Monday, 29 July 2013

The Seven Signs Of Stress

This week has been nothing short of hellish.  And it's only Monday.

Part of my role in my sometimes-mentioned office job is sales-based, and I've been doing lots more of that side of things while a few of the other sales-trained bods are off on holidays being all fabulous and tanned (bastards! I hate you and your stupid bikinis!  I hope you get weird tan lines!).  

I'm convinced that all of our customers have waited until we have the fewest number of staff in as possible to pounce, hungrily demanding our wares and services.  This suddenly enthused mob of customers  wanting to throw money down our phone lines is great for business, but not so great for the individuals such as myself who find themselves having to up their multi tasking level a few hundred notches higher than they're used to.  I feel I have all the arms of an Indian Goddess but not enough functioning brain cells to keep them all in check. 

I'm sure I'll get used to it, and being busy doesn't half make the day fly and get the heart rate up,  but this level of busy has been going on for about a fortnight now, and I feel like I'm teetering on the edge of acceptance and adaptation...or full-blown mass-murderer mode.  I am this close to pummeling my telephone into smithereens with my bare fists and snapping the receiver's cord with my teeth.

As you can see, it takes a while for my stress levels to normalize.  But it's been sort of fun in a ha-ha-ha-I'm-going-to-run-naked-into-the-street-with-my-pants-on-my-head-and-set-myself-on-fire kind of way to take note of the indicators I experience when I'm either starting to get stressed or when 'm already full-on, wide-eyed, tooth-baring, hair-pulling burnt out.

1.  Denial - If I know it's going to be a busy day, I will always start optimistically.  Start as I hope to go on.  I'll take things one thing at a time.  I can't do two things at once, so I'll get each thing out of the way to the best of my abilities and holy fucking shit is that the time already?? Shit shit shit!! Why is there paper in my hair?? Whose phone number is this on my hand, and why is my biro in my mouth, nib-side up?!  Did I remember to get dressed this morning?!

2.  Bladder Freakouts - I don't know if this is a fight or flight thing, but the more pressure I'm under, the more often I have to pee.  The it-hurts-when-I-breath type of needing to pee.  Which only make the stress worse, because on top of my list of impossibly numerous tasks, I have to make time to do frequent mad dashes to the loo.  I like to think it's my body's way of telling me to sit the fuck down and chill out for a second.  There's only so much you can do with your pants around your ankles.

3.  Aggressive Kindness -  This is where all my attempts to be a rational, helpful salesperson takes a nosedive, and, being a Brit brought up on the importance of politeness, instead of being rude, I just get scarily and loudly helpful when I pick up the receiver. "HelloRebeccaspeakingHOWCANIHELPYOU?!!! WHAT? YOU WANT TO BUY SOMETHING?! YES, I CAN HELP, HAHAHAHA WE'RE BEST FRIENDS NOW!! DON'T HANG UP ON ME, I NEED YOU!!!! ...hello?  Mrs Johnson, are you still there?"

4.  Aggressive Clumsiness -  As my mind is flashing all kinds of funky disco colours in my skull trying to make note of the fact that I need to be doing this that and the other as fast as yesterday, physical co-ordination is the first thing to go.  It's not unusual for me to leave work with a myriad of mysterious cuts, beverage stains and the odd bruise from picking up the phone with such force that I hit myself in the face with it.

5.  Feral Breaktimes - I get a half hour break for food.  I love strapping in to food bag at the best of times, but on a manic day, you realize just how short time is and eat with a terrifying frenzy, throwing food somewhere near your mouth in the hope that some of it will go in, reducing interaction with colleagues to the occasional glare to make sure they're not planning on stealing the processed meat that's sliding down your chomping chin.

6.  Blind Agreement -  
"Becky, did you do the-"
"YES! I am doing it!!"
"Have you-"
"YES, I have!"
"Do you-"
"YES!! Four of them now, with milk!"
"Actually, I was going to ask you if-"

7.  Post Work Cleaning -  Stress makes me angry.  Mess makes me angry.  I am a messy person with a low stress threshold.  Seems only normal that when A comes home after I've had a difficult one, he finds me in one of his t-shirts on the bathroom floor, scrubbing manically with no trousers on and talking in tongues to myself.  Standard.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Two For Joy

Hey, hey guys, look! I got a tattoo! On my ass! 

By ass I mean arm.

It's my third one, and the selection process for it was just as rigorous and soul searching as it was with its predecessors.

... I saw a pretty picture, gave a lady with a needle some money and said "this on my body forever now, please!"

I've had it for three days and am gritting my teeth against the urge to pick the scabs (ooh, I love a good scab!!), and I must say, I think it looks rather marvellous.

Sounds sappy, but having something I consider pretty on my person at all times is making me feel slightly more attractive too.  Like I've avoided a few more blows off the ugly stick than I'd initially thought.  

Combined with a few people pointing out that since I've upped the mileage of my runs (ran 12 miles on Tuesday. 12!!!), I'm a bit less offensive on the eye of late (not a direct quote, obviously. My friends aren't as mean to me as I am...), I feel pretty good about myself this week.



Thanks to the running, I feel mentally stronger too. Capable at work, better around people. I've even eased up on my internal criticism about my little writing projects. A bit.

Running is magical!

Or maybe my tattoo is.  Two for joy and all that.

Or maybe ink poisoning affects the brain first... 

If you're interested, the people who professionally, cheerily and hygeinically scarred me for life are Swansea Tattoo Co, can be found on Facebook and are chuffing brilliant!  I was tattooed by Ami Williams =)

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Helloooo, Sunshine!!

Considering the fact that I just walked into work 2 and a half hours early by accident, I feel pretty bloody marvellous! I immediately walked out in search of coffee as soon as my error was realised, and now here I am blogging from my phone in the window of a Sainsbury's cafe.  

I've bought a book (Zadie Smith's N-W), and I have another hour or so of time to myself that I wouldn't otherwise have had  if I'd done the usual late-shift thing of sleeping in or jogging.  Fuckin' a! I love love LOVE accidental time gainage!

I doubt I'd be feeling this good if it were pissing down with rain, leaving me glaring hatefully at the public out the window.  The sun is pleasantly grilling me, turning me into a happy, mindless summer sloth in a dress. Sunshine makes everything better.  I feel a list coming on!

1. Doing nothing is WAY more fun:  sitting here, gazing out at Swansea Marina's boats (though my favourite local boat, the brilliantly named "Itchy Pussy" is unfortunately absent) is a choice I've happily made.  Whereas if it was chucking it down, I'd be sullenly parked on my arse, hating the rain for keeping me indoors.

2. The running is better - because 1. You're not getting wet, 2. Your face isn't numb and 3. You don't feel breathless because your mouth isn't full if cold, nasty, whippy air.  Some people hate running when the sun's got his hat on, but I love it. No need to warm up because you're already sweating from every orifice, there's less pressure to go faster, and you truly appreciate what sweat is for. Not cool enough? Then sweat some more! Laaahvlee.

3. Everyone is happy - more or less. Glorious weather in Wales is something of a rarity, so its inhabitants crazily try to squeeze as many smiles and "how do's" out as possible before the sky turns back into a soggy, black blanket.  A lady just made my whole day by going out of her way to congratulate me on my nice dress. Thanks, lady, you wonderful human!! You look lovely too!

4. For a short space of time, EVERYTHING must be outside: roofs of cars must be down, massive shades must be on out faces, and we must copy the European way of sitting outside eating fabulous food at fabulous little cafes where they have dragged all of their tables out to the front of the building. One of the best things about being British is the reckless abandon with which we throw ourselves into being as intensely "summery" as possible, and that means spending so much time outdoors that you start to go feral.

5. Nekkid skin everywhere! I frequently yo-yo between intense self consciousness and not giving a single fuck about my appearance , and so I appreciate the awesomeness of when it's so hot that you don't care what you're wearing, so long as you don't melt into a human soup in your trousers. Cue a variety of burnt and sickly-pasty (I belong to the latter camp) flesh being flaunted in all shapes and sizes. It's nice to see, for a few days a year where the rake thin to the robust and rotund can let it all hang out so that we can all joyfully ogle each other's goodies without feeling too much like sex pests. More of this more of the time please, Brits!

Have a happy, sunny, chilled out, semi-naked day, everybody! I know I will! *rips off dress and runs into the car park*

Friday, 5 July 2013

This Month, I Are Mostly Being...Sober.

Hey hi hello....good day!

I have an hour to myself before work this morning - working slightly later, got up slightly earlier than usual.  Plenty of stuff I can get out of the way before my day even begins.  This hour-long vista of opportunity for productivity can only mean one thing:

Procrastinating on the internet!

I just wish I hadn't checked my bank account first.  Grim.  Looks like it's going to be a fairly quiet (translate: sober) month for this one, if I want to be able to get suitably pie eyed in front of this motley crew next month:

Oddly enough, though, I'm quite looking forward to a month of relative sobriety and peace.  I do love a night out, but they seem to be losing their sheen for me.  I don't know whether it's an age thing, or something to do with the fact that I only have to smell sambuca to transform into the emotional equivalent of a crayon left on a hot hob.

Most weekends, I go through this phase where every bone in my body is jumping around under my skin to get me out "dancing" (more translations: running around with fixed grin, arms rigid in the air) and I'm compelled to send out a barrage of oh-so-subtle "I'm soooo BORED tonight!" texts, in the hope that the people in my contacts list are equally soooo BORED and want to do something like, oh, I don't know.  Maybe just nip to the pub and, y'know, see what happens?

It's pretty much a guarantee that by the end of the night, I will have regretted listening to my jumpy bones, feeling disappointed because my expectations of the wild night of fun times weren't met.  I don't know what I expect....unicorns and American girly TV-esque lollitude where I am very drunk but still oh-so fabulous?  Dream on, sister! *finger snap*

Because I'm feeling old and embittered, here are 5 things about nights out on the tiles that never fail to disappoint:

  1. That bit at the end of the night where no one is actually communicating with each other (myself included).  The whole club are just glassy-eyed pissed and looking through each other.  The best kind of conversation you can hope for at 3am is someone talking at you about their insatiable need for a kebab/that "fittie" they can't stop staring at yet wouldn't have looked twice at in the cold light of day.  
  2. The sleepiness: I never ever used to experience this, but a wall has sprung up between me and a good time, and I tend to smash my face into it somewhere between 1 and 2 a.m.  Closing time was always too early for me, and I would be chomping at the bit to carry the party on elsewhere, anywhere, as long as I didn't have to go to bed while I was a student.  Nowadays, the witching hour passes, and, laden with knackered-ness and cider, I find myself too proud to admit that I"m feeling a bit snoozy and want to go home.  Instead, I have "dancing breaks" at the bar and end up getting so messy that when it is time to go, I have to actually instruct my legs to work as a team to get out of the door and into a taxi.
  3. The pulling: I don't want to sound like a prude or a party pooper.  I have spent my fair share of nights as a teen latched onto some random's face in aid of a good time/a novel way to keep myself upright. We all have.  But when you're looking at it from the outside of said pull, there is nothing wild or exciting about it.  It's just a sweaty, wriggly mass of "well, I certainly hope I don't remember you in the morning, sweet cheeks!"
  4. The dancing:  I love a goofy dance-off as much as the next white girl dancing shamelessly to hip hop, but there comes a point in the night where everyone has stopped with the silliness and they have begin to really mean it!  Hips are sashayed, people are doing that weird feel-yourself-up dance that you only ever see in nightclubs... Even while I'm pissed, I'm still inherently British.  This part of the night is where the "dance breaks" start to happen, and when I am "dancing", my exuberance will have melted down to a wobbly foot-shuffle as I pray for bed.
  5. The emotions: Oh, God, the emotions!  If I have any insecurities, doubts, feelings previously bravely held in by a stiff upper lip, they will come spilling out of my mouth, because when I'm in da club, it's obviously a perfect time to tearfully inform everyone how fat and unloved I am.  Because that's appropriate, and everyone loves to talk a jibbering wreck down at the ass crack of dawn.  Such fun!  Most people have their own version of these mini meltdowns when they're on the sauce, but more often than not, they have to good sense to pipe down about it the next day and claim to remember nothing the following morning in hopes that any witnesses will follow suit. I, unfortunately, am a dweller.  The shame can follow me around for days.

Well, that was a happy-go-lucky post!  In other news, I am running my first parkrun with the lil sis next Saturday in preparation for the Race for Life event the following week, so pretty excited for that!  If you've not heard of a parkrun before, they are weekly 5k races dotted all over the country for people of all abilities, and they're 100% free!  Take a look:

Happy Friday, all!