Writer, photographer, "rapper" and general technophobe takes on the internet in what could be a very, very messy fight. But it's alright: she's harder than she looks, and she's wearing every single ring she could get her hands on.


Friday, 27 March 2009

GU Days

I have a confession to make.

Every now and then (actually a little more regularly than that) I have a secret, special day. I call it, in my head, The GU Day.

When I was a child, "when I grow up" was one of my favourite expressions (along with "why?" and "I hate you," obviously). "When I grow up," I would tell my mum, being dragged away from the fridge, "I'm going to eat whipped cream from the can all day." "When I grow up," I would tell my dad, "I'm going to tell you what to do." "When I grow up," I would tell my English teachers, "I'm going to use as many semi-colons as I want" (they said I was "too young to understand them properly"). Whether it was mud on my face or a good old door slamming or music too loud or a plate full of roast potatoes and gravy and no peas at all or a day spent in bed with Tess of The D'urbervilles, it was all going to be reserved - I promised anyone who would listen - for when I was grown up. "Just you wait," I would warn my mum, wagging my middle finger at her, cream all over my face. "I'll make myself sick."
"I don't doubt it for a minute," my mum would yawn, and then she would send me outside so that I could "eat worms or whatever it is you do out there when I'm not looking".

So, now that I'm old enough to have little lines around my eyes and bills that find me no matter how many times I move house, I cheer myself up by reminding myself of the freedom I've achieved with them. My GU day - Grown Up Day - is one of the things that reminds me I'm still the same person, just a little bigger. 

I never really plan a GU day, actually: I just wake up and know. When I was working, I'd factor it in. I'd have a hot chocolate with marshmallows before work, and I'd play the radio so loudly I'd get told off; I'd walk around the office without my shoes on and drink water out of the toilet sink tap. Now that I'm not working, it's obviously easier. I'll buy a can of whipped cream, write HOLLY on it and spray it into my mouth in front of the telly. I'll get into the car, turn the radio on and see how loudly I can scream, just for fun. I'll go for a walk and not tell anybody where I'm going, or when I'm planning on coming back. I'll go into the garden and walk around in the flower beds in white socks; buy a book and bend the pages over; use every single bit of punctuation I can get my hands on.

It makes me happy, you see. It's a like a secret I have with myself. Ha, I laugh in my head. Ahaha. I have to pay income tax, but look! I can make a cake and eat the mix before it's cooked: all of it! I don't have to just lick the spoon!

And why is that relevant today? Today, I'm sick. I've got a stonking, old fashioned, jigsaw puzzle, chicken soup common cold. And I'm on my own for three days (dad has gone on holiday). So what have I spent the day doing? Blowing my nose and throwing the tissues across the room, and then not picking them up when they don't make the bin. Eating ready-made mash with beans, with a spoon, followed by an entire Terry's Chocolate Orange. Reading magazines in the bath. Watching Scrubs without feeling the need to check the news to see what's going on in the world.  

And how do I feel? Physically ropey; emotionally glorious. Because it's not just about having fun, and proving that my life is my own. Just for a few minutes - just as I'm standing in my grubby white socks with a can of cream aimed down my throat - I'm not 27 year old Holly Smale with a broken laptop and a spent overdraft and a brand new line on her face that will not go away, no matter how much moisturiser I use. No: I'm 5 year old Holly Smale with freckles all over my face and a turned up little nose and the whole world in front of me; 6 year old Holly Smale who wants to be an aeroplane pilot; 7 year old Holly Smale who - even though she knows it's probably not true - still kind of believes in fairies, and checks under flowers now and then just to make sure.

So, although my throat hurts and my nose is running and I have to drink Lemsip - which I hate - today has been a great day, as all GU Days are. Because, in the very smallest way, I managed to reach back into the past and touch the little Me. I managed to tap into the part of Me that shrivelled up on the first Christmas morning where I woke up and wasn't really that excited. And I managed to drag the little Me who couldn't see anything but good in everybody, no matter what she saw to the contrary, back out again.

So, frankly, even though I'm as sick as a dog, it was a good day: and I can't wait 'til the next one. Because they make the fact that I'm so much older - and not a lot wiser - so, so much easier to bear.