annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Day 220

[This may have ended up as an incoherent indignant tale of woe. I can't tell. Soz].
[And I haven't properly proof-read it either. Sorry for that too]

Tuesday. I keep writing an M on my hand to remind me to do meditation again - why did I stop? Why aren't I doing it now, instead of moaning about not doing it? The answer to that question arrived as I was writing - because when I let go like that, the sorrow rises, in its fullness, not just as a passing, shooting pain, and I don't feel I can bear that as well as the anxiety of the day to day, how many cases today sort of crap which is how life is in October 2020. Man. The best metaphor I've heard for how we are living now is that we're all in the same stormy sea, but we're all in different boats. I know that in the scheme of things my boat is quite sea-worthy, but only 'quite'. Miles better than 'probably' seaworthy, let alone 'not very' or 'barely'.

Today being Tuesday, members of Tuesday art group gathered by our screens at 10 to 11, paper glued to boards, copy of The Scream at the ready, paints out, zoom meeting dialled, whatsapp group texted: "I'm ready, looking forward to this." I'm there, in my newly tidy studio, ignoring the builders on a thing right outside the window, replacing the fascias and soffits. Shirley is asleep on my foot. I have my acrylic paints and water on a tray sitting on top of the wastepaper bin as there's nowhere else for it to go.

Time passes, none of us are let in. Messages start appearing on Whatsapp wondering where she is, J, our wonderful teacher/leader/friend. 11am comes and goes, nothing. At 11.15 I remember I have J's mobile number, given when we were on a trip to London, but not used since as it's her private one, but I call her, cos fuck it, and she's in a right state. The big mental health charity who has recently taken over all the mental health care in the county - the NHS being outsourced as we watch in horror - is holding a forum for service users (me and my pals) to discuss the changes they are going to make to our service. They're holding it at the same time as art group - the biggest of the activities the centre is providing during the pandemic. They're using the centre's only zoom link so J can't get on. We knew that the forum for us to discuss the service provided to us was scheduled against the art class, one of about three activities available to us via zoom, but no one told J, or us, that our art group would not be accessible and would have to be cancelled. She has her paints out on the kitchen table too, her apron on, she's ready. How can no one tell her? She's a paid employee doing a vital job, offering a valuable opportunity for us all to hang out together - it may be on zoom, but we're all there, chatting or not, able to see each other's faces, gauge how well we're all holding up, having an outburst if we need to, mostly not as seeing all the others is very grounding. Knowing we can do this every Tuesday, oh man - we don't have to paint if we don't want to, but knowing it's there is crucial - we're not totally isolated from the community of recoverers, there they are, there's L, and T and the other T and P and B and those are just the ones that spring to mind right now. How can they not be aware of this?

Anyway, when I called, J had just managed to get hold of someone in management who told her why she couldn't get on zoom - because of this forum - and suggested she set up a private meeting of her own if she was that bothered, the fucking fucker. She was trying to do this while being absolutely fucking livid and quite upset so I got off the phone, texted the group to hold steady, she would be there asap, and found that quite a few had become too stressed with all the checking the zoom, the trying again and still not getting in, the beeping of the whatsapp messages coming by the score, the uncertainty, the sudden loss of an expected relief. They'd packed it in and were gone, upset. J got her zoom going in the end and sent put the code and p/w up and we got in, those of us who were left. We had a big moan, some tears, a lot of guidance. swearing then we settled down and painted The Scream, under J's instruction.

Three things I am grateful for today: J persevering and bringing us our art group; a walk on the prom after, at high tide, with pounding white waves and spray all over my glasses; being with Daughter when this very attractive person she knows rolled up on a bike, chatted a bit then left. We looked at each other and laughed and laughed - we have exactly the same taste in who is or is not attractive, shocking but somehow affirming. And funny.

10:46 p.m. - 20.10.20


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