A bit of ABBA for you there.
On Eurovision night, I would usually be found glued to the TV, a wine glass and of course my phone, live-tweeting the event. I scrolled back to last year; they’re a joy to read when out of context:
— Gemma Louise Berry (@Berrycakeness) May 18, 2019
— Gemma Louise Berry (@Berrycakeness) May 18, 2019
And then came the virus.
We’re week whatever into lockdown, and when the cancellation of Eurovision was announced, I was very sad. So sad that I even posted about it on Facebook. A friend reminded me this evening that the BBC was still broadcasting a show, so I tuned in.
I didn’t live-tweet the event because it didn’t feel right. They made such an effort to put on a show during this lockdown, it was almost beautiful. Thankfully it was still awkward, ridiculous and a good laugh.
Next year I am contemplating to host a party like every good drag queen should. Note, I am not actually a drag queen, but I’ve been OD’ing on Ru Paul over the past few weeks, and I feel a persona building.
A few weeks ago, I attended a fabulous murder mystery evening hosted by the forever wonderful Jackie, where I was to stay in character all night. When I do a bit of acting (even if it’s just putting on a silly voice), I feel like a different person. The person I always want to be, confident, funny, outrageous and realistically, bonkers.
As a woman who dresses like a teenage boy, and is mistakenly called “sir” by people who work in shops, or looked at strangely when I enter the ladies loo, I used to feel the need to be more feminine. Not that I did anything about that of course, I’ve long given up caring on what other people think. However, I do find myself explaining to people what I am not when I should be focussing on talking about who I am.
(I also find myself pushing up my boobs to show that they are there, underneath the hoodie).
I am Gemma.
I’ve recently rewatched 30 million minutes by Dawn French on Netflix, so I’m stealing her work here:
I’ll start with the top, my head. A lot goes on in my head. It ranges from “What film was that song in” to “How happy am I” and “Oh shit I forgot to do that, I must remember tomorrow”.
Some of that then ventures out of my mouth, usually the music-related items and the swears. My memory is somewhat all over the place; I struggle to recall the past at times, and then sometimes I REMEMBER EVERYTHING. A few weeks ago, I was trying to work out what was on the wallpaper in my bedroom as a child. It doesn’t even matter. I don’t tend to dwell on the important stuff. I should probably do something about that.
Hair. The less said, the better. If I spent more than 2 minutes on it each morning, it would look fab. But I never really have bothered. I regret that because when I do decide to spend a bit of time on it, I get so many lovely comments which embarrass me HUGELY and stop me from doing it again. Until I’ve forgotten the embarrassment, of course.
Eyes/Ears/Nose/Mouth. All good, well proportioned. No, my ears are not too small, they’re just right. Nothin’ to see ‘ere guv, moving on…
Neck. There’s a mole that has hairs which grow out of it at an alarmingly fast rate. I’m forever tweezing the bastards.
Shoulders. I’ve never paid them much attention.
Arms. Farmers tan. Wobbly. Tattoo hosts.
Hands/fingers. I’ve always loved my hands. They give me grief these days, but I am forever thankful for them.
Boobs. I have two, I think that’s the right amount.
Stomach. Multiple, I am bovine.
Reproductive area. The part you’ve been waiting for? Well, here goes. Periods are awful, don’t listen to anyone who says they’re not. Speak to me about names for periods when you see me next, I’ll rattle off a list of alternative phrases for your enjoyment. Also, I’m intrigued to know what you called your vulva when you were younger. FANNY.
Legs. Chunky yet funky. Large and in charge. LATRICE ROYALE. I’ve always had chunky thighs. Over the years when I’ve actually lost a lot of weight, they did reduce in size, but not to anything that resembles “thin”. That’s fine, it’s my DNA, and I’ve embraced it.
Feet. Size 8, which was difficult as a teenager, but it’s not so bad these days. My little toes fuck me off. I hate them. They hate me. I’m forever stubbing them, so they are mangled wretches. They are the first to complain that the shoes you’re wearing are a little too tight. NEW SHOES NEED TO BE WORN IN YOU BASTARDS.
And there you have it, that’s me. Don’t like it? Then don’t fucking say anything.
Ah, I nearly finished this post without mentioning my weight.
To quote AbFab:
“Inside of me there is a thin person screaming to get out.”
“Only the one, dear?”
Weight. Yes, I should lose weight. A lot of weight. My Doctors give me a stern look of disapproval when they see my charts, I promise that I’ll lose weight and they nod. I then go home and mope about for a few months, not dieting, not exercising but still worrying about weight loss.
All of a sudden, I get the urge to lose weight. Huzzah, let’s create a meal plan, an exercise plan, a weight tracker and work out an expected timeframe for losing all this weight. Done. Motivation on fire.
Week 1: Losing weight, this feels great! + 1 motivation point. Also, is this just water weight? -1 motivation point.
Week 2: Oh, arthritis. We meet again. Ok, I won’t exercise hard (my exercise is solely walking, so this means I will just walk less or not at all). – all the motivation points.
Week 3: I’m back on it. Not exercising means I didn’t lose any weight, but I’ve maintained, huzzah! + 1 motivation point
Week 4: Diet? Yeah, I can’t be arsed to cook/I love carbs/too tired to exercise so meh.
I mean, it tends to go on for at least 12 weeks, but I’ve given you the short version. Without exercise, I really really really struggle. I’m in a battle with my head and my immune system.
I write this today because I often beat myself up about my weight. I get angry for not going for a walk or not using the exercise bike/clothes rack in my room. I scare myself into thinking if I do cycle for 20 minutes I will flare up and be immobile for a week. I’m still trying to overcome that fear. I need to face it, understand my limits and achieve a mental and physical balance. Or any balance really, I’m surprised I don’t fall over more often.
I’ve worked on the tiredness, and then lockdown happened. I’ve been too scared to leave the house, and yet the clothes rack in my room looks at me daily. It’s been 10 weeks of lockdown (two weeks of those weeks experiencing flare-ups of various levels of pain), and I’ve not been able to motivate myself to exercise. I’ve lost some weight by being at home – I’ve been cooking, eating less at mealtimes (since my movement is bed>desk>bed) and enjoying it.
Sigh. I won’t promise anything, but I will definitely try.