“Hey lovely, I have a great business opportunity for you”

Is there anything worse than receiving unsolicited advice or messages?

I appreciate that often it probably comes from a good place. Somebody with experience, somebody who cares.

But increasingly the unsolicited messages I’ve been receiving are trying to lure me in to joining their business. Work from home! Earn more money than a job can give you! Have your own business!! Retire before the age of 30!!

These are legitimate messages that I have received in my inbox on Instagram recently. Doesn’t include the hundreds of messages I declined and deleted.

  • “Hi lovely, hope you don’t mind me messaging you but I’m currently expanding my beauty business. Are you interested in earning an extra income that fits around your current lifestyle?”

I do. You don’t have a business. You work for a pyramid scheme. I’m very rich.

  • “Hi, I hope you don’t mind the message. I was wondering how you would like to make some money and join my global business with the potential of starting your own!”

I do. I have more money than you honey. Pyramid scheme. Bye gurl.

  • “Hi Rebecca. Bit random but I recently started an online business selling beauty products on social media which has been great!! Get in touch!”

Pyramid scheme. It hasn’t been. No.

  • “I had a huge improvement with my scalp psoriasis after using Monat. I’m a believer. If you want more information let me know”

No you didn’t. You don’t even have scalp psoriasis. Monat is a pyramid scheme, you sell Monat. COINCIDENCE?

  • “I love working with ladies who I believe can help their life through the magical business I have. It’s not a job, but can give you more than any job can”

It’s a pyramid scheme. You’re not Harry Potter. I don’t want to alienate my friends so all you’re offering is a a life of loneliness.

  • “Hi Rebecca, I’m looking for likeminded business ladies to join my business. Would you be open to more information?”

No.

  • “Hey Rebecca, I ran across your feed through a hashtag about arthritis and I had to reach out. I have to share that I’ve found something that has helped tons of my friends and family with arthritis and a myriad of other issues. If you want more info, message me”

Translates to “Hi Rebecca I hope you’re vulnerable enough to allow me to try to sell my miracle product to you. I can help people because I’m better than doctors and medication”

Let’s clear a few things up.

I receive HEAPS of messages from people suffering from psoriasis and psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis, or just chronic illness in general who reach out to me to say hi, for medication advice or just to say they’re so glad to know that they’re not alone. I try to reply to every single message even though I’m not the best at replying and sometimes it takes me a while (read also – comments on Instagram in general, I so seldom reply to them and it’s not personal I promise. I’m just a lazy human being). These messages mean the world. I know how it feels when you’re suffering, feel alone or unsure of something, just to have someone to connect with.

But messages such as the ones above wind me up so much I become practically Hulk like.

They’re not businesses. You’ve not invented a new product or company. You are not Richard Branson. You’ve paid an upfront fee to an existing company to buy some moisturiser/poison juice that you now have to flog to whoever you can convince to part with their money because if you don’t, you end up even more out of pocket.

A quick click on the profile of any one of the people sending these messages and it’s easy to see what the real motive is. Not because they can help. Not because they want to help. Not from any place of goodness. But because they need to make sales and recruit people to their scheme and what better way than to contact some of the most vulnerable people. People more likely to either not be in steady work, people in part time work to accommodate their health or unable to work in general, so of course, messaging with the promise of lots of money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! must look pretty appealing. But don’t be fooled. Anybody who asks you to contact them for more info is only looking for business. You want to join one of these schemes, although as I’m told by EVERY.SINGLE.PERSON who sends these messages “It’s not a pyramid scheme” (yeah sure thing Jan), that’s your choice but don’t keep sending unsolicited messages to people trying to exploit them so you can make 5p commission.

These are people who look at health related instagram hashtags and then purposely target those they think they can take advantage of.

They are trying to exploit what they perceive as your vulnerabilities and they are the lowest of the low.

GTF.

Rant over.

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Guess who’s back….back again

Hello much neglected blog,

I feel like I start every post with a ‘why I haven’t written anything in months’ introduction. As always, I have little excuse other than sheer laziness.

To summarise.

I turned 31. Although if anybody asks, I’m 29.

I took a much needed break to Liverpool and loved it so much I’m house hunting and job searching online as we speak. I took my Mum away to celebrate her (early) 60th birthday. Neither of us had ever been before and it was amazing. We started by going to Crewe to watch Crewe Alexandra v Plymouth Argyle (our team) in the opening game of the season and the lovely Alex gave Maw a wonderful halftime birthday shout out. And we won 3-0. Great day all round. Shame about Crewe but no day can be entirely perfect. Then on to Liverpool where we did everything Beatles related. I actually cried stood next to the Penny Lane road sign. And I don’t know why. I don’t even like the song. It was a week of tears because I went on to sob, violently, at the Museum of Liverpool at the John and Yoko exhibit and again, I don’t know why. John’s my 4th favourite Beatle. I wasn’t even hormonal. I was just an emotional wreck. As a lover of architecture, seeing the Royal Liver Building had me welling up. Trekked over to Port Sunlight to see a collection of Rembrandt (my favourite artist) sketches on loan from The Ashmolean and I was so moved by the sketch of him and his wife Saskia, a sketch I have read and studied so much about, that seeing it in front of my eyes, yep, you guessed it. I cried. My Mum is an incredibly patient woman. Also helps that she has a constant supply of pocket tissues in her bag. We ended the trip by going to Morecambe (again, 10/10 do not recommend) to see the statue of Eric Morecambe. My favourite. I will never get tired or bored of watching Morecambe and Wise. I almost cried. But unfortunately, we wanted to get out of Morecambe as quick as we could. So instead I sang Bring me Sunshine at the top of my lungs and got straight back in the car and on my way to civilisation.

I wanted to hate Liverpool, what with being terribly Southern, but I couldn’t. Between us we couldn’t fault a single thing. It was great, it was beautiful and the people went out of their way to help us (Mother has very visible mobility issues. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree). Woman had a great time away which is all I could ask for. It wasn’t quite the 60th birthday in St Petersburg she had suggested (she was very easily influenced watching the World Cup in Russia), but there’s always next year for that.

House hunting has gone up a notch anyway as I prepare to say goodbye to the flat. 11 years is too long in Aberdeen. I’ve had enough. I’d had enough after a week. I’ve done well to last this long. Until recently it’s always been Edinburgh that the search has focused on, but I don’t think the budget will stretch to buying what I want….Liverpool however….watch this space.

I received the date for my second foot operation (30th August) which can’t come soon enough. This does mean that I have now stopped injecting cosentyx and my knees are already screaming out in pain. No inflammation so far, so I’ll keep my good fingers crossed that it remains that way. I’m in two minds about starting again due to the crazy weight gain that is continuing to occur. I started my cosentyx journey almost 3 stone lighter than I am now. And it shows. And I feel it. And it’s 100% down to the injections. Will discuss with my rheumatologist at my annual review in a few weeks time. Otherwise all is ok. ‘New toes’ feel quite achy but generally feel ok. Did I ever write about the fact I broke one of them? I forget. Good times. It’s more general aches and pains that I feel of late. I guess this is what comes with old age, what with being *29* and all.

Having said that, my fingernails are riddled with psoriasis again, and have been for a while, and I always find my nails to be an indicator of my arthritis in general. Bad nails = bad arthritis. I’m out of ideas with what to do with them. I keep them super short, I gently buffer away the ridges, but still they get worse. Even when the nails are super short it doesn’t stop the psoriasis from destroying what little is left. Any ideas? My GP won’t refer me to have them permanently removed (believe me, I have BEGGED) unless it comes to that last resort. But I’m fed up of them. HELP ME.

I got a new phone which I still have little idea how to use so for every message I’ve potential deleted without replying, or which didn’t transfer over, my sincerest apologies.

Molly cat had to have 4 teeth removed and was a very brave girl. But apparently so sassy she ripped out her IV drip within 10 mins of coming round. That’s my girl.

Been absolutely stressed to the max with a lot of life happening at once. I can’t wait for 2019 to be over so I can start 2020 afresh. And just when I thought I couldn’t get any more stressed or flustered, I’ve been called for jury duty. Exactly 6 weeks after my op. Pin pull and sheriff court. What a time to be alive.

Work is still mind numbingly dull and unfulfilling but I’m yet to work out what I want to do (or can do) instead. Although it’s debateable just how well I can do my current job anyway. I feel like my brain is wasting away in this office. In this job. In this industry. If you have a job for me, send it my way. I make a very good cup of tea.

I’ve read 40 books already this year. Another sign I should get some friends.

I passed my second year of Open University. Just. Heavy, heavvvvy emphasis on the just part with relation to the exam. Not my finest moment. However, I passed politics as a whole strongly and am now onwards to philosophy. Much excite.

After 13 years since I turned my back on it (long story, it involved me passing my driving test and buying £20 of pick n mix from Woolies to celebrate, very retro) I’m making the transition back to being vegetarian. I hate waste, so I don’t want to chuck the meaty food I already have, hence it’s a transition, but it means what I’m buying going forward is veggie.

I’ve stopped wearing make up because my skin has been in terrible condition and I *finally* feel a little bit more like myself in general. I’ve started to wear clothes that feel a bit more me. Dodgy outfits as documented on my Instagram. And if you don’t follow me, why not? I’m very funny. Today I look rarther fetching at work in a pair of black polka dot joggers and a grey nasa hoody. I haven’t showered or brushed my hair. It’s a strong lewk. I dyed my hair purple but because I am the worst at anything to do with hair care it became ginger due to the bleach pretty quickly. But. I discovered toner. And it’s now a purple auburn. And I aint mad at it. I look less pale if noting else. It’s a slow process, and I’m still trying to get my head around being 2 dress sizes bigger than I’m used to, but I feel…better. A lot of the dress size expansion should be attributed to the fact that for the first time in my entre adult life I have boobs. And not just boobs but massive ones. I’m not a fan. I miss living life like every day was pancake day.

If there is one thing I’m not very good at, and I hate myself for it, is that I’m not very good at maintaining friendships. I am by nature a pretty solitary person, I like being alone and I like my own company, and I tend to want to be by myself than be with other people. Even my favourite people. It’s not personal, it never has been, I just can’t explain it. A born introvert (hard to believe, but true) I was probably the only teenager growing up who’s mother WISHED they would go out all night. Just go out Becks. Get out the house. Go out all night. JUST GO OUT. But I have tried very hard (well, maybe not very hard) to try and spend time with my friends. This year I’ve had my two best pals from Uni come to stay and I hope they’ll be back soon. Friends round for cuppas. I’ve even made friends at work. This is a big deal. I am reminded of the expression that best friends are like stars, you don’t always see them but you know they’re always there. And it reminds me that I have out there, in this big wide world, a select group of people, one in particular and she knows who she is <3,who I love more than life. I don’t see her often. We don’t speak often. But we don’t need to. Because it goes deeper than friendship. So I’m going to keep working on myself and working on keeping these priceless friendships going.

Man, that got slushy quite fast.

And other than that, things are much the same as they ever were.

Still always debating whether or not to continue with the blog. Given how life is less arthritis-y and medication-y it seems a bit….futile? I don’t know.

I disabled my facebook page for a while, which was great, only it meant I disabled the blog facebook page as well. Does anyone know if I can keep the blog part and not the personal part? It’s such a life zapping pointless app to me now. Says she, who loves Instagram. Nobody is perfect ok.

And that, ladies and gentlemen is a wrap. I make zero promises about another blog post any time soon but I will try and document my foot surgery a bit better than I did last time. 2 weeks today.

Bye.

2018 in Review

Do you like photos? If the answer is no then look away now!

This isn’t a health related post, but one that shares the highs and very few lows of 2018. I traveled, saw a lot of music and had generally, a very very good year.

So without further ado, I present to you, Sensible Shoes Year in Review.

January 2018

I have almost no recollection of what happened in January. I can’t even remember how I saw in the New Year. I have a feeling I was asleep by about 9pm.

I read:

  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (not as good as A Thousand Splendid Suns)
  • Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (not as funny or as good as it was billed)
  • Life to the Limit, my Autobiography, by Jenson Button (made me like him a little bit more).

February 2018

A trip to Edinburgh to the zoo and to see the Chinese Zodiac Lanterns exhibition which I really enjoyed. The zoo….not so much. It was my second trip to the zoo and it was just as sad an experience as the first time. Animals in poor enclosures who look super sad. I like a good zoo where the animals are well kept and has a good conservation programme but not Edinburgh. Won’t be back.

I traveled to London to spend a few lovely days in Greenwich with my Sister. A lot of walking and shopping was done, and I visited the National Gallery to see my favourite painting of all time for the first time in a few years, Whistlejacket by George Stubbs.

At the end of February the UK experienced one of it’s worst snowfalls in years. Jack and I somehow managed to escape it by travelling to warmer climes…Iceland, where it was a whopping 12 degrees c. Iceland was a mixed experience for me. I feel like we were a good five years too late to really enjoy it. The country itself was spectacular, that can’t be denied. And we did see a wonderful display of the northern lights, but the whole thing was ruined by mass tourism (of which we felt terribly guilty to a be a part of) and it all felt like a massive tourist trap. The Blue Lagoon in particular was a huge waste of money and if you’re reading this and you’re going to Iceland, don’t bother with it. Instead, go to The Secret Lagoon. That was FANTASTIC.

I read only the God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and I can honestly say I hated this book more than I hated my holiday in Iceland. And that’s saying something.

March 2018

Jack and I celebrated 6 years together at the end of the month. We celebrated by spending a long weekend in Edinburgh, staying in a fancy suite at Malmaison in Leith and seeing the wonderful Belle and Sebastian perform. We spent some time looking around at flats and realised that right now we can’t afford to buy what we want in the city, but we’re working on it.

I got more involved with charity and did a lot of print interviews for various national newspapers about my experience of arthritis as well as appearing on local radio. My colleagues jokingly asked for autographs and I obliged, sneaking them on to their desks when they weren’t looking.

I read Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes and thought it was a very, very well written book.

April 2018

April can mean only one thing.

The London Marathon.

It happened. It was, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned just once or twice before, the single greatest achievement of my life. Jack, my sister Rachel, her boyfriend James and my best friend Max were all there cheering me on at different points along the route and I was an emotional wreck the entire day, raising over £1800 for Arthritis Research UK (now Versus Arthritis).

I read Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks and it will go down as one of the best books I’ve ever read (apart from the last section, which I felt was very rushed).

May 2018

Jack turned the grand ol’ age of 27 and we spent some time out in Royal Deeside to celebrate. We traveled down to Glasgow where I met the amazing Rachel who started the interview for a special film she was making. On this trip we visited the Museum of the Moon in Queens Cross Mackintosh Church and that evening, along with Jacks sister Elizabeth, we saw a band do a full rendition of Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon, underneath the Moon, and it was incredible.

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Mid-month I had a bit of an emotional breakdown and had to take some time away from work.

I was nearly 6 months in to my cosentyx journey and was still 100% psoriasis and inflammation free. I was suffering from recurring bouts of chronic sinusitis and a lip infection, but otherwise, all was good.

I read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t have any impact on me.

June 2018

Not a lot happened this month I don’t think. My last full month in my 20s went by fairly uneventfully. I think we went to the beach a couple of times and that was it.

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Oh, and Jack and I went to Glasgow with his Father who got us floor side seats for Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. That was kind of a big deal because Dark Side of the Moon is my favourite album of all time and to hear him singing Brain Damage bought me to tears.

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My sinus infection reached breaking point and the doctor prescribed me numerous drugs to try and get me well.

I read:

  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (This is not just the best book I read in 2018, but also possibly the best book I have ever read in my life)
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (BRILLIANT)
  • Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie. It was literally Murder on the Orient Express, but instead of on a train, on a boat.

July 2018

I turned the big 3-0!

I saw in my 30s by going to Disneyland Paris with Mum, Jack, Rachel and James. We stayed at The Newport Bay Hotel and had one of the best holidays I’ve ever been on. My Mum qualified for the disabled green fast pass and as such we were able to get straight on all of the rides and met lots of characters. To end the holiday, Mum, Jack and I went in to Paris, my first visit, and I realised that one day wasn’t enough and vowed to go back.

At the end of the month Jack and I traveled down to Greenock to meet up with Rachel for a day of filming and interviewing. It was a long day but we had a great day.

I read:

  • Howards End by E.M Forster (so boring)
  • Last Chance Saloon by Marian Keyes (she’s my not so guilty pleasure)

August 2018

Took my Mum to Glasgow for a few days as I had tickets for the European Championships and returned later in the month with her and my Sister to see Britney Spears. Jack and I saw Jersey Boys at the theatre and both became obsessed with Frankie Valli and also went to our second Craig Charles Funk and Soul House Party. I danced so much I became so sweaty you could wring my hair out. It was brilliant.

My mental health took a massive battering and I had to take more time away from work. For reasons I won’t go in to, my anxiety soared sky high and I was having more panic attacks than I knew how to deal with.

At the end of the month I took on my second run of the year, The Great Aberdeen 10k. It was far less great than the name suggested, but I got round in just about one piece in a time I was super chuffed with.

I also had my orthopedics appointment after two years of waiting, where I was given the green light for my toe straightening surgery.

I read Double Cross by Malorie Blackman, finally completing the great Noughts and Crosses series.

September 2018

Jack and I traveled to Newcastle where I took part in my favourite running race, The Great North Run. I was so slow but it was a super weekend. I made the mistake of declaring publicly that I wanted to beat the time I set the previous year, and not only did I not beat it, I was slower than it. That’ll teach me to open my mouth!

I read:

  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (great)
  • The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi (terrible)

October 2018

The things that were causing me to have panic attacks got worse and at the start of the month I took more time off work and was put back on medication to try and improve my anxiety.

I bought a pair of canvas Dr Martens and was ecstatic that they fit my feet!

My best pal Max came to stay with us from London and we went to Dundee to visit the new V&A museum (TERRIBLE) and had the loveliest weekend with him.

At the end of the month we drove to Glasgow after work, grabbing two calorific McDonalds meals each at Fofar and rushing down to the Hydro in time to see one of my musical heroes, David Byrne of Talking Heads. We had missed out on tickets when he performed in Glasgow earlier in the year and were unsure if it was worth going down after work etc etc but boy are we glad we went. It was, quite simply, perfect. The best gig I have ever seen. The best performance I have ever seen. It was honestly life changing in a way I don’t know how to explain.

I read:

  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed (couldn’t put it down)
  • Milkman by Anna Burns (couldn’t wait to burn it it was that bad)
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon (finished in 2 days, good, but simple)

November 2018

On the 1st of November, we returned to Paris. We had booked it spur of the moment shorty before, after discussing how much we wanted to go back. We stayed in a great little hotel in St Georges. We explored Montmatre, had lunch in the cafe where Amelie was filmed (my fave), spent a day in Disney where I had my own disabled fast pass, saw as much of the city as we could and went to Versailles.

It was in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles where, after six and a half years Jack pulled out a stunning emerald and diamond ring and asked me to be his wife.

I said yeah, go on then.

We spent the rest of the holiday in a post engagement bubble and couldn’t stop smiling at the thought of being married.

Back down to earth with a bump a few weeks later when I had my last day at work on the 16th and became surprisingly emotional. Saying goodbye to BP before returning in the New Year to an unwanted corporate position. I had my foot surgery on the 19th and spent the rest of the month on the sofa, completely off my feet.

I read:

  • If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura (Such a let down)
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (best Bronte book yet)

December 2018

More resting but did get slightly more mobile as the weeks went by. At the start of the month I had my stitches removed and told that I was healing perfectly.

Mid month Jack and I took his artist Grandma, and Auntie Caroline out to The Netherlands on our annual trip. We stayed in Zaandam and took them to Zaanse Schans, Amsterdam and The Hague. I practiced my terrible Dutch and ate A LOT of food. It was tough for me on crutches, but I had my first experience of a being in a wheelchair and couldn’t get over how much easier it made life (sounds silly, I know). The trip just furthered our resolve to move to The NL and hopefully at the start of 2019 we’ll take the gang back to explore as they also fell in love with it.

Christmas came and we went to stay with Jacks family in Fife, where I pretended to eat his 18 month old nephews piggy fingers that had been up his nose and subsequently got a stinking cold. I regret nothing though cos he’s cute.

New Years Eve we had lunch with Jacks family, brother and nephew and watched Lord of The Rings Return of the King, which finished 5 minutes before midnight.

I read a lot in December:

  • Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (superb)
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (meh)
  • Atonement (It was ok to start with, but I particularly liked the final section and that upped it in my estimations)
  • Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford (a real gem)
  • Why the Dutch are Different by Ben Coates (insightful)
  •  The Colour Purple by Alice Walker (not quite what I was expecting)
  • Giovannis Room by James Baldwin (second best book of the year)
  • Breakfast at Tiffanys by Truman Capote (terrible).

So what does 2019 hold?

Not sure yet! I return to work in a few weeks and really don’t want to. Everybody said I would be bored off work by 7 weeks in and I am still enjoying every single moment of it! I’m hoping to have the right foot done as soon as possible.

No holidays booked as yet but we’ll be off to New York (where Jacks sister Catherine now lives), Washington DC and Toronto hopefully in Spring. Maybe Boston too now I think about it. My Mum will turn 60 later in the year and as such I’ll be taking her on holiday. Not sure where yet but I am open to suggestions! Needs to be relatively flat or have a superb public transport system. She is keen on St Petersburg but I think that might be a holiday step too far for just the two of us! We’ll be returning to The NL shortly

Wedding planning started off very well but when we realised just how much it could end up costing, it’s suddenly been scaled back. Will 2019 be the year that we marry? Probably. I’m pushing for Vegas but it’s unlikely to happen, But what we do know for sure is that our honeymoon will be Japan and South Korea.

The reason why the wedding has been scaled back? That move to Edinburgh is high on the list of things to do and to get done this year.

My only new years resolution is to eat more sweet potatoes. Oh, and probably neglect the blog less. This is my first non-health related post in a very long time so will be interested to see if this is something we want more or less of. Maybe start a youtube channel? Thoughts on this? Collectively Jack and I want to spend more time with Jacks nephew Lucas and his new brother or sister who will arrive in May, and spend more time away from Aberdeen generally.

2018 was a great year.

Here’s hoping 2019 is even better!

 

 

30

30.

Thirty.

Trente.

Dreißig.

Trenta.

Dertig.

Trinta.

Or, in my strange accent. Firty. (33 will be a nightmare, that’s all I’m saying).

This time last year I set out trying to complete 30 things before I was 30. Life got in the way. I like being lazy, I think I achieved 3 things. Maybe I’ll do the 30 things before I’m 90….let’s not hold our breath.

Why is 30 seen as such a watershed age? I feel like 30 is the first age that sounds like you’re supposed to be an adult. At 30 you’re supposed to have your shit together, right?

I feel ok about turning 30. Not least because I still look impossibly young (thank you filters for allowing me to believe this illusion). I was asked recently by someone at work what my secret is to not looking my age, “Not having children”, I smugly replied. That and glycolic acid. Try it out. Superdrug do a really good glycolic acid which is a great introductory to acids and for the price, do a smashing job.

https://www.superdrug.com/Naturally-Radiant/Superdrug-Natural-Radiant-Glycolic-Toner-100ml/p/729356

I digress. I could talk about acids all day but I won’t.

Am I a fully functioning adult? I suppose on paper I am. Homeowner. Great career. No financial worries. 5 foreign holidays a year. CATS PROTECTION SAID I WAS ADULT ENOUGH TO HAVE RESPONSIBILTY FOR A CAT. It doesn’t get much more adulty than having a cat.

But do I feel like an adult? Hell no. What does an adult even feel like?

For the big day itself I’m going to be spending it at Disneyland Paris with my beloved family. I can think of no other way to spend my big day. Disney clothes, Disney singing, Disney rides, Disney everything.

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By the time you read this, I’ll be 30. I’ll be enjoying spending time with my Mum, JP, my sister Rachel and her boyfriend James at Disneyland. Hopefully we’ve all stayed friends and we’ve not fallen out. After all, you can’t fall out at the happiest place on earth! As well as Disney, JP and I will be enjoying a few days in Paris, my first time. At time of writing, Belgium have just beaten Brazil in the World Cup and will be playing France when we’re there. Allez les blues!

Anyway. Back to birthdays and the fact that I am possibly almost an adult now.

When I was growing up, people always used to say that one day Rachel and I would be best friends.

I refused to believe it. I would ignore them and go back to biting chunks out of her, punching her in the face and pulling her hair. I was 18.

I’M JOKING. I was 22, she was 18. Trolololol.

That’s a tad extreme but it turns out that those people all those years ago were correct, I adore my Rachel. We speak every day and I can’t imagine life without her.

Which has got me thinking about other things I heard when I was younger that turns out, were true

  • That spot on your face you think everyone will notice? They won’t. It’s not as bad as you think. Nobody will notice
  • You are nowhere near as fat as you think. You will look back at how ‘fat’ you were at 18 and wish you were still like that
  • You will turn in to your mother. Whether you want to or not. It might be gradual, it might be sudden. But one day you will find yourself carefully putting an open cucumber in a food bag before putting it back in the fridge wondering when you became her (FYI I was 21)
  • Even though you think you’re dying, trust me, time really does heal a broken heart
  • Nobody knows what they’re doing. This applies to life, work, relationships and friendships. Everyone is winging it
  • If a man acts and says he’s unavailable, believe him and run a mile
  • Early nights really are the way forward. My parents begging me not to stay up too late. Getting told off for staying up until goodness knows what time laughing at people who go to sleep before midnight. I now consider it a late night if I’m still awake at 9pm
  • When you’re young, elders will remark “you’re so lucky you can still eat what you want and not gain weight, wait until you get older”. You’ll laugh. You’ll always be able to each 25 courses at every sitting and never gain weight. You’ll always be slender and have the taut body of a gymnast. And then you’ll turn 28. You only have to look at a cake and you’ll gain 6lbs and you’re body shape morphs more and more in to that of a potato

 

There was also a few things I was told or believed as a child that turned out not to be true:

  • My Mum always encouraged me to wave to the people on planes in the sky. It was only after I had been cabin crew for about one year did I realise this was in fact a massive lie. I was 23
  • That plucking out a grey hair means that five new ones will appear. Jokes on you all. I plucked out two and ended up with a full head of grey hair by the age of 28
  • Cracking your joints will give you arthritis. Even bigger jokes on you all. I’ve never cracked a joint in my life and look at the state of me

 

What things were you told when you were younger that turned out to be true or not to be true?

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Looking forward to writing a far more health related post on my return to Aberdeen. 5 days after I return I’m straight back to hospital for my next bout of minor surgery on my toes and as this will be my second to last trip for this procedure, I’m going to blog about it. It’s not for the faint hearted so I won’t go in to detail here but if you suffer from psoriasis, and you have it in your nails, then you’ll get my drift and hopefully my next post can be of you some use for you.

For now, I’ll say goodbye. I’ve got a date with Mickey.

 

Big Birthday Incoming

30

Thirty

Dertig

Dreißig

Trenta

Trente

שְׁלֹשִׁים

No matter how I try to dress it up. 30 is happening. Two weeks today is my thirtieth birthday. Or in my dodgy estuary English accent, firty. Turning 33 will be a linguistic nightmare.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what this birthday means to me, if it means anything at all. It’s drilled in to us that turning 30 is a big deal. It’s a big birthday. But why? What will I be on the 10th July that I wasn’t on the 9th?

Is it because we’re programmed to think that 30 is the age at which one is properly an adult? That we’re supposed to have our shit together by 30? House in the suburbs, married, kids and a golden retriever?

Times change. Most of my friends don’t have children. In fact, looking at my closest circle, none of them have children. Those in relationships are in no hurry to get married. Choosing instead to enjoy hard-earned money on holidays and experiences. Singletons in no rush to settle down. I fell feet first in to my career but even if I hadn’t, I’m still young enough to start afresh and find something.

As for me. I don’t have children. I’m in no rush to have any, if any at all. I was asked recently by a woman at work, in a room full tired, stressed looking parents, what my secret was to looking young. Not having children, I joyfully chirped back. That and glycolic acid.

JP and I have been together just over 6 years now. We only lived together for the first-time last year when we purchased our flat. We clearly like to take our time with these things.

I don’t feel any pressure to do any of these things. Thankful to come from a family and be part of an extended family who put no pressure on us. No asking “when are you giving us a grandchild?” or other such questions that should never be asked.

I’m approaching 30 with my shit together. On paper at least

So why is 30 still such a big age? Why do I still feel like it’s supposed to be a turning point? Am I to wake up on my birthday and find I’m suddenly an adult? I doubt it, I’m going to be waking up at the happiest place on earth, Disneyland, where I can continue to live a Peter Pan existence.

What the thought of turning 30 has done for me though is that it’s made me question everything. The status quo and that’s never a bad thing.

I am deeply unhappy living in Aberdeen. What was supposed to be me living here for the 4 years it took me to gain my degree, turned in to me dropping out of Uni and now approaching 10 years here. I’ve put up with this without question for so long but now? Nah. Life’s too short to put up with this. So we’re working out where to go, what to do, when to make the move. I’ve always wanted to dye my hair some ludicrously unnatural colour, like pink. So guess what? A week after my birthday I’m starting the process to lighten my hair and will hopefully get my wish by the end of the year. Whilst fortunate that it pays well, I don’t enjoy my job. And my current questioning of the status quo has raised the question of am I happy to stick with my job? Is money everything? No. And no, but it helps. So I’m starting to think about dropping to part time, to give me the time to do something I enjoy. I’m a great believer that everyone has a marathon and a novel in them. I’ve done the marathon, so…? Questioning the status quo is always a good thing, but sometimes it takes something like a ‘milestone’ birthday to bring it about. So I will thank 30 for giving me the kick up the bum to get myself in to gear.

But 30 no longer feels like a milestone birthday in terms of achievements.

From speaking with friends and extensive research (ok, ok, I used google once), I’ve come to the conclusion that turning 30 is now more likely to be a time when people question the existential as opposed to the physical. What is my purpose as opposed to when will I pop a kid out. Questioning the norm. Termed the midilife crisis. Although if my arthritis and health continues to go on the way it is, it could well be a mid-life crisis.

Questioning who I am and the world around me is something that has been happening since I first got sick 2 years ago. My tolerance for bullshit, already incredibly low, became even lower. I suddenly didn’t have the time or the energy to listen to or engage with petty people and what they had to say. Living in Aberdeen I’m surrounded by the oil and gas industry, and am guilty of being part of it myself. Oil and gas has given a lot of people (perhaps not deservingly so) an awful lot of money. I work in an office of people who love nothing more than to show off with, especially with their cars. In work, in agony, close to tears, I shouldn’t have to listen to imbeciles whinging, close to a nervous breakdown, distraught about how a seagull pooped on their freshly cleaned car. Like seriously, get a fucking grip and stop being so pathetic. Some people have actual real problems. It doesn’t make me angry, in spite of how it reads, it just baffles me how people get so wound up about something that doesn’t even deserve a second of thought. Whereas before I perhaps would have listened, hmmed in all the right places and made appropriate facial expressions, now I just mutter something like ‘not good’ before proudly remarking that I’ve never washed my car because it’ll rain soon enough and that’ll wash it away. This is something that I’ll be taking in to my 30s with me. My zero tolerance for bullshit.

I’ve also developed zero tolerance for fakery. Fakery of myself even. I no longer feel the need to try and be something that I’m not, both physically and personally. Sure, I’m packing more pounds of weight that I’m currently comfortable with, but I feel so much less pressure to look a certain way the older I get. I’d always read it’d happen, you know when people asked to give advice to their 18 year old self, usually it’s “you’re not as fat as you think you are” but I’ve never really related to it until now. Christ, I thought I was enormous in my teens and early twenties. I developed an unhealthy relationship with both my body and food, despite weighing less than 110lbs. Always thinking people wouldn’t like me if I was fat. I’m a good 40lbs heavier than that now but you know what? I don’t hate myself and I actually think there are people out there who like me, just the way I am (feeling like Bridget Jones with that one). Hell, I even have a man who loves me no matter what. Who would never dream of putting me down, and who supports me when I try to eat healthier and move a little more. Even if he does encourage me to have that portion of sticky toffee pudding when I probably shouldn’t. (Jack, if you do ever read this, thanks for introducing me to sticky toffee pudding. Let’s go to Marks and Spencer and get some).

In my early twenties I wore clothes because I thought it was what I was supposed to wear. My go-to outfit for a night out would literally involve me wearing nothing more than a pair of knickers and a bra. Any photographic evidence that I have of this, and believe me, there is a lot, won’t be making an appearance here. But I no longer feel the need to fit in. I’m not somebody who will ever look traditionally sexy. I am cute and I am proud. I don’t wear jeans. I don’t know how to wear denim full stop, which seems to be the staple wardrobe of so many people. If I wanna wear Disney sweatshirts and animal print dresses then I’m going to. And I do. And I don’t care. I remember years ago reading in a magazine that women over the age of about 25 (I think) shouldn’t wear glittery nail polish. And I don’t know why but that’s stayed with me all those years. I love glittery nail polish. Why should I give it up at a certain age? For the record, I haven’t and I won’t. I always have glittery nails and will until the day I do. In the 10 or so years since I read that article I am at least grateful and thankful to be part of a generation who are sticking two figures up to the old established ‘rules.’ I’ll wear what makes me happy. It won’t please everyone, but these tend to be the same people crying because there’s a seagull within 200ft of the car, so their opinion is irrelevant. Life is too short to pretend to be something that you’re not. If my Instagram feed is anything to go by, everyone I know has recently been to see either Ed Sheeran or Beyonce. In years gone by I’ve listened to Beyonce (I WAS PROBABLY DRUNK OK) but I no longer need to pretend that I fit in. I’d rather eat dirt than listen to either of them. And that’s ok.

When I google turning 30, the internet is full or articles telling people (women I assume, I’m yet to meet a man having a breakdown over turning 30 or one jittery enough to google it) what they should be doing and what they should have.

A personal fave is from the Huffington Post, ’12 Financial Goals You Should Reach by Your 30s”.

“Your 30s are meant for building wealth, not digging your way out of debt” it proclaims. Actually, my 30s are going to be about taking even more foreign holidays than I already do (although admittedly I have no personal debt) and I’m always going to prioritise holidays over saving. I’m particularly enjoying point 2, “No more student debt”. Hey Huff Post, I checked my student debt amount a week ago and I still owe Student Loans England £14,000, despite the fact I pay a lot of money each month towards clearing the balance. So guess what Huff Post? Fuck you and your stupid rules. I’m going to be entering my 60s and still have student debt and I’m not going to care at all.

I guess that I’m going to be entering my 30s content with who I am but perhaps not quite so content with my surroundings. Still got some toxic people to say goodbye to, maybe a more enjoyable and fulfilling job to find. But I’m no longer sweating the small stuff (GOD I sound exactly like my Mother).

If you’ve made it this far then I salute you, but out of curiosity, what’s the one thing you’d like to go back and tell yourself?

I’ve written before about ‘Always Wear Sunscreen’ by Mary Schmich, immortalised into a song by Baz Luhrman, and I’m going to leave you with the lyrics posted here in

 

10 Things I Know About Me

I use this blog as a way of talking to you all about life with inflammatory arthritis and life with chronic illness in general, but I was thinking after my latest blog entry about having an identity crisis, that I have never really introduced myself. I don’t want to do some kind of boring “I am 5’6” and have size 6 feet” or “I’m the eldest child in my family” kind of thing. That’s boring.

So. Here’s a slightly alternative 10 things about me entry.

  1. Who am I? I am the girl who loves my island, the girl who loves the sea, it calls meeeeee. Oh wait, that’s Moana, not me. But that leads me nicely to point number 1, I LOVE everything about Disney. My favourite has to be The Jungle Book, and I have an unhealthy obsession with Baloo. I have heaps of Baloo toys and memorabilia, including, but not limited to pjs’ clothes and bedding. I went to Disneyworld Florida dressed as Baloo and when I met him, I pretty much cried. It is still the happiest moment of my life. I’m 29 years old by the way. This happened less than 2 years ago.
  2. I am a Cancerian born under a Gemini Moon. This explains why I articulate with wild hands, why I love to write and most importantly, why I love to talk.
  3. I am of part Chinese heritage and I am incredibly proud of this (FYI, I’m a dragon).
  4. I am scared of balloons, Christmas crackers and party poppers. I.E anything that has a potential to go BANG.
  5. I am an avid reader. In fact, I would say that reading is my favourite thing to do. I think I own more books than the average library.
  6. I have moved house at least 16 times. It may be more, but it’s hard to keep up.
  7. I can play both the piano and the violin, but sadly, not at the same time.
  8. I love to drink tea. 90% of my body is made up of tea. I drink probably 12-15 cups a day. And that’s on top of the 3 litres of water I drink every day. What can I say? Hydration is key.
  9. I cannot eat pineapple, oranges or prawns. The string-y texture makes me wanna cry.
  10. I am Slytherin. There is nothing more to add to that.

 

So, there you have it. 10 slightly random facts about me, which, when I read them back make me question how mentally stable I actually am. If there’s anything else anyone wants to know then drop me a message, and as always, any future topics you want me to cover then send them my way and I’ll do my best!

What are some wonderful facts about you??