Twice round the block

I decided to start running a few days ago. I ordered my shoes, they arrived ahead of schedule, and then I bashed my foot and knelt on a screw while modifying my son’s bed. Which I found quite amusing, because it’s a bit of a pattern for me to injure myself right after I’ve decided to do something physical, as if my brain didn’t provide enough self-sabotage on its own. I also found it interesting that both of the body parts in question are the sites of prior, more significant injuries that will likely impact my ability to run long term. Like my body was saying Oh, shame, look, you can’t run, remember your dodgy foot and your dodgy knee? Aww man, you’re gonna have to sit this one out, I think. Nothing you can do, not your fault or anything, just maybe just come back to it one day when everything’s healed. Or, you know, maybe not, it’s up to you, no pressure. Running’s probably just not for you anyway to be honest, I’d probably just find something better to do. That’s probably best, I’d say.

However, I wasn’t even in the vicinity of that wavelength this time. I don’t know by which virtue I escaped it, but escape it I did. So I jogged on my mini trampoline for half an hour this afternoon, testing out my apparatus. And it was fucking fine. Then this evening, I took it to the streets. And I ran two whole miles, I think. Well, that’s what my Christmas Fitbit says, anyway. And it was fucking fine.

We’ll see how I feel tomorrow, but my inkling that I need to lay the gauntlet down for myself with an absurd running challenge of some description is getting more vicious. So that should be interesting.

And I’ve ordered myself some running socks. Things are getting serious.

Lay me down

Lately, I have been waking up in the middle of the night, because my brain has decided that that is a good time to worry about all the things I’ve said and done the previous day, and how I shouldn’t have said or done them, or should have said and done them differently.

That’s not a usual thing for me to do. And it’s really not helping my already precarious sleeping situation.

But it might make sense. My son started school part-time this week, and thus I’ve been spending a lot of time driving around and whiling away aimless, unproductive hours here and there in between my childcare duties. I’ve also spent a lot more time than usual with his dad, with whom I have a festering wound of a relationship, to be quite frank about it. And on top of that (or, more likely, because of it) I’m feeling an increasing pressure to conform to societies expectations; get a respectable full-time job and a home closer to the city. Be more like Daddy.

But I’m not like Daddy.

And I don’t want to be like Daddy. I want to be like Me. The full and glorious, spectacular Me that Daddy never really understood. There’s a lot of noise and distraction in my head right now, and I probably just have to ride out the turbulence. But I’d be doing everyone a disservice if I caved now. Yeah, I want some of the things that Daddy has. And, yeah, I fucking resent him for having them and that’s an issue I’ll just have to keep working on. But compromising myself to try to get them isn’t going to lead me anywhere good.

And it certainly isn’t modelling the values I want to nurture in my son. He doesn’t want me to be like Daddy either; he wants me to be like Me. He might even need me to be like Me, so that he can learn it’s entirely acceptable to be exactly whoever He is.

I need to get real here. I need to be able to withstand the dissonance I’m experiencing right now. Because this is my life. It isn’t anybody else’s. I have the privilege and responsibility of making my decisions. Past traumas, criticism, external judgements, self-doubt; I need to stop paying attention to them. I need to stop giving them power.

My goal has never been a comfortable life. My goal has been an extraordinary one. And every time I bail out and choose comfort, because I’m too scared that the people who say what I should want is a comfortable life are right, I’m failing myself. I can’t keep failing myself. I only get one shot at this. And I’m a fucking good shooter. Why would I shoot for a team other than my own?

Strange blessings

My neighbours are kind of shitty neighbours. They’re loud and dirty and often behave in ways I find inconsiderate. They’re low to medium grade annoying a lot of the time. When other people experience them they tend to comment things like they don’t know how I put up with it, it would drive them mad, they’d be raging at them after a few days. I, on the other hand, don’t really mind.

I like living in my flat. And yes, I even quite like living next to my shitty neighbours. Because underneath the crude, obnoxious, substance-loving exterior, they’re just…good enough people. They’re trying their best. They very truly mean no harm. They’re good enough.

At first, their shittiness itself was a relief to me, because I’ve spent so much of my life feeling like a burden, an inconvenience and a liability that I always enjoy being unequivocally not the worst. But then, as I learned to accept and appreciate them as people, they taught me to accept and appreciate parts of myself that I’d still up to that point been keeping estranged.

So I’m actually very grateful for my shitty neighbours, because their shittiness was exactly what I needed.

I hope I’m feeling brazen

As soon as I typed the phrase “I have a tendency to hyperfixate on people“, a voice in my head said you’re gonna have to write about Polaris again now.

While my parasocial celebrity fixations are largely wholesome and harmless, my real-life fixations have most often been of the variety that could be labelled toxic. Mainly because my brain loves the drama of emotionally unavailable men, and literally can’t get enough of the fucking chase. Give me obtuse statements to obsess over the meaning of and it’ll keep me occupied for days. Give me imaginary hoops to jump through to get you and I will be gleefully bounding all week. I genuinely enjoy it. It excites me. It’s fun. But, I mean, it’s also clearly interacting with my childhood trauma. It’s not healthy, and it invariably leaves me with the same feeling I get if I binge eat 800g of chocolate. Alongside the inevitable carnage, obviously.

Polaris exists at the intersection of these two breeds of hyperfixation.

For a brief moment in time we had a paper-thin, at-a-distance reciprocal connection. During that time, I recognised the familiar sensations of a very powerful hyperfixation developing, only at that time I just called it love. And honestly, experientially, hyperfixation is love as far as I’m concerned. Who knows what it would have become if allowed to run its course.

Much like Guy Martin, I found myself sort of uncomfortably attracted to him, because I couldn’t quite figure out what to make of him and thus couldn’t decide if being attracted to him was an acceptable course of action. Over the years I would come to understand; acceptability was entirely irrelevant. Reading his messages made me feel like the fourth minute of Hot Knife by Fiona Apple, on 1.5 speed, loud and through good headphones, and the sensation didn’t wear off on the rereads. If I still had access to them, I’m willing to wager I’d still feel like that. I was, and always will be, profoundly elated that he ever existed in the same Universe as me and I got to know about it.

And then he bounced, so naturally, the chase was on. Why did he leave? Was it something I said? Let’s analyse every word and figure it out. Was it something wrong with him? Let’s list all the fucked up things about him that might exist that could account for this behaviour. Am I a worthless piece of shit human and that’s why he disappeared? Probably, but maybe we can convince him that you’re not if we carefully craft some sort of outreach initiative. My faulty programming had a fucking field day strategising the hunt.

But that’s just the surface level. Simultaneously, something deeper was happening. Something…spiritual.

The day after my first message from Polaris, I wrote a song. I’ve written quite a lot of songs in my life. I don’t exactly write them intentionally – they just sort of come out of me sometimes, when they’re the only adequate way to express myself to myself. I don’t know what to do with most of them, so they get stuck in the limbo of just being a vocal melody that I’m too scared to reveal to anyone. That’s what happened to this song too. But when I started this blog and I needed a tagline, the only thing that seemed right to use was a lyric from that song: following the flow, the flux, of living, breathing days. I always thought I’d change it because it was a lyric, not a tagline, but nothing ever rose to supercede it. That line neatly encapsulates my intention in a way I will fail to if I actually try, and for the purposes of this post, it demonstrates that Polaris awakened in me something I’ve been trying to nurture ever since. His impact endured.

Thus, my life is demarcated by Polaris. Before and after. The way I’ve chosen to live; the discoveries and recoveries I’ve made; the things I’ve created…everything I’ve become beyond who I was before can be cleanly and unequivocally traced back to him. That should be a fucking uncomfortable statement to make, but it’s not. Polaris was a hyperfixation. But Polaris was also a soul-changing event. Polaris was divine intervention. If you’re sensing biblical vibes here, then yes, I am living in the year of the Lord.

There hasn’t been a day that’s passed since I ‘met’ Polaris that I haven’t thought of him. Which is quite the fucking achievement considering I forget my own son exists sometimes when he’s with his dad. I’ve never met this person – as far as I’m concerned, he has no physical form. Yet, long after I was starved of any new Polaris-related input, there he is. It isn’t about him. It could be about him, too; he might be as magnificent a human as I believe him to be, I simply do not know. I had to learn to live with the agony of not knowing. Fucking Schrodinger’s Star. But I don’t even remember him at this point. He’s just a nebulous mass. It’s about what he represented for me. And will probably always represent.

So many things converged to create the experience I had with Polaris. It was nothing short of magical, and it was also too fucking much for my human self. It obliterated me. And then it transformed me.

And because I am who I am, if I was going to transform, then it only made sense that it would be through connection with another human that I would access that transformation. But this was certainly not how I imagined that kind of thing would go. And, my god, what an awkward aftermath.

Exposure

I am the type of person who physically recoils from the idea of you reading my diary. But I’m also the type of person who forgets to put her diary away and instead leaves it open on the table when visitors come round. I’m the type of person who walks along the street and blurts out what she’s thinking about to herself before she realises she’s not alone. I’m the type of person who may or may not leave sex toys on display when her grandparents come to visit and who won’t notice until at least the second time everyone has been exposed to them.

Privacy is not something I am good at.

The side-effect of revealing myself to the ‘wrong’ person I talked about the other day, whether real or imaginary, sent me into something of a tailspin at the time. Realising that I had unintentionally, yet intentionally, made parts of myself public made me feel excruciatingly exposed. I started becoming contracted and brittle, stuttering through my business endeavours, entirely conflicted about the right course of action, hypersensitive to every indication that people were seeing me. I was too self-conscious to commit to anything. I had chosen to reveal myself, but I hadn’t thought through what that might actually mean, and now that I was, I didn’t like it. I wanted the benefits of feeling courageous, but none of the other consequences.

Bit by bit, I shut it all down. I’ve talked about this before too.

I’ve been diligently trying these past few years to get acquainted with vulnerability, because I’m so very terrible at invulnerability. Vulnerability is a thousand times more healthy than invulnerability, I know, but I guarantee if I was better at not accidentally exposing myself that would be the choice I would make every time. If I could control all the variables, I would.

I am perfectly happy to expose myself on my own terms, in a very controlled, curated way. But not so much in a vulnerable way. I don’t want you to see me make a mistake. I don’t want you to see a side of me I didn’t specifically choose to show you. But I will, and you will. So I’ve been trying very hard to be okay with that. To be okay with all of myself, so that if you don’t like it, at least I still do.

It’s a fucking journey.