21

I guess there’s no way around this…I have aged. It has happened. I got through another birthday. Five days ago. It’s taken a while to pick back up. Been feeling very overwhelmed with Life and World and People.

Apologies for being quiet for a few days. I’m currently cruising at a level of 18 unread emails and 24 unread facebook messages. Communication is something of an obstacle at the moment. I love every message I get but it takes a horrendous amount of energy and cognitive ability to wheedle any sort of reply out of my contrary brain. Simultaneously I find myself craving human contact and wishing for somebody to message me but as soon as anybody does it is too much and I cannot respond. So, apologies. Those of you who know me in real life will be painfully aware of this. I can only apologise. I’m working on it.

Anyway. Day. Day of birth. Birthday. April the onety-oneth. Anniversary of my expulsion from the womb. Yes.

It was a really, really nice day. Got up early and baked a batch of cheese and olive scones (I should probably set up a separate blog for baking…) for a cheeky picnic in the park with a group of college buddies. They are all spectacular characters. A brief overview:

  • Sarah – the pack leader, and my alternate self. Sarah is everything I didn’t know was missing from my life until I met her at the first interview for my current college course. She spoke briefly to the lady doing admissions and I overheard some things they talked about (I’m a real culprit of accidental eavesdropping!) and I knew from that instant that she was a supernova. The strongest. The kindest. The bestest. She has made a whole new person, who is currently very small, but a very big deal, and I am proud of her every day. She helps me be a person too, on the days when I feel like an alien lizard who does not belong on this planet. She has experience of much of the same stuff that I have, and she always knows exactly the right thing to say. (And she sings. Like, come on. The cherry on the cake. Except her voice is deeper and more robust than a cherry…maybe it’s closer to the gooey treacle traybake you eat by a bonfire in a field on a cold night, and it’s a clear sky except for approx. 2 aesthetically pleasing clouds, and you’re wrapped up in a blanket and you’re aware of the stars but not in an intimidating cosmic way, in a comforting cosmic way, and if zen is an emotion then you feel zen. That’s Sarah’s voice.) Oh and she’s really photogenic. I haven’t asked permission so I won’t post a photo but good golly she’s gorgeous. Trust me on this.
  • Chloe – Australian, but that’s not the most interesting thing about her. Chloe’s past is a bit of a mystery and I think it’s on the agenda for discussion at the next slumber party/movie night. (‘Next’ here meaning ‘first’. We keep meaning to make it happen. It will happen.) She’s talked about slivers of her story, and the more she talks, the more I realise we have in common. Chloe is one of very few people who I feel completely safe and able to be myself around, and one of Even Fewer people who I don’t get anxious around when it’s just me and her. We always find ways to fill the silence, talking about shows we’re going to write, how ridiculous college is, Norse mythology, baking, and sharing the same dialect of panicked chortling whenever anyone talks about the future. (We don’t know!!1! We have no idea!!!!1!!!! But it might be fine!!??!??!!! Hahahhahhaha) I love her dearly and we will have a beautiful wedding with no gender roles for anybody. *skips and flings rose petals*
  • Ay-ayron – spectacular. Hilarious. Runs like the love-child of Jack Sparrow and a giraffe. Manages to make extremely uncomfortable-looking positions look comfortable, like how cats can fall asleep on spiky fences. Ay-ayron is the secret ingredient, the final dash in a social concoction to make it Good. Ay-ayron is social MSG without all the health risks. To be honest I treasure every second of his company.
  • Tom – bless him.

So this was the unruly gang that ended up spending many delightful hours sprawled on a picnic blanket [thanks Sarah] [the blanket had deer on] [the deer had antlers], munching through a formidable spread of snacks and cider. Much music was shared, an eclectic playlist going from Childish Gambino to musical theatre to a song that just said the word ‘sun’ (or ‘son’) for a few minutes. Shoes were optional. We all put flowers in our hair. (Ay-ayron’s hair can fit a lot of flowers in it.) It was really nice.

Sarah got me knitting needles and wool and Ay-ayron got me a card, and it was okay. From them in particular it was okay. They get it. Sarah said, ‘2day is ur birthday n I love u so therefore I love today = logic’. Somehow, the simplicity of that logic confounded the part of my brain that defaults to overthinking, nitpicking and debilitating over-analysis, meaning that I could not find an escape clause. ‘n I love u’…where, wh- how..’so therefore I love today’ where even Is your argument ‘=logic’ …well. Damn. I hate it when you use science against me. (I love you when you use science against me.) (Thank you for making me feel like a valued person.)

Time, personified on that day as a mischievous leprechaun, leapt chaotically around the trees and bushes and flowers and streams and kept us in giggling, tipsy pursuit, before nestling down in its rightful place on my lock screen. Six o clock. Shit. Gotta catch the show this evening. (The theatre group I used to be a part of, and would like to rejoin, were performing High School Musical. It was the first show I did with them seven years ago so my sentimental side had instructed me to go, mostly to support the group, but partly to satiate my nostalgia.) ‘We’re gonna have to make a move,’ I said with my mouth. ‘I don’t want this day to end and I want to hang out with you guys for ever and keep this feeling for longer because you’ve reminded me that it isn’t all darkness and that good days can exist for me but I don’t have good days by myself I need to be with you because you make me better,’ I said with my mind. Unfortunately my mouth was louder. We piled into Sarah’s car.

I begrudgingly exited the vehicle in a lay-by on the side of the A3, as it was apparently the most convenient pickup point for Josh. We waited for a couple of minutes. Sarah had another scone. (I like it when people like my baking. I was pretty darn proud of those scones.) Ay-ayron gave me a hug. I thanked them profusely and I did not thank them enough. Their adventure continued to the beach which I am sad to have missed out on.

My evening was spent at the theatre, sunburned and overwhelmed, my emotional engine revving after a wonderful but tiring day. I hadn’t had a coffee for nine hours when we sat down. I was flagging.

The show was great but I coped the only way I could – by activating Customer Service Mode, aka Forcefully Up Bailey. I grinned. Clapped. Pretended to be shocked by the storyline, pretended to be seeing it for the first time. Cheered the loudest. Mouthed along to the words and ghosted the choreography (which was mostly the same as what we did last time – once learned, choreography is surprisingly hard to forget). When it was done, I made a point to congratulate every single person who came up to me. (A lot of people came up to me. I was pleased by this. Having acted as their musical director for a while, it prodded my slumbering self-esteem to see that they still come to me for feedback. ‘Feedback’ here meaning ‘praise’.) Everyone was fantastic, and I am so proud, but goodness gracious I was so tired.

One kid was hilarious. It was a young’un – I’d guess age seven or eight – and I hadn’t seen her before, and I’d just finished a long conversation with Ellie about how far she’s come, how much she’s grown as a performer, and how over-the-moon I am that she’s playing Maureen in Rent. (It’s funny because Maureen sings a song called ‘over the moon’…yeah? No? Okay.) Then this little girl appeared behind me, tapped my hand, and said ‘Excuse me…who are you?’

Laughter.

I smiled. ‘Well,’ I said.

‘Jesus Christ how are you going to deal with this,’ I thought.

‘Well,’ I said, ‘I was part of this group for six years. That’s quite a long time. I had to leave recently do other stuff, boring real-life type stuff, but I miss everybody, and I’d very much like to come back now if that’s okay with all of you?’

The kid nodded and grinned an approving grin. We shook hands. The surrounding herd of small people seemed satisfied with the proceedings and scurried off to their parents.

It was nice though. I hadn’t seen a lot of the group for several months – a year/some years, in some cases. They’re doing so well. I felt separate, but interested, like the first wolf to investigate human camps with companionable intentions.

*sniffs at the bins* hello? Friends? *wags tail hopefully*

We’ll see. I’d like to go back. I miss dancing.

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