On Jorneys and Love

This post composed on the train from Lancaster to Ferryside. Home now, companionship with my brother, lovely.

It feel somewhat strange to me to be taking a long journey. I dream, very regularly about journeys, especially train journeys – though most of these are occupied by my getting lost, confused, frustrated and upset on the platforms, which are inevitably confusing and complicated places. Thank you, subconscious. I often wonder if my dreams are trying to tell me something, though equally often I hope that they aren’t – I scarcely leave the station in the dreams, let alone arrive at my destination. (though there was that one dream where my ex and I were forcibly removed from his flat by a fire alarm, and so got on the train from South West campus to the giant shopping Mall, many times larger than the Arndale center in Manchester)

But yes, even though my dreams are very defeatist, I myself am less so. I hope, (I’m not yet at the stage of believing) that I’ve finally found the correct ladder at the bottom of the pit. There have been many false ladders, though. Many that looked like they might have been a way out, but led to dead ends, or had broken rungs, or just faded out of existence. These have led me all the way back down to the bottom of the pit again. I’ve tried and tried again to find new ladders, but they’re all the same color as the pit and blend seamlessly into the walls.

Whereas right now I’m making the climb on my own, I know that I’m not alone – there is of course a distinct difference. As some of you may or may not be aware, Sam and I have gone our separate ways. I don’t want to get into the details, they are a private matter between he and I, but suffice to say we are probably going to make much better friends than a boyfriend/girlfriend combo. I am sad, of course to have lost some levels of intimacy in my life, but I am pleased and excited to have a new good friend. I will miss the little things that happen between couples that we used to have, little in-jokes and secret smiles, and of course more physical things, gratification of primal desired. There is a lot to be said for having a boyfriend – having someone to sleep beside being one. It is very confusing to wake up in the night and expect there to be a warm, comforting body beside you, and then realise that it’s just an expanse of cold linen and then the edge. A single bed has never felt so big as when you feel there should be someone sharing it with you.

I am pleased that I am not entirely alone in this endeavor – they say it’s dangerous to climb without someone to help if you fall, and I am hopeful that there are people around me willing to hold a blanket underneath to catch me if and when I fall. I am also grateful to those who have already helped, given advice, comforted me, dragged me out of my hidey hole, distracted me, and many other things that people have done for me when I’ve been feeling low.

Hopefully some time away from the norm will give me a chance to look at it and assess it and see what I can realistically do that will help. What can I change in my life to make it better? I have a feeling that more than one of these things will be physical – eating better (less pizza, more real food) and doing more exercise. Swimming, probably. And I do so want to get back into archery. It’s still very painful to think about being there and not having Matt as my boyfriend to comfort me if I have a bad end, or congratulate me if I do particularly well. The thing is, archery is something that I really enjoyed and was getting good at. I’d won medals way above my category, scoring more highly than even our captain. So I want to start that again. I want to beat the demons that are holding me back.

Another thing that I need to consider is purging my bedroom of unnecessary stuff. I own far too many clothes, and I need to sell them. I also need to stop buying magic cards, they are expensive and I can’t afford them. Same goes for clothes, though I’ve not bought any in a while (see above)

Perhaps the biggest thing to think about on the near horizon is an offer I’ve had from a friend. The opportunity to go on an expenses paid trip to Amsterdam. Sounds great – the friend in question is fantastic company and would be great to go to the museums with I’m sure. I just worry about what else he would expect want from me on the trip – things I don’t think I’m able to provide.

This post has lost a lot of momentum, I feel. I had a train change, at Crewe, and that has apparently made me unable to think of more relevant things to say. I am tempted to describe more of my failed-journey dreams but that seems utterly pointless. I’m sure you all understand what I think the dreams are referring to in a metaphorical way. So since I’m lacking anything more to say, I shall head off and have some lunch and look out of the window at the passing green blur of fields, and trees, dotted with the occasional farm house or stream. We live in a beautiful country. There are splashes of yellow which indicate a farm vehicle of some kind, cows and horses and sheep inhabiting some of the fields, though there are relatively few, given the time of year. There is a certain amount of irony – as I sit and type, the young man sat on the opposite side of the table to me talks on his phone about how ugly the views are, so plain and boring. Its as if the beauty is hiding in plain sight.

Maybe that’s where success, beauty and happiness are all hiding, and we all have to learn to see what’s there in front of us.


Dog Hair

I got a phone call from home last night. This may not seem like anything that’s particularly remarkable to any of you, but it did shock me to see ‘Incoming call – Home’ flashing up on my screen. My parents are supportive to the very end, in a passive way. If I phone home, I get all the praise, encouragement, advice and support in the world – my Mum (cookingwithwine) in particular is truly fantastic at making me feel as if I really CAN achieve my goals. However, they are the kind of people inclined to let me get on with my own life, and are very happy that I’ve become independent and in control (to an extent) of my own life. They know I’m having problems and help me with them when I phone, but don’t push their advice down my throat – something for which I am eternally grateful.

So when my mum phoned last night, I had to wonder why. We chatted for a little while, I told her about my new job prospects and she told me about how they spent my stepdad’s birthday. Then came the time to mention the Giraffe. It had been in the room the whole time, but we’d been purposefully ignoring it. My mum started off with ‘I’ve got something rather not nice to tell you’. This was enough in itself to chill me. Last time someone said anything like that to me was the morning of February 11th 2008, when I was on my way to the bathroom. Julian, my stepdad stopped me and told me that Bob, our family dog, ‘was no longer with us’. He’d been run over. Now, I don’t throw up. When I’m ill, or drunk or terrified, it’s just not something that I do, but I really thought that the sob that rose in my chest that day had to be more than just misery and sorrow.

So, my mum had something ‘not very nice’ to tell me. My heart started pounding and I sat down from where I’d been stood in front of the heater.

‘I’ve got something not very nice to tell you about your Nan Jackie. She’s got cancer. Lung cancer.’

I don’t know how many of you have ever looked up certain statistics relating to cancer, but about 107 people per day are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK alone. That’s a lot of cancer. And it’s not even the most common, that being prostate in men and bowel and breast in women. But lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK. Less that 10% of people diagnosed survive for at least five years after initial diagnosis.

So cancer is…prevalent. Common, even. I knew most of these statistics this time yesterday, before I was aware of it being in my immediate family, but it had never crossed my mind, even for a split second, that someone in my family would get it. My Dadcu is a very ill man, he has angina and all kinds of other problems, so it never occurred that another of my grandparents would be struck with an illness that is associated (at least in my mind) with death. I face, potentially, losing two members of my immediate family in the next few years.

This is a terrifying prospect to me. Until now, the worst things in this area I’ve had to deal with are the death of my great auntie Liz to breast cancer about eight years ago, and the aforementioned death of Bob. So I have no idea how something like this would affect me, were it to happen.

I guess I just thought they’d always be there. Facing mortality on a personal scale is a sobering thing.

I certainly thought that Bob would be a consistent thing all through my life. I was young when we got him, maybe about four years old. ‘Bob’ was my brother’s first word. He was a small, boisterous puppy when we adopted him. Labrador/pointer mix, black with a white stripe on his tummy. Certainly the most friendly, dopey, lovable creature you could ever hope to come across. I miss him so much, still. The photos are all that are left now, and the occasional short black hair I find amongst my thing, in between the pages of books and other places like that. I guess it’ll be the same if anyone else I value were to pass away – you’ll never stop finding things that make you think about them.

I will make them proud of me before they die.

I stood on the millennium bridge a few nights ago. My mp3 player had run out of charge, I was alone, it was late and dark and cold. It was the first time in a long time that I thought about suicide while I was actually within real potential of doing it in a long time. I was filled with a morbid curiosity – what would it be like to just jump? Would the water be as icy cold as the air, or warmer? Would it be like drifting off to death, or is it a violent way to go? If there is an afterlife, would I have to spend it wet and full of sand? how long would it take people to notice that I was gone? Clearly, I decided not to try it out just to see.

Theglaivemaster and I are ‘taking a break’ from our relationship. That’s something that I thought happened in trashy novels and soap operas, not in real life. But for us, the decision was reached not through any shouting or arguing or disagreement. It was a sensible, adult, frank and honest discussion. I shan’t delve into reasons here, but we agreed that a little bit of time and space might be what I need to turn back into myself. So that’s what we’re trying at the moment. We both came out of the talk very optimistic that we’d made the correct decision and that our relationship was clearly healthy enough to have this kind of honesty.

I think we’re both finding it much harder than we anticipated. While it’s great to be able to sleep however I like and whenever I like, I do miss the cuddling and the kissing and the little sweet intimate things that happen between couples. We’re staying good friends throughout this break, and when we’re together it’s hard not to hold his hand and other such things. None the less, we must persevere – things are difficult but usually worth it.

I want to start writing but neither ideas nor words will come to me.

Bob The Dog Rees