What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
Okay, technically I didn’t quit because I couldn’t find my sports bra. Technically I quit because kipple is eating my life.
In case you didn’t grow up reading books that belonged to your older brother and had pneumatic robot boobs on the cover, let me explain. ‘Kipple’ is a term coined by science fiction writer Philip K Dick.
It means self-replicating junk: pizza menus; receipts – the not quite throw-awayable detritus of modern life that seems somehow to grow slightly when you’re not looking.
My flat is gradually succumbing to kipple. Near-sentient piles of laundry and unopened post are marshalling forces inside drawers and wardrobes, and in the corners of rooms. I’m convinced that this kipple will eventually team up with the mental kipple hanging over my head – that chipped filling I haven’t had fixed; those personal emails I haven’t replied to for months – and ambush me.
I’ll go down in a flurry of remittance advice and gum disease and deeply offended long-suffering friends. And all because:
1. As I’ve moaned about before, I’m busy Somehow I hold down a full-time middle-management editorial job, a freelance writing career I mainly conduct during loo breaks and when I should be sleeping, I try to go to the gym as often as possible and, for the last few months, I’ve been looking after my seriously ill mother.
2. I’m depressedI’ve lived with anxiety for years but this nothingy hopelessness is pervasive, and new. I’m receiving treatment, and am trying to live as normal a life as possible, but I’ve an avoidant personality and the siren-song of agoraphobia is always playing somewhere in my subconscious. Really, I just want to shut up shop, climb into my leopard-print onesie, and lose myself in Netflix box sets forever.
3. I’m one of those super-fun creative types!All ideasy and lateral pattern recognition when things are peachy, but when the going gets rough I vague-out, get randomly angry, and go a bit wonky on the details. To whit: I spent a good portion of last weekend accusing a friend of dating an architect when, in fact, she is guilty of no such transgression.
The sports bra, though, is what broke the camel’s back.
The other morning I woke before dawn as usual, and groped around in the dark for my gym gear. But my sports bra – which I had carefully and artistically laid out on top of some of the floor-based kipple in my bedroom the night before – had vanished. I could only assume that Philip K Dick was in fact right, and that kipple had finally eaten my sports bra.
Sports bra-gate threw off my entire day. I was late for the gym, which made me late for work, which stressed me out and I got a migraine. I took a shitload of codeine and managed to complete a day of work, but when I got home my head was foggy, which meant that the freelance work I did that evening was inferior, and I lay awake all night worrying about it, and knowing that the rest of the working week would go similarly.
All of which just brought home how nuts my life has become. So I took the only steps a reasonable person could:
a) I bought a bunch of lottery tickets (because you never know)
b) I handed in my notice at work.
Obviously I didn’t win the lottery because LIFE IS PAIN, but in two months’ time I will be starting a part-time contract instead. This should free up two days a week for other freelancing, life admin, and developing kipple mitigation strategies.
Basically, I want to end up a full-time freelancer with a really decent resting heart rate, so it was the day job that had to go. And, although the prospect of operating without the safety net of a permanent job is causing me palpitations (without my daily commute, ergonomic desk chair and pension, won’t I just slide into the abyss of social anonymity like the elderly, and healthcare PRs?), hopefully it should improve my quality of life. At some point.
First things first: buy a new sports bra.
Share your freelancing, stress-busting and kipple-fighting secrets on Twitter @orbyn.