Henrietta Ross is a writer and blogger based in Scotland. When she is not metaphorically dumping her writing in impromptu places, you can either find her leaving your local charity shop with a wheelbarrow to transport the books, occasionally trying active meditation in a field as she wanders after sheep or dancing absurdly to cheesy eighties music because like Rockwell, she thinks somebody IS watching. You can find her at The Triumphant Weed or Madness Matters.
This is a day in Henrietta’s Life.
Put the Lights Out!
If there is one thing I am constantly chasing, it is balance, balance within myself and balance within my life. Sometimes chasing balance makes it even more difficult to grasp, it needs wrestling to the ground by not forcing it. At other times, the good old-fashioned to-do list is the obvious answer, except that the list gets increasingly longer and fulfilment is always fleeting. Either way, I do keep a diary, and scribble down my goals for each day the night before, then usually forget that I wrote anything when I wake the following morning and end up scoring completely different goals that came to me during a dream that I had. The Dead or Alive song ‘You spin me around’ is often playing in my head, accept no one else is spinning me, I’m not having fun and I don’t want your love.
I dream every night, it makes waking life more complex than is needed, especially when one cannot decipher the difference between the dream states one has recently inhabited and the wakeful part of life. I often wake up with a dream hangover, and spend the next three days confused and disorientated, asking people whether I did it.
Mornings! I have always been a night owl. Mornings are severe and discomforting; violent at times. Enforced wakefulness is a crime! Forced to wander around in a half conscious state, sleep sticking to one’s encrusted eyes, dribble’s chalky white patterns on your chin, hair sticking up like you’ve had a fight with Godzilla. Oh and pyjamas. One leg of the trousers always having worked its way up to a knee during the night and if you do wear socks, there is always one missing by morning.
The first thing I always want is caffeine. I can’t drink coffee, although I like the taste, as it gives me terrible migraines. I stick to tea, which although caffeine based, doesn’t seem to affect me in the same way. I am a lucky person; I get breakfast in bed each morning, made lovingly by my partner. I know, spoilt I hear you cry and I no doubt I am but isn’t love a verb, is love not shown through action, made up of small, regular offerings of kindness and affection towards those whose lives orbit our own? I do reciprocate the love by the way, in case you were wondering. This is the one area of my life where I am organised.
After, breakfast, it is time to get creative. We are currently designing a family business, counter to the one that already exists and is operational in the centre of town. Rather than work form home, which neither of us are fans of as we are sticklers for keeping things separate, we use the current office space and work from their until around four in the afternoon. I would like to admit that the creativity alone is what persuades me go in each day, but that would be a lie. There is a wide array of charity shops around the corner, all with shelves full of books that I must peruse, so it is imperative that I check them out under the pretence of being unbelievably stressed as often as possible. I don’t think the stress excuse has worked for a while though.
One of the things I love is the drive there and back from the office, though back is preferable. We live in a small hamlet in Scotland, surrounded by phenomenal natural beauty. From the window of our house, everything is, well green to be precise. Field after field o sheep, they always seem so self-contained going about their business. I would quite like to be a sheep. A huge dense forest at the back, self-contained too I suppose, the sort where if you delved into it, you would find yourself contained indefinitely and continuous rolling hills, that look magnificent when illuminated by the sun. I might climb them one day, but I am worried I might develop asthma. After living in an urban environment for many years, the change to living amongst rural pastures has been life changing I must make clear with all seriousness, nothing like reconnecting with ones inherent nature when surrounded by grass.
Once I get home, there are usually three choices. Study, write, or eat. In an ideal world, to write would always win, but I don’t believe submitting a few chapters of my book would be greeted with delight by my lecturers. I’m not a fan of writing up assignments, some people find this strange. If you like to write, you will enjoy anything with that theme, their thinking process goes, so emails, shopping lists, notes for the milkman. This is not the case. I like to write creatively, with no constraints, so certain aspects of writing that are more structured are oppressive to my soul or something like that.
I try to get some of my own writing done each day, even if I only manage half an hour. Not writing tends to make me agitated by the end of the day. I considered it attributable to the creative drive that is in all of us and that by not using mine, I was feeling blocked. Or that it was an agitation caused by the lack of self expression. I have since learnt that I just like a dump!
As many know, I have Bipolar Disorder and one of the consequences of this, well for me anyway, is that my mind is never simply simmering. It’s always chasing after this thought, that idea, concocting a plan and starting twelve others. Some people may only have this when manic, I have it every day and so due to this I have to dump regularly. I dump in my own blogs, in the articles I write, in guest blogs (like this one) and in my own book. What a pleasurable image! Good luck with that.
In terms of food, I’m not allowed in my own kitchen. I was removed with disgust some time ago. My partner allowed me to try to cook once, but I set a tea towel, the pepper mill, and myself on fire. I am now barred, forever. I can make tea or anything that does not involve cooking, like a lettuce sandwich but if I ever attempt to grab a saucepan, I am shown the door. Fortunately, as a previous chef, my partner has it covered and I only have to find time to eat. I have always wondered why more people don’t use their laptops as a plate!
Of an evening, after I’ve tried to fit everything in, I either feel like it’s been an eventful and successful day or eventful but rubbish on my part. Sometimes, I remember the to-list and scowl inwardly as I realise I will need to carry the ten things over I forgot to do. Being organised has never been my strong point, fortunately my partner is meticulously organised, and often directs me to what I am supposed to be doing which is a great help! He should be on stage!
Back to the evening, I am always torn between reading, (I am currently reading eight books) or watching a film. So, I tend to do both at the same time. It’s not working so well, and my plot lines are becoming seriously weird, but at least it’s pushing the idea of absurdity to it
limits, which may be food for thought in my writing or utter trash, depending on your perspective.
You never realise how quickly a day has passed until you get back into bed and can remember being there earlier. I do like bed if I can get my mind to shut up telling me its new idea for dog mascara or a book about the history of spectacles. I would love to tell you that I had a ritual before bed, that I have a wash or say a prayer, to someone, somewhere, whoever is listening, but I don’t. I dive in and wait, hands gripped to the side of the mattress waiting “for those little slices of death” as Poe would say. Usually after about an hour (or two), sleep shows her charitable, serene face and takes me softly, elegantly even, by the hand, leading me away from the chaos of wakefulness and into the realms of another world. A secret place, dusk just falling, voices in the distance, shadows in every corner. Was that the White Rabbit I wonder to myself and then, gasping loudly in my subconscious state, I realise you are still here, I forgot to put the light out. Sorry.
It’s time for this page to go blank.
© Copyright Henrietta M Ross
Henrietta is taking part in my #DayInTheLife project, a series of posts where people write about their typical day. If you would like to take part, please fill in the form on my blog post here.