Written for the WordPress Daily Post
There’s a word I hate. A word that brings back memories I’d rather forget. Cooling my burning skin on the cold floor. The sound of anxious voices shouting me awake, vision returning piecemeal as my brain and eyes reconnect and I take in my surroundings from the ground upwards.
The more often you type a word, you become aware of the individual letters and they start to look increasingly stupid.
Faint. Faint faint FAINT
See what I mean?
A stupid word, for a stupid thing to do, a stupid affliction to have. I’d always pictured swooning Victorian heroines as somehow glamourous as they slipped gracefully to the floor, overcome by emotion. Not so, in my rather prosaic reality. Real-life fainting usually involves bumping your head as you hit the deck, scaring everyone in the vicinity witless, and coming round with blurred vision and a roaring in your ears, feeling absolutely shocking.
I’ve developed a bit of a fainting habit in the last few years – sometimes it’s been down to a virus, once a bad reaction to prescription medication and usually just an added bonus of the life-long low blood pressure that gives me numb fingers from October to March and makes the room spin if I stand up suddenly. And – this is the thing I hate most about my fainting trick – there’s always a nagging worry that it might happen again. No matter how strong I feel mentally or emotionally, I know that I can’t always trust my body to hold me up. That I have to sometimes seek out a place to sit, even when it’s inconvenient, avoiding standing too long, especially if it’s too hot or crowded. I’m reminded of the other definition of that damn word – weak, imperceptible, obscure and vague. These are not words to make you feel good about yourself.
So I need to fight back. Kick that horrible word faint into touch. I might not be able to stop it happening again but I’m fed up of worrying about it. After all, having low blood pressure means I can eat as many salty crisps as I like, which is no bad thing. Eating while vertical is guaranteed to make me wobble, so rather than standing with a paper plate at dreadful office buffet lunches, I have good reason to pile my plate high with Doritos and chicken skewers, then beat a hasty retreat to the nearest chair. The last time I did that at a training session, I got talking to someone who later offered me a job. Clearly, people who sit down at buffet lunches are the ones worth getting to know… as long as they don’t mind me strapping a cushion to my head.