Wednesday, 22 August 2012

You have no power over me

The more enlightened of my blog fans will recognise that blog title as being, of course, a quote from the wonderful David Bowie film Labyrinth. Specifically, from the scene at the end in which all girls of my age died inside as a very young Jennifer Connelly chose her whiney kid brother over the beautiful Jareth, the Goblin King. I mean seriously, what was wrong with her? He re-ordered time, he turned the world upside down, and he did it all for HER! Ungrateful swine!

Ahem, anyway, excuse me, must stop before I get carried away with the goblins.

The blog title doesn't entirely fit the blog, but once I'd decided on it, I couldn't really change my mind and go for anything else. I wanted to write about why I've not been writing much lately. And why I've not been doing much of anything that makes me my best self lately: yoga, keeping track of my money, swimming, teetotalling, obeying the sleep rules, working hard enough at uni. This essentially boils down to experiencing a lack of control in one area of my life, which has leaked into a feeling of recklessness everywhere else. I have no power over it. It's weak, but it sorta works. Bear with me, I'm tired.

Keen followers of this blog (and I know, despite, the soul-crushing lack of comments on it, that there are some, as people talk to me reasonably enthusiastically about it at times in person. An aside... I know I come across all tough and emotion free (ah ha ha ha ha), but I am, after all, a mere creature of flesh and blood and I operate best with feedback... so if you like this blog, please can you leave a comment to say so? It will really make my day. Pitiful request for popularity over now) will know that I started a new job about four months ago now and that I'm not exactly enjoying it.

I'm not going to go into the details of said job here as I do everything I can to avoid thinking about it when I'm not there, but instead will talk about the effect that having a job I hate is having on me.

Well, actually, that's a bit of a lie right away there, as I have to start off by explaining why it is that I hate this job so very much. It's taken me a while to work it out, but I've realised it's come down to a total lack of control. Over ANYthing. Here is a list of things I cannot control in the average day at work: getting into the office; getting my computer to work; being able to find and recognise the participants I'm meant to be interviewing; the participants I'm meant to be interviewing arriving on time; the participants I'm meant to be interviewing arriving at ALL; the participants I'm interviewing telling me the truth; what I'm allowed to wear; which of three locations I'm going to be at at any given time; whether there will be a room or a desk for me at two of those three locations in which to do my work; what the end point of the project is.

It might not sound so much, but the combined result of all this is to make me feel as though I am trying to sail a big, complicated, scary boat, one with three sails and loads of ropes and cleats and creaking boards across a stormy sea entirely on my own. And Nancy Blackett, I ain't. It's scary and humiliating and very, very stressful.

The saving grace of all this is that the job is a fixed term contract and only part time, so I still have the majority of my life away from it and, as I type this, only 23 more weeks to go. And I am keenly, keenly aware that some people live in some circumstances whereby they have no control over any of their lives at all, and as a result, this is a total first world problem and I should be counting my blessings. Which I actually do, a bit, believe it or not.

However, back to the point... what has been my reaction to sense of being so out of control? Concentrating on making the parts away from my life as mentally healthy as possible, so as to ease the bits that are hurting so much? Doing the things I know are good for me, to boost my sense of self and grab back some of that stolen agency?

Hell no! For I am a weak willed human, and seem to have decided that the answer to my woes lies at the bottom of a chocolate wrapper and the end of the remote control. I can't be entirely blamed for stopping yoga, since my gym decided to use this summer to re-do the changing rooms so is, to all intents and purposes, unusable for me for the time being. I can't wait for the gym to re-open as I am really missing yoga. Not enough to do any at home, of course. Oh hell no. Not even enough to pick up the DVD I ordered from a nearby yoga shop about six weeks ago either. Good lord, what do you want from me? I have episodes of the Big Bang Theory to re-watch, for heaven's sake!

Everything else, though - the lack of writing, the money that's being spent way faster than it's being made, the boozing, the slacking off at uni, the endless piles of crisps and cheese - it's all being justified by my weak-willed brain saying oh, come on! This week's been hard; crisps, and crisps alone can solve this one. To the snack machine!

Every Sunday I swear to myself that this week will be different. I'll do some yoga in the mornings, I'll eat only vegetables all week, I'll stop drinking again... but even as I'm saying it to myself, I know it's not really true. I'm basically just clinging on with my fingernails until January 23rd, when my contract is over and I can have the power over my own life back.

So if blog entries are a bit few and far between during this period, please try to sustain yourselves by any means, fair or foul. I've written this one, and that's a start. 


  1. A project without an end point is kinda doomed to start with, innit. At least you know if you go towards any kind of research work again to be able to look for signs of decent organisation. What does Jonathan have to say about about all this?


  2. I really love reading your blog and so do many others. Sorry your job is so crap, gratitude helps but yes so do teats and rewards for getting through it! It's tiring. I hope the remainder of the contract passes as quickly as possible!

  3. Ha ha ha... teats might work too, Angel, depending on what I'm after! ;-) And Ali... I'll tell you in long gory detail offline some time.

    Thanks for responding to my pitiful plea! ;-) xxx

  4. I was polishing off a 250g bag of paprika crisps while reading your blog and the irony, about the lack of control over life being directly correlated to crisp intake, was not lost to me. Reading your blog reminds me of the hilarious Clarissa Explains It All - I love it, I can hear it said as I'm reading it. I can almost hear Sam climbing up the ladder [although if it were a Sam we both knew and loved, he'd be falling off the ladder] - keep on writing and eating crisps and having fun with your friends - if only because otherwise Angel will release the teats upon you...

  5. Ah, sorry life's so tough, Johanna. It's a totally reasonable response that you're making, if, in the end, futile and self defeating. Such is life.

    I love the blog.

  6. Thank you very much boys! *grin* It makes me insanely happy that people enjoy reading my ramblings.