Getting by

Drink is a great anodyne- I had forgotten how boring people are. I’d forgotten how afraid people are. I’d forgotten how boring I am. Richard Burton shows how great self-hatred can be, when we temporarily let go of our safety-valves, or our escapes. Only drink is capable of killing the pain.

On facebook, I asked, Am I too nice? Rather than the journalist’s question “Why is this [person] lying to me?” I meet someone and think, “Seems like a reasonable sort”. And of course a friend came up with the answer: I think you are very nice. I also think it is possible to trust too much. Trust has to be built. Having to rely on untrustworthy primary carers tends to shut down the discernment in this area.

Not too nice, then. I am glad, I am pleased with being nice, and kind, even generous, and would not like to have to be less nice. Too trusting, though. It makes sense, actually. The helpless baby and the unmotivated mother, finding duty and convention not enough to drag her through all the effort, though practicality bridged a lot of the gap. My mother was in no way chaotic.

“Ask Machiavelli” said another. Possibly one can be too suspicious. If others connive as Niccolo advised, perhaps I am not suspicious enough. How could I know?

It seemed to me that I cried when I attempted to suppress awareness of my sadness, and another part of me needed to make my consciousness aware of it. If you break your leg the pain stops you trying to walk, and crying makes you deal with the matter now, or at least aware of it. That baby, not feeling my needs satisfied, tried not to be aware of need, and now sometimes I seem to be a monster of need and desperation.

I need human contact. I need sympathetic conversation, sharing feeling, and touch. I want hugged. Being kissed would be good too. And I have not been out three days of the last four, and on the one when I went out my encounter was only food shopping. It is a human need I bang on here about a great deal, and I get by with minimal contact, as the baby might, never satisfied but bearing the burden of her need, unable to do anything else, lying in the cot or pram.

So my need sits, under the level of consciousness, and I am more or less alright typing here or watching TV. Now, stressed by that ongoing confrontation, I am not doing the washing that I should do, but usually I do enough. Then my need erupts in a giddy feeling of groundlessness- I must talk through that with her, just to speak about it. I want to be told, there, there, it will be alright. I am all at sea, and my feeling of need overwhelms me, and then an hour later it is past. She cannot answer that question for me. Possibly, it will not be alright. The worst I might anticipate is X, the best hope for is Y, something not anticipated might happen. I would like the contact, and do without it. I can’t imagine explaining to anyone why I wanted it. I would sound too silly, too demanding, too much of a bother. I know this as the baby knew it. Yet I want time when my pain is not killed, time when I am conscious of it and not using the anodyne.

giulio-aristide-sartorio-la-gorgone-e-gli-eroi

I had always thought of the gorgon as hideous, and the winged sandals as Perseus’. These heroes do not appear turned to statuary.

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