Given the inordinate amounts of time I used to spend thinking about myself, crying about myself and generally worrying about myself, believe me, this was no bad thing.
Until, that is, one morning last week when I woke up barely able to move.
The problem was in my neck. Life was being a pain, and sure enough my body was impersonating the problem. If I wanted to do anything but look straight ahead, I had to do a very strange, robotic kind of twist from the waist.
This is not good, I thought. This is not safe, sensible, or sexy (hardly a major consideration these days but you know - I still wouldn't throw the Bim out of bed for making crumbs...) Something must be done, I thought.
And so it was that I began to remember about me.
At first, this was a painful task. When I finally acknowledged to myself the great toll the last weeks have taken, I had to admit that even carrying Anna-mouse was hurting - every time. After initial, frightful stand-offs (what good's a mother who can't give you a 'huggle', for crying out loud), Anna-mouse went into 'hopital' mode, got out her two stethoscopes, ear torch and red plastic hammer and proceeded to put me through several rigorous check-ups. (Which were so winsome they did, in fact, do quite alot for my aching heart).
The next bit I enjoyed. I began to think about what would make me feel better. What did I used to do, I thought, when I was young, free and single? What made my heart sing?
There it is. What makes my heart sing? What would ease my soul enough to ease some of the pain in my neck?
Well, for starters I have booked a massage. The fact that I have booked it for the afternoon of my birthday makes it even more likely that I will let myself enjoy it.
And I accumulated a pile of books by my bed. Okay, so that might be more of a wishlist kind of thing, given I can barely still my mind enough to read the shopping list at the moment, but it's another start. Nothing like the promise of some beautifully put-together words, to my mind.
And, tonight, I lit a candle. Just a small, unassuming nightlight, not even in a candle holder, just burning bare next to me on the desk. I remembered myself just a few years ago in my little garret flat in Camberwell; how I used to hang out of my top storey window, almost touching the leaves of the plane tree, watching the street's life below. How, as the sirens brought in the dusk, I would bring myself in, strew the flat with candles, pour myself a glass of wine, light a cigarette and dream of a life happier, and less alone, than the life I was living then.
The smokes are gone, the damn hormones have severely limited my capacity to drink, but the candles - those small, hopeful nightlights - remain. It is good to lose yourself sometimes, but not to sorrow, as I have done a little recently, and did really quite alot in the past.
Tonight, I have my remembering cap on again.