…there was a time when it all went wrong.
I have an amazing ability to make myself feel and look like an absolute idiot. I wish I could stop it but unfortunately it often stems from my own forlorn hope and attempts to make my life better. So unless I stop trying to find ways to make myself happy I will invariably always end up looking like a tit. I just wish I was better equipped to deal with it.
If you want a fully interactive version of this post, find yourself a copy of Eliza Carthy’s ‘The Company of Men’ from her album ‘Angels and Cigarettes’, have a listen then read on. I’d post a link to a youtube version, but I can’t find one…
As you know (if you’ve been reading for a while) I’ve given up my job on the basis that it didn’t feel right to continue with it. I’ve been trusting my instincts. But what happens when your instincts are telling you nothing? That a plan you have might go either way? This was my predicament when I was booking train tickets to go and visit people in various areas in the North of England. If I booked one particular leg would it put demons and nagging doubts to rest and end up being a really positive experience or would it not turn out as I would like and hope and would it make me feel worse about a certain situation? Unfortunately it seems to have been the latter and I feel as if my heart is broken again. And it’s no-one’s fault but my own and it’ll mend.
I’ve not been through a particularly harrowing life, nothing particularly bad has ever happened to me, yet I seem to be always fighting off this cloud of gloom. I’ve talked about having depression before and I think this is just one of those phases I get where I’m slipping into it again for a bit. I don’t want to get all ‘Woe is me’ or anything, I’ll try to avoid it but it might head that way. I’m not sure.
In an art gallery in Manchester at the moment is an exhibition called ‘Do it’. It’s got lots of pieces that are very interactive and will allow the art work to develop and change as different people view it and experience it. One piece that particularly made me think was Yoko Ono’s wish tree. It’s a living tree in the middle of the gallery and a box full of luggage tags. You, as a visitor to the gallery and the piece, are invited to write your wishes on a label and add it to the tree. I didn’t read other people’s because I think that they are very personal and I didn’t want to be influenced in any way by what others had written. There was a pregnant lady and her friend circling the tree reading the labels, sharing them with one another and saying things every so often like ‘Oh that’s so sad!’.
I took a seat next to the tree and thought about what I wanted to put. I closed my eyes and wrote on the label, not really thinking about what words came out of my pencil and onto the rough card, but it turned out that I wrote ‘I wish I was happy. That would be lovely.’ It wasn’t an intentional decision to put this, it seems it’s just what I actually wish. Because at the moment, I’m not and I’m not sure how I can make it so that I can be.
I journeyed on to my next destination, the one that I was being given no clues about by my gut. I hoped. I suppose sometimes all you can have is hope.
I think, for me, one of the worst feelings in the world is that of loneliness. I have often felt alone, thinking back over the however many years of memories I have, there are often times when I have felt alone, outside of what’s going on, even when there is a big group of people with me. I have some brilliant friends and great family and they all do things to include me and to make me feel like I fit in, and often this works for a while. But eventually you still go to bed on your own, with your head full of things that you wish might have been.
There were lots of things that were not good about my last relationship and I think that in recent weeks, with no work to distract me and no real structure to my days I have realised how damaging it was to me. He was not a very tactile and affectionate man in many ways, but there were times when he would come and hug me when I was washing up, when he’d hold my hand when watching tv, when he’d put his hand on my knee when we were in the car, when he would brush the hair out of my eyes. Those little touches began to disappear and eventually were gone completely. He wouldn’t kiss me goodbye or hello, he wouldn’t touch me at all and he wouldn’t come to bed to even sleep next to me, let alone anything else. Lying in bed, waiting and hoping that he might join me, just to have the nearness of another person next to me were some of the loneliest times I’ve had. It’s one thing sleeping on your own if you are single, but when you are living with someone that supposedly loves you, but who will not touch you even in the most benign of ways is cutting. It wounds. He couldn’t even hug me to comfort me when I was sobbing uncontrollably on the floor having had really bad news. It was no longer something he could do with me. I spent a lot of nights crying myself to sleep and thinking the next day would be better, but it rarely was.
Most of the time, I don’t mind being on my own. I would rather be on my own than to be miserable in a relationship with someone who is gnawing away at your being with their neglect. That is when they aren’t telling you things that belittle you and make you think that you are worth less than you are. But it is all the little touches that I miss. A kiss on the forehead, or cheek, or neck, arms round my stomach having been crept up on for a surprise hug. It’s these things I miss the most and these were some things I thought I might get on part of the trip, but it’s unfair to imagine that when the other person seems to resolutely not have the same idea. I’m not crazy, there were suggestions that these might be a possibility, but of course I built up more of it in my head and so I was bound to be disappointed. How could I not be really?
So now I’m writing on a train, tears streaming down my face for no other reason than I feel sorry for myself. Luckily there is no one else in this part of the train or I’d look even more ridiculous than I do to myself.
Still, disappointments aside, I’m on my way for the last part of my journey to catch up with some lovely people. I’ve stopped off at a food festival that I didn’t even know was on and now am the proud owner of sloe whiskey and within two days will be back down south, hopefully getting ready to start my new job. I will make new friends, I will meet new people and do new things. The loneliness will subside a little and I’ll stop feeling like I’ve humiliated myself.