It’s Sunday 17th January. Deep in the midwinter, deep into lockdown v3.0. In all honesty, I’m enjoying January, it’s encouraging me to really chill, get loads of sleep and it’s teaching me to enjoy feeling slow and hibernating.
Usually weekends are about socials, for the kids and us. A full diary of meet’s. Lovely, but I didn’t realise until this January how much I crave the space and relative solitude, especially after Christmas.
Honestly, I’m having the best weekend, and we didn’t even see anyone. Maybe this means I’m a secret introvert? I always feel so excited when I look at the calendar and see free spaces, free weekends. I want to protect them, just for hanging out and being spontaneous, so for me, having weekends stretching ahead feels good.
Doing Dry January is definitely helping my mood- I’ll explain later why this isn’t the norm for me or in any way sanctimonious – but it’s been quite a revelation for me, a booze lover, because I didn’t expect it to be so easy or as much fun.
What’s not helping my mood is the schooling part. I turn up each Monday trying to think of new motivation strategies; it ain’t happening. Having both the girls do separate work in the same room just ends up as one big noise, attention fighting, distracting each other. I’m sure you know the score.
And I can’t blame them. They are trying their best. English is frankly the most boring stuff ever, and I love English. Michael Gove’s curriculum squashes all creativity. I’m sure we just read, wrote poems and stories in English at Primary school.
A whole week on a Non-Chronological report about teeth FFS?! I know it’s good to get them to do different stuff, but I’d rather just read to them, there would be less rows and I’m sure it would do them good just to get lost in some beautiful language and all its possibilities.
And Maths? I can’t even do Flora’s year 4 Maths, let alone Year 6. Thank god for calculators is all I can say.
This is why I’ve started living for the weekend.
I go to bed. It’s 10pm, Saturday night. I’ll be up early, writing, working on all kinds of stuff, because it feels right to fill up with creative projects between now and lockdown finally ending. Tiny bursts of productivity.
I’ve managed a long solo run, a long walk around the Uni here in York with Tony and the kids, 2 hot baths with candles, fairy lights and MOOSIC thanks to the extraordinary new speaker system Tony’s put in there.
I played a Wes Anderson playlist and soaked off my long run for about an hour. Heaven.
Plus we had a friend’s beautiful, home-cooked Thai food delivered so no cooking. And I did I mention no schooling? MASSIVE WINS ALL ROUND!
If you know me, you’ll know I love nothing better than watching a movie on my own. I don’t know why I like watching them alone so much; nobody to ask questions I suspect, and I can just throw myself emotionally all in. I usually cry. A lot. It’s so much more immersive than books, I find.
Maybe I should create a new slogan: Watch Movies Like Nobody’s Watching.
The movie I watched – Roma – was bloody incredible. Pure art. It’s set in Mexico City in the ‘70s and follows the lives of a domestic servant and her employer.
One of our lockdown presents to ourselves was a projector, so it feels ace to watch stuff on a fairly big screen, with the fire on AND I also ordered the most amazing mushroom bao with loads of pickles and spicy mayo, and a side of beetroot and chestnut gyoza that you really need in your life.
York friends, it was from Shori in Spark. V good.
I didn’t take a picture because I ate them fast while totally immersed in the film and drank some good Kombucha too. I’ve discovered that Kombucha is a great (temporary) replacement for booze. I drink it out of a wine glass too, so it feels more special, kind of…
If you have any tips for non-boozy stuff that isn’t boring, please let me know! I’m going to try a margarita with lime and kombucha and salt around the edges. Spiced tomato juice is always top of my list and anything spicy generally with ginger or savoury flavours.
If you’d said to me a few months ago that I’d be on my third dry weekend in a row, and not just enjoying it but loving it, despite the horrors of trying to school my kids, despite not being able to see anybody other than Tony and the kids all weekend, I’d have laughed and said yeah, right!
Well. Here we are. This is not going to be a smug-look-at-me-dry-january post. BORING! BUT, if you know me – and I hope we will get to know each other – this is quite a big deal for me. I might even keep it going until the end of lockdown.
I need to feel un-masked – not in a Covid mask kind of way – but like this is the year I need to sit and feel my feelings.
It’s six years since my mum died, seventeen since my dad died, almost fourty-five years since I was conceived on a one-night stand in South Shields and shoved in an orphanage, and four years since I finished the cancer treatment and if I’m really honest, I’ve been mostly running away for those four years.
Running away is fucking fun, especially when you go to nice places over the last few years (Thailand, Vietnam, Barcelona for two years, travelling around most of Europe in a yellow campervan for months on end).
But in all senses, running away is not possible this year. So instead I’m just going to use all the introspection and figure out who I am underneath all the shit and just be more me. Unfiltered, messy, real.
I feel sick of playing the part for other people. Of feeling like I have to be a certain way. Acting can be exhausting, even if it’s only in small amounts. I need to show my girls that the only answer is to feel good about being 100% ourselves.
Not expressing ourselves fully is way more dangerous than hiding parts of who we are, don’t you agree?
I hope you’ll join me, Big love, Ruth xx