The sky holds that curiously warm depth of blue that is undeniably autumnal; full of the dense sprays of brass sunlight, it seems to reflect the age of the year, its lines and wrinkles, its jaded eyes. For all that, it’s still a russet-apple smile.
The park is filled with wandering families again… haven’t we been here before? Wasn’t I only musing on such municipal things a breath-space ago, when the horizon had suddenly expanded like a cat’s eye, and I had watched the hawk become a dot upon it?
Standing on the top floor of the Nick the other day, I remembered how it felt when this phase of my life began. How much the world has changed since then; that place has changed me, in turn, and kept me going. Seeing friends dwindle along with the budget, I think – as I thought in that breath-space ago – that this will be our last year in the teetering tower of bricks and glass. I heard the wind sing through the trees, and watched the pigeons leave their shadows in pebble-patterns over the cars and vans in the yard. The sky was that same vivid autumnal blue, the sun brassy on leaves that danced in the freshening winds. Listening to Perfect Day (you’re going to reap just what you sew”) I wanted to remember it all. How it feels to belong somewhere; how it felt four years ago; how it will feel when it’s all gone.
What more to say that has not come before? I smile at my own doom-laden words these days. It was comforting – sort of – to read of that other lady who had the same tendency to think that time was always running out (if only to prove that we all get it wrong, and frequently, due to inhibitions rather than external factors.)
Still. That was then; this is now. Another Now. How many moments to make up a year, which seems like a replay of the last? If 2013 was the catalyst for the personal / domestic overhaul, surely 2014 has been the overture. Perhaps next year, I’ll find something approximating security and peace of mind. Going through a mousey-stage at the moment, I’m afraid to open my mouth in case of fucking up before an increasingly aware audience.
You know my flaws. My aspirations. I know them well, and more self-conscious than ever before, and the only comparison to make is that threadbare time just before the fall in the Fall; September-October 2001, starting at a new college among larger groups of more self-determined and talented peers. The duality of achievement in middle school was an awareness of burgeoning ambitions, where language and literature are concerned, and a very real fear of losing ground to others – of failure, of being left behind. While I thrive on competition, I loathe it in equal measure, because – when the countdown begins – I lose my nerve. The white noise intrudes, you count for shit, and before you know I’ve lost the thread of what I meant to say, to write, to opine, to declare as my truth.
The downward spiral is tedious, and excruciating. Self-contempt for falling into such pettiness as resentment of people who might be dear to me, and more accomplished. I grow afraid of losing them; too weak a person to sustain a relationship, while beating myself down, because – other than anorexia and compulsive exercising, degrading my body and mind over a progressive state of non-living – I don’t really have other talents. Back in A Levels, when it felt as though I was losing ground and with no hope of clawing back up, I cut my nose off to spite my face. I chose an eating disorder, walking away from all contact and relationships while numbing out the scream inside – the one that is ongoing today, that I am quite simply useless.
This isn’t an easy thing to confess to. I would like to say that I’m stronger, more dignified than all of this immature crap. But I’m not. So if and when I’m standoffish, flighty, don’t-give-a-shit, it’s because I’m afraid, and would rather walk with my own shadow than lean on someone else’s.
This is why, with the conveyor-belt of vague non-answers and let-downs received in the past 18 months – home, employment, personal relationships – I am reluctant and ducking away from anything that appears to tread the same faded lines. For all my irresponsibility and whimsy, I know – roughly – what it is I would like to see happen, for the next year at least. And I do emphasize this limited time frame, out of the (yawn) fear of commitment, and also, in practical terms, because I honestly don’t know where I will be in terms of mindset. I didn’t predict a relapse into depression this year. It took reading a blog entry posted on Twitter by a friend for me to even contemplate accepting the word as part of my current disposition. When the therapist had offered it up a few weeks beforehand, I’d batted away. Denial is a safe haven for people like me, the passive-aggressives of the world (unite and mutter darkly.)
So to plant any of this on somebody else, regardless of their intentions, seems too cruel and presumptive. A wound-up ball of cotton unravels eventually.
In all, I’m not really sure what I expect from the end of this year, and the beginning of the next – except perhaps, a little breath of security, and a static place to be, at least for another collective of seasons. That’s one thing I can say of this year – I’ve known peace, at least on a domestic level. Less fretting over bills and such, in comparison to 2013. But the absence of any genuine answers from the people who count, the ones who have the power to make a difference in my life, means I can’t actually trust them to hold to their word. Which is a sad place to be, but I can’t dwell on it long. Since childhood, I’ve been dependant on other people’s views, their opinions mattering far more than mine – whether they were aware of it or not. If I let this continue, I stand to lose all over again.
Or is it simply burning down the house with one match after another?
Maybe this is adult life. Constantly afraid, wondering if this month, this year will be the last with this person, in this place, in this time. Maybe we all just bob from one dream and hope and fuck and fear and worry and bill and whatever, to the next.
In which case, I guess I’m in good company.