Pinch Punch, 2nd Of The Month

Hello to you, dear reader. This is my first blog for Network She and I am delighted to be putting finger to keyboard for a variety of reasons. As a comedian ‘on standby’ for the past year I have had much time to think, to create opportunities, to write, to interact, to exercise both body and mind, to ponder the meaning of my existence, to count my blessings. I certainly have done a bit of the latter but mostly if I am honest, I have used this gift of time to sit, to lay, to eat, to drink, to hibernate, to worry, to devour daytime tv and to procrastinate (I am not joking when I say the only time I have had my volume up on my phone is during the Spin To Win competition on This Morning). A classic example of the procrastination is that I only got around to writing this on March 2nd after vowing that this month will be the ‘fresh new start’ and the kick up the backside that I have needed for a while. As with all new starts surely my renewed enthusiasm should begin on a Monday, on the 1st day of the month! Spring is in the air, Daffodils are blooming, Easter Eggs are at the front of the store and the end of the lockdown is in sight. Panic is setting in and like many people as unmotivated as myself, I am just not quite ready for ‘real life’ just yet!

I was always the one rushing my homework the night before, meaning to lose weight before an event, then having a salad the day before and hoping for the best, rushing into work just as my shift started… you get the picture.

I am 44 and I live in Plymouth, Devon with my Mum, Jean. I moved back here from London four years ago as I was going to be working abroad for a while, so it made sense to save money and spend time with my family and friends here. I had no real future plans and embraced my job working as an entertainer for a holiday company in Corfu, Italy, Zante in the summer then coming home to the town I love. I returned home after seven months in Greece to a fully refurbished room, a surprise gift from Mum and Dad to let me know there’d always be a home here for me. This meant the world to me especially as Dad had chosen many of the fixtures and fittings from his bed. He was very poorly and died peacefully at home with us two years later.

Lockdown for Mum and I started then. October 2019. We would lock the door, pull the curtain across it and cocoon ourselves in the house. We had gin, Coronation Street and Police Interceptors on series link for company (strangely addictive programme, distracting and exciting!). I would still go off and gig and sometimes spend a week or two away but would always look forward to returning to the sofa where there was only just starting to be a bum shaped dent.

During this difficult time the only productive thing I did was to set up a fundraiser to the local hospice that supported us (and still do) and at present we have raised over £3000 of which I am very proud and grateful.

I had a ten-day yoga retreat in India booked. This was to be my ‘fresh start’, a healthy healing holiday. Of course, it was cancelled. I bought some new yoga equipment which has now gathered dust.

When ‘real lockdown’ happened Jean and I stayed much the same in our ‘routine’, throwing a bit of veg in the shopping basket to justify the gin run as an ‘essential shop’, resenting the now furloughed workers, new viewers to my favourite daytime show as lowering my chances of getting that Spin To Win call, going for the odd walk in the nearby woods but then rushing back to pull that curtain back over and see what the residents of Weatherfield and the Traffic Cops of Swindon had been up to that week and pour out a generous drink.

As a nurse, Mum went to work when she could, I was lucky to get some online shows and some other ‘bits and bobs’, we read some nice books in the garden, she wrote me an excuse note to get out of P.E with Joe Wicks and we got along well. There were sad days, funny moments and times of reflection where we realised how fortunate we were to be with Dad when so many families now couldn’t be and how we would never have wished for him to have to suffer through this pandemic.

Many have thrived during this past year and I would love to have been one of them. I have had the same little voice in my head since I was a teenager telling me that I would be happy one day…when I lose weight, get fitter, be more ambitious, work harder, seize opportunities and yet somehow, I have managed to hold myself back from really ‘doing it’. I have been lucky to get regular work without even really trying, I have great friends and good health but never really excelled. Suddenly thirty years has flown by, many yo-yo diets and career highs and lows yet I still can’t just open my wardrobe and throw something on and feel comfortable, still haven’t made a website to show potential comedy bookers (it has been ‘under construction since 2008) and I still have my phone on silent, feeling too overwhelmed and mentally exhausted to really socialise and put myself out in the world again. From reading articles and posts I have learned that I am not alone in this feeling, this strange purgatory, which is comforting. I no longer compare myself to peers who have been churning out online content, become ‘Tik Tok famous’ or written books, become yoga masters or lost half their body weight in lockdown. We all have our own pace; I am grateful for what I have and admire those that really reach for the stars but never felt myself to be part of that ‘club’.

Maybe I should start my own Club?

In the last few weeks something has clicked, and I have begun to turn the volume down on that little voice in my head and replaced it with images. Images of a few months in the future, walking along the seafront in the lovely dress I bought two years ago in the sale that has never zipped up. Feeling content, recording my thoughts and ideas here, feeling inspired, making new connections, creating new material in anticipation of a full diary of live shows and looking after myself by enjoying walking and yoga to reduce the pained noises I now make when I get up from the sofa (which now has a very impressive bum print.)

As a professional procrastinator, I have missed the start of Lent, which would have been the ideal challenge to eating healthier and drinking less. I did TRY Lent for the first-time last year. I decided to not eat white bread and no food after 8pm, which can be very tricky when on the road and late nights. I lasted 11 days. I still blame that two bottles of wine and my friend Claire for putting Mozzarella dippers in the oven at 11pm. That said, no point ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water ‘(an alarming phrase I believe I heard at Slimming World once) so my challenge for March is no booze! For some people this would be easy, others have conquered this during Dry January – good for them, I considered it myself but the most depressing month of the year I wouldn’t have lasted. I have got into the bad habit of drinking two or three times a week, and not just one or two glasses. The next day ‘hangxiety’ has become a regular occurrence and when the wine comes out, so do the cheese and crackers, so for the sake of my mental wellbeing and waistline, I am going to see how I get on without it for 31 days.

Mum is going to try too to support me, but she has been allowed a loophole, if she has a bad day of work, she has permission to indulge. Thirty-six years in the NHS and putting up with me, I wouldn’t blame her if she attached her own pinot grigio drip!

Second of March and no alcohol has passed my lips so far this month (starts making homemade rosette). I am already feeling optimistic that maybe I could do this. Hello March, Hello Network She readers. Hello potential new Suzy in the lovely dress.

Time to dust off the yoga mat and pull back that front door curtain and glimpse outside.


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