The strange in the familiar and the familiar in the strange

I’m starting this at 2.25am. Totally a good idea.

I need to sleep, but I don’t want to go to bed. I need to talk. I have too much to say and if I go to sleep then I’ll lose these thoughts along with all the others and I might miss something important.

Every night, until I fall apart. Repeat.

My sleeping pattern screwed up considerably when I dropped out of school. The new-found level of inactivity combined with no need to get up early meant that within a year I started sleeping from 4am to around 1pm. What was the point of getting up early? All my friends were at school until half 3.

I also started drinking coffee when I was 13. Sometimes I needed to stay up all night if I had to get the first train to London so I had a kettle in my bedroom and I used to make myself cups of black coffee throughout the night.

This is definitely where the problem started.

When I left home, I had to get a job. In fact, because I was only 16 and there was no minimum wage, I had to get two jobs. I was exhausted. I lived on cigarettes, caffeine pills, energy drinks and alcohol. People noticed that I didn’t eat. I was too fucking poor to eat. I needed the last of my money for caffeine, cigarettes and booze. I got a boyfriend who shared his weed, and I started to eat a bit more. I started to sleep a bit more.

I lived in Nottingham for three years and I barely remember it. I kind of imagine this is similar to what other people experience when they go away to university, except I didn’t learn anything.

Then I moved home. I was only supposed to go back for the summer but because I had taken a shine to turning bridges into flaming wrecks I didn’t actually have anywhere to return to if I decided to go back to Nottingham. So I stayed at home, and it was probably for the best because my grandad suddenly got really ill.

I have a phobia of blood. It’s the most useless of all the phobias and I can’t control it at all. Vasovagal syncope knocks me to the floor and even if it doesn’t get that far, I still get tunnel vision and tinnitus and cold sweat and heart butterflies. It doesn’t matter whose blood it is, I will still react in the same way… unless the wounds are self-inflicted. I have no idea why that is. I’m not about to tread back down that sorry path to find out. I just find that a bit strange.

I won’t go into detail about what happened, because it’s 2.50am and I don’t want to faint because no one will find me for ages. But let’s just say that giving old people aspirin and warfarin during a heatwave is really REALLY bad.

So my grandad went to hospital and I stayed at home and, for the first time, I started looking after my nan. She’d had strep throat as a kid, which turned into rheumatic fever, which damaged her heart valves. She had open-heart surgery in 2000, so three years prior, and when she sat near you in her nightgown you could hear the mechanical valves ticking in her chest. I will never forget that sound.

In a rehearsal for dark times yet to come, I immediately failed at my attempt as a carer. I didn’t sleep until 4am, I had to get up around 6am, and I didn’t get a day off. I couldn’t do it.

One day, my dad came over. There were two beds in my bedroom back then, because my mum and I used to have to share a room back in the days when I was tiny and she hadn’t yet abandoned me like someone who realised they didn’t want a cat once it stopped being a kitten. My friend was there, and he gave us both speed. My friend went home, creeped out at my dad hitting on her, and he slept in the spare bed while I lay in the dark, with a tingly scalp, playing Snake on my phone.

And suddenly, I was fucking awesome at being a carer!

A conversation my mother was having, overheard by chance, meant that I soon discovered the joys of ephedrine, and although I’m sure the pharmacist knew I was using Chesteze to get as high as a kite to keep my momentum going, this was before it was outlawed so he could never really say no to me.

The side effects of ephedrine and amphetamines are insomnia, anorexia and anxiety. In exchange for this assault on my body, I thought I bought myself some extra time.

I really, really hope I can I trust you. With everything.
Now I’ll find a notebook for all my stupid unoriginal late-night ideas and then I’ll ruin that too. I can’t compete. I wish I hadn’t uttered a word.

3.25am and however many mistakes.

3 thoughts on “The strange in the familiar and the familiar in the strange

  1. Your Dad hit on your young friend? I have a friend with a Dad just like that. Anywho, my drug of choice has always been coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy alcohol but I have never had an addiction to it. Coffee is something I love and quite often I drink black. Still I love it in any form, and I just finished drinking some, and making cocoa coffee for tomorrow morning so I have something cold and delicious to beat the heat tomorrow morning.

    Black is still my favorite way to drink coffee though. I find it an odd tale but I am going to tell you a brief one now anyways. I used to despise the taste of coffee! I couldn’t stand it! I absolutely always loved (and still do) the smell of coffee but I never liked the taste.

    I’m not sure what changed besides my taste buds, but one day I tried coffee again and now I’m an addict! It used to drive me mad back when I didn’t like the taste because I loved the aroma. So I’d be that smells so heavenly, and then be like shit! Why does it taste like shit! Xp

    Now though I drink coffee and I think it quite possibly is a tastegasm. Seriously, it is like making sweet or bitter love depending on the brew, to a very passionate partner and always you want to come back! You have to, the experience was so amazing. The taste of their kiss on your lips is transcendent!

    Yeah, coffee is like that for me now.

    I never knew my grandfather on my Mom’s side. Just disappeared mysteriously sometime before I was born. He apparently loved my grandmother (may her soul rest peacefully) quite a ton. Never really solved the mystery of his disappearance.

    It threw my mom and I think still does today. She still searches for him. I think you have lived quite a bit more than you give yourself credit for. I think most people are that way though. I find myself thinking I haven’t lived all that much, then you think back and realize you have survived quite a bit.

    I’ve been electrocuted I don’t know how many times. I think once on an electric fence while playing tag, I was struck by lightning, I had a few lovely turns with an outlet or two, and then I think, well that is just the times I’ve been electrocuted. It doesn’t include NDE’s from things like getting sick and almost dying on my 15th birthday (Happy Birthday To Me!), or any number of other things. I’m not sure what sick joke present that was but I look back with the same morbid sense of humor I always have had and laugh about it now.

    Compared to all of that, I’d say you have lived quite a bit more! Xp

    Give yourself more credit.

    Cheers! 🙂

    1. She was 21, I think. So not super young, but young enough. He’s a lonely guy, and I don’t think he meant it completely seriously, but it was still enough to creep her out.

      Ha, I was actually the total opposite – I loved coffee, and would drink it constantly (unless I was taking speed because… well, my heart wouldn’t be able to take it) but when I got pregnant I suddenly couldn’t drink it. I didn’t have lots of weird cravings (just raw red onions) but for some reason I couldn’t physically stomach coffee anymore. Even now, I have to have it a lot sweeter than I used to. Very sad.

      And that’s sad about your grandfather. I hope one day you get an answer for why he disappeared (if you want one, that is.)

      Well… unless you count the time I walked into the electric fence at work or the amount of static that seems to build up around me, I’ve never been properly electrocuted… and you’ve been struck by fucking lightning?! Bloody hell. I think the closest I’ve come to dying was during childbirth, but even then I wasn’t that close. What did you get sick with?

      Haha, you’ve definitely lived – trust me! And I will try to stop being such a downer about myself 🙂

      1. Good on you for not taking coffee with speed. People don’t always think that one out. Also I’m super happy to hear you will at least try not to be as down on yourself. ^_^

        I’m not sure what I was sick with. It was just a terribly bad fever and the want to vomit but not being able to. Looking back on it, I’m pretty sure that was when I stopped caring about making a big deal out of my birthday! Xp I remember collapsing on my best friends floor listening to AFI. The irony didn’t escape me even then. I had a ridiculous fever. I remember seeing someone I’ve quite often seen at certain points in my life. I remember them smiling and saying it wasn’t my time yet. I remember her winking.

        Then it was the next day at about 4 in the morning and I wake up coughing heavily and then vomiting everywhere. I felt bad for my best friend. Although I vaguely remember him asking me if I was okay in a semi mocking way. Dude was like that, and shares my morbid sense of humor.

        He was laughing like the entire time I threw up. I don’t know why, but he found it hilarious that I finally threw up. Anyways, enough vomit talk. Sorry about that.

        Yes, I have been struck by lightning. It was on my way to the bus (2nd grade). It was in the morning, the bus stopped, I remember it raining heavily and then the hairs on my body standing up and a bright light while I was walking to cross the street. Then it was pretty blank after that. I saw her the first time then. A pale skinned, blue eyed beauty. That is for another time though, and not here. ^_^ Nice chatting again. Cheers! 😉

Leave a Reply