“Happy Birthday to me”

I have a love of all things French; French Macaroons, French Pink Lemonade, Stripy tops, French Cinema, French Music, Berets and French men; Mathieu Kassovitz, Vincent Cassel and Gaspard Ulliel are to name but a few. I think I could quite easily pass for a “Frenchie” with my dark hair, gaunt face and protruding nose, either French or Jewish but I have tattoos and I discovered on a recent episode of The Big Bang Theory that Jews aren’t allowed tattoos as it’s against their religion to intentionally deface the human body, so I think that may count me out of converting to Judaism. Ironically, when I was at school I hated French class as when it comes to languages I am shit, and that includes English. I know a Hungarian girl who speaks better English than me and she has only been in the UK for 3 years. During our French lessons we were also regularly made to watch Jean De Florette and although I am a fan of French cinema and Gerard Deperdieu’s nose, I am more of a Jean Pierre Jeunet fan with his original quirky stories full of eccentric characters and his use of colour grading rather than a story about a man trying to block water from getting to his next door neighbours land. I know it’s meant to classic and has an 8.2 IMDB star rating but as a 14 year old being made to watch this film 20 times in a two year period was a torture equal to water boarding! And just like the many Guantanamo Bay detainees who developed a fear of water on re-entering the real world, I developed a fear of Jean De Florette and its subsequent sequel. I was predicted an overall grading of four by my French teacher in our final Exams, who I believe to this day still has a passionate hatred for me. However, that may be because my puerile friends at the time regularly wrote “Samantha McInnes” on every worksheet, book and aid given out in class. I was once asked by Ms Baguette if my name appeared regularly on her desk in great volume because I was an Egotistical maniac, my reply of uncontrollable laughter did little to quell this hatred. I can’t blame it all on my childish friends as I was extremely annoying but most teachers found this an endearing quality, not Ms Baguette though, as I think the women was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, she always came across as rather fragile and my constant aggravation only added to her delicate mental state. Ms Baguette, I truly am sorry for my bothersome behaviour during those years, however you were wrong with my predicted grade as I got a grade one and not just a one overall; a one in every individual part of the course. For those not familiar with the Scottish Exam system the marks go from 1 to 7, 1 was the best and 7 being the lowest or so I thought, until Jack Branning informed of this;


“Being from Airdrie Academy, I was around so much imbeciles I know the grades go from 1 to 9, 9 if u failed to attend exam, 8 if u attend and fail to write your name, and 7 if u attended and wrote at least one word on an answer paper. I know this because one imbecile asked the question before the exam because he did not want the embarrassment of an 8 or 9 but was happy with a 7”.


I do not believe I obtained the top grade through my own merit, as I said before I am shit at languages including my own. In fact the only phrases I can say in French are Je dois y aller (I have to go) and un ticket du autobus s’il vous plait (a ticket for the bus please). I didn’t cheat instead I believe that a distant French ancestor looks over me and possessed me during all four exams enabling me to attain top marks and leaving behind a love for all things French; with the exception of Jean De Florette.


Turning 24 has never appealed to me for many reasons but one of these reasons is that I would only have one more year left before I would qualify for the overs category on the Xfactor. Not that I am ever planning on entering, as I am tone deaf, but you can no longer call them the oldies if you are in that age range (Incidentally, if I did apply my audition song would be Janis Joplin’s Me and Bobby McGhee and I would rock it). I have seen my friend Sandra Bullock driven mad by this very idea and I prayed to God that this would never happen to me. Unfortunately, someone had other ideas, as on the 26th October 2011 I had been on this earth for 8765 days or 24 years for those of you who don’t want to do the math, but instead of dreading this mile marker I was actually looking forward to it.


I started my 24th year on this planet by being awoken rather early by the masses of Facebook Birthday messages that were posted on my wall by friends, colleagues and acquaintances, who I can only guess were on their way to work and making the most of their bus journey by checking out the great number of Facebook posts from people who supposedly suffer from insomnia, here’s a tip for those regular “It’s 3am and I can’t sleep” posters, stay the hell of Facebook and you might have better luck. As someone who regularly has interrupted sleep patterns I understand how frustrating it can be but the last thing I would think of doing at 4 am while I am lying awake is to pick up my phone and post about how “my body has been engulfed by the darkness but my mind is still in the light day” (this is me paraphrasing an actual wall post I once read). Don’t get me wrong I was overwhelmed by the response to my birthday in the virtual world, I just wish it wasn’t so early. However it did teach me a lesson; turn of Facebook notifications at night.


Once my mind and body found “the light of day” Demi Moore presented me with what may possibly be one of thee best presents I have ever received; an electric blanket. I am freezing cold 95% of the time, the other 5%, I am so warm I feel like I may pass out. To my bed I usually wear a tshirt, hoodie, thick men’s jogging bottoms and two pairs of bed socks. On top of that I have my duvet, two blankets and sometimes the dog and even then I feel like I am camped out in an igloo. An electric blanket was just what I needed to keep me warm at night and also to reduce the pile of washing Demi had to do. After I got over the excitement of the idea of being warm at night without the use of layers upon layers, I headed off to my weekly physio appointment.


I finished hydrotherapy at the end of August and since then my aim was to get into the Rehab class. Not substances abuse Rehab, lower limb rehab, where I would be in the gym with others whose legs were also not the greatest. I would be given my own exercise plan to work through every week with the aim of building up my legs to cope with everyday life. Throughout September and the beginning and middle of October I was told I wasn’t quite ready for this next step yet as I would struggle with certain exercises but on my Birthday of all days I left singing Amy Winehouse’s Rehab because eventually the Physio “tried to make me go to Rehab” and I said yes, yes, yes.


Physio does tend to make me tired and sore for the rest of the day but today was not a day to be disappointed at having to spend a few hours in bed, as I today I had my new electric blanket to keep me warm and I have to say it was a god send. I know some people are apprehensive about using electric blankets, mostly because they tend to be for old people and have been known to start fires. My friend Kylie once told me a story from when her sister Danni was younger and was having a sleepover at her Gran’s house with one of her friends. To keep them warm, Granny Minogue put on an electric blanket only for it to go on fire with Danni in the bed! Danni got out unharmed and they put the fire out without a problem. However, since I knew of this happening I decided to do some research just to make sure I wasn’t going to awake one morning to find my skin melted off and to my delight, discovered that Health and Safety has moved on in the past 10 years and electric blankets now come with precautions which means that once they get to a certain heat they cut out, so all is safe. I have been using it now for many weeks now and I have to admit that my legs have never rested better.


In the evening my family and Hilary Duff joined me for dinner. Demi made my favourite; Stew and potatoes and whilst Posh and Jack brought with them some Pink French Lemonade! After dinner Demi decided to pop some champagne Rumor had gotten for her 18th Birthday, to celebrate how far I had come. I couldn’t help but think whilst everyone was raising their glass of Champagne and I my glass of Pink Lemonade that yes, I had came an incredibly far distance already but there was also a hell of a long way to go yet. I don’t think this is me being pessimistic, I do believe that I will become M.E free but I have to be realistic about it.



*Please note all the names of people in my blog have been changed to their celebrity or fictional character counter part to protect their identity. Under no circumstances should this be a reflection of the named celebrity or fictional character.
Title taken from the song “Happy Birthday to me by Bright Eyes
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1 comment on ““Happy Birthday to me””

  1. Michelle Reply

    Oh my goodness, the memory of French class really made me laugh! Your name everywhere haha!

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