A wheelie good idea

Some people are proper cycle-paths; they’ll put their own arses on the line just to try and make a difference. They look at the statistics on stillbirths, miscarriages and neo-natal deaths and they say ‘on your fucking bike!’

Wondering what on earth I’m talking about now? Is the suspen-sion killing you? Well here it is: the lovely Kim and Neil , gearing themselves up for a staggering 60 mile cycle across the capital.

Kimberley Course

They’re aiming to complete the challenge in under 6 hours through the night in the hope of raising a little cash for the charity Tommy’s. Undeterred by the smog and the stuffiness of summer in the city, this pair are properly prepared. Don’t try to let the air out of their tyres coz just like a pair of professional boxers, they’ll have to puncture!

Clicking onto their charity page and donating a little won’t stop me punning like a prick, but it will do a little something for a lesser known charity and a really genuinely good cause. It also gives a voice to the voiceless and helps to break the cycle of silence that stillbirths cause. It can be hard knowing how to speak to a bereaved parent about their loss or for a bereaved parent to know how to bring the subject up without bumming everyone else out. Parents who’ve suffered something of the like will know how hard it is when people ask if you have children, or how many kids do you have and so many of us just skirt around the subject or deny our truths to avoid shocking people who barely know us.

In many cases we go from the last stages of pregnancy to an overwhelming and heart-breaking nothing. (It still to this day, 5 years on, amazes me that pregnancy results in a real life actual baby for most who go through it.) Many of us return back to work without a maternity break, weeks after giving birth, to face people who had been counting down the days with us and the whole ‘business as usual’ bollox doesn’t really cut it at times like these. It’s not their fault and it certainly isn’t ours. But charities like Tommy’s and people like Kim and Neil, help to bring up the conversation in a positive way.

They’re doing it in honour of Dylan but it would be bloody marvellous if you wanted to donate and leave a little note or dedication name of your own.

Thanks to the loveliest people I know, from both me and Dylan. x

 

 

 

Freelance: like the cat

"Thank you my Finance darlings for the beautiful orchid. Pride of place on my windowsill. She's beautiful and I'm calling her Account dot dta in your honour. @[1442721296:2048:Laura Troiano] @[100006881567982:2048:Dorka Dee] @[574746038:2048:Remi Fiddes] say thanks to the other guys for me too. I love it. X"

The fog of other people’s voices and personalities blurs you out. You’ve developed this persona, based on clichés and what other people seem to like best about you. Developing who you are based on actions that reap the most positive rewards. You learn to play nicely with the other kids and modify yourself to suit their preferences. Likability takes on new meaning now because of Facebook but in my mind, it’s always been there.

They say at 29 years old, you’re at your most popular. But walking around the place grinning and high-fiving people isn’t really living. Or so I’ve come to believe. Those people crowding around you and laughing at your jokes aren’t your friends. They’ll go as quickly as they came and you’ll realise (almost 10 years on) it really doesn’t matter nearly as much as you thought it would.

A year since flying the office nest and I’m now full-time freelance – just like my Grandma’s old cat who was bizarrely called that. To my absorbent child mind, maybe Freelance (and her son Freeway) were the seeds that bloomed into the colourful flowers I now see. And sometimes I wonder whether life isn’t just like a novel; cleverly concealed clues enclosed in my chapters. 

So I’m freelance, not just in job title but in personality too. I’ve forgiven myself mostly for my misgivings, stopped giving such a fuck what people think and started following my happiness. If I’m not as popular today as I was when I was 29 then fuck it, at least I don’t have as many Christmas cards to write and at least I can lavish my love on the long-suffering lot that deserve it the most.  

Hearing from those still on the inside, and not much changes in office life. The bitches are still bitches and the arse-licks are still licking arse. Besides a few pregnancies, it doesn’t sound as though I’ve missed much. And what I’ve gained is so valuable: the resurrection of myself before the rigmarole turned me into a reactionary puppet, torn between the principles of my personality or the pay-packet that would help me progress.

The best part is that now I spend most of my afternoons writing guilt free, without worrying Pawel from IT will grass me up for packing my PC full of fat files bursting with words that I can’t seem to stop myself putting together. I no longer need to get my kicks leaving abusive remarks in white font at the bottom of emails, telling management what I really think of them. Or fraternising with frustrating fraudsters who like to send me riddles, just to feel connected in a deeper way with daily tasks. I don’t have to hate the one I called ‘Getting ahead in advertising’ for being a cunt to women who outrank him in almost every human way. And best of all, I no longer have to suffer the insipid chatter of women who’s only source of confidence is slating everyone else. For this I am constantly and unfalteringly grateful. 

So I high-tailed it out of there, moving literally up and I realised this: 

  • moving sideways can sometimes be more rewarding than moving up
  • wearing smart shoes instead of trainers is a form of torture
  • having a woman boss isn’t always an improvement on a man
  • I’m really not at all good at keeping my mouth shut no matter how much I tell myself that I am

The fickle footholds of the financial ladder flip you back down onto your arse just as quickly as they cured your ailing accounts and before you know it, you’re back to square one. Scary though it is, both the universe and the girl with the universal soul knew kicking me out of Kingmaker House once and for all would finally force me to do the thing I have always wanted to do. Finding a soulmate who favours meaning over money, she shared her certainty in spaces reserved for doubt and sent me a ‘the sky’s the limit’ card that to this day still makes me roar with laughter.

The only things to be missed are the fuck-load of free tea, the brilliance of the bantz back at the beginning, pensions and paid leave, surprising snow days and the few genuine friendships formed through the shared drudgery of working for the man.

Eager to start work each day,  I enjoy the variety that making money remotely offers me. I love that I can work from my very own little office for a company that just wants to make kids and customers happy. I love the contacts that I have made and the lovely people who have enjoyed my writing and helped pay my bills. I love the piles of prose sent for me to whip into something suitably salesy. Essays to be edited. Words in bunches wadding out websites like keys that open a company’s door to the surge of search engine shopping frenzies. All of it, even the really shit stuff, I totally and utterly love it all.