Sunday, September 25, 2016

Slow down season

This summer appears to be holding on for dear life here in London.  We're heading fairly quickly into October now and today is cotton dress weather; hot as hell and barely Autumnal.

I'm doing a lot of walking at the moment, also running, yoga, making things with my hands.  I'm trying (and generally failing) to stay off the internet unless it involves writing - generally I'm just trying to retrieve myself in some way after a year of living in a bubble.

I enjoy what I do for a living and by all accounts I'm fairly good at it, but ultimately, even when it's good, I burn-out because I become so immersed in making it perfect that I can't switch it off.  I'm an all-or-nothing sort of person, I realise and I spent a long, long time living in a world of compromise, a sort of partial world where I was working 60 hour weeks and when I wasn't working, I was forcing myself to meet someone else's standards and parenting in between.  It was exhausting and unhealthy, because I was consistently trying to do it all, hating it and failing, miserably.

It turns out that hitting that level of burnout isn't something you can just spring back from.  I am permanently on edge and permanently 'on'.  Switching off is nearly impossible, my brain works a mile a minute, it over-thinks everything and is totally unable to relax.  I'm jumpy and I'm still not really sleeping and it's been nearly a year since I turned off all the really harmful things.

It's been exacerbated by my inability to stop taking on new things and filling my life and my calendar.  Recently, something which has taken a massive volume of my time and energy has come to an end and I can already feel myself surging to fill the empty space, because I am just unable to stop.

I am blessed with a large volume of friends, large enough that should I want to go out several times in a week, I can manage it easily.  And because my internal system is always racing a mile a minute, generally I accept every invitation I receive, which results in me continuing to do too many things, which exacerbates everything which is wrong with my head.


It may take me a while, I may struggle, I may fail a lot, but I am going to try to do fewer things, to see fewer people, to spend more time with myself and my boy and make a point of calming my head.

I guess this remains to be seen.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

All the dusty corners

Writing is a form of therapy; I'm not sure what actual therapists think about that, but for me, when I write, stuff comes out of my brain that I wasn't sure was in there.

I'm writing something big at the moment, something I'm unlikely to release into the wild but it's turned out to be really fun.  It's involved me looking up a lot of people on the internet whom I haven't seen for 30 years or more and to be honest, it's been a riot.

Part of the exercise is looking back on how I was and how that has made me who I am now; what decisions I made, particularly ones which I make repeatedly and which it might be a good idea to shelve. The other part is to look at some of the people involved in those decisions and, frankly because I'm a nosy cow, I've gone and looked them all up.

So far I've not had as many surprises as I would have liked.  The boy who I thought would be a doctor is a dentist, the boy I thought would take over his father's farm probably did just that, at least he's sitting on some agricultural board somewhere.  The girls I thought would get married and settle down early are now grandmothers, the ones I thought would go off the rails are still wild and beautiful; some of them look a bit lost now, but then I'm sure I do too.

Some people are impossible to find; some have either resisted the lure of the internet; or perhaps they have died or changed their names or moved so far away that they are lost in a sea of people with the same names.

Some I've found through their obituaries, memorial pages on facebook and the like.  Equally, some who I thought would have died years ago are still alive and living in strange and wonderful places.  Some have gone on to do wonderful things.  Some couples who I thought would never last are still happily together; some I thought would last forever are now parted.

The great surprises are the best part of this stalking of my past, way better than the dentist; like the chap I thought would have overdosed years ago who now looks absolutely fantastic and is living some sort of dream in an exotic location with a beautiful woman... or like the first boy I ever kissed properly who is still handsome as hell and looks like he's having a blast being an awesome teacher.  Or like the pinched, mean little lying girl who is now a beautiful singer songwriter.  Time has brought things to all of us.

It's helped me remember too what I loved about myself back before things got so miserable and the upshot is that I'm going to try putting something out in writing on a daily basis.  My writing skill is a muscle and sadly it's pretty flaccid these days; but I have a book to write and various corners of the internet to dust off, so I'm going to see what happens.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


FireSo this is pretty much my life now.  Everything is on fire, and what wasn't burning already, I've struck a match underneath and lit up anyway.

I get like this.  When things start to slide and I can't hold them back, I start looking for things I can throw onto the pile.  It's like a mania, I start throwing shit out of my life and I can't really stop until everything is gone except the stuff I feel is completely safe.

A year ago I threw the frog out, finally.  It was about time.  Even the child was fine with this.  I then started doing All The Things I couldn't do with him around and because there were so many of them, I started doing too much, until I realised I was holding on to way too many things, I was running a mile a minute, two miles a minute, more.

Things started dropping and sliding, stuff caught fire.  At first I resisted, then I realised how good it felt to let go of some of this stuff... now I'm in full 'Burn It!' mode.  It feels good.

But, there's a but, the problem is, I threw out something quite precious.  I didn't mean to, I just felt it slipping a bit and decided it was unsafe, so I put it on the bonfire to see what would happen and sadly, it seems to be going up in smoke.

I've never pulled anything off this sort of fire before and this is something that should probably have burned up a while ago.  But it's a shame, it's given me a lot of comfort over the past year.  I guess once the fire has cooled off, perhaps the ashes will reveal some great truth.  Or maybe not.

Sometimes things just burn.