The other day someone had an iffy tummy – I can’t drop names because they would never forgive me for outing their unpredictable bowel movements but please note, it wasn’t me…
When I checked to see if Anonymous person was feeling better I said…
“…you’ve got such a funny tum. What’s going on in there?”
They replied with…
I have to admit, despite having a degree in English literature and linguistics my vocabulary is not as extensive as it probably should be because I am not the shiniest button in the sewing tin, so shamefully I had to look up the definition of “turmoil” which is:
“A state of great commotion, confusion, or disturbance; tumult; agitation; disquiet: mental turmoil caused by difficult decisions.”
Now before you all jump ship and close your browsers, this is not an English lesson. I could never subject you to that especially when I’ve spent all of my writing life breaking every grammar and punctuation rule in the book. I don’t care if my writing reads wrong because I don’t use my commas and my semicolons appropriately. I know it annoys the hell out of every single literary expert but you know what? I like starting a sentence with “but” and “and” because I’m not at school anymore and no one can stop me. And if my writing reads wrong it’s because I’m writing the way I would speak in a conversation not the way a GCSE English textbook tells me I should.
At university I remember studying the poems of e.e. cummings. While I was never any good at interpreting his poetry I was fascinated by the fact that he refused to use capital letters in his work. I didn’t really care what he wrote about or how ground-breaking his words were, I just remember wishing that I had the balls to do something as revolutionary and exciting as he did and have the means to get away with it.
I don’t know why but I kept thinking about the word turmoil and I tried to think of things in my life that relate to it.
For example, if turmoil is having to make difficult decisions then last weekend when I had to choose between a Bakewell tart or half a raspberry cheesecake it was really difficult because, what if I ate one but still wanted the other? Would the waistband of my jeans still be slightly slack or would I have to take a trip to H&M for a larger size?
On Monday I looked out of the window when I was getting ready for work, the sky was a bit grey and even though my weather app said it was going to be a dry day, I wasn’t 100% convinced. The difficult decision was, do I wear boots in case it rains so my feet don’t get wet? Or do I risk it for a biscuit and wear the new Converse Matt bought me for my birthday? I also wanted to wear my denim jacket but I worried about it not being warm enough; I get cranky when I’m cold and that’s not fun for anyone.
When I’m deciding what to cook for tea I sometimes look at my freezer and I see the three bags of stir-fry veg calling my name…
“…eat meeeeee. Eat meeeee Kateriiiinnnniiiii!”
Do I do what they’re telling me and bung a bunch of frozen veg in the pan? Or do I remind myself that Wilomena does not digest healthy ingredients and I should look in the mirror at the remnants of the fibre induced acne and remind myself of the repercussions of what fibre does to my face.
Back in 2015 before I got married, I remember sitting in the examination room with the surgeon. She asked me if I had children and did I plan to because the operation could affect that possibility. I’d been in pain and misery for far too long a time for me to consider what she was saying so I chose Wilomena over children. Whilst this might be a tumultuous decision for most, I didn’t register it at the time.
A few weeks ago I was in a bad mood. I went into Bolton for a mooch and popped into Hotel Chocolat. Usually I’d buy a bar of dairy milk but I was feeling a bit rich so I went into the most expensive chocolate shop in the town and spent, probably 10 – 15 minutes looking at chocolate that I probably wouldn’t like and probably wasn’t worth the amount on the price tag. But there was an offer on and it was £10 for 3x strips of 6 truffles and the hardest part was deciding which to buy because what if I bought one of them and it wasn’t very nice because then I’d have wished I’d bought a different one?
The dictionary says turmoil is…
…a state of great commotion…
…but what’s the definition of commotion? Sometimes I make a playlist on my Ipod and I have to have a song on there a certain amount of times otherwise I get agitated if I don’t hear it.
When I’m writing a novel I picture it running like a film and I pick out songs that would appear on the soundtrack so I listen to them as loud as they will go so that nothing but the action between my characters creeps into my head.
When Matt plays stupid shooting games on his Xbox I have to leave the room because the awful noise of guns makes me panic and I don’t understand what the appeal is.
I can’t stand at a concert because the thought of getting embroiled into a mass of drunken moshers is not my idea of fun anymore.
I’m dreading the work’s night out on the 24th July because I’m terrified that I will turn back into STA Kat who was boring and lifeless and never went on any nights out because I couldn’t relate my sense of fun to the people I was with. So do I step back and just stick to who I am on the ward or do I take the plunge and make an attempt at stopping history from repeating itself?
If I make my life out to be an illusion, will that work well for me?
Maybe turmoil doesn’t have to be to the letter of what the dictionary says. Maybe turmoil can be defined in all sorts of different ways. Turmoil can be the toss-up between a cheesecake and a Bakewell tart. It could be making a life changing decision where someone always loses. Maybe turmoil is swapping one loud noise for another so that peace can be restored?
When you look at the definition of Turmoil we’re given an abundance of other words that all have their own meaning attached to them…
If those words are the definition of “turmoil” then in my own personal dictionary, all the word turmoil amounts to is…life.
Because in life we’re faced with tough decisions that dictate how we live in the future. We’re surrounded by people who try our patience and we allow them to mould us into shapes we never wanted to be.
We find ourselves in situations that are beyond our control. I would never choose to be “mentally ill”, that choice was taken out of my hands.
I take medication that has botched up my thyroid and corrupted my kidneys because I value my sanity too much to risk losing it.
Some days are a blessing, some days the only thing I have to worry about is which pair of Converse to put on my feet.
Just like I always say, we are all different and one person’s turmoil will always be different to that of another’s. For some it might be chipping a newly applied gel nail at the start of a night out. Or it could be debating on whether it’s safe enough to donate a kidney to a loved one.
Sometimes the best part of the day is sweating over the small stuff because it’s a break from dealing with something bigger…
And as I’m writing this my washing machine is on the go. I’ve just looked at the weather app on my phone, it’s 19 degrees and mostly cloudy but when I look out of the window the sun is shining…
…should I hang out my washing? Or should I keep it in doors?
…now that’s turmoil.
Dedicated to the person who had the iffy tummy….