My Very Messy and Disorganised Thoughts After Having Surgery

I write this while doped-up on morphine, so forgive any idealistic ramblings. I wrote in my journal for the first time since my surgery last night, and even I was shocked at how overly optimistic I came across. Well, if there’s a time for it, I guess.

So yes, I had surgery the day before yesterday; I had an organ removed. Surprisingly I’m having fun right now. I’m sitting on my bed, the same bed I’m allowed to stay in all day, and there’s a Granny Smith-scented Yankee candle burning on my windowsill to keep away the wasps that keep flying into my room. I’ve been studying so much it’s insane. The night I had the operation done, I woke at 4am, 7am and 9am, and each time I opened up an old textbook and started reading. At the moment it’s Exploring the World of the Celts by Simon James, a first year Celtic Civilisation text. It reminds me of why I fell in love with this subject in the first place, it makes me feel so fulfilled! My boyfriend is coming to see me Tuesday evening; I’m excited for this. The main difficulty I’ve encountered is in how much I’ve missed him. It’s looking as though like I might be spending a few days at his place at the weekend too, which would be beyond wonderful. I always feel so relaxed, so at peace, in Kerry.

I get to take a bath later too, for the first time since the operation, and it would be no exaggeration to say I anticipate this greatly! I feel, for use of a better word, icky. There are a number of plasters scattered across my stomach, and the skin beneath is blossoming with bruised purples and yellows. I find it almost fascinating, I don’t know why. I’ll be taking them off when I have my bath, and I’m nervous to see what is beneath, as well as morbidly curious. It’s important though, that I check sooner rather than later to see that there is no infection, which would be rather dangerous. There is still iodine visible around the plasters, scary blood-coloured iodine.


About a week later: In a very important book that I received for my thirteenth birthday, quite a while ago now, I had the concept of sacrifice explained to me in a way that I could understand. The metaphor used was that of a beautiful garden – and every beautiful garden requires the death of weeds. Everything whole and good and right requires some death and destruction to uphold its purity. I thought of this after my surgery in relation to what had happened to my body. It makes sense, the sacrifice of one of my organs was required so that I could continue to lead a full life.

I’m going to get overly romantic and idealistic, though, and apply this to other areas of my life. Truth be told, the very first time I had an attack caused by my illness, I was in bed with a man, a man though still someone who has stuck around and someone I care very much about, who wasn’t quite right for me at that time. Things in my life weren’t great, and were about to get a lot worse. I won’t go into the gruesome details of the next few months and their consequences on my sensitive little psyche, but everything culminated around Christmas of last year, when I lay in bed and observed that there were a lot of painkillers on my bedside table, and felt a dangerous little temptation to swallow them all. All is cool now, I haven’t felt that way since, and by no means can this be ascribed to some magical little moment that transformed everything for me. I, and the wonderful people around me, have worked hard to make things easier, to get my brain working “properly” again. Kudos should be given here to UCC LifeMatters programme, and their top-notch counselling service, as well as my pretty fantastic boyfriend. A few days after thoughts of killing myself entered my head – New Year’s Eve, in fact – he and I, barely knowing each other, stayed up all night talking, and the conversation we had was the very beginning of my recovery. I cannot express in words how grateful I am that you should come along right when I needed you most.

I was very stoned when this was taken. The person who was there for me through everything, and I 🙂 he says he looks stupid here. He might not like me adding this. Hmm.

Despite all this, I shall attach some romantic significance to me having my gallbladder removed. The beginning of my illness last summer coincided with the point at which things started to get bad, and so for me both occurrences will be forever related. As previously mentioned, I have been working so hard the past few months to get myself feeling better, in all meanings of the word. What I would have ideally wanted (in fact, what I craved) was to be my old self, the self that knew none of this. That will never happen, but I’m glad of that. The person I am now, though happy and fulfilled, knows pain, and strength along with it, and it would be a degradation of what I have experienced for it not to leave its mark on me.  Yet it began with my illness, and so it ends when the offending organ is taken from my body, the bad poison removed. Everything feels so bright and hopeful – a new, fresh start, an opportunity for me to build my life the way I have decided I want it to be.

That book I read when I was thirteen, the first book I ever read about witchcraft:

Don’t be put off by the headache-inducing cover.


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We daren’t go a’hunting, for fear of little [wo]men..

I am the type of girl who normally puts about zero thought into her appearance. Sure, I enjoy pretty clothes, fun hairstyles, bright lipsticks and the like, but generally, when getting ready in the morning, I tend to pick something up off the floor, think – “ooh, nice colour” – and throw it on. This attitude to my appearance works for me. I am lazy. I have more important things to worry about – feminism, distorted perception of women’s beauty, etc, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.

However, due to an extended break from university and work, I have had a lot of time on my hands lately. A LOT. Cue much time on Pottermore, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, looking up apartments of Daft for the hell of it (no, I’m not moving at the moment, I just have a weird obsession with houses/interior design). And other equally aimless pursuits.

With all this time on my hands, why not put it to, um, use? Or the closest to “use” that thinking about clothes can become . I decided this evening to once and for all decide what suits me. What items, colours, cuts, should I wear? Does my hair suit me more when it is short or when it is long? (Both styles I have adopted, sometimes to extremes – why not, it’s something new!)

I’m pretty little, so that seemed the obvious place to start. I’m not sure of my EXACT height – somewhere around the 5’2/5’3 mark – but I would normally call myself petite, or at least the taller side of petite (my boyfriend calls me petite too, but we shouldn’t listen to him, he’s 6’2. Yes, it probably does look silly when we’re out-and-about together. WE DON’T CARE!).

So to Google I go! “what suits petite women?”, or something of that articulate ilk. What I see vastly disappoints me.

“You must try to look as tall as you can. You must wear very high heels (but not with an ankle strap! That will cut your leg off, without any bloodshed seemingly). You must wear vertical prints so your figure is elongated. You must wear dark colours as they are slimming (apparently wanting to look thin is equated with wanting to wear clothes which suit smaller people?). Your pants must have no pockets, pleats or unnecessary detail .” Apparently the idea is to create some sort of smooth, long jelly/cheese string-like effect with your body.

When I look up what types of clothes suit my body, I do not wish to see a series of propagandistic pieces claiming that the way my body naturally looks is wrong! That I should be fighting it, attempting to look like some creature entirely unlike myself.

One of these advice page column-things was even written by a woman who claimed to be a clothes designer for petite women. This is your specialisation, fashion lady, your job, and you’re doing it wrong!

To you and all the other fashion lady-people: I actually – and this might shock you – do not hate my height. In fact, I like it! I don’t want to spew any rubbish about how being smaller is more feminine, more cutesy, any of that stuff, it’s not. I know so many tall women, and I know an equal amount of rather little women, and both types are beautiful! Especially when equipped with the knowledge of what suits them, how to enhance what they have and the way they are.

I like being small because I know my height suits me. I also like that I don’t have to duck into small doorways, under tree branches which lean out over pathways, and when I am at concerts, I have the handy little knack of squeezing in and around people, to get near the front, down (at a Florence and the Machine gig at Oxegen – a wide open field packed with people – I went from the very back to a single person from the front of the stage. True story.).

Here’s a fun tale which, while having some small relevance to the topic of this post, is mostly being shared due to my own self-indulgence: I remember in secondary school, I won a prize for an essay I wrote, entitled “Freedom”. The woman who was speaking at the podium, when I went up to receive my prize, announced to the room that she was surprised to see “such a small girl”, and went on to say how impressed she was by the force of my ideas and my passion, and made a little speech about how I should never lose that part of myself. One of the happiest moments of my life, hands down.

Basically, the conclusion and the point of this little rant – though I have taken a long time to get around to it – is that, when you dress yourself, when you style your hair and put your makeup on (if you do these things, of course, and if you care enough! It’s perfectly cool not to, too), dress and style yourself with the objective of celebrating the good things about yourself. Celebrate your perceived flaws too, why not?! Most importantly, don’t listen to Mrs Fashion Lady standing above you (or writing on the screen in front of you, as the case may be) telling you that the way your body is shaped should be fought against with the destructive nature of ten ferocious armies. Here’s where I write the little satisfied conclusive sentence about loving yourself the way you are and all that jazz. Over and out.


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