Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Daunting Day Completed

If you read my last post you'll know today was a biggy for me. When my alarm went off this morning I was one big groan of protest tangled in a duvet. With much reluctance I did wrench myself into the day, and here's how it began.

The cab dropped me on the street of run down and dilapidated buildings where the Homeless Base is situated. The only business actually open on that whole street is a funeral directors. The Centre stands a few stories high with a peeling dirty fa├žade that was perhaps once white. I always think it's arrogantly optimistic to paint a building white; you're kind of saying 'we'll be so financially successful for the whole time this building exists that we'll always be able to afford to keep it whiter than white'. The reality is within a few years they end up the sort of colour 20 year old pants become. On approaching it I saw a side door which looked promising but when I got closer there was a stiff notice indicating that entrance was for Hostel Residents only. The only other entrance were two huge double doors. The sort of doors that are so massive and obtuse that they don't look like they actually open and you just don't believe that's the only way in. I rang the door bell tentatively and a man sat on the steps in front of the building muttered about going round the back. I stammered something about just waiting here, and lingered awkwardly against the grubby wall.

After a few minutes quite a crowd had accumulated. Most of them greeted each other jocularly with smacks on the back and a ping pong of insults. Some hovered, heads lowered into collars, clutching metros around the entrance. I knew sooner or later someone would comment on my presence. The inevitable 'You work 'ere love?' came, when I explained I was here for a taster session I was annoyed to find my telephone voice emitted.  Could there be any less fitting situation for a eloquent, high voice than among these people who I was terrified of offending in case they thought I was patronising them with my posh voice. Eventually I got inside and got through the awkward part of introducing myself to about 5 different people (miraculously no one had any idea who I was- the joys of company communication!) before I got placed in the kitchen with two friendly ladies who popped me in an apron. One lady (I think she was polish) was the cook, the other, older lady was what I'd describe as a kitchen assistant.

To begin with I helped make the teas and coffees, took the varying forms of payment (cash, vouchers or tokens) and washed the mugs. I chatted away to the women putting on a confident a persona as I could, smiling lots, trying to be as helpful as possible and doing what I always do; trying and trying to be liked. Then the breakfast run began. Full english and toast, cooked and posted out the hatch at speed. I think I kept up ok. We must have served about 20 people and only 2 were women. From the hatch I didn't really see much of the dynamics of the Service Users but after about 2 hrs I went 'front of house' so to speak.

For the next hour I stood with the door man. Tattooed and bald he was friendly and showed me the forms they use to admit people, or not admit them in some cases. He told me some cheerfully shocking stories of the earlier, more lively days when violence was common and furniture and crockery were frequently used as weapons. Since he had begun working in the security guard capacity things had calmed down a lot, respect had been established between staff and Service Users, and apart from the usual turbulence, things seemed very under control. From my post I observed the main lounge. There was an array of social activities going off in different clumps. Some played cards, some slumped in easy chairs loudly exchanging banter. A few sat alone. Through some grimy windows a group of polish men sat huddled round a game of some sorts. People floated in and out of the front door, the doorman greeting them with nicknames and jokes. People ambled in and out of the dining area with mugs of steaming drinks. The atmosphere created by the mixture of group fuelled camaraderie and accepted solitude reminded me of a slightly rough, but cheerful local pub. There was a comfortable, stable feeling of familiarity. The majority were vocal and engaging but those who sat on the outside of the groups had their seclusion respected.

I left at 11am, slightly frozen and glad to be able to relax and stop smiling (really, it's quite wearing!). I got a hot, sweet cup of tea while I waited for my bus and mulled over the morning, the inevitable self-analysis had already begun in my brain. I had a bit of time at home then I dashed out again to meet my support worker for lunch. On the days when I meet her for lunch (which for me is always a ham sandwich, seriously they are coming out of my ears like meaty, bready wax) I never eat breakfast because I feel under scrutiny and therefore I feel obliged to complete everything at lunch. A hangover from in patient setting I guess. Missing breakfast makes me less stressed about eating more than I usually would at lunch, I'm not condoning it; it's just a statement of fact. I really enjoy meeting her. We've met when I've been pretty damn low and even then she has managed to cheer me up, even if it's just while she's with me, it doesn't matter, when you feel so bad any glimmer of even normality is an enormous relief. It's the last time I'll see her, she's having a baby soon. This makes me sad, I'm quite attached. I'm handed over to a new lady from now on. She's scottish but has spent most of her life living in Hong Kong. On the bright side I always worried that me and the previous lady would run out of things to talk about; well  now I can just start over with this lady. A bit like groundhog day!

So that was two things ticked off, now for the third; joy of joys being weighed. Big yay...not! I get the bus to belper to see my therapist with her ridiculous scales. It seems absurd that in this age where technology is getting tinier and more and more compact that these scales even exist any more. They are the most indiscreet piece of equipment I have ever seen. There's no concealing the fact that your off to be weighed when you're seen in the company of the enormous blue bag, usually trailing a wire or two. The screen is attached by a wire and my therapist sits in on her lap and enters my dimensions while I step on the platform of metal and rubber. I get stressed out even before I find out the figure because I can't help but focus on the circular spirit level near my feet. I have to get it exactly central.

I hate being weighed. I really hate it. All the hate I feel will fill up a whole new post (and it will probably be posted in the not too distant future). I'd put on a little bit, an amount insignificant to everyone else. For me- Crippling. It doesn't matter that it wasn't what other people would consider much at all. It doesn't matter that I'd lost the previous couple of weeks. Nothing matters except I have PUT ON. Downer for the day.

Still I scrape my shame off the floor and try to push it away and get through the rest of the session in mock positivity. When I leave I'm still carrying the shame. It sits opposite me on the bus, glaring at me. Me and my thighs. I knew they looked bigger. I feel out of control now. It makes eating more complicated; I will scrutinise everything I normally eat. Last week was easier; I'd lost so I relaxed a bit, the opposite happens this week. See why I hate being weighed now?

Big *sigh*. Fat feelings aside I have worrying about tomorrow's Trial session at the other part of the Charity tomorrow to distract me, well partially. I'll be working with disabled and mentally ill people, I'm a bit worried about how I'll find it. Will I have enough empathy? Will I connect? Most importantly, like it always is- will I be liked?

Men don't seem to worry or get stressed about much at all. Sometimes I wish I had a man's brain. Then I remember I like dresses, lipstick, men and my boobs and think it's probably better to avoid transgenderism.

Being anorexic didn't solve my problems so I doubt having my own penis will either.

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