Wordgame: Serum

Fucking trust me to add something like ‘serum’ to my word game. Fuck knows what else I have lying in wait to shoehorn into relevance.

When it comes to skincare, I like serums. High concentration, minimal residue.

For many years I had no skincare routine at all – I didn’t even wash my face – and I greatly preferred it that way. Partly, yes, because I couldn’t be arsed. But also because any time I did try out something in the way of skincare, it messed shit up. It disrupted the balance. I could feel it, and it felt worse.

Serums though, are my kind of skincare. In, out, no-one even knows that they were there. They have allowed me to believe I am finally exploiting the miracle of modern science to preserve my countenance. Because I can use a serum, and my skin is still my skin. I have now built an entire regime around having my skin still feel like my skin.

When it comes to relationships, I think I prefer serums too. Give me the good stuff, but don’t fuck with my life.

For a long time I’ve mostly avoided them, because all the ones I ever had disrupted the balance, and I realised being in them felt worse than being alone.

But I’m exploring other options.

Wordgame: Split

I have had two memorable experiences of a visceral split in my life. I’m not referring to a mere change in external factors, but rather a feeling deep within me of being torn asunder.

The first, when Polaris disappeared, was abrupt, catastrophic and incomprehensible. The only way I could describe it at the time was as the Universe being split in two, and I felt desperately stranded on one side of the chasm. The second, when I was embarking on a relationship with the father of my child, began as a bizarre and uncomfortable stretching, until eventually I felt that I, myself, had split in two. I could choose where to place my consciousness, but I wasn’t fully present on either side, and the halves were irreconcilable.

I hypothesise that this splitting was the sensation of disconnecting from my true self.

When I met Polaris I was very disconnected. I was broken and beaten from a lot of toxic situations that I had, to a large extent, willingly endured. I was exhausted and disillusioned; living in the aftermath, in a world that had become desaturated. Polaris brought colour. He wasn’t the only one; I was experiencing a pivotal moment with or without him, but he was a significant catalyst. He mirrored to me the parts of myself I had mistakenly disavowed, and highlighted the parts I had carelessly betrayed. He confronted me with all the things I wanted to be.

And he started doing this, it must be mentioned, unknowingly, before we’d even spoken, because of the way life delivered him to me. I was incredibly resistant to the very idea of him at first, despite also being inexplicably compelled. There was even an aspect of revulsion. But he kept being presented, and the resistance developed into curiosity. When we finally did speak, it didn’t take a lot. A floodgate was opened within me, and the ensuing torrent was thrilling, terrifying and confusing in equal measure. And it carried me. To a different place. To a beautiful, fantastical place, drenched in power and possibility. And I resisted that too.

Until I didn’t. And the moment I fell hook, line and sinker for the fantasy, he was gone. Presumably, because his work was done.

But mine was not. Because I had attached him to the fantasy. I had attached him to the power and possibility. I had attached him to the sense of wholeness I had found. And when he left my life, I felt suddenly bereft of all the beauty I had so recently discovered. I had no idea how to reclaim it.

I spent the next years trying diligently. Learning, and working to accept, that all of that beauty was actually within me.

By the time I met Babydaddy I was in the best place I’d even been, and I’d gotten there on my own steam. But I was still fragile. Untested. Unweathered. Babydaddy presented a challenge to my healed chasm. He still lived with a rift whose magnitude rivalled my own in younger years. At first, the challenge was fine; it felt like an opportunity for growth. Intimate contrast. An exercise in holding my ground in the face of his fear. And that was the stretching. I was dubious about living that way long term, but it felt valuable and instructive in the moment.

When I got pregnant, though, the scale tipped. The challenge was too great. I let my own chasm gape once more. I knew how to vault over it now, so I wasted much of my energy doing so, in order to avoid the real work. I wasn’t bereft this time, just exhausted from straddling incompatible worlds. I had to make a choice: disconnect from the beautiful, fantastical place I had worked so hard to recover, or leave the relationship and heal my chasm once again. It wasn’t a choice. But I still took too long to make it.

During the second, incremental split, I had been aware that it was happening. But I didn’t trust myself to know what was best. I didn’t trust, in the face of opposition, that I could live in beauty and grace. I conceded that I must be wrong about the world. That I needed to let go of the fantasy, and this was the way to do it.

It wasn’t. Because that wasn’t true for me. I was living a life that wasn’t true for me. I was out of integrity. Denying myself wholeness. Denying myself a sound structure. I made myself unseaworthy.

I’d like to think I’ll never make that mistake again. But life is long, and full of twists and turns. Who knows what calamity could emerge to shake my very foundation? And every new day is an opportunity for microfissures to appear. All it takes is a little complacency, and I’ll be splitting down the middle all over again.

Easy way out

You know what I would prefer?

Would you perhaps prefer to save your most cringe-inducing confessions for a private journal, instead of plastering them on the unforgiving coastal rockface of the internet where, one day, when you least expect it and perhaps have more to lose, they could be dredged up and aired out in front of a cold and harshly judging audience?

No, I’d prefer it if it turned out Polaris was in love with me. And I would prefer it if it turned out I was in love with him. Not the ideal version of him that exists in my imagination, but the actual person that I can’t claim to know. And, I promise, it’s not because I’ve been watching fucking Christmas rom-coms. Wait, it’s not, is it?

I have long become comfortable with it not happening, of course.

Obviously.

…In theory.

I am not especially concerned with the packaging my future fucking life partner is wrapped within. They certainly don’t have to be him. But they do have to be a lot of things. Things I (probably inaccurately) associate with him, and have yet to associate with anybody else.

So the problem is this – and, maybe, like the mechanic stuff, this’ll seem less like the case when my son is older; maybe this is just a phase of my existence where I am destined to be romantically unattached, with hands devoid of tools – finding someone I don’t yet know to build a fucking life with just sounds like so much fucking trouble. Finding someone who meets the fucking criteria is just such a fucking hassle.

Love is not an issue. Love is fucking abundant. I have no trouble loving. She fucking says. I just can’t be bothered to build up trust. I can’t be bothered to invest time in someone who might not be where I am. I can’t be bothered to go through all the motions of developing the relationship in a fucking healthy and appropriate manner. I have enough of that in my dreams, for fuck’s sake. It would be such a relief to skip merrily through that part, because the person who my brain has already been rewired to unconditionally revere, coincidentally, turns out to be worthy and reciprocating of that in such a way that it facilitates a real world, physical reality, human relationship. That’d be nice, eh?

A year and a half ago, my ex – in some vague attempt to maybe, kind of, get me back, but not really, just maybe see if I was available, I don’t know, just find out, theoretically, if that could be an option, you know, if he decided that he wanted it to be, he wasn’t sure, just putting the feelers out – said it would be so much easier if we were together. And, as much as that didn’t make me swoon, I empathise. I would like things to be easier too.

For me, though, the logistics aren’t the issue. The logistics pale in comparison to the emotional labour. So I don’t much care if I have to cross oceans. I just want someone I would happily cross oceans for. But, more importantly, I want someone who has earned my crossings, so…

I don’t think I’m going to be able to take the easy way out. I think I have to go through the hassle.

…Ugh…maybe later.

Tim

I have recurring dreams about being in a romantic relationship with Tim Ferriss. This is not by choice, but it is my reality nonetheless. While I’m not attracted to Tim Ferriss, I do like and admire the version of him I have been exposed to, and so I suppose that accounts for some of it. But he’s, not like, you know, Guy Martin. Or David Tennant. Or Sufjan Stevens. He’s not even Jason Mraz or Elon Musk. He doesn’t capture my fascination or make me giddy with joy. He’s just a very steady, positive, peripheral presence. Somewhere between Andrew Huberman and Seth Godin. I’m just having fun listing people now.

They’re not sex dreams about Tim Ferriss, exactly, although there is sex; they’re specifically about having, developing, maintaining a romantic relationship with Tim Ferriss. I don’t recall ever having that kind of dream about anyone else. Only Tim. Always Tim.

That’s all. No conclusions. Just thought you should know.