Monday, 23 March 2015

Objects, and Emotions, That Fell Between the Rafters

Every now and then, I think I want a good wallow in self-pity. No friends around me, no girlfriend, no sex, don’t even want to go on a vacation… the list is endless. Who doesn’t deserve a little self-pity on all that? A few old Carol King songs, too much chocolate and some memories of when I thought I had a life.

Except I just can’t be seem to sustain the mood. Not being able to drink makes it more difficult - alcohol is a reliable depressant. Also I have a job to do, or a session in the gym, or cooking, or sleep, or whatever else - I think it's called 'Life'. That, of course, is just avoidance. Because I must really be unhaaaaapy. I'm supposed to be lonely and blue. My health is supposed to be poor, my skin wrinkling and my mind going. Because I don't have... someone.

Hey guess what Oprah? (All therapists and pop psychology pundits are hereby named 'Oprah'.) I'm doing just fine. It helps I grew up around recorded music and books rather than people and sports. That makes it easier to live a life of sober solitude. But that's not a reason, it's a resource I can draw on. The reason is, well, you decide.

I'm an addict. I want my high. Since I can't get it from booze or drugs, then I'll get it from... chocolate, food, sunshine, music, fiction, non-fiction, solving problems at work, a dozen other things. I'm still not sure if sex ever gave me a high. Maybe one-night stands did sometimes. People don't provide those highs. People provide lows, anxiety, upset. People made me redundant, didn't hire me, re-organised me. People cancel trains and leave other people to die in hospital corridors. A very small number of people give Good Hug. Some of them recognise from the last time I came into their cafe, and I'm always slightly suprised when they do. People expect me to be this-and-that before they even know my name. Apparantly I have obligations towards people, but they have none towards me. People are not, nor should they be, a source of highs. Mostly people are a source of work and obligation, and a few are good company and provide some last lingering sense of connection with a world that fades a little more everyday, and that used to be so vivid.

That vivid sense I had of the world was as the possibility of belonging, rest, relaxation, safety, comfort. Somewhere. Comfort is an armchair. Safety is not jumping in front of traffic. Rest is what I do Saturday, when I leave the world to itself. Relaxation isn't what we ACoA's really do. Belonging? We don't do that either. So the world is fading because it's just a bunch of streets and houses and cows standing in fields. It's fading for me to what it's always been for you.

I'm an addict, and if I can't get my highs, I'd rather be asleep with my eyes open watching a box set. If I want drama, I'll add some weight to the bar. And if I can't have Rebekah Underhill...

(5' 11' Size 0 in a dress)

I'll happily do without anyone. It's an advantage of being grey-haired.

That urge to have a wallow in self-pity is partly an old weakened habit, a last remains of how I used to feel. And it's also caused by the now fading delusion that there is an otherwise that my life could be. That snake-oil sold by therapists and mind-body-spirit authors to disconnected, unsatisfied people everywhere. That somewhere there is a room full of people, and I walk into that room, and I relax, and feel uplifted at the same time. These are my brothers and sisters, my muckers, my team, my boys and girls. That was when we were eight, in junior school. In adult life, there's no such number, no such phone.

This doesn’t mean I am thoughtfully rejecting the self-pity, nor does it mean I don’t want to feel it from time to time. It certainly doesn’t mean I do some hokey gratitude list that convinces me that my life is really much better than I allow. It means the past self-pity was a fake: an artefact of booze, cigarettes, insufficient exercise, and a shit-ton of neuroses and dysfunctional thoughts. All of which have been cleared out, like clearing out the loft. All gone, except an old teddy-bear, the coal-tender from an OO-gauge model train, a school-exercise book and a photograph of the cottage we had a family summer holiday when I was eight. Objects, and emotions, that fell between the rafters.

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