09 October 2007

An unkindness of ravens

Did you know that is the collective noun?

Also, a murder of crows.

I fell asleep on the sofa around midnight and woke up abt 10 min later. After going to bed my mind kept racing and I couldn't fall asleep again. I woke up briefly several times during the night and eventually a nightmare I can't even remember woke me up - but I know why.

I truly am learning. I am freeing my life of lumber, emotional lumber. The archives from the separation are back up bcs they don't bother me anymore. That was a horrifically bad period of my life, I needed the break up but not necessarily all the ugliness that I discovered afterwards - although, if you don't have the truth what do you have? I'll always choose the truth, pain eventually fades, reality never does, I'd hate to be oblivious - and for a good while I couldn't bear to have it here, in my sanctuary. Even though my blog is not the whole of my life it is a very important part of it and I hated feeling forced to amputate it. I put them back up a good while ago now, I am whole again, this is simply one of the things that have happened to me, this blog has taught me that I do not need to carry the shame for others' actions and that, that is a humungous, splendorous thing for me to be able to see. Sanctuary does not mean there can be no bad within, it simply means you no longer fall prey to it.

I was that child who was often left behind, the child who was never picked for playing. I was not only stubbornly anaemic for the first 9 years of my life but always ill as well, I was a frail little thing really, all tiny and huge eyes and almost transparent skin. I very often couldn't keep up with the other children while playing and children are nothing if not absolute shits at times but I think it goes beyond that, at the end of the day I simply didn't have it, the it that makes one popular. But there is a big difference in terms of how you can structure yourself between not being popular and being actively rejected and I lost count of the number of times the gypsy children would show up and everyone would scamper and I'd try and keep up but would invariably be caught and sort of beaten up. Not much, just enough that it bruised a bit and I felt abandoned (surely the bigger children could have helped me) and inadequate (surely I could run faster). I was a bizarre, precocious child and that didn't make it any easier. I would go to birthday parties and, with my usual diplomatic flair, immediately pounce upon the new books and spend most of the time reading them. That pleased the birthday child invariably, I can now see. I would also talk to other children abt the books I was reading, and when you're nine and happen to, say, a) be reading voraciously and b) what you're reading voraciously is Les Misérables that might not be the wisest thing to do, it would have been kinder to make me wear a sign saying KICK ME NOW FOR I AM AN OBLIVIOUS LITTLE FREAK. My parents were afraid my precociousness would harm me and at that time there really was no assistance available. My mum says she nearly had a stroke the time she came home and I was still very little and she found me lying on the floor immersed in Don Quixote. She was somewhat reassured when I complained it was a bit dull but then I moved on to the accursed Les Misérables, which caused another near stroke and which I bloody hate with every fibre of my being to this day bcs really, it is THAT miserable. This is why I like - and need - good chick lit so much these days, you can't be reading the Russians at 12 and not be scarred for life, sod Ivan Denisovitch and the good soldier Svejk and the Gulag Archipelago forever and ever, their lives couldn't possibly have been any more rotten and I still remember it. My parents' home was filled with books, mostly classics, and no book was ever hidden from me regardless of subject matter. It is very easy to mistake intellectual maturity for emotional one, especially with a child as stubborn, strong-willed and independent as I was. I'm still not sure what I would do in their place if the same happened to me, where do you draw the line when children and adult books hold equal appeal? It was only in my 1st year of Anthropology that I realised I needed to start pretending to be more like other people if I didn't want to find myself fighting battles I wasn't even aware I'd started. I was 20 and dumb. At that time we were having classes infrequently and would often have 2 or 3 free hours in btwn classes and HALLO, BOOK. It made sense to stay in and read rather than go with the rest of the class to the cafe across the street and talk absolute rubbish, right? As I've said bfr, I may be intelligent but I'm often not very smart and finally things came to a head when I was accused of feeling superior and not wanting to mingle with the non-carbon-based life forms. I couldn't have been more shocked that they cared so much that I would rather read than talk to them. [See? Dumb.] I did end up having to go to that bleeding cafe and talk absolute rubbish and I hated it, and I know they knew it but hey, at least I was trying to be more normal even if we all knew it was a lie. And the funny thing is that the people who pressured me didn't even like me, nor I them, we disliked each other steadily for the whole 4 years but the mob mentality is a powerful thing and I learnt that you do have to make huge sacrifices to be able to live with people whom you don't care abt and who will never care abt you bcs they are the ones you see daily and life will be sheer hell otherwise for the nerdy non-conformist.

But I didn't learn soon enough. I was that that teenager, that adult who could never understand when people said I've been too busy to give you a ring, sorry, you know how life is. No I don't, and no you haven't, no one ever is. How long does it take to pick up the phone and say Look, my life's a bit of a mess right now but I just wanted to give you a kiss and I hope we can talk properly soon? This is bollocks, and bollocks wastes our time. People aren't too busy, they just can't be bothered. We all prioritise differently, as simple as that. The difference in me now is, I am ready to accept it. Friendships and acquaintances exist along several levels. It may be that I need to adjust your position a few levels so I know to expect only exactly as much as you're willing to give. I don't need to have a terribly busy core - you can only be very good friends with only so many people, and you need these as much as you need those with whom you mainly discuss fluff, with whom you go out for a coffee, with whom you have fun but not necessarily loads of intimacy. It took me years to understand and accept this, that from people with whom I actually click at a deeper level I can't always expect what that click would lead me to believe would follow bcs they don't need more from me than to exist at a few levels removed from the hardcore. There can be no emotional health without symmetry and I am steadily internalising that tectonic shifting doesn't necessarily mean I need lose my balance.

I am also learning that you can't salvage it all. Sometimes something will happen, something not very big but of ultimately gigantic consequences somehow and you realise that all the intimacy and trust and memories you've built count for nothing when the dynamic goes wrong. I am sure that most times blame lies on both parties. I am also sure, however, that it is my right to say NO MORE. If something has become toxic, if something has become a mindfuck and I no longer know where I stand it is my right to not want to stand there anymore. It doesn't mean that I will bolt all doors, I am not that inflexible nor should I be, but I will certainly shut them and keep down the noise, I will certainly no longer spend time musing on what might have been bcs that is not how it is. Simple, isn't it? Shit hits all sorts of fans despite your best intentions and efforts, you cannot salvage it all - but do you know how long it took for me to learn this? Abt 36 years. I will never control it all. I will never understand it all. Such is life. It feels liberating but above all it feels absolutely right, at last.

Bcs see,
birds don't come easy and I am counting crows. When I woke up I remembered Uzi would turn 31 in exactly 10 days, and the crows say 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, nothing. And from the 19th on I will be counting down until the 26th of December and my life throughout it will likely be further plagued by the night mare and that's simply the way it is, and it can't be helped bcs there is no argueing with death even though I have screamed myself hoarse, time and time again.

Do you know, I started off this post meaning to write abt Uzi only and then I surprised myself again. But if you think abt it really it's all abt the core and the choices we make bcs of and despite our life stories, reinforcing our strentghs, upholstering our weaknesses and that which is valid always, that which is and always will remain worthy through mist and sand. And so I reckon I did mostly write abt Uzi, yes, who was precocious and insecure, who was vulnerable and so weak at times that he tried my patience, who was
so good, who always doubted himself and whom I never doubted, whom I never will, who was always so self-consciously pleased when I went Southern European on him after we were no longer together and hugged him or gave him a succession of loud Portie cheek kisses and told him I was crazy abt him, who absolutely had my back in a quiet, unassuming and absolutely sure way and who I firmly believe still has my back somehow, who would be so proud of me bcs he too knew how much growing up fucking hurts, and whom I still desperately miss every day.

Because sometimes, regardless of the detours, all it boils down to is love and whether and how we are capable of it.

9 furballs:

treppenwitz said...

You're popular with me.

e-kvetcher said...

>the good soldier Svejk

One of my favorites. But how did you ever stumble upon Hasek? Didn't think he was known outside of Eastern Europe.

Old Bald Helen said...



Manuela said...

I'm here. Reading. Admiring.

Much love, friend.

Diana said...

You were the outcast, nerdy, nose-in-a-book, always-saying-and-doing-the-socially-inappropriate-thing kid?

I was that kid. I'm not as bad as an adult but I'm certainly not 'there'. Still the oddball. Still horribly awkward. I also had a similar best friend for 2 years (until we both moved away, damn air force upbringing with all the moving away), so I knew that I wasn't absolutely alone in the world. Just mostly.

I now have two personas: Work and Private. The Work Diana can fake it with the best. Always laughing, bubbly, happy, popular with the patients and nurses and receptionists. The Private Diana? Well, you know her. She'd come over and bring her book and curl up on your couch and when she was done with her book, she'd go through your and ask to borrow this and that and then she'd damn well return them because books are sacred things.

See? There are other oddballs like us. We're just few and far between.

Oh, and if you don't hear from me for ages, it's not that I don't think of you very often, I just don't think to sit and tell you so unless I've something to TELL you about. That's just me. Yes, I'm also probably busy, but that's life. I'm just frequently oblivious. Feel free to throw rocks. I respond to rocks. Hard to ignore.

orodemniades said...

I was one of those kids, too. Still am to some degree.

And, yes.

Lord Chimmy said...

People aren't too busy, they just can't be bothered.

Guilty as charged! I often tell people I've been busy and that's why I haven't gotten in touch with them. Yeah, busy!? I'm NEVER busy. If I ever say I'm too busy...I'm lying!

When I was a kid I wanted to "fit in." It was hard. Now that I'm an adult (at least chronologically) I want to be an outcast. And, the funny (ironic) thing is...I'm still having a hard time.

What a crazy world. You spend half your time trying to be accepted and the other half trying to be left alone.

kirkjerk said...

You brought back some weird memories.

Lately I've been thinking about how in sixth grade in lieu of a backpack I actually used a briefcase. What the hell was I thinking? The best line was a shot by a math teacher who called me the "IBM doughboy" (don't know if you know the character "The Pilsbury Doughboy") And, of course, the books; in general not the grandeur of the stuff you were tackling, but a lot of it, walking from class to cafeteria nose buried, proud of the ability to walk that way in fact, and sometimes so absorbed I wouldn't even look up when people called my name.

I sometimes think about what I know autistics, and folk's with Asperger's syndrome... and while it's probably self-coddling to think of any kind of neurochemical solidarity with them, I swear sometimes I see the slightest hint of a shadow of that in my life. Like it almost takes a force of will to have a proper "theory of mind" and realize that whatever's currently hogging the front of my mind might not be a concern shared by others, and my perception of a situation is by no means objective.

My family's an odd bunch of attention seeking introverts. Thoughtful, needing of "me" time, but also fairly charming in social situations, and sometimes even hungrier for attention than we realize. It's kind of a weird way to be.

Well, enough about me.

Thanks for your writing on this site; it's sometimes difficult to make it from one end of a paragraph to the other, those dense entangled streams of emotion and intellect, but always worthwhile.

CarpeDM said...

Oh, yeah, so get you here. And yes, that is what it boils down to...loved how you ended here.

I also was awkward and a reader and would navigate the hallways completely engrossed in whatever book I was reading. And my grandmother had these World books that had all sorts of literature in it. I think I was reading about El Cid at 8? Not that I retained much but still. The only time my dad ever censored my reading was when I discovered his Xaveria Hollander book (she's known as the Happy Hooker, apparently porn is not an acceptable reading choice when you're 15).

I still would rather read than interact with others. But I also force myself to do so. It is easier with some people of course, like Beth. Others, I just want to shout "Shut up! Reading!"

Anyway, much love to you, Miss L. Quite, quite fond of you.