The Old Songs

I am noticing a distinct diversion in my social medias of late. It could well be I am the Grumpy Old Woman in this equation, and as the young man says above, just because you’ve been around since the dawn of Mankind does not give you carte blanche to tell the world what they can and cannot do. Except, of course, this is exactly what happens. Politicians, marketing departments, media gurus, you name them and they’re out there, throwing the old is best at you with every possible spin shoved upon it. Ironically the current 007 is probably now too old to be doing his job for the eyes of a ‘modern’ audience, and the actor who plays HIM is two years younger than me, so fuck knows what chance I stand of being relevant in the current climate. Looks fade, people want new, you only win if you’re the early adopter… well screw all that, because I came to the conclusion yesterday it just took forty odd years to work out what the fuck I’m doing, and I’m still not sure I’m entirely grasping the application.

Seriously, who are these people who have a clue and how do they do it for as long as they have?

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I used to do this quite a lot, not care, decide that actually someone else could solve the problem. Except as this happened over time, stuff would be left unconsidered. I’d shove packets of emotional trauma down the back of memories and leave them, untouched for decades, not dealing with anything I’d said and done. I’ve taken time to look back at parts of my life of late and although I wasn’t a saint, some things just get left well alone. I really didn’t love/like you, lots of you, I get it was chemicals and not substance, and that entire process of ‘need to be with you because’ was just flawed at inception. In fact, I grasp that the first time I ever made a genuine decision about who I wanted in my life apart from marriage was in the depths of Post Natal Depression. I’m sorry, person who left for the US, but I treated you appallingly, and that was wrong. The fact is, we were never real friends at any point. In fact, I reckon I can say with a measure of confidence that I only just worked out how to understand what a close female friend actually is to me.

That’s pretty fucking shonky behaviour for anyone, and the guilt is palpable.

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That’s why I don’t still talk to friends I knew from school. This is the reason college reunions don’t work for me. There is nobody. I didn’t bring anyone through, there’s no circle of friends at home. There is me here, and my husband, and the people he knows at work. Everybody else exists at distance, including the person I’m now deciding to call my best friend who is based in London. There’s a damn good reason why this all happened too, and only now am I grappling with that realisation. That’s a blog post for another time.

Mostly, I owe my kids quite a lot, and I suspect they’ll never really know. They taught me that love works in a lot of ways I’d never actually grasped, that true emotional resonance outside of intimacy only happens when you give yourself to the equation. They forced me to control emotion and not just let it run unchecked. Most importantly, I realise how appallingly unaware of what I was I’d been when it came to dealing with more than one set of emotional signals. My husband, I have come to understand, is a hero in so many ways it is probably incalculable. I really owe him so much and doubt I’ll never find the right way to thank him for not just love, but his forgiveness and understanding. All of this boils down to some basic points: I was a shit friend, an even worse person for a very long time, and only in the last decade have I begun to actually learn. Now, at this point nearly 50 years into the process, I’m slowly getting it.

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The bigger debt then goes to those who have remained for longer than a decade in my life, all at distance, and who are still listening. To Mike, who sought me out when I ran for the last time and actually made me realise that some people cared enough to work out where I’d gone. To Duncan for picking his moments, despite living half a world away. It made me understand that I’ve not completely fucked up everything in transition, that I might have a fighting chance of making things stick. Julia is now my new start, and I am here to reassure her that no, I’m not pinning all my hopes on this relationship staying solid or I’m going to disintegrate. I get the balance thing now, it’s okay, and although I may still wobble a bit, I see a path ahead. What needs to happen now is for me to work out how I add other close relationships to the balance without everything just collapsing. That means now there’s a lot of cautious feeling around, a lot of it largely in the dark, to work out who I feel I can trust with my new self.

You know who you are. It’s a long and slow process, trying to establish dialogues, and seeing who actually cares enough to keep them going once instigated. The fact remains, friendship takes two people to successfully nurture, and all that crap about ‘best friends remain so regardless’ only remains that way when everyone’s shouldering at least a portion of the workload. Realising this and a lot of other things (I hope) might allow my brain to stop throwing subconscious crap at me nearly as much as it is, and stop once an for all those dreams that I know are my own fault. I doubt its that simple, but it’s a start, and writing this has made me feel considerably lighter. Writing really does work as therapy, who knew?

Living life however is far better than talking about it.