Wednesday, December 04, 2013

You've Been Framed

We've been together now for 30 years, Roddy, but that was the last time I will see you live. Not 'cos the show was rubbish; it was far from that, but it's just that I find it all a bit too much. I find your brilliant, romantic songs all a bit much - every song a memory of a disappointment. The one who announced he was having an arranged marriage, the one who married someone else not long after we'd had a holiday soundtracked to Somewhere In My Heart, the one who Just Wasn't Interested, and the one who went off for a few months - when he was off, I'd had my head filled with romantic possibilities - and when he came back, it was Fuck You (but not fuck you). Cheers!

So I'll stay at home and read Sylvia Plath. Much more cheerful.

'How we need another soul to cling to, another body to keep us warm. I need this, I need someone to pour myself into.'

'When at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter.'

But now I'm silent.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Missing

So, uh, I've been wanting to write something for a while - nothing's really changed, but just wanted to record things. I was unblocked (insert your own tediously unfunny reference to plumbing HERE) by a conversation with M this afternoon. M is a good chum who I got to know through work, and has become a very dear friend.
Anyhoo, we talked a bit about work and then launched into our usual weekly putting the world to rights session. Then he asked me why I hadn't been on Facebook lately (as he has for the last few weeks), and I finally told him. Because I'm lonely - bear with, this may seem entirely nuts. How can you have XXX pals on the internet and interact with them, Like pictures of their kids, post YouTube videos of weirdo Eighties songs, and generally fart about and feel alone?
You can do this when you're putting it out there because there's nobody else to share those silly things that pop into your head with. And I stopped doing it because I was weary of everybody having an idea of what was going on inside my head without being close to me, probably not seeing me any more, or, in some cases, never having met me. Is there any emptier experience than telling a few hundred people something about yourself and, ultimately, none of them really giving a shit?
M got it, and we talked a bit more. About that feeling of an intimate relationship in which someone just 'gets' you, where you don't have to explain every damn thing to the other person, and how comforting it is. I dread going out any more, dread the possibility of a date as it's all about having to start from scratch with somebody new (and I thought I'd give it a go again a few weeks ago only to be stood up in NoHo. Nice). I am so entirely weary of small talk and doing the 'interested' face for the ten thousandth time, only for it to end in disappointment yet again.
M and I agreed that it was great to have close friendships, but it was not like an intimate partnership. What makes me feel particularly adrift is that I don't have especially regular contact with anyone in my life (loneliness is a kind of numbness; the less contact you have with people, the more you learn to live with it, until this becomes the way you live), so that nobody misses you. You're just someone who pops up at the occasional party or pub visit, is probably a bit 'off' with people, as you feel like you don't belong there, and you're fed up of  being asked the question: 'Sooo....is there anyone in your life at the moment?' - and you know the same conversation will end: 'Have you thought about adoption?' as you mentally tell them to JUST FUCK OFF. No wonder you just want to get home, despite the fact that it'll take you two hours across town by yourself. You're so fed-up of trying and getting nothing back, whatever you do, that you just stop trying.
Nobody knows what you do from day to day, and cares even less. Nobody wants to get close. And you wonder just kind of shit you must be if nobody does. Jesus, even Charles Manson's getting married. I'm even  beyond hating myself actually; I'm just a machine that gets on with stuff and is terribly unemotional until I am confronted with people like M actually listening and really wanting an answer.
So he said 'It must be horrible', and I started crying. And it really is. Not mattering to anyone, being rejected every single time by any man you ever felt anything for adds up to a joyless existence, one which has made me extremely hard and resentful.
It was great that M got it, which made me feel better. But it's 2am and I'm up writing this old balls, wondering how I will cope with the rest of my life alone. Oh, and it's CHRISTMAS soon, what joy! I look forward to all those thoughtful 'Just For One' gifts...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

L-words

These days, it's unusual for much to chime with me, but two books I've just read did so much more than that. Clare Messud's The Woman Upstairs and in particular, Lonely by Emily White. The first, a novel about that 'nice', happy regular woman who thinks she's finally got the recognition - professional and emotional - she craves; the second a forensic examination of what it means to be lonely.

White's book (one of the few works on a subject which nobody wants to talk about) made me realise that I wasn't the only person who:
Can't bear to answer the phone (what do you say? Being chronically lonely has been proven to make your connections with people worse as you forget how to be sociable in this social society)
Seems to have lots of friends, but doesn't see them any more (I bring them down; I don't feel I fit into their social picture)
Doesn't see couples any more (two's company; when you ARE asked to a social thing with them - and it's a rarity - you're expected to visit their home all the time as they think I'd rather be in their lovely home rather than my flat; don't fit in with the couples scene; an embarrassment; you end up sitting in the back seat of their car when they're in the front - strangely, nothing makes me feel more lonely)
Finds it hard to go out (trekking across town for two hours of company isn't worth it as you have to go home to an empty house)
Is fed up of hearing how nice it must be to have time to yourself (it's only nice to do this when  you don't spend a lot of time by yourself anyway - I find it particularly galling to hear this from people with children)

More importantly, it points out the difference between social loneliness and emotional loneliness, the latter describing a state - my state - of an attachment that provides some intimacy and security; someone to share things with. I have nobody, and that's why I write this old shit here. (A sideline, if you want to know what it's like to be really alone, imagine that out of the four people who read this, some you would consider real friends, and they never think to say anything to you about how you feel. You know you're really in the shit then).

I wouldn't wish my life on anyone. On the surface, it looks fine, but the feeling of utter, total isolation and having to manage every single thing in your life by yourself is truly terrible. I never thought my life would end up like this  - and the fact that I've just find out that three men I felt a connection have got/are getting married (one in particular who thoughtlessly offered some kind of hope and didn't mean a thing) has landed a massive blow on me. Who do I talk to about the way I feel? I'm so fed up with the endless platitudes of  'you have to be positive/you don't know what tomorrow might bring/other people have it much worse'. I'd quite like someone to merely acknowledge how life must feel when you are lonely, not loved or even liked in any meaningful sense.

Imagine a life in which your partner wasn't there. Your parents, your children. Imagine if there was nobody at home when you got in from work, every day. Imagine going out to see your friends, by yourself, having a good time and then coming home alone with nobody to chew the fat of the evening over with. There is nobody there just for you. When I get an invitation to something nice with a plus one, there's nobody who's my number one choice. It would be nice to have someone to do things with, or rather, as someone who I can't attribute the quote to, someone to do nothing with.

And imagine it going on for years and years and years, and imagine nobody ever wanting to raise the issue with you, because loneliness is the new cancer. Just as we used to fear The Big C, and thought that merely discussing it would raise your chances of getting it, we feel the same way now about loneliness. I heard the end of a conversation at work between two people last week about 'lonely saddoes'; segueing into the stupidity of sending yourself a Valentine's card, and the hilarity of the 'So Ronery' bit from Team America, and then having a good laugh. I sat in a corner and pulled a face like I'd been punched in the stomach, emotionally I had. But hey, why would they know? The picture I present in working hours is rather different from what really goes on.

Emily White writes: 'My loneliness, by that point, had become twinned with frustration, with a borderline rage that surfaced whenever I was confronted with the lack of belonging that had come to define my life.' Mine too love. The difference is that Ms White's life changed when she met a lovely partner. Mine? I can't imagine that, ever.

So for the moment, it's just me and Stephen acknowledging it.

Yours, Eleanor Rigby

Friday, September 27, 2013

Coming home

When my useful life ends for the week at about 8pm on a Friday night - when I leave work, tired after a long day in the office - I usually get the bus home from the station. But sometimes, like tonight, I don't really want to go home as it's to an empty house with no lights on, so I go the long way home. I walk up the hill and into town. It's busy on a Friday, of course; music coming from one pub, people drinking and talking outside the front of another. Packed restaurants, people smoking outside, lots of hubbub. I take a slightly too long glance into the windows of the restaurants, wondering what people are talking about, what their relationships are.

I go on a bit, turn off the main drag and off into the side roads where the nice houses are. It's 9.30 (I left work later tonight), and apart from the odd rummaging fox, there's nobody else about and as I'm wearing crepe soled boots, there's no noise. I hear laughter coming from flats, houses. There's one of the mini-mansions near the rec almost completely lit up and I wonder who's at home. I go up the hill again towards my nice home where I'm often greeted by next door's cat, seeking a bit of attention, but there's no hopeful face on the wobbly fence tonight. I unlock the door, go in. The flat's warm as the heating's been on for an hour, and there's a light on. Someone waiting? Of course not; I've left the bathroom light on all day and the extractor fan's been on constantly, eating into my electricity bill.

I thought I'd come home tonight and be tearful, but the most emotion I have is that I'm cross that I've wasted money on electricity. I don't feel anything. I probably won't talk to anyone in person tomorrow beyond someone in a shop, and although I'll see friends on Sunday, I will be coming home early, by myself, as a couple of hours feeling some connection is sometimes more painful than none at all.

I am invisible, of no substance, and I don't matter.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Carry On Living

I'll give you a biscuit if you can find me one, as I'm buggered if I can. A glimpse of someone yesterday (not Edwyn Collins) brought back feelings of hope and despair, and led to a night of dreams about bastards on bikes, ailing and dead parents and a feeling of utter hopelessness. I am afraid of being old and alone, which is too late. I already am.
Down for the third time.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A lack of sun

A few weeks ago, when life in Britain had all the charm and allure of living under a grey Army blanket, I´d had a bellyful of it, and sort-of on the spur of the moment, booked a few days somewhere where the mercury regularly hits stupidly-hot degrees, it´s very beautiful, and there´s loads to do. It´s my last night here, and have just had a drink at the most expensive and stately hotel in town to bid farewell - and it´s been absolutely incredible, with more totally ´fuck-me´ experiences than I´ve had anywhere else apart from on the Nile (and marginally less people asking for money. No, I don´t want a bloody flower on a pin, ta Mrs Romany).

Food´s been lovely, and for my supper tonight I´ve had fine dining from the vending machine down the road as I can´t bear to sit in a resturant by myself again. Yes, it´s another one of those ´somewhere really fabulous on my own´ trips, taken because everyone else is busy or partnered up. I´m really super-glad I came, as I´ve seen stuff I´ve only ever dreamed of, but when you´re not going around with an audio guide jammed in your ear, you do wonder what the hell you´re doing with nobody to share it all with. I´ll be really sorry to leave this city, as it´s so stunning and hot, but will be quite content to get back home to a more familiar kind of loneliness. That everyday kind, where you just grind on from one moment to the next, with nothing much happening so you don´t feel the need to share the thrill of what you did at work, or which regular commuter pissed you off with their bloody Samsung whistling alert tone on the train on the way back. The kind where nothing special or remarkable happens - mainly because you  don´t go out very much any more, because you´re sick of having the same time every time you do, and the evening invariably ends with wanting to run amok with a machete on the night bus.

How I would have adored to have had someone to take photos of ; instead, my holiday pix are 99.9% architectural studies (and a delightful snap of some friends from the UK who I had an unexpected meeting with yesterday). I felt so embarrassed, I haven´t seen or really contacted her for a very long time, and I´d never met her partner before. Then again, she´s not the only one, as I´ve lost contact with so many people over the last few years.  I´m so fucking bored with myself, and can´t bear to pass all that shit on to anybody else. I´ve forgotten how to make connections with people and am very particular about what invitations I take up (are you getting married? Please don´t invite me and ´guest´, as there isn´t one).

Being in the sun has really hit home today. I can take myself off to as many destinatations where you don´t need a cardi at night, on holidays I can´t really afford, but no matter the amount of sunshine I can feel on my body, it´s not what I need to warm my soul. People need intimacy in their lives to make them feel secure and happy, and I don´t have any of that at all. Sometimes a stupid thing like a hug would make things better on a crap day, and I can´t tell you the last time I shared anything like that. I am a closed book  - I´m in the market, but nobody´s interested. I even put myself back on a dating website for a week or two (yes, I know,  but I thought ´Hey, they can´t all be utter thoughtless, spineless shits´), but all the blokes my age seem to be interested in women in their thirties, as they´re looking to produce a baby to make their mummy a grandma as she´s disappointed that it hasn´t happened yet.

And yes, I am getting increasingly bitter about my situation, which is an incredibly unattractive trait, but what do you do when faced with a life like mine? We understand why children not shown love don´t thrive, what about adults who stand by themselves? No matter how I try, or what I give, my affections are never returned, and christ, that hurts. I walked along the river this evening, and it was so beautiful. I thought how easy it would be to come back really late tonight, slip in and simply disappear. I wouldn´t, of course. I don´t want to die as I still have the minutest hope that something might change. But then again, the hope is the worst thing to live with. Hope, or a few more years of not having anyone to care for - which is worse?

I really don´t know.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Imagine having such love...

http://lejournaldelaphotographie.com/entries/10393/a-love-letter-from-emilie-blachere-to-remi-ochlik

I can't.

God, it's so hard to not to know something even approaching this.