Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I can hardly believe that Tuesday is almost over and it's nearly Wednesday, dear reader. Of course, my disbelief does not lie in the curiously-un-odd fact that Wednesday always follows Tuesday but that Saturday seems all of a blink of an eye ago. Strictly speaking, this should now be Sunday morning. It's not. It's Tuesday night. Where does all the time go?
I've been descending back into that blackest of pits since poor Babsy was taken from us. I've not mentioned it on my blog before that awkward post and in some ways regret having done so. As I mentioned in it, voicing my fears, my depression, my anxiety and wish for life to end does me no favours, only makes me feel worse. I feel shame in the fact that my secret is now an open one and guilt in tricking people into feeling sorry for me. Sadly, I wish it was a trick, but it's not. I don't like attention like this, though I am eternally glad for all the good wishes of support and suggestions. I now feel terrible for saying I don't like attention like this but in the spirit of truth and veracity (I love that word), I won't retract it. No one will ever really know how heartwarming it was to read such kind thoughts of support and compassion, but I would hate to think anyone thought I'd posted such a blog entry in order to get attention. It's the last thing I'd do. I'm not an attention seeker nor am I a drama queen and hate being the centre of attention.
Can you see how fucked up I am, dear reader?
I can cope with the past, I really can. The future's not the biggest of problems, either. It's today, the here and now that I find difficult to cope with. It's today that the telephone will ring, the caller bringing bad news to my ear. It's today that I'll go into the post office and be shot. It's today that one of my dogs or Mum's cats will have to be rushed to the vet and never come home again. It's today that something serious will happen to someone close to me that will invariably mean death.
I've had problems with today before, but really thought I'd got over it. Well, not got over it, but began coping with it better than ever before. The today problem resurfaced a couple of weeks ago when Ian and I were shopping in Waitrose. We'd just stepped out of the lift when I thought I saw the perpetrator of the armed robbery in which I was involved at my place of work some years ago. I guess I had a panic attack, but it had been so long since I'd had one, I didn't really know what was going on other than I couldn't breathe, thought my heart was going to bang right out of my chest, had pins and needles, felt faint and everything seemed bright.
Today worries me. I can block out yesterday and not think about tomorrow, but today is happening all about me. I have no option but to cope with it, get on with it and get through it. Not opening the door, not stepping through it, is really no help (and I did try this for about a year). The outside world tends to invade your personal space no matter where you are, dear reader. For this we have modern technology to blame: telephones, computers, televisions and door-bells.
Good days are days when I don't have to cope. I like those days. Take Saturday. Ian and I went across to Greenock to celebrate Coal's birthday with her, her family and friends. Click here to see a photograph of Phyllis having a high old time with Coal's fabulous husband, John. Click here to see Coal and I having a hug and here to see me with their eldest daughter, the ever thoughtful, ever fabulous Kira. Anyway... We had a really good evening. I didn't have to pretend to be someone I'm not. I didn't have to hide, watch what I said or did and, in the midst of the bleakest of times, had the time of my life.
I tried to repeat the experience on Sunday, but found that somewhat difficult. Ian and I had arranged for his Father to come up from his home in The Borders, have a spot of lunch with us and then go on to Megabowl or some other provider of ten-pin bowling. The three of us soon spiralled to seven with Ian's brother tagging along, his two daughters and one of their boyfriends. The duck we'd bought would never feed seven, so, with only two hours notice, we skipped off to the supermarket, bought some Quorn pieces, jars of korma sauce, ready made naans, a ready-made dessert, cream, eggs and a few other sundries.
I find difficulty in making conversation quite uncomfortable. I wouldn't say that I don't have much in common with Ian's family, even if I did, my problem does not lie therein. The problem is that I don't know if I don't have anything in common with them. Ian's Father is somewhat conservative and quite religious. I find myself watching what I do and say and certainly am scared of being left alone with him. That's not to say I don't like Ian's Father. I do. He is not the problem. It's me.
Ian's Father has always seemed a little strange to me. He's cold, distant, thoughtless and sometimes does and says the most inappropriate things. Having said all that, I kind of admire him for this. What you see is what you get and I really like that. He's quite different to my own Father who was the original great pretender.
Another thing I really like in Ian's Father is that he's surprised me recently. For reasons I really don't want to go into here, I really fell out with him a while back. I didn't really want to fall out with him and furthermore didn't want anyone to know, especially him, as it was a time of great sorrow for the whole family. I think perhaps I should have been more understanding and shown some compassion, but again, I don't really want to go into the reasons why, though I should say this: He didn't upset me, but upset someone very close to me by either being thoughtless, puritanical, conventional or uptight - or a combination of all four. I really didn't want my upset top be obvious. In times like those, hating and being unable to cope with confrontation and/or pretence, I simply withdraw, walk away. True to form, this is exactly what I did. Sadly, it was noticed, Ian's Father saying, "I haven't seen you in a long time..."
I'm pleased to say that in a year, he's changed from a man who found it difficult to shake my hand to a man who hugs me every time we meet.
So, you see, he's not a bad man at all.
But there's a bad thing in me that finds it difficult to cope with with people who are uncomfortable with me. Their discomfort piles on top of my own and inside I find I'm screaming.
Ian's brother's not such a task. He's actually quite nice, I really like him. He's honest, kind and genuine. But our meetings are still uncomfortable. Again, nothing to do with him and everything to do with me. I don't think he's judging me and I'm sure he doesn't think ill of me, but I am aware I'm nothing like the rest of Ian's family and they know it. There lies the discomfort. I wish it wasn't there, but it is.
After the arrival of Ian's family and on having had a cup of tea, Ian suggested he'd take the dogs out to see if they needed yellow and/or brown before we left them for a few hours. The very idea of him leaving me alone in my own home with these people filled my heart with dread and I immediately suggested I'd take them instead. I'm sure my dive to fill the breach was obvious, but I'd prefer that to being left in the uncomfortable atmosphere of a room full of people I barely know.
Our afternoon bowling was fabulous. Not a soul needed to look for something to talk about and no-one had to sit staring at the ceiling. There were scores to applaud and failures to commiserate. Click here to see Ian's niece at the bowling alley. It was a very funky place, almost like a night club.
On returning home, I prepared the meal. This was good. Although stressful when one's not used to cooking for seven (or opening enough jars for seven), I was provided with an escape hatch into the kitchen. The meal wasn't a difficult chore either, with Ian's family talking amongst themselves, all I had to do was listen.
I will admit to being relieved when they'd gone. I hate saying that, but it's the truth. I should repeat: they're not bad people, they're just different to me. They're not the problem, I am. I wish I was closer to them and I wish I could be myself, but I can't. Once more, I don't really want to go into every reason why (you'd be here weeks, dear reader) but I do have the impression (as does Ian) that if you're not an achiever, Ian's Father will frown upon you. Ian tells me himself that he grew up in an atmosphere of hearing how wonderful, X, Y and Z were for passing all their exams, getting married and having beautiful children whereas A, B and C were terrible having left school with no qualifications and having had a baby without getting married. I'm no achiever and I suppose I, like anyone, don't really relish being frowned upon.
I guess, in writing this (who said writing wasn't cathartic?) I've found the root of my problem with Ian's family. I have no confidence, no self-confidence, seek approval in others and fear scorn.
Add to this the less-than-helpful remark, on Ian telling his Father he was gay, Ian's Father replied, "Well, don't think I'm coming up to Edinburgh to see anyone like that and don't ever bring people like that here."
I wouldn't say I had thoughts of suicide over the weekend and yesterday, but I certainly did think it would be easier if I was dead. Let's face it, dear reader, it would be. But I'm not feeling like that today. I may fall back in one day, but I am doing my level best to climb out of this horrible pit.
I think it's better not to look forward to anything. It's the best way to avoid disappointment when these things you're looking forward to don't come off. But I will admit to being curious about tomorrow - and that's always a good sign. My curiosity came about, in no small part, thanks to, weirdly, people whom I've never met, but people who care.
Exciting! Nice to care about people.
Now, back to those days. Where did they go? And what will they bring?
I took a chance this evening and let my mind wander back into the past. I thought of the days I'll never forget, days I'll remember all my life and thought of that very song, Days, as sung by Kirsty MacColl. You can download it, dear reader, by clicking here. Hurry, though, after seven days or one hundred punters, it'll be dead. Listen to it and think of your little Minge.
It's sink or swim and I'd rather not have that sinking feeling. Swimming is so much nicer.