Happily Imperfect‽ Posts

I’ve known Louise for over 10 years, and we’ve just celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. She is my friend, my lover, and my wife. She will be the mother of my children (soon darling…soon), and carer of numerous puppies/kittens and maybe even a parrot(?). We have been through a lot together, and survived it all. We now have a relationship that will support us.

We can be friends when we want, lovers when we desire, and if it wasn’t for that funny choking thing she does when she brushes her teeth in the morning, the relationship would be perfect (I don’t have any faults…)

To outsiders, we may not seem close. We are not a ‘coupley couple’, we don’t go in for large public displays of our love, and we both respect each others space and boundaries. Admittedly I’m not as demonstrative as I could be, but I’m a lot better than I was. We understand each other, almost to a psychic level – Keith can confirm two occasions – and are comfortable in each others silence.

Our long history helps us, experience and hindsight guides us, and neither of us can imagine not being with the other. I was once asked, how I knew I loved Louise. I struggled to put it into words, how do you qualify love? The best answer I could give was:
I can see us growing old together.

Doesn’t really capture the magic does it? But it is the stability, the reliability, of our relationship that we both thrive from. Day-to-day our love flows smoothly, always present, burbling in the background, every now and then swirling noisily, splashing, gurgling, but always flowing, carrying us onto our future.

Three years, so far so good (well for the most part), here’s to the next three, and the three after that…but let’s not plan ahead too much, who knows where our river will flow?

Personal Musings

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It feels odd to discuss it after almost a year. It was a strange period of my life.

My overall memory was of a feeling of numbness, that nothing was really happening, that I was stuck in a weird dream. I could hear myself talking, saying horrible, horrible things but it didn’t seem like me. I was detached to the point of self-delusion. It felt like there was a glass wall between me and the rest of the world.

Of course, from my point of view I was fine. Yes, I’d made a few major decisions, one which I will regret for the rest of my life, but Louise came back. Trouble was I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. I felt nothing, thought little (to begin with) and let my life unravel.

I do remember that my concentration was completely shot, my mind would veer off constantly, I couldn’t take any thought through to its conclusion, and whilst day-to-day activities weren’t a problem, as soon as I had any free time I would end up sitting, thinking about a million and one things, and not registering any of them. That was when I started writing. It was a way to capture my thoughts, to help me retain a sense of sanity. I would return to the writings, and start over, but each time it would descend to nothing more than a ramble. Slowly the ramble started making sense.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step. I started worrying about my state of mind, and looking back I had started to come out of the numb state I was in. All of a sudden I realised I was alone and I wasn’t coping. So I decided to get some help, that buzz word of the late 90’s – counselling.

A few counselling sessions later – voilá – I was cured. No it wasn’t that easy, but I was helped by the fact that I could analyse my own thoughts, in the end all I was getting out of the sessions was agreement.

As is the same the world over I have several traits and personality quirks that I can trace back to my parents, and further back to theirs. My main problem was that I hadn’t ever realised who I was, I had the impression that I was living a life that was expected of me, and yet I was constantly telling myself (and others) that my parents brought me up to be free thinking, and let me build my life the way I wanted it. The path I took was to try and create the son I thought they wanted. Of course all they wanted was me, however I turned out. I came out of the counselling sessions searching for myself, and slowly I’m beginning to find the real me.

I was pessimistic, always looking for negatives, I have failed many times, and hurt many people, friends and family alike. Now I no longer dwell on matters I can’t control, and I’m constantly looking for positives, although I do still keep a wary eye on the negatives, it’s now a sideways glance every now and again.

The main positive: Louise and I are now stronger than we ever were, or ever thought we could be, and that is one of the oddest things – that so much good should come out of my depression. Add to that a much stronger relationship with my parents, and all in all the last year has been the best I can remember.

Personal Musings

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Planning for the future is an eternal habit, ‘I will lose weight’ ‘I will sort out our finances’ ‘I will exercise more’ ‘I will get myself better organised’.

Never works though, does it? I’ve had plenty of ‘fresh starts‘, ample opportunity to take control of my life properly, instead of ambling along with the same old (bad) habits. Never seems to work.

Well I’m about to make another fresh start and I’m determined that, this time, it will work. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m determined! No longer will I have to suck in my gut when walking on the beach, I won’t have to search the racks for the ‘next size’ trousers. I will start eating healthily, nurture my body and mind, and develop my integrity. We will go on holiday, start a family soon, and I will get a 1966 Mercedes SL convertible (white of course).

No seriously…I will (stop laughing at the back!)

Of course starting all of this is easy, keeping it going is the difficult bit.

Around 10 months ago I made several promises to myself and to Louise. I’ve not been to bad at keeping them (though I’ve had to be reminded of a few) and our relationship is stronger than it’s ever been. We talk when we have problems, laugh when we don’t and I buy her flowers every now and again for no reason at all. She is my confidante, my friend, my lover, and soul mate. Even if it did take me a while to realise it. Anyway, I digress…she always makes me do that.

Naturally, Louise and I have plans, and they are simple. Get a house, start a family, live happily ever after. That’s it. Yes, wonderful holidays, new cars are all hoped for, but they are not, and never will be, the main aim. We plan to be together.

And have a white 1966 Mercedes SL convertible…(but a ’84 would do!)

Personal Musings

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Sometimes at night the darkness and silence weighs on me.
Peace frightens me.
Perhaps I fear it most of all.
I feel it’s only a facade, hiding the face of hell.

I think of what’s in store for my children tomorrow;
“The world will be wonderful”, they say;
but from whose viewpoint?
We need to live in a state of suspended animation,
like a work of art;
in a state of enchantment…
detached.

Detached.

Neil Hannon – The Divine
Comedy

~

Connection is made, the words strike me. The search for utopian ideals, one that has eluded so many before me, continues. It remains constant, unreachable. A need to retreat, to hide.

“The hurt of lost,
the longing of one,
the distance from those,
the untouchable”

I wrote those four lines a long time ago, and have since found many different meanings for them.

It’s funny, I don’t consider myself a loner, I enjoy company too much for that, but sometimes I HAVE to be alone, whether its just a case of slipping off somewhere with a book, or throwing on the headphones, closing my eyes, and ending up somewhere different altogether. A past favourite was walking up into the hills behind where I used to live, getting off the path. No-one around, just the sound of the wind.

Contemplation, reflection, silence. Sometimes difficult to achieve, sometimes hard to resist, often too easy to get dragged into. Small pauses in daily life, thinking (dreaming?).

Detachment from life is easy, keeping yourself grounded is the challenge. Creating your own existence, your own sphere. Creating distance is no challenge. The distance can help, and hinder at the same time, but is always attainable. How it is used is the issue. The big picture is the aim. Looking down is to abuse the distance.

Lost direction a bit, paused again. What am I trying to say? Anything? Nothing? SomeTHiNG?

Ramble over.

Personal Musings

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“Hello, darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk to you again.”

20 July 1969 : Apollo 11 : Tranquility Base –
A small step for man…

A defining moment in many lives (not least messrs, Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins), man had made it to the moon. Each astronaut on the mission new the risks, as did those of the backup crew (Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Bill Anders – the former two to experience their own problems aboard Apollo 13).

There were of course contingency plans in place, all situations were covered, including the possibility of the leaving two men to die on the moon. In silence.

In a 30 year old document, it has been revealed that NASA planned to cut communication to the moon-bound astronauts should they not be able to leave the surface of the moon. A speech was ready for Nixon to announce their heroic death, a tragic loss in the battle for space. As soon as it was confirmed the astronauts would not be able to get back to the re-entry pod, they would be cut off. The astronauts were not informed. They would be left with nothing but silence. Silence, complete blackness and a view of home.

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Human courage in extreme situations continually astounds. I recently heard about a Vietnam documentary which looked at the story of several American soldiers who were captured by the VietCong. They were locked in separate cells, and no communication was allowed. At one point in the documentary one of the soldiers, sitting calmly in a chair, vividly describes how one day he gave up, and tried to kill himself. With nothing in the room to use, no clothes on his body, he stood and smashed his forehead against the wall until he passed out. He didn’t die.

Many people say suicide is the cowards way out, but in this circumstance it was, without doubt, an act of incredible bravery. An act of a man pushed to the very limit. During the documentary, the man is asked if he was aware of what he was doing, after a slight pause he replies.

Of course I was….

In day to day life we will never get close to that kind extreme. Our bodies and minds are cushioned, protected.
How would you react in that kind of situation? There is no answer of course, you can’t simulate that kind of experience in your mind, and you certainly wouldn’t want to simulate it physically.

Another sequence in the documentary: Once again one of the captured soldiers sits passively, almost morose, in a chair and describes in graphic detail, one of his torture sessions. I will spare you the details. At one point, he says,

I was in so much pain that it no longer registered. I then realised that they couldn’t hurt me any more. I lifted my head, and looked my tormentor in the eyes, holding his gaze. He looked back, burst into tears and ran screaming from the room. I don’t know what he saw in my eyes.

None of the soldiers gave up any information. None were decorated by their country. None returned heroes. They were forgotten.

There is much more to say about the incredible strength of human will, the courage we can muster in extreme situations, but I’m not able to get past one thing – a sense of awe, a sense of relief. Relief that it wasn’t me.

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“The hurt of lost,
the longing of one,
the distance from those,
the untouchable.”

Four lines.

Many meanings.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I wrote those four lines a long time ago, I think I was about 17 or 18, vaguely around one of the times I split up with Louise (which as certain people know, happened now and again). Since then it keeps appearing in my head, for no reason that I can fathom, and each time it seems to take on a different meaning.

“The hurt of lost” – doesn’t apply anymore, but when did it? Is the loss perceived or a reality?

“the longing of one” – I long for many things, or is dream a better term? Many things I can’t achieve, many things I have.

“the distance from those” – distance, when used properly, keeps perspective, but from who?

“the untouchable” – inferiority complex? Lack of self-confidence, feelings of exclusion?

No matter how hard I try, I can’t pin this down, but maybe that’s why it still intrigues me after so long. Do I really need an explanation? Like many things, it may be better not to know, but surely, as my brain keeps recalling it, it must have some significance.

Maybe I think too much, it has been mentioned. I’m convinced it has a relevance, it must shelter something, or is it just too vague to really mean anything? Maybe that’s the appeal.

If you have any ideas, please let me know.

Personal Musings

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Silly adj : lacking seriousness; given to frivolity; “a dizzy blonde”; “light-headed teenagers”; “silly giggles” [syn: airheaded, dizzy, empty-headed, featherbrained, giddy, light-headed]

Love can be defined as silliness. I don’t mean silliness as in daftness (although the border between the two is very blurred), I mean silliness as in the daft (see!) little things we do to amuse the other. Silly voices, silly faces, silly words, just plain silly.

Personally I think silliness is massively under-rated. People frown on silly behaviour, and it is generally thought to have a certain time or place. This is true to an extent, but not, in my opinion, the places most people think.

I know my attempts at silliness is a ‘defense mechanism’ – using humour when I’m really nervous or anxious about something – but is that such a bad thing? I’m perfectly aware that a silly quip relaxes most people in a tense situation, so if used correctly can be a valuable asset. I have been told that I joke too much (guilty, m’laud), and that some people don’t appreciate my rapier wit…oh ok, sarcasm… and I know I should be more considerate, but hey, that’s their problem. I’m trying to deal with mine.

So what is my point here? Well there isn’t really one to make, or maybe there is, maybe a new doctrine – SILLINESS FOR ALL! STOP ALL SERIOUSNESS! (need to get something that rolls of the tongue a bit more easily though).

Or maybe not…

P.S. Steph – sorry for the ‘dizzy blonde’ reference, but that’s what the dictionary said – honest!

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