The questions for this week’s TMI Tuesday are really pertinent to me at the moment, personally and professionally.

  1. What do you need to learn but won’t admit to?

I think, probably, that I don’t have to do everything and be there for everyone all the time. And that I shouldn’t feel guilty for putting my needs first sometimes, especially when not doing so adversely affects my mental health.

Um… and probably that masturbating in the shower right before needing to go to a meeting creates a high probability that I will miss my bus. I really should learnt that. Doesn’t seem to stick in my head, though! Don’t know why…

  1. If you could erase one event from your life, which one would you choose? Briefly describe the event, tell us why you would erase it.

 This one is interesting. At first glance, I thought I would pick an unpleasant one from recent years. But then I realised, without that bad experience, I wouldn’t be where I am now, with those who matter most to me, and neither would I be the person I am (whether that’s such a perk, there are others who might have more to say on it than me!).

The event I’ve chosen is one which happened when I was seventeen, and which has impacted my life in many ways. Three weeks after my dad got a brand new car, I went out in it for my first ever driving lesson. All was fine in the morning – of April 1st. Yes, seriously, April Fools’ Day. It wasn’t so fine in the afternoon, however, when I missed a humpback bridge, managed to put my foot between the brake and the accelerator, take out a fence and completely total my dad’s new car, concertinaing it on its end in a dyke. And nearly killing my mum in the process. It was pretty terrifying, ending up in hospital where my mum had to be put back together again, followed by an interrogation by the police.

The worst of it was that no one, ever, has blamed me. Except me. I blame me (and this kind of links to the bonus question at the end). And because of that self-blame, guilt, and utter terror, I don’t drive. I can – it took me six months to get back in a car and I passed my test first time. But the fear that I’m going to ruin someone else’s life is enough to stop me from getting behind the wheel. It’s been inhibiting and inconvenient in a practical sense, and it goes on being so. But I’m not prepared to risk going through that again. And so, to those people who tell me just to get in a car again and drive, unless you’ve almost killed someone you love, and you carry around that guilt and terror, please don’t ask me to do it. Because I won’t. And you can’t possibly begin to understand why.

Well, that was nice and maudlin, wasn’t it?!

  1. Who drains your energy, and why do you let it happen?

Anyone else have a dog who makes you feel as if you’ve done a day’s work by 8am? I look after him all day, every day. As a puppy, he ruined everything, including my clothes, my flesh and my nerves. I’ve spent almost eight years living in the back two rooms of the house from the moment I get up until the dog goes to bed, because he can rarely be trusted to go into other rooms without damaging and destroying – or just plain eating – pretty much anything. It’s rare that anyone else offers to swap with me. The moment I sit down to work, he wants to go out. The moment I sit back down to work, he starts to bark. And bark. And would still be barking when every other living creature shut up three hours ago if I didn’t jump up and fetch him back in. Every time I’m on the phone he barks (if I was in telesales, I’d get the sack!). And so it goes on… and on… But I put up with it because I love him to pieces – and because he’s my daughter’s dog. He knows who to come to for a cuddle, though! I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be living with him, due to personal circumstances. I’m going to miss him, even though he’s a bloody nuisance.

  1. Do your practice ‘self-love’ or ‘self-loathing’?

Anyone who knows me at all well would immediately say that I practise ‘self-loathing’. I’ve never been one to love myself. I was ambivalent to myself as a young child, which grew into something more akin to disgust on a deeply personal level. So ‘love’ is what I give to other people, what I have for those who stay, even when I hate myself.

Unless, of course, ‘self-love’ fits in with my answer to question 1…in which case I love myself a lot!!!

  1. What must you do daily to keep yourself ‘sane’?

Drink tea. Lots and lots of tea. Oh, and watch Poirot (although of late I’ve stretched that out to a select group of mystery films and TV series). I’m one of those weird people who can play a film on a loop and not even notice it’s been on six times. It has the potential to drive people nuts (fair warning to anyone who ever intends to spend more than a few hours with me in my house!). I’d like to say eating cashew nuts and chocolate, too, but I don’t actually do this every day – I just fantasise about it (not in the shower! That would be an odd form of stimulation, even for me!). And, oh yeah… that reminded me… the shower thing…

Bonus:  Who do you blame?

I guess that depends on what I’m blaming them for. I’ve already mentioned my propensity for self-blame. I blame myself for a lot of things that have happened in my life – or, more to the point, that have not happened. I’ve tried apportioning blame to other quarters for things that make me feel frustrated and a failure because I’ve not followed my own instincts and have acted to please others. But, in actuality, there is no one to blame but me, for not having the courage of my own convictions when I think something will upset someone else or it doesn’t fit with their idea of what I should do or how I should behave. It’s something I need to work on (back to question 1 again, maybe!).

Now, chocolate, on the other hand… there is definitely a certain someone I think I could blame for eating all the chocolate. He’s bad like that!

Check out the other TMI Tuesday posts here.

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