In the battle against anxiety, and the struggle for purpose, you find yourself picking up new weapons for combat. And then, ummm, putting them down again. Let’s call them phases, because let’s face it, everything is just a phase. Like…
The jam-making phase
This summer though you have been strangely struck by NATURE and the berry abundance and have become a jamaniac. You have boiled and stirred like a motherfucker. You are so proud. Too proud? Last week, instead of an invoice, you sent a picture of your jam hoard “accidentally on purpose”. It’s all Insta-jam on your social media platform. You never want to see a blackberry again. Neither do the friends to whom you keep generously handing out jars.
The cross-stitching phase
You’ve tried meditation, oh have you tried meditation. But, try as you might, it is just too hard to sit down for 20 minutes straight without having a mini nervous breakdown because of all the thoughts in your head. So you are attempting calm. In the form of cross-stitching. You are cross-stitching a feminist cushion. You’ve got as far as ‘Equa..’ and you are beginning to wonder if cross-stitching in fact fuelled the feminist fight because they were so desperate to put the damn thing down and go out to work instead.
The eco-fanaticism phase
One brush with Extinction Rebellion and you are SOLD. You must save the planet. You decide to jump in at the deep end (because it is IMPORTANT) and abandon all cleaning products. And washing. Everything smells and is crusty. Including you. And there are many, many fruit flies buzzing all the time. Your anxiety is at an all-time high which is compounded by isolation because you have become such a judgemental bore. But it’s so important. The earth is on fire. You have rarely felt worse.
The self-help phase
You raid the self-help shelves, you sit in bed with more non-fiction than is legal. You scribble and ring in red everything that chimes with you, and it feels like you are annotating your soul. You immediately forget everything that touched you so deeply and hope no one will ever look through your shelf of shame. Is it OK to burn books?
The supplements phase
Skin inflammation caused by leaky gut needs probiotics, tiredness must be caused by iron-deficiency so massive iron tablets on prescription, in general need more vitamin E, D, C, A, Calcium for peri-menopausal bones, extra womany vitamins for extra womany-ness, Valium for sleep (Narrator: Valium is not a supplement). You cannot remember what is doing what for what for what and if any of it is helping but you cannot risk stopping anything just in case. You rattle in the morning and nearly die from choking on a daily basis because you forget that you can’t take them all at once. And perhaps not with wine. This is an expensive phase.
The sex toy phase
In an orgy of late-night internet shopping you order a selection of sex toys of varying sizes and uses. When they arrive you are too embarrassed to use them, not because they are sex toys but because you simply cannot work out what they are supposed to do and you cannot bear to make things awkward. More awkward. So they collect dust. Like everything else.
The vegan-ish phase
Alongside your eco-worrying, there is your desire to be more plant-based. Vegan even. Except. Bacon.
The COS phase
There was that moment of exquisite relief when you found COS and finally felt as if you discovered the secret of dress success. A work uniform. You embraced pleats and asymmetry and shirts attached to jumpers all in a palette of grey, white, green and navy. Then you looked around and everyone else had got the COS memo. Suddenly we were all looking like a terrifying army of lady architects or art gallerists. And it all felt a bit un-fun.
The caffeine-free phase
Remember when you gave up caffeine. HA HAH HAHAHHHAHAAAAAAAARGH.