Every year on the 27th October (the day after my birthday) I perform a solemn ritual; listening to The Cure’s song “Inbetween Days” purely for the lyrics, “Yesterday I got so old I felt like I could die, yesterday I got so old it made me want to cry.”
When you’re a kid, birthdays are great. You get presents, cake and everyone has to be nice to you. When you get older this happens too. However, every birthday after the age of 21 serves as a dismal reminder that you are another year closer to retirement (and subsequent death) and that you haven’t even came close to achieving the goals you set out for yourself. For instance:
Age 21 – Win first Oscar (Best Supporting Actress)
Age 22 -Achieve Prime Ministerial status
Age 23 -Become the greatest singer/songwriter the UK has ever seen, with the exception of Lennon, McCartney and Mel C aka Sporty Spice. Incidentally, Mel C is actually the 2nd the most successful song writer in British history – Lennon and McCartney being the first, based on record sales world wide.
I didn’t think that was too much to ask for.
But when I turned 23, instead of being upset over my failed acting, political and song writing careers, I was in my bed ill due to M.E. To get to that however, we need to head back to the “Stupid Bitch” phase.
After my epileptic dancing at Blink 182 and only feeling ill for a week (ONLY!) I decided, Fuck it, I can do what I want, M.E isn’t going to stop me. So I did. Over the month of September I did everything any normal 22 year old would do: I went to work, I went to the pub, I hung out with friends, I even went on a day trip to Rosslyn Chapel (Yes that is the one from the Da Vinci Code and yes I do realise this is not a normal thing for a 22 year old to do) and ignored all the warning signs M.E gave me.
At the beginning of October, when some of my friends decided to go camping, I thought to myself,”Yeah, I can do that!” (Chant with me now folks “stupid bitch, stupid bitch”). In October 2010, Sandra Bullock, Cook, Emile Hirsch, Mr Bean, and myself all headed off to our very own Lost Island. Unlike most people, my friends and I don’t go camping in the local field or in each others gardens, instead we get a Viking with long flowing locks of blonde hair to pick us up on his barge and take us to his island in the middle of Loch Lomond for a few days (I imagine Americans would love this shit). When I described the island before as the Lost Island, I wasn’t joking. I mean, there are no polar bears, black smoke and nor is there a computer in a hatch which demands the input of certain digits every 108 minutes and the only “Others” are The Viking and his family whose house is on the opposite end of the island. But it’s still rather creepy and there are strange goings on. You can also see an Island of Wallabies from it. I mean, we’re in Scotland, why the hell are there Wallabies jumping about?
After wasting several hours in Tesco buying food (I want to point out that even though we were going camping I was still eating really well – no tins of beans for me – at least I was listening to M.E in that respect), a boat ride out to the Island and putting up the tents, it was time to sort out some wood for a fire and for Cooks outside oven, so he could realise his dream of becoming the next Jamie Oliver. Cook also being the “Jack” of the group (I am more of a Sawyer girl myself) came prepared with a chainsaw. I had never used a chainsaw before, but I had seen lumberjacks on television with their checked shirts and it looked pretty straight forward, so I stepped up. Bloody hell, it was hard! Not only did you have to use all you strength to lift the thing, but it was also vibrating like I was attached to an electric chair. After 20 minutes I had not sawed further that 5 cm. Needless to say, I quicky decided Lumberjacking wasn’t really my thing and returned to camp where I sat and did nothing for the next couple of days.
Just like any other group of 20 somethings, when we go camping there tends to be a lot of drinking involved and usually I am the first one in there with a bottle of tequila. Although I was still going full speed ahead at this point, there were certain things I scaled back on. Drinking was one of them. I mean, I drank that weekend but when all the drinking games started I sat back, relaxed and watched Sandra Bullock get drunk enough for both of us. While the rest sat drinking, Cook decided it was time to build his outside oven in which he was going to cook a whole chicken. Now, from the first day he suggested this, I thought this is destined to fail. Either that or we were all going to get the shits on an Island we had no way of getting off of. This would inevitable force us to hijack someone’s tent and turn it into a toilet tent where everyone could go and relieve themselves and then be sick as they were standing in everyone else’s crap. Much like you see skanks do at festivals. But after watching Lost for 6 years religiously, I should have known better to doubt our very own Jack. I don’t normally post pictures here but I am still so impressed by Cooks efforts I want to share with you all his outside oven made with wood and moss he found in the forest, and a bit of duct tape! We all ate it and I am pleased to say we are all still alive. Inspired by Cook’s impressive outdoor cooking, Mr Bean and Emile Hirsch tried to replicate it using the camp fire. Emile decided his dish of choice would be pork joint. To cook it he wrapped it up in tin foil and placed it under a rock in the fire. It actually worked out OK. Mr Bean however, decided to try something more commonly purchased by Glaswegian students after a night of hard partying. Chips and Cheese. 2 days 4hrs and 16 mins after the chips were places on the camp fire they were finally ready. After the day’s Master Chef Competition, we were all ready to sit back, relax and enjoy our last evening.
The next morning when the Viking came to pick us up on his long boat and took us back to the main land.
Once off the Island , it was time to head back to my day job (which surprisingly is not Blog writing). It was the week before my birthday and the day after it I was meant to be heading off to Alton Towers to be abused by some more mean rides (in an actual Theme park this time) and to celebrate my good friend Kevin Costner’s 30th birthday. Unfortunately for me, M.E had another idea. It was time for the Landslide to bring me down. After already spending four days at work, I got up to go in for the fifth day and realised I was more tired than usual (1st sign). By the time I got to work, I was starting to get a dull headache (2nd sign). By mid day, I was reminiscent of a zombie from Michael Jackson’s “Thiller” video. I couldn’t do the dance though (3rd sign). By 4pm, I was Darth Vader (myself, having missed all signs went straight passed GO, not having collected 200). I went home and retreated to a place that had become all too familiar; my bed. I tried to convince myself that this was would just be a weekend thing and by the time it came to Monday I would be fine, when deep down I knew that wouldn’t be true.
Monday came and went and Darth stayed with me. Wednesday was my birthday and Darth decided he wanted to help me celebrate. His present to me being: muscle aches, headaches, fatigue and a general feeling of shittyness. I spent all day resting in preparation for the evening as I was having a birthday dinner with Demi Moore, Posh Spice and Jack Branning (My older sister and future brother in law), Rumour Willis and her boyfriend (This is my younger sister, you may think I called this purely because her mother is Demi but she does actually look like her) and Courtney Love. After dinner, Faith Evans and Hilary Duff also joined us. Sitting having dinner and chatting doesn’t seem like it would take a lot of effort, but to someone with M.E who is in the middle of a relapse it feels like your running a marathon and your using up that little energy that you body has stored. I knew I was lucky to have all these wonderful people around me to help me celebrate my birthday (even if I did look like a corpse) and couldn’t really make conversation, but part of me couldn’t help but blame myself for me feeling like this. No, I didn’t give myself M.E, but I did carry on for weeks before like nothing was wrong, not thinking of what was most surely going to happen. I had forgotten the most important rule that Jonathon Kent taught Clark- actions have consequences.
When you have M.E that lesson becomes more apparent than ever.