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V-Sign to the Sunshine, Stripy Socks and Gingas
By
Daisy

V-Sign to the Sunshine, Stripy Socks and Gingas

How does a gloomy grump see joy where there is no joy?

This musing only available on Stories Space. If you are reading it elsewhere, it has been stolen.

Sometimes I feel that the world is a graceless place. Well, alright, I always feel that. For me, every day is a task that I cannot look forward to. But there is no way to rearrange my knickers drawer in procrastination of meeting the morning (or afternoon, on my days off), and I am lacking the ability to pull a sickie and tell the air around me that I will not be breathing it today. Indeed, the sunlight pokes jeering fingers around the heavy velvet curtains at my window, and flips me the V-sign. This is the point where I flip it the V-sign back, and then tell it where it can stick itself (usually up the bottom of the latest grumpy customer where I work).

But roll out of bed, I do, staggering to the bathroom with eyes welded shut, and I pray to the taps to make me pretty today as I wash my face.

Every day, I curse the taps for ignoring that heartfelt prayer, and clip back my hair with glittery, bendy barrettes, in need of solace. When I stagger back to my room to get dressed, I always pull on my stripy socks. No matter how low, depressed, anxious and gloomy-donkeyish I feel, I always have a little heart smile when I stare at my feet.

It's a sorry state of affairs when you have to rely on glittery, bendy barrettes and stripy socks to help you smile. On a work morning, I trudge just a few yards to the bus stop, and await its rumble-trundle along the potholed road. If Charlie is there, getting the early bus, one minute before it's due, he will shout up the road, "Come on, bus! You're late!"

Invariably, the bus is on time. Except for when it's late. And if it's late, I look at my stripy socks and text a friend or two, whilst I have time. When the bus arrives, I always say, "Morning" to the driver. Because, obviously, they might not know it is morning. But it is. It's always morning, and I have to do the whole day over again.

These days, as I get better from my illness, I am well enough to know that I can do more than when I couldn't get out of bed at all. And I am well enough to know that I am not yet well enough to work full time, be around people every day, and think clearly all the time.

Sometimes, I cannot speak. Not because I don't know how to speak, or how to form my words (although, when I am very poorly, as is still apt to happen sometimes, that is actually the case). But sometimes, part of my brain wishes to say something, and my mouth cannot form the words with my lips. This is usually when I am anxious, teary, or tired.

When I am anxious, teary or tired, I look at my stripy socks, and am glad of them.

On some days, though, I cannot even smile looking at my socks. My heart just has no energy, and sits in a puddled hole with a raincloud over the top of it, and I once had a rainbow umbrella, but the stupid thing blew inside out. It just lies next to me, a ripped crinoline with a bent, skeletal frame. A broken promise.

And the rain falls, and the puddle becomes a lake.

On those days, if I can muster the energy, I buy a gingerbread man. I call them Gingas. They have saved me many a time. You wouldn't know that a cookie can save a life, unless you are a cookie lover. Doctors and dentists will tell you that cookies are bad for you. But ginger is medicinal, and Gingas help my heart. When I cannot smile, they smile for me. I eat one (nomming, is what I call it, the act of nommage), and it has been a conscious decision to smile. When I cannot smile with my mouth, my eyes, or my heart, I consume a proffered smile from the baked goodness that is a Ginga.

Some people say that eating Gingas is cruel, and one should bite their head off to stop them suffering. But we all know that to fulfill one's destiny is to be happy. And Gingas were baked to be enjoyed. For them, it is fulfillment of destiny by nommage. For a Christian, to be used as God's hands on earth is fulfillment of a sort. So do not condemn me for nomming a humble Ginga legs first, so that his smile lasts until that very last bite. He's still smiling right to the end. For me. And, I expect, when he gets to Ginga Heaven, Ginga Jesus will say, "Well done, good and faithful Ginga. Here is a Ginga mansion I prepared earlier for you".

An act of the will is a powerful thing indeed. I once believed that if I forgave somebody by an act of my will, it would eventually bring my emotions into line with my will. And sure enough, eventually, it did. Although, truth be told, sometimes I had to keep forgiving the same person by an act of will over and over again, and bring the emotions that had gone astray back into line. A few times. Well, a lot. But you get my point, I think.

I don't know if I still believe that. I believed for a very long time that I would be made well and whole by an act of my will, since God would not or could not do it for me. But here I am, still having to pull on my stripy socks every jeering sunlight morning. And so, I surround myself with Gingas. I am quite obsessed with them in a fun, light-hearted way. And I think that somehow, my subconcious might believe that if I am surrounded by smiling cookies (who do not require responses or input, which people usually do, and which is a problem for me much of the time), maybe I will begin to feel smile-ish too. Perhaps my subconcious thinks that one day, I will just turn into a Ginga, with a permanent smile.

I wouldn't mind that so much. If I become a Ginga (the cookie variety, not the ginger-haired type of person, although a certain shampoo I use has a side-effect of making my moppish coiffe semi-permanently ginger-tinted), maybe somebody will nom me, and I will have fulfilled my destiny.

Alas, life for humans is not like that, and we're back to flipping the V-sign at the sun before getting on the bus to go to another day at work.

Do you know those days where everybody at work is grumpy, and with every grumpy person, you just get more and more grumpy? This last week has been just like that for me. I'm very teary (which is most annoying, which makes me frustrated, which makes me more teary), and with every grumpy person I've dealt with, I have slowly lost the will to live. Well, alright, the will to live is weak in this one, so I could have done with a helping hand, you know?

They say Karma is a bitch. If I ever meet her, I'm going to punch her in the face. If I have the energy. If I don't, I'll probably offer her a Ginga and tell her to sod off. In my last job, before I was reduced to what I am now, I gave everything that I had, and more. I had no boundaries left, which, by the time I had learned that they were necessary for an iota of good health, they could never be built again the way that they had previously been. And I wonder, is Karma getting me back for something that I missed? Actually, I don't really believe in Karma, so maybe that's why. We all want somebody to blame, other than ourselves.

I worked over seventy hours a week, trying to do some good in the world. I figured that if I had to be a part of the world, perhaps I could contribute something of value to it despite myself. I had a very varied job, and utilised a wide range of skills. I was better at some than others. I won't list what they all were, since I fancy going to bed this year. But those skills were all used in the hopes of building up the broken, hurting, lost, lonely and angry people of the world. I met some treasures, and some complete scum. I gave my whole heart and soul to trying to help them, be their friend, their ear, their shoulder, their kick up the bum, their guide to One Who could help them, their way to Hope.

It broke me.

I lost my heart and soul and spirit, and the ability to be any of those things I had wanted to be to those who needed it. And in losing it, I lost my justification for existing.

Faced with one grumpy customer after another grumpy customer, on a day when flipping the V-sign at the sunshine is even getting too much, and coherent speech begins to elude me in exhaustion and an overflow of stupid tears, there sometimes seems to be no daisy growing from the poo pile.

Until the afternoon, when a small, basin-cut blond-haired child in a pushchair pointed at me, smiled, and said, "She pretty".

His mother said, "Who's pretty? The lady?"

The sarcastic, grumpy side of me thought, "Of course he meant me, you stupid cow! He was bloody pointing at me when he said it. He obviously got his intelligence from his dad. I bet you gave him that haircut, you evil bint".

The last vestige of who I used to be simply smiled a teary little smile, and I said nothing.

That beloved little child nodded, and replied, "Yes. And pretty flower." And he pointed at my hair, which was graced with a felt and bead daisy that I once made in an attempt to make myself smile when I felt low.

As a former children's worker, I always used to prefer the company of the kids to the company of adults, since the kids were much more straight-forward and honest. You knew where you were with the scallies of Yorkshire, and less so the manipulative, self-seeking adults I had the misfortune to work with sometimes. The kids might do your car over if they didn't know you, but if they did, you'd be told right away who smashed eggs on your windscreen and who got duffed up for daring to do it.

And on days like today, when the sunshine gets the V-sign, and even my stripy socks haven't helped, a child, barely old enough to talk, with an innocent mouth and a kind heart, showed me the daisy in the poo.

I'd like to say that I am the daisy in the poo, but I struggle to see myself in such a positive light. Because I flip the V-sign at that light, remember? And so, the small, basin-cut blond-haired child in a pushchair has been today's self-esteem Ginga. He smiled for me where I could not.

In the very worst of my illness, I could only lie in my bed and cry solidly for days on end, undiscovered by any who ought to have realised I had not been seen for weeks, trying to hide my state from the very few close family and friends I managed to talk to. It was literally a fight to get through each second. On some days, I managed to get through minute by minute. These days, I normally manage to get through the day until trying to get through the next one, although this last week has become minutes at certain times.

But I always knew that I had to hold onto the tiny things. It might be something shiny, or a Ginga, or the sound of the rain on the window pane. It might be out fishing as I got better, or walking with my camera. It might be the smell of the old woods or heather on the moors. It might be a funny sign, or my favourite sparkly shoes.

I had to find joy where I could. It didn't make it better, but it gave me something to focus on from my puddle-filled hole where I sat next to my broken rainbow umbrella. And today, on a day when I could not find it for myself, a small, basin-cut blond-haired child in a pushchair found that joy for me.

Tomorrow, I have to get up for work again. I have blown my nose numerous times and wiped away quite a few tears whilst writing this. And I wonder, will I find another joy tomorrow, or will the sunshine have a permanent V-sign flipped at it?

I think I'd better wear my stripy socks and buy a Ginga on the way to work...

This musing only available on Stories Space. If you are reading it elsewhere, it has been stolen.
This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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