Worlds change

I was talking to my daughter earlier in the week, she was doing one of her check-up on Mum calls, but, it left me with a thought, that made me realise just how cut off, I am, from the world. To be honest, realising that was actually quite a shocker for me. I am one of the few who actually watches the news channels. No, I don’t mean for half an hour twice a day to see what is happening, I watch it. The News has always been important to me, but when I became housebound, it became an important part of my day. The first two hours of every day, is nothing but News, an hour plus around lunch time, and another hour of so around tea time. If something major has happened, well it’s not unknown for me, to stay fixed to the News channel for most of the day. There is something about not being out there, that has made the outside world and what is happening in it, essential viewing. I don’t suppose that that is too surprising really, but even politics has ceased to be a turn-off. The one thing that hasn’t changed, is I hate with a passion, the so-called local news, note, I don’t even give it a capital letter, it doesn’t deserve one. But, I digress. My need to be up to date, to know the latest state of the world, has become one of my driving forces. This week, with the terrible terrorist attacks in both France and Mali, and the Russian airplane being brought down by an explosion last month, has more than doubled my viewing. Teressa said something to me that made me realise something, I’m not connected to the world at all.

She has been talking for a while now about the possibility of a new job, which at the moment although having been offered it, she hasn’t totally decided whether or not to take it. John and she, have lived in London ever since they arrived in the UK two years ago. This job would mean them leaving the capitol and moving to a part of the country where they would be able to fulfil a dream of theirs, to buy a home. As we spoke, she out of nowhere added a new reason to move, neither of them, feels safe in London any longer. A few years ago, I would have thought of that, less than ten minutes after the news of Paris had settled into my brain. It never entered my head. I came off the phone, feeling cold at my detached state. How had I become someone who thought no further than the place I am sat? That in reality, though, is just how it feels. Despite all my efforts, to know the world, and what is happening in it, I have not been seeing the bigger pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge amount of empathy, for all who have been injured or lost their lives, and I fully appreciate, the severity, and the snowball effect, of what is currently happening, but I am still isolated from it all. It is as though the walls that have been surrounding me for the last 8 years, have slowly been getting thicker and thicker. Teressa’s reminder that she, her husband, people I know and love, still face the dangers of life, even though I no longer do.

I don’t know when the walls started to get thicker, how my feeling of isolation, somehow meant, that everyone else was also in glorious isolation too. I have lived for so long inside my cocoon, that I had forgotten what it means to actually be outside it. We all measure the lives of others, using our own as our baseline. My baseline is so far from the norm, that my measurement of the world has become warped by it. I had forgotten what it feels like to walk down a road, one moment in the warmth of the sunshine, the next, inside a shadow so dense that it has turned the world cold, as my life, is now spent always in the sunshine. I have nothing to worry about outside of me. I am under no threat, from anything other than my own body, there are no shadows. I have no job to lose, no children to pacify, no meals to cook or shopping to do and no bills to pay that aren’t covered. I have no need to look over my shoulder, to question the footsteps behind me, no friends to disappoint and no enemies to plicate, none of the realities of life, touch me any longer. I don’t quite live in a gilded tower, more a gilded cage, where someone managed to slip the cover over when I wasn’t looking. Is it any wonder that no matter how much I have tried to stay in touch, that all I have actually done, is to constantly learn the events, but not their true and ultimate impact. Yes, the facts of life are important, but so are the emotions, there is a clear danger that I had missed. When you live looking outwards, but only feel inwards, the balance is gone.

Semi-isolation, is not, a normal state for a human to live in. I am sure that I would be one of those people that trainee psychologists would love to do a case study on. I can just hear them squealing in joy, as they sat down and started to draw up a framework of questions and area’s to explore. What impact do 8 years or seeing few others than just one person do to someone? How psychologically balanced can someone remain without the normal interactions and pressures of life? I can hear them because I, and Adam, have heard the other side. The total disbelief that I can possibly be happy, content and not drowning in depression. Clearly, there has to be an impact, things that I haven’t noted, felt or seen, there must be, it’s only logical. The more time that you spend by yourself, the more you do look inwards. It isn’t meant with any malice, but it can be hard at times to hold onto, that those faces on the TV screen are real people. People with lives, people with feeling, people just like I once was, part of a bigger more vibrant world. At times, they even slip for two-dimensional all the way down to one. I have no line of reference to them, now way of connecting, as not only does the outside world often look alien now, it also sounds and feels it. It’s hard when your part of it, to understand what I just said, but it’s a little like having been in a coma for 8 years, one where some information filtered through, but still the world went on without me. Fashions change, people came and went, even some building managed that one as well. Words have snuck into the language that once didn’t exist, the entire make up of this planet, has changed in that time, and all I have had to keep up with it, is my husband, my TV and my PC. A vast quantity of available knowledge, but always controlled by what I knew, when I was last out there. How I react to that world, has clearly been changed by it as well.

Analysing my own life, is sometimes hard when you look at yourself with anything other than a mirror, well what you see isn’t always as pretty as you would like. Mind you, that sometimes happens with a mirror as well. We all change over time, but those changes are influenced by what surrounds us. I’m changing, but my surroundings, circumstances and company are identical, not changed in any way in all that time. As time goes on, I am sure I will miss as many of those changes as I discover. The good thing about the ones you don’t like, you can always change them back, which my unchanging world actually should make it easier for me, than it is for others.

 

Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 21/11/2013 – The purpose of accountability 

It has been a strange sort of week, TV isn’t helping by being filled with little else than one of my favourite TV programs ever, “Dr Who”. I always thought that it was one of those shows that you grow up with…..

Friendship

Jake phoned me this morning to continue has story about his drum kit, so my diaphragm spasm hadn’t given me a true escape, just a delay. I now know that the snare drum is the same one as used by the drummer from ‘Metallica’, enough said, I can feel you drifting off already. He asked me is Tracy was in Glasgow just now? That kind of surprised me. Tracy was probably the best female friend I ever had. We met when we both lived in Rhu and is often the way, we met through our children. My daughter was attending the nursery school at HMS Faslane, the children were picked up each morning by the Navy transport and returned at lunchtime. I received a call from one of the teachers late one afternoon. asking if I could take a message to a mother who had just moved in the day before, as her phone wasn’t set up yet. It surprises me still how such a simple act, could have impacted so massively on my life.

Before I met her I never realised that you could just simply meet someone and with in hours feel like we had been together since birth. It is probably fare to say that we changer each others lives in ways that those around us couldn’t understand. Both our husbands were in the Navy and both of us were frequently alone, we filled that void left by husbands, duty and distant families, we took care of each other and supported each other. With the children off to nursery, we would sort out anything that was needing to be done in our homes then meet in one or others houses for coffee, most afternoons we gathered up the children and our dogs and head off to the spit or off up into the hills behind the village. When I left my first husband and went to work at the Ardencaple Hotel, Tracy soon after landed a job there as well and although I was now single and living in Helensburgh, we made a point of seeing each other outside work, going out for evenings together and remaining firm friends.

I new her husband didn’t like me, but put up with me for Tracy’s sake and when I move to Glasgow and our relationship stayed strong, he told me to my face that I wasn’t going to take his wife from him. Clearly he saw me as a threat. At least twice a month we would spend 24hrs together, she would stay over at my house and we went out shopping and clubbing. With me she knew that what ever she did in that time I would never tell anyone. I gave her the freedom to be herself and not just a wife and mother, I gave her the support she needed to grow up and she returned every second of it. We were always there for each other at any hour of the day or night.

I will never forget the phone call the day that she found out that her husband who she had thought of leaving more times than I could remember, was having an affair. Just like my ex he had had several over the years but this one she found out about and the truth tumbled in behind it. As she had supported me, I supported her through the break up of her marriage. By this time the Navy had posted them to Bath and of course she had moved there, she had a job, her daughter was settled in school, so her life was there. We thought about sharing a home but decided against it, work was the main reason, we both had jobs we loved and neither wanted to change it. But still our friendship didn’t change.

While she was staying with me for a holiday, she met one of my friends and started and affair with him, but he was possessive, no matter what she or I said to him, his infatuation with her was becoming destructive. He would send flowers, turn up at her home in Bath, phone her several times every day and then again in the evening. She moved house and I refused to tell him where she was, but he found her. I knew she thought I told him but I didn’t. The last time I saw her was less than a year after that. I asked her to be witness to my marriage to Adam, she stayed in Glasgow with us for a few days before the wedding. Everything seemed normal, she was excited and enthusiastic about all of it. On the day Tracy and my daughter were to me the most important guests and they were fantastic.

Adam and I returned from honeymoon and I tried to phone Tracy, there was no answer. I kept trying, thinking that maybe she had gone on holiday, or was working extra shifts. After a month I stopped making excuses for her and realised she was gone. I tried, I tried really hard but couldn’t find her. We bought a house a year later and moved, taking our phone number with us just in case she wanted to call me. I still secretly hope that one day the phone will ring and it will be her, but it never is.

Jake thought he saw her in the supermarket a few days ago. The person looked as he thought she would now and she kept looking at him as though she wasn’t sure if she knew him. Neither spoke to each other, so I will never know but I have asked Jake that if he should ever see her again to make a point of speaking, I don’t care why she vanished but even 13 years on I would love to see her again. Friendships like that are rare and even if I never see her, she will be a special person to me for ever.

Sliding transition

I can’t get myself moving today, not physically but mentally. My mind just want to coast not take in or even bother to process the simplest of things. My TV is on and I have been trying to play one of the games on my PC, but this numb fuzzy feeling is filling every spare cell. I’m feeling unbelievably lazy. No desire to move an empty coffee mug or even fill it up again, just a relaxed nothing. I suppose this is one of the few luxurious that unemployment allows you. There is no pressure other than to read through the job adds and apply for some. So far this month I have applied for 21 and had 11 refusals, at least this month they are actually telling me I haven’t got the job. I couldn’t believe that in December only 3 refusals for the 30 applications. So OK, I like no one else likes to get refusals, but I do like everyone else, like to know that I actually exist.

I have to get active, being forced into doing nothing is something that I never thought anyone would manage to make me do. This isn’t me. I’m not a lazy person. I’m not someone you find lying on the settee to watch TV, I’m the one who sits up on the edge trying to keep my back straight. I was the person who ran round the house before going to work making sure there were no dishes in the sink, ashtrays were empty and ‘Home and Gardens’ could have done a photo shoot at any second. Why, I’m not sure, may-be because that was how my home was as a child. But there was and is just me, not my mother and the 3 ladies who came round to the house twice each week to help her. Adam does what he feels needs done and he will never be the houseproud person I was and still at heart am. I’ve learned to live with spots of dust and things in the wrong place, but I’ve never been as bad as this. I’m kidding myself saying that it’s just today, it happens more and more these days and I don’t like it, I don’t want to like it.

How do you find the focus that working gives you, when there is no work? It’s not just the having a wage, it’s having structure with a purpose, centered activities and the planning of everything else round it. All I can center on now seems to be the 12 hrs of sleep my body demands. That leaves 12 more that are filling themselves with drifting and I’m scared by the vision in front of me of the day when even my PC vanishes and all I’ll see is the TV. I’ve seen it in others and now I can glimpse it in me. When I drift it masks the pain, as drifting needs no motion or effort, but it a strategy that doesn’t appeal.