For example, visa issues ruffle my feathers considerably. I merely hear the words ‘visa’ and ‘problem’ and I turn into a quivering wreck. Likewise, last year’s traumatic job search also had me at the end of my rope. Other than those two specific incidents, I can’t remember the last time I got majorly flustered by something. However! This premise exists only for my conscious self. My subconscious self has other ideas altogether about how to cope with change or stress.
My last day at my company is this Friday. I have been completely cool, calm and collected about being made redundant and being thrust into the world of unemployment in London, a city which the current markets have not just affected, but have decimated. I have gone to see recruitment agencies, applied for jobs online and refused to panic when nothing really promising reared its head straight away. As a result, I have been living in my bubble of calm and enjoying my last days at my company, rather than running around like a headless chicken. Whether as a result of my determination to see this through with aplomb, or because everything happens for a reason, I now find myself hooked up with a temp role at a Media giant starting on Monday next week. Amazingly enough, I have temped for this company before - in exactly the same department, with the same team and in the same position! I am massively relieved that the pressure is off, even though I didn’t feel a huge amount to begin with.
Which brings me back to my subconscious self. Although I thought I was doing fine, the fact is no-one is impervious to change. For me, any reaction manifests itself at night. I either have very broken sleep, or I sleep through but I have awful dreams. I have reacted to stress in this way for as long as I can remember. In the darkest period of my life, I regularly dreamed that my family members and close friends were butchered in a variety of ways that would make Quentin Tarentino flinch. So I was completely unsurprised to be caught in the grip of a nightmare last night. What did surprise me though, was that Shoes reacted to my telling of the dream with complete hysteria. Looking back on the dream now, I can see why, but at the time I was very upset!
I dreamt that I was on my way back from a trance party when I noticed a green discolouration around both my wrists. I thought nothing of it – surely I was just dirty. Later on, I was at my parents’ house with all my friends when someone commented on my green skin. It had spread all the way to my elbows, and when a friend tried to grab me by the wrist to get my attention, a spongy piece of green flesh came off in her hand. Everyone recoiled in horror, and that was when I noticed that my left hand was gone. As in, I just had a spongy green stump – my hand had fallen right off. It seemed to be a type of gangrene. Everyone was freaking out; I was frozen in a state of utter shock. At that point my dad came home and started shouting at me for being careless enough to lose my hand (it was at this point that Shoes started sniggering). I was still struggling to get my head around my spongy stump arms and the loss of my hand, when my dad came back from a trip to the back room freezer brandishing a new hand for me (cue outright cackling from Shoes). Unfortunately, it was another right hand. It was also a gimp – the ring finger was scrawny and short, like it belonged to a baby’s hand (by now Shoes had lost it completely and was in convulsions of mirth). My dad attached the hand to my still decaying stump, and there I was, a freak with 2 right hands and mossy, spongeskin arms. I was horrified.
Then I woke up, and frantically checked that I had both normal arms and hands intact. I suppose though that if imaginary gangrene is all I have to suffer as a result of my current state of affairs, I should be grateful!