Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas for other people

It's 3am right now. I am not tired but I am overrun by things to do and to think about. I spent the last 3 hours trying to plan my week, with job applications, PhD proposals, two parties and gym every day for the next week. Maybe I'll say what I've done over the past few days:

Thursday: training, a bit of book review reading, falling asleep out of fatigue; planning the next few days

Wednesday: Training, job search, skyrim

Tuesday, First day of my friend's training regime, ended early, met up with some guys for computer game madness

Monday: Boxing day, some family awkwardness

Sunday; Christmas day, visited some family friends, played monopoly until ridiculous o'clock, I got some nice presents as it happens as well.


Now lets talk about other people. I've been an observer this Christmas. I've been thinking about how the year has been for other people around me and not just myself. Two stories come to mind right now.

One is of a family friend, back when I lived in bristol I was tight with this family that lived in a town in somerset. They have two kids, one is nearly the age of my brother, the other nearly the age of my sister. The younger one is seen as a bit of a dullard by other people, but I've always thought the world of him when I was little since he was older (that old one). This fellow has had some hardships over the years, he's been keen on joining the armed forces but keeps getting turned down, one time they said his 'hands were too rough' or that he was 'too short'. Despite this he has always been active and always pushes himself. I admire him as a determined individual although I did see a sense of sadness and isolation in recent years.

Recent gossip from his mother is that he is no longer seeing a girlfriend of over a year, and is now seeing another girl. Now it is a sign of how judgmental my family are and how judgmental his parents are that they emphasise how the girlfriend (whom he is no longer seeing) has children. With that they add how he spends so much money on them, with the implication in their inflection that they do not approve of this, or that these children don't deserve gifts. The other insight from his mother is that his new girlfriend is 17 years old. That immediately invites judgment from people. My mum told my sister's mother in-law this story and she went on in a diatribe about how 17 is too young and how she disapproves. My sister's mother in law is opinionated about many things, she makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable.

Another observation is from an online friend. I've known her for maybe 6-7 years now. At the time she was severely mentally ill, she held a few jobs but couldn't hold them down for long, and was in and out of the hospital. It's fair to say that her life was pretty shit, she had bipolar disorder and it really wasn't easy for her. As a depressed person myself we used to chat. I used to be a very angry and insensitive person at that time, and I said things that I regret saying to her. I think perhaps she also said things that she regrets, but I hold nothing bad against her. It's fair to say that I did develop feelings for her at some point. After a while of not hearing from her, I built contact with her again. I found out that she turned her life around, she met a new guy, she was doing a foundation degree and she got married.

Carol (so I'll name her) is a really determined person, she's in her 3rd year of med school and will soon enough be a doctor. I really admire how far she has come from hopping between mental hospital beds to being the student doctor, it actually makes me jealous. Carol used to envy me because I could at least control my depression to survive unviersity and I only ended up in hospital once, and in elss worse circumstances than her. All things considered, I didnt have it as hard as she ever did. I'm envious of how well Carol is doing now, med school and marriage is something that would have been a distant dream to anyone in a mental hospital, she really did make it out of there. To contrast, in some ways, my mind is still in that horrible place.

Carol told me that her marriage has ended, her husband said she didn't love her anymore and things had been difficult for a while. I  was utterly shocked when I told her and I felt incredibly sad. I know that she's come so far, and then something like that happens. I didn't know what to say to her, but I thought I might say: You'll pull through, I know it. But the thing is I don't know that. I do know that she's been to hell and back. Maybe, this isn't hell, so maybe she could survive this with less difficulty. I did tell her, and I felt horribly cliche at this point, that I was there for her at any time if she wanted to chat or talk about it. I felt disingenous because my feelings for her get in the way, I feel much sympathy and sadness for her, and it reminds me of how  I used to be with Marie, I felt that I wanted so badly to save her, to rescue her and make it better.

Face it, man, I can't 'save' her, she has to sort out her own problem. I can't make things better for people, I can't prevent tragedies. I feel this deep need inside me that I want to just make it go away for her. Carol represents so much hope to me, seeing her in this situation scares me deeply. Carol represents recovery, and the hope that someone who was in the bell jar can escape it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve as a 25 year old

Dear Diary,

My hangover has passed. I didn't intend to drink. I didn't foresee that I would drink either. Maybe I'll start today by talking about two related topics. Firstly, on this Christmas Eve of all Christmas Eves, I don't particularly feel happy about everything, nor do I feel overly down. I'm kind of in the middle. There are some good things and some bad things. I'll talk about that later in the section entitled 'sympathy'. What I will talk about now is 'yesterday'.


What did I do yesterday, I did some training with my friend at the gym, then I ate some burger king which was quite evil. However all things considered I only ate twice yesterday. I then did some clearing up. I received my shifts for January, which weren't many, it just barely makes the term shifts as plural. I will have lots of 'off' time in January. Which is fitting considering that November was all busy, December so far has been pretty busy as well. I should expect a big crash just after New Years. Everything is going to wind down and slow up. All the fun stuff is happening now, and then its dead again. That is what really depressed me about New Years past.

I got a text from Antonia to be a model for a massage class, which in turn meant I had a massage. I then found a conflict situation emerging in the class, I tried to talk to the person, and I found myself getting angry. I don't want to go into details but I would have gotten violent, and I realised this ugly hate inside myself and I left the class immediately because I saw a very unattractive part of myself. Feeling upset, I recieved a text from a friend saying that they were planning to go out that night, and I joined them.

We ended up drinking a bottle of scotch together and it was mighty fine, I had a good laugh with those boys and a bit of a cry, I say cry because we were crying with laughter. We then proceeded (I was reluctant) to a bar in Soho, it was nice for a while, I refused to have any more alcohol. I left after about 45 minutes because as I told my friends in terms they could understand 'I wasn't feeling it'. They seemed to have understood this obscure phrase but for me it meant that I felt down, felt tired and my anxiety was reaching its limits. On the way home I had another burger king meal (meal two) and tried to find myself around to get home after the last tube just left. I found myself on Trafalgar square where these two African tourists approached me asking where Charing Cross was. I then pointed literally to my 10 o'clock and told them that was where charing cross was. I then noted that the station would probably be closed by now and asked where they were heading. They said Earls' Court.

I decided just on the spur of the moment that I would help them get home. I walked with them to find a bus stop which would take them home and I was very friendly with them. I showed a side to myself that I forget exists inside of me. I helped them after about 10 minutes find a bus to get to their hotel, they were very appreciative, and I was very happy not only that I could help, but also that I could give a good image of the British public. I felt in some way it gave a very mixed image of who I am especially considering the confrontation earlier. On the bus home I was almost crying, lots of things were hanging on my head and upsetting me. I'm really glad that the night bus ended pretty close to my home. I should keep that in mind in the next instance I ever consider going home from a night out in the West End.


I thought one way to frame my feelings about this festive period of time is to talk about sympathy. This year I've had a very different perspective on the world, and on others compared to other Christmases, except for a couple of days ago when my dad gave me a cash present, I wasn't thinking about how I would personally benefit from xmas presents. I've heard different stories of many other families around me. One family has two male members dealing with (I wouldn't say 'suffering') depression and other related mental health issues. There was a bereavement in their family, and good friends of theirs died. One of them lost their best friend, because he's disabled has his DLA cut, and really has little to no life prospects. The other person in that family has been dealing with depression which is severe enough to affect his performance at work, and he may be dismissed if he's on sick leave for too long. Depression happens in real people, I wear an ushanka, have long hair and a handlebar moustache, I'm not a 'real' person by most stretches of the imagination. I feel sad for them, I appreciate that their life, and their times in general are difficult.

I think Christmas highlights the good and bad things in life. I spared a thought for my ex, while there are some family instabilities, she has a lovely boyfriend now and she treats her well. Good for her, I'm happy that she can have time to be happy and joyous and indulgent. There is another family that I know, who are essentially broken up this year. The father (my uncle) has died, my aunt has gone to Canada to see her new grandson, and my cousin is on her own without them this year. I think of her this year and I will make an effort to visit her. There are other families who have members dealing with illness as well, financial hardships and other kinds of instabilities. There is a couple that I know who had a son the age of my sister who died almost 2 years ago now. My mum visited his grave, apparently there were lots of other people visiting graves today, as they remember the dearly departed. I share a sense of sadness as I think of them. I see the homeless as well who deal with much challenge, it's bitterly cold sometimes and finding housing, tolerance, and employment can be even more frosty than the physical hardships of living rough. There's so much heaviness in the world, I've not even thought about my own life and I can get very upset.

There are good things as well. New life, new loves and relationships. My brother and brother in law's brother have girlfriends who are very devoted and to whom they are very devoted; my friends are facing prospects and achievements in their work and career; for many friends they are going through the best of their lives. If years were a season, I am in the April or May of my youth. 25 is the year where I can be both mature and young. I do feel youth passing me quickly as the heavier things seem to get on my mind. There are a lot of parties, a lot of drinking, a lot of eating, merriment, but what I like the most is the camaraderie and laughter of friends and family. Nothing lifts my soul more than a joke and the brotherhood of my boys (since most of my friends are predominantly male, and we do male things together, like have naked showers and do deadlifts). As Christmas passes and goes, I think of these people and many more who go through this day. I also think about Jesus. How wouldwe think of a married couple, where the mother is carrying the child of another man, where they are desperately poor and so poor that they have to be around horse shit in a stable as that's the only place that is closest to warmth. That would probably sound to a modern audience like an anecdote from Jeremy Kyle. I will add a coda to this blog post, namely an answer to the question: what will you (as in me) be doing for Christmas?

My Christmas.

Today my mum is making a lovely roast. Tomorrow we will be dining well, my brother is coming over. I'm not sure if his girlfriend is coming. I will recieve presents as well as give them. We will eat together, maybe laugh together, remember the past, and maybe hope for the future. I might be on my computer trying to catch up on my job searching and other tasks that I've put off for the past few days. There is a plan to visit a family friend and engage in some christmas karaoke (oh dear). Boxing day will involve a visit to my sister and there is the prospect of getting more gifts, and seeing the family that is joined together by marriage and the shared sense of awkwardness that we are culturally different. We are london grown suburban working class minority ethnic catholics with surrey upper middle class (sometimes i forget the middle is there) skiing white anglicans. I'm not saying that there is tension in the family, far from it by any means. However I do feel on edge with my parents and with myself, especially with their family because I want to be polite and I don't know them very well. Also there is the prospect of more food. There is also the prospect of lots of gym after the 26th. There is New Years Eve, New Years day, and a few days where my friends might still be in town to get together. After around the 5th, things start to get quiet and I'm off work until the 25th. That's when it gets emotionally challenging.

Everything kicks off right now for about 10 days and life feels like a dream, going merrily well. Eventually the boat goes down a waterfall after January and then I'm all alone again. I'm a bit emotionally distant because I'm preparing myself for that. So that's how I feel about Christmas. Maybe if I'm still writing memoirs when I'm 50, I'll write this post again sometime.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear Diary,

To a limited extent, I have been treating the days recent as any other day. I know however that its not just any other day, it's the lead up to Christmas. My thoughts have been preoccupied and I haven't been as focussed today. I went to the gym today, early as it happens, and did a second consecutive training session. 8 more to go. Yesterday was fairly busy, I had to sort out the problem with the shirt from uniqlo, then tighten my glasses only to find that the problem wasn't fixed (it's probably an issue of a worn out thread of the screw).

This afternoon I was chatting to someone on facebook, a girl from my support group that I run asking for some advice. I advised as best I could. I had a bit of an emotional trigger while chatting to her, and I'd be lying if I didn't say it affected me in a small way. So it's 3pm now, i've been invited to be a 'model' for a bodywork teaching class (long story) and I think I might go and appreciate the 'free' massage while other people watch me. I would quite benefit from a massage right now. There are so many different thigns that I need to do but I'm paying no attention to. I'm not sure if I'm tired or just not bothered.

Yesterday a lot happened in terms of meeting people. Today less so, the coming few days will continue to be busy, so I'm not quite sure if or when I'll get everything done

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cursed virtues

Dear Diary,

Monday was pretty productive. Tuesday not so much. I did pilates for the first time on Monday and Tuesday I felt exceptionally sore. I was genuinely going to skip it as my quads are worn out. I'm barely able to stand as it is. Tuesday (note that its 00:47 on a wednesday so I can't say 'Today') I caught up with my book reivew and played skyrim for ages. I played a bit of piano and then I got upset. A lot of things are eating away at me right now. The job market, my limited prospects, a low self esteem, bulimia memories, darker memories from the past are resurfacing. I'm remembering when I was 18 and I didnt have many friends at university. I hated how I had all these expectations and it didn't materialise. I just dropped like a lead balloon, and then I popped, like a fart.

I feel like such a loser. I really need to work hard. Maybe objectively speaking, one day this feeling of inadequacy might make me seem sexy and dark (not to say that it may to some women already). I fucking hate this feeling and I cant shake it off. Well, sometimes I can shake it off but only when I'm really active and I'm pushing myself. I feel that's the only way I can let go of this feeling of inadequacy. Maybe that or getting results.There's a lot I miss about purging, at home my mum is nagging my dad, and my dad is just having a throaty cough and doesn't speak in full sentences. There is a lot which is dragging my down mentally and emotionally, they make me feel like I cant be myself. I think that's how my neighbour felt, the one who drank himself silly and died at 33. My great fear is that I don't want to be him. My dad often looks at people on the news or on the telly and ridicules how bad their life is. Why can't my dad say when people show good qualities, why does he always have to think about the bad in people.

It is something all of my friends know as a trait in me, but they don't see it like that: they think 'I'm funny'. It's not funny, when its self-hate and despair.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tomorrow will be a better day, but today wasn't so bad either.

Dear Diary,

A lot of things go through my mind on any given day, and from time to time I get ideas of things that I need to deal wtih, but they happen so spontaneously that I forget to put them down when I'm actually around my computer, or it just passes through my hands like sand and I forget what I was thinking about, usually because other things get in the way. Today was definately an instance of having too much to think about.

I sorted out some loose lightbulbs today, I got a new shovel and worked out how it works (I know how stupid that sounds); I got more presents for xmas, with luck it will be the last of my present buying, except for a bottle of baileys that is obligatory for my friends. I got presents for my dad, my mum, and two potential women who may visit (such as my sister's mother in law, or my brother's girlfriend). Today I sorted out the odd bits that I needed to deal with. I have a gym pass that lasts 12 days for guests, and I am thinking about inviting a couple of friends to train with me over xmas. Both of them said yes, and there is something manly and brotherly about the prospect of training together.

After I got home, I then went out again to finish my errands. If I had more time and money I would have gotten a haircut as well. It's amusing how much I would do because the internet was down this morning and afternoon! Once I got home I was settling in and doing small tasks, I didn't go as far ahead with my tasks as I would have liked, but I did give a CV at a bar and that is a sign that I'm putting myslef out there, and it is a bit of a concession to say: yeah the job market isn't going to get any better, I'll just dig in somewhere to get money for work, because I really need the money and career goes into the shitter. Not that there is anything wrong with bar work, its just something that isn't part of my skill set (namely dealing with people, being happy all the time in appearance).

Tomorrow I plan to help out at the community garden, and then I hope to do some carol singing. It sounds like a plan, if it actually goes through. I also will need to post some letters off.

Lots to do, but I am not 'behind' as such today. It was a pretty good day for the run up to christmas. I know things are shit, but maybe I should allow myself the temporary joy of what Christmas is: a passing few days where the rules of time and my life are temporarily paused in this magical time period where I can revisit childhood again and time stands still in a crystallised and culturally accepted notion with traditions and principles and even the awkward parts are culturally normal, like my brother in law's family who make me feel a little on edge. That's not because I don't like them, they are lovely, but I just don't know them well and sometimes they ask personal questions that I hate.

Tomorrow will be a better day. Maybe that should be my mantra instead of 'onwards!' I also made a 9 day playlist of music, long story, but I like playlists.

Friday, December 16, 2011

on and off time

Dear Diary,

Today has been lazy, perhaps purposely so, perhaps necessarily so. On an ad nauseam basis, I'm going to go on about 'ooh I've so much to do and so little time'. Well, today I did have time, and I spent it going to the gym, reading for my book review and resting up a little bit (which may have involved a 3 hour wank). It's important for me, it seems, to have time away from everything, in order to do the things where I am 'on'. On time requires 'off' time. At the gym, I am trying to work on some different exercises, I have started using the smith machine, for example, I am also trying to lunge. If I didn't forget my shorts earlier I would have gotten into the sauna.

So I have decided to keep a few days of Xmas and new years free, this will necessitate an upsurge of activity to do before those days to keep those days free (what's the opposite of backlog by the way?). So that's all the stuff going on outside my head, now I'll talk about the stuff going on inside my head.

I'm thinking about purging again. I'm getting these thoughts, it kind of goes something like: do you want to be popular again? do you want to be smart again? do you want success?Its strange, it's not the connection between putting fingers into my mouth and the proposed result of getting success in life that is queer, it's the allure. The allure of being offered something that I deeply want. It reflects a wanting, and it reflects a perceived privation. I wish I had more money, more money improves the quality of life. Perhaps more friends, a social life, success, a life is fucking imploding, I have nothing going for me except my parents' generosity, google calendar and a well heated home. I do appreciate many people don't even have that, but I have so much at my disposal to help me and no results are coming, that makes me a failure. I'm a failure of the deepest kind. Mia knows that. There used to be another female voice and I've come not to see it as mia, but the mia I have come to know before is coming back. Mentally, I'm wearing down. I can't be 'on' all the time, I think that's the moral of the story.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wilkins and the cleaner

Dear Diary,

On a few occaisions this week, now being one of them, I wonder if I am more an observer of people than an active participant. I observed the way that a member of staff at my local gym has been treated, for instance. My friends used to joke about this employee when we play badminton, they used to joke for instance about his high pitched and 'effeminate' voice, and in fairness I did laugh at their impersonation. Earlier this week my friends were joking about how badly he cleans the badminton court.

A colleague of his later came on and cleared up the court for us (with better precision), said colleague informed us that this cleaner whom we have laughed at has learning difficulties. I immediatley stopped laughing and so did my friends. We commited a serious faux pas and it totally changed the way that they looked at him. To me it clicked about how I've encountered him in the past, there was always something different about how he behaved, he seemed at times abrasive and other times had little regonition about male nudity in the showers and continued to clean the changing rooms despite (most cleaners, I suspect, would wait). Maybe I felt sorry for him, or maybe I felt bad about myself but my mood dropped quite a bit when I thought of the guys were laughing at him. As we left the leisure centre some of his colleagues were being unduly horrible to him, its the kind of thing which might be cute work teasing, but in this context it was them being cruel because they can get away with it. That's just not cricket. Seeing relationships like that where people are marginalised really gets to me. I was marginalised once, and to some extent, I still am as an underemployed graduate.

Another thing that I was reminded of, came through one of my favourite artists on twitter mentioned a tour going through a club in bristol that I once went to. I was then reminded of a friend who I used to hang with at the time. I called him Wilkins, it was sort of a reference to world war II movies where some generic british officer with a middle class background was named wilkins. Anyway, Wilkins and I used to hang out a lot. I really liked that he was an older guy and thought that I was cool, I thought that he was really cool, being a PhD student. When I was hospitalised for 'mental health issues', I told wilkins about it, and he said to me in honest terms: you know what you did was stupid. Wilkins gave it to me honestly and I liked that about him. After a while, my glaringly worshipful vision of him diminished and I saw him as a real person, and I also saw what attracted me to him. Wilkins was insecure just like me, Wilkins once had a psychotic experience which led to him being hospitalised for a few months. Wilks didn't really know how the episode started, and he told me that a lot of his life at this time he has very little memory except for what other people told him what happened.

Wilkins dropped out of his PhD after a while, and he didn't even leave a trace. That's the thing about friends you make at university: you assume you see them all the time and when you don't, nobody bothers to follow it up. Friends were transient except for the good few. I heard rumours about him. I heard he left his course due to 'health reasons'. I heard also that he joined some kind of IT company as a software engineer or some kind of role. The last time I saw him was during the 'limbo year' after my MA graduation, I wasn't really keen on seeing people from my student days (due to my embarrassment of what happened) and I just passed him on the street. I wasn't sure if it was him, and ifi t was him I wasn't sure to make eye contact. As I passed him he said in a muted voice, very much different to the voice I knew of his: "Hello Conatus", and we walked on. That was the last I ever heard of him. As I understand he dropped out of facebook and like so many people who used to be close to me, dropped out of existence.

I'm not sure why I am remembering this, maybe because I just saw that club name in passing, and remembered that time we had, and then remembered him. I didn't have many friends at university, and the ones I did mostly disappeared from contact. As an observer, I sure focus on the dark stuff, I guess because the happy stories aren't unique.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dear Diary,

There are things which are eating away at me. My job situation for one. It's over 2 years now since I've 'graduated' and I've still not found a proper job. I was thinking about handing my CV to a bar this wee, the hours might be good and regular. What is really eating away at me is the hopelessness of my job situation. It's something so personal and embarrassing that few other people really know or understand how much it damages me. I hate how I can't find work. I'm trying, but as time goes on my effort and determination falter because I feel increasingly without hope.

My motivation is pretty low today, but all things considered, I am getting ahead of my timetable. I have less busy days after tonight. For better and worse, I will have more 'free' time for the coming few weeks. I realise that things are really shit for other people, and I realise that i dwell too much on myself in this blog. What really gets me down is the following thought: If I can't get it together and make it work, what hope do other people have? That's an open thought, maybe they can get it together better than I can, or maybe they can't, and if that's the case, they are royally screwed.

I think to myself when I feel down that if I eat something I'll feel better (I'm not regularly eating very much), sometimes it helps, other times it does not. My instinct tells me that I need to purge.

At least I have my health

Dear Diary,

I blog on here normally when I either have too much to do, or when I'm trying to avoid things, or when I'm filling with thoughts that I need to let go. I feel pretty deflated. I woke up pretty late, mainly because I'm feeling depressed. As I got up I noticed lots of rejection emails. One fora PhD, one for the graduate scheme, and another for an editorial job. Those are all of my cards out of the hand. I'm upset about it. I feel this feeling in the pit of my stomach, like an ball shaped thing of bitterness. I fucked it. I'm sorry.

I don't know what to do now. I just feel like staring into the screen. I've mentioned in previous posts about how at any given time I can emphasise the good stuff more than the bad, and more likely, the bad stuff over the good. I'm just trying to think of good things or 'not-bad' things right now. I can certainly think of a lot of negative things right now. I guess I could get on with my day. Today I have a few hours to catch up before I start getting ready for work. Apparently its a shorter shift than before. I feel like saying to myself: "This is the worst Christmas ever". There's so much shit that I have to deal with, deaths in the family and the wdier community; my fucking shit job prospects and semi-employment; being broke all the time; not having enough cash to get presents; being overdrawn and perhaps worst of all, the memories that come around this time. My bulimia was pretty bad 4 years ago, 3 years ago my PhD (probably to this day) application got rejected - happy anniversary. 5 years ago I was dealing with the whole 'incarceration' thing. 6 Years ago my anxiety was fucking me over. I guess last year wasn't so bad. At least I have my health. I could go training for the next few days and work on my physique.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's awfully cold outside today, and its raining and windy. I feel exceptionally bad about anyone who has to sleep outside rough tonight, or lives in dwellings which do not protect them well from the elements. I fell asleep between around 7pm to 11:30. I have no justification for being so priviledged in a warm home. I'm going to attempt to get stuff done tonight. I feel horrible.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dear Diary,


I don't feel like doing anything today. I'm feeling quite listless, not quite worn down, not quite tired, but I am sore and my mind can't concentrate. I'm going to take it just a little slower today. Give me a chance to get back to normal.

acting (amphiboly)

Dear Diary,


Narratives are hard to make. Some narratives oversimplify, others make an account more comfortable to accept, perhaps by massaging or erasing certain facts. Lately I've been eating like a pig. On the other hand I've also been around lots of people. I had a horrible anxiety spike and feeling of social discomfort at work on Thursday because one colleague was bitching about our boss, and then a peace offering was made from the management to us (a couple of bottles of wine). What then happened was that something went wrong with a guest and I feel the relationship between management and the grunts (us working the shift) fell apart again. The olive branch dropped. I had a really uncomfortable nightmare on the Friday morning, so uncomfortable that it felt so real that the feelings that went through my head affected how I felt about myself.

Interpreting dreams is tough. I have a hard scientific mind and I don't think necessarily that there's some Freudian shit going on or that dreams can always make consistent sense. However, dreams I feel do process emotions and thoughts, some of which consist of things I may not be aware of. One time for instance I had a dream which revealed that I had on a very minor level, feelings about a girl that I knew (who happens to be a budding academic at Oxford, she probably doesn't remember me anymore but I wish her well and remember her fondly).

One thing I miss is romantic closeness with another human being. I hate the idea of dating, dating is like a job interview. Job interviews basically scan for suitable candidates given a closed and limited picture of what you can see of the candidate. Interviews which ask the right questions may hit hard at the issues that really need to be asked and can be good indicators. On the other hand, interviews don't show everything about a person, unless they are really technical kinds of interviews and use psychometric shit or subject specific competencies.

I wish I could tell you about some of the contents of my day. But I think I'll leave it to stay anonymous and unimportant as a blog, but lets just say that I ended up bumping into someone famous and influential in an amusing way. It's going to be part of my dinner party repartee when I am a lovely and interesting raconteur. HA! (sarcastic tone of disapproval)

I don't really have anybody to talk to, and even though I'm charming several women on unexpected or spurious occaisions, what I really miss is having somebody who knows who I am. Even the voice in my head doesn't know who I am anymore. Perhaps that's worrying. I think that I'm realising a sense of who I am through acting and performing, compared to introspecting and quiet distance. The exercise analogy comes into play here: I am making the person that I want to be. As (I think it was) Feuerbach said once: you are what you eat. This weekend I've been around people, commiting to hobbies and activities. Maybe this is a new side of me, maybe this is a part of my personality which can grow, a part of my personality which explores the shades of my anxiety as well.

I better head off to bed. I don't have a music playlist to run anymore. I've said ad nauseam how I am behind on my schedule, how I've eaten overindulgently and how I've been low on sleep. Maybe I should do less reflecting and more acting. Also, if anyone wants to reply to the fact that I've been blogging a lot lately, that may be true for today, but I've not had a chance to think or reflect properly, since at least Thursday. Tomorrow is 'back' to normal. I'm going to expect to hear that my civil service exam has not been successful and I'll return back to square one. How depressing, and yet, how delightfully familiar.

Good night

Sunday, December 11, 2011

lesson from a dead relative

Dear Diary,


There are things that eat at me. Little things. My dad has annoying mannerisms, my brother has mood issues from time to time that make me feel very uncomfortable, my family pretends that my suicide attempt never happened and my recently departed uncle used to have very racist views. Towards the end of his life, my uncle stopped going on about how he thought youths should be shot and how hanging should be brought back. My uncle used to say that people were too soft on criminals and the government was too soft on immigrants (ignoring the fact that my family could have been asylum seekers were we not expelled from a former British colony). There is something disingenuous about mentioning my dead uncle's racism and extreme right views, as if they still matter compared to the other aspects about the life he lived (such as being a devoted husband and father). My uncle had a redeeming quality, in his later years he got very ill and stopped speaking his mind. My uncle had a realisation that his generation is in the back seat and his kids are the ones in control of things now.

Taking a back seat when you were once the prima donna can be a very hard lesson. Learning that you aren't the numero uno or the leader is something that can be highly damaging to one's self concept, and highly embarrassing if one doesn't internalise it. I have a friend who is always trying to be the leader, but fails all the time.My uncle didn't want to ruffle any feathers and he had more important priorities (living well while ill) and eventually the diatribes he used to go through just stopped. Christmas is usually a happy time for a lot of people. For others who are also legion, it is a hard time. Money is tight to come by (I'm seriously overdrawn right now), families have their issues put under a magnifying glass (losing my uncle is a pretty big deal for my dad and the rest of the family, and it is something which is prominent on my thoughts too). Relationships other than family can come into play, colleagues, friends, lovers and so on. There's a lot going on for people and I have a lot of sympathy for those going through hardships.

The choir singing tonight is for fundraising. I could help make money for charity. I would be doing something conscientious. Working at the communal garden also makes me have a feel-good sense of charity as well. I suppose it's something small that I can help with, and I emphasise small. I also think that there is something to learn from my uncle, that some things you need to just let go of, sometimes holding a candle for someone gets wax all over your hands. Maybe I was really tired yesterday but I did have some pretty dark thoughts during my period of delerium.

enduring fatigue

Dear Diary,

I'm pretty tired at the moment. Lots of things are going on and my energy levels are limited. I went airsofting yesterday, it was great and I had a great time. There were moments however when I had extreme fatigue and needed to go to the safe zone for a break. I chose to leave, and then bail out for half of one game and take a breather at the other. I think I might ask for a blood test to see if I have diabetes (at the recommendation of a friend). I don't feel perhaps that there was anything anomalous about getting especially tired when I was running and screaming and rolling about. I'm still feeling the fatigue right now.

There was a plan to go and see the boys after airsofting and have dinner together. I was too tired and slept in at home. After 4 or so hours of sleep I woke up and I was awake up to 4-5am. I woke up around 10am and my period of disorientation was slowly returning to normality. I decided to ignore my schedule for this morning and afternoon and instead go for lunch at a cafe with friends from yesterday. I then watched some videos from last night and we had a bit of a laugh. I've come back home, tidied up a little and had a shower (long overdue). There is a choir meeting later today and I'm uncertain as to whether I should go. On the one hand I'm really tired, on the other I can make new friends, have a bit of fun and maybe work on my anxiety (as well as my physical fatigue). As a final balancing point I don't know if we are doing SATB or Treble/Descant.

There are a lot of things that I could meditate on right now, most of them are basically thoughts to the effect of: I have so much to do! I would love to play skyrim all night. I would also like to make up for my mistakes in life, I would like to try and get my life back. I would like to meet new people. Lots of thoughts are rolling through my head and I would like to have time to process them emotionally and deal with them as vignette blog posts. However time is against me. Maybe if I keep pushing myself on a regular basis I'll eventually start to feel better and my fitness will improve. So long as I start eating properly. I've had a lot of junk in me. Earlier in the week one of my colleagues was eating a box of salad inside a Carte D'Or ice cream box, the irony was interesting, and I just thought how skinny she was and the salad eating corroborated that fact. I on the other hand ate a massive packet of crisps, and then another.


Thursday, December 8, 2011


Dear Diary,

I think I am well beyond my denial about the fact that the cold times are here, that is to say, I've very much embraced this fact. My pattern has changed since I've stopped counselling. I think this is more because of my activity levels than because of the counselling. My hands are getting cold so I have put on some gloves. I have about 5 hours left today in which to get my tasks completed. I have a lot to catch up on. Tomorrow I will be mostly thinking about airsofting and so it will not be prominent on my mind to catch up. Today I'm working in the evening, and I'll be back home probably by midnight. Last week when I had the long shift I thought to myself: After today it's going to be clear sailing. How wrong I was! I haven't played skyrim in a couple of days and if anything, I've lost interest a  bit in the game now, so I am working more in the real world than the world where I have dragon armour.

My mum is nagging my dad today, I know that's nothing particularly new, but when I hear that nagging voice of hers in that tone it really drains me. On the way home I was thinking something very fucked up: I was thinking about the things I liked about when I purged. In a way I miss those days. I miss having emotional support and the feeling that somebody cares and understands. I think I am either visualising mia as a person, or am putting what I felt about Marie into my mind. I have to say that these are largely small thoughts. I've mainly been thinking about other things, I've been concentrating on my work I am a busy bee today, I'll have to be a thoughtless slave for a few hours, then I'm off to work. Tomorrow will provide some respite, I suppose. I haven't been to the gym at all this week. My shoulder was giving me some issues, and I dont think I should go tomorrow if on pain of invoking a reoccurence. Maybe I'll just do cardio instead. Now to get back to work...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm so behind (week 3 without counselling)

Dear Diary,


On some reflection, I think that I have exhibited an extraordinary amount of behaviour over the past few days. Here's a summary:

  • Yesterday: Major grad scheme interview/assessment, I got home by around 3:30. I felt pretty physically and emotionally spent by the time I got home. I spent the rest of the evening playing skyrim and messing around
  • Sunday: I went to a choir rehearsal (for a new choir) and helped at a communal garden. I also did some final prep for the interview
  • The day before then (Saturday) I was doing the hardest part of prepping for that assessment, reading about 200 or so pages and then I also did some training in the morning

So why do I feel so lazy today? I got up around 10, had breakfast and settled in by 11:30. I then spent about 4 hours marking an essay, and for the past hour I have been tidying little things up and chatting to a friend I feel lazy, I feel that I've not done enough. I'll go out of the house to play some badminton in a moment, and maybe I'll go to the community group meeting to say hi and see what is going on, or I may not do that. I'm working tomorrow (late evening shift) and the day after that is the same kind of shift. I've decided to airsoft on Saturday, so that's going to be fun and rigorous. I'm tired, physically I've done a lot over the past few days and I had only last night and a late morning as respite. I shouldn't complain in the sense that I am getting on with things slightly. I am typically behind on my routine.

I just realised that its the third week since I've ended counselling. I think in perspective, in balance, I've been super busy. Super active. There's a part of me that still feels like my life is empty and that I'm a loser. I talked to another Pretty Girl at the interview yesterday. PG was interested and seemingly amused at my use of the term "von Neumann archicecture" (that's a computer thing despite the word archictecture). I had a bit of a chemical response with her and I started feeling stupid. I refer to this as a physical reaction to women that I like, or that seem to like me. Anyway, I tried to clear that from my mind and started feeling miserable for a couple of hours, then I had some chocolate and cheered up. Monday night was fairly quiet overall.

I realise there's much to do, many jobs, many PhDs and I think this is probably exaclty what I said last week after my long-ass shift. I hope that I can get ahead of my schedule. I'm setting a lot for myself lately, and I'm so easily inclined to just forget about everything. I could give myself a break and say that of today I've done the following: marked an essay, earned enough money to pay for my airsoft place on saturday, I've received some gear from amazon and I'm off to badminton, that's 4 items. I could do some job searching when I get back, if I really push hard I could apply to a vacancy today.

The job situation is really shitty and sucky, but I am trying to be enterprising and active. I'm thinking about getting involved with that local community group, this new choir, meeting up with my friends, freelance tutoring and writing as well as working part time. Oh, and I'm trying to keep fit through badminton and weight training. Talking of fitness, my shoulder is straining me right now, but I won't let that stop me from playing relaxed badminton, stress on the word relax.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

6 minutes to blog

Dear Diary, I've started this blog post at 1739. I intend to leave the house by 1745. Let me tell you about my day.

I woke up and got out of bed, as is the tradition, and I prepped some gear to do some gardening. I went there with the impression that its totally new to me and to some extent that is true. I then remembered my ex with her compost heap. Lets say that either I wasn't new to what they were doing, or that my past experiences were transferrable

FUCK -i've run out of time. Let me just say the following things:

  • I had a great time gardening
  • I had a hand cramp
  • I'm going to a choir rehearsal
  • I love being around people
    i love heavy lifting
  • I feel really tired
  • I feel ready-ish for the long day tomorrow
  • I've done so much today and thought and felt so much
  • I talked to a cute girl today, well a few cute women, but this one lady I felt a connection.  I think anyone who shows an interest in the 18thC is gold is sexy to me

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I fight demons not just on skyrim

Dear Diary,


I have had quite a long day. In a sense its the kind of day which I haven't had in a very long time. I was cramming. I have the assessment on monday. I am on good route to hopefully have finished the cramming by monday, or better still, Sunday evening. The plan is this for tomorrow: wake up, meet community group and get my hands mucky; go home and revise; do some further revision and last minute steps before the assessment; buy chocolate; go to a choir rehearsal; go home, sleep.

"Wait a minute", you might be thinking, "choir rehearsal?". I saw a notice about it among university alumni links and I thought I might give it a go. I haven't sung properly in a long while, and I thought I might give it a go. All of today I have been thinking that this plan for sunday would be a good idea, it sounds perfect. Meet people, relax, prepare for the assessment but feel comfort in the fact that I've been cramming loads for the past week (and in fairness, I have done a fair bit). I have started watching a tv series lately, it's called 'Life's Too Short', its with Ricky Gervais and it has a masterful appropriation of the unwilling loser. Warrick Davis' character tries to give this perspective that everything is going to be alright and going to a greater plan that things will end up well, and then it goes all Del-Boy (as in Only Fools and Horses) and fucks up.I can totally relate to that feeling. I've had in many occaisions wanted things to go well and had optimism about maybe a party, or my life, or a day plan, and something doesn't quite work out to go so well and it crashes. I sincerely hope that that doesn't happen tomorrow. I feel it will though. Maybe I get overboard and commit to a faux pas when gardening, or I am the only non-white person there at the choir (very likely) which makes me feel odd and insecure and a token 'ethnic'. Or, I'm reminded of how much of an outcast I was back in the uni days.

A really pessimistic part of my mind often comes up in instances like this. "You are trying to cling on to a nostalgic notion of the past that you didn't have", or "these people didn't accept you as an undergraduate". I'm starting to realise, through its difference, how my mind used to function in the past. Facebook told me that it was Marie's birthday today. It was a lifetime ago (4 years) when I bought all of those presents for her birthday. I had these brown levi's cords that broke at the zipper on the way home. Marie kissed me on the cheek several times and that feeling of intimacy that I had with her was so intense.

There is a dark side to my mind. A part of my mind that believed in what she said about me, a dark side that believed that she cared about me to such a degree that I would suspend my perception of reality about everything else. I said happy birthday to her, I kept angstily debating it to myself for the better part of 2 mintues and I thought: fuck it, just say happy birthday. I was then thinking about whether she would reply to me on facebook, and I realised how that mindset of waiting and longing for any attention from her was destructive, so I closed the window and got on with revision. I've been reading about research methods. I now know about the things that intimidated me during that open day. I had a Neo-from-the-matrix moment (I know elementary quantitative analysis techniques).

I find it interesting how easy it is to seep back into old mindsets. If there is anything about today, it is the reminder of how powerful old mindsets are. I have been many people, many mindsets, and in a way they are all still inside me. The thing about the 'me' of the present, is that I've responded to all of those powerful mindsets in different ways. Some of them have insights which are valuable, they can also be short-sighted in others. Some remind me of things that I could work on as a person, others remind me of how far I have come. Today I've bought a few things for an excursion next week that I may be going to, plus a present for xmas for my nephew. I also went to the gym and did some reasonably vigorous weights. I think I might make a habit of short and punchy training sessions. I like the idea of going there, busting my abs, arms and legs, then going. Maybe with the additional cardio, such as today where I attempted to do a mile in under 7 mins. I still have a lot of work to do in that regard. My heart was really burning in that instance today.

When I look at beautiful women, or beautiful men, I'm reminded of how I am still the nerd. I'm still the ugly duckling, and I feel like maybe that story that one day I could also be a swan isn't actually true. Lots of things go on in my mind during training, sometimes I don't think of anything at all except counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ... for my reps. I've been in contact with my parents quite a bit today, and a friend who came to visit who is a tradesman and advised my dad on a project of his. I've also read a fuckload. I then played some skyrim but after a few hours I lost motivation and started watching some videos instead. So tomorrow is planned. Tomorrow is the day before the crunch day. I've planned to make it relaxing, vigorous, social and crammy. I've set a lot for myself. Perhaps too much. I wonder who I am as a person, especially how others perceive me. I'm so vulnerable to what people think of me: job interviews, potential dates, new friends and so on. I really don't have any control anymore. Not over my narrative, not over myself, I'm not even sure if my weight loss is on track.

I think its good that I'm training still, I think that I've been determined in a way that I've not been for other jobs in prepping for this assessment. I'm also showing an enterprising side of myself that I'm joining in with these other activities, gardening, choir and so forth. Maybe I am someone among these other people. Maybe I am an identifiable person. How do I define myself? I don't really know. There have been so many selves that is the thing that makes such analysis problematic. The other problem is that there are so many negative demons just ready to pounce, i fear it may come at any moment. I'm not only vulnerable to other people's judgments, I'm especially vulnerable to my own. I find something somewhat and strangely powerful about this acceptance of vulnerability. I feel like after a very long time, I'm making my own oppurtunities, I'm making my own life path, and perhaps moreover, I'm answering to those darkest questions I refuse to answer: what are you doing with your life?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Out with the old...

Dear Diary,

I have lots of dress shirts with epaulettes. It is a high street look, I found lots of these shirts in Primark and Next. It's a big douchebag to wear now, and being mid-20s I need to dress more my age. Seeing those shirts in my wardrobe remind me of uncomfortable memories. In a way I'm getting rid of them in not just a symbolic way, but a literal way. I'm filling up the clothes bag for the NSPCC. I used to hate giving stuff away to the charity shop. When I was little I got really attached to my toys and when my mum gave them away to less well off relatives, or to the charity shop I felt really upset about it.

There is something a bit odd about seeing my old clothes and things being worn by relatives when I go 'back home'. My philosophy is all about having as little as possible that I actually need, except when it comes to books. I know its not spring, but I do want to clear up my wardrobe. It will get rid of my 'fat' clothes. I had a binge after I got back from the gym. If I don't eat anything else today it should be 'okay'. This can be my 'cheat' for today. There's quite a bit on the menu but I feel very tired to deal with it all. I can do some reading (for assessment) while I'm in bed, I suppose. I'll apply to one more job (that will make 2) and that will make a 6-item day. I've trained, prepped for assessment day, sent two applications (well, I will), did a job search and looked at some prospective graduate degrees.

It's 'out with the old' with my wardrobe and some shadier issues I had in my past. Can it be 'in with the new?' I really pushed myself quite hard at the gym today, even though it was only a 40 minute session. I have jacked up the weights and aiming for intensity. I think this is the most productive day I've had in a fortnight.