Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Ma petite noyer est noyé...

I know I mention, time and again, my attempts to be mindful. Whether it's confidently proclaiming I'll not be acting on my neediness, stymying those impulses to connect, or, just not worrying about what I should be doing or what other people (those strangers in the street!) might be thinking about me - ignoring some unknown transgressions unwittingly committed, disregarding the imaginary thoughts we fear loved ones might harbour about us, while they're busy worrying about their own invisible adversaries. 
Again and again I speculate on little issues and offer grand sticking plasters, trials and tokenistic balms to tribulations...

The reason I'm writing this is that I fear I'll be judged, wholly, on the basis of that which I only share partially. This here place is by no means inclusive of all the things which occupy that which is "me". You know that, reader, of course, you know things occur apart from and outside of this here

I re-read what I write and some of it, most of it actually, miraculously, holds true. Where I expect to cringe at my output, awkwardness, awkwardness! I'm actually not stirred by much negativity.

However, something which happens frequently, is this dilution and distillation. 
I lose something and I find other things. There's an initial desire to make sense of something, to write things down, collect thoughts and descriptions together to "share" here, and, in the course of that actual process, what I initially thought I was sharing, what I thought I was going to say (sometimes some grand sense-making plan), becomes something else.

If anything reads inadequately, incomplete (isn't it all), thought strands and loose-ends untied, it has to be because I lose steam, for whatever reasons, I get tired or I loose track or I find myself on another track entirely. This is ok, yes, sure, we know, reader. But, I'm writing this because I worry someone might be reading, might have figured something out and come to realise a little almost-conclusion I've arrived at is not in fact a destination but another mental/behavioural/emotional cul-de-sac...

If you've figured me out, reader, please, come forth into the darkness, shed some of your light upon me...

So, right now, I wanted to write something for S.
She's in Swansea today, for a funeral, I hope she's ok and that, despite circumstances, she has a good day with her family. Funerals can be quite the affirmation of life after all.

I wanted to say sorry. I wonder what you must think of me sometimes, so lust-filled and needy. Searching somehow, even accidentally, for someone to share with, romantically and sexually, someone to be a bit human with.

I hope she doesn't ever think she's "not enough" of a friend to me, that I'm let down by what our living together brings us and that I'm always on the lookout for an escape - not so.

I love her very much.

I remember that first day we spent together, outside of uni, how exciting it was, how good it felt, how giddy I was, that I could say anything, share my insides and not need to fear rejection, that I was acceptable and accepted.

Over the years we've changed but that ease is still largely there.

Occasionally I personally have to admit, sometimes I fear being judged a fool and so, I do withdraw. I know you're occasionally reticent too and I'm not sure if it's because it's your character, less excessive than I for sure, whether you've nothing in particular you feel the urge to share, or, if you're like me and don't want to bore/burden/be judged (not that you would be!)...

I'm losing track again...

Oh, yes, neediness and seeking companions to it;

Last Friday evening we went to see Reservoir Dogs down the bay, overlooking the water, in the open air.

Sitting next to you, our numb-bums on the hard seats, mercifully blanketed by the fleece you had the foresight to bring along, watching the inflatable screen, huddled tightly in a throw-tent, chuckling and spectating, I felt so very fortunate.
I thought of myself as a teen, how I had longed for someone to experience such things with, what I wouldn't have done for an opportunity like that! It was pretty magical and I felt good.
Good to fall asleep in your bed again, too, watching late-night images flicker on the little laptop screen.

Seeing the couples embracing, though, snuggling and kissing, I have to admit to the physical pangs felt, the longing to be touched. 
I come from a mixed bag of a family in terms of affection and its displays. 

But, I never felt more loved and safe, more accepted than those sweet times my grandmother would plait my hair, trace lines that sparked images along my back, squeeze my shoulders or massage my little hands and tell me how beautiful they were, praise the things they could create. 

As someone who has felt, for the majority of my life, that I take up too much space, those tender times that I felt delicate and precious really stand out, and, sometimes, I can't help but long for those sensations.

I guess what I'm saying is, it's not that I'm relegating or seeking out any one person in particular, just that, sometimes, when I (quite often) feel lost or afraid, in need of connection and affirmation, I crave a certain kind of contact. I am an animal after all and all these nerve-endings, all these little hairs and dents, pores and protrusions, need attention.

For whatever reason, we humanoids haven't caught-up with our primate cousins when it comes to bonding and community-cohesion. Well, I am such a monkey and I crave this grooming.

For a good part of our initial friendship S didn't really like being touched, she's not an overtly touchy-feely sort of person, but, I know she yearns for it at times, too. Sometimes it can feel unnatural to do so now, though, when in the formative years, it, well, wasn't natural for her...

I'm so weird, so juvenile, never quite got over that adolescent urge to belong to a group even though there wasn't one proximate that I wanted to penetrate. Never away from this desire to please. I'll buy you a gift, reader, I'll cook and clean up for you, I'll remember your calendar and intimately what's worrying you, if only you'd love me.

If only you'd accept me so that I no longer have to focus on the difficult task of accepting myself... Papering over the cracks with beautifully inadequate patterns....

I watched a decent short video not too long ago, after my relationship with Tim ended, from the School of Life (worth subscribing to their Youtube channel), it was about loving and being loved.

I think, often, of how selfish I am and how I should concentrate on the former as opposed to the latter... I like to think though, that my beautiful grandmother knew even then how much I loved her. That you do, too, reader. Oh how much I appreciated her kindness. 
When I got a little older I used to go over to her house and we'd spend days together, in the garden, sipping wine or scrolling through books on art (some of it mentioned in brief, here), some evenings I'd massage her feet and paint her toenails, I remember thinking at the time, how nice it was, that I wasn't "after anything" like my cousins, the other grandkids, that I just liked being with her and could do just one small thing for her...

Perhaps I'm sick, some sort of pervert. Perhaps connecting a childhood sensation of security with an adult seeking of tender excitation and gentle sexiness, is what it truly means to be corrupt? Maybe it's what I was trying to get at a couple of years ago when I wrote about guilt, today, what I wrote two years ago doesn't seem nearly as exacting as I would have liked, I'm trying to come to more conclusions as to what goes on behind or in front of these lit windows, instead of all this imprecise, vague speculation...

What I do know is, I need to keep up the mental exploration, keep on top of the work that needs to be done, while maintaining a fairness towards others and myself. I read this lovely chapter from The Book of Life last week (go on, subscribe!), The Faulty Walnut. Here's a little extracted conclusion, but read it all. It. Is. All. Truth.

Being more vigilant about the flaws in our walnuts gives us a range of important advantages:
- we get better at noticing the potential of flaws in our own judgement – 
and therefore stand a higher chance of not making them.
We can only start to avoid mistakes when we know mistakes are an active possibility.

- when we deal with other people, we can ask ourselves whether they might be acting from a walnut flaw, 
but not know it. This will make us both bolder about disagreeing with them and also kinder and 
more generous in the face of their less than sensible behaviours.

I read it on break in work and felt so strongly the urge to share that I did, on facebook. For some reason I remembered that Noyer is walnut in French and at the time I was listening to Yann Tiersen's La noyée II.

Noyée means to drown, sink, be swamped, be wrecked, flooded, overwhelmed... I couldn't resist a little word-play, so I shared the passage and the thought that my little walnut was wrecked that day, en Fracais; Ma petite noyer est noyé aujourd'hui!

And it still is and always will be, but, intermittently we float along the surface, keeping ourself above water for occasional clear-skied-days.
The video (and audio) version 1 is lovely, too. Oh Amelie, what a Fabuleux Destin you had (lights, love, connections, Mathieu Kassovitz's fabulous nose tracing the lines of your neck, oh), for sure!

I remember the summer I first watched it, 2005, yep, 10 years ago I reckon. 
My goodness, there was this ethereal, seemingly hopeless dreamer, lost in her fantasy world, craving some kind of penetrating connection between the realms of pleasing dreams and jostling reality... 
Such music!
Oh how I could relate, without any of the style or charm, to that lady.

Today, reality is vying for my attention and I mustn't ignore it. Things to do. After work is out of the way I'm going to work on this cardboard collage painting mess (making a little sense of that) which I started, in the Sun, on Sunday. I have nothing in mind save "see where it takes me".

 I do wish, though, that there was another walnut around to crack with. 
A better perspective, some meaningful contact. Con-verse-ation.
Even if only the right back to kiss and a hand to hold firm.
For now, it's me, my nut and I for company.

On va voir...

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Thursdays, Saturdays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Today;

Some good days, lone days, days of company, no maydays, without you today's emotions would be the scruff of yesterday's...

What follows are some quick snippets from recent days, specific days, days that stand out for whatever reason. I appreciate they exist here, oddly, perhaps awkwardly, like everything here, suspended without context and lacking clarity - either way, here are they, then, some of these days.

The Thursday before last was a nice day. I had a very decent work-day, lots achieved, new format to the newsletter, positive feedback, amusing correspondence, getting caught-up after being away, sun-shining outside – nice.

I met up with Ib, too, spent time in his company for the first time since that day.

It was quite odd, nice but odd. Good to be in his company, conversing, but weird without that element of sexual attraction.
Well, not without, it was sort of there, I mean, he’s still a very attractive person, perhaps I should say; without a mutual element of physical attraction (given the opportunity I should honestly say, I would welcome sex with him again, it would be interesting to see how it differs, inside and outside the parameters of “relationship”).

[What a I wrote last week doesn't seem appropriate or aligned with my mood this night, sexual attraction?! I am far too sad to even think of futures and past beyond what song I'm going to play next, reluctant to delete that entire paragraph, but, enlightened enough to know it was all foolish. I am a fool. Fooling nobody. I am unhappy with myself tonight, fearful almost - Depressed.]

He picked me up from work and we went for a sunny drive to a reservoir up the valleys somewhere, Merthyr way. It was surprisingly uneventful for a drive in that old car, with him.

Just a pleasant time. Ib made some tasty food for us and we had an almost nap on the grass by the murky water, then drove home. We were both tired, and, though I wanted to invite him in for a cuppa and a lie-down in front of a film, to chat some more – languidly, I didn’t think it would have been permitted.  It almost felt like it was something he was getting out of the way, a sort of necessary “follow-up”, something being checked off a list.


Maybe I’m being unfair, here, again, discussing things so publicly, speculating on positions others aren’t present to protect. Maybe we will hang out in future, some other day. Maybe not. What’s clear is that it’s not for me to decide.

Last Saturday was a good day too. Unexpectedly I got to see Tim. It was a really good day actually.

He had a camera to repair and happened to be in the city. I offered my company for a complimentary, post-errand coffee. I worried it would be difficult. We cared for each other deeply and it could have (has been) hard. We hadn’t been in contact for months - his preference, and I can understand why.

Well, it was totally relaxed, he came over, we chatted at length, got caught up with what’d been happening, how the families were and such like. He offered his condolences about my aunt’s death, recent work/life stress and was just generally compassionate and kind, friendly and amusing. He is a good person.

We had great sex, went out to complete our errands, returned, more great sex, further conversations, unspoken understandings, and then we parted with a hug.

Break-ups are so strange, so unnaturally sudden in my experience. Even if things have been on a downward trend for a while, the actual moment of deciding and uttering “this is it” stings (no matter who makes first utterance).

I’m sure I’m not the only one to have intense relationships, the kind where you meet someone, they take over your life and time and, quite suddenly, you’re practically co-habiting.

That tends to be how it goes with me, all in (so I can appreciate people’s reluctance or reservations when the opportunity arises to embark on an emotional and sexual, romantic and physical relationship with me, it’s a commitment, no matter how brief, it requires energy).

I sometimes feel like I’m in a rush to experience everything, now, before I go through periods of drought, inactivity, lack – desertion (not that the desert isn’t an emotive place to inhabit…).

I feel like my approach to making paintings is like this, I never get around to painting for so many little reasons, though, mainly, I will spend a day or two on something and that’s that - an intense investment. There’s no portioning out of energy and passion, concentration and will, all or nothing.

This is to the detriment of my development as a painter and a human being. Imagine what I might discover, over weeks of re-visiting, toiling over one surface - in episodes rather than one explosive burst of action!

This is to the detriment of my emotional development as a decent person or as a potential partner to someone, too.

Wouldn’t things have been richer if I’d put the breaks on, been mature enough to deny myself the company of someone I care for and crave, delaying gratification for times when I had more energy to engage wholly rather than partially? Wouldn’t things have been better if I’d held off from company (at least initially), saving (ourselves and) my self for times when I could have offered more than just palatable home-cooked meals and enjoyable sex…?

Bloody food and sex – what is it with me?! Why am I so easily distracted from the work that needs to be done? Instead of being more mindful and trying to be a better version of me, love not lust, always thinking about those pleasures, bodily diversions.

It’s probably because, in the moment, those things are easier and more enjoyable. The pleasure of tasty food, the satisfaction of being nourished, much more satisfying than the fall, the washing up, the re-emergence of hunger, the “post” period.

I said to Sophie recently that I thought I was going through heat, asked her if she was like that too, 25 – 26, thinking of fucking, 24/7, eyes devouring, any desirables in sight?

Last Tuesday was a good day. I had a job interview in the morn, for a full-time job, like, an actual grown-up’s job. I didn’t get the job, but I realised when I was asked why I wanted to leave my current job, that, I didn’t. That I’m very lucky. Regardless, that’s not why it was good. After the interview I met up with my dad and his mother. Gorgeous Gypsies. I love them!

It was, as it ever is, funny, poignant, excessive, exuberant and damn delicious. We had drinks here and there in the damp city, before going for food (and more drinks, Kir Royal to start before one of the nicest white wines I’ve ever had!). While we were eating (and drinking) a waiter caught my eye, and throughout the eve afterward. 
Eventually I slipped him my number – why not? Anyway, it was a good day.

Thursday last, two days ago, was our Annual General Meeting in the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, it was a busy, intense day, lots of meeting people, organising stuff and photographing. It all went very smoothly, it was great, people were so nice – grateful of my contribution to the organisation, appreciative, it was really bloody touching.

After that ended, there was to be a celebratory “night out”. We’re a small team and as a newbie I didn’t know what to expect. As is my want I painted a picture in my mind beforehand, of awkwardness, of my being poor, boring or crude company.

Add to that fear my state of tiredness – almost at “spaced out” levels (I honestly thought I’d accidentally taken a vallium instead of ibuprofen! I hadn’t), I had planned to leave early and return home for a good long sleep. Or not go out at all. Somehow I’d ended up with the gifts for one of our guests so that forced me to at least make a pre-meal appearance.

On my way there, in a daze, enjoying the early-evening warmth, savouring the ache in my arms from the walking to and from venues with boxes of documents and equipment, listening to a lovely soundtrack (as ever I am), I noticed this man coming towards me.

He had a good face, friendly, handsome, we smiled at each other, we passed each other, we glanced back at each other, we laughed, we went on walking. A song later in my ears and there’s this guy, breathless (I’m a fast-walker, even in a haze of fatigue);

“Oh, hello”

“I’m sorry, I’ve been trying to catch up to you”

“No need to apologise”

“Ok, well, I would have been stupid not to, obviously, so, we noticed each other, and you’re absolutely gorgeous, sorry, I was just wondering, do you want to get a drink somewhere?”

Well, if I wasn’t already outside the work-pre-meal-drinks venue!
I would have definitely agreed. Instead I offered my number (second time in a week – perhaps I’ll get cards printed…) and went on in to socialise with the group.

No, Helen, it was all fine! Idiot. I had a really great night with those guys. Despite not knowing them all and being super tired (like, stop in the street and remember how to “do walking” or “what am I doing here again?” or “my eyes are burning, they need to be closed” tired) it was great.

After a few drinks I was wide awake and feeling more sober than I had when I left home. I ended up wandering home slowly in the dark, wide awake and full of energy, photographing. Savouring the smell of honeysuckle walled away somewhere in city gardens. 

The stony weight of the scent of evening. I felt so good. Capable, strong, good.

I wanted so much to share the feeling, to spend the night talking about many many things with someone, to share goodness, the scents and sights, making sounds.

In this city there was only Soph and Ib. I knew S was working at 8am the following day and was super tired when I left the house earlier on in the evening. I don’t know Ib’s shift patterns in his new job, but, he was more of a late to bed late to rise sort of fellow – so I text him.

What was I expecting anyway, at 1am, on a school night?
I had felt so full of love, light, light. 
The flip was akin to that experienced here. 
Off the back of a similar intense-work-period/post-break-up-time. 

Ib spoke once of a woman he worked with during university, (with parallels to me, not least that she was highly sensitive,) who was seeing a counsellor who advised her once that she should refrain from making so much eye contact. I don't need to look at people all of the time. What am I looking for, in their weary faces?
An understanding of a condition we share? Contact? Myself?


I probably shouldn’t have text, I probably should have floated home on that tide of good feeling, content enough in the knowledge that someone, somewhere, was also wandering some streets, that someone was there, caring, full of it, savouring the floral notes on the eerie breeze, thinking of sharing but not needing to.
Why always this need?

Pedro Juan consoled me well here, told me it was just one of those inevitabilities for people like us, seeking distractions from ourselves, moving from one thing, place, person, to the next, not necessarily for better but for change, seeking and not finding…
This intensity is partly what contributes to how hard it is to transition from attachment to detachment. 

Rediscovering the singularity.

An awareness of the trend does not in itself offer antidote, that much I’ve alluded to many a time on this blog on many a subject, from binge-eating to pornography-watching – procrastinations.

I guess all you can hope for is a more enlightened approach to these well-worn paths.

A small torch in the darkness for this hopeless case.

I learned a new word today; eleutherophobia – a fear of freedom.