Why I don’t think I’ll ever work

Hey pals,

 

I’ve been realising recently my body’s reality. I went for a job interview recently for a full-time role. It was something I think I would have enjoyed and felt fulfilling, but the hours and amount of admin work is what made me think. It was 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, every weekend (or at least every other weekend) at £8 an hour. Maybe up to £10 if I proved myself in the role.

My health isn’t steady and predictable like a full-time job. There are lots of things I can technically do. I have use of my legs, so technically I can stand. The impact of standing (or sitting, or walking, just doing anything for extended periods of time) is what healthy people don’t understand. I’m always in low levels of pain, some days it will just be worse without reason. Some activities will exacerbate it.

One part of my disability in particular that has become increasingly debilitating is the use of my right arm/hand. This is my dominant hand. I do everything with this hand. Overusing it means I can’t grip things properly, there is weakness in the muscles, or searing and burning pain. I can’t write for long, it will hurt. I can’t use a knife to cut certain foods at dinner as my joints lock. I can’t carry things. I’ve found recently I can’t even use a mouse/track-pad comfortably if the pain has been high. I’ve been trying to do some DIY recently; I can’t even paint the shelves I’m working on. It all hurts so much. Things you take for granted.

Brushing your teeth, opening doors, using a hoover, holding a glass, holding certain kinds of mugs (I’m looking at you, Costa! Your mugs are ridiculous and I always have to ask for a takeaway cup…).

It’s a throbbing pain when it’s resting. My disability even makes it hard to stretch out. I have hyper-mobility syndrome, I’m too bendy because my ligaments are stretchy etc. etc., so I have to get creative with the stretching to finally get the right muscles. Half the time it has been so bad recently I’ve had to ask my mum to rub it and I hate asking people to help reduce my pain.

And then all the fatigue that comes along with being in so much pain all the damn time. Even if I sleep well, I will still feel tired and if I don’t it will hit me later and I’ll feel like I have the flu. Total exhaustion, dizziness, hot/cold, all over aches. I normally burrow myself away into a dozen pillows and a soft blanket, my recent addition is a very soft and warm onesie. Another addition is evening headaches or migraines. I had to ask my mum to stop crumpling paper next to me because it felt so loud. It felt like someone was slowly digging a screwdriver into the bit between my eyebrow and tear duct.

So I feel this renders me pretty incapable. I did email this job and say that a part-time position would be best for me if they had any available and I had lots of ideas for the job. But I’m not sure I’ll get a reply.

For now, I’m working on my left hand dexterity (it’s pretty useless but I have got enough things to do to practice!) so that I wont need to use my right hand as much and will still be able to get things done whilst I await a neck scan to see if there are any pinched nerves or slipped discs that could be causing all this pain in my arm. I’m looking into applying for ESA if this is going to be my long-term, but otherwise I’m still doing to same old same old of trying to earn a bit of cash where I can. Right now, I can’t imagine living independently. My family take care of so much for me right now, I guess this is where I need to be.

 

 

~ Artie

My Journal: Messy and Half-Filled

Hey pals,

I wanted to talk about my journal today. I feel like we are brought up with one format for how diaries or journaling is supposed to work. You have to write everyday, you have to expose everything but not, you’re supposed to have juicy secrets and crazy love affairs and everything has to look perfect.

I think (especially now with instagram) that people feel like they have to make everything look perfect, even though it’s just for them. Studyblr is a huge thing now too and social media is all about the aesthetic. When I grew up with the internet, I had facebook for people I knew in real life, instagram wasn’t a thing, twitter wasn’t really something we used… I had a tumblr under a name that wasn’t me. I fabricated a person (except it wasn’t, everything I wrote was me and how I felt) so no one would find it and know it was me. Everyone in my life had a different name or I only used their first name’s initial. I blogged about all the horrible ugly things that were inside my head as a teenager because therapy was more stigmatised than it is today and even if you had therapy they weren’t very nice people most of the time. My blog was my online diary, a real one was too much pressure and tumblr had loads of posts and pictures that described how I felt more than I was able to.

Diaries or journals have always been this teen girl media thing, a way to tell the story of the protagonist of a novel or film and they always looked perfect. Pretty notebooks, perfect handwriting, even a great hiding place or lock system.

They are more than what we are taught they are. Yeah, sure, it’s great to make it look pretty (especially if that part makes you excited about doing it) but this perfectionism has held people back. I’ve known people who can never ever write on the first page of a notebook in case they make a mistake, even if it was a rough notebook. It’s hard to get past that feeling, but remember you do this for you.

My journal that I’ve been writing in since my graduation was a tool for maintaining my mental health. I moved away from my therapist that I really liked and who had really helped me get to the bottom of a few things and I didn’t want to stop ‘talking’ like that entirely. Yes, I write in it everyday (if I forget or am too busy, I try to catch up) but no, it’s not pretty. The outside is nice but I fucked up the front cover because my pen smudged. My handwriting (if you’re new here) is UGLY. Especially if I have a lot to write or a limited time. I also use it to experiment with designs and drawings for when I want to experiment with bullet journaling.

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But the important part is to chronologise my life. I want something to look back on from this period of my life to see how far I’ve come. For a more immediate reason, I keep track of symptoms in my journal. I talk about my sleep, my fatigue, pain, depression or anxiety, mood swings, diet and exercise, anything I try, all of it. I’ve learned that you do need to keep track somewhere, if it ever becomes important you have it in there. I’m experimenting with all sorts of things to try and better my physical health and to see if it helps my mental health too. And if I’ve done a lot, I write down everything I did that day and feel proud of myself for managing, for succeeding. I even write if I didn’t do anything that day and how I feel. There’s no fear in this journal of not being pretty enough or perfect enough.

I mean sure, one day when I write my memoir I’ll probably quote from it but it is not a thing to be edited. It is my truth of now. Right now, I forgot to fill it in today and I don’t want to go downstairs to get it coz it’s late and I’m tired and as comfortable as I can be after an exercise class. So I’ll do it tomorrow and write about the pain I felt today and where, I’ll talk about how annoying this exercise class was and how I’m not sure I want to go back, I’ll talk about managing to write this!

Don’t be afraid of scribbling things out, don’t be afraid of your less-than-perfect handwriting, don’t be afraid of writing about those ugly feelings inside you, because this whole thing is for you to share and to verbalise things you wouldn’t normally be able to.

This is my journal and its imperfection makes it perfect for me.

~ Artie

Financially Not Great

Hey pals,

 

I had a lot of my plans fall through recently, which was pretty distressing to begin but now I’ve just accepted that it has happened. It has given me some new life possibilities that I would have never even entertained. For example, going abroad. Whether that’s to work, an internship, or just some travelling time, doesn’t really matter. I had to do everything with someone.

I’ve always thought myself independent (except not entirely when within romantic relationships) but having to start over from my Mother’s spare bedroom has given me some thought and clarity. A new perspective, one I really didn’t think I’d ever have.

I love living in the UK. I haven’t explored enough of it for one, but I like how it works (ish), I like what I’ve got here (sort of), and I’m pretty bloody useless at learning and remembering languages (I’ve tried, and I would like to try again). I think mainly, I don’t have to pay for my health care or prescriptions, which is pretty sweet.

I’m often flooded with the realisation of how big the world is, and how I haven’t seen hardly any of it. I want to change that. I’ve been thinking of the different options that might exist. I see groups of school kids from other countries over here during summer, meeting new people but in a safe environment. Considering I’m an anxious mess when it comes to travelling (and many other things that aren’t relevant right now) I wanted to see if I could find a way to travel somewhere with or meeting a group out there with secure accomodation. I clearly can’t trust anyone to do anything with me, OR they don’t have the money, so I do want to do this by myself.

I actually had a brief moment where I thought, ‘wow, who’d have thought I’d be happy to be single?’ because, sure, I was comfortable being alone, but for this reason I was actually happy about it. I would never (and I mean never) gone abroad by myself whilst with someone, I wouldn’t have put that distance between us, that strain. And it’s very freeing to realise that.

I originally wanted to go away somewhere or like everyone does inter-railing, but with a group. Or then I thought, I’ll just go to one place and travel out on their transport to other areas nearby. Then I saw an ad on instagram.

How about

~ an internship ~

So nothing is decided right now, I’m still doing my research. Unfortunately, any of these options would cost a lot (particularly the internship, this actually blew my mind). So, I’ll apologise now, but I’m going to put below ways you can help me with funds, there’s a selection so please don’t click off just yet! And anyone who has done, or is planning to, do something similar, please let me know your experiences in the comments! I’d love to hear more!

~ Artie

 

 

Here is a selection of ways you can help me raise the funds for something like this:

  • I have a Patreon with behind the scenes type content, stuff that no one outside of Patreon would have access to seeing in a selection of levels.
  • I am a brand affiliate of Geopetric.com, they are a vegan, cruelty-free, and fair wage company in the U.S for pet products. With my affiliate code you can get 20% off, and not just once you can use it on every order you make on the website. So use our code: LAYLABARKSALOT20
  • You can make any size donation to my paypal.me link
  • I have a depop where I sell a selection of items (preferably only to U.K residents as postage is awful) find me with @amiexdelisle
  • I do tarot card readings online via email for £1 (or whatever is equal for your currency) just hit me up on any of my social media for more information.
  • and finally if there isn’t anything you can do money-wise, then sharing would do a big help. There’s one of these posts on basically every platform I use.

Handwriting Sample & Dyslexia

Hey pals,

Browsing through the internet, staring longingly at beautiful stationary and even more beautiful handwriting, I came across someone’s handwriting sample. So, I don’t know, I wanted to do it and discuss my handwriting a little with you guys.

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Can I just say how impressed with myself I am for this photo? It looks like a scan!

Anyway, here’s my writing sample. I want to talk about the big ugly scribble first. Why didn’t I just do it again? Because I wanted to make this realistic.

I’m dyslexic.

What has that got to do with handwriting? Well, everything actually. My brain doesn’t work as seamlessly as others when it comes to anything written. That includes numbers, letters, English, other languages, all kinds of words or written communication.

I had a re-diagnosis test for literacy the year I started uni (actually it might have been technically the one before? Either way, 2014/2015) I learned that my reading speed is ‘average’ and ‘university’ reading speed was two speeds higher than mine! And I found out that my comprehension and short term memory wasn’t super great either, it was better with things I actually liked and found interesting (shocker!) and since this test I’ve found it deteriorates with stress, sleep deprivation, boredom… I’ve never been a good sight reader either (though actually I found I was quite good compared to my university classmates?? This may be where my drama training helped me develop skills I lacked).

My brain skips words, reads pages and pages without taking any of it in, ‘learns’ without retaining (hi, what’s a verb?? says the Creative Writing degree graduate…), it swaps round letters and misreads 90% of fonts (BECAUSE THEY DON’T MAKE THE LETTERS LOOK DIFFERENT ENOUGH!), assumes words based on the beginning and ending letter… learning how to spell sucks (you don’t need to know how many spelling mistakes I made whilst writing this post alone), and it generally works faster or slower when it’s most inconvenient. Oh, and don’t get me started on trying to figure out how I learn best, coz it changes every time I think I’ve got it.

Now I’m getting to the point! If I try really hard (which I did) I can make my handwriting look somewhat passable and legible. But writing notes… my writing is kinda ugly (see the sentence I wrote out above? That’s still far nicer than my usual writing). So the big ugly scribbles are where my brain went too fast for my hand. I also mix lowercase letters with capitals all over the place, I’ve heard this is actually really common amongst people with dyslexia. I don’t have the capacity to write in cursive, I’ve tried many times and it looks God awful even though it was part of teaching when I was in primary school.

I struggle using a keyboard (note: I still can’t touch-type due to my dyslexia, I just can’t remember where the letters are) and though I love writing in public or having study dates, everyone knows when I’ve made a dumb typo. There’s lots of head-shaking, eye rolls, and most often face-pulling.

This post started as one thing in my head and became something else after I wrote up my sample.

My handwriting is ugly, but not in the typical and somewhat cool way where it looks like chicken scratch and a doctor or university lecturer could have done it. That kind of ugly handwriting is linked with intelligence… which is the opposite of how I felt growing up with dyslexia. I still feel pretty stupid to this day sometimes because of my dyslexia. Everything has been more work.

If anyone reading this relates to what I’ve said, let me know your experiences and if you’d like to hear more about my battle against dyslexia. Or if you can see some of the above signs in your children, I suggest taking them to be tested and really push for the extra help (not everywhere is good at providing support when necessary).

I hope you enjoyed reading this spontaneous piece.

~ Artie