When I were a girl……

When I were a girl……

That’s a phrase I would often hear when I was a kid, if ever I started to complain about something, that phrase would come out along with tales of find your way around in Manchester smog, post-war rationing, bed-sharing with older sisters and other such tales of growing up in a working class northern 50’s household. So as a result of this I have inherited a kind of Northern stoicism. I did come across a perfect statement of Facebook this morning, posted by “ATOS Miracles” which sums me up.

“Many of us survived by putting on a brave face and getting on with it. Alas the benefits system marks us down for this. We now have to splurge our pain onto forms only for it to be denied, for tribunal members to remark that we don't look as if we're in physical pain. Stoicism gets us no brownie points. It can be hard to break down our coping mechanisms and show our pains - only then to have them officially denied. Hang on, peeps, and keep on. X”

This statement is accompanied by a photo of a tweet made by Will Smith

“Never underestimate a pain of a person, because in all honesty everyone is struggling. Some people are better at hiding it than others.”

Yep, that does sum me up, I could be dying inside yet I say “I’m fine, I’m ok” I have learnt over the years that even though people will say that if you ever want anything I’ll be there. That isn’t true, they have things that they have to do, jobs, family, and you know the usual stuff. Today, I put my hand up and say, today isn’t a good day, I’m feeling pretty s***y, I still have a nasty, hacking cough that keeps us awake and makes me vomit. Yes, I have been back to my GP, yet more antibiotics and some steroids to boot. My tics have gone a bit loopy, for example there we are walking around Morrison’s and suddenly WHACK, poor Pete gets a hard thwack across the backside accompanied by a very loud “F*** OFF C***!” which attracts some attention but surprising not from Pete, the tic just throws him up slightly and he carries on regardless. This is a good reaction from him. He just potters around like a regular guy shopping despite being accompanied by a loud potty mouth with a jerky shaky head. I have also been given by my GP a card to have a chest x-ray, so if by Tuesday or Wednesday I’m still coughing my guts up I’m to get x-rayed. Easier said than done, two reasons. The first being the bad bra tics, constantly I’m twisting my torso and shoulders, rather like I’m wearing an uncomfortable bra. I tic every second that I’m awake, even holding my head for an x-ray of my jaw for my dentist for 15 seconds was extremely difficult. The second reason is getting me down somewhat, I’m suffering another attack of the plantar flasistis, that’s an inflammation of the connective tissue on my heal, it’s painful, I can’t put any weight whatsoever on my left foot, I can’t really get much further than the kitchen, it’s very painful., so it looks like I’m stuck here until it gets better, all I can do is rest, take ibroprofen and put a warm wheat pillow thingy on my foot. So it looks like no art class for me tomorrow.

I’ve also been demoted. Coming back from the vets a few days ago I found out how much my father-in-law actually knows about me. Eventually he learnt my name after a few years of calling me Kathleen. That’s just bad manners, it’s Catherine….Cath…er…rine. It annoys me also being called Cath, that’s not my name; you can either call me Catherine, or Cat. He’s only just got my surname right (I think?) after being asked questions like “Are you related to Max Moseley?” “No, even if I was I wouldn’t admit it, there’s no L in my name” This time he’s got my old job and level of education wrong. “I thought you dropped out of college?” “What college? I went to Cov Uni, I did music I got a 2:1” I don’t do dropping out of college, I don’t give up, I am the tenacious C. “I thought you were a teaching assistant?” ….”No, I was the Head of Music”. Demotion on a major scale (F major would be a good one, one flat) I feel quite insulted.

I often feel quite insulted, despite my poor memory, please remind me to note things down in my diary or to-do-list, I would like to think that I’m a fairly intelligent woman, I’m also quite a capable woman, I don’t appreciate people who on first instances of seeing me as a ticcer thinking that I’m a bit “fick” and helpless. Yes, I admit, due to my dodgy foot I do need a bit of help, this help hasn’t been forthcoming from Pete’s direction, but that’s nothing new. You don’t need to use short words when engaging in conversation with me. I think with us folk with disabilities in general people assume that we’re a bit…slow”. Admittedly all the meds I currently take can slow me down somewhat, but that’s not really me, also being stuck at home on ESA you don’t get the mental stimulation that you’d get out and about. Admittedly, I do sometimes call the TA chief exec for a natter as it gets lonely stuck here despite pottering around the village chatting to my neighbours.

Back to the stoicism issue, this can be my downfall at times as I can often struggle to be independent but as I was saying earlier whenever I did complain about something or other my Mum would start off which her “When I was your age….” Speech which often involved 4 changes of bus across Manchester, itchy hand-me-down wooly school knickers or walking 8 miles to mass on a Sunday. Often these speeches would begin to resemble the well know Monty Python (my Mother is a Monty Python fan) “Four Yorkshiremen sketch” As we got older we did joke with her and the scenarios became increasingly bizarre, “When I were a girl we used to go out with our John, our John was only a brain on a stalk and we’d carry him in our pockets so he could see out, you never heard our John complaining, he was always smiling and joking was our John” “But, if he was just a brain on a stalk how could he see over the top of your pocket?” “Don’t be cheeky you!”

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