The week that was
Our feelings are relative. Pain, sadness, happiness, excitement — emotions relate to the lives we live, the relationships we have and the past we’ve experienced. Some of us are left wing sentimentalists, some more prone to right wing beliefs that it’s better to adopt a stiff upper lip. Generally speaking. As in politics each side struggles to understand the other’s point of view. Again, generally speaking. Neither one is right, neither is wrong and criticising someone with an opposing emotional bias to you isn’t going to change, or help, either one of you.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to hear that I’m emotionally thin skinned. Crying is normal, laughing is normal. I feel everything, quite literally everything, which is both wonderful and torturous. My feelings keep me awake at night, cause me to stress at work and at home; I’m constantly asking myself “Why?”
This week has been about all the ‘feels’. Isn’t that a terrible phrase? When I first heard the song ‘Feels’ I was convinced they were singing ‘Don’t be afraid to catch fish’ — possibly a pescetarian singing to a vegetarian in a bid to encourage them to try a little seafood in their diet. I’m sure I could be a pescetarian but vegetarianism is beyond me which is weird because you’d think someone who experiences feelings so deeply would find it impossible to eat food that requires a death to take place first. I digress, as usual.
This week. A funeral, a launch event, an anniversary and an announcement — Richard Curtis film titles aren’t getting any better — all four ended in tears. The majority of them were mine.
My Uncle John died. He and his family lived next door to me and my Mum in the ’70s, after my biological Dad left us. His wife, Jean, is my (step*)Dad’s sister and that’s how he met Mum. After Mum and Dad married my neighbours became family. My friends became cousins and I went from being an only child to eventually having two sisters. My memories of Uncle John and his family are some of the fondest of my childhood — filled with noise, filled with people and filled with love. Straight talkers all of them I always envied their lives; the close bond they still share, now extended to nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great grandchildren, is evident. At the funeral I was reminded how much I miss my family and the sense of humour we have in common. We sobbed in the crematorium and we laughed at the wake. The picture below sums it up perfectly. I managed to get all the oldies together for a photo — not easy when one of them wanders off to the loo (again), several of them are in denial about their hearing and can’t hear me talking to them and — my favourite part — one of my Auntie’s friends was clearing the tables and seemed oblivious to the 9 people sat in a row smiling at the woman pointing an iPhone at them. I managed to persuade her to leave the bowl (far right) so I could take the picture and let them get back to reminiscing, and peeing.
Reg, Jean, Irene, Val, Dad, Alex, Mum, Maureen and Ken. Names you don’t hear very often now, unless you’re part of our family. Provosts, Scotts and Willmitts — in alphabetical order to prevent any bickering.
The launch event
Every year my company launches its annual research at a London event. It’s the most important date in the calendar and usually ends up with me having very little sleep during the weeks that run up to it and being ill afterwards. It was hugely successful and totally exhausting. I cried with relief, I cried with happiness and I cried with pride. I cried because I can never believe that something has truly gone well. Self-doubt is exhausting. Crying is exhausting. I’m exhausted. If only I’d had time to visit the spa at The Soho Hotel — I’m sure paying £100 to sleep on a massage table would have helped enormously. And yes, I was ill the following day.
The real tears happened here at my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary celebration yesterday. This conscious uncoupling is a nightmare. I have no idea what I’m doing some days. Why have I separated from a man I still love? One of the guests, a fantastically blunt woman who I admire hugely, asked me that very question. I struggled with an answer. I asked Will what he tells people, he joked that he tells them to ask me. The truth is we didn’t work together but that doesn’t mean we immediately work apart. It’s a long process. And a hugely difficult one. He’s still the person I want to talk to at a party. Still the one I sneak off with to bitch about something or to escape the other people because we have 25 years of history and know what the other one is thinking. I love his parents more than ever. Our daughter is without question the love of our lives. I stayed at the party as long as I could catching up with the many friends and family I’ve come to know since Will and I got together in 1991. As I said I’d been ill the day before — after the launch event — and I was still feeling under the weather. Add to that the emotion of no longer feeling I belong but still being welcomed with open arms and it was all too much to bear. I said my goodbyes, drove away from the house, and cried like a newborn in the lane on the way out of the village. It was a joyful day tinged with sadness and as much as I will always be part of their lives it hurts profoundly to think it will never be quite the same**.
We have a new Dr!
‘Doctor Who?’ you may ask.
It’s an old joke but we’ve all told it at some point.
The tension was palpable on Twitter. Non-tennis lovers were forced to watch the Wimbledon men’s final because they were desperate to find out who’d be Doctor number 13 (it was being announced once the final was finished). Tipped to be in the running were Kris Marshall, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Michaela Coel, Tilda Swinton and David Harewood but a beautiful short film revealed the next person holding the key to the Tardis will be Jodie Whittaker. A woman. A woman is the next doctor! I was overwhelmed. I cried. I cried real tears — streaming down my face — because although I’d hoped it would happen I’d felt the disappointment before. I laughed at the ridiculous comments from (mainly) men who were outraged that Jodie had been cast. Telling the internet that they definitely wouldn’t be watching the series anymore — who cares? — and that Chris Chibnall had ‘killed’ the doctor. Seriously? Some people (mainly men) still think that a fictional, time travelling doctor, with two hearts, from another planet can’t be played by a woman. Think again, dickheads. Your outrage has put a smile on my tear-stained face and I’m delighting in your disgust. Sometimes a thin emotional skin is totally worth it. As Scarlett O’Hara (another kick ass woman) said, ‘Tomorrow is another day’ and there’s no time for crying***.
*I’m only using the ‘step’ word because otherwise you might think I’m talking about my biological Dad and I’m most definitely not. My real Dad came into my life after I was born. Stepped up and never looked back.
**What a fucking drama queen… Me. Not Jodie. She is a Queen of drama though.
***She didn’t say the ‘no time for crying’ bit but she definitely thought it…