Thursday, 7 October 2010

October, and the decline of Facepasta

Sssssh. I'm going to keep my voice down. I don't want to anger 2010, which has so far proved itself to be a vindictive bastard.


Right now, today, 7th October, I feel more positive than I have for months. There is no sound factual basis for this feeling. It is just that, a feeling, a tiny fizz of optimism. The facts still revolve around financial and career meltdown, domestic chaos and the strange, lonely business of joint custody. But the nauseating anxiety has gone for now, the despair that led to me sitting with my face in a plate of pasta saying that I was "a waste of space" not so many weeks ago has abated. That incident may have marked a turning point, leading as it did to the coining of M's and my favourite new phrase:

"Facepasta (n). State of despair so acute as to necessitate one's face being pressed down in a plate of pasta".

I have only my friends and family to thank for my gradual emergence from what M called "the Pizza Hut all you can eat buffet of facepasta" of the last few months. However bad things got - and they really did get pretty bad for a while - there was always someone making me laugh, somehow. This is what the best, most precious friends can do: take your misery and make you laugh at it. Mine did that again and again over the last twelve months, and guess what? Shared despair, pitch black humour, inappropriate cackling and the occasional baby animal are a surprisingly life-enhancing combination. This place may have been hard to get to, and it's not stable, or comfortable yet by a long way, but I do feel very very lucky to have got here, and in such good company.

I have been living on my own for nearly a year now, in this gloriously ugly mixture of crap '80s appliances, orange paint and bad tiling. I will probably mark the actual anniversary in some way, but for now, here are some minor achievements of the past twelve months:

1. Article finally - FINALLY! - published in the Guardian. (For some reason this, and no other publication is my index of writing success. It's a product of my muesli-misery lit childhood, Clothkits, carob and candle dipping and always, but always, The Guardian).

2. Learned how to throw a tennis ball a decent distance. Doesn't sound like much? You should have seen me before. The dog would stare in mournful disbelief and refuse to chase the ball I had hopelessly deposited inches from my own feet. It frequently followed other people in the park in the hope they would take it home with them. Now, I can tire the bastard out ALL BY MYSELF. Yeah.

3. Drove and navigated 4000 miles successfully with only one very minor wall related accident.

4. Built a Lego pineapple and several flat packs. Brought a three person sofa home from Ikea alone. Succeeded, in the face of overwhelming odds, in getting an internet connection from the worlds worst telecoms company (yes, Belgabastards, that's you. Ha! I just googled "Belgacom are shit" and landed here, a blog I think will merit closer study).

5. Two people described my house as "homely". Homely is all I have ever wanted for it. I struggle to feel that myself, but to have some kind of external approval is oddly comforting.

So. There is no triumphalism here. Separation is painful and prolonged and the sum of our family welfare has not been improved in the last year. I have no illusions about that. But managing, coping, being kind and careful with one another, and occasionally managing to use an Allen key? It'll do.

But ssssssh.


Karen Wiltshire said...

Wonderful. I'm tempted to incorporate facepasta into descriptions of my mentalism.

All the best for your continued success at kicking the black dog in the bollocks and pelting it.

Bryony said...

good, good news (said in a whisper...)

your piece in The Guardian was fab -a real change from worthy camping holidays or over-priced skiing jaunts. I too have been published in that great organ (tucked well away in a supplement) and I swear it actually made my mother proud!!!

Sasha @ The Happiness Project London said...

I really love this post - I've posted it to my FB page. I too went through a shitty time recently and found myself posting about how great my friends were: ...

...Although I have not experienced the sadness of joint custody and I've only ever had my face in pasta once and that was alcohol-induced.

Courage! Oh and I'm going to have a proper read of this lovely blog over a glass of wine at the weekend. Sasha @ The Happiness Project London

That's Not My Age said...

Separation is painful - and time seems to pass so slowly, I can remember just wanting to fast-forward my life. Anyway enough about me, congratulations on the Guardian article, the homely house and the pasta-free face!

Betty M said...

Quietly congratulating you on the happier times and the kudos of being a Guardian writer.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it's better for all involved that your proclivities run to facepasta instead of, say, faceabsinthe.

Congratulations on that ray of hope and happiness! I hope many others will see theirs soon, too.

Your friend from across the pond,


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the highly enjoyable Guardian piece. Well done you!

Do you imagine the pasta of Facepasta to be sauced? and if so, with what?

Christina @ Fashion's Most Wanted said...

Congratulations on your piece in the Guardian. I think they should give you a column so you can write what you write here, surely??

Still laughing at facepasta...

And I'm deeply impressed by the Lego pineapple xx

Em said...

Well done you, for all of the above. If you can look back and see the past year for what it was, than that in itself is a good thing. Onwards and upwards and all that.
Great article and I love that a picnic is on offer during the tour. Presuming it wasn't pasta...

mariah carey said...

Please, please, please call your first novel "Facepasta".

Anonymous said...

This makes me want pasta.

the polish chick said...

better facepasta than faceheroin. god, having lived through two serious facepasta episodes in my life, i empathize, i really do.

keep going, it'll soon be no more than a greasy smear on the napkin of your life.

Mine said...

Emma, I laugh, I sigh, I empathise, I waste far too much time on FaceGoop.

But may I introduce you to the Chuckit! (apologies for the dreadful name, where do these marketing people get these ideas from) which I bought for my aged mother to enable her to throw a ball vast distances for her dog while also not having to touch its slobberiness on return. Or is this indeed your secret weapon?

(thought I'd gove you a UK version as I speak no French or Phlegmish)

Yours, as a former FacePasta aficionado


geo said...

i can't decide: yours or this 31.03.2009 article

Jaywalker said...

Redfox, I do not need to IMAGINE whether the pasta is sauced. It was. Pesto.

Rachel said...

Clothkits! I grew up in Lewes and knew them right from when they started (I might even be visible in a couple of their catalogues). They are back in existence with some familiar old favourites at www, My youngest has one of their new/old ragdolls, although I did sew her arms on wrong so she has backward-facing hands. Daughter is slighty scarred by this.

The Gripes of Wrath said...

Friends are often the snorkels in facepasta times. Long live them!

B said...

It is 6pm. I am mildly drunk. I just screamed at a Belgian child for stepping on my new boots in the metro.

On 2nd thought, I may just need encouragement....

WV: bonami - pas mal, eh?

Jessica said...

I was greedily catching up on your posts the other day, and it struck me that I never told you congratulations for all that's in this one. It's a great piece you wrote too! Did you pitch it first or write it and then shop it? (And, did you hear that Charleroi is now going after Wiz-air inflight magazine for describing them er, unflatteringly?)

At any rate, it's belated but heartfelt. Cheers to you.

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