Dancing Alone

What a strange week.
Full of something’s and nothing’s. The biggest excitement being ”will my contact lenses arrive?”
Just some old out of date prescription glasses to keep me going. They just make me feel a bit dizzy. So living right now with blurry vision that I have every faith will become crystal clear any day soon.
One thing that has arrived is some courage. Little moments of courage in honesty, mainly with myself. Saying how I feel being most important to me. Being at my most open and true and me that I can be because I don’t wish to live a life of pretend, or suppression or muted. If it is all out there there is nothing else to worry about other than just living. As for the world of imagination, it is as real for me as having my arms and legs. I love feeling brave enough to share that.

So 6 weeks in and I’m finally starting to feel some changes in myself. Nothing major or life changing. Just little things that are giving me a better sense of well being and a clearer idea of who the hell I am.
While Jared Leto emerged out of a rock star 12 day silent meditation in the desert thinking “what the fuck is happening.. it’s completely crazy”, I disappeared into the forest across the road, thinking “what the fuck has happened to me over the past 3 years.. Am I completely crazy?”.

Im not sure it’s silent meditation but it is repetition every day, of space, quiet, peace, calmness, beauty and freedom. Having worked relentlessly for the past 3 years and looking out for others I am totally owning this moment for myself. It’s not all plain sailing. I’m feeling the waves. As I have moments of up they can quickly be followed by a down. This week bringing a discomfort in seeing some truths given back to me that made me feel embarrassed. I was only stung by my own realisation not them. Knowing that anything given comes with care and generosity. I’m also very aware that as I am changing so are others. But I like this natural evolution where nothing can be controlled. It feels very free if a little scary in moments. But I am concentrating on what things look and feel like for me. To feel them how they are felt rather than how they should be felt. Honesty in myself and my way of being and sharing that with others.
Totally determined to find my way to better knowing I will probably never get the luxury of having this time and opportunity again. I’m certainly not gonna waste it on doing stuff that I’m told is good for me. Generally I know what I need it’s whether I allow myself to have it that is the issue. But right now I am.
Trying to give myself the best chance of living the best life I can within the confines of my own beliefs values and means. Heavy stuff I hear you say. Not so much actually when I’m in the forest. There it feels so light. It is becoming a haven of dealing with things in a place I can see more clearly.

So checking in on where I’m at.
I’m not feeling completely exhausted and run down.
I’ve expelled all the hurts and pains and difficulties of others I have seen over the past 3 years. Layering heaviness inside me in feeling how heartless this world can be. I am questioning again my suitability for this job when I balance it against my own happiness and wellbeing.

I’m not crying and feeling like I’m broken down anymore.
I haven’t had any flashbacks now for 2 weeks even when it rained.
I’m sleeping better.
My skin and hair feel nice and I have more sparkle in my eyes.
Natural living suits me. I don’t miss the things of others. My hair is alway messy, I don’t get my nails and eyebrows done and I’m happy in jeans and T-shirt. Happy to step it up girl style if I’m going somewhere nice but otherwise the easy breezy look works for me. I don’t have much interest in taking photos of myself. I know what I look like 😊
I’m not smoking and yes after 6 weeks Im feeling the positive effects of that. My plastic cigarette in my pocket but rarely taken out.
I am eating my normal crap but relative to normal life no where near the amount of chocolate and crisps I normally eat even though I never really put on weight. I’m just not an oatmeal kind of girl. But I believe at some point I will get to a healthier version of food and exercise. I love both. Will dedicate some time to that when I get to it.
I too have noticed all the new runners who have surfaced. Finding myself wondering, why as the world finally slows down do they feel the need to quicken up. As I float along in my walks I wonder if they are still missing everything around them as they focus their minds to get there as quickly as possible. Get where????
Or perhaps they are just motivated by having a great arse. It’s a goal.

I received a postcard today from Miss Grand Prix. “wish you were here… hello from the asylum” complete with pictures we have sent each other of trees, clouds, rainbows, sunsets and bubbles blown in a moment of giggles in our forest. I did ask for answers on a postcard and of course she sent me the answer of beautiful, genuine, meaningful and loving friendship. How it warmed my heart and made me smile. Those core few being so solid and wrapped up in my heart. Gradually adding to the periphery with others who I feel a little more able to let in. Not too close. Just enough to reengage. Slowly does it.

My friend K suggested I might like to write something for submission to somewhere that feels unimaginable for my words to sit.
Initially I thought, I don’t meet the criteria. But after taking my extended weekend forest walk and feeling the sun and the tunes in a way that saw me dancing in all different parts of the forest and connecting with others as they smiled and waved in feeling my happiness, I thought “Fuck it. Why the fuck not”.
I’m gonna write about Forest Club. The greatest club on the whole planet where it all happens and I could live a life quite happily. Build me a wooden shack, grow my own food ( I might need some dairy milk and teabags delivered as a luxury). I forgot quite how much of a loner I am inside.
Doubt I’ll be published but liked the brief idea of it. It made me smile. Instant therapy.

As I journeyed to that special place today I had a little lay down in the sun by the pond and chatted to the duck.
“Blimey look how your ducklings have grown” I said. “It feels like it was only yesterday that they came into this world and now look at them.

An hour before as I arrived in the forest I found myself bumping into another friend. A friend that has been a source of complication for me through half my life. What is it with timing and this forest right now. As I think about these different relationships and work out my role in them, I find myself coming face to face with some key players as they come under consideration.
I know I say I’m crazy but come on. Someone is obviously helping me in this journey.
I first met this person when I was 21. That seems like yesterday also, and I can picture that afternoon/evening very clearly having been to see Grease in London with my mum and sister before I travelled there. One of those moments where you meet someone and you click immediately. Left standing outside together chatting like we had known each other our whole lives. Full of charm and chat. He was the one that wasn’t.
Doing the right thing, loyalty and safety being my driver. And this friend did not mess with that because he felt that loyalty too. Push it down and pretend.
Always hard to do when you find yourself around someone alot. It just festers away underneath. You can deny it on the outside but you know what it feels like underneath.
So a friendship of suppressed feelings evolved through the years. Me feeling guilty just for having those feelings and him pushing the boundaries of spending time with me. Random moments of pent up feeling, which were continuously squashed Finding ourselves in the group and then suddenly completely separated from them without realising as we chatted obliviously and unaware of those around us. Full of respect and care for the other and never letting anything happen that would be deemed as inappropriate. Just tiny moments of eye contact or a touch. Sexual tension that was constantly there and as time went on and lives changed feeling like I had to distance myself more. I remember all of his girlfriends disliking me even though I never did a thing wrong.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer still. I found that they tried to befriend me even though I could tell they didn’t like me. My name apparently being golden to him. I’m not surprised they didn’t like me. If I talked to him too long they would swoop in. Understandable. I would have felt the same way.
But I was happy to take those innocent moments that would find us quietly whispering and in a couple of drunken moments holding hands in a cab.
As I write it sounds so cliche and stupid. Actually it was just two people who really liked each other but circumstances said that it could never be.
But in the moments when he had a drink he would reveal his feelings .
I of course would panic and feel like I should probably say ten Hail Mary’s for being emotionally unfaithful and encouraging his revelations. And would look for that distance again.
It did not matter what I felt because that sense of loyalty and doing the right thing was so strong. Right and wrong. I had a good man. Someone who I loved and loved me. Someone who wanted to protect me and make me feel safe. I liked that feeling even though even then he felt very dominant.
I remember when my friend told me in a moment of irritation that I was settling. Bloody cheek I thought. What did he expect me to do. Wait around for him. He was the archetypal commitment phobe with money and a string of dollies and a party lifestyle. I liked him so much but I didn’t want a life like that. It felt empty.
So my response was to go and get married in secret. Cemented in a piece of paper. I didn’t want to mess up what felt real and safe and certain.
I just wanted a normal family where I could be happy. Simple was enough.
I described him as danger because I had to tell myself constantly to do the right thing and that I had no real feelings for him. The truth is he was someone I cared about very much and I know he cared about me. As we stood there chatting I still felt his care for me.  There is an easiness that comes from familiarity. And on NY eve as everyone fell asleep we sat there talking as though no time had passed. All the challenges of his life being shared.
Just another confusion which I didn’t want or need in amongst all the other chaos.

I started the new year wishing even more that I could disappear back to the new life I had built. Where I was finding my way slowly.
Where I felt the possibilities of new that didn’t come wrapped up with expectation, guilt or a requirement to be what I’m not. Where I could make choices that made me happy.  It felt like a second chance where I wasn’t constantly put down as I tried to be more. I found the courage to try and be more on my own despite how scary that felt.
And yet it was taken away in a moment. By my unending sense of duty. Doing the right thing. Sometimes I wish I didn’t care about that. Very often actually. And yet I’m just not made that way. How different my life would probably look if I wasn’t made that way. If I felt free to do as I pleased. To make decisions just based on what made me happy. And then what? It’s fine if you don’t care but I do and it would be like selling my soul.

Earlier today I had the TV on to keep me company. Blue Bloods. An American cop show. Found myself watching that more than working, and thinking about right and wrong as the lawyer battled with the choice of having a better life by working for a private law firm or following her values and beliefs and ethics by continuing as the district attorney.
“We are playing the same game” said the lawyer in designer shoes as she helped her gangster client escape. “Don’t you judge me”
I thought about those words. “Don’t judge me” and yet it’s not others judgements that bother me it’s my own.
Trying so hard always to be the girl who does the “right” thing. That cares about others and considers them in how I live life and wants the best for them.
Knowing that some people will always fare better. Will take care of themselves and will find new and better things.
And then thinking of P who needed me from when I first met him. Do I need to feel needed? Probably.  I guess we all do. Look at what happens when we all have no real purpose. We find and make ways of feeling like we have a purpose. Although right now my only purpose is sorting myself out.
With P, he had his friends but he was very much a loner too. Who just wanted to feel loved. Something I’m good at. The rest was extras that he liked but didn’t understand. I think love and sex would have probably sufficed(As he told me .. birds generally get on my nerves. They’re just so boring. But you are interesting) I think he would prefer to talk about football and racing really and I of course took an interest in what he loved because I loved him. But I think it was only really my love that he wanted. I often wonder what it looked like for him as a kid. He has shared very little through a lifetime.
I even felt his jealousy when our girl came along and my love was taken elsewhere. He would hate to think that but it was there. I felt it. I remember trying even harder to be all those things he needed. The Jerry Hall school of keeping a man happy. Multi tasking in characters to fulfil the requirements because it felt so important for me to make a success of it.
Wondering whether I looked for a partner for me or a decent father for children I always wished for. Only having the one because I didn’t want to put pressure on P with responsibility. My girl adores him and they are so close.
I could not have chosen a better dad for her. He makes her feel completely safe and loved and that makes me feel happy. Mission accomplished.
Spot all the clues of what i missed but I ensured she did not.
Am I just textbook?

Over the years he constantly questioned me on friendships with people he didn’t know. Not wishing me to have friends he didn’t know but especially men. So I didn’t. His insecurity becoming mine in feeling bad anytime a man spoke to me. Always keeping that safe distance.
Perhaps he had seen what was quietly hidden but never acted upon. Am I the cause of all those insecurities? I didn’t mean to if I am? When I met a friend at work that I got on well with, I hid him. It felt like he became more than he really was because I couldn’t mention him.
Often it felt like living two separate lives. One at home and one in the world. Disappearing little by little not so he noticed until I felt completely removed from that life with him. Completely alone. Having to try to be what I wasn’t and feeling bad every time I got it slightly wrong. I remember taking P to see someone he loved at the southbank. As we sat down in the theatre the man next to me started chatting to me. I could feel my anxiety rising as it did in any moment a man spoke to me when P was there. I smiled and talked enough to be friendly before cutting it off. P didn’t talk to me for the rest of the night.

Sometimes when I say it out loud I feel stupid.

The truth is I have never been unfaithful other than a kiss. I’ve only ever had sex with 3 different people my whole life.
All the craziness that my life has been from an early age and yet I’ve lived this relatively pure existence in that sense. “The good girl”.

When I hit that moment of doing something for me 5 years ago I was never so excited. Something just for me. I just wanted to finally  follow my heart.
The universe certainly gave me that in ways I could never ever  have imagined.



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