regularly believed the very worst interpretations of my actions, who shouted at me and belittled me virtually every time I had the audacity to disagree with him… I remember lying on his couch, so many afternoons in January and February (because I was too lonely and unhappy to lie in the bed with him at night, so I was trying to get sleep during the day, sometimes skipping lectures at uni to do so) and listening to this song on repeat:

All I wanted, was someone who made me feel that way–someone who would feel that way about me. It sounds macabre, but this was the only song that would settle me, late last year/early this year. It was the only adequate lullaby, for sadness like mine… and you can call that maudlin purple prose if you want, because it is maudlin purple prose–it’s also true.

Then–I swear to all the gods that ever were–in February, on Valentine’s Day no less, my stepdad killed himself. Fella-who-hates-my-kids came to the States to hold my hand and whatnot, and he *loved* my sister’s (neurotypical, or near enough) kids. It just drove the point home, in a way I could no longer ignore–kid-hater didn’t hate ALL kids, he just hated MINE.

Because they’re autistic. Like that’s *their* fault.

I had no idea what to do, or how to feel, to be honest with you. But I came home from the States feeling closer to filling my pockets full of stones and walking into the ocean than I have in years. I spent 2 weeks, again, listening to the Death Cab song on repeat, pining for my kids while I was at uni, and trying not to think about the asshole lying in bed in the other room.

Then–at some friends’ Stag and Hen Night–a miracle occurred.

Back in the Saddle/Blogging for Mental Health

Tags

, , ,

So. Here I go again, on my own, etc etc.

If anyone’s been following me, they’ll know that I’ve largely been Missing-in-Action (MIA) for a while, now. If they’ve paid enough attention, they’ll even know the why behind the MIA-ness: I’ve been at university, full-time, and it has been really difficult, as well as extraordinarily time-consuming.

Of course, in¬†what spare time I have had, I’ve been going through men like hotcakes (i.e. I’ve started 3¬†and finished 2 relationships) as well as neglecting my children wherever possible.

That last bit isn’t true. It’s how I feel, because I’m a bit flat today. If I’ve done anything right, consistently, over the last decade, it’s looking out for those 2… thank all the gods that ever were, they’re such *happy* kids. I was much less happy, during my childhood.

At the time, this may have been something to do with all the shouting and occasional hitting and general instability of my childhood, rather than any intrinsic fault in me–the damage is done now, though. There’s only so much happiness I’ll achieve; and I can say that with some confidence, as I’m coming to the end of a degree in Applied Psychology. What can you do?

Make sure your kids have a better childhood than you did, is the answer. And I have… thus far, anyway. We’ll see how puberty goes, for them. If they can come through that without any major dysfunction, I can die relatively at peace.

Not that I’m saying I’ll cause my own death, or anything like that. Just making the point that when the end comes, it’ll be nice if I’ve got something I can say I actually achieved.

In an effort to encourage more achievement and less wallowing, I’m going to start journaling for mental health (which is a thing, apparently, with some evidence to back it up).

Well, who knew. Letting things out in a neutral environment, rather than holding them in ad nauseam, can be beneficial to your mental health.

The answer is, of course; I did.¬†I knew. And I *still* let myself get so bad, again…

Anyways. Like the title says, I’m back in the saddle, now.

Fingers crossed I don’t fall off.

Things I Wish I Didn’t Know, 1

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

It’s been a while.

I toyed with the idea of starting a new blog, even bought a domain, but in the end, this is probably my spiritual home. Today’s post is going to be about something that didn’t happen to me, but it really could have, and how/why that freaks me THE FUCK out.

I used to know this guy. Over time, it became clear that because we’d fooled around a couple of times after he’d split with his girlfriend, he couldn’t really be trusted to be alone with me. Even physical games (rough-housing–I don’t mean anything sexual) became about him trying to dominate me, in increasingly humiliating ways, and then being pissed off if I fought back.

Eventually, he spread a rumour that I’d said something about his new girlfriend (I hadn’t–if I had, I’d have owned up to it). He sent me a message in which he told me at least 1 lie that I can prove, and a couple of things that I’m 90% sure are suspect. Without giving me a chance to respond, he blocked me and warned me that if I contacted him in any way, he’d ignore it.

Even people accused of a crime have the right to answer their accuser, legally speaking. And this guy used to say I was one of his best friends.

A couple of months after this, I was complaining about one of the times this former “friend” of mine had pushed me up against a wall and tried to snog me. The friend I was telling then went on to mention a third friend of ours, who had been staying with ex-friend…. apparently, one night after getting outrageously drunk, he followed her up to her room, threw open the door, went inside, and shoved his hand down her pants.

That’s sexual assault.

And maybe if I’d said something about the… more than 5? fewer than 10?… times he’d done similar things to me (albeit, he never got as far as groping my vag, just other parts of me, plus holding me still and laughing while I struggled) maybe he’d have known better. A nice caution from the police might have made all the difference.

The worst bit is, she was staying at his while recovering from a life-threatening illness. She’d been hospitalized several times that year. And she has a history of serious, damaging sexual abuse. She was the epitome of a vulnerable person… and in hindsight, by not telling everyone what I knew about him, maybe even going to the police about it, I contributed to the ignorance that helped put her in that position.

Don’t misunderstand me. It’s 100% on him, that he both did that and continues to deny it now, over a year later. But if I could’ve prevented it, I would have… I just (foolishly) believed him, all the times he said he was sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again. But then, it’s not the first time I’ve fallen for that particular chestnut.

I have a history of being abused, too.

To summarise, the thing I wish I didn’t know: if someone sexually assaults you, no matter how minor the assault is (and there are scales to rate these things, so it’s legit to say some attacks are worse than others) you need to tell people about it. If not the police, at least the people likely to be at your abuser’s mercy. If you don’t, you’re still the victim and you mustn’t feel guilty about it, but… if you can, tell. Tell everyone.

And cut all ties with the abuser calling themselves your friend. Something like 80% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by people you know. They’re predators, they choose to prey on people they suspect won’t report them, won’t call them on their behaviour, due to misplaced loyalty.

It is in no way your fault if something bad happens to you–but please, if you can, get away from people you *know* actively want to hurt you.

Here are some groups who can help you move on:

SupportLine 01708 765200

Confidential emotional support to children, young adults and adults by telephone, email and post.
Website: www.supportline.org.uk

**

CISters  (Surviving Rape and/or Sexual Abuse) 02380 338080

Answerphone 023 80 338080 is usually monitored daily during the week and callers can choose to leave their name and phone number, and we will call them back and will take care when doing so. Or can email admin@cisters.org.uk

The helpline is available to female adult survivors of childhood rape/sexual abuse, and others can call if they have a concern about such issues.  In the case of the latter we will seek to signpost them to appropriate services.

Rape Crisis England & Wales

Rape Crisis England & Wales is a national feminist organisation that exists to promote the needs and rights of women and girls who have experienced sexual violence, to improve services to them and to work towards the elimination of sexual violence. They are a national umbrella body for their network of autonomous member Rape Crisis organisations across England and Wales and was set up to support their specialist work.
Website: www.rapecrisis.org.uk

 

Needless

Needs are funny things, aren’t they? I feel like I need a lot of things I probably don’t, and there are a number of things I absolutely need, that¬†I wouldn’t list if asked (either because I wouldn’t think of them, or because I don’t want to admit I need them).

People need family, though. I’m pretty sure of it, anyway.

My family is far, far away, this Christmas and every Christmas… and for the first time in some years, I care less about that, than about a family I don’t belong to.

I have a friend, and all I really want is to be this person’s family…. I am not that, to him. Whatever else I am, I’m not the person he rushes home to, to tell about his day, or the person he goes to for emotional support, or the person he asks for advice. Do you know why?

Because you do that with your family… and I’m just a friend. And he keeps telling me all the things we are not, to each other, and I just refuse to listen, as if I can’t see that I mostly wear him out, as if I can’t see that, in our relationship, despite all the little things I try to do for him, it’s always him taking care of me, not the other way around.

I think I cannot do this life for as long as I’m supposed to. I threw my family away, I moved 4,000 miles away from them all, and now, I have 2 kids who are mine, but I have to share them with my ex (and at the price of the entire rest of my family) a significant other whose needs I can meet without even trying (and who is a wonderful companion, but…) somehow… 2 kids you get part-time, a partner who barely needs you, and everyone else you love always being too far away to really be like family… it’s just not enough.

People need family, and I don’t have much of one, really. And the person I want as my family, the person¬†I go to with all my worries and troubles and issues, would rather go to his mum, with his own.

I think that says okay things about him, and lovely things about his mum… but it also confirms what I have suspected my entire life.

I am of no use to anyone. There is nothing I can do that will ever make me contribute more than I take.

What is there, for a person like that? What can the point of their life possibly be? I am of use to neither beast nor man, and in a handful of years, I’ll have outgrown being any use as decoration, either.

I’m not surprised no one wants me around–all I do is talk about wanting to kill myself–but it’s a cyclic thing. If I thought anyone really needed me, I wouldn’t want to kill myself quite so much, but no one does, so I think what’s the point of it all, so no one thinks I can be trusted to be useful, so they don’t depend on me, so I want to kill myself because I’m useless, so I talk about it, so no one wants to trust me…. where does it all end?

In the River Tyne, with my pockets full of stones and my veins full of paracetamol, I suspect.

 

 

 

 

 

Is It Me?

Tags

, , , , , ,

A weird thing just happened (or it might be me, I really can’t tell)…

I went to bed with someone last night (not for sex, although I was fairly grope-y and stroke-y and whatnot) and me, I just couldn’t really properly sleep, and I was (in my half-asleep state) being what was probably overly cuddly and a bit too talkative.

I can see how they might not appreciate that. Makes perfect sense to me. Seems completely fair, right?

So I ask them, at several points when I think I’m disturbing them, “Do you want me to go in the other room?” and variations on, “Sorry, doing it again, should I stop?”

And they answer with several variations on, “No, it’s fine, just don’t expect me to reciprocate because I’m sleeping,” (fair, I thought) and also, “No, don’t go in the other room, stay here,” and at least 2 or 3 times, “No, it’s nice.”

So, about half an hour ago, I realize I’ve started¬†talking again, and I ask if we can swap sides in bed (I’m now back-achey and wanting to cater to my sciatica) and they do–way too quickly, and I think, shit, for all their naysaying, they are awake, I am keeping them up, gotta be quieter/sleepier/whatever, and so I proceed to do that.

I ask them a question a few minutes later (because I’m starting to drift off, finally, and unfortunately I sometimes start to talk as I’m relaxing into sleep–so do they, come to think of it….) and they give a kind of snappy answer and I think, alright, fair, I get it, but¬†I also make some half-jokey reference to them being like a drug (so, like, I can’t help myself, right?) and which point they really sharply go, “I don’t care,” (as if they can’t tell it’s a joke, maybe? or they’re just¬†not in the mood, which is fair enough too) and then a few minutes later (out of nowhere–I’ve been completely silent since then, I’m again just starting to drift off) they announce, “It really HAS got to stop now, it’s time for sleep,” and I go, “….I’m not doing anything…?”

And they go, “Well I’m going in the other room now.”

“….but…. I’m not doing anything…?”

“Well, I just require coolness and space.”

Giving it’s one way to get it,¬†I suppose.

The thing that makes it all a bit off, for me, is that literally last night–like, an hour before going to bed?–I said to them, “You have to make peace with the idea that I don’t always sleep well, I’m an insomniac, and sometimes, you’ll just have to let me go in the other room, so you can sleep,” and they were all, “No, once we’re in bed you must STAY in bed, I want the cuddling,” etc etc, and I was laughing a little, but I thought they were more or less serious (all the more so, when I kept offering to go in the other room and let them sleep, and they said no repeatedly)….

…so to me, that means they a) perceive being left in the middle of the night as some sort of rejection or slight, and b) they intentionally did that to me, rather than “let” me do that to them…

….and I dunno, I just feel that’s not on. A dozen conversations, more, we’ve had about this, over the last year or so, about it being okay to pet them and snuggle them in the middle of the night, about how they prefer that to sleeping alone, the last of which took place LAST NIGHT RIGHT BEFORE BED….

…and then they stormed out of the room after telling me I was fine, and left me wondering what I did wrong, wide awake (well you would be, wouldn’t you, if you’d finally started to get to sleep and then the person you had your arm draped over–which is often how you sleep with this person, who actually asked you if you’d mind spooning them at the start of the night, rather than the other way ’round–suddenly shot up and snapped at you and huffed out, huffed back in again to retrieve something, and then went to their room) and, let’s be completely honest, crying because I suddenly felt in the wrong… after checking all night (and many times previously) that what I was doing was okay.

What makes it worse is that this person pretty regularly does this (or something like it) when they’ve got something other than me to look forward to (dinner this evening with an old friend, and I have to leave town this afternoon) and so it begins to look like they don’t mind my (admittedly excessive)¬† levels of attention when they’re alone and without plans, but as soon as they’ve got something on, I’m too clingy/needy/in-your-face…

…I can’t, can I? I can’t be with someone who finds me indispensable and irreplaceable and mostly charming, right up until they have something else to do. As far as self-esteem goes, I’m just asking to have mine gradually eroded.

Aren’t I?

The Amanda Show, Episode 3

The show’s doing alright for itself, at the moment.

My first essay at my new university¬†got a first (that’s like an A). I mean it was barely a first (A) but it was one. It only took me 2 weeks of panicking and 4 afternoons of lying on the floor sobbing for several hours a day, to pull that particular rabbit out of my tophat.

I tried coming off my meds, about 2 weeks ago (after all the above happened). I’d have to say, that was (as it always is) a mistake. I’m back on them, now… how is it that anti-depressants take away the high-highs, but leave me with fairly low-lows?

The person I am most in love with (notice the use of the modifier “most”, if you will–I’m not saying I bear no responsibility for this state of affairs, and by the way, “affairs” is an intentional word choice as well) does not feel the same way I do. This is a thing for¬†which I absolutely need psych meds, in order to cope (grammatically correct sentence? so clunky, though). When he forgets he’s not madly in love with me, though… *sigh* Good times, great times, and then, whoosh! I’m falling off a cliff and it feels like flying, right until I land.

When I eventually kill myself–

I mean, if I ever lose the battle and kill myself, I will go headfirst off a cliff. For once in my life, I won’t be scared of something new; it will feel exactly like something I’ve done a hundred times before.

The Amanda Show, Episode 2

Tags

, , ,

So. That was said to me, several months ago now, and anytime I feel a little worthless or down, I use that as a stick to beat myself with: “Of course no one’s invited you this weekend, why do you expect them to?–it’s not always The Amanda Show. Of course your semi-friends/acquaintances didn’t recognise you in the shop, even though you recognized all 3 of them, even the one you’ve only met twice–I mean, why should they recognize you, it’s not like it’s The Amanda Show. Of course no one’s replied to your emails about your uni assignment, why should they, they all have lives, and just because you’re doing group work doesn’t mean it’s The Amanda Show.” On and on and on it goes, until I can barely assert myself even when I know… I mean, I’m 90% sure… I mean, I’m fairly certain… I mean, is it even possible I could be in the right? Maybe not. I’ll just stop talking. It’s not always The Amanda Show, after all.

When it happened, I told someone what had been said to me (someone who, at the time, I considered one of my closest friends–someone who I thought loved me) and I’m pretty sure they laughed. (Can’t be completely sure, it was a FB chat.) Last week, we were talking about… oh, let’s call it the differences in our perspectives on morality… and this is how one part of the conversation went:

Me: The point’s not whether or not ____ could stick around forever, it’s that he doesn’t twist everything to be my fault, as if none of the other people involved have any say in it. You try to pretend I’m the one calling all the shots, and it’s just not the case

Them: It isn’t always the Amanda show.
Do those words, from a fairly objective place, not haunt you?

From a fairly objective place. A woman who’s several years older than me, who’s just gained a lot of weight while I’ve lost a bit, who’s very ill and understandably jealous of people who are not, who wants to be up on a stage again but who doesn’t have the energy, who remembers what sex was like and thinks she’ll never have it again (whereas I do, admittedly, have it fairly often with some of my friends)… this is an “objective” place? (She also spends a lot of time chatting to my friends, including some of the ones I sleep with, but not really to me, so… she’s not even possibly going to be “on my side” really, is she?) First of all, who could see her opinion as “objective”?

And secondly, how can that even be an objective thing to say? “Your own life is not about you. Stop living it as if it is. Don’t…” (well here I get stuck, since I genuinely don’t know what it is I’m supposed to do–sleep with fewer people? Do it, but don’t be so open about it? Don’t talk when I’m in a group?–although the very person who said it, once *also* made the statement, “I can see why people fall for you, because I’m talking absolute drivel right now, and you’re looking at me like I’m the most fascinating person in the world”–so I’m guessing I do an alright job of listening to other people talk…)

Objective, huh? In the vernacular of Inigo Montoya, you keep using this word, but I do not think it means what you think it means.

I’m uploading pictures from a night out, right now. It was meant to be my early birthday (because I’m in lectures on my actual birthday, and the closest weekend to my birthday, the day after my birthday, we’re going to someone else’s birthday weekend) and every time I go to upload a picture of myself, I stop and think, “Is this too many? Will this one make it too much? Are there other people in the shot with me? It’s not always The Amanda Show, and it wasn’t even *really* my birthday…” (a fact which I kept apologising for, and when someone else had “Happy Birthday” sung to them by the bar staff, one of my friends wanted to have the same done for me, but I begged him not to, because I hate having a roomful of people looking at me and it’s not even my birthday anyway; but I might’ve borne it with good grace and just felt a little awkward, if I hadn’t already been thinking we were spending too much time on The Amanda Show…)

It took me years to get to the point where I could take a selfie and upload it, like, without taking 50 and picking the best one (I still do a bit of weeding out the worst ones). Getting to the point where I didn’t die of embarrassment to see my make-up smudged, or a little belly bulge, or my hair looking a bit dirty… that took years. I’m still not comfortable having my picture taken–but I’m *also* not comfortable with the fact that, most of the time, I feel utterly out of place and far from home and as if one of these things is not like the others/one of these things just doesn’t belong… I’m trying to ground myself, trying to put myself into some sort of group, trying to form some sort of attachment to my surroundings, trying to make a habitat where I feel like I can live and grow and be happy, and now, I feel like I’m completely in the wrong for that.

In the end, I took fewer pictures of everyone than I normally would. I usually always have my phone out, I’m constantly getting group shots and selfies with people, and I DID have a few bursts of that, but… I just couldn’t do it, last night. Not like I usually do. I mean, someone had set up a tabletop game for me, and it wasn’t even my birthday. Someone else wanted to get the bar staff to sing to me, and it wasn’t even my birthday. Someone else bought me a drink, and I tried to refuse, because it’s not even my real birthday (in the end he said, “Aye but we’re celebrating your birthday now, what’re you having?” and I did)… and I had a good night, because lots of my friends got up and sang, and they were all surprisingly good (except one of our friends, who we all know has the voice of an angel, no one was surprised by her bringing the house down) but I was also constantly talking myself down, reminding myself that it’s not all about me (we were meant to be out for my birthday, I repeat again…) and if I thought people didn’t want pictures or video taking I just stopped, I didn’t ask for clarification or go take a photo of someone else or whatever, I just put my phone away.

And I tried so hard to smile and be friendly and go along with everyone else, and when a drunk acquaintance kept wanting to kiss me I’d give him a hug and a peck, and when my friends were onstage I cheered and danced (so nervous dancing in public!) and when another friend was sat down with back pain I offered her some painpills (non-prescription) I had in my bag… and all I can think now, while trying to get the pictures on FB, is how many can I upload, before it looks like all I do is take pictures of myself? How many of my own face am I… allowed?… to add, before it’s The Amanda Show, and all I care about is myself?

The Amanda Show, Episode 1

Tags

, ,

A few months ago, in the middle of what I perceived as a traumatic event (a relationship breaking up, I thought because the other party wanted it to) someone made this statement to me:

“I love you, but you have to remember, it’s not always The Amanda Show.”

The person who said that does *not* love me–she knows me a little, and largely disapproves of my living a life that actually looks a bit similar to hers, but LESS self-centred–but more than that, she doesn’t even know me enough to understand how those words would hit me.

End of 2011, I went through a bad patch. By which I mean, I was past the point of wondering if I should kill myself, and planning it out as carefully as I could. In the end, a few things stopped me (as they always do, for people who genuinely want their pain to stop but don’t manage to do it): 1, I was the primary carer for my very young children, at the time, and although I was *pretty* sure they’d be better off without me anyway, I still held out a little hope that that was just my depression talking; 2, even if I *did* think they’d be better off without me, I didn’t want them to find me (I didn’t think THAT would do their little psyches any good–better for me to just disappear, rather than them finding Mommy unresponsive in a pool of blood); and 3, I wasn’t sure whether I needed to take them with me.

I know how that sounds, obviously. It’s the ugliest thought in the world, but… I mean, they were so little and helpless, and I was clearly their favourite person out of all the other people in their lives, though I couldn’t see why… so yeah, I was struggling with the, “Well it’s wrong to kill them, but they’re SO young to be without their mother, and I’m not sure how much longer I can stick around….?” –and then of course, I started taking some medication (just a basic anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety med) and within a month, less I think, I was looking back at that and thinking, “Oh Jesus CHRIST what was wrong with me, how could I have even…?????”

Fast forward a couple of years, and I’m trying to make up for lost time. On my good days, I take the kids out (sometimes spending more money than I have, further racking up debt I can just about afford to pay off in another 30 years, no I’m not exaggerating there) and we do as much as we can, before I just can’t do any more.

When I’m with my friends, it’s much the same; I will pick up the bar tab, if I can, and cover someone’s meal, if I can, and I will get my partner to give lifts and lend out my sofa and spare room and do whatever is possible, to get as many of us as possible, all in the same place, having a good time.

And for all of it, I am the undisputed *queen* of the camera phone. This year alone, I managed to fill 4 separate folders (kept on my desktop, sloppy I know) all with at least 200 pictures in them, of us all just out having normal friendship days. That’s not counting the folders full of pics of the kids; although there are probably less of those, since I’m happier to push adults to let me take pics, than I am to push my (still semi-non-verbal, autistic) children. In a number of the photos, I am front and centre, grinning a pretty unattractively toothy grin, make-up on, pushed into a good bra and wearing colours that suit me and doing everything I can, to make it look like, on that day, I was happy and I had a good time and there were people around me that love me.

Is that what’s meant by “The Amanda Show”? My admittedly unending need for people to show me signs of affection, and, where possible, to have it documented? “On this day in 2015, from approximately 21:30 to midnight, Amanda was in a pub surrounded by people she knows, who are all smiling and laughing and some are even posing for selfies with her, and even though she’s at the edge of the group and struggles to talk to more than 1-2 people at a time and she’s so drunk she’d have trouble standing if she closed her eyes, hey, she looks happy” (and even though I know that I was probably a little too drunk–I *am* drunk, or I’m not laughing and smiling, in a large group–I still feel a little better, looking at a photo like that)… is that what they mean?

Is it as simple as the fact that if I’m sleeping with someone and they suggest I sleep with someone else, I usually do it? Is that what they mean by “The Amanda Show”? But… I mean… I’m openly polyamorous, so why would that surprise anyone…? And actually, the person who made the comment has had A LOT more dick than I have, and you know what? I think that’s great, more power to them. But unfairness gets to me. I genuinely don’t understand why it’s okay for one person to have multiple lovers but not another–how can someone accuse me of being a narcissist for engaging in behaviour that they themselves engage in?

Also. I am a person who has to be drunk (are you seeing a theme here…) to get up and sing karaoke with a friend (I have literally never sung on my own, in front of people, since reaching adulthood) and this is a person who made their living on stage, for a while (not on a proper stage, I mean they did a sort of entertainer-at-Butlins style job, but even so). I mean. That’s an ACTUAL show. This person left their child with grandparents to travel around singing onstage when the kid was 14 or so–I’m currently suffering the tortures of the damned being away from my kids 3 days a week, to try to get a university degree, to eventually make my kids’ lives better–and I’m the one who’s obsessed with my own personal show?

I just don’t get it, I don’t understand. I mean, I get that the person who said it is unwell (seriously unwell, think of a bunch of life-threatening illnesses and it’s one of those) and may well have been high when making the statement (morphine is not the friend of cognition) and maybe it just sounded glib and amusing in the moment, because I *was* fairly upset over a romance gone wrong (and I have a long-term partner, and it was not that relationship that was going wrong, and polyamory is not widely accepted, evidently, even by people who practice it themselves….).

But for me. For someone who spends every day feeling useless, ill-equipped to deal with life, for someone who’s grabbing onto as many lifelines as she can (because *I* have a life-threatening illness too, it’s just that no one believes depressed people are in any real danger until they actually kill themselves) to be told that, actually, she’s taking up too much space and other people’s time and energy… I mean…

Is it *not* always the Amanda Show–in the same way that your show is the Whatever-Your-Name-Is Show, and everyone is the star of their own show, etc etc–just, how am I supposed to take that? “You have to remember, it’s not always The Amanda Show.”

What does that even mean? It means… stop talking about myself? Stop asking for help with my problems? Stop taking multiple lovers? (I was with 2 men at the time, not a hundred, not that it even matters; but if you’re stuck off uni for a year due to a registration cock-up and both the guys work full-time and your kids go to school full-time and EVERYONE is getting on with their lives except you, for the moment, it’s not inconceivable that you can give a reasonable amount of love and attention to 2 other people.)

I don’t know how it was meant, but I know how I took it. I took it as someone telling me that my entire life (aka The Amanda Show) had run for too long, and should just be taken off the air.