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MARY-JANE DUNCAN: So I’m a middle-aged over-sharer, but it’s been a while

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This is my 91st View From Here Column and, before these, I had written many Cooped Up columns for you during the first of the lockdowns.

First published on May 16 2020, two years ago this week.  Two whole years of me.

Some, mainly himself, might say this is a light sentence, especially as it’s just a weekly occurrence.  And only 700 words.  A feat I can achieve in a single rant in this house.

And sometimes, depending on temper levels, requiring just one breath.

I spend a lot of time contemplating what to include here. Some weeks are easier than others.

A world event we might touch on, a celebration or a funny anecdote.  Some weeks I have to dig deep and revisit previous ideas to prevent myself from spouting drivel.

Sharing with strangers

It occurs to me often, as I sit typing family secrets and shared moments, I am essentially announcing to a group of strangers what we’ve been up to and where to find us.

I forget it removes any anonymity. Please do not think I am implying any kind of celebrity status, I’d howl at the mere notion.

But there are occasions when someone will mention reading the column and I still find myself confused how they know what I’ve been up to.

Because clearly writing here and sharing with you all is more cathartic than reality in my tiny brain.  What a pillock!

I’m a born ‘over-sharer’

Aware of the fact I’m a born ‘over-sharer’ I don’t think I’ve given you too much information?  Not about the gruesome things at least.

For example, about how often I find myself plucking hairs out my chin (daily) or the fact that one of my dogs is known as the ‘super pooper’ due to the number of times she ‘goes’ during her walks.

Nobody needs to know any of these things.

I also concern myself worrying that this might be too ‘autobiographical’.  I mean, how interesting can one wee daft wifie be?  Truth be told, not really.

Some might believe they know me better after reading these columns and some just grateful they’ve never known me at all.  And I’m okay with that.  It’s all about trying to find a balance and surely, after two years, you’d think I could relax into this now?  <insert hysterical laughter here>

A recent epiphany

If, unfortunately, you’re a born ‘people pleaser’ plagued with anxieties like me, let me help by sharing a recent epiphany.

One of our best defences in life is the phrase ‘let me think about that’.  If your impulse, like mine, is to go along with others, often at your own expense, removing the need to give an on-the-spot response allows the opportunity to take time to ensure any choices you make match your values.  Or, in my case, your energy levels.

MJ on her jaunt to Edinburgh.

This week being a prime example.  I zipped to Edinburgh on the train to meet with a friend I haven’t seen in far too long.

She treated me to a birthday dinner and we chatted as if no time at all had passed.  In bed and asleep before midnight (joy) before she had to dash off to grown-up early morning meetings.

A swift overnight trip that felt more like a half hour lunch break, but absolutely worth it and just the tonic we both needed.

It was fine until I saw myself

I was rather pleased with myself and my ‘grown-up-ness’ right up until I caught my reflection in the new St James Quarter.

A short, rotund, grey haired, middle aged wee wummin in dungarees (that didn’t reach her ankles), trainers, sticky out hair (thank you Scottish spring showers), spotty red and pink rucksack (one of the bairns’ old school bags) and clutching a folded brown paper bag with my bagel inside.

I look like I’d wandered off alone and was desperate enough to have missed the school bus.

Thankfully, people are so invested in their screens, nobody stopped to help me find out who was responsible for me.

Isn’t it amazing how modern technology both enhances and simultaneously removes one’s risk of being lonely?

I howled like the fool I am as I phoned the mister to describe the state of me and assure him I’d manage, all on my own, to catch the train and be home in time for lunch, Neighbours and my afternoon nap.


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