Episode 116 – Coffee Shop Snap Shot

So I’m doing something I’ve bever done before, in continuance of my attempt to get out of my comfort zone and force myself back into the world, or maybe even into it for the first time – properly that is, on my own.

I’m sure I’m not alone in my social awkwardness. Does everyone get nervous or anxious when they go into a new place or situation on their own? I would imagine all but the most cocky amongst us do. Although I sometimes wonder if the peacocks strutting their expensively put together “I woke up like this” looks are just as terrifed of falling over their * insert trendy brand name of laptop bag here * (I won’t even pretend that I know what is the best seller in the Brown Thomas bag department seeing as I’m not a fan of handbags unless it’s my school bag). The bigger the bag I have, the more shite I end up throwing into it.

How long can you appropriately sit in a coffee shop sipping on a chai latte. My barista (ugh, I’m such a yuppie) gave it to me in a to-go cup even though I asked for it for here… Maybe that answers my own question about how long I can comfortably hang out here without, you know, being the weirdo in the corner?

What exactly is a flat white? Is that not just coffee with milk in it? I’ve just seen Oreo Milkshakes on the menu. This could end badly.

It’s very tempting to sit and just people watch and not write anything. I don’t know if I’ve always done this, I think I consciously began trying to work out the mental states of complete strangers when I got really sick over the last year: becoming more aware of my own frame of mind and how to tune in to triggers and early threatening behaviours has certainly made me silently evaluate the faces, body language and interactions of those I encounter on a passing basis. It used to make me feel unworthily and invisibly present in their world, an intruder in normality. But I’m getting passed that, slowly, now that I know for a fact that we’re all pretty much as fucked up as each other and the nervy looking middle aged woman across from me reading the big version of The Irish Times looks as if she could throw up the very resolve holding her entire being together if she doesn’t focus intently on the Business section. She’s the type of woman you’d love to do a make over on. I’d say she’s younger than my mother but she looks so primly dressed and poised that I’d say she’s never dared to venture into the costume jewellery section of any high street store for fear of her string of pearl blushing around her neck. No wedding ring; black knee length jersey dress from M&S I’d say; blazer; silk scarf with butterflies in muted blues and pink – the only dash of colour. She’s wearing old trainers, like the ones your mammy wears for her power walk in the evening with her neighbour which actually involves more examination of the listings in estate agents’ windows and Mary’s new curtains than it does cardio effort, so I’m guessing she’s on ahalf day from work and walking home. I’d love to know just how wrong I am in my ignorant assumptions.

I’ve just realised I’m humming and having caught sight of the top of my head in this modern Parisian glass enclave, I’ve also realised that I need my roots done. But they’ll have to wait till the finances balance themselves out. At least. I don’t have fine, dull greys threaded from my crown like Elizabeth. She looks like an Elizabeth. Uh oh, she’s leaving. I wonder is she cross because of what I’ve written about her? I like your Oxford satchel bag, Liz! Your hair has a lovey cut and with a bit of colour you’d knock ten years off! No, too late? Ok, she’s stormed out. Sorry. I’ll keep my presumptions to myslef in future.

It’s actually too mirrored in here. Nobody can resist catching a glimpse of themselves as they order coffees that sound like Farrow & Ball paint colours and it’s so garish that everyone looks as good as they do in a River Island Fitting Room, which is like they’ve been on a high sugar, high alcohol content cocktail binge for two weeks and weren’t bothered queueing for the showers at Electric Picnic.

There are two things dominating my thoughts at the moment, well apart from all the other stuff. And those two things I ight eventually get around to exploring when I’ve stopped daydreaming about every other customer in here.

One is that I’m starting to get my head around how damn lucky I am. Not just in terms of family, friends, our lovely little home, my fully functioning body and mind, my education and exceptional life experiences but also the positon of privilege from which I occupy my miniscule sized corner of the world. I am white; I am educated; I might be broke but I am far from living in poverty; I do not find myself statistically more at risk of violence because of my ethnicity; I do not fear for my child’s safety; I do not feel that I have been overtly discriminated against because of my gender. I feel unworthy of my luck. I feel massively ungrateful and despite my lightweight attempt at some sort of contribution to advocacy for greater discussion around rape, sexual violence and mental illness, sometimes I think I should get over myself. I am not a Syrian refugee. I am not living in a society where Female Genital Mutilation is practised; I am not forced to prostitute myself by traffickers or beg on the street of my own capital city. So, quit moaning. Why are we all so depressed? I don’t have answers for that at the moment other than modern life is quite possibly too complicated and the human brain and soul are far beyond any full comprehension even to the most renowned of neurosciencey psychiatry folk. I was raped – big deal. Lots of women are. So, I get night mares and cold sweats but that’s no excuse to not be grateful, and more importantly not to help others. But maybe thinking I can help others is in fact a symptom of the very white European middle class privilege that I have failed to appreciate.

The other thing is, and it’s been a while since I broached a risqué subject like this. In fact, I haven’t really talked about, ssssh, sex since I was well, having lots of it.

It must be school pick up time because the Barbour jackets are out in force. Oh, the unoriginality. I’m such a reverse snob. As I sit here drinking Earl Grey while typing on my Mac. #hypocrite

So, I’m heading into my third month of being birth control free. At this stage, my body seems to be regulating itself into some sort of hormonal pattern. Since I’ve been on the Pill almost consistently since I was seventeen, I really don’t know what my body’s natural rhythm is.

I’m blushing. Have I developed prudishness along with the partial regaining of my sanity? Surely not, I will continue on my mission to get people telling the truth about their lives so that we might avoid conservative fear and secrecy which inevitably leads to ignorance, stigma and ultimately, suffering.

And at the moment, I am suffering, not in an existential “Oh shit, she’s gonna crack again” kind of way for, despite my odd bad day of being supremely fucked off with the world and myself and the ongoing nightmares, I’m doing pretty well. But my hormones, specifically my reproductive hormones are way out of balance. I think. Maybe this is normal for thirty something women whose bodies are not being chemically manipualted into thinking that they’re already pregnant in order to prevent them getting knocked up. I really don’t get how that works. #biologydummy Maybe I’m ovulating: I am roughly two weeks in to my cycle but I am so damn frisky. Jesus, I hope my mother isn’t reading this. Or my American Mom. Or any of my exes (I’d say they quit it a long time ago).

I’m on a self imposed sex embargo, not that there’s huge opportunity but I’m sure if I asked, I’d receive. I absolutely love being single and I do not under any circumstances want a relationship. Of that much I’m sure. I might in fact, like to stay single forever. But there’s this one guy… And I can’t get him out of my goddamned stupid head. He’s in there all the time and when I think about him I actually start melting in the most excruciatingly delicious way. But he’s off limits for a whole host of reasons and while I really want to be around him, I don’t trust myself not to stick to my celibacy pact, witnessed and signed by Sensible Dotty. I’m like a teenager with a crush and the worst thing is that I don’t know if it’s purely a false hormonal longing, or if I actually have a genuine attraction/affection for this guy or if this is what Yoga and Pilates does to you –all that pelvic and core controlled movement could be a euphemism for something much more satisfying than finding your zen or whatever the fuck I’m supposed to get from twisting my hips into the most awkward position since I gave birth.

Anyway. I think from my intermittent sleazy smirking to myself and lingering here for two hours, one of the baristos (am I meant to make it masculine with an “o”?) might think I fancy him. Cute guy but too young, and not nearly robust enough for my current level of need.

Oh Christ, it’s going to be a long weekend of rugby.

Dotty 💋

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