In Which I Hate Everyone and Everything


Two days ago I wrote a beautiful and uplifting post which I just looked at and sighed and thought about how insufferably smug and cheerful I was back in the day. Then I wrote this one instead.

This morning I went and got my flu shot. I was in a vile mood and I didn't want to go and sit at the medical centre with all the sick people or get in the lift with them and there are no stairs (why?), and the nurse who gave me the shot was absolutely charming, but then she basically just stabbed me. Ow. Some nurses are the best at giving shots and this one was not. I have a very sore arm and I feel miserable. Posy is also in a vile mood and we went and walked the dog this afternoon and said barely three words to each other, then a nice old man came along with a very elderly Jack Russell terrier who made friends with Benny and their leads got all tangled up and Posy and I were charming and all smiles and banter with the nice elderly man and then he left and we were morose again. We are nice to strangers but not to each other. I don't know why Posy is so grumpy because I haven't asked. Me, it's hormones. I hate hormones. I find them completely biologically unnecessary. My youngest child is fifteen years old so what use do I have for hormones anymore? They could just quit, but they won't.

I am mad at everyone and myself and indulging in extreme self-pity because reasons. I forget. But I am pretty sure I am very hard done by. It was my birthday recently and so I have access to chocolate. I should not have access to dark chocolate and hormones at the same time. Dark chocolate keeps me awake into the small hours while I grind my teeth with rage about how awful everything is. I could theoretically just not eat the chocolate but that is not how my life works. Last month, that is four whole weeks ago I bought Paul a small paper bag of tiny dark chocolate chips from the bulk food shop. Every day Paul sprinkles one teaspoonful of dark chocolate chips on his muesli and enjoys them in a restrained and adult fashion. I am fairly certain he is an alien. I have eaten an entire block of dark chocolate in two days. It has not made me a happier or better person, but I will tell you this. It was very, very good. Temporarily.

While I was walking the dog with Posy in morose silence I was contemplating how there is all this self-help literature in the world about how to change yourself and become a better person. Has this ever worked? This is my question to you all today. Has anyone out there become a better person due to any earnest exhortations of an author who is convinced that we can all Change for the Better? I will tell you this. I am still the same person I was when I was eighteen. I have learned certain tricks, shortcuts and life hacks, but I still feel the same way about pretty much everything that I always did. Here is a life hack I have learned recently while dealing with various government departments and bureaucracy in general. People will not call you back when you leave a polite message requesting information on how to complete some piece of Kafka-esque bureaucracy, but they will definitely call you if you send them a form that is filled in wrong.

Posy and I (back when we were still talking) decided to have a go at homeschooling. Today, possibly, we are regretting that decision, but never mind. A week and half ago I left a polite message requesting clarification on the application process. Nothing. In the end I decided to do my thing and just send photographs of all the requested id documents, knowing it would be wrong, but figuring it might get me some communication. I sent the email at 11.07am and sure enough at 12.24pm I got a call outlining how terribly, terribly wrong I'd got it all. Heh, heh. I asked my list of questions. As of this morning, after the flu shot debacle I delivered the correct form to the office in town, so that they could sight the original and photocopy it and I avoided having to traipse around and find a JP to make a certified copy as per original instructions. See? Life hacks. That is the kind of stuff you don't know when you are eighteen. However, I was still just as surly and sour about having to leave the house and walk through town on a beautiful autumn day in the sunshine while befogged in a gloom of hormones as I would have been at the age of eighteen. And just think, I am now 49 and with any luck, soon I will tip over into menopause and then I can feel like this for years on end. Maybe that is the wisdom of old age they promised us when we were young and hopeful..


Mary said…
Sorry you are in a funk. I won't try to cheer you up because, if you are anything like me, that will just make you feel more contrary.
simplelife said…
Enough said.
I'm 52, and no longer waiting patiently but angrily. I had 5 months of bliss and then bam back on the bleeping rollercoaster.
Thanks for sharing and keeping it real.
Cheers Kate
PS totally relate to the chocolate situation
Treaders said…
Ah yes, the bliss that is menopause. It gets even better when you put on 16 kg in about an hour-and-a-half! Other than putting on the weight I didn't feel like I really had any symptoms, except just wanting to burst into tears for no good reason occasionally - which is so not me. But when I spoke to the doctor at work about it she just laughed and said "if I were married to your husband I'd want to burst into tears too" and I felt so much better. I don't know how you feel about hormones but I went on them and they were FABULOUS. AND they made me as horny as hell. I mean, when you look at a short, fat, balding Swiss bus driver and think "HALLO BABY!" something's working right.
Anonymous said…
Treaders...THANK YOU for the belly laugh!
HORMONES are the pit of HELL, Jo! It will get better, but for a while it will be shit. Chocolate does help...teenage daughters, Hmmm! Just remember how much you love her.
Be well.
Kathy said…
Sorry you have been having a hard daughter has her hormones going this week and is very much snapping and cranky...women...OMG the things we have to go through. I hit menopause at 50 and the hot flushes and thickening of the waist is here to stay....hope you have a better week. Kathy
Jo said…
Mary, I was going to link 'Mary' and 'contrary' together in my comment but decided against it. I hope you appreciate my considerable restraint there.

Kate, there are no signs yet of menopause on the horizon but hope springs eternal. Commiserations on your false start..

Anna, I did not have any opinion about hormones previous to reading your comment, however now I am all for them:)

Patricia, the good news is that this morning I am perfectly cheerful, and so is the teenage daughter, who I do very much love, and frankly, she has as much to put up with as I do, especially yesterday. We are quite the pair as the only person in the world more hormonal than a 49 year old woman is her 15 year old daughter..
Jo said…
Kathy, we're all in this together.... and have been from time immemorial. Cheers to us all:)
Anonymous said…
I have become a better person because of a writer/blogger who makes me laugh & who wrote a wonderful touchstone piece about stoicism which I often refer to. Thank you!
Deborah said…
Oh Jo, everyone one of my friends know exactly what you're experiencing! As females living together tend to sync up hormonally, you're both probably awash at the same time. Good luck with menopause; I was in my early 60s before that happy event occurred. Being hot at night is pretty awful, too.

I find unexpected grumpiness can be relieved by a good sweep and tidy up in the garden, a fierce tidy of the walk in robe, especially my husband's side or walking along the river with the dog until I'm exhausted (he is never exhausted on a walk but happily sleeps most of his life on the end of our bed)

Glad you're feeling better now! Deborah
simplelife said…
Oh no Deborah, no no no.
I'll be locked up if I have to deal with all this perimenopause stuff for another 8 yrs.
Cheers Kate
Anonymous said…
Jo, I was in peri menopause for about 5-6 years in my forties, and complete menopause at 50 (9 years now). During the peri menopause stage which sounds like what you are in, I found a product called Estroven (natural) which was helpful to take. I would also look into herbal teas which can help with the symptoms.
Glad you are feeling cheerful today!
Jo said…
Anon, this is a lovely comment, but I think I disagree. I'm glad I make you laugh sometimes, but if you found something that spoke to you in my post about Stoicism it's because something inside you was already predisposed to recognise it and think it worthwhile. I have to say I am very sceptical about change, but could be wrong, of course, often am:)

Deborah, I do agree that tiring yourself out is a good antidote to grumpiness, also, it turns out, is writing it out in a blog post. Cheered me up no end! Back when I went to the gym, the exercise was a side benefit. The true therapy was getting together with my lovely friend Carla and complaining for a good hour three times a week.

Patricia, honey, not even in peri menopause yet. Still grumpy as hell every 28 days like clockwork. It may be some time, but I see that I will have excellent advice waiting for me when I need it..
Meg said…
I'd send you chocolate if I had any left!
Its effects may only be temporary but I'd take that. My problem is not with a teenage daughter but teenage son who regularly raids my stash of favoured dark chocolate. I'm going to have to hide it!


Jo said…
Meg, I actually hand my stash of chocolate over to teenage daughter to hide from me. She doles it out in strictly rationed portions because left alone with it I am a danger to myself..
Anonymous said…
Poor you - and poor Posy. Sometimes even just two people in a house is too many!
When menopause eventually happens, it might not be so awful, you know. The thought of it is daunting, but I think there are a good many of us who get through it without too much difficulty. Be kind to yourself. Chocolate definitely helps, though!

Linda in NZ
Jo said…
Linda, here's hoping:)
Judy said…
I am a better person after reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Technically I didn't read it, I got the audiobook and also listened to the podcasts he did with Oprah.....over and over almost daily for a year in the car.

I had just started a new job which meant a 1hr 10 mins commute each way. Driving in heavy traffic stresses me out, but Eckhart helped me to stay calm and present. Admittedly there were times where I completely missed what he was saying as I was daydreaming or chuntering about work. And there were times that I had to turn him off because I was so calm I was dosing off. By the next journey I had already forgotten his wise words so had to listen again and again (I am a hard nut to crack!). I also listened to some of Dr Wayne Dyers books and they were brilliant too, but not so much on repeat.

This lasted until an emergency hit and my partner was in a coma fighting for his life in Thailand. I packed a small rucksack at 2am and left everything and more or less lived by his side for 2 months until he stabilised enough to be flown home. All Eckharts teachings definitely got me through that 2 months calmly. It was like I had stored up all their wisdom just for this. I had acceptance of the situation without blame or regret. He helped me be the best me that I could be and the rest of the family drew strength from me.

Another author who has changed my life is Lorna Byrne, but I'm not sure her books count as self help. They are definitely life changing though.

I don't read like you Jo - 2 books a year at most normally. Last year I read The Salt Path by Raynor Winn and loved it. Maybe have it ready to read the next time you feel a funk coming on.
Jo said…
Judy, oh, my dear, what an experience to go through. I really very much hope that your partner has recovered his health again, although any crisis that serious serious would be no doubt leaving your family reeling and his health impacted for quite some time. I am so glad that you had a store of inner strength to draw on that had quietly been building up for you over the previous year. Sometimes the universe brings us exactly what we need although we don't know why at the time.. dear Judy, I am sending you hugs across the world. You have been a tower of strength for your family and I expect you need some mothering yourself now. I hope you've found that as well xx
Thank you for that book recommendation. I found a Guardian article about The Salt Path and have put it on my library list. It sounds marvellous. I can also get it as an audio book from the library, so maybe I will do that and listen while I clean the bathroom.
Anonymous said…
Dear Jo I feel your pain. I am 53 and have come out the other side of menopause and it is wonderful! I began running barefoot on the beach 2 years ago and adore it (never been a runner or particularly fit before)
I highly recommend reading The M word by Ginni Mansberg (Aussie GP with 4 kids). The best practical book on menopause ever!!And I have read them all.
If you want a lighter account The Madwoman in the Volvo is hilarious.
And have you tried Yoga with Adriene on Youtube? I did her Yoga for a Bad Mood session the other day and it helped immensely. She actually saved my sister's sanity during her horrible peri-menopause: my sister has been practising every morning for 6 months and that, and HRT has completely turned her life around for the better.
Anonymous said…
Ooops that was Loretta posting above. Xx
Anonymous said…
No one normal eats chocolate like Paul. Only men do. OK, I am effectively wiping out all men - but they are just not normal when it comes to eating chocolate.

Smuggly, I had a nurse who gave me the flu shot with finesse. I felt nothing. Probably didn't need it this year with all the social distancing and hand washing and cleaning.

As to hormones - so glad I am paused - past tense - as in menopaused. I do not miss the up and down of hormones - the knowing I am angry due to it being nearly period time, but really knowing, I am angry because people will just not clean like I ask and don't you dare say it is just that time of the month or I will rage and rage, and yeah, OK maybe it wasn't the mess that got to me but the hormones but I really was right to say it was the mess not the hormones.

Yep, don't miss that!

Jo said…
Loretta, I am so pleased for you that you have come through menopause a running and yoga goddess! How truly wonderful xx I did yoga about 20 years ago and the title of that video, Yoga for a Bad Mood almost tempts me back. I am wondering if there is a little space in that routine for kicking some furniture?? I did go for a run last week for the first time in two years or so and it nearly killed me (I live on a very steep hill) so I may have to ease into that..

Lucinda, I cannot imagine you ever being 'paused' in any situation:)
I have been rethinking the whole 'period rage' thing and wondering if indeed that might just be our true selves peeking out once a month. After all, we are brought up to be so nice and responsible, and just once a month our body lets us rage..

Popular Posts