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Thursday, 8 July 2004

just when i think i got out - they pull me back in

Topic: Lactose Incompetent

"I play this game.
It's pointless and annoys me, yet I'm compelled to play on"

I was doing okay, I was cheering up, I was rationalising my fears.

Then .... something happened. I ignored it. Something happened. The 'worst thing'.

You never know the worst thing till it's here, and the worst of the worst thing, is your absolute certainty that this is only the worst so far.

Thank christ I was with other people, and had to keep a lid on it, act unconcerned. It felt like I was falling into a cavern. How could this be happening to me, now, here? Didn't I just spend two years dealing with this? Didn't I just get to the point where I could maintain civilised defences?

I left, I sat in darkness in my car for a while, staring blankly at an empty church. I screamed at someone and averted an accident. See, not evil. I'm not evil.

It's been a while since I've been evil. The year before I wrote this blog, everything I did was interpreted as malicious, every stray thought that flickered over my face was assumed egregiously wrong. The standard interpretation of anything I did was: you did it to hurt me, you bitch. I'm not talking about one person feeling this way about me. I'm talking about almost all of them.

I'm a terrible one for not taking criticism well. As I was doing the punishment anyway, I decided to enjoy the crime.

The last year, it's been normal. Mad, draining, emotional, but- hey - normal. I can walk across a road without feeling like I'm doing something wrong, hurting someone somehow, being wicked, not caring enough about everybody else, showing my true, nasty nature by walking across that road.

In the darkened car, in the driver's seat, I turned on the CD player - the soundtrack to 'The Hours' came on. Philip Glass, violins, music from the moment where Nicole Kidman drowns herself, fifty years later and at the same moment, Julianne Moore takes too many painkillers and river water floods into her hotel room, over her bed, as in another age Meryl Streep watches her beloved friend Ed Harris die of AIDS. It really wasn't pick-me-up listening.

Of course the moon had to be out, like all those so many nights, so so many many nights, when I used to drive to the Heath and cry where no-one could overhear me.
Of course it had to be raining with stormy destructive winds, branches flailing to the ground. Of course.
Of course I had to be in London. Not Hawaii. Not South America. I had to be in Catford, the moment that I had to deal with this. In Catford, eating out with some colleagues, going home to a blank anodyne empty flat, three weeks before my thirty fourth birthday.
Why would fate make it any other moment? Why would fate make this something I had a hope of dealing with well?

I looked at the water lying deeper than you think on the oily surface of the road, the hunched shoulders of people scared as they rushed to safety from the street, the rain, the dangerous unknown. I wondered what could be more scary than the thing I was now considering.

On the way in to the restaurant I'd had one of those flash moments - those moments where a voice in your head speaks briefly. Your limbic brain, your sub conscious, your 'you', something, and it tells you an insight, but it might also be just a fear. Looking at a street sign that symbolised a road narrowing, then a junction, I thought about how late I was, how I didn't really feel like this meal, and a voice inside said: 'but you're not happy.' And I know it's not talking about the meal.
I pushed it away. Course I've not been happy. Why would I write all that shit on my blog if I were happy? The blog and the life have an inverse relationship - write shit, live good; live bad, write good. I've been doing better, I pleaded with my id, my ur, my limbic brain. I got out of the car and ran. Running creates endorphins, it stops you thinking depressing thoughts. It worked. It was gone.

Till the phone call. So, after, I sit in the dark on the same street, in front of the same street sign and I try to rationalise it, tell myself it's an understandable response to be falling into a pit with only mud and dirt for sides, where no-one will find you again. It's okay.
What a bland and stupid statement is 'it's okay'.
I try to connect things up - if I find patterns in my behaviour, my state of mind, I can find ways of dealing with an unexpected attack.

The worst moment? Right, if I'm not happy, the answer is to know why I'm not happy. What's the worst that could happen scenario. Forget that it's taken me a year to be able to cope with written references to what happened, forget that I can't even - I write four blogs and I write every fucking day for god's sake! - I can't even begin to articulate what happened and god knows last night - last damn night! - I tried. Worst case scenario.
What worst moments have I had this weekend? where I enjoyed myself, where I had a good time - what scary worst nasty moments did I live through, so I can tell myself I can live through it again.

I was scared of working too much last weekend. I passed over another promotion, again, the third this year, because I know my own tendency to be obsessive, to distil concentration out of all proportion to time, because I know if they ask me to do things, I'll always say yes. I feared trapping myself there - yeah, there in the job that I enjoy, that I look forward to doing. So I passed.

I was scared of being bored by people last weekend. I stood in a garden surrounded by strangers making small talk, getting on with it, using their myriad vile fat toddlers to prop the gaps in the conversation, and I refused to speak, or make it easy for anyone. I just scowled my way through it, wondering if I could go now. Or wait ten minutes. And go now. Ten more?

I was scared of meeting Tybalt and having to endure her at Pride. Make no mistake, if I went to Pride, it'd be to pull. I was scared of what she'd do if she saw that. What exact way she'd find to quietly punish me. I was scared that if I didn't go, I'd lose all my friends. Again. Somehow every social situation involving Tybalt, and I always come away feeling like carrion - like I've lost all my friends to her. If a friend is someone who listens and does not judge - someone who can bite their tongue just a few months and not say 'well, no, I think you're being unfair to her on that detail' - yeah, okay, that would count as having lost them all.

I was scared of making past mistakes, of restarting relationships that were already dead, had always at some level been dead; and I was also in the same weekend scared of starting new relationships that I didn't feel invested in, had no compulsion to continue, just to avoid being alone.

I was scared when I stayed out late for cocktails on a date last weekend, missed the train home, had to get a night train then a night bus from Lewisham. I was so scared I flagged a bus down on the street - I felt drunkenly confident, but the driver commented on how 'lost' I looked, which made me focus on it, start to feel scared all over again. I knew I'd have to get off by a gas tower, walk through an industrial estate, down a deserted high street that's had three murders in the four months I've lived here. I saw seven foxes, one madman who screamed at me to 'shut up shut shut shut up stop talking to me shut up', one hooded figure just standing beneath a blasted leafless tree in the centre of a council estate, and not one single lighted window, not one single car. I was scared that if something did happen to me, nobody would notice. For a few days.

All these fears. And that's just four days worth.

But mostly I'm usually scared that being scared makes me not do things that I should, makes me lose out. Lose out on a promotion, meeting the woman of my dreams at Pride, reconnecting with my friends, being calm enough to make smalltalk, put people at ease, take risks with new relationships, and forgive the criminal other of the old ones. And walk home tall.

So this is what's beneath tonight's bad news. Do I follow all my instincts - run, hide, stay away, don't get involved, avoid these people, these situations forever. Just a few people in a really big world. Do I need to beat myself up by going through it all again with them?
Can't I just walk away, live my life without accusations, or jealousy, or the underlying itching permanent scab of knowing that someone thinks I'm evil?

Or am I just saying that to myself to make me brave? To distract attention from the fact I always run?

"You're pretty convinced that you like the parts of your life that trap you
But you worry that your usual tendency to sell yourself short
Sold that to you."

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Oeillade
"Quietly, softly, it finds its way in
To play down your virtue and highlight your sin.
The weights are all hung and the tunnel's in place,
We'll help wipe away that fat smirk from your face.
How long can one spend intending to fly
If two in the hand is worth one in the eye?
Come in from the outside, come in from the cold.
What use is your pride if you're not bought and sold?"

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:21 AM BST
Updated: Thursday, 8 July 2004 12:58 AM BST
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Thursday, 8 July 2004 - 8:19 PM BST

Name: Nursie
Home Page:

Leave it to me to vomit up something and not read anything for days and miss this. ...and why has no one commented? No one commented at my lil erm...thrash-out either. I thought it was because they couldn't relate and didn't want to think about bad @#%$!. But, ya know, I think it's because they've been there, they remember and they have no words of assistance because they'd just rather not recall it. As for me, you KNOW I've been there, hell I'm STILL there. So no words of assistance from me, either, damn it. But you are heard, and yes I know you say yer over it and that's just peachy and everything but even after the fact, you are heard. I get it. I think that's as good as yer gonna get for now. Oh and you get a hug. Very American thing to do, I know but there it is. You are hugged. Deal.

Thursday, 8 July 2004 - 9:09 PM BST

Name: Never Mind

I was going to comment on how good the writing is. When someone is having a dark night of the soul, that just seems a really stupid thing to say. Oh fuck it, I'll be stupid. Pulled me right in. Read it a few times, gripping.

Dark nights of the soul can really suck. Had a few myself. Can't write about them like that though.

Thursday, 8 July 2004 - 11:19 PM BST

Name: looby

I hope you don't stop suffering, otherwise this blog will be crap! :) You've really got to get this person entirely out of your head though. You've got her out of your practical life, to an extent, which is a start, and in a while you'll be able to stop thinking about her or having the after effects. Like you say, it's a lot more difficult when you have all this *and* live in a really dangerous area as well.

Friday, 9 July 2004 - 1:43 AM BST

Name: Vanessa

Wrong person! The practical embroilment is Tybalt, yeah?

See, the reason you lot all assume I tell it like it is, is because I never tell you the bits I held back. :o)

Friday, 9 July 2004 - 1:52 AM BST

Name: Vanessa

Thanks. Really.

Friday, 9 July 2004 - 1:53 AM BST

Name: Vanessa

Bet you can. Ever thought of trying? It's a hell of an experience to write that sort of stuff, no matter how unreadable it turned out, I find.

Friday, 9 July 2004 - 5:12 AM BST

Name: Lux


Friday, 9 July 2004 - 7:49 AM BST

Name: Vanessa


Friday, 9 July 2004 - 10:37 AM BST

Name: looby

Ah, yes. Well, I was never cut out to be a social worker, or anything that requires a memory, or reading :)

Friday, 9 July 2004 - 6:57 PM BST

Name: neil
Home Page:

Thank you for the mention here, Vanessa. I'm extremely flattered.

And what a post. Really touching and thought-provoking.

Friday, 9 July 2004 - 9:50 PM BST

Name: Lux

What you said up there.

Friday, 9 July 2004 - 11:07 PM BST

Name: Vanessa

Ah. Thank you Mr Published Author, for those words of self-abnegation. ;-)

Friday, 9 July 2004 - 11:18 PM BST

Name: Vanessa

Well, likewise! I was gobsmacked by the post I quoted from your place.

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