Sunday, 10 June 2012

Moving on

It's funny what you remember.

A little less than a year ago I wrote a poem, a lament. A reflection of the signposts that pointed to childhood memories and a place I felt safe. I wrote it at 6:29am on a Sunday morning. I imagine I would have written it in a single sweep of thought, I often do, but revisiting it I see the signs, a simple message, clear, concise. A note and reminder to an older me of where I was. And it wasn't a nice place. Little did I realise the day was about to get an awful lot worse.
Two glorious piers,
guard my sweet Tyne.
Stretch far from sand’s shore,
embrace memories of mine.
Forever shows home,
my haven
no more.
I didn't write again until the next day. I published at 8:09am, but I know that was only because that's when I next received a signal. I was on the 7:59 and merrily heading back to London with tears streaming down my cheeks in the quiet confines of First Class. One word in that sentence was a lie, I'll let you work it out. My words...
Husk filled with vacuum,
devoid of a dream,
void for a future,
maelstrom of now,
blue sky as poison,
fears for friends. 
The moment love ends
You see the night before we had a discussion. The one where you're told, in no uncertain terms, that your nearly twenty year marriage has reached the end of the road. Now this wasn't entirely a surprise. Far from it. But, you know what, I still had this vague hope of finding a resolution, a way forward, something that would be better for the children than wham-bang-divorce-ma'am. In reality, love had ended a long time before, it takes a long time to admit it though.

So I entered a very bad time. A bad time that has continued. I spoke with three people that week, about what was going on in detail (I did have to explain to my then main clients what was going on to explain the fits of tears). One of these people was then seeing, what turned out to be, a total fuckwit. Yep, I confided my total life collapse in somebody that was a shit and a fraud. One was my best and closest friend and, by a twist of irony, my having a meal with her in the week and refusing to answer messages lead to an extension of the torture for another year ("I thought something had happened to you and realised maybe I still cared", FFS). The third was further away. Somebody I'd only actually met briefly but talked with regularly.

It was during this conversation, on the banks of the Thames, that I talked of my plan B, my little place, with a view over the roof tops, and space to write, a few plants (are you listening Percy, Basil and Charlie) and, well, space to be me. To be free.

To heal.

We also talked about my potentially visiting in the July, for their birthday, but, with another offer dangling in the wind, an offer of closeness. But with an understanding. A very clear understanding. I thought it was a joke.

During the week a time was set to talk about things. Ironically, as it turned out the time was set on the Thursday, the self same day I met with my best friend and ended eating pasta in Carluccio's in Smithfield, at the time I felt it was like a date with the hangman's noose. Little surprise that I wasn't too fussed about answering a text message from my about-to-be-ex.
A time is set,
the circle complete.
To decide our fate,
a simple meet.
So terrified,
of this it’s true
No idea,
not a clue.
It wasn't until the time that I realised how stupid I'd been for not answering that text message.

So here we are.

Nearly a year later.

I did go to visit the third person. And... I shouldn't have done. I went for the right reasons. I went because I'd promised a friend I would be there for their birthday if I could. I went there to escape for a while. I went to do something frivolous.

I didn't go to break a heart.

I did have a naysayer, somebody who said it was ill advised, I ignored her. You'll be pleased to know I do listen to her advice now. But I did go. And things happened. And... I foolishly believed it was meant to be simple, friendly, comforting. What utter nonsense.

You would have thought that by now I would know that when it comes to feelings there is nothing simple, friendly or comforting. Things I've never, nor may ever, talk about here, but certainly more than enough to tell me that feelings are a dangerous place.

You see, the real problem with feelings is that, invariably, there is an imbalance. I know this only too well. You might fall deeply and inescapably in love with somebody, but if it's not reciprocated then there will be trouble ahead, or, you have to deal with it and hope that one day the feelings will evaporate. But definitely an imbalance.

And this imbalance can take on a darker form. Not intentionally. I would never say that. Over time I realised there was a problem, it didn't take long, a simple admission was enough for me to realise that this was difficult. Over an extended period of time things became more tricky. It was slow at first, a gently growing awareness that you are being contacted more often than you feel comfortable with. I can't remember the date exactly, but I do remember a period when I needed silence. So I switched my phone off whilst I thought. I realise now that I did that because of the regularity of tweets, texts and calls.

The trouble was, I was also working in the evenings, being a freelancer it comes with the territory. I'd switch my phone on so I could connect to the internet to send email and I'd receive a text. No harm there.

Except there was.

You see some networks have proper delivery notification. So the text would terminate on my handset (to use the correct parlance) and a notification would be sent. And then. Within seconds. I would get a phone call.

Every. Single. Time.

I was, for all intents and purposes, being stalked.

Now this is a big and quite unpleasant thing to say. I wasn't really, but I certainly wasn't being given the space I asked for and it did feel very stalky. This went on for a very long time. It wasn't just phones. If I dared to appear in Twitter I would have my musings answered in seconds. Every one. I was, literally, becoming twitchy about this and, quite rapidly, reduced my output, what I said, what I talked about and so on.

I tried to go on breaks, times when I specifically asked not to be contacted. But it never lasted. I could either switch off my communication channels completely or I could receive message after message. Don't get me wrong, the majority were friendly enough with no pressure. But that's the thing, it starts becoming about how you can't say anything without someone always making a response. It is quite disturbing.

When we eventually sorted out Contrary Towers I was worried about saying anything, but, I was excited about finally having a proper place to live in London and things would slip out and, being watched, it would be picked up on. This was followed by the inevitable requests for the address. Sorry, but it wasn't going to happen. The one thing that my flatmate and I were quite clear about was that there was some stuff that had to be left behind and as much as the request was innocent enough, it was on the back of the twitch I felt whenever I posted something and had a reply within seconds.

There are so many things I could say at this point. Things I won't because, frankly, it would be wrong to say them.

Anyway. In the end the messages became to much and I effectively abandoned my old Twitter account and moved. I left a lot behind but, actually, it made sense because I am dealing with some bigger issues. This went well for a while, where I moved my outlet to was a locked account and I carefully decided who to open up to. As I'm still unsure of my future I wanted to keep it relatively contained. Sometimes though, I make mistakes, often if you've been making notes, and I managed to leave my account unlocked after having replied to some things and had forgotten about it.

Not surprisingly the third person eventually picked up on this and started following. And sent a text. I lost sleep over this, literally. My AlmostSenseless account has a very special purpose, it's the raw version of me, not the publicly acceptable facet that I mostly show. But, I reasoned, this was somebody that was a friend and maybe they wouldn't leap on my every tweet with such voracity given the obvious change in circumstances. The advice I was given implied I was wrong.

The advice was right.

Within 48 hours we were back to pretty much every single message getting a response. I was again being told what was wrong with some local situation when, actually, I already knew what was wrong because I check this stuff. I was, in my eyes, being stalked again.

A fuse blew.

It was all so unnecessary. Did I have to spell out that thou shalt not reply to every single fucking tweet? As I fumed through the tunnels I made a decision, I was going to relock and I was removing the constant contact. Enough was enough.

The thing is this. I am going through a torrent of problems and pressure that I can barely hint at. The biggest part being that, on the previous Sunday, the carefully rebuilt faux sham of a marriage had collapsed once more, but this time it was nasty. And, you know what, I really didn't give a monkeys hoot that somebody couldn't accept that something wasn't going to happen. I was more concerned about holding it together long enough to not think that Oxford Circus looked like a good place to enter the underground for the last time.

So I am very angry.

I am about to lose my one outlet because I won't be left alone.

And I blocked. Then, when I got to a proper computer, I locked. As I said earlier, enough was enough. I needed to keep a lid on my sanity. Was this unfair? Yes, at the time I thought it was. At the time I had no idea that they would try calling anyone that would listen and was close to me to put their view...

...Later that day I received a direct message. I had behaved abominably. In the midst of the world falling apart I was presented with the reality that one of my closest friends thought I was abominable. Excellent. Well, the solution there is simple and this is the path I'm taking.

I am excluding myself.

I am no longer capable of being a decent human being as I am incapable of accepting emotional blackmail with good grace. I've really not covered a fraction of this, but that's what it is. My last tweet was as a result of the first laugh I had that day. For the briefest second the darkness that had been enveloping me dispersed and I said something funny which I then passed on. I had no idea that within a minute or two that I would find I was, quite simply, scum.

I don't care any more. I want to give so much, but that doesn't mean I should have to take the negatives all the time. I don't care that in a single moment I have probably lost most of my social circle and am staring at extreme loneliness beyond my flatmate and one other. And when she finds the one, as I desperately hope she does, I know I will be alone.

In my life I've learnt that it is nearly always me that makes concessions, adjusts, adapts and makes the effort to make people more comfortable. I've been doing it explicitly for forty odd years, but no more. I know I regularly screw up, but you know what, if you had to live inside a head this confused you would too. What I don't want to do is allow external factors to put me in a place which causes problems at home, I don't want to disturb the calm that we've managed to find in Contrary Towers, some things are just too important and I know that allowances have been made for my emotional state. Which is unfair on my flatmate, she shouldn't have had to feel like she had to. I've told her next time she should just give me a mental slap.

At least by excluding myself I can avoid damaging anyone else.

Please don't think I'm being all passive aggressive. I'm not interested in that and my only subtlety here is in not naming names, no point and, let's face it, in the unlikely event this is read then they will know who they are. Nor do I want or expect a response. But I won't sit quietly on my hands and accept all the blame for this, I've been on the receiving end of, at times, incessant passive aggressive, the self same stuff that has pushed me in to a quiet corner.


Now fine, if you've seen the homage to the original Italian Job, stands for freaked out, insecure, neurotic, emotional. I use fine a lot. I usually prefer fucked up for my f, but then I'm not g rated. I'm definitely emotional. My emotions have directly lead to the breakup of probably the single most important connection I had in my adult life, I know because I asked. So I might as well let them drive me to break everything else. Maybe when left with nothing I'll finally be able to work out what's right and wrong. Maybe I'll finally be able to move on.

I'll keep writing. I need some outlet, some means to express what is going on inside. It will just be one way. I can't currently see a reason to lift this self imposed exile. Ironically it also means that it's unlikely these words will be read as I won't be saying I've blogged to promote my writing, not that this matters.

In the meantime I will continue to deal with the accelerating breakup of my life. A difficult time, but fear not, I won't keep it festering inside, it will be expressed in the form of poetry.

Expect it to be dark.

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