It’s been a terribly long time since we last spoke, isn’t it?
And we were doing so well, too. On a roll, interacting, exploring new avenues, gaining new insights, looking at possibilities.
And then I stopped writing
For sure, it is true: I did (and do) need to balance my thoughts. I do want to make sure I choose the exact right words. It’s so important to me to to come across clearly. I’m writing a blog. Not freely associating to the delight of a psychoanalyst who already gleefully sees in his and my future many more years of twice-weekly counselling to pay for that second home’s mortgage in Ibiza.
I need some time to mull, to reflect, to see all sides, to build my argument, my case, my piece.
And, of course, my wall.
Until I’m ready (ready dready)
Yes, I can see myself turning inwards again, safely behind the confines of my own mind.
And as much as I know that’s about as lovely, warm and hospitable place as, say, Damascus, Karachi or Duivendrecht, there are two distinct benefits to being there:
- It is infinitely preferable to answering that very simple, so very fair question: “what’s on your mind?”
- It creates the illusion of dynamics. “I’m still thinking about it; therefore it is still in flux”.
The second consideration is the most insidious one, as it isn’t true in any meaningful sense. It’s avoidance. A fear of arriving at conclusions. Or an inability to.
I started this whole damn exercise to finally try and be as truthful as I can.
And I am getting stuck. Because there is not just only one truth.
Sure, the lack of sleep has been wreaking havoc with my mood and thoughts.
But even then everything I write -I had many false starts now for this particular post- seems abstractly confusing, convoluted and all over the place.
I said it before, I’ll say it again: I will not, I shall not let my thoughts devolve to the quagmire of the generically depressed “Dear diary. Took my pills today. Didn’t magically solve my loneliness again. Nobody understands me. Could potentially be because I speak Mongolian, and mostly not out loud. Think I’m gonna go have some tea and cuts of me.” -kinda blog that really goes down like Summer Nyte on the better part of Nasville in 2005 (do not Google that. Especially when you’re at work. Instead here is a lovely cartoon about rainbows ), garnering a circle jerk cult of self-proclaimed woke knights who enjoy nothing so much as joining in together in an echo chamber for a lovely affirmative habituation hornpipe.
I want to rend the veil.
I do not particularly want to see what is behind it, but I need to see what makes me tick, where the gaps are, what I can do to change things.
But I overestimated my level of preparedness.
See, when the veil is rent, it’s all of the truth you see.
Not neatly one level at a time. Nicely organised so I can work my way neatly through the patterns.
No. All of it. At once.
One of the friends I hold in highest esteem told me it would be like this: it’s a not a clearly cut nice little process working through the levels one by one, only dealing with a deeper level once it presents itself after dealing with the top one.
Rather it is confusing and crippling. Making it almost impossible to start. Because where do you start? (And that for me of course facilitates that wonderfully obtuse fail-safe: ‘if I don’t know where to start, I don’t have to at all.
Her stark analysis gave me the nudge to at least write again.
I’m well aware it’s not my strongest entry. But -at least to me- it’s an important one, as it shows me how scattered my current sense of self is, and how hard that makes it to gain any kind of lasting, meaningful understanding of anything at all I am doing.
Love is all you bleed
Used to honestly think (romantically though rather naively) that a mainstay of my truth was that I am driven by love.
That I was defined by the love I held for others and theirs for me. A network of positive energy, if you will, with at the centre, of course, a loving (romantic) relationship. Give and ye shall receive, one good turn deserves another, and all that.
It is still true though!
I am a huge believer in and practitioner of random acts of kindness, second chances and paying it forward. I truly think it’s the better way to live and interact.
But another far more disturbing and personal truth is that I am incredibly, neurotically bad at being alone (not solitary! I love solitary. I really mean alone.).
And another, even more painful truth is that this whole “nice guy being kind” schtick I describe above ties in directly with the lengths I will go to to keep the person I am with happy.
Anything to keep them from leaving.
Anything to from spurning me. Rejecting me.
Another dear friend of mind, going through a very difficult separation process, confided in me that her husband would give her more and more room to manoeuvre away. Moving out of the house: fine. Seeing other people: all good. Everything, anything to keep her happy. Her happy is his happy.
And the sad truth is it made her feel even more distant, even almost despise him for it.
Yet, had he put his foot down and drawn a line in the sand, be a man about it, the decision could only have gone one way: it would have meant a divorce.
So right now, in the saddest, most meaningless way, he “wins”. Because at least in theory, she is still with him.
It could have been me she was talking about.
I did the exact same thing last time, honestly believing if only I showed enough flexiblity towards her goals and ideas and needs, things could only work out. Sure, go out with others. Of course, sex isn’t just something within a single relationship. Naturally, the very idea that for a relationship to work you have to put in some effort is silly.
I agree. I understand. I concur. Totally. Utterly. Completely.
And I would not tell her that at night I would weep on the floor.
I don’t think I am a classic “Pleaser” per se (I hold personal opinions far too strong for that), but I do think I am likely neurotic. And desperately afraid.
I don’t know.
What I do know is that I find myself (from the very bottom of my heart and gladly so), dispelling myself and crossing any personal boundary for fear of losing people. For fear of losing you.
- I’ll go to your party (the thought of having to talk to strangers and being the expected life of the party, or conversely standing in a corner pretending to admire your art and talking to the cat is sending me in a spin now. I’ll muster all courage to go. But I know I will be exhausted when I’m home).
- I’ll tell you I am more than strong enough to take any potential rejection (I’m not. I’m NOT! PLEASE SHIT FUCK GOD, DON’T GO!).
- I will adapt to your rhythm (because if I do not, we will drift apart).
- I will read the books you read (or you will think I am disinterested or worse: uninteresting).
You being happy, is the one thing that makes me happy. And that is the most sickening, self-effacing, self-denying truth of all.
But, as I started out saying, that may be (I don’t know) the biggest truth…but it is by no means the only one.
Right now, I am truly out of my comfort zone because I genuinely do not care about (practical) consequences. I’m doing everything I never thought I could or would do (dating, putting myself out there socially, interacting with complete strangers, spontaneously travelling all over the place, trying (very) new things), and I love it.
And of course, I am scared the whole time. I do these things, with exhilaration, but with adrenalin of a fox being hunted. Around the corner there is a hound. And a man with a rifle.
I love, absolutely love seeing my people. My family. My friends. I tear up just thinking about how happy it makes me.
And the effort is draining. After every single event I am tired beyond belief. I literally (yes. Literally. Not metaphorically) need to change my shirt from sweating so much every time. But I cannot go without. It’s gotta be a little how an addiction feels?
I want to live. I seriously, genuinely want to live. Life is stunning, beautiful, amazing. I see it every morning. I love walking through my city, seeing people in the sun, enjoying their life, and their life force is mesmerising. I have the oddest tendency to walk up to strangers and tell them they’re awesome. Life is a marvel!
And I honestly need to put a definitive end to the quite unbearable, continuous pain for which I find increasingly relief seems out of reach. It’s not an emptiness. It is a panic. A terror. An almost physical feeling of being eaten alive without a damn thing that can be done other than to block it away. Run away. Focus away. But I can’t keep that up indefinitely.
Every single one of these often completely contradictory truths is valid.
And that inner confusion and lack of consistency may go a long way towards explaining two things:
- I have a hard time putting my thoughts down at the moment.
But, more importantly:
- It’s why the very bulk of people I met (dearest friends of many decades or acquaintances with keen insights) at one time or another always muse “Mr. H. Great guy…but you never really know what is going on”
Dr. Yucky and Mr. H.
Really I should have realised this sooner.
The reason is that I quite literally have no (integrated) sense of self to present with any level of consitency!
“Wonderful to see you, but it hurts!” “Great being here, but it’s killing me!” “I love you but I am terrified you’ll deny me!”
Sure, I can mask this to some level and for some time as I have a great number of (actually pretty awesome) traits to play with (smart guy, funny. Modest, too. Brilliant mind. Fantastic lover. Drinker of rum. Connaisseur of fine frikadel speciaals).
Well, Abe said it first.
This exposure is by no means easy.
More than when I started, every word is now like scratching at a sore. What little relief I gain is massively offset by a fear that brings me lower than an insect: that those who (purport to) know me by my weaknesses, smile knowingly and maybe a little sadly think: “see? I was right all along”, and move on, knowing that it was the right choice to do so.
This infuriates me. I want to shake them. Shout at them! “You don’t know me. No one knows what it’s like. NO ONE COULD POSSIBLY FEEL…”
I ain’t so special. Of course they know.
Not everything, for sure. But enough. And they were -arguably- right. Proof. Pudding. All that.
That is maybe the harshest truth. And the hardest one to face. It sure as hell is the hardest one to commit to paper. Because that makes it stand. Solidly. Inescapably.
Because my greatly unhealthy fear of being (left) alone is so incredibly crippling.
And because I know that it’s something that finds its roots in that broken “personality structure”.
Right now, I don’t have anything to offer, Right now I am broken goods. Right now, I am the guy your friends tell you to steer away from.
Against that, I so desperately want to prove my worth on that playing field. Show them and you that I am in the same league.
And that, dear reader, is exactly why I shouldn’t. Because, at last right now, I am not. And have not been for some time.
Reading back this post, it is not exactly as maudlin and self-absorbed as any depressed teenager’s ramblings as I feared (although it would just take a quote of a “relevant” song text to…oh shit..I actually do that at the end… 🙁 )
The reference to Pandora’s Box is very apt. It’s all coming well and truly out of the dark. But I am not sure what it means.
I just think. And write. And think. And hope I make sense.
What, dear reader, if anything, does any of this mean to you?
“But even after admitting this, there is no catharsis; my punishment continues to elude me, and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself. No new knowledge can be extracted from my telling.
This confession has meant nothing.”
Next post: I’m working up to the scariest post I need to write.
- Song for the day:
“I have not lost the will to live
but I might have spent it all.
I used to have so much to give
Now I got nothing at all.
I won’t let you down.“