My body was screaming this morning. Silently screaming. Inside, it was wailing – the kind of morbid, melancholic wailing of a black-scarved mother in a war-torn country you might catch a glimpse of on the news – and something was scrabbling about like a caged animal. I was heaving, whether with heavy breathing or palpitations or knotted stomach I can’t even remember. It’s a blur now, blocked out, until the next time the sun rises over a new week.
He comes in, sprightly, with a cup of tea and a “morning, you ok?” Yeah, I just need five more, I might have whispered, while my body was still screaming. Is this a panic attack? Don’t people look like they’re having a panic attack when they’re having a panic attack? I’m stricken with panic, but it’s lodged in the marrow of my bones. I feel like I’m drowning inside-out. Something wet and acidic is clutching the inside of my throat. But I’ve got to swallow it down. Tea salves everything.
I don’t even have to do anything, I don’t even have to go anywhere. Just sit in the next room, still slumped in my dressing gown (well, his, actually). What would I do without him? I struggle to let him go off to work. But look at the joy on his face! I love him, but I’m so jealous. I want that love of a Monday morning. “Just chip away at it,” he says with a squeeze. OK, I’ll start with the morning machine routine. Kettle on, dishwasher cleared and laundry out. It’s a coloureds load I spread outside in the glorious May morning – check out the beauty! I can see the beauty. That means I’m better than I was. Ok, I can do this.
Determined, nay detonated and at my desk. It’s not me, it’s the situation. It’s the system. May Day proves it. We get two bank holiday Mondays in May and the world – the economy – does not fall apart. But some of us do, if we don’t get that respite. Why can’t I get it together to deal with the few Mondays I have to manage in May? But bigger than this: how do I deal with the realisation that I’m in the wrong job? Yet bigger than me: why can’t we get it together to create a healthier workforce and more sustainable economy with a four-day week? A storm of questions. And a small act of rebellion: some Monday morning ‘me’ time. Now, let me start that blog…