Integrity

“Why would you be invited to the Queen’s funeral?”

Given that the Treason Act 1351 as currently in force makes “compassing the death of the Sovereign” and that the Late Middle English meaning of “compass” was to consider or ponder, I see a legal argument that we committed treason; but we were talking about events after the death not the death itself, and anyway a prosecution would not be in the public interest. I regret the question, because I wronged her and incurred a disadvantage to myself: it implies a doubt of her estimation that she would be, and a demand to assess her reasons, which is discourteous; and it thereby made me appear boorish, and created a distance between us which was not necessary. But the real reason I am beating myself up is that I see it is a silly thing to say, and that frightens me.

I make mistakes.
I cannot trust myself.
So I am not safe.

How could I say such a thing? Saying it does not really matter, I do not suffer particularly by it, I may never see her again, she will have forgotten it does not reduce my inwardly directed anger or my fear. Of course I must reduce that anger and fear as they are unreasonable. So I find myself again at war in myself, the feeling and the fear of the feeling.

Better to reassure myself. I am safe enough. It was a mistake, but usually I get things sufficiently right. And all sorts of things will frighten me, or anger me, and the fear and anger are tolerable if I permit them and do not fight or repress them. Even if I were perfect I might not be perfectly safe.

This is how I am. Meeting someone else:

-How are you?
-A bit anxious at meeting a person new to me.

And she was lovely, and we hit it off. I had been anxious, not just “A bit”- don’t minimise the feeling, it is real and it matters.

And the day before, I felt integrated. I am myself. I am here. I had coffee with S who confirmed that was her impression of me too, which reassured and comforted me. It’s not just a reaction to that loss, going into denial. I am not in conflict with myself.

If I desire perfection I will always be disappointed. It could make me always strive for greater achievement, but instead it has made me give up as nothing is good enough. To motivate myself I need to know there are possibilities, and that I can make things better by my own actions.

S told me of factory work. She got it because she speaks Polish. You need no references, the agency send you, you turn up. You sell your physical strength. The place is horrible, and the health and safety appalling. You could work on the end of the line, making up boxes, putting things into the boxes, putting the boxes on pallets, or on the middle of the line doing something to the passing objects. She could not do the precise thing with her thumb to affix stickers which some women did, and did not have the strength for particular operations. You learn what you are best at and tend to get put on that. The Polish workers did not know she spoke Polish and understood what they were saying about her. You’re just anyone, they don’t know you, but you could have a bit of a laugh, learn who has a car and could give you a lift there for say £1 a time, and at the end of the week you have £300. She did it for extra money for a few weeks. I don’t fancy it for seventeen years.

In conversation, I was horrible about various people, observed this, and wondered. Would I be better to rein that in, in order to be charming? If ones self control ceased to be terror-driven and automatic, one might make it more conscious and intentional. I feel I am learning lessons I should have learned in teenage.

That question on the funeral. It was a microaggression, the kind of thing one would say to shave someone down a bit, knock the tall poppy. Don’t get above yourself, it says. Something in me wanted to say that to her, who I hope is secure in her achievements by now. Odd. It’s not what I would say I would want. I want to make connections with people, I would say, to encourage each other. I am also irritated with myself because I blocked that connection.

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