Dicky-Dancing

I take too much responsibility for other people’s feelings.

I’m excruciatingly tuned in to how other people are feeling. It took me a long time to learn that a whole bunch of those feelings are nothing to do with me. People are complicated creatures living complicated lives, and they didn’t just emerge from the abyss a second ago to enter into this conversation with me. They’re carrying stories and problems and worries. That is mostly where their feelings come from. Sometimes, I may remind them of those stories and problems and worries, but I didn’t create them. It is fairly rare for their feelings to be directly or solely caused by me.

Now, even though I know that, if we take a look at my behaviour we’ll see I still dicky-dance about a lot trying not to cause anyone undue hurt. So, why, exactly, do I think dicky-dancing is required to avoid causing undue hurt? It seems an awful lot like I might have spent too much time around people looking for a reason to get hurt. People who were going to get hurt regardless of what I said or did.

Anyway, dicky-dancing is a terrible method to resort to. Just asking for some stepped-on toes.

In Spirit

My last post made me feel a little bit vulnerable. Like I wanted someone who actually knew Adam to tell me it was okay to talk about him like that. Like the idea of showing it to them made me want to crawl into a hole and cover myself with mud.

I have learned throughout my life that I am highly unusual in the way I experience love, and the way that I communicate about it. This is mainly because love to me is – very viscerally – an intense, free-flowing, transcendent, abundant, radically inclusive sensation. I feel it powerfully, for lots of people, at lots of times, and it isn’t correlated particularly to whether anything ‘warrants’ it. The way I experience love, on a day-to-day basis, is the way other people describe love when they’ve taken mind-altering substances. And, unlike Adam, instead of learning to embrace it, allow it, and let it flow through me, I encased it in layers of sickening shame from a very early age so that it had no choice but to explode out of the fissures at inopportune moments.

So now I am weird.

And I often worry about coming off as a creep, or intruding where I’m not welcome, because of how many times I have tripped over my own clown feet trying to navigate the dichotomy of intense love and intense fear living in the same house. My house. My confusing, inappropriate house.

It may be that I never learned to operate the dial that people have, to moderate their feelings to appropriate levels. Maybe I don’t have a dial. Maybe I don’t even have a switch. I spent a lot of my life trying to hide my whole house-full of flashing feelings under my skirt with a flushed look on my face. Constructing an artifice of unconvincing stories to justify my awkward stance and panicked, darting eyes. It was exhausting, ineffective, uncomfortable, and really, really weird.

By the time I met Adam, I was enacting a life experiment; to accept and integrate my radical version of love. And I was being pulverised by it. But Adam was the first person I met – possibly the only person I’ve ever met – who embodied that radical version of love. And so I learned it was not only viable, but also vastly preferable to anything I had ever known before. And so I kept going.

Nearly six years on, I’m comfortable that how I love is how I want to love, and it’s pretty easy for me to allow that. Until I have to walk on these creepy clown feet. But at least I’m there in spirit. Which I guess is where he is, too. Begging the question: Does it actually even count at all if you’re only there in spirit?

(Runaway) trains of thought

There are two main things I worry about unnecessarily. The first is my parenting decisions (especially the largely insignificant ones). The second is the wording of emails I send.

Last night I probably spent 3 hours wondering and/or researching whether refusing to give my son a bedtime snack when he said he was hungry was wrong. He’d had supper 15 minutes earlier. He seemed like he was stalling. But he hadn’t eaten much of his lunch and he didn’t have a big tea. So maybe he was really hungry. But it wasn’t going to kill him. But it might stop him sleeping well. But he was asleep now. But maybe it was bad quality sleep. But, worst case scenario, he might feel a bit tired tomorrow and he can have a big breakfast. But if I’d just given him a biscuit maybe this whole thing could have been avoided. But then I’d be wondering if the sugar in the biscuit was ruining his sleep. He couldn’t be actually hungry, he’d just had supper. But maybe he didn’t get enough calories throughout the day. Maybe I need to rethink my whole approach to preschooler sustenance. Oh shut up, he’s fine, give it a rest.

Then I woke up sometime around 3am and started thinking about how I was going to word an email I need to send today. Should I apologise for not sending it earlier? Because I really did mean to send it earlier. Or should I just explain why I didn’t send it earlier without apologising? Can’t always be apologising for everything, explaining is probably enough. How much detail should I go into in the explanation? Should I even explain at all or should I just ignore the fact I was going to send it earlier? As long as I send it now it doesn’t really matter, no point making a deal out of nothing. Should I outline everything I’ve done, or try to be as succinct as possible? I could save the details for the meeting. Should I estimate when I’ll be finished by or stick to where I’m up to so far? I’m going to have to estimate to schedule the meeting. Should I suggest a time for the meeting or wait to see what they suggest when they know where I’m up to? For the opening, should I include any details about my Christmas or should I just keep the niceties vague? IT’S NEARLY 4 IN THE MORNING AND YOU’VE BEEN WRITING AND REWRITING THIS EMAIL IN YOUR HEAD FOR MAYBE AN HOUR. WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT? IT’LL BE FINE, GIVE IT A FUCKING REST.

I’m not always neurotic, but when I am, I am it well.

Bedroom athletics

I have a new fun thing to do before bed. I jog on the spot with my eyes closed and imagine I am running through beautiful scenery.

Maybe it’s the effects of lockdown, but for some reason I find it seriously enjoyable. It might even be better than the real thing, because it doesn’t involve all that much actual exertion.

I’m no stranger to visualisation and purposeful daydreaming, so I know I have a pretty well developed imaginative faculty. But I’ve surprised myself with how effective this is at exalting my mood. It’s truly exhilirating. Which part of me thinks must be lame. But who am I to judge?

Now if only I could solve the problem of losing my balance, or accidentally running across the room and coliding with my desk chair.

The Doom-legume

I ate something with soy in at the weekend. Soy is my own personal doomfruit. I know it’s not a fruit, but I feel like if a foodstuff is going to be prefixed with ‘doom’, it’s going to have to be a fruit. Although, okay, I will grant you, there’s something quite charming about a doom-legume.

Between six and forty-eight hours post-doomfruit-consumption, I begin to notice the onset of a pervasive dread descending. The physical telltales normally show up sooner, but I prefer to write them off under other explanations if possible. The doom-dread, though, is definitive.

I have built an arsenal of many coping strategies by this point, so the doom-dread comes in waves, and sometimes I fool myself into thinking I’m managing it fine and maybe soy doesn’t have the same effect on me as it used to, or maybe I was wrong all along and, despite the very substantial body of evidence to the contrary, eating soy is actually something I can start doing more regularly.

And then I realise I’m lowkey panicking that I’m never gonna have any money and my life will continue to be nothing but a long-drawn-out trudge across a field of desolation and lack. And I think, hold on, that’s a bit extreme, things aren’t that hopeless. And then I remember that I have two grand in my current account right now, and all of my bills have been paid, and all of my needs are met, and I’m totally comfortable, and my savings and investments are growing, and there’s no reason whatsoever not to be sitting here with a shit eating grin on my face. And then I think, fucking doomfruit!