Living on the Ceiling

Today is hard on the mental strength.

I’m not sure how much other people think about themselves on any given day. I mean, that’s not summat you can throw into normal conversation, for starters. Mostly, that time is about what is enjoyed, or what irks you. Sometimes it is for big speeches and damning revelations. But introspection is not what you do when you’re with someone: that’s just a waste of a good talking partner. That means that this morning, alone in the house for a few hours whilst the family are elsewhere, I end up considering what I hide behind the curtain. Most days I do a passable fist of looking organised and together, but I am well aware of how much frantic activity happens behind that facade. Many things don’t come easily to me. It may surprise you, but interacting with other people is quite high on that list.

That makes what I’m trying to do with my life an exercise in reassessment.


I get twitchy when people tell me how inspiring I make them feel, that my enthusiasm is infectious, and it’s not just because I’ve never been adept at grasping compliments. I look at what I do and, on most days, it is just an emotional response to stimulus. The stuff I’m personally most proud of, undoubtedly, is the stuff that never gets the plaudits. It is as if I’ve become my own personal torturer: no, you will not gain pleasure from these things, only those which are summarily ignored by everyone else. My mind, as if it knows what will make me more twitchy and uncertain, often ends up undermining my own ability to rationalise to boot. All of this isn’t helped currently by a hormonal state which is placing a lot of the baseline decision making in a low hanging grey fog of ‘hang on, what did you say/mean/do?’ and it becomes really rather easy to lose faith in yourself. So, I look for anchor points: places to redefine myself from, and then move forward. Right now, that involves a daily post like this. They’re sticks sunk into the muddy ground: I can’t hang on too long or else they’ll dislodge, there needs to be a constant forward motion from one to the next. Once I’m stopped at the next ‘post’? Work out the spot I can move to without too much drama and away I go.


Then I get a boost like Friday, which becomes the additional fuel to propel me forward, memories like those two weeks in the US last year that are markers of safe spots, places I can return to without fear. Thanks to Julia on Friday I learnt things about myself I didn’t know before, slivers of the real me that I’ve kept hidden from sight for decades. I looked at shoes and clothes and jewellery in a completely new light, I allowed self and the stimulus not simply to be recorded. I actually processed consequences and beliefs. It has been a very long time since I felt comfortable enough to do that and the results of this are only beginning to register. This weekend has been hugely significant for me on a deeply personal level, and I can already feel the woman behind the curtain adapting her routines to accommodate it.

When your life is all too painfully finite, and the need for understanding is more significant than the desire to be understood, trying to attain balance is as significant as most eastern religions tell you it is. It is no wonder I lean towards the Zen, and have always done, because when you can grasp both light and dark inside yourself with relative ease, the consequence will always be to try and maintain the two in synch. Some choose to ignore their turmoil, others simply drown it out with noise. I’m beginning to rather enjoy pitting one side of my life against the other to see what happens. There’ll be no fights to the death but the skirmishes that occur are an interesting demonstration of what is possible if you make an effort to understand not just what the fuck you’re doing, but why it happened to begin with.

Writing really is therapy, when all is said and done. Brilliant, frustrating and ultimately liberating. By finding the right words to describe what I am becoming, the journey to my destination is increasingly better signposted, digested and embraced. There is no way that will ever be anything other than a good thing.