Embracing Willy Loman

He is very beautiful. He is tall, broad, erect, imposing. He walks slowly, with a stick, in a way I would almost call graceful- because it is unhurried, without stoop or apology. He speaks with sweetness and simplicity.

I am still writing about Wednesday. I tell you of that man because I sense the possibility of that perceived grace and simplicity in myself, and also the line about Willy Loman, strong willed fantasist, hurt me. I see myself in that too. You may recall that he wants to die, but is too cowardly to kill himself, so he crashes his car into a wall but too slowly, so that he is unhurt. I could look it up on wikipedia, but for how it affects me my memory may be more useful. His friend’s son pleads a case before the Supreme Court, his son does nothing, and he is going to be sacked as a salesman.

So, fantasist. I am the writer who writes nothing more than a blog, and fantasises about a film of my life, forsooth. I sent V a scene. Well, what do you do when someone you have never met before asks you a favour? You consider it. She emailed saying she would consider it. The problem is, I cannot see myself working at anything other than warehouse or supermarket work, on the one hand, and writing the thing I have hardly started on the other, not that I might make money out of it. Or just staying on the sick, for a moment which extends to months. Though that time has resulted in vastly increased self-acceptance.

And- strong will. It gets in the way for Lo-status folk. I was right to argue N— CAB should actually do what the funders of my post were paying them to do, except that I was too lowly to make that decision. It was not my decision. I should have just shut up. I got one DSS doctor sacked, but also got myself a great deal of grief complaining about another. He was a professional man, entitled to respect. My clients were benefit claimants, and I was little better.

Yet, fantasist. Imagination is the way human beings change things: we must first realise that something else is possible. Possibly I need new fantasies. I will keep up with the mindfulness and self-acceptance stuff, and hope other ideas beyond writing- rarely remunerative- and warehouse work occur.

And, strong will. It must have done me some good at some time. It might do me good if I could see how to use it. Being more conscious-

the idea is that accepting myself, I can see myself more clearly
so actually understand what I am doing and what my motivations are, rather than delude myself

some of this might do me some good…

FĂ©lix Valloton, le jambon

Let’s be friends

After you said that, I cried for three days. You felt the need to check, the following morning, that I had managed to drive home safely. The next month there was the false hope, and the following month the complete humiliation, and I am still crying. How can I “get over” this, either feel all the feelings and so work through them, emerging into some sort of equanimity, or patch myself up and plod grimly on?

I resent greatly that, just as the rest of my baby-making programming has so spectacularly failed, this bonding mechanism, evolved to be so strong, has latched on to the most inappropriate target. Am I now angry with you? I have been- You started it, you approached me! And then I thought, no, it was that activity organised by those people, and I raged at them for a bit…
………………..in my living room…
………………………………………………….this is all in my own head.

And I will go back to that group, and those activities, because I just shut down that in me, all that sex and relationships stuff is for other people, too complicated for me, too threatening to my illusions and my precarious sense of safety. I will go back to that group because this is part of human life which I want to experience, I want to force open in myself, despite my ignorance and fear and sense of inadequacy. It feels like I am fifteen- and that is a good thing, because last June it felt like I was thirteen, as far as this goes.

I will go back to this precisely because this experience has been so painful. To be so tantalised- once going out with you, never kissing!

This is not a love letter. It could hardly be less likely to make you think you had made the wrong decision. Will reminding myself of the impossibility of that help me get over you- or, like comparing your work, travel and social life to mine, just make me feel worse?

Proust’s work has been very useful to me, his anatomising of the illusions and idiocies of Love, the unconscious motivations, the false idea of self, the ridiculous acts. Yes. I never knew you, though I have caught glimpses- worthy of my affections- far out of my league, in fact. I was so frightened of you. We met, and I felt assailed by your questions, poked and prodded and examined and dissected- so that when later, you were playful, I was in all my armour, attempting to impose control on you. Like that was ever going to happen. So short a time together, so deeply unsatisfactory.

Now, I see your good will, and need to be clear in my own mind how it is necessarily limited now that you have “moved on”, how it goes so far and then becomes callousness towards me. That really does not fit my fantasy of you. The illusions hiding that are the ones I really need to strip away. Then there was that incident where, it seemed to me, that man behaved like your servant, and I wondered how that could happen- did your personality just envelop and overwhelm his? As S. said, we are moths to your flame.

There are other fish in the sea, though I have no clue where I might find one. Can I attach the desire to an undefined person, rather than a particular unavailable one? That might be productive. I have no particular need to go to the city. I crave its excitement and liveliness, and thought I would experience that with you- Actually, I may find more real pleasure in the quiet pubs of my own town.

I so Resent that this impossibility, this fleeting glance, should have so much importance for me for so long, tied up as it is with my feelings about my current situation and all my history, how I have got Here. I feel as usual, inadequate and ridiculous. I will work through this. I will.

This experience has been really good for me, I have learned so much. I am delighted to have glimpsed you, you are an example to me. And then I imagine you touching my arm, and my whole body responds, and finding it unreal I am weeping helplessly.


Added. I am in denial, really. Yes, possibly, your decision was based on a series of regrettable miscommunications, but it was made. I remind myself of Bradley Headstone trying to get over this, beating myself up- that is a serious cautionary tale about obsession. I need to remind myself of those parts of reality which do not fit my fantasy.

How I felt later.

Releasing a fantasy

Oh, I wanted that. And I cannot have it, and that is so painful, and I weep over it. If I cannot have the thing, how may I release the fantasy of it? I am clinging to a fantasy of the World as I would like it, and the pain comes from the disconnect between the fantasy and the reality.

If all I have is fantasy, rather than possibility, how may I let go of the fantasy?

The problem is that I could not see a way of getting what I wanted other than that way. That is the work to do, to imagine other ways.

Actually, it may be possible. Seeing that enables me to see quite how great the disconnect is, between the fantasy and the real world. That fantasy just ain’t goan happen. Not nohow. And the nearest possible thing to it, which is not likely at all, might not be pleasant in reality. But there may be other ways to get what I want. So I may be able to release the fantasy.


One Facebook friend quotes Abraham Hicks regularly, and this is the latest:

Did you know that you are entitled to as many miracles in a day, as breaths you take? And that those you don’t use, carry over? And that presently, in dog years, it’s impossible to use all yours up? And that, in human years, if new ones stopped accruing, which they won’t, you’d be hard-pressed to use yours before your swinging 600’s?

And that all you have to do to cash one in, is expect it?

You’ve got it made.

Maybe it is the man in me, imagining myself active in the World, achieving things- “I ride my horse and make it go my way”- but I prefer Thoreau.

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favour in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

I went to a party last month, and found this framed on a friend’s wall. I do not usually read American classics, we have quite enough Literature over here, thank you, but I think I will try Walden. “Advance confidently”- all that fear of the monsters in the darkness-

Escaping the pit

I had this post planned out from the beginning, and it would not have been truthful. Here is my opening quote:

Don’t say there’s nothing to do in the Doldrums
It’s just- not- true

I would have carried on:

Of course I escape the pit. I escape it with television, staring alone at a screen and indulging in vicarious connection, difficulty, effort, triumph, love. No great harm in that, perhaps, I need a little time just relaxing, but the rush of emotion at something unreal is, well, unreal. The escape is not real either.

My friend A escaped the pit in reality. He did not have a particularly fulfilling or rewarding job, though it was skilled labour, but he was churchwarden at a time when in that town most churches were segregated black or white, and A worked with the vicar bringing other black people into my parish church. This is good and worthwhile work.

I block out the pit with fantasy and magical thinking. That is a large part of the reason why I am here, now, because I imagine impossibilities as possible, and moon over them. I make the pit bearable with fantasies, and so do not take the necessary action to achieve what is actually possible and get out of it. I hear all these “inspirational” quotes about following your heart, doing what makes your heart sing, etc, etc, and imagine that all of Life could be an endless whirl of that delight, like the quick achievement- sorted within an hour!- on the telly.

I had got myself right down. So it was good to get the link and photo from Rose, a reminder of real connection with real people, doing something beautiful together. Of course I do fantasy and magical thinking, but in depression it can seem as if everything positive is that, and the depressive thinking is false: there are good and beautiful things everywhere.

I need to be completely truthful with myself. I need to see the delight, and the difficulty, where they are. A wise friend has told me to pass on to the next thought.

Added: someone liked it too.