2021 Grateful 46: Potato water and a forgotten backpack

A few weeks ago, spilling a pot of sweet potato water over the kitchen counter resulted in a major meltdown. I lost my reason and laid into myself with a barrage of vitriolic put-downs that shocked me. I was vicious.

I know I’m not useless. I know I’m not stupid. I know I’m not a waste of space. But in that moment, in that menopausal fugue, I was all of this and much, much worse. I was possessed. I didn’t know myself. I was angry, frustrated, and completely out of control. Ask himself. He’ll tell you. It was scary.

A post popped up on my FB feed last month reminding me of what my friend Takács Györgyi does at Zöldhullám. I was going to be in Budapest so I booked a session with her. She gives Access Bars treatments.

I don’t really understand how it works, and I don’t really care. All I know is that I lie there for an hour while she moves the tips of her fingers to various positions around my head. What I feel changes. One time I had a darting pain in my left side. Later that same session I was on a beach with waves pulling me away from the shore. I see colours. I see shapes. I see nothing at all. Sometimes I sleep. Sometimes I dream. Sometimes the pain in my head frightens me. I had three sessions in pretty quick succession (not necessary, but I was there and she was here and it worked out). I feel so much better.

This is my version of HRT.

Another client calls it the ‘I don’t give a f*&k’ pill.

I had a call yesterday offering me an appointment with my neurologist. Someone had cancelled. I’d been trying to get to see her for weeks but she’s only at the clinic one day a month.  I’d planned on working today – I have tests to correct – but this I couldn’t say no to.

I was up early. In good form. It was -8 outside but the sun was shining. I had time for a leisurely coffee. I checked that I’d packed everything I needed – laptop, kindle, mouse, glasses, wallet, and car papers. Everything was there. I went out to start the car to warm it up, came back in to get my gloves, and then off I went.

When I got to the station some 20 minutes before my train, I realised that I’d left my backpack in the kitchen. I rang himself to confirm and yes, I had.

Now, a month ago, this would have merited a minor tantrum complete with weeping and gnashing of teeth. It would have given the potato-water incident some competition. I’d have been furious with myself, disgusted at my stupidity, ashamed by my inability to do something as simple as remembering to bring my backpack. The self-beratement would have been Oscar-worthy.

Instead, I calmly turned the car around and went back home to get it. I phoned a friend to say I wouldn’t have time to have lunch. And I drove back to catch the next train.

This mightn’t sound like anything worth writing about. And for many of you, it won’t resonate at all. But I know there are people reading this who recognise the massive difference between the potato water and the backpack.

Being able to shrug off daily inconveniences (and that’s what this was, an inconvenience) without losing the plot is a major achievement for me. It’s right up there with getting either of my MAs, making the European public speaking final, and having one of my blogs reprinted in a coffee-table book about concentration camps. It’s bloody massive. In my world.

As I was getting into the car to drive back to the station for the second time, three swans flew overhead in formation, congratulating me. The village version of the Red Arrows. As I left the village, two magpies stood sentry, chirping their support. And on the road over towards Balatonhídvég, a lone sparrowhawk perched on a fence post gave me the nod.

Today is a good day.

If you’re finding it hard to deal with the isolation and social distancing that these COVID times require, if you’re battling with depression or experiencing more lows than highs, if you’re mired in the madness that is menopause and feel that you’re losing control, then check out Access Bars. If not Györgyi, then someone.

I still give a f*&k. It’s in my nature. But I’m back in control and with that control comes the ability to choose how I react to daily inconveniences, be they spilt potato water or forgotten backpacks. For that, I’m grateful.

More on the Grateful series.

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