I read a bloody good book last week. I'm partial to autobiographical essay books (Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl, Tina Fey's Bossypants, anything by Augusten Burroughs and so on and on and on...), and while I was scanning my bookshelf for something to re-read until payday came around and I could buy something new/re-enter into society, I found that we've had one that I'd not read, sitting there for nearly three years screaming:
OI, DIPSHIT!! You bought me because you knew I'd be good, so just bloody read me already!!
...Or probably something a bit less crass, because it was by Derren Brown. Confessions of a Conjuror is brilliant. It's just one great, big, weird train-of-thought narrative where he meanders from card tricks, to odd habits and even at one point to instructions on how to poach an egg.
My favourite bits were lists he'd made of his odd compulsions, many of which I found I have in common e.g When driving, he has an urge to just close his eyes and see what happens. I've never acted it out, but on several occasions, I've thought;
"If I just locked the steering wheel right now, would I survive the crash?" Not even in a morbid way, just a kind of mild curiosity, knowing I'd never really act on the impulse.* All the way through the book, I wanted to create some similar lists of my own, and I've settled on "borrowing" his idea of listing the things we find oddly pleasurable despite always avoiding doing them until the last minute (like cleaning the house and coming over all calm because the chaos around you is dormant at last). Mostly because I felt more people are prone to procrastination over mildly pondering their own demise on a quick jaunt to Tesco. Here goes:
Doing the Dishes
Just being in the house with more unwashed dishes than is necessary makes me edgy, but instead of just buggering on and doing them, I will huff and glare at the house's other occupants (cat included) and bore holes in their skulls with my eyes for not reading my mind and doing them for me. The second I pick up a sponge, I relax. Something lovely about having my hands all warm and knowing I'm actually getting shit done when I eventually get around to it. Household chores are rarely as bad as I imagine they'll be. Helps that I distract myself with Netflix on the iPad while I'm doing it. I have to trick myself into chores. Same goes for cleaning the house. Anything's possible when Spotify's blaring and you're dancing around the house in your pants.
As is the case with anyone that claims running as a hobby, it's hard to love it all the time. Despite what those smiley ladies on the cover of Runners World imply. Sometimes it sucks balls and makes you feel like you're going to poop out your lungs. These pant soiling runs are fewer and further between than the good, average and elated ones, but like a negative comment in a sea of compliments, it's always the negative memories that rise to the top - especially when you're tired from work and it looks a bit icky outside. It's easy to forget that the hardest bit is getting yourself in your stretchy things and out the door. Again, the reality is nearly always better than the expectation. That horrid drizzle turns into skin cooling "ahhhh"-ness (another scientific term, I swear), and your fatigue buggers off because you're body's way too busy trying not to fall over itself to remember how tired it is. Before long, you're bouncing back in the door and chewing everyone's ear off about how great running is, having completely forgotten that just an hour ago you were hunched in the doorway with one trainer on, crying a bit about having to go out in the cold.
Remembering to Eat Like a Human
...as opposed to a being that runs solely on Maoams and trifle. Sweets, cakes and anything else promising me an immediate sugar fix make me feel like crap. If I'm not doing that thing where one leg bounces of its own accord in a bid to rid me of the excess energy I'm consuming faster than I can use, I'm sitting bolt upright and asleep, head thrown back and drooling because I've fallen into a mini, snack induced coma. Brain knows that sweeties are the Devil incarnate and I can get naff all done on them, but it takes a long time for my body to catch on. It thinks it needs them. As soon as I chill out and start doing that moderation thing I hear so much about, I become able to stay awake for an entire day without unplanned naps, and people don't have to gauge whether I'm in my manically happy I'm-going-to-talk-so-fast-at-you-your-ears-will-bleed phase, or whether I'm going to start chewing on their fingers until they give me Haribo. Better for everyone when I'm sweetie-sober.
...And there we have it! Seriously, though. Read Confessions. It's much better!
Speaking of putting things off, I finally bit the bullet and signed up to my first full marathon. I chose the Liverpool Rock 'n' Roll marathon. Mostly because there's a band at every mile and I'll need as much distraction from the "what the fuck am I doing?!" thoughts I'm going to be having. I'm scared, confused about how I'm going to fit in CrossFit into a useable training plan that won't kill me, bewildered... but most of all, I'm excited! I cannot picture for the life of me how I'm going to manage to keep moving for upwards of five hours, but I'll certainly give it a good crack! No motion, no medal! I'll keep you updated as my training progresses. Wish me luck!
* That reminds me of another one my sister and I share. During conversations with people, we've both admitted to occasionally playing out completely inappropriate behaviour in our minds that we wouldn't dare do in reality. These mental excursions usually worsen if the conversation is a serious one. I find myself wondering things like
"If I just licked her on the nose and carried on as normal, would she react, or would she be too polite/freaked out to do anything?"
"What if I slapped him really hard for no reason? How angry would he be with me?"
These are conversations with anyone. People I love. People I barely know. I reckon (hope) most people have these funny little fantasies along the lines of what is the worst thing I could possibly do in this situation? If no, at least it seems to run in my family, so I'm not totally alone!