The Adventures

The Adventures

of Bernard and Wilomena

Growing Pains

Growing Pains

Being Different

Speeches

Speeches

What I should have said

Image

Hello! Welcome to my blog spot. Whether you read any of my posts or you’re just passing by, thanks for dropping in. If you’re sticking around for a while let me explain a little bit about what I’m trying to do…

My blog posts are not in any kind of order. Life is unpredictable so I’ll just be posting things as I write them and also dipping into the notebooks I’ve kept over the years. Everything I write is the truth and will be either a past experience, an ongoing predicament or maybe something you can relate to. All names (where needed) will be changed. So here is my truth…I have Bipolar Disorder (let’s call it Bernard) and I have a Stoma (Wilomena). For me personally, one is an unfortunate blessing and one is a curse but I make the best of a bad situation; I live with both on a daily basis and the problems they both bring with them. Contrary to popular belief, I am not defined by either condition.

I am defined by the actions I take

Yesterday I fell backwards into the bath.  It’s my own fault; I was sitting on the edge of it cutting my toenails and balancing my feet on the edge of the toilet seat – never let it be said that I am not a classy girl, I do things in style – I must have been day dreaming or something – about what I’m not sure – but in my Primark pyjamas I’m must have moved ever so slightly and within a teeny tiny second I found myself battling gravity, flailing my arms about, my fingers clutching desperately to my Tweezerman nail clippers – like that’s the most important thing right now! – really hoping that…

  1. I don’t bang my head against the tiled wall…

And…

2. Look like a complete muppet.

Well I didn’t accomplish either of those things but I did get stuck.  My bathroom is not the biggest and neither is my bath, so found myself wedged at the bottom of it with my legs dangling over the edge and my toes dipping into the toilet bowl just scraping the water – again, I have nothing but class.

As I sat there I tried to call out for Matt to pull me out of my predicament but I’d shut the living room door so he couldn’t hear me.  In the end it was a complicated process of manoeuvring myself, twisting, reversing, shifting, turning – maybe there’s hope for me yet, if I’m ever able to drive in this lifetime that was a three point turn, a parallel park and a reverse around a corner all in one!

What’s my point?

Well, life isn’t very kind right now, in all sorts of ways and this is not about looking for sympathy; its really not, but the truth is, a lost a friend a couple of months ago and I didn’t deal with it all that well.   

I have lost myself.

In the middle of my grief and my guilt I lost what I thought my life was like. I lost the image of what I wanted it to look like and the one thing that I can usually count on, my written word; I lost that too. I contemplated shutting the blog down and just leaving it and I kid you not, I was so close to following that through but, my friend Renae told me…

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Edinburgh 2003

“You will find your voice again.”

…whether I have or not is a different matter, but right now there are words on the page and that’s a start. 

Back to the bath…as I’m being crushed between the sides of it I thought to myself…

“This is hilarious, but dammit! There’s no one here to see it!”

And then I thought…

“I can’t wait to tell Renae about this.”


And that right there is my point.  I found my situation funny; it was laughable, it was amusing.  I fell in to an empty bath while I was cutting my toenails! and even though my world is consumed by darkness; I am still grateful for the moments that make the edges of your lips curl upwards in a vague reminder of how to smile.

Today this is the point of this blog.  I have not been in the greatest of head spaces for a few weeks and I apologise for my behaviour.  I am plagued by Wilomena problems and the debilitating interruption in life that Connie colon likes to chuck into the equation – you know the drill, three days of phantom diahorrea pains and then a volcano of mush that looks like the equivalent of human brain matter coming out of an orifice that isn’t supposed to be in use anymore!

The other day I was sitting on the toilet – don’t pull your face, we all do it – while I was waiting for the brains to come out and in tears I kept thinking…

“How can anyone love this car crash?  How can anyone want to be in my life when every day there is just one disappointment after another? How can Matt love me?!”

Part of me was near to giving in…

Let Wilomena do whatever she wants… I don’t care anymore!

Let Connie colon fanny around in there shedding her bits off…I don’t care anymore!

Let Bernard the Bipolar just rip my sanity from the walls of my skull and we’ll call it quits… I don’t care anymore!

Well, I’ve had a few days of feeling sorry for myself, and I do still feel sorry for myself – I’m not going to lie – but I know I have two choices…

  1. Shrivel up and give up?

Or

2. Put my brave pants on and crack on.

I’m choosing to put my brave pants on.  It’s not easy and it’s just guess work and my only saving grace is my sense of humour.  Life is not always funny.  In fact it’s very rarely funny at all and it’s solely down to ourselves to create our own happy place and that’s something I’ve been doing my entire life.

When I was a child I wanted to be a comedian so I made up jokes that no one else found funny…

Knock knock

Who’s there?

Table

Table who?

Table leave the table…

…I can only apologise…

When I was in primary school I wanted to be an impressionist and my passion, my obsession at the time was Coronation Street; I wanted write it, I wanted to act in it; I just wanted to live it… So I memorised the voices, the accents and the movements of all of my favourite characters and I performed them.  I performed them for my family, in the playground for my friends and I captivated the attention of an entire room at Brownies every Tuesday night relaying my rendition of Audrey Roberts and Deirdre Barlow.

On coach trips with my Brownie pack, I was always the one to start off singing There Were Ten a Bed, only I started it off with ninety-nine and it was a mission to see how far we would get before Brown Owl stood in the aisle of the coach and yelled out…

“Right! Enough!  There’s one left in the bed, tell it to roll over.”

I had people laughing in the palms of my hands, some even had tears streaming down the sides of their faces.  I made up sketch shows, I was a writer, a director, a Greek dancer and I tried to teach my friends the Zorba only I hadn’t fully paid attention in the dancing lesson at Greek School (that’s not a lie, my brother and I genuinely went to a Greek School every Saturday) so I just kicked my legs up a bit, ran from left to right a few times, did a swish and made my face look like I was really concentrating because I was thinking to myself…

“…one day there will be a real Greek dancer in this room and I will be shown to be the fraud that I am…”

From the age of about fifteen I was a massive fan of the Manchester based band Puressence.  Somehow they were massive in Greece and from 1992 to 2013 and I saw them live nine times – yep, I haven’t even seen Josh Groban that many times! – not only was I in complete awe of the singer but I lived for his lyrics so when the band split I was ever so slightly disappointed.

Puressence – 1992 – 2013

Now fast forward to September 2020 when I’d just got my current job, I had a day of online training and it was just me and the trainer on Teams.  He asked me if my name was Greek and he went on to say he used to be in a band and they played a lot of gigs in Greece.  I got half way through the day when I thought…

“Band in Greece.  Band in Greece? Could it be???”

After the break I asked him…

“What was the name of the band you were in?”

He said…

“You won’t have heard of us but it was Puressence…”

To which I replied…

“Are you kidding?? I have every album and CD single you released from 1996! I saw you play live nine times!!!!”

When I told my friend that afternoon he said…

“Did you not recognise him on camera?”

I said…

“No, I fancied the singer, I didn’t look at anyone else.”

James Mudriczki – 2004(ish)

I love reliving that moment because it brings me joy.  You very rarely get to meet your heroes and sometimes the ways in which you do are far from what you ever imagined. 

When I started my job the very next day that was the ice breaker.  When people asked how my training was I could answer their question with a tale that was so bizarre it opened the door for a million more questions.

In 2019 I booked tickets to see James Mudriczki (Puressence lead singer) performing as a front man for another band; due to Covid the gig was moved to three different venues and four different dates. 

The final destination

I haven’t seen this guy sing since 2009 and he’s knocking on a bit now – No offence James, I’m nearly forty so it’s inevitable for both of us – I took Matt with me who was extremely reluctant and I used the classic “date night” tactic that people seem to practice these days and off we went.

Date night

It was like being an indie music fan back in the 90s.  I was standing in the smallest venue I’ve probably ever seen any band in, which obviously meant there was a chance I would get to meet said lead singer, so I said to Matt…

“Look for a guy with grey-white hair and funky glasses.”

When we looked around, every single man in the room was still trying to master the art of Paul Weller’s grey-white hairstyle with added funky glasses while others were still wearing the kind of coat Liam Gallagher has been wearing for the last 25 years.  But one thing was for certain; there was absolutely no risk of being trampled on in a mosh pit… because every person in the room bar was probably at risk of damaging a hip or knee replacement. 

Standing next to us there was a girl with a guy who was clearly twice her age and you could just tell that they probably met in some dodgy bar where she was trying to pull off maturity and he was trying to convince himself and everyone else in the room that even when you’re 40+ you can still spin lines like…

“Come out with me, I’ll take you nice places for dinner and then we’ll go see a band who have albums three times older than you…”

James Mudriczki – 2021

As I was looking up at James Mudriczki singing with the same ridiculously amazing voice that he always had, I noticed the sadness from my youth has been replaced with something different… It’s still sadness – in some way – but I can try to take the reigns on my unhappiness whereas I didn’t know how to do that when I was younger.

I may feel mental and physical pain and that’s down to circumstances, but my biggest fear; my ultimate, terrifying, awful, horrendous nightmare is that I could give up on myself and become everything that I have always fought against; because if I did that, it’s game over.

Over the last few years I have learnt one thing… if you can find laughter in a world that is more often than not, far from being funny; then you’re half way to being able to survive everything it throws at you.

In every uncomfortable or questionable situation I find myself in I always try to find something funny about it in order to get through it. Now,  I am not a comedian.  I am far from being an impressionist and my feet lost all sense of rhythmic ability many years ago so  I am not a Greek dancer. I am not everyone’s cup of tea, but one thing is for sure; whenever I am in doubt, when no one else is laughing and all I have to rely on is myself…

…at least I think I’m funny...

Christmas 2005

Dedicated to my friend Renae. You have given me so much encouragement, support and love and you have no idea how much I love and admire you. I don’t know how long this will last but, I think I found my voice.

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Australia 2006
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