Category Archives: Life After Caring

Big girls don’t cry…

Greetings from outer space! No, of course I’m not in space although considering my distinct lack of presence in the blogoshpere, you’d think I’d been rocketed to the moon. (Yeah, ‘blogosphere’ is a real word in Internet Land, keep up.)

I am really shit at the blog game, I know. I feel bad asking you to read my drivel because I’ve neglected you for six months but I’ve got a feeling that you’re going to scan this for a load of swear words, a joke about vaginas and when you find them we’ll be cool again…

So Happy New Year, eh? 2013 has advanced without any real incident. Wait, I tell a lie, I spilled piping hot gravy onto my lap in February… I’ve never had a burn quite like it. It gave a doubly literal meaning to the term ‘fire crotch’. (I’m a natural redhead, work it out…) Vagina joke = nailed:

I also moved in with my boyfriend, Adam! I am now a fully fledged adult because we have our own home!! The most exciting set of keys ever:

Because I’m an actual grown up, I now magically have the remarkable amount of willpower required to fill a wine glass that can hold a pint of generic liquid (alright, wine…) only a quarter of the way full! AND I can take small sips so that a bottle actually lasts me for… well, a while. A miracle:

Another plus side to being a grown up in your own home is that you can do pretty much whatever you want. Within the realms of the law, obviously. I’m talking; sit around in your pants, yell obscenities at the news, eat a whole packet of digestives (cos they’re grown up biscuits), be naked… I was going to label the latter; ‘as long as your neighbours can’t see you’, but I found out that the trees outside my living room window aren’t as dense as I thought and I still do it anyway. Mind you, from the waist up I may as well be a boy, so every cloud…

Being all mature does have rocky patches though. You don’t realise how much maths you have to do! I went through huge pressures at school thinking that the adult world revolved around graphs, algebra equations, I had issues with x’s before I’d even had a boyfriend…

Then when you’re in your late teens some messiah at college tells you; ‘ah you don’t really need to use any of it in the ‘real world’, just fuck maths off’. SO relieved! I threw all of my notes away but kept my scientific calculator cos it was a bit expensive, in protest I just wrote ‘fuck off’ on it. Anyway, adulthood rolls around and WHAT THE FUCK IS ALL OF THIS MATHS?! I’m budgeting for bills, calculating alcohol percentages etc. and I still haven’t a sodding clue. I use my fingers and toes to count, my iPhone calculator is a lifeline (even when I’m just turning it upside down so that 58008 reads ‘BOOBS’.) and all the only algebra I can use is ‘y’. Y the hell didn’t someone warn me that you need a MENSA brain to remember all the drivel you learned at GCSE in order to calculate how much you have left to spend on wine once you’ve paid your Council Tax. That joke was pants. Sorry, but I really fucking hate maths.

Another Adult Peeve is that I can no longer take a leisurely stroll around Asda, adding things to my trolley just because I fancy them. I have a list and when you’re a grown up, you stick to your shopping list; I’m in and out like a grocery ninja. I have no time for those insufferable people who stand in the middle of the tinned veg aisle debating whether Heinz is tastier than Smart Price. I’ve got serious shit to buy; like washing powder, bleach, Glade Touch and Fresh refills and olives. We both hate olives, but you have to have them in your grown up fridge so that when people come round for a social tipple, you can offer them. It’s a subtle way of telling people that you’re sophisticated and you’ve got your shit together. Unless you accidentally eat one and pull this face:

I feel so weird admitting to being overwhelmed by adulthood. I’ve been a carer since I was 16 and have barely flinched at some of the Herculean tasks I’ve had to take on (you’re familiar with my ‘picking up accidental shit’ work…) but suddenly I’m panicking about everything. When you’re a carer, you’re faced with responsibilities that test every fibre of your being and the only way through is by acting on Auto Pilot – everything is scheduled so you don’t have time to forget the important things. Now that I’m living somewhere I don’t have to adhere to a strict timetable, I procrastinate like a BITCH! I love running my own home so my thoughts are constrained to finding new ways to test my domestic goddessry: ‘Find out why your washing never smells the same as your mums, despite using exactly the same powder and fabric softener; Google an impressive meringue recipe; Clean the oven. Properly; Find a way to insert a Glade Touch and Fresh refill without using every swearword you’ve ever heard; Learn to spell meringue;’ etc.

I often call on my caring experiences to get through day to day tasks but I really need to learn that you can actually set up a direct debit without simultaneously aspirating an NG tube, etc. As a carer, I automatically assumed that everything about adulthood would be fucking hard. But, apart from your boyfriend in the morning, it’s not. It really is as difficult as you make it. The only issue is the responsibility of living up to expectations posed by becoming a grown up. People think that because I’ve been ‘older than my years’ for such a long time, I’m going to adapt quickly but the reality is that it all gets a bit too much sometimes. I often give into my inner child by feeding it kid’s honey cereal in a vain attempt to assuage the pressure. I suppose I’ll have to stand up and take it on the chin otherwise I’m going to live the rest of my life riding on the crest of a permanent sugar rush…

I love this cereal:

But adult rules dictate that you have to start taking care of your colon health and eat this cereal:

In my original blog biography I mentioned that I’d attempt to share some fucked up wisdom with you, so here it is; if , like me, you’re living in a beautiful home with someone you love – chill out, we’re lucky! It’s so easy to get bogged down with material compulsions that we often forget what it is we’re living for. In laymen’s, find some clarity. If you can’t find that then find the alcoholic beverage of your choice. Clarity will come. ;)

Cheers…

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Let’s get serious…

Alright?

It’s been incredibly quiet from my end for quite a while, I apologise. I don’t know how I’ve managed it seeing as how I’m an incorrigible chatterbox.

A lot has happened during my hiatus. Hiatus. I sound like I’ve been in rehab. (I haven’t, by the way, so no snidey comments about how I couldn’t blog because I’ve not been on the sauce…) I’m going to hold back on a few details because they’re not really any of your business. They must be pretty heavy topics seeing as how I’ve shared incredibly intimate subjects with you during the life of this blog. I will share this with you though; I’m not a carer any more. Gasp. Certain events transpired that have rendered me almost obsolete and that’s as much as I’ll say for now.

Oh. I’ve got a boyfriend. He’s very handsome, look:

His name’s Adam, we’ve been together for 11 months and I love him :) I don’t know how I managed to keep that one quiet either. I’m a changed person! Again, no rehab quips…

Another exciting thing that has happened to me is that I have been honoured with the appointment of National Ambassador at Carers UK! Remember in my last post about 50 years ago, I said I’d had a surprise through the post? Well, that surprise was a lovely letter asking me if I’d consider the post of Ambassador as a thanks for all the work I’ve done for the charity. How exciting! So far I have attended a Parliamentary reception, given a speech at the Carers UK Founding Members’ lunch at Lambeth Palace, spoken on the panel at the Carers Summit and have lots of equally important events lined up that require my speaking talents. Good job really seeing as I’m rather loquacious… ;)

It does mean that I should now be doing less of this:

And more of this:

Paul Burstow MP (Minister for Care) and I in Parliament – June 2012
 Making my speech at the Mary Webster event at Lambeth Palace – October 2012
 Beautiful Lambeth Palace – yes, they did let me in!
 So. Back to my de-carer procedure. Sounds kinda painful and my goodness it has been! It’s been a complete roller-coaster. I’m now in limbo between the Carers World and the Real World. There are a few of you that would argue that caring really is part of the ‘real world'; seeing that it delivers constant, harsh doses of reality along with regular kicks to the crotch, but I’ve found it to be more of a microcosm, a bubble if you will. You’re so wrapped up in something that you tend to block out the outside world and ‘the future’ is something you dread thinking about. You’d think that your life would reach a plateau of calm outside this bubble but it really doesn’t. You’ve spent so long thinking about somebody else that you tend not to pay much attention to your own life; your life outside of caring and what you’d do with it once you’re back on the scene. I feel as though the Carers World has politely asked me to leave but the Real World is being that bitch who won’t invite me to the party.

“But I like to party!”

I now have absolutely no sense of identity. Most carers feel the same kind self loss during caring; the feeling of being just another slave to the government, but now I’m not a carer, I feel like I’ve been kicked out of the Carers Club. Even carers on the Carers forum I’m part of don’t want to know. I went on to introduce myself and nobody will speak to me; maybe because they can no longer empathise with me. I feel like a leper. Just to validate my existence I’m now referring to myself as ‘a former carer’ or ‘Amy, Formally Known As A Carer’, like Prince only with less plastic surgery and a deeper voice.
I’m also now known as a job hunter. I like to use the word ‘hunter’ because that’s exactly what you need to do. Hunt to survive. Weekly visits the Jobcentre have inevitably ensued (cringe) and now I’m no longer viewed as do-gooder statistic, but as a skid-mark in the underpants of society. I’m sorry Mr Government but you need to learn how to wipe your arse properly (Refer to my previous posts. I could help you out.) because no one will employ me. I have “too big a gap” in my employment history. Oh, I’m sorry…I didn’t realise that 24/7 caring isn’t a work substitute. Silly me, thinking that administrative skills, excellent telephone manner, advanced and specialised vocabulary gained through my carers role could possibly be applied in the workplace. Yes, you should definitely ignore the fact that I’ve met the Prime Minister, spoken confidently in Parliament and at Lambeth Palace and have an aura of general brilliance. I’ll just go and munch on some mothballs in The British Heart Foundation shop and let you call it work experience because I clearly haven’t got any…

Yes, I name drop Dave Cameron on my CV…

I’ve always had a reputation of being a little dippy (I once thought that Milan was in China because it sounds like Mulan and the other day I managed to sew my hair into my trousers. Don’t ask..) but I have absolutely no idea why I’m so unemployable? I’ve got good qualifications, even better life skills and I’m the bloody Ambassador of a UK charity for goodness sake! What more do they want? For me to pull a bunch of flowers out of my hoo-hah whilst singing the National Anthem? Because I could try…

Would you employ this face? I’m even wearing my Carers UK badge!

The badge!

This is why I have created a petition to ensure that skills gained through caring are recognised by employers as and when they apply to a role. It’s a serious, well worded petition with no swearing. You can have a look HERE. Read it, sign it, share it. Anybody could become a carer, at any point in their lives. You don’t have any warning and you certainly don’t ask for the sodding responsibility that comes with it. It’s a hard task but even harder is the struggle you face getting back on your feet after caring – for whatever reason you leave the ‘profession’. And it is a profession, we’re good at what we do. Did. Might do. If I can do just one small thing to help people post caring get back into work, then this is it. I don’t want you to have to go to the jobcentre all the bloody time because it’s a no good hole that smells like weed, desperation and Paris Hilton perfume.
To summarise, I have absolutely no idea in which direction my life is going but I’m 23, the world is my oyster and I’m the pearl. A grain of sand that’s been spat on so many times that you have no choice but to shine yourself up and screech to the world: “Crack open this shell; I may not be gold but damn, I’m valuable”.
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