Monthly Archives: December 2015

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It’s love, actually…

Love Actually – the modern Christmas Classic that’s right up there with Elf, Home Alone and Miracle on 34th Street at the top of my festive film repertoire. Shouting “I’m Colin Frissell and I’ve got a big KNOB” along with baby-faced Kris Marshall is as much a Yuletide tradition for me as Bucks Fizz for breakfast. (Yes, I do that. Happy hour’s all day on the 25th…)

Watching love blossom at Christmas time and rooting for the ‘guy to get the girl’ is what makes the film a firm, festive favourite, but it’s not Jamie and Aurelia, the Prime Minister and his Natalie, Rowan Atkinson and that damn sprig of lavender, little Sam and the American girl with a better voice than 2014 Mariah that makes me truly appreciate the magic of love and Christmas. It’s Sarah and Karl’s story that really resonates with me.

Apart from crying to the sound of Joni Mitchell narrating Emma Thompson’s marriage breakdown (that necklace was vile anyway!) it’s the all consuming commitment Sarah has to her brother in care that leaves me wracked with sobs and I’m drawn more and more to this heartbreaking yet inspiring story each year. The reality is, Sarah is a satellite Carer – she doesn’t live with her brother but that doesn’t stop her from feeling solely responsible for his general and emotional well-being, which is something I understand all too well.

Caring is something that has to be experienced to be understood. I can’t count how many time I screamed at my screen for Sarah to turn her phone onto silent (that ringtone though…). “Just ignore it! Have sex with Karl the Bronzed Adonis” I used to shout. But it really isn’t that easy, even when you have a half naked, perfectly toned Brazilian in your bed (not that I’ve ever had the pleasure…). You feel entirely responsible for this person that depends on you completely; they come first and, if you’re honest, you’re glad that you’re there to provide the loving care they so desperately need.

Although Christmas is generally a time to get wrapped up (badum-tish!) in magic and wonder, it’s also the perfect time to evaluate life and love, something that the Sarah and Karl story encapsulates perfectly. Life isn’t straightforward and love isn’t always found under the mistletoe at the office Christmas party; sometimes it’s right in front of you. Caring for a loved one is exhausting and exasperating, but is love at it’s purest. Most people say that the Sarah/Karl doomed love story is the saddest part of the film but, while I agree that she DEFINITELY deserved a slice of that walking caramel pie, it’s a story of realistic, true love; love between siblings that is as solid as Karl’s rockhard abs (I mean… COME ON!).

After all, there’s little ‘worse than the total agony of being in love’.

 

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It Comes in 3’s…

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I begin every single blog post with a lament to my lack of content so I’m not about to break tradition. With every post comes empty promises and an oft broken intention to fill the site with witty (sort of) and engaging (sometimes) insights but, in reality, I’m just a lackadaisical liar. I’ve never really had much willpower – last year I decided to commit to PETA’s 30 day Vegan challenge but day two had me crying into the fridge, clutching a block of cheese and by day three I had conceded and devoured a bacon sandwich as if I’d been starved for months. I felt guilty but, y’know. Bacon.

Anyway. Three years ago today I decided to start this blog in order to give people an insight into my crazy life and approximately 10 posts down the line, here we are! Seeing as it’s my blog’s 3rd birthday, I thought that actually blogging would be a GREAT way to celebrate…

Caring has taught me a lot so, in keeping with the ‘3 theme’, I thought I’d share three lessons I’ve learned, alongside three pictures of me aged three, because… why not?!

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My 3rd Birthday. I’m the one singing Happy Birthday to myself into the orange mic…

#1 Education’s everywhere…

We’re instilled with the idea that institutionalised education is one of the most important things in this life and spend years of our childhood being prepared for further education before we’re even writing in full sentences. I’d read Moby Dick by 6 and my First School teachers had my mum convinced that I’d end up as some MENSA protégé (despite the fact that, to this day, I’ve never mastered the 8 times table) but, at 20 I was a University drop out. I cite my Caring responsibilities for interfering with my studies but in hindsight I realise that it was my faculty’s lack of understanding and sympathy that forced my hand. After weeks of asking for extensions / work to complete at home on days I couldn’t attend I was met with “attend or drop out, it’s not our problem”, so I dropped out. I was beyond embarrassed but one day I sat on the sofa after setting up Katie’s afternoon NG feed up when I thought to myself “Hey! Some people go to university to learn how to do THIS stuff!” I mean, I’m not about to declare myself a self-certified doctor and start some sort of black market medical unit, but I will be forever proud of the things I learned because I was a carer. *snaps latex glove*

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Nailing my ‘go to’ pose, aged 3…

#2 What’s a martyr? Nothing, what’s-a-martyr with you?* 

I’ve often heard Carers being referred to as Martyrs and I didn’t know whether I was OK with that until I read a quote from Mark Twain: ‘martyrdom covers a multitude of sins‘.  It really resonated with me as I’ve always said that my journey as a Carer was peppered with cock-ups. I started this blog because I wanted to expose those ‘sins’ for what they are; basic human error and, often, reckless abandon as a result of physical and emotional exertion. In my opinion, putting others before yourself doesn’t make you a martyr, it just makes you a decent ‘Human Bean’ (to coin one of Katie’s brilliant phrases!).

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Yep. Nailed it…

#3 Boundaries are important…

I grew up in a very tactile, female-centric household, all ‘Girl Power’, weeing with the door open and synchronised periods, so when I became a Carer it was very easy for me to attend to personal hygiene requests and assist with mobility related issues. I have since learned, however, that although these aspects of caring were completely acceptable when I was a carer, they became totally weird when applied to everyday life; my boyfriend eventually got very annoyed with me constantly asking him if he would like to be washed and I found that it wasn’t one of my best ideas to force an old lady to ‘safely’ cross the road with me when, it transpires, she was happily waiting for the bus to the bingo hall but ended up disorientated and upset on the wrong side of the road… We live and learn, eh?

*I am not  sorry…

 

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