22 June 2011

A little lost in London

I was walking to the tube after work, yesterday, lost in thought, and feeling a little lost in general, when a man walked past me.

'Cheer up, love. Might never happen!' He yelled, as he got right up in my face, before turning to his friend and snorting with laughter. He had a big pot belly, which was barely covered by the old faded T-shirt he was wearing. His jeans looked grimy like they needed disinfecting and his eyes were covered by a washed out red baseball cap, which he hid behind when he looked away.

I instantly felt small, miserable and insignificant. This emotion was quickly plastered over by a bout of rage.

Who did he think he was?

I didn't smile at him (which could well have proved his point), but instead, I tightened my jacket, and gripped my handbag for support and kept walking on to the tube. Truth is, his words hit me a little like a slap around the face.
Did I really look that miserable to the outside world? Okay, so this scruffy bloke who thinks he had the right to openly judge strangers just minding their own business, doesn't hardly constitute the world, but you know what I mean.

I thought back to the past couple of weeks. I hadn't been quite myself, that was true.
"Are you okay? You're not quite yourself today - a little thoughtful perhaps?" A friend at work had asked as she strolled past reception last week.

"I always know when something is up with you, you go all quiet." Said another of my work colleagues, one who rarely speaks to me.

My life had become a bit of a routine. My work days were full to the very brim of commuting, newspapers, post, trays of coffee, transferring calls, and stationery catalogues. The most exciting thing that happened each day was realising I had walked quicker than usual to the train station, meaning I could take the earlier train and didn't have to rush to get a seat. If finding a spare seat on the tube excited me, then no wonder people at work had noticed something was wrong.

But it was the person who knows me best, who was perhaps the most perceptive.

"You haven't been writing much lately, have you?" Liam had said.

I'd walked in from work and slumped onto the sofa, putting my head in my hands and letting out the biggest sigh. I was surprised he'd brought it up. He, who hates my Twitter account, and gets jealous of how I have a tendency to put my relationship with my blog followers before ours sometimes in the evenings.
Can you put your phone down, and stop checking your blog - for just one minute? He'd sigh and remind me again that we were trying to have a nice meal together.

"No, I haven't." I replied. "In fact, I haven't felt like doing many of the things that I love, recently..."

He came over to the sofa and bear-hugged me, squeezing me tight against his chest so my ears got all squashed. I love it when he does that. I like the way his voice sounds all gruff and echoey through his rib cage. He didn't jump in asking questions, he let me speak, as he always does.

I trundled through each grumpy, indifferent, frustrated emotion I'd felt over the last few weeks. Each day had felt like it needed to be 'done' just to get onto the next, to then finish that day in order to repeat the whole process again. When it suddenly clicked that the thing I looked forward to most in each day was sleeping, it was there in my living room, wrapped tight in Liam's arms, that I decided I had a problem.

"It could be that nothing much at the moment inspires me, pushes me or challenges me." I offered.

I'd gotten used to the monotony of my daily routine. I thought about how I had begun to walk faster to get to each destination, not stopping to notice things around me, how I regularly tutted at people who crossed my path, or those who walked too slow in front of me. I'd started buying into all the consumerism; the caramel macchiatos, the fancy clothes, the posh meals out. It had become ashamedly easier to slob in front of the TV after getting in from work, rather than get my watercolour paints out to create a picture, or set my mind to write a story. All very fickle. I narrowed my eyes and spoke very slowly and seriously. "I think I might have finally become a Londoner."

Liam thought this was hilarious, and whilst laughing, said very pointedly, "Well you do know what you're going to have to do about this..."

"Move to Brighton?" I asked, hopefully, teasing him slightly.

"No -" He rolled his eyes at me. "You need to put some effort in to make things change. You can look for a new job today if it's not exciting enough, you can plan to do things that will inspire you."

I didn't want to admit he was absolutely right. I had become lazy. Too comfortable in my routine to even think about having the ability to change it. I had become that miserable face on the London Underground I'd always hated. Me

As I sat down to write this post, switching my computer on and logging in to Blogger, I saw my familiar home page flash up, and a wave of excitement flew through me as post after post popped up from my favourite bloggers.
Wanting to read them all at once, I smiled as I remembered that familiar desperate need to be creative, come sneaking back to me. And I suppose I wasn't half surprised I hadn't blogged for a while, I couldn't really call myself a light in London when 'a little lost in London' might have been more appropriate.



  1. You know something sweetie? Wanting to sleep is just wanting to not deal with things. It's an escape mechanism. I should know. It's one of my depression indicators. I'm not saying you have it but it certainly sounds like you're in a funk. I've been in one for over a week now and it stinks doesn't it? Liam sounds like the perfect support person for you. Get those hugs, find something that will make you happy and keep those posts coming because they certainly make this person here happier when she reads them!!!!

  2. I can really relate to this. I've been going through something very similar. I miss writing and reading my favorite writers (one of them being you). I'm trying to get back on track too.

    Here's to rising up out of the funk. :)

  3. The question is: are you still upset with the man who made the comment? He seems to have been the catalyst to your revelations about yourself. Just my beliefs but I think that sometimes our groanings unuttered are heard and answered in unexpected ways.

  4. Sounds like some strange imp inspired you. Just happened by thanks to the otherworldyone up there, but I have to say...I've definitely been there. Inertia is a pain, and it can be rough to rise out of the rut.
    May you find awesomeness in something new, or just a fresh view.

  5. Bouncin' Barb - You may have hit the nail on the head! Such a lovely positive comment, thank you so much for your kind words. Promise I'll keep those posts coming!

    OWO - It is hard to explain, to put your finger on it, isn't it!? ... Glad I'm not on my own! Here, here!

    Barbara L - I generally don't like people like him anyway - so perhaps I am a little upset. But I am grateful for his being there then, because it was just what I needed to kick me up the bum, back into gear!

  6. Danger Boy - I do hope it's only a little phase... I've been planning all the new things I'm going to be doing. Only one to get me out of this state is me (and possibly the imp!) Thanks for stopping by. :)

  7. I'm certainly pleased to see you back here. In fact my work colleagues looked baffled when I emitted some kind of celebratory comment (complete with fist pump) when your name popped up in the blog roll. I hope you find your way again soon - I can't imagine you as a miserable Londoner, the picture just doesn't fit somehoe.

  8. Just happy to see a new post up by you. Mr. 2Half was asking about you the other day also!

  9. It's when the pot bellied men scrape you off the pavement and pour what passes for your material self into the nearest litter bin you have to be worried about.

  10. Like so many others, I can relate to this. And like everyone here, I'm glad you've written something again - and so very well.

  11. So happy to see you writing again! I got so excited when I saw your name pop up on my blog roll (: welcome back Bth! I also remember feeling this way a few months back. Nothing seemed interesting, nothing was really worth getting excited over. So I decided to do something different, and I started my blog. Been a happy camper ever since! Amazing what a little creativity can do for you! Best of luck finding your way back (:

  12. glad to see you are back in action.

  13. You know, sometimes, it's this phase of nothingness that manages to bring back the sparky in your life. Take it like a phase of rest your brain needed, to come back brighter, smarter and more in love with the good things in the world. You just made my morning with this piece. Love. :)

  14. Sometimes it only takes a random person to make us really assess our lives. Too often I get stuck in the same kind of "blah" rut--glad to see you're back in the creative mode! :) Welcome back!

  15. It's great to have you back and writing so well too. I have had the experience of someone in the street I don't know telling me to cheer up and it has always upset me too when it has happened. Sounds like you have been doing a lot of thinking and had a lot of support which has reminded you what life for you is all about. Take care of you and good luck with your writing. x

  16. I'm a new follower; and it looks like I must have hit the "follow" button at the right time. I have happened by your blog a few times, drinking in your wonderful strings of words....and I'm excited to see what will come of your new found energy.

    I have found myself in those slumps before, and I'm glad that you have, with the help of a boisterous, pot-bellied man on the street, started to pull yourself out of it. :)

  17. light208 - Haha! I have this wonderful image of you fist-pumping the air! *blush* Thank you. I'm less of a misery guts now.

    Whirlochre - Yes. You absolutely do. And admittedly, I was.

    Sharon - We do need little breaks sometimes, don't we?! Thank you. x

    Karson - Thank you! I'm pleased to be back blogging after my little stint of boredom! Feel very honoured so many people missed me! :)

    dull boy - Back and hopefully here to stay. ;)

  18. Sukanya - What a beautiful comment. Love to you too! I think you are absolutely right.

    Lady Wordsmith - I wonder if those random people who teach us lessons were put there on purpose, because mine certainly came at the right time! Caught me before I fell into a more permanent 'blah'. eek!

    Happy Frog - It makes you feel very little doesn't it? :( I think key to a healthy mind is time on my own and being pro-active. I'm getting there! Feeling much better already. Thank you for a lovely comment. x

    lladybugg - Well, hello! Thank you for following me. (As good an incentive as any to get posting!) I'm very glad I'm out of the rut. I just didn't feel me, you know? :)