Thursday 30 December 2010

With a little charm...

After a few weeks bare of wrist, I’ve started wearing my charm bracelet again over the last few days. It’s been relegated to my jewellery pot a fair bit of late, not thanks to me falling out of love with it – perish the thought – but rather, to be completely honest, down to my not wanting it to skew my weekly weigh-ins, so heavily populated is it with, well, charm. But, given that I don’t need a set of bathroom scales to confirm that I’ve gained an ‘extra layer’ during my Christmas diet-break, and given that I’m heading away tomorrow for 10 days in Malaysia: Land Of The Lost Weigh-In, I’ve taken my chance to wear my heaviest – and favouritest – piece of jewellery once more.

Now I’ve always been a sentimental old sod (even when I was a sentimental young sod), but at this time of year – with open house declared on misty-eyed reflection – I tend to turn soppier than a soft-focus basket of puppies on their way to a Richard Curtis film set. And, in many ways, my charm bracelet reflects said sentimentality.

There’s the heart-shaped charm that was already on my bracelet when it was given to me on my hen night as a present from my girlfriends. There’s the silver disc and the L and the oyster that were the leaving present from my colleagues on a magazine I edited. There’s the letter P and the ring that P gave me for our first wedding anniversary. There’s the starfish that, in lieu of being able to find an actual star, Mum bought while I was in hospital having my first mastectomy (a story that makes me love that charm even more). There’s the cat and the Routemaster bus that I received on my 30th birthday from the Tills/Si/Polly/Martin collective and my folks respectively. There’s the peep-toe stiletto and cupcake that were given to me by the same family and friends at my book launch. There’s the sleep mask that Jamie and Leanne chose while I was in surgery this September. And, as of recently, there’s the iPod headphone from my mate Weeza and the letter S from, erm, my cat that are ready to take their place on the chain.

But it’s not just my charm bracelet that signifies important things in my life. Whenever something noteworthy happens – be it a significant moment, achievement or event – I like to do (or buy, or write, or drink) something to mark it. (Told you I was a sentimental old sod.) It’s the reason I got my tattoo after completing my cancer treatment; the reason I let off fireworks on the eve of my final chemo, and the reason I saved up for a pair of Christian Louboutins after turning The Bullshit into a book. (A book which, in light of the new year, I suspect it’s now time to stop banging on about.)

While getting reacquainted with my charm bracelet this week, though, I caught sight of another such ‘moment marker’: the eternity ring that P bought me on our way to Mexico this year. It was all a bit of a surprise, really, what with us being in Terminal 5 at the time and me being stunned into uncharacteristic silence when he led me into Tiffany to ‘just have a look’, then proceeded to show off his sneakily pre-researched diamond knowledge to the guy behind the counter (AKA ‘Tony Soprano-ing it’).

‘It’s a look-how-far-we’ve-come ring,’ said P, in deference to a year in which we’d already gone from assuming the worst was over to facing another round of Bullshit-dictated surgery. ‘It’s a screw-you-2010-we’re-going-to-come-out-on-top ring.’ (Is there a collective noun for sentimental old sods? A wailing, perhaps? A tumult? A pander? A cry?) And, by ’eck, it didn’t half cheer me up (diamonds may not be a girl's best friend, but they sure as half know how to make a lass smile). But then, of course, I went and broke my back on the first day of our holiday and rather ruined the sentiment.

Thus, my beautiful ring came to signify not a year in which we were going to stick our flag and conquer as our own, but a lovely moment that we were never really able to celebrate. Which, in true poetically sentimental fashion, is a more accurate a description of the past twelve months than I’d ever be able to conjure up myself. 

It’s the new year filled with hopeful promise for my family, unceremoniously gazumped by my auntie’s diagnosis (who is now on the other side of treatment and recovering well). It’s the delighted joy of publishing my first book, stepped on by the muddy boot of mine and Mum’s BRCA discovery (all of which is now in hand). It’s the excitement of our getting-over-cancer holiday, broken at the same time as my vertebrae (ditto). It’s the thrill of watching Jamie and Leanne move into their new home, only for redundancy to take up residence soon afterwards (an unwanted house-guest now booted out thanks to J being offered a wonderful job on Christmas Eve). It’s the vow of keeping out of hospital, thwarted by the surgery to keep me cancer-free (and cancer-free I am). And it’s the relief of discovering Mum’s clear scans, only to watch as she prepares for more preventative surgery anyway (preventative surgery which will, from my experience, not just keep her scans clear, but her mind too).

And so, if you’ll excuse the customary misty-eyed reflection, 2010 has been rather like a mug of hot chocolate that’s cooled to a lukewarm, skin-on-the-surface temperature that you drink anyway because it’s stuffed with mini marshmallows. But since my eternity ring is infinitely prettier than that picture, I’m declaring that my ‘charm’ for 2010 instead; my little glimmer of loveliness from an often frustrating time. Or, as I’m preferring to think of it, the mark of another manure-marred year in which, yet again, we’ve somehow emerged smelling of roses.

Happy 2011, reader.


sarahmia said...

Have a wonderful trip, Lisa. I hope it's everything you're looking for.

(& yes, I am DAMN jealous that you get a Tiffany ring ;) )

Love you like butter!

Happy new year

love miametro & digitalshades xx

Amy said...

This is such a lovely, lovely post.

There's always one line in your posts that really stands out to me; this time it's "another manure-marred year in which, yet again, we've somehow emerged smelling of roses" It's just...lovely.

Happy New Year, Lisa. May you have more of the roses and less of the manure in 2011.


Helen said...

I never know what to say to your beautifully written words. But you know I love you, bird.

Happy 2K11 xxx

marsha said...

Never stop banging on about your book. It should be on enforced curriculum for every adult in the Western World (and some translation of it with Corrie-equivalents should be in the rest of the world).

Anonymous said...

I agree with Marsha, don't stop banging on about your book!

And hope you have a wonderful holiday. And take good care of yourself!!!

Freda said...

Hope you enjoy your holiday and that 2011 is a good year for you and those you love.

Paula said...

Hi Lisa - I don't suppose you remember but this time last year you posted two pics of you and P. One was taken a week after your diagnosis and the other after your treatment when you were on a boat on in Paris. Anyway ... last Christmas I was having a grotty old time with my treatment and I wrote to you to say that those pics gave me inspiration.

To cut a long story short ... I have just posted my final blog ... and I have talked about how your pics and response meant so much to me.

Last year we hoped 2010 was going to be our year ... but I think we should revise that and say it will be 2011 instead. Whatcha think?

Big hugs - Paula x

Anonymous said...

I GOT IT!!!! My wonderful husband gave me your book for Christmas and I am starting it tonight. He was hesitant due to the subject matter, but when I gave him details of this blog (to which his now a loyal follower) he soon understood my plea.... and has put himself first on the list to read it when I finish!

Yet again your post shows why we all love you and can't wait for the next installment of Lisa. I wish you a happy and healthy 2011 and hope that you have a wonderful holiday.


Anonymous said...

Lisa, what a lovely girl you are! Can I be your stalker? Only joking.

Have the best time in Malaysia. It's a fantastically relaxing destination.