And when she was good she was very, very good.
And when she was bad she was horrid.
Apart from that, this rhyme describes me pretty accurately.
I'm a big believer that one must know one's own faults. A wiser woman would try to correct them, fix them, make herself a better person. But I am not a wise woman. Therefore I merely accept mine. And maybe baby step towards changes by airing them here. So let's go. Here's a list of things I am, to put it frankly, rubbish at.
1. Change of plans
I'm a planner, an organiser, a creator, a scheduler. Which is great when things go my way. I can feel satisfied that my efforts have paid off and wear my smug face.
But things don't always go to plan do they? And I am shite at dealing with it when I have to work around life or the changing needs of other people. I turn into a right sulky, grumpy monster. I reason that I worked hard so things should go my way. I look to blame someone or something for the delay/cancellation/alteration and frankly I'm not fun to be around.
In my defence I work my arse off to fit around the schedules of my people and I always turn up when I say I will. Reliability is the key to being me. But I realise this doesn't give me the right to demand the same from other people. I just can't help wanting it to be that way. For life to conform the way I've imagined it will.
2. Little Miss Chatterbox
Let's just go for this one.
I am a boastful, smug cow and I rarely shut up. Not the greatest combination of traits is it? I like to think that I'm a cheerful chatterbox but it's much more like a long winded bore!
If I do something even vaguely impressive you'll know about it. I'll share it on social media or tell you about it. Once again I kid myself that this makes me an interesting person, but I realise that there must be eye rolling and "hide feed" buttons clicked!
Currently I'm a running bore. Previously I have waffled on about cats, knitting, weight loss and, most likely, theatre.
I'm also terrible at telling jokes. I really don't know how to be funny. I bottle it in the limelight. I guess that's why I work backstage, safely tucked away in the dark, trying not to chatter too much....
I really thought that because I'm a runner, and therefore "fit" I'd be great at cycling. I cracked out Juliet, my vintage pink "nearly as old as me" bicycle, bought on a whim 4 years ago and discovered that I didn't even know how to change its flat tyres.
I had no interest in cycling as a child and opted to stay in and do some extra reading instead of doing my cycling proficiency. I think it was supposed to disuade us from staying in the classroom but it was a carrot for this bookworm.
Thus I have never used the cycling muscles in my legs and get confused about which of my measely 3 gears I should be in. And don't get my started on road awareness and signalling. It's mainly wobbling and veering when I'm saddled up so I'm sticking to the bike paths for now. Cycling is hard. In fact it's exhausting. I don't know how you all do it. I currently get more of a workout carrying Juliet down the stairs and wrestling her into the car than I do from actual pedalling!
Moving forward I think I have 2 options: enter a triathlon or give up entirely......we'll see.....
Some people are effortlessly cool. I am not one of those people.
I'm a bit plain, a bit shy and have antiquaited turn of phrase. These do not predispose me to fit effortlessly in with the youth of today. Or be a style icon for my peers. If you look at the photo above you will see exhibit A. Me. Wearing a (fake) tattoo declaring that I'm RAD and looking distinctly not RAD! I just can't pull it off
Exhibit B. When discussing Pitbull recently I was so excited to know who he was that I described him as:
That rapper man!
Yep. That is actually what I said. Grandmother style.
But hey ho. I've long accepted this. there's nothing worse than trying to be cool when you aren't CRINGE! So I plough my own path and like to think I'm vaguely interesting and sometimes even sexy in my own way.
Now don't get me wrong, I love eating. I'm very good at eating. Snacking in particular is my forte.
But I'm crap at eating like a normal person.
I don't eat a large proportion of most food groups and I don't eat foods mixed together. Basically I'm finicky like a toddler, at the grand old age of 32.
You want some examples? People always do. I DON'T eat: pasta, fish, mixed up foods like pizza, pies, stews, casseroles, most vegetables, most fruits, all sauce based condiments and.....here's the big one...cheese.
Yes. I hate cheese. Hate it with the passion of 1000 fires. In some circumstances (like lightweight flighty parmesan where it might get on my hands) I am even afraid of cheese.
This makes eating out tricky. I have to ask for things "without X, Y and Z please". Approximately 50% percent of the time the kitchen messes this up and I have to send it back. And then I look like a mean cow. It makes dating *fun. Watching your date's dinner going cold because he's being gentlemanly and waiting for you sounds chivalrous. But it is always REALLY awkward. As are the 27 texts it take to choose the restaurant in the first place.
Now, I have tried to change, and I am making inlets towards normality, but don't think I choose to be this way. I'd love to be like the masses, look at a menu and like it all. In fact, I have a dream that one day I will get to use on of these sentences:
"I'll have what he's having"
"You order for me"
*Not the sarcastic use of the word fun here
Angry Zo is my alter ego.
I don't let her out of her box very often, in fact I never mean to, she just breaks free. Think an English, blond version of the Incredible Hulk. Only uglier. Much uglier. That guy on the left in the picture above is prettier than Angry Zo would be after an appearance on an American makeover show and a full day of airbrushing.
I probably only see her about twice a year but if you've met her you know about it. It takes a combination of at least 3 elements from the risk factor list to lure her out. Risks include normal Zo being: Hungry, tired, confronted, hormonal, verbally attacked, stressed, with someone she thinks is an idiot, physically touched when she's already grumpy, upset at the treatment of a vulnerable person, ill, cold/hot, let down or told lies.
I can cope with these individually but in combination a chemical reaction will occur that I end up having no control over.
There's not much more to be said.
Except sorry. If you've seen her and I've not said that then I am sorry. Truly sorry.
I'm really good at reading. I make no qualms in saying that. I've had it independently verified. On my Nintendo DS game you can test the speed of your reading in syllables per second. I often read too quickly for the game to verify, at over 15 syllables a second. They rate your achievement in travel speed, the lowest setting is stick man walking speed. I read at stick man in a ROCKET speed. A ROCKET! So we can agree. I'm good at it.
I also bloody enjoy reading. Books, magazines, blogs, the instructions for board games, texts, long Whats App conversation. Bring. It. On. There are towering piles of books in every room of my house and my bookcases are overflowing towers of joy. It makes me happy, it fulfils me, it widens my mind.
So I'm brilliant at something that I love. Living the dream! The seriously smug cow dream!
An odd one here, but it's basically my super power. I can catch mice and other small animals/birds with my bare hands. Yes, you did read that correctly. Not, it should be noted, spiders or creepy crawlies, but small British wildlife.
It comes from my childhood training via a succession of cats who were great at catching things, but shit at killing them. Under such circumstances you quickly learn to leap to your feet and capture the slightly soggy prey which has been dropped at your feet/onto your pillow/upon your lap. If you can do this quickly enough the poor creature will be too stunned to run/fly/hop away.
There's a basic skill set to the superpower: Birds need to have their wings pinned to them, then it's a question of avoiding the beak and not getting shat on. Frogs require both cupped hands and a strong grip. Mice can be immobilised if you grab them by the tail. But aside from that it's basically about having the balls to touch small but wild animals. And in 25 odd years I've never been bitten, pecked a few times but never bitten.
It should also be noted that this is a surprisingly useful super power. I definitely won't be saving the world with it but people are so much happier when you get the rodents out of their homes and offices!
Under the right circumstances I'm very obedient. (my Mother would probably argue with this) I like to be teacher's pet so I always handed my homework in on time and got my dissertation in a day early. If a task is laid out before me in a daily/weekly schedule that resembles an academic calendar, I will stick to it rigidly.
I'll poke the director until he/she breaks the cast for lunch on time. I'll be obediently waiting to receive/hand the actor the prop/towel/instrument. Your birthday present will arrive on time because I have reminder emails for that.
This extends to hobbies too. Someone challenged me to "Knit the Royal Wedding" from a book of the same name. So I did. Up to 6 hours a day in the final weeks, but I followed every pattern to the letter. You really can't put a price on the satisfaction that comes with sewing on Archbishop Rowan William's beard after a solid month of knitting!
And that's how I learnt to run too. My fabulous friend Jess suggested I try the "Couch to 5K" running plan. So I dutifully downloaded it and learnt to run. I won't pretend that it was easy at first (I'll save that for another post) but I DO NOT give up on a plan, so I had to see it through. It turns out there are 5k to 10k and 10k to half marathon plans too. So it seemed logical to keep up my running education and see if I could go the distance. then before you know it you've booked a marathon so you need a plan for that too.
It's not easy to stick to plans. Life gets in the way. But if you can get up at 6, run 14 miles then drive 360, you realise that you can fit a fuck tonne of life into a day. And that's an exciting discovery.
Now, I just need a plan of scheduled sleeping and life will be perfect!
Gosh I love a tourist attraction!
I give good tourist. I read the leaflets and the signage. I listen to the audio tour. I ask the volunteers questions. I can have tourist fun almost anywhere. A castle, a museum, a national trust property, an art gallery, a theatre, the birthplace of someone awesome, an island and especially libraries!
Being a tourist with friends in brilliant. On tour recently the company got on like a house on fire and we spent 5 weeks exploring the local area. Visits included a local town which had a Narnia esq castle, a smattering of antiques shops and a lido. This appealed to 3 of my great loves: turrets, trinkets and outdoor swimming! I was completely in my element.
But I don't need a prestigious attraction to have fun. I have had a lovely time at the pencil museum! They have the largest coloured pencil in the world there. Look at it! It's huge! And yellow!
I can also give solo tourist with a similar level of enthusiasm. I've spent a week in New York by myself and I wasn't bored for a second. So long as you take a book to read in the coffee shop (drinking tea and eating buns are an essential piece of touristing, as is purchasing postcards) solo touristing is both fun and socially acceptable.
I'll keep this short because it's not about words.
I'm good at maths and I like it too. (We're back to not being at all cool here)
I have 3 maths GCSE's, an AS Level and an A Level.
And I chose to work in theatre.
(That's a maths joke!)
After thousands of hours spent studying I use exactly 2 skills gained from my maths training.
Firstly, mental arithmetic. Throw a sum at me in the office/when we're doing a mark up/measuring furniture and I'll throw the answer back pretty quickly. I'm no computer but It's generally quicker than looking for the calculator.
Secondly I remember sets of numbers. Not useful ones like phone numbers or house numbers but the dimensions of things we've been measuring or the quantities of things we've been ordering. I will forget the name of the work experience boy but know exactly how high the table we didn't buy off Ebay is.
So....yes....probably not the best use of my natural numeracy. But if I used maths to make my living, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't love it like I do. So here I am. A happy maths hobbyist. It just adds up.
And here's the clincher.
Maybe there's something else I'm good at. Or okay at. Or getting better at.
Or maybe not.
And maybe you could let me know what you think.
Phew...it was scary saying that aloud. Or writing that aloud. Or whatever the correct terminology is. The wise woman would know that.
But I'm not the wise woman, we've established that.
I'm just the little girl who wants to know what you think.
Whether it's very, very good, or even if it's horrid.
Love Backstage Blogger x x
Ps Cheese cartoon is by my brilliant friend Susi.