When does a holiday become not-a-holiday?
I have been receiving messages from my fans about maybe writing part two of my Surf Holiday blog 2018 and have been inundated with PMs asking me what happened to puppy Linda… So here it is! Part Deux.
I would just like to say one thing about the flight on Arabica Air. You start off your journey with a televised prayer, which I quite enjoyed however, the voice of the prayer came across as quite sinister, the type of voice that would be in the intro to a film about a plane crash… #justsayin.
After hugging and kissing everyone on my arrival to Taghazout thanking the Lord Jesus for this interesting and diverse cultural hot spot, I couldn’t wait for my surf adventure to begin.
Day two: The married men folk surfed ‘Mysteries’ (the beach round the corner from the house where we stayed) and they went out first thing in the morning. The house where we resided for the week was on Anchor Point peninsula. I was told when the tide was high the water came right up to the front step and the only way out was to go over the neighbour’s side wall! I was saving myself for the afternoon surf. We loaded all the boards up on two motors and went up the coast looking for waves. Where we were staying was surrounded by amazing surf beaches. We passed ‘Killers’ (a Surf point where Killer Whales come to mate) and then went on to Budha beach. We stopped at the top of the beach to look at the amazing/not amazing waves. Decided to surf anyways…got dragged, rolled and washed down the beach.
Got out before anyone else and met a man selling Morocco mint tea sweetened with loads of white sugar. He stopped to chat to me.
“Do you have child?”
“No.” says I.
“Next time” says he, smiling. “Are you married?” He goes.
“No.” says I.
“Next time” grins he.
I was thinking ‘next time’ I would be trying to surf better for longer, be with Henry the XIII and have my own baby camel, rather than being married or getting ‘up the cream puff’.
The lads finally came out of the water. I had dried myself off with my huge T-towel (which I used all week!) Yes I know, I am SUCH high maintenance) and got changed. That evening one of the surfing ladies who I was sharing a room with got sick and was in bed all the next day, the following day the other lady in the room got sick and took to her bed too. The married menfolk in the next room jested at me for sleeping in the hospital room and said I would be the next to become ill. I never get ill and there is no way I would become sick, no drugs, no insurance, I am invincible!!
But then…That night I woke with stomach cramps at about 2 in the morning, and then proceeded to throw up 5 times in a row. Excellent. One bathroom, five people, and three of them sick as dogs! And the lady who looked after the house told us to mind our usage of water as when the tank ran out we would have to wait for the truck to come into the village to fill it up.
“When will that be??” I asked. She just shrugged her shoulders, laughed, smiled threw her arms in the air and shook her head! Insert shocked emoji here…
Next day I woke up (thank God). My face was full of fluid under my skin and I wasn’t able to open my eyes properly because of my swollen eyelids. I then threw up again. Nice.
A storm was coming in and all the guys went out to surf. I got up and showered, ‘mind over matter’ I thought to myself and read my book. The water from the high tide and storm started to lap around the house steps and continued to rise. At the same time it was raining and the roof started to leak. Rain was coming in through the ceiling and rising up towards the front door…
I started to feel sick and scared at the same time. Then I thought to myself, if I started to clean, everything would be okay! As cleaning is calming. After a while, I started to feel even worse so decided that I wasn’t bovvered. If I wasn’t drowned or got barricaded in by the rising water I was just going to go to bed. So I trudged up the water-soaked and soggy landing to bed.
Spent the next few days being obsessed with the open sewage system that was Taghazout and Anchor Point. Where we live we had to go through an alleyway in between houses to get to the cars. The alleyway always smelt of raw sewage and made me gag. I am so not hard. I looked up and tried to work out the plumbing system of the three storey buildings in the stench of the morning light. I am not a plumber but I could clearly see what looked like the plumbing from the toilets being linked up to a downpipe which stopped at the pavement to flow into the alleyway which ran into the sea. Insert green gag emoji here.
The beaches around Anchor Point had amazing, fun and exotic names. Paradise Beach was one that stood out. For its idealistic name however, when we got there it was a swirling mess of rock, sand, glass, plastic and shite. With dilapidated buildings adjacent to it and no sick peeps facilities. The surf was big and messy. It was all too much for my stomach I had to go home and lay down whilst the others surfed.
Evening meals (when everyone was well) was an experience in itself. You would sit on tables on the main street in the balmy, dusky evening. The road and paths had been dug up in Taghazout to allow pipes to be laid but they hadn’t got round to put the tarmac back so the street was made of sand, dust, rubble, and pipes. Insurance companies ‘where there’s a blame there’s a claim’ would have had a field day here. Always eat hot food, no salads, no ice. The food was actually very tasty (my stomach is churning just thinking about it and writing it). Tagines were the main dishes, which were super hot and came with no germs or alcohol FYI. Or alternatively, you could sit by the water’s edge and watch the waves. Hash Point was a stunning location to watch the sun set and to see amazing surfers wading out through raw sewage outlets…
“Every now and then a waft of ploppsies would rise up from the sea and lodge in one’s nostril hair.”
You would sit there mesmerised by the surf, the waves and the skill of the surfers whilst ordering food and every now and then a waft of ploppsies would rise up from the sea and lodge in one’s nostril hair (of which I don’t have). The smell would get too much and one would have to retract to an inside location to eat one’s food. Which by now consisted of anything which had been burnt to f*ck or in a sealed jar. All served to you and prepared by men.
Where are the women? Ummmm…not sure how I am feeling about this diverse culture.
Last day of ‘holiday’ whhhhhoopooopppppiiiieeeee…
The last night the ‘duirty’ ladies myself included decided to go to a Hamman this was situated in Banana village along from Banana Beach, where they sold bananas near a beach which also was covered in shite, plastic, glass and more human waste as the river had been high the night before. The Hammam was an amazing OCD, clean, cleaning dream! Take all your clothes off apart from you bikini bottoms, and you are given a big bucket and inside that is a small bucket.
I asked the sensible, normal, factual question.
‘Will my contact lenses steam up?’
You go through a door and end up in two big, white tiled, hot steamy rooms filled with ladies laying about, sitting down and washing. You can purchase a mitten and exfoliation products along with what only can be described as fabric softener for the skin. All the ladies washed themselves, each other and small children. There was also a massive squidgy to clean your area (I mean where you sat down not the lady garden). I was in cleanliness heaven. Why didn’t we go here at the beginning of the holiday and every night? The entrance fee was only 12 dirham €1.2. We came out smelling and looking amazing like clean, soft, slightly paler (scrubbed off some of my tan/dirt) ladies.
Went to bed happy then had to be up at 2 am to (hopefully) get flight back home. Thank Alluh Akbar flight was the first flight into Dubbers after a massive snow storm. And another thing!! I so want the call to prayer as a ringtone for my phone.
The lessons to be learned from this experience are:
Don’t try and self-cure with Diet Coke.
Sometimes you need to get over a ‘holiday’ by booking another holiday.
That I am truly grateful for covered sewage systems.
My stomach is still gurgling but every drink, yoghurt and live good bacteria tablet is now my new bestie. Back to teaching yoga…sitting in swatstikasana (cross leg) and jumping back into (chaturanga) plank; you trying doing that with diarrhoea
NB Linda the puppy was fine she didn’t get left on the shelf and her owner appeared to be minding her well.
How important is it to have a towel/correct towel on holidays/in life.
Given it took me SIX YEARS to memorise my own mobile phone number there was no chance of me trying to remember any of these, obvs.
Eventually, the rest of the lads came back with stories of lockbox codes which involved their ages and a blow job (69) and ages of women they would like to be with! Totes sense! I cannot believe I didn’t think of that!
I am bad at getting out of bed.
It’s not that I am not a morning person (my husband is not a morning person, his whole family are not morning people. Makes me fell like I am super duper good at getting up!) Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, it’s not that I am not a morning person, it’s just so hard. Hard to move and greet the day when my bed is so lovely and warm and so very very safe. But it means every morning I hit the snooze button one too many times and then I am rushing around to get into work, which is only a 3 minute cycle so that will tell you how close I cut it!
I don’t like this. I want to use my mornings more. I want a morning routine that has a purpose other than get into to work without being noticeably tardy. I want to do some light yoga, read my book, do a crossword in bed, have a relaxing cup of tea maybe get some laundry sorted before the bustling begins.
And since the new year I have tried to make this happen by downloading apps for activities in the morning, by setting a bajillion alarms, by actually going to bed a little bit earlier. But nooooooooooooooooooooooo. I’m still motherfuppin’ sleeping till I need to get gone! I mean, I’m sort of awake but there is this little voice that says ‘sssssh, no, stay here,” or better yet comes up with really good reasons for staying in bed longer. Like, “I don’t neeeeeeed to wash my hair, it’s better for my hair if I don’t,” or another classic “I don’t want to disturb Cormac too much with my moving around, best stay in bed.” This morning I convinced myself (very easily) that 20 minutes of light yoga was simply too much in the morning if one isn’t used to it. That I best snooze for another 15 before getting up to do an nice introductory 5 minutes of stretching and yoga. Did I get up for the 5 minutes of stretching and yoga? Of course not! And I would love to say this is because it’s all dark and wintery but I am just as useless in the summer time!
This has got to stop.
How am I meant to conquer the world and succeed in my goals if I can’t even get out of bed?
This isn’t a “how to” blog post. I haven’t figured this out yet. This is a “help me” blog post. I’m reaching out to you, Bitchmitten readers. HELP ME! Any tips would be appreciated. Any sage advice will be taken. Any words of wisdom will be welcomed. Or are ye all the same as me? Struggling to get out of bed, wishing to hold on to those precious warm sheets, those perfect fluffy pillows. Or are you on the flip side and think I’m a crazy wagon for wanting to get out of bed sooner. Maybe I should be grateful with how my mornings go. I’m sure there are people who wish they had no other reason to get up than to just make it in to work on time, but they have a dog to walk, kids to get to school, a 7am train to catch.
And maybe I am mad, but I’d like to get up. I feel if I could get up and control my morning that I can do anything else that day throws at me.
Irrational things I have done while hormonal:
- Beaten an old Hoover to death with it’s own Hoover Pole because it wouldn’t go around a corner.
- Cried at the Kerrygold advert. The stupid one with the box of soil.
- Scraped the hob clean with a Stanley knife. Angrily. For two hours.
- Cried in my bosses office. Not my boss’s office. All the bosses. Ever.
- Threw my engagement ring in the bin.*
- Listened to Coldplay. Cried.
- Eaten an entire six pack of ice-cream mars bars in under 5 minutes.
- Slammed my own hand in the door of the wardrobe because I couldn’t find the shirt I wanted.
- Tied a hotwater bottle to my lower back with a dressing gown belt. Wore to work.
- Pretended to my family I had actual flu so I could go to bed for two days.
- Smoked. Angrily. While crying.
- Picked a fight with my husband because he wouldn’t let me leave the immersion on for ever and ever.
- Cried while reading happy stories to my kids because I’m simultaneously obsessing about fucking them up.
- Walked into a piercing parlour and had both my nipples pierced. (No idea why. I just did it)
- Screamed with my head underwater. I read that Angelina does this. It actually does help!
- Cried at yoga class. Cried in the bath. Cried on the bus.
- Shouted at my children when they didn’t deserve it. Cried immediately afterwards.
- Thrown all the dinner in the bin. Because it ‘Wasn’t right’.
- Drank all the white wine. Then all the red. (Because dinner was in the bin)
All of these are clearly bonkers. And all of them were made twenty times worse because I was pretending not to be crying, pretending not to be angry, pretending that EVERYTHING WAS totally fine. FINE!!! I’M FINE!! But I’m not fine. And I’m not alone. We all get a bit irrational every now and then.
Ah, PMS. The wonderful crazy world of hormones. Yup. I’m blogging about periods and PMS. I was inspired by an incedible article in Grazia last week, by a marathon runner called Kiran Gandhi.
Harvard graduate, and M.I.A.’s drummer, Kiran Gandhi divided global opinion with the revelation she’d run the London marathon while ‘free-bleeding’.
OK – initial thoughts are, that’s a bit gross – right? And I’m not about to start saying we should all be running around bleeding everywhere. After all, think of my cream sofa. But her point was remarkably clear (and colourfully made). If you read her article – it’s great – she wasn’t trying to shock or offend, simply to run in comfort. She didn’t think it was all that big a deal and yet look at the outcry that ensued.
She points out that some young girls in developing countries aren’t allowed to attend school while menstrating. Even in our modern, equality driven Ireland, I still have to sneak a tampon up my sleeve when I slink off to the bathroom in case somebody knows I have my period. Although, in all fairness the irrational sobbing and the trail of chocolate crumbs might also have given the game away.
The truth is for many of us, by treating periods and PMS as something we don’t acknowledge as a physical and emotional state we are going through, we encourage a stigma that makes coping with all the ebbs and flows of our hormonal symptoms far worse.
I don’t have any immediate solutions. The older I get the less I know. I do know that I have some incredible friends who know exactly what to say and do (and what biscuits to buy) – because they’ve been that soldier. I have that one buddy at work who is always prepared (and whose handbag I inevitably end up raiding when I’m caught on the hop). And I have found one really good way of chasing away the crazy, irrational surges of confusion, misery, doubt and self-loathing that can hurl themselves upon you without warning. Brutal, sustained, heart racing exercise.
This week, after a full 12 hours of hormone triggered migraine, including nausea, vision loss and blinding pain, followed by 12 hours playing catch up on work missed, I took my wobbly, miserable, bloated self out on the water for a session of rowing. My brain was woolly, my body aching. Nothing felt right. And the blades moved back and forth in the water. And then even though we were having a gentle paddle, we decided to do a couple of sprints.
Sprint rowing means pushing your whole body to the red line. (No pun intended) Foot to the floor, lungs bursting, your entire body working to stay synchronised, to move the boat as far and as fast as possible. Trying to do this pushes everything else out of your mind. Slide, catch, PUSH, slide, catch PUSH – over and over. When we finished, there were no more cobwebs. My lungs were on fire and my heart was thumping and there were no tears anywhere. And when the heavens opened and biblical rain drowned us, all I could do was laugh with joy at the rainbows that came with them. It was such a relief!
So do I have a point?
Well, PMS sucks. Hiding your homicidal, emotional self is hard to do and it’s a shame that we have to pretend like no-one ever gets periods, even if they are quite icky and personal. But our bodies are indeed awesome, and while they give us the symptoms, they also provide us with the solutions. Muscles to fire, hearts to pound, lungs to fill. A great way to manage the monster of PMS is to kick it’s poxy ass with some exercise. Exercise relieves cramps far faster than lying down in a heap.
90 minutes of mid-level exercise (say that gets your heart rate up to 65% of it’s max) will also be enough to flood your body with endorphins – the feel good neuropeptides that provide a natural high, like the rainbow that follows the storm.
- Go for a run – pretend you hate the pavement and beat it with your feet. Whack on some music and sing at the top of your lungs. Run with your fists in the air and tears streaming down your face. Don’t try kill yourself, but get your heart rate up and wait for it. Slow down, lengthen out, breathe and eventually the world will be bearable.
- Sweat it out with yoga – you might want to curl up in a ball, but a tough yoga class will stretch out aching insides, sooth cramps, restore your natural rythms, release much needed stress and help you find they joy and balance you so desperately need. (Just avoid inversions when you’re actually menstrating, apparently this isn’t good for you) Plus the stretchy pants feel so good.
- Cycle through your cycle – abs and legs are the worst areas for cramping and pain during menstration and cycling can target these areas really quickly. Cycling outside gets you away from the TV, the fridge, the icecream and the sofa. You’ll get some fresh air and some fresh perspective on the things that seemed overwhelming that day.
So there you have it. The first BitchMittens post about – eugh – PERIODS. Am now a ranty female. Yay!! No going back now I guess 🙂
*Dramatic gestures will result in you having to scrabble through the kitchen bin for 40 minutes. Next time, throw it towards a safe corner.