Dear Mr. Smug Man on the Cloud,
I am not quite sure at which point I hacked you off so much that you made it your mission to turn my life into the strangest game of cat and mouse. One of which Tom and Jerry, or indeed Itchy and Scratchy would be proud.
I figure I must have been supremely evil in a previous life, Lucrezia Borgia perhaps, to have set you on the course that you follow today. And your strategies have been viciously perfect, cutting me down at every turn. For every moment where my life seems to open up, and set me free, there is a tripwire to bring me to my knees.
Ha!! Nothing too sad, or mad, or bad. No devastating story of pain or horror, no heart wrenching moment that would mark me as a victim. And justify front page news. Just those damn tripwires. Those moments waved in front of me, brief flashes of maybe, that I ran towards, only to fall flat on my face. Moments that made me long desperately for a life more normal, one where I wouldn’t have to fight for every smile.
You gave me a fierce intelligence, one to be envied, and chose to counter it with a lack of confidence and belief. Those that tried to boost that confidence, you took away. And those that I should have been able to trust, hurt me. And boy!! Did you have fun with my appearance. I was the first child, and grandchild, my father was a keen photographer, and yet it is a testament to my lack of appeal, that apart from a single shot taken in silhouette, and a couple of professional christening pictures, there were no more until my first Christmas five months later. My mother openly admits that despite the heat of that summer, she would cover me in blankets and slap away the hand of an unsuspecting soul who tried to take a peek.
I had a fleeting moment of girly cuteness at the tender age of three, all chubby cheeks, and curls, and dimples. So at that point you chose to inject a sudden growth spurt, which meant I was taller than my teachers at the age of eight. My dainty mother desperately enrolled me in ballet lessons in the hope that I would emerge as a swan, but eventually even she could no longer listen to the instructor’s pained entreaty “Gently, dear, GENTLY!!!!”
And then there was puberty. You really excelled yourself there. Thought it would be really fun to let me experience it a good eighteen months earlier than any of my peers. Not content with having given me a forehead large enough to land small aircraft on, and a pair of full lips that would not become fashionable until years later, I now had to deal with a virulent case of terminal acne. My doctors at the time took this opportunity to use me as a guinea pig for the latest range of lotions, pills and potions,the most memorable of which caused my skin to slough off at such a rate, that I was a shoe-in for the lead role in The Singing Detective. But you saw fit not to endow me with anything in the breast area, which, combined with my height, led to shop assistants constantly addressing me as “Son.”
Needless to say, my love life was not the thing that sonnets are written about. Briefly, you showed me true passion. I fell deeply, totally in love. And for a short while, I was happier than I had ever been in my life. But hey!!! Guess what??!! Tripwire!!! And that moment was gone. Instead, you chose to make brutality my normality, until I believed I deserved nothing more.
OK, you gave me my children. I will allow you that. They are the most amazing, wonderful, beautiful creatures, and they take my breath away. But even there, you chose to play games. More tripwires, and heartbreaking moments, where I had no option but to let them go, thankfully briefly. You didn’t plan those ones as carefully as the others, underestimated the bond we have. Will always have.
Oh yeah!! A few other of your finer touches. Varicose veins!! You did actually give me decent legs. And then turned them into a map of the London Underground. And stretch marks. Despite having already given me a skin oily enough to fry an egg , at the first sign of pregnancy, my skin fell apart! And my stomach!! And those long awaited breasts appeared at the same time, only to be inflated to gargantuan size, and subsequently came to resemble deflated balloons.
The depression demons are your piece de resistance. They have brought me to the edge of destruction, with their suffocating murmuring, and soul destroying power. Leaving me unable to talk, too scared to leave the house, to face the world. Tempting me with their whispers, to let go and fall. But I have learned to recognise their lies, and wriggle free of their fingers. To relish the simple things that make me smile. Sunshine. Good food. Moonlight on the sea. The delight of a smelly dog as I walk through the door. The ping of an email from someone I love. Loud music. And huge belly laughs!!
So beware, you are starting to lose this game. I have the UV light and the aerosol can, to expose your tripwires. I have good friends, and amazing children. I have love, and laughter. I have tattoos! I have rediscovered passion, and it is even better than ever before. And best of all, I have hope. And ambition. And a damn good pair of lips!!!
Bring it on!!! You haven’t beaten me yet!!!