Delivering Happiness: Amazing People. (And all the other things that make my beard itch.)

Rejection: like the stinging of a cane across your soft bare arse when you really did nothing to deserve it. It hurts and you’ll be sore and angry about it for years to come. Another harsh lesson in impermanence that life dishes out. Another thing to feel cynical about.

Splitting a bond like an atom and there’s bound to be a reaction. I can’t bare to think of my day without them there. The people who watched me get married. The people who know how brave and strong I can be when inside I’m fucked. The people who kept me coming back, day after day, just for the jokes and the piss-taking, if nothing else. The ones who i ‘stick it to the man with’, the ones who I talk food with, the ones who know when my farts smell like peanuts. I can’t face the soul-drudgery of a 9-5 without them and I long to do something drastic. To revolt. Show them all how much I love them and how personally I take injustices against them. But I’ve got bills to pay, I’ve got the sweet-hearted woman who begat me and a grumpy arse cat who depend on me to keep my mouth shut.  And i cant let them down, even though every fibre of my being screams for action: to rage against the dying of an artificial light, to rage against the machine in the way I would have in my teens (or when Dawn and Owen left). Those who know me best know how hard it is for me to ‘keep calm and carry on’ (and all the other pacifying poster boys I can’t be doing with).

And who would have thought that after failing GCSE maths 3 times, I’d spend my days pretending I can add without using my fingers. Pretending I did learn my times tables and all the other useful maths tricks instead of dossing around in car parks looking for good hub caps to steal. 8 years later, I’m unrecognisable to myself. Not just chubbier, but more diluted. And now, this is the only place I write. Because I don’t have time and when I do, my eyeballs reject the screen like the biggest case of rastaburn you ever saw. This is the ‘short term’ job  that came about from a deal I made with Phil whilst laying on a bean bag talking about the universe. He said he would move back in with me if I promised I would stop walking out of jobs and knuckle down for a change. In turn he promised he would take me seriously. Maybe now he’s gone that deal doesn’t stand? Maybe there is some poetry to the fact that everything around me is being snatched away prematurely, like the baby I had and the dad who always made me laugh. Or maybe I over-dramatise (as I always do) for the sake of my prose. 

Where you invest your love: you invest your life. And that wisdom works the other way around to. So you see they aren’t just colleagues. They aren’t just people I stop thinking about after hometime comes. They are people I’ve grown to love, people whose secrets I keep, people who deserve a fuck load better than they have. I can’t just shrug it off that they wont be here anymore. I can’t rest easy when I see their heartbroken furious faces. But there’s fuck all I can do about it but hug them and swear and try to reassure them that this wasn’t what they were destined for anyway. And in a funny way, we are all redundant.  

Delivering happiness: amazing people. This statement is truer than anyone knows.  It’s a shame that the people delivering it don’t have it reciprocated.These people are amazing, and they’ve been the backdrop to all my dramas and daydreams. They’ve made me laugh at times when happiness felt like a fairytale and I wont fucking forget that as long as I live.  And when a decision is made from so high up the management chain that no ones sees the mess it makes when it drops: it’s easy to be callous, to be cost-effective and keep the capitalist dream alive.

There will always be an era that belongs to us. Like the hippies in the sixties and the Wonder Years: we’ll have our own ‘back in the day’ stories of the humiliating hilarity of fights, fancies and fucks we witnessed during our time here. So almost a year after my dad died, his words come back to me now more than ever: the best way to say ‘fuck you’ is to be nice.

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Symptom Recital: Dorothy isn’t always right.

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I am not sick, I am not well, my quondam dreams are shot to hell. I shudder at the thought of men, I’m bound to fall in love again.

Loneliness is the sound of traffic in my head. Beeping screeching, shuffling, turning, grinding and it infiltrates my sleep, like the early morning dustbin men. All these years I thought it would be a quiet sound. Loneliness is coming too close to insanity. Creeping nearer and nearer the tighter you pull the knot.

I was lonely when I met him, plenty of people around me: faces, friends, places to go and things to fill the void with. But I was lonely for a kindred. Perpetually leaning against walls, hands deep in pockets, eyes fixed to the top left hand corner of my bored eyelids, searching the ceiling for something to save me. And in he walked with his dancing feet and the comedy Dave air about him, my hero. That’s how it is when you’re 19. Everything loaded with meaning, everything’s cool as fuck and fate isn’t the fickle fucker you later know him to be. I’d found him, my split-apart, the man that told me he was nothing without me, the first man to make me behave like a good girl. And now we’re not together, it’s like he put me back where he found me.

Taking that ring off my finger was hard. Because it meant the world to me. Although I always used to say I was too much woman to be bound by just one ring, finally succumbing to it was still something I took very seriously. One accessory less, like throwing down your cards in a polka match and fuck it full time, what else can you do when you’re no longer married. But if you’re interested I can tell you what’s the real fucker to cope with is, not the ring that’s for sure. The toughest shit to slide out the arse of this break up, is when I stop for a moment and think of him alone and heartbroken, that’s what really makes me hang my head. My share of the guilt for the thing we both abandoned and that’s really the bit I hate. He said I was used to being in a dark place and maybe this is why I can deal with my own hurt way easier than the thought of his. Maybe it’s because as a woman I’m genetically programmed to hold him in higher esteem than myself. Maybe it’s because when you love someone with all your heart, you never stop caring. O maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner, that I love London town.

Being without him is easier than I ever thought it would be. And I realise that all those times I said I couldn’t live without him, I was bollox-talking like a bound-up Geisha. What I really meant to say was ‘I’m choosing not to be without you’. I chose to cling to the relationship with all my might, fallen at your feet, clinging to your leg like a brat ‘don’t leave me’, drag me around on your ankle, you’re little ball and chain and in turn I’ll tie you tight to my apron strings and soothe your soul with the seduction that sits in mine. That’s what being in love is. Suck is the nature of a relationship. You fall into it willingly because the trap is the most wonderful place you could ever put yourself. It’s a fact we’re not looking for freedom: we’re all desperately seeking Susan and the S&M style stability of togetherness. It sounds like I’m badly berating all that I’ve broken, but I’m not. The sweetness of belonging is what floats all our boats. I’m never convinced when people say it isn’t. I cut my eye at them and raise my Elvis lip, rude girl stare them up and down, wondering what the fuck happened to them to make them chat such shit. And I wish it wasn’t so but it is.

This tough talking tongue sometimes ties, runs out of lies and when it does I decide to write myself a happy ending to finish with, my very own fiction baby fooling myself asleep with the fantasy that everything will be fine. Just fine. And I hope it is. I really do. Because I want something shiny and new and cocky and happy-worthy. I want a new plan, but not necessarily a new man. I want a fresh song and a wheeze free whistle. I want the sun to rise on the melancholy confusion of night and I want to be standing there bathed in it’s golden glow gasping at it’s beauty. Hair braided, jeans slung low, agile body and mind because I’m ready to bounce right back like the big beautiful bitch I always wanted to be.

The science of walking through windows.

So we gave up ‘forever’ for a principle. And now everything I feel is immediate. In the becoming of this new me, I am moment to moment. Like a wasp constantly beating myself against a window, never understanding the ‘science of walking through windows’. And they lie when they say that the ‘here and now’ is psychologically the best place to be. What do they fucking know? Shrinking everything down to the most fashionable phrase. A psychiatric finger on the pulse that monitors the vibe of the most recent global anxiety. It can be just as disorienting as the others, the here and now, and that’s the real reason new born babies cry: they have no concept of past and present. The now fucks with their little heads. I don’t know what I’m doing from one moment to the next. Because in ‘the moment’ there is no time for thought or planning, so you act on impulse and when your instincts drag you away from the party your brain was planning, it splits you in half. Who’s friend are you really? Where do you really want to be?

Unlike a civil war, my head and heart don’t aim to kill each other. But like a marriage, they nag at each other till neither can know with any certainty whose fault it was to begin with.  Two game-show contestants: slam-pressing that buzzer, sweat under their fringes, dry lips catching against snarled teeth. But the heart directs the body far faster than the brain can. And when the heart gets its way regardless of the rules, the brain feels begrudged and fights back. Restless nights, bad dreams, deep rooted anxiety and the uncomfortable inability to look at your own reflection. So instead you’ll bask in the gaze of others. And the better they see you: the better it suits you. But when you’re alone, that’s when it comes flooding back with full force. ‘you just wait till we get home, then I’ll give you something to cry about’.

The problem of ‘feeling’ is like a mesh of string. It’s hard to find the end…or the start…or how many other threads are tangled in with it. Do I miss him? I do. Do I regret my choices? Hard to say. I regret that the longer you are together the easier it is to stop seeing each other as you need to be seen, the less you can hear each other and the less likely you are to choose each other over everything else. Because when you have something so permanently and confidently, you stop seeing how easy it would be to lose it because you don’t really believe it can be lost. I regret that we couldn’t make it work…and suspect maybe it was just that we chose not to. But guilty is how I feel regardless and that has always been true way before the break up. Mediterranean blood in my veins dictates I’m either hungry, worried or guilty. Guilty your honour, because the smugness of my brain likes to remind the heart how kind and loving he was. Replaying scene by scene everything wonderful that he’d ever done for me. The whispered happiness in the ear of morning before your eyes are properly awake. The comfort and contentment that comes with having a joint plan, having a world and a lifetime together. Having had a history and a romantic photo album of memory to back everything up. Brick by brick, eventually you create a safe place to live together outside of the real world. Somewhere way better.

But romance is like a light turned off. Fades to black and retracts with the slow blink-tut of your eyes. Head turned shoulder-wards, body pointing towards the door: who’d have ever thought we’d both give up so easily? And who’d have thought I could be just as stubborn as him? We always said if we fought it would last a lifetime. And some days I feel I could settle for a foe in place of my Phil. Because it makes it easier to move on, and there is something cool about it to have loved and hated so intensely in the one lifetime. But in my heart I cant hate him. I’m talking bollox when I say I do. I am angry, don’t get me wrong I have the bitterness and anger and fury of a generation of in-held breaths and unspoken thoughts, why wouldn’t I? After all I’m a woman and I didn’t get the romantic ending to the fairy-tale romance that hours of Wimbledon and Love Actually promised me I would have. Of course I’m pissed off, who wouldn’t fucking be? But I have no valid reason to hate him, not in the true sense of the word. No matter how hard I try I just cant, and more succinctly put, I wont. Not just because he made me a mum and not just because he married me, but because we grew up together. Because we got stoned together. We saw corpses together. We dealt with heavy shit while we walked to work together. And eventually, after 16 beautiful brilliant hilarious unusual years together: we created one almighty mother fucker of a stalemate together. But truthfully and painfully and joyfully, I properly enjoyed the game while it lasted.