Category Archives: Downpour

The Eclectic Path The Storyteller Must Talk

I am not what one would describe as ‘an open book.’

I tend to be a bit closed with feelings and emotions and all that jazz, preferring to self soothe over self-pity and self-suffice over self-indulgent.  However like the rest of the populace, when things are out of my control on occasion I have no option but to react to other people’s behaviours and this can lead to a little self-reflection after the fact.

On this occasion, the catalyst was my inability to lie

If I were a different person I wouldn’t feel the need to start considering the permutations a lie can take and the damage a single untruth can bestow.  If I were a different person I would have let the molecule of fantasy roll off my tongue and guild the surrounding air with the taint of falsehood.  If I were a different person I may have smiled a little at my own tenacity and silver-tongued my way through the intricacies of the literally landmine-strewn conversation topics until the lie was sold.

But I’m not, I’m very much me and I did the only thing I could have done in the circumstances without actively incriminating myself and yet at the same time provided a response tantamount to an admission of guilt.  I offered a self destroying answer that not only convicted me but also laid open my internal struggle over whether or not to stick to the truth.

I did the only thing I could have done being the person I am.  I hesitated.

In that single moment of hesitation I considered the pros and cons of perpetuating the lie, the actions to be taken to continue the story and propel the sinking account into the ether to be taken as gospel or torn apart.  And I considered the moment in the future when the truth would emerge, battered and bruised from its fairytale cocoon, and whether by that time the truth would still be a beautiful ally or perhaps an ugly stick for the beating.

I hesitated and therein lay my answer.

In hind sight I should perhaps have answered fast and false to save further questions, accusations and recriminations, but I am not that person to whom a lie comes easy.  However I am also not the person to feel obligated to prostrate my life and times on the line for public scrutiny and peer approval.  In fact if there is one thing I value above all else it is my ability to compartmentalise, my skewed views and my right to keep both to myself.  Both in my head and in my life.

Hundreds of pigeon holes litter my world, literal, metaphorical and symbolic.  Tidying away the stray thoughts and random musings scattered across my days, pulling up the emotional trickles that would follow the scars of past wounds and keeping track of the plethora of philosophical nonsense connected to every mis-stepped slip, slide and stumble along the road I have travelled.

To ask to see the intricacies is not only an affront to me but to the careful and crazed paths of the world I’ve built; the very world from which I watch the path’s you’ve chosen, laid out like brazen roads flaunting their straightness, their destiny, their certainty.  Showing their strength and power and sense of purpose.  But look closely and I see the rigidity allows no deviation, no about-face, no change of mind, of heart.  You have your paths, I have my holes, to ask to trawl the depth of mine is to request the very access I build my maze to prevent.

And yet you, who have known me so long, seen me so well and had every opportunity to learn, have come up empty-handed.  How can it be that you look so hard and harsh and only come out with exactly what you went in with?  What did you hope to achieve.  Beyond asking, you assumed to take what isn’t yours to be shared and tear it asunder, fluttering the pieces of my calm across the tides of your anger like ash through the breeze.

I guess you forgot that boxes is not all I am.  For I do not like to lie and prefer my crazed maze to your open paths and emotion strewn ways but that which makes you different makes me curious.  Whereas that which makes me different you simply do not comprehend.

Whatever I am, whatever I do, however I do it, I’ll always have something you can never understand.  If all else fails I can retreat inside and spend time and again within my boxes, reshaping, re-learning, reorganising and if needs be; retrying.  you with your rigidity and structure mean you see no other option, you see no other path you see no other right.  And left, to your own devises you may emerge unchanged from the maze, but rest assured you will have left with nothing.


Sieval Outcry

Emotional outburst against a backdrop of firey fuelled righteous indignation

Against a plan that wasn’t there for a source that isn’t provided

And yet still you burn and burn and burn

Against the tide of injustice only you can percieve

Fighting the inequality of life amidst the stain

Of your equally unwarranted vile and vitriol.

And yet, do me a favour?

Keep it to yourself.

See how you like living with it.

Just try it.

Sweetheart.


C-R-Ying out loud. To anyone who’ll listen

Every day there are tragedies.  In the news just this week there have been earthquakes, bombs, wars, death and destruction across the globe but it is often not until it is on our very doorstep that we truly sit up and take notice of what is happening around us.  And sometimes something happens that unites the world in its indignation and grief for the occasion, bringing something amazing back from the jaws of travesty.

This weekend that ‘something’ was Fabrice Muamba.

You must have read or heard somewhere about the horrendous end to the Tottenham Hotspur – Bolton Wanders match on Saturday 17th March.  Just after 41 minutes of the game, the Bolton and former Arsenal player collapsed on the pitch without apparent cause.  It took six medics immediate CPR for over six minutes and the defibrillators to keep Muamba alive until he could be treated in hospital for the attack that has stopped his apparently fit and healthy athlete’s heart.  The latest on this is that he is fortunately now awake and making progress towards recovery but it has unleashed a media storm of epic proportion across the populace, and I’m not talking about the professionals.

Thanks to the open source nature of the internet, the population at large was kept up to date with Muamba’s condition and treatment almost as events were occurring, and the messages flooding Facebook and Twitter were well-informed, collective and most importantly, united in their well wishes toward to the 23-year-old.

With the advances in technology, the shortening of the alleged six degrees and the hunger for connection society feels the need for today, not only do we possess the ability but also the opportunity and the drive to interact as we would not have been able to even 10 years ago.  This ability is so beautifully demonstrated and shown to the very best of its ability when a shock such as the Muamba incident occurs.  A calamity occurring amid the celebrations of St. Patrick’s day, a super Saturday of International rugby and a Welsh Grand Slam, and yet within hours the world is not only aware but also aligned in its thinking.  This power; this ability is something leaders of the past could only have dreamed of inspiring in months of campaigning and yet a tweet or three manages it within the space of an afternoon.  And a busy one at that!

I have often been irritated beyond belief at some of the trends that can be seen flitting across the world-wide web and the sheer banality of the perpetrators behind it. More than once, I’ve cursed the ideas that let the very people who have no sphere of existence beyond that of their avatarian selves, bleat their meaningless drivel about said non-existent life across the ether for all to see.  And I am not averse to offering insult to the miss-spelt, grammatically incorrect, linguistic murderers who seem to find little wrong with their desecration of the English language on a daily basis.  However on occasions such as this, I willingly swallow every opinionated, subjective pedantry I have ever uttered and admit I was wrong.

This is the purpose of open source. The very reason for the campaigns, the arguments, the not-for-profit sites.  Information sharing should not be based on pride or privilege but instead on right.  The right to have the information and the right to make the decision what to do with it.  And that is the greatest power we have; freedom of choice.  Because when you see society respond as it did to the case of Muamba you realise just how much power we have, literally [in the correct use of the word] at our fingertips

It was thanks to the fast and timely actions of the medical personnel available on the pitch side on Saturday that Muamba undoubtedly owes his life for had they not acted as they did, his battle would surely have been lost long before the hospital had even been reached.  Their grasp of the situation and immediate response should be something to be applauded during this shocking time.  What should also be noted is that about 500 people in the UK alone die each year from SADS.  And these people don’t attract Twitter trends.

I have been unfortunate in my life, in that I have known three people die of what has been termed Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, Adult Cot Death, Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome and a host of other names but they all amount to the same end.  A seemingly healthy person, functioning as any ordinary person of their age would, suddenly and at the time, inexplicably stops as though someone has flicked the switch off.  I have seen the destruction and confusion this can leave behind as well as the furiously impotent anguish and experienced the desperate inanity and vile feelings of unjust cruelty myself.  I cannot begin to describe the torrent of powerlessness this loathsome illness can inspire nor would I want to wax lyrical about its base effect.  But from the ashes of destruction can grow something hopeful.

It was a year ago last weekend that the most recent of these, Ben (15), died.  Almost to the day of Muamba’s collapse.  I am not going to tell you all about the joy he was to watch growing up and I’m not going to cry about how hugely unfair his loss is to the world.  Nor am I going to go on about the guilty grief I felt for having only known him clumsily for a short amount of time or the sorrow I felt as I faced the fact I would never get to meet the man I knew he was capable of becoming.  Instead I would ask that you take a moment to find out about the charity working on the solutions rather than just reading about the people affected.  Take the time to read the information and pass it along, gain something from another heartbreak that may not have a celebrity tag but certainly deserves your attention, if only fleetingly.

Bring something back from the brink of destruction, a little knowledge to be used to whatever ends you deem necessary.  Don’t cower in ignorance behind platitudes of denial or fatalism.  Whether public figure or common prol, this disease is a leveler of all men and knowledge is a weapon that can defend us all.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not naive enough to assume that with understanding and information, death itself can be duped, but I am optimistic enough to believe that with every new person who is given the information needed and the choice of how to act and support, the stifling, fearful hold cardiac disease in the young has is diminished just that fraction more.

There’s always something positive to come from the ashes; sometimes you just need the strength to look for it.

Even if you just make a start today, a little information can change the world.  Ben Daniel’s Memorial Fund.  Make it count.


Dirty words and backwards glances

Do not talk to me about birthdays.  In my life they have become something of a taboo to me and I don’t enjoy celebrating them.  Not in that fake way people have of saying ‘I hate my birthday’ and then throwing themselves a massive party with on sight admirers/arse-kissers to tell them how amazing they look and they can’t believe their age.  I just plain don’t enjoy them and this one will be no exception.

You see, at some point, in the not too distant future, I shall be approaching a milestone in my life.  It probably won’t seem like much of a one to many of you.  Perhaps you’ve past it and can now look back on it with that wonderful tool of hindsight or maybe it doesn’t or didn’t bother you and you sailed through it with ne’er a backwards glance.  Unfortunately, I don’t seem to be able to do that.  In fact when I stop to think about it sometimes I find I lose part of the definition of myself.

For God’s sake, I’m not dying or losing a limb; I’m just turning 30!  But to me thirty is a dirty word.

Ten years ago I was turning 20 and could not be more chuffed about the whole situation.  The 20’s was the age when people take you more seriously as you’re no longer a teenager, the age you stopped getting asked for ID for booze and fags, the age when you got a proper job, had a proper relationship and basically started your ‘proper life’!  In 2002 I was ready to be 20 and looking forward to the ensuing chaos it would bring.  And boy did I bring it.

In the last ten years I have had four relationships, varying in length from eight months to five years, one of which turned into an engagement. [Obviously that did not end in the textbook fashion, moving on…]  I have also lived at ten different addresses, studied three different courses at two different universities and worked in 12 different places, nine of them being pubs or bars.  I have drunk an inordinate amount of alcohol and probably regurgitated several times my own body weight.  I have also gained a degree, a post-graduate diploma, an NVQ, numerous work related qualifications, a great many friends, several new members of my ‘chosen family’ and thankfully only a few enemies – that I am aware of.

All in all, I’ve been rather busy.

But now, this great and awe-inspiring decade is coming to an end and I am finding myself loathed to leave it behind for a number of reasons but the first of which being the most simple; age.

Thirty has always seemed like the first negative big milestone.  Before this everything you reach has a purpose, a landmark to show you how far you have come and how far you still have left to go, but with 30 it feels as though the safety net has been pulled out from under me.  No more child-like excuses or reasons of immaturity or not knowing.  When 30 years of age are attained, life must be signed, sealed and organised because suddenly you’re nothing but an adult.

The funny thing is if I really think about it, I still don’t get taken seriously by those older than me now, I got asked for ID for alcohol less than 4 months ago (the last time I went out drinking) and I am still unaware what it is I want to do with my life.  In this respect I can either be reassured that a few months will not change reality as I know it, or conclude that I have not travelled very far at all in my latest decade.  Trying to go with the former…

Thirty is described as a rite of passage, particularly for women and if you pick up any magazine now it will begin to tell you how 30 is the new 20, 40 is the new 18 and I’m sure sometime soon, about the  new 90 which means you can revert to your old habits of liquid foods and incoherent babble.  Actually, in some cases that is not too far from the truth.

A rite of passage is it?  Really??  That’s what 30 is supposed to be.  Perhaps once upon a time when you were married before 20, kids before 21 and tied to the kitchen sink between every child dropped!  But now in the constantly evolving and revolving society we have, to be old is to be beyond your use, have lived past the sell-by date and to be taking up space that others could exploit more fully.  No longer in the pigeonhole of ‘youth’ but not high enough up to be middle-aged, geriatric, retired or solvent, to be 30 is to be relegated to the back of the shelf and left there to fester because it is no longer necessary for society to care what it is you’re doing; you’re on your own.

I am daunted by the prospect of looking back at my life and seeing what I haven’t yet done and why it has not come to fruition only to be greeted with a plethora of my own mistakes and self-imposed misfortunes.  I am also unwilling to share these thoughts with anyone ‘real’ because they would surely try and persuade me otherwise and there is only one thing worse than having to face up to all the dumb-ass things you’ve done that have led you to this very point you’re not all that keen on standing on.  And that’s having an audience while you do it.

So instead, you get my neuroses and my near-hysterical ramblings as I fret about the looming date which is in point of fact, a date.  A day like any other, one that I will to all intents and purposes try to ignore as I do most years and will pass with no more pomp and fanfare than those surrounding it.  In my mind thought it may be a millstone rather than a mile, it will not be a culmination of my failures and foibles; a buffet spread from my silly mistakes and bad choices made at an age when I was too adolescent to spot them and too shallow to care.  It will be just a day, shared with others and liable to pass whether I wish to celebrate its coming or hide from its looming presence.  And yet, even knowing all of this, I cannot shake the feeling that it is a turning point and should be treated as such.

I have lived my life up until this point with a carefree abandon that has amounted to very little to show but a great deal to remember.  I have memories I will treasure forever and those that I wish I could tear out of my mind but instead will look and learn from, knowing I couldn’t be who I am now without them.  I may be young in some eyes but I am old in others and right now I am in-between decades; not quite finished with one, just not ready to step onto the next.  But perhaps that is the point.  Without the use of these landmarks, where would be the perspective of knowledge and the hindsight to see how well you really did?

Perhaps I have been looking at 30 all wrong and actually it is not a milestone to pass, but one to look back on and see in the distance; a signpost to the way forward of the person I am still to become.

And yet even knowing all of this to be a distinct possibility I cannot shake the feeling that life is creeping up behind me, ready to jump out with wrinkles, cardigans and bitter envy of the youth as well as contemptible intolerance of their unappreciative nature of what they possess.  I think I would do ‘old’ well provided I could do it my own way and in my own specific style.  But not now.  Because 30 is not old; it’s not even half way there!

Now all I need is to understand that is the case and let time flow on by; once a second, every second as it has been doing for millennia, and will continue to do so long after I have been forgotten.  And perhaps just a gentle reminder once in a while that, milestones are important yes, but also personal.  What one person celebrates, another may dismiss as wholly unimportant.  So if I choose to throw a mental tantrum about something I can no more affect than the movement of the Earth, then I only have myself to blame.

All I can affect are my own actions and emotions and maybe, just maybe, if I can get those under control, I can sail through this transition smoothly with the wind at my back.  Because it’s going to happen, whether I’m ready or not.

So, enough moping and maudling, it’s time to start looking forwards and brushing away the needless mind blocks I have subconsciously been erecting.  Time to start planning for a new decade’s memories with optimism, even if I may need subtle reminders of it now and again…

Besides, if this next decade is anything like the last one, now may be the time to start putting up the buffers.  Because they’re sure as hell going to know about it once I’ve arrived.


Expanding you my sympathies

I am frugal with my feelings at best; stingy with my sympathy and definitely a firm believer in tough love.  I don’t melt at the sight of babies and I do not think Romeo and Juliet were star-crossed lovers.  In fact I think if the stupid bastard had made a damn decision in the first place and stuck with it without resorting to the 16 Century equivalent of throwing his toys out the pram, the whole story would have been nothing more than kids in the playground!  Wouldn’t have sold so many copies mind…

However, despite the fact I have a highly developed idea of what requires my sympathetic input and what is merely a cry for attention that will inevitably only result in my contempt, I seem to have an over-developed sense of empathy.  For those of you that aren’t aware, it goes as follows:

Sympathy – what you feel for someone who is less fortunate than you as an outsider.  To feel bad for, or in some cases; pity.

Empathy – what you feel for someone who is experiencing a (usually bad) feeling/situation and identifying with their pain.  To consciously or unconsciously take on the pain of others.

Before we go any further, I am by no means describing myself as an empath.  I am not something out of a science fiction novel or a fantasy land.  I just seem to have a highly developed and incredibly annoying habit of looking at all sides of things and feeling anguish for the person who comes out on the bottom.  I actually find books with miserable parts in painful to read and they’re fictional characters for goodness sake!

Take ‘Harry Potter’ for example [spoilers]. After seven years of following their exploits and growing with them as they overcome physical and emotional challenges, the final battle ensues.  When Voldemort is dead and the Deatheaters at least subdued for the time, the book skips to 19 years in the future when Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione are grown up with families of their own.  Now I adore an ending like that, which wraps up the characters and brings them through, perhaps not unscathed but definitely alive.  And yet here was I almost in tears wondering how George was, whether he had been able to survive without Fred and what had happened to Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes.  I adored that series but I could not re-read it again for over a year until I had come to terms with the fact Fred would die and George would be left alone.  I felt physically sick!

I have found this particular phenomenon also occurring in day to day life, mostly when I could really do without it.  Such as trying to be angry at someone who has done something incredibly shitty to me, only to find myself not wanting to exact revenge or payback because of how miserable it would make them feel.  I’m sure I never used to be like this, did I?

Good God, this is not what I need to expect along with the rest of the aging process is it?  If so, I refuse and will stop this moment!

I am all for understanding both sides of an argument and taking a balanced view of things but when the balance I take tend to sway in the favour of anyone who is not me, no matter who they are and what they have done, I start to feel that things are going a little far.  Selfish has somehow become a dirty word and I shouldn’t need to feel guilt for putting myself first, no matter that someone else may feel bad when I am protecting my own interests first for a change.

So why do I feel so bad about considering doing it?  In the words of Jim Carey; I hold myself in contempt!


Last of the short-speakings

This is the last cheating short one, I promise.  I have a big day tomorrow with hours in the car a journey to undertake, fears to overcome and hopefully a happy ending.  I’ve also been taking picture so I have much to catch up on but for now I am full of my pills, a little stressed and going to sleep.

Tomorrow I will be exhausted but tomorrow I will be free.

 

Until Tomorrow…


Supressed

I’m grumpy and fed up today.  I don’t think it’s anything specific just a lot of stuff all wrapped together.  So, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to reduce this is to address each issue one by one to find out what the problem is, whether I can resolve it and if so what can be done.  Here we go:

  1. I don’t really want to go home and I’ve got to the point in my convalescence where I can think about that now as a proper possibility in the not too distant future.  Unfortunately, instead of appearing as a milestone I will have reached, it is looming as a pinnacle of everything I don’t want to return to.  The job, the house, the situation of money, life and everything…
  2. I still feel like I’m skiving and I have the physio and doctors in the next ten days and I just feel like they’re going to be wondering why the hell I’m still lounging around on my arse and not back at work as I’m obviously perfectly capable.  Yes I know this is probably not what they’re thinking when I’m being rational but I’m not rational.  I’m paranoid about it.
  3. I don’t want visitors!  I have created this comfortable cocooning routine that doesn’t include anyone else except my parents and the dog and I am truly loathed to let anyone else in to ruin it.  Also there is no-one right now that I want to see who won’t bring alone news of the ‘home’ I don’t want to return to and the people there I just don’t want to see.  I know I don’t have to go anywhere or see anything but at some point this will not be the case and then I worry that the longer I postpone it, the tighter my cocoon will become and the worse it will be when the time comes to breaking it open.
  4. Money and housing worries as July is creeping up and by that point I should have either procured a house or come up with some excellent reasons as to why I want to throw good money after bad in the renting market yet again and all the entailing shit this brings with it.  Such as who will be paying for what…?  Oh if only life were that simple!
  5. I don’t know how my back is doing as I have not been doing a normal day’s activities so I have no idea if my back will hurt as much as it did, whether it can stand up more or less to normal workloads and whether I am doing more damage to it by not doing as much as I used by even a fraction of the amount.  I know I can’t go round lifting, bending and twisting as I did because that would be stupid but I don’t walk about all day as I used to and is that counterproductive or is it just what the doctor ordered.  Which brings me on to…
  6. Medication being as it is, if the doctor reduces it this time and I can cope a lower level then point 2. feels even more significant, however if I can’t cope with a lower level I will feel as if the whole operation has been for nothing as I’m still not able to live without the pain killers.

 

Basically, today feels like it’s been a bit of a write off.  Time to stop wallowing and start finding solution!  And yet I can’t manage the desire to find solutions when I’m feeling like this which is a conundrum for another day I feel.

 

Fuck it; I’m going to sleep.