Miss Cherry Red

Motherhood. Love. Life. And everything in between

In June, the Smutathon team over on Twitter asked me if I’d like to take part in an epic, 12 hour, writing marathon alongside other people who have experience with, or suffer from Endometriosis. Now I haven’t blogged in a long time, but given this is a topic close to my heart and has been set up to raise money for Endometriosis UK, I couldn’t say no.

My piece is below and it’s simply entitled “Warrior Women”

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Women are beautiful, and wild.  

We are extraordinary, and powerful.  

We are emotive, we are intuitive, and we are nurturing. 

We seek and demand equality in environments where we’re left behind.

We celebrate our strength of character, our resilience, and our determination to change this world.  

We grow, and give birth to, new life. 

We are extraordinary. 

And some us, myself included, are all of these things, but with one difference; we live every day with the unimaginable pain caused by Endometriosis. 

You see, we live in bodies where some of our tissue grows in places it shouldn’t; on our ovaries, our fallopian tubes, our bowels, the outside of our womb.  It can grow on our bladder, our intestines.  It has even been found in our spines. 

Endometriosis is invasive and it’s painful.  

It is why I cry 80% of the month. 

It is why I bleed so heavily during my period that I have to wear two lots of sanitary products to make sure I’m protected.  And it’s why I have to change that protection every 2 hours. 

It is why I can not walk more than 30 minutes without worrying that I will have flooded into my clothes.  

It is why I bleed on the days I’m not on my period. 

It is why I am often doubled over in pain. 

It is why I have spare knickers in every handbag I own, and why all my knickers are black. 

It is why sex with my boyfriend is only possible in certain positions and at certain times of the month.  

It is silent during its assault on my body.

Someone at work once brushed me off as just having “a heavy period”.  She openly scoffed at the fact I took 8 days off sick because I needed to lay down.  I remember telling her through heavy sobbing, that the pain in my pelvis feels like a ‘chinese burn’ on my insides.  That it feels like someone has placed their hands on my womb and was twisting with such force it feels like they’re ripping it out of me.  That for the 8 days I bleed, I suffer not only the indignity of feeling the blood flow out of me, but that the accompanying pain is so intense it makes me vomit.  That on my non period days I am so anxious and worried that I might bleed when Im not wearing a towel, that I wind up with stress headaches.  Or that I might be so bloated I look pregnant which leads to more uncomfortable conversations. 

When I told her I spend most of my days medicated she laughed.  I remember that moment so vividly.  I remember, for the briefest time, wishing endometriosis on her.  Wishing that for just one month she could experience what I’ve been living with for years.  “Please God, just one time, just one cycle.  Please.  She won’t be laughing then” I thought.  

But the truth is, I wouldn’t wish this condition on anyone. 

I celebrate the months where I only take codeine and naproxen two weeks out of four.  I find myself wiping tears off my cheeks after sex if I haven’t had to ask my boyfriend to stop, or if I haven’t had to ask him to be more gentle than he already is, or if I have been able to completely surrender my body to the moment without any pain because no matter how brief the moment is, it feels like lightening in my soul.  Like Im alive.

Because every other moment is cloaked in the harsh reality that for me, and the tens of millions like me, there is no cure for it.  There is no magic potion or pill we can have to fix us. 

But in spite of this I am blessed.  Lucky even.  Because I am privileged to live in a country where I have access to world renowned healthcare.  I have access to medication that can take the edge off the pain I feel.  I have a team of consultants and surgeons on hand who can operate to remove the lesions that grow inside me which, for a short time, restarts my body till the endo grows back and we have to go again. 

And it’s all I can do.  So with my best smile, by literal big girl knickers and my not yet broken spirit I soldier on. 

I am here.  I am raising the future.  I am running my home.  I am loving my family. 

I am the best I can be. 

And I am, as Maya Angelou said, a Phenomenal Woman 

“Well why don’t we go to Coate Water Park?  You can bring Trav and we can wander round the park and talk.  I might even make you laugh?”

“Sounds like a great idea, I’ll meet you opposite the little drinks hut and we’ll get hot chocolates”

And with that the date was set.

I remember being really nervous in the run up to it, I mean, we’d been talking for what felt like ages but it was becoming more and more obvious that K ‘got’ me; we had the same values, we’d had similar experiences with exes and we enjoyed the same things but more than that he had this ability to make me howl with laughter.  He was so easy to talk to that I felt like I’d known him years.

Up until this point the majority of my dates had been evening affairs so it gave me a chance to dust off my heels, pop on some lipstick and dress up… but not this time.  We were going for a walk round a cold, muddy, and blustery park so I pulled out my wellies, warm coat and woolly hat.

I arrived at Coate Water, parked up, took a deep breath and, after calling K to remind me where the hut was, made my way across.  As I walked up out of the car park I could see him standing next to the railings looking out over the water…. he was switching from foot to foot and I could tell he was nervous.  He was wearing his little blue cap, jeans and walking boots.  He was tall, stocky and had the smallest hint of a beard.  I remember thinking then how handsome he was.

K had his back to me and as I walked across I shouted “there you are” as loudly as I could and just flung my arms around him.  Don’t ask me why I did it, I haven’t a clue and it’s certainly not something I’d done before but spurred on by a healthy mix of both bravado and nerves I did and it felt really, really right.  Thankfully he hugged me just as tight back and whispered “hello” in my ear.

We grabbed a couple of hot chocolates and set off on one of the park’s walk ways and without hesitation he reached back and took my hand.  That one tiny action caught me completely by surprise and totally blew me away.

Now don’t get me wrong, my loathing for people who touch me or enter my personal space uninvited is well documented but this felt different.  It didn’t feel intrusive.  It didn’t feel like some creepy prelude to something else.  It felt completely natural.

It felt… right.

As we walked round sipping our drinks we talked about everything and anything and even waffled on about topics we’d talked about before and I remember thinking how I didn’t want to go home.  For the first time in a long time I was genuinely interested to hear what someone had to say and I remember just laughing.  Properly belly laughing.  I was due out that evening for our annual Christmas Girls Night Out and I came devilishly close to breaking Girl Code and sacking the whole thing off just so the date didn’t end.

I know it sounds like a soppy cliché but it’s not often I feel an immediate connection with someone – in fact I can really only think of one other time where I met a man and just ‘knew’ and that was back in 2007…. but that feeling I had all those year ago, I had again there in that park holding his hand.

Look, I get it – it sounds completely nuts but unless you’ve experienced something similar it’s really hard to understand and trying to explain The Spark is just as difficult, trust me.

At 4pm I called time and as we slowly walked back to our cars I wondered if he was ever going to kiss me.  There was undeniable chemistry, obviously, but what was he waiting for?  Was the woolly hat and wellies combo not quite hitting the spot or was he just being a gentleman?  Not really prepared to wait much longer I laughed, grabbed his scarf and pulled him in close and said “I’m bored waiting for you to kiss me!”

And honestly, there couldn’t have been a better end to the best first date.

 

I love a good GIF and for the smutty among you – no, that’s not a euphemism.

In fact, I love them so much that the minute I’m presented with an opportunity to use them in the girls chat, I take it.

I don’t know whose stupid idea it was though it was probably Cath and/or Ammi and truth be told I can’t be arsed to go back through the group chat to find out who to blame, but they one of us suggested we should branch out into Tinder.

I mean – it’s not serious is it?  It’s just a big game of human snap?  What is the worst that could happen?

Enter C.

He was the worst that could happen.

That’s unfair because obviously at some point I probably drunkenly swiped right.  Actually that’s likely to be untrue too.  I’d had some notification telling me I’d been Super Liked and wanted to see what that entailed.  And I wanted my ego massaged.

It was quite easy to ‘chat’ to him.  He was funny, seemed well grounded, apologised on behalf of men the world over for unsolicited dick pics.  Winner I thought.

Now, having learnt from past experience I didn’t particularly want to spend the next eleventy billion years messaging back and forth only to be disappointed in real life again so when the suggestion was made to meet up for a drink a week later I decided to go for it.

As normal photographs of C were exchanged with Ammi and Cath along with a detailed description of what I was planning to wear, where we’d agreed to meet and at what time.  A check-I’m-still-alive call was scheduled for 21:00.

The day arrived and, surprisingly, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought and that was because of the glass of wine I had beforehand.

I’d got to the bar first and grabbed a table and ten minutes later in walked C.

I’m not sure if it’s the fact he was red faced, out of breath and panting like a whore in church or the fact he ordered a non alcoholic beer but I just knew it wasn’t going to go anywhere.

Perhaps he was nervous or just super awkward in real life but within minutes of him sitting down it was very obvious that he had no idea how to talk to me in person…. in fact I reckon if he could have sat at another table and spent all night sending me GIFs he (and I)would have had a far better time.

I knew from our conversations before that he was into competing in triathlons so tried to steer conversation toward that; like how he got into in the first place, training, where he competes.  I tried to keep my questions as open as possible and STILL he found ways to give me one word answers.

I was convinced the date was nearing an end after about 40 minutes when C suggested we MOVE tables.  I didn’t want to.  I liked being sat at a round table where he sat semi-opposite me.  It was nice.  But he’d spied a table that had become free where the chairs had been replaced with a sofa style seat which meant we had to sit next to each other.

Close.

Oh god.

I didn’t want to.  I didn’t want to be so close that our arms could touch or our knees.  I was about to protest when he lifted his drink and mine and got up and moved.

As if the non alcoholic beer hadn’t already killed things my noticing he had smaller thighs than me as he ran across the bar certainly put the final nail in the coffin.

Fuck.

The new seating arrangements didn’t make things any easier.  Turns out he was hard work on any type of seat and he’d lost my focus and attention.

In fact, I was more interested to see who was taking part in the speed dating event going on in the upstairs part of the bar and spent most some of the time while he was rambling on about the different types of trainers he needs for running and how his triathlon bike has hard shoes attached to the pedal which makes the transition from water to bike easier dreaming of ways I could sneak upstairs and get involved.  Plus ‘Mark’ had caught my attention while the daters were on a break and was smiling broadly at me while getting a drink at the bar.

Overall the date was tough going. Really tough going.  And even more so because not only was there zero spark but we clearly had nothing in common.

If I’m a tequila, he’s natural spring water.

After an hour and a half of excruciatingly painful ‘conversation’ I made my excuses and left.  C insisted on walking me to the car park and as much I tried to to say no, he was adamant he should.

I was paying for my ticket when I realised he was stood unnaturally close to me and instinctively I recoiled in dread that he might try and put an arm round me. Or kiss me.

In an effort to end the silence C thanked me for a lovely (!) evening and as I was getting ready to turn around and leave he leaned in close, extended an arm toward me in a hug type motion and in my blind panic I grabbed his hand and shook it.

I shook his hand.

For real.

Like you do when you end an interview.

For. Fuck. Sake.

I don’t know who was more shocked to be honest me or him though the look on his face showed quite clearly it wasn’t what he was expecting and whilst I was wildly shaking his hand I just blurted out “it was nice to meet you”.

And then I left!

I called Cath on the way home and in between her gasps of horror and belly laughing she told me to just ‘chalk it up to experience’ and not to worry about it.

C messaged me the next day saying he had a lovely time but sensed there was no spark on my part.  I told him he was right.

Moving forward if someone communicates with me entirely in GIF then there will be no meeting in person at all!

Me on the other hand, I will continue to use them as if they were cash.

Categories: life

I’m starting to think Doctor Foster might in some way be my spirit animal.

There’s been quite a bit of debate among my girlfriends and I about whether her behaviour in Season 2 was justified or if she was legitimately just fucking nuts.

I’m not saying she was right to do some of the things she did, but I can understand why she did them.

Now, bear with me.

The not used as often as it should be rational part of me says that when Dick Face Simon came back to town she should have just ignored him.  Been the bigger person and left him be.

But on the flip side I can see 100% how his return activated her Psycho Switch.

At the end of Season 1 she’d played him like a fiddle and he ended up doing a bunk to London with his Piece On The Side.  Boom!! She’s won we all thought!

Between you and me, I wasn’t convinced she ever really had closure.  Sure, to the outside world she looked like she’d handled it well – but did she?  I always thought she buried a lot of what she actually felt so his reappearance made all the feelings she’d ignored erupt like a fucking volcano!

Which brings me to now.

Until I wrote the post about the dickhead with The Fiancee I hadn’t thought about him in a long time.  I spent a few days after The Telephone Call From Hell hoping she’d thrown his shit out and dumped his sorry ass and decided to chalk the whole situation up to a shitty fucking experience.

And then last night happened.

Match.com has this wonderful way of notifying you every time someone looks at your profile.  I haven’t been online in a few days but figured I’d give it a quick check.

WHAT. FRESH. FUCKING. HELL.

Guess who was there in my list of ‘people who have viewed you’.

Him.

MP.

There he was in all his lying, slimy, sack of shit glory.

Don’t click his profile and see what it says he’ll know you’ve done it. 

All rationale went out of the window and I clicked his picture more aggressively than I meant to.  Seeing his face again flipped my Psycho Switch from off to on.

He hadn’t changed anything.  Same photos as before.  Same bullshit blurb as before.  Same everything as before.  Same, same, same.

Take a million screenshots just in case you need them down the line as further proof he’s a fucking asshole.

I genuinely didn’t care that he’d get the same notification I had.  That I’d looked at his profile.  Fuck it, maybe I wanted him to know that I knew he was back online.

I opened WhatsApp and messaged our group chat with what had happened.  Ammi was quite insistent that I shouldn’t message him but did ask if I’d kept L’s number – she wondered if it would be worth telling her he’s back online in case she’d been a fucking idiot and taken him back she hadn’t left – but I deleted the numbers I had a few weeks after everything happened.

The general consensus was that I shouldn’t make any contact in anger even though he had behaved like a complete and utter fucking asshole first time round.  Both suggested I sleep on it and see how I feel.

Well, I’ve slept on it.

And I’m still fucking fuming.

How dare he look at my profile.  I haven’t changed that much since the last time we saw each other so he had no need of poking about – unless his intention was to alert me to his presence in which case well fucking done sunshine.  I see you.

Not only do I see you, but I’ve got some things to say.

You are a selfish, spineless, lying, manipulative fucking waste of space.

Did what you were doing and the impact it would have on not one, not two but five people make you at any point think ‘You know what, this is probably going to make me look a cunt, so I shouldn’t do it?!’  No it fucking didn’t. It can’t have done.

You have a seven year old daughter.  You are the single most important male role model in her life and you should be the example of what she looks for in someone when she’s old enough.  Not fucking romping your way round the country by being a lying fucking scumbag.  Someone who gains a persons trust only to destroy it when you’re done or bored or found out.

Your fiancee had a nine year old daughter for fuck sake.  Not only did you cheat on L but you took the trust that little girl placed in you and you pissed it up the wall along with everything else.

And then there was me.

Don’t get me wrong, in hindsight I’m not naive enough to think I was the first and we all know I wont be the last – but let me ask you – have you ever had to tell another person that their someone, the person they loved more than anything was cheating on them?  Have you ever heard the sound of someones heart breaking on the phone?  Have you?

I have.

When she called me that Sunday I heard her entire world crumble.  I heard her heart break.  I heard the clogs in her brain turning while she tried to process what she’d been told and I heard her try and work out what she should do, what she’d have to tell her daughter; a girl who’d been in your life for seven fucking years you selfish prick.

I apologised over and over and over again.  I justified my behaviour.  I promised her I wasn’t some whore who’d knowingly got involved with a man who wasn’t available.

I felt dirty.

I felt violated.

I felt disgusting.

You made me feel those things.  You were responsible for the resulting clusterfuck after that call.

You.

Not L.  Not me.

And all because you couldn’t keep your dick in your pants.

If you’re back online because you are genuinely in a position where you can pursue someone then fine.  I suspect you aren’t though given you’ve hidden your photos now knowing I’ve seen you.

What are you hiding?  Or are you worried I might contact you and call you out on your bullshit?

Well don’t worry, I wont.

You’re not worthy of breathing the same air as me let alone be given any more space in my brain.

I will never, ever have anything to do with you again.  I will never write or speak of you again.

You no longer exist in my world.

Now, to quote Rachel from friends ‘that my friend is what they call closure’

Categories: life

OK, lets get something straight; if you want take a picture of yourself stark bollock naked (or even semi naked for that matter) for your own pleasure or the viewing pleasure of you and a partner or because you need the girls to verify something that looks a bit unsightly on your skin and are sending it to them via the privacy of your WhatsApp group chat then please…. knock yourself out.

Seriously.  Do it.  Go on and live your best life.

But if you want to take *that* kind of photo with the sole intention of sending it to me someone that you have never met because you think it’s a giggle or because ‘you just have to’ then there is something very fucking wrong with you and you should know that shit like that boils my piss.

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I got chatting to B weeks ago.

Nothing consistent at first, just the odd bit of chat here and there.  If I’m honest I wasn’t entirely convinced that he floated my boat and I wondered if we actually had that much in common but he given that he didn’t offer to ‘sort me right out’ and had made me laugh when we did chat I figured I’d see what would happen.

After a while came the inevitable exchange in numbers.

And there was my fucking mistake.

The first message came through and just said ‘Nice’ and had a winky face emoji at the end.

The second message read ‘Back home now’.  It too was accompanied by a winky face emoji.

Both messages came through at gone 10:30pm.

Now, I’m not a night owl – I never have been.  I’m rubbish at staying up late and for those who don’t believe me you can ask The Hot Geek.  The only time you’ll find me up after that time is if I’m pissed on Prosecco with the girls in which case I’ve been known to still be awake at gone midnight.

Naturally, I hadn’t replied…. but for fear of making B feel like I was ignoring him I sent a quick text that just read ‘Morning! x’ and this was the response I got:

3

Fuck. Sake.

No, I didn’t approve and his comment about it ‘only being a giggle’ really fucked me off because I wasn’t smiling.

4

After a while I got a couple of messages back:

5

Now, what I wanted to reply with was ‘it left me the impression that you were an oversexed dickhead’.

But, in a surprisingly out of character move, I thought I’d actually send him something that might make him think in future:

The “Sorry… Had to be done” implies that you couldn’t help yourself but to send the photo and it wasn’t till I challenged you on it that you jokingly acknowledged I didn’t approve and when it became very a clear I wasn’t interested in it only then did you apologise.

The apology would have been fine if you hadn’t followed it up with a comment about being a giggle which came across as you weren’t sorry at all. You were having a laugh with no care as to the impact it would have on me.

The thing is, it starts off with photos like that and 90% of the time it moves into pictures that are more revealing and when you don’t know a person it’s just so uncalled for.

If you met me in a bar… your first thought wouldn’t be to remove your top and show me your body? I don’t get why it’s OK to do it to someone you’ve been talking to online?

The simple answer is it’s not.

I’m not a prude and like I said at the beginning of this post – if this type of thing floats your boat or, as my mate Ammi says, ‘butters your crumpet’ you crack on but before you add it to a message or an email and send it to a total fucking stranger ask yourself – if you met the person you were sending it to in a bar or a cafe or anywhere for that matter – would your first action be to whack off your top and stand loud and proud in front of them waiting for some sort of approval.

I suspect the answer would be no.

So don’t be a dick.

Categories: life