Tuesday, 9 February 2016

What Makes Me, Me - Rachel

When Jess asked me to write this post it set off a pretty strange train of thought. What *are* the qualities or traits that could be reeled off and unequivocally make people think “Oh yea that’s Rachel all over!”? 
Can I be summed up in a neat list?

So without further ado here is a somewhat abridged list of my most Rachel-esque traits.

1. I’m 75% Tea – I don’t have the hard data to support this theory but considering how I tend to drink about 5-8 cups of caffeinated tea every day I’d say it’s a sound bet. I dare not contemplate what would happen if I ever decided to cut myself off from tea as it is the only substance that jump-starts my brain in a morning – seriously I am barely functional without it. I’m told by family members that I was drinking tea at the age of two so there’s that. This tea consumption also brings with it an obsession with mugs.

2. I have a slew of odd body-focused habits. Hair twirling – whatever length my hair is I’m going to be twirling it round and round my fingers, if it’s long enough I can actually tie knots it one-handed, which is pretty impressive to kids I’ve found. What effect this has on my hair & scalp I’m not sure but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was damaging. I’m also a bugger for picking at my skin, spots, scabs, round my nails, *peels dead skin off distressingly dry palms*, you name it. I have loads of little scars from where I’ve picked off a scab multiple times or squeezed a spot a bit too viciously. I know I shouldn’t do it but without wearing mittens 24/7 it’s hard to stop myself.

3. I’m a voraciously speedy reader. I love books and can devour them at a rate that is pretty shocking to people who don’t read much. For me to look at a book, see how many pages it has and say “oh that’s 3 hours reading” seems rather like witchcraft – particularly to my other half who regularly jokes that I can read books through osmosis. The only downside to how fast I read is that sometimes I have forgotten the main character’s name by the time I get to the end *awkward*.

4. Out of all the words that spew forth from my face at least a third of them are swearwords. Obviously I won’t be effing & blinding in front of kids & grannies but as soon as I step inside my house all bets are off and the fucks coming pouring out. It’s not that I’m perpetually angry (only frequently so) I just rather enjoy the cathartic feeling of reeling off strings of harsh Anglo-Saxon fricatives and plosives.

5. I am Queen of Procrastination. That is not even an exaggeration. If there is an important task or assignment that I should be doing for a specific deadline and I’m not feeling it 100%, I *will* throw all my energy into doing something else. Anything else. I taught myself to crochet in order to put off doing a French assignment in 2014. For all of my literature essays over the last four months I have left the actual writing of the assignment until the day before or more horrifyingly – the deadline day itself. Even now I should be doing reading for my next OU assignment yet I’m planning out all the room renovations I want to do in my house to the point that I’ve been sketching plans and making a Pinterest board & discussing paint colours with the OH. There is no known limit to the lengths I will go to in order to put off the things I should be doing.

6. My memory is paradoxical mess. I can spout gallons of random facts and trivia on a whole host of subjects. I can answer crossword questions that none of my family even had a clue about purely from having read or heard something, somewhere at some odd point in the past. I can be a watching a film or TV show and see an actor I recognise, then instantly reel off the tiny cameo in an episode of Stargate SG1 that I knew them from (that happens a lot when watching Supernatural since they film in Vancouver). I’m like a walking IMDB info kiosk. I can remember technical details from not just my current job but from one I left in 2012 and even earlier. BUT if you asked me what I did last night, or what plans I have next week or what you just said to me three seconds ago while I was looking a tad vacant, I can 85% guarantee that I will have no clue. I can’t remember vast swathes of my childhood & teens save for a few odd incidents (usually mortifying ones), the only reason I know anything about what I was like when I was younger is because of photos that spark memories or because I’ve been told stories by my family. My diligent use of my phone camera means I have at least a fairly comprehensive log of the three and half years I’ve been with my OH. I can’t say the same for my previous relationship. So if you ever hear me say that my memory is shit I mean my memory for my own personal history. Trivia & random facts I seem to remember even years later but yesterday is a blur (although that might be because I got rather tipsy around midday).

7. Lastly I feel I ought to make a serious comment on how most of the traits on this list are trivialised & humorous spins on aspects of my personality. Basically, I constantly use humour & sarcasm to mask the deeper, more insecure motivations behind the odd shit I do. --Point 1- I do sometimes think that if I didn’t drink tea first thing in the morning that I literally would not be able to function properly until about lunchtime – does that make caffeine-dependent? 
--Point 2 - All of my picking, scratching, plucking, hair twirling habits are exacerbated when I’m stressed or anxious as my skin breaks out more so I’m effectively attacking my own body, often to the point of making myself bleed slightly. I’m no qualified medical professional but that smacks a bit of self-harm however mild it might be. 
--Point 3 - My obsession with reading, and in particular my love for fantasy books ties into a wish of avoiding thinking about my own real-life issues by immersing myself in fantastical worlds utterly disconnected from my experiences. 
--Point 4 - As for my swearing habit, maybe it’s harder to stutter on four letter words if I’m feeling nervous compared to making reasoned arguments *shrugs*. 
--Point 5 - My procrastination is a serious problem that is both fuelled by insecurity & a fear of fucking up my life more than I already have. My brain tries to avoid failing by not even trying until just before a deadline when my hatred of getting bad marks or disappointing people kicks in and I scramble to finish whatever I need to do in a blur of caffeine & stress. To the general frustration of all my family, this approach to my studies miraculously hasn’t completely blown up in my face *yet*. 
--Point 6I don’t quite know why I can’t hold onto memories of things I’ve done or things that have been said to me during a day but believe me it results in some awkward conversations when I have to ask someone to repeat what they’ve said or remind what time they told me to present myself for a family occasion. This also goes for things I mean to tell other people – sometimes I *think* I’ve told my OH about when I’m going to see friends or if we’re going to visit my parents but then when I mention it a day or two before I get a blank look. Some of that could be his memory being as dodgy as mine but I can’t help but wonder if my brain is just chucking out these details willy-nilly, which is a bit scary.

As you now might be able to tell, summing up what makes me the person I currently am is a far trickier task than a first look might indicate. I have a lot of work to do unravelling thoughts and feelings that I’ve buried under layers of nonchalance and jokes so I can finally be honest with myself and others about whatever messes my brain doesn’t want to own up to. This entire list doesn’t even begin to consider how my experiences (limited though they are) have affected me as person, that’s a whole other mine that I need to attack with a shovel.

This post has proved to be *much* harder than I anticipated and when I came to edit this I had to fight a sudden surge of self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy. I considered not posting this at all and did start another more serious piece but that was even harder and I did have rather emotional hour or two mentally debating whether or not I deserved to be part of this blog. My OH pointed out that there was no small amount of irony in my worrying myself into tears because I didn’t feel like my problems were serious enough to blog about and that I didn’t have anything to say that people would be interested in. CLEARLY I have some self-worth issues that need looking into in the near future.

While I may not have any diagnosed mental health issues that doesn’t mean that I don’t have some shit to sort out in my head and in my life. But this is my safe space to do that. I hope you don’t mind the deconstruction, it’ll get a bit dusty around here for a while.

1 comment:

  1. I relate to quite a bit of this so I am looking forward to reading your future contributions here. I am a 'picker' too, my cuticles in particular are a right state. As for the memory thing, I can't even remember what happened in books I read last week which is a tad worrying.


No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.