I am a talker. For me, a problem shared is not a problem halved, but a problem removed, gone, cast away into the atmosphere leaving me feeling half a stone lighter. Not a feeling to be sniffed at, especially during this time when I have been forced to accept the elasticated waistband into my life.
I’ve wanted to talk a lot recently – about my gran, about university and how wound up I got about my exams and wanting to finish well ahead of my planned year off and have nothing hanging over my head. Everyone around me let me blow off steam when I needed to, resulting in a happier me who consumed less cheese and spent more time ‘getting on with it’ versus sheltering underneath the dining room table. A few months ago when I was feeling particularly unwell, I was prepared to have a thorough moan to anyone who would listen about the precise number of times I was vomiting per day, but for some reason, unlike other moans, that one wasn’t allowed.
So in answer to the question, “How are you feeling?”, I would answer, “Oh, I’m fine, y’know, but I’m a bit bored of being sick all the time, I can’t shift this headache and I can’t seem to poo” (as an avid pooer, this last was exceptionally distressing to me). Friends and family aside, the response to this was unfailingly, “Yeah, but you’re having a BABY!”. I’d look a bit confused and try to explain that I knew this, was happy about it, but a bit fed up that due to carpal tunnel syndrome (which no-one ever tells you is going to happen just because you started incubating some cells in your uterus) I couldn’t do important things like unscrew jars or tie shoelaces or hold my pen or open crisps. CRISPS. They’d say, “Yeah, but shut up, you should be HAPPY! And GRATEFUL!”
As a person who possesses sufficient intelligence to grasp the twin concepts of cause and effect, I knew that all the sicky things happening to me were because I was up the duff, I was just capable of separating them. I was, and am, perfectly able to be amazingly excited at having a baby, and to simultaneously not really enjoy projectile vomiting over a period of seven hours. I do not resent this tiny human for my failure to poo, I feel only mild sadness now about the crisps that went uneaten. Get a tighter grip on your horses, you people who think all women should bounce around feeling wonderful and radiating positivity at this frankly challenging time; we do not have a ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ situation in the making.
No-one enjoys feeling unwell, or not like themselves. Everyone’s always ill on Twitter, aren’t they? Sometimes my timeline just consists of one enormous, vicious flu-like bug. But that’s okay, because when you feel crappy, someone will say something nice or funny, and you’ll feel a little bit better. Imagine if we didn’t let people have a little moan about feeling poorly?
You: “Feeling rubbish. Worst. Cold. Ever. #dying”
Me: “Yeah, but cheer up, that’s another pile of germs you’re now immune to *cheerful face*. You’ll never have that particular rhinovirus again! 😀 #staystrong”
You: “Wow. you’re a dick.”
Me: “You’re right. I’m sorry, you must feel like crap. Havealemsipputyourfeetupetcetc”
Moaning is good. Moaning is just letting off steam. A couple of my friends have been having a shitty time recently – with health problems, hating their jobs, family shit and relationship nonsense, and when we’ve talked about it, we’ve all apologised afterwards for moaning. Why do we do this? As long as it has a purpose, and you feel better afterwards, then go ahead. If you’ve reached the stage where you’re just posting sad emoticons as your Twitter status and having ‘another bad day :-(‘ every day, then maybe you might want to consider reining it in a little. Other than that though, why not? No-one is saying that our problems are particularly bad; we all know that on a relative scale, we’re doing just fine, it’s just a method of stress relief, particularly on the subjects which you can do very little about. So I hope when I whinge about something I don’t sound ungrateful, or undelighted or unblessed or whatever, because I’m not. I’m an incredibly happy person, who is supremely lucky and has a great life which I wouldn’t change anything about. If I didn’t have a moan about the things on my mind, I’d sound like Pollyanna on uppers at a seminar on Positive Mental Attitude. Which could quickly become tiresome. BLESS YOU ALL.