Per ardua ad astra

At the Greenbelt festival, I loved the Death Cafés the most. We gathered in groups to talk of death, and as there were about twice as many there as we expected Annette asked me to help facilitate one of the small groups each time. In one of those, people seemed more concerned to talk about how to set up a Death Café than actually participating; in another a priest whose previous professional experience included business facilitation took over, interviewing each participant until I mildly said that was my job (though she was doing great at it), and I borrowed a woman’s umbrella to poke the awning above our heads, to drain the puddle bulging down towards us. We took turns, propping up the awning.

The attitude to talking of suicidal ideation is “how brave you are” (to talk of it). In thee separate sessions, my groups talked openly and fearlessly. What do we think of the Afterlife? At a Christian festival, my disbelief was not agreed with, but was heard without challenge.

I was on stage, to talk of Quaker understandings of God, and how we were changing our Book of Discipline. This was on Monday at 5pm, after quite a lot of festival-goers had left, before an audience of thirty. There were four of us. I have a thank you card, signed by eight, thanking me for my moving, open and honest sharing, and my wonderful presence. It delights me.

I made some contribution on the Saturday morning with the children’s activity. We had pictures of heads to glue onto paper, and the task was to draw a body; twigs to decorate with wool, glue and glitter; and “fairy dust” to play in. I played in fairy dust, making ephemeral pictures in metal trays, and some children joined me.

I met PT, an Italian-heritage New Yorker who spent tens of thousands on gay cures, which inspired his first stage show. Before the festival started, we walked around the field, going up on the Mount to look over the festival ground, almost empty of people but with all the tents and banners, and into venues where he would speak. I found him lovely: clear-eyed, deeply sensitive and courageous. I feared he had a poor impression of me, based on three things he said.

He asked what inspires me, and I felt inadequate, because I have got nowhere with what I love: writing, speaking on a stage. We walked into the Green Room, not guarded yet as the festival had not opened, and they gave him a meal ticket and a copy of the programme. I asked him to get me a copy, and he asked if he could. They told him he could not. “It’s on sale, right?” I did not say I cannot afford one- or can, but money is that tight. He handed it to me, and I carried it as we walked out into occasional light spits of rain. Then he said, quietly as if not expecting, or not wanting to hear an answer, “I gave that to you to look at. Oh, never mind.” I carried it back to the Quaker tent.

Next evening I came up to him after his last evening talk, not wanting to go off together just to talk for a moment- to the other speaker, or someone, about Evangelical ideas of Love, actually- or- and he said he had to go, he would see me tomorrow. As if he felt the need to escape me, I thought.

That hardened into my own depressive view of myself as grasping and boring. And, of course, inadequate, always inadequate. Probably, the viral infection worked with the depression, making me feel greater lassitude than usual. Days after the festival, two weeks ago, I called Samaritans.

What could I do? I could read, I suppose. Queer Virtue by Elizabeth Edman, perhaps, on how authentic Christianity and Queerness alike rupture and sustain us, of how the queer people she knows are in touch with their moral centre, of how Queer theory, Queerness and Queering disrupt binary thinking to get closer to reality.

That sounds heavy, he said. It may be the most accessible book I have in my reading pile- introductions to epistemology and existentialism, a Hannah Arendt reader. I have thought, trying to know myself, that I can work very hard at something; now it seems that though I do almost nothing, when I do something I am working hard. This is a good thing- I appreciate culture because I have spent time seeking that appreciation- but essentially I have two speeds:

Captain! The engines cannae take much more o’ this! and
Dead stop.

All this struggling people do! All the struggling we demand of each other.

Catching the intensity

Around 1.45 am, I cycle over the railway bridge. It’s one lane, at the top of a hill, so the car behind can’t pass me, but just over the bridge I am going down a little and it still isn’t passing me. Rather, it pulls up alongside, which is frightening. Then I notice it is a police car. The female passenger says nothing but the male driver says, “If you’re going to be cycling at this time you might consider investing in a crash helmet and a reflective jacket, because the drivers at this time are not always driving well”.

I looked at him and thought, I really do not want this to escalate, so said, “Thank you”. He has nothing to say to that, and drives on. I had LED lights, not technically legal but bright enough, the law has not been adapted from the time of Edison bulbs. Next day I thought, he was irked that I had slowed him up for ten seconds going over the bridge, and so he frightened a lone woman late at night. That just might have been enough to abash him if I’d said it.

When I was being weaned-

this will all come together in the end, I promise you-

my mother made something for me and I sang to her. She thought it delighted me, and was delighted by my reaction. Then she chopped some cooked chicken really small and forced it through a sieve, which must have been very hard work. “And you spat it at me,” she told me. I don’t know whether she told me that story more than once, but she told it to me when I was a child and it made an impression.

She was working very hard to look after me, and my sister who is two years older, and (in the way of babies) doing what one does unaffectedly and unashamedly and responding in the moment I spat it at her. I don’t know why, because I don’t remember the incident, only the story, but something had irked me or I didn’t like it or I wasn’t hungry. What I take from the story is that I flummoxed her when her hard work did not pay off. She was stressed.

However stressed you are, you have your Backlog to deal with. In the Quaker meeting I was thinking of my mother’s distress, and my distress at being burdened with that, and her fear and certainty that we must not be Seen which I took on from her. I felt that distress fully, and held it, bore it, perhaps healed it. Perhaps in part.

You are bold and brave and honest and open

On Friday I went to the Trump demonstration in London, and on Thursday I did not want to go out. I had to go to the Tesco Express a mile away, and also the GP. I have this online system to order repeat prescriptions and appointments, but it had broken down, so I had gone in to the surgery to sort it, that had not worked, and I had to go again. When I eventually went, the receptionist pressed me to accept the solution which had not worked the first time. Had I accepted it, I would have gone away- a win for her- so I had to insist. Right now it appears the something different I insisted on has not worked either. Anyway.

I did not want to go out.

The emotional part of me is completely in control. If the emotional bit does not want to go out I don’t go out, and that manifests as depression and lassitude if I am not properly conscious of it. I used to suppress it and bully it but can’t any more, and I’m not taking cajoling, wheedling, persuading or the false kind of sympathy which says I’ll sympathise if you’ll do exactly what I want you to do- not taking them from myself, from my rational bit. God that’s weird. And real.

It said I didn’t want to go out, and I listened, and I respected it. It’s kind of like marriage guidance. I can’t divorce myself, and I can’t fight myself any more, I have fought myself to a standstill.

I need to hear this traumatised part of me. I said that to the Samaritans, I said it to Tina, and now I am saying it to you and immediately I said it to Tina I went off on a tangent because I could not go deeper. I can hear the emotional part, even speak from it, but not for long. I have to be Rational. I am going off on a tangent now.

A friend phoned me on Saturday night. She is feeling betrayed, and she was so angry with me she had to phone me. Did I have anything to do with That web page? No, I hadn’t. Next day she ministered, a long affecting story, but what I took from it was that she was feeling alienated from Quakers, betrayed, because of our departure from the Truth, and the Truth is important to her. I find her wonderful, brilliant, charismatic, powerful and beautiful.

I want my Love, intellect and creativity to heal your hurt-
the difficulty of it perplexes me
The unknowing of the result frustrates me
I will continue, doing all I can do.
Forgive me my Hunger and intensity!

Trust me to see it emotionally. She tells the truth, to stop vulnerable children and adolescents from being hurt. She wants the truth heard.

If our friendship might die under this strain, I want to give her a gift. I believe the truth is other than as she sees it, and wondered if we had anything we might agree on, and she said we are so far apart we do not even have the same concepts and cannot discuss it. She will keep on fighting for Right as she sees it, I hope she has a small number of Quakers who will back her, and who knows where the Spirit will lead? I wanted her to be Heard, and I don’t know how to accomplish that. And, she may well do what she needs for herself.

I am bigger than our dispute.

In the Quaker meeting, I am dealing with stuff now, and with my backlog of pain- from fifty years ago!

Another wonderful person. She is about twenty years younger than I, so she has wisdom and understanding and a different upbringing and ways of seeing that I want to get in touch with. I need to learn the lessons of the young people.

Tina said, there’s part of you that is very young, and you know it. With K there’s something about me being older but also about being younger in some ways. And I thought, no, it’s about being the less free, conscious, authentic one, but possibly she’s right.

Tina said, you’re still striving to parent yourself, going back to very young childhood, a part of yourself feeling profoundly distressed and disconnected and wanting your parents to be unconditional so you give yourself that now, you are unconditional to your emotional side. “I wasn’t heard, so I will hear me.”

Tina said,

That childishness that has got you into trouble a lot
but it also gives you a tremendous amount in terms of awe and wonder and appreciating beauty
you don’t want to stifle it and you don’t want it to lose its- sense of awe and wonder
It’s quite magnificent

And I changed the subject again. I have to be more adult with the Quakers.

-That’s your frustration with them. They’re supposed to be unconditional.

No, they’re not. They’re human beings. Clare and John Whitehead from Delph, whom I knew when I first joined, parented me quite a lot, inviting me over for dinner regularly then taking me to hear string quartets. I found out at Yearly Meeting that they had died, when I read the Testimonies to the grace of God in their lives. But now, my Quaker meeting do not have the energy to parent me and really should not have to. Not if I can parent myself.

I’ve been parenting myself. I have been sitting in Quaker meeting allowing the full weight of my feeling, allowing myself to be conscious of it, and catching the intensity. I have incredible intensity. I am not comfortable with it, but I am getting to know it better.

My mother messed me up very badly. Her lesson was Never, ever, show the intensity, because she was frightened and hurt and the most important thing was not to be seen. Part of me took that on, and part of me didn’t and has been breaking out and rebelling and causing trouble ever since, and the two will integrate eventually.

I read an elder or overseer, not from my area meeting, complain that s/he had to do so much work with the difficult or needy Friends that s/he did not have the time to get to know the others. In my last meeting someone had to do too much work with this needy Friend, and I am feeling regretful of that, for it broke our friendship. As a needy or difficult Friend it is incumbent on me to do all I can for myself.

I hope I can make a contribution sometimes.

Speaking the Truth

I was in touch with my compassion.
I was in touch with my femininity.
I was in touch with my whole self.
I had never felt that way before.
It blew my mind.

That was February 1999, but this is now, speaking on the phone to Lucy:

I was in touch with my femininity, I said. I was in touch with my-

and the word in my head is “compassion” and I cannot say it. I was in touch with my-

it runs through my mind again. I pluck up the courage-

I was in touch with my compassion.

I am Abigail, and I am truthful. Andy Braunston observed in the 90s that I was very hard on myself, and I remain so. I could not say “compassion” because it is claiming a good quality and that is difficult.

And I had a vision of me as a small child asserting something to my implacable mother and being judged for it. My truth and value being rejected so that even now fifty years later I reject it myself, I cannot bring myself to utter it.

Yet I did utter it. It is getting easier. Especially, it is easier with her, I know she will affirm me.

I am Abigail. I am loving and truthful. I have the experience of gathering myself and saying something I know to be Truthful, with my integrity, with my whole being.

“I know you do,” she says. “I’ve seen you do it.”

Expressing myself female gave me permission to be myself with other people rather than attempt the male act. It freed me. I might now regret hormones and surgery, but I do not regret that.

 ♥♥♥

That conversation affected the whole week. I thought before, “The monster will get me”, and of granite statues judging me, and see more what that is. I was frightened of saying “my compassion”. I felt I would be judged for it. I had known that is not an adult assessment of what another individual is like, but a terrified child assessment of the whole world. When I make a claim like that, to compassion or some other good quality, I am a small child with my mother knowing she will deny it, even though I am 52 and she is dead.

I found myself able to talk of my compassion. I named it at Quaker Quest and in the Meeting for Worship the word “compassion” was woven through the ministry. I was in the same state of authenticity, speaking at Quest, and I named it- “I am there now”- though far less frightened, and less mind-blown. It is not familiar, exactly, but more known and trusted. I had thought a lot about what I would say and the stories I would tell, but in the end the words were given to me: “The truth will set you free”.

With H on Friday night, we discussed trans issues and were distanced, but the first glass of wine brought us together and I told her why I could not have spoken of my compassion, and now I could. I was crying again, I am so hurt by this. Awake early on Saturday morning, I phoned The Samaritans and told the man. I took a long time to pluck up the courage, once he had answered. The thought that it would sound ridiculous to him terrified me. After, I said “You heard how big a deal this is for me, didn’t you?” He assented.

This is a big deal for me.
I was in touch with my compassion. It is at the heart of me.
I will remember this, and claim my truth again.

Jigsaw

You’re one of the most impressive people I’ve ever encountered. Ooh, tell me more!

I am wise and loving. I know this. This is my nature. I am highly intelligent, by which I mean I make connections; sometimes I am tired or have a blind spot and make them more slowly, sometimes I am practised and on a good day, and make them quickly.

On the phone to the Samaritans, I recounted some of my tales of rejection, difficulty, and trouble at work. I have had a difficult time, and it has broken me. While some people are more resilient, many would be badly hurt by my experiences. And I feel more withdrawn and less able to go out and engage than I was five years ago, when I last worked. It feels as if I am trying to put together a jigsaw, and the pieces and patterns on them do not fit.

In adulthood and in childhood. My mother was controlling, and she communicated her fear to me. We must present a face to the world which is nothing like the organismic self underneath; and we hide away whenever possible, taking refuge in prescribed roles where unavoidable, and in privacy at other times. Her shame and terror made these things into absolute rules for survival in my own mind. While other people don’t care about my eccentricities, particularly, hiding them was paramount for me.

Brené Brown’s free to watch video is for counsellors rather than clients, but I found it useful. How do you protect yourself from the pain of shame? It is the experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging, she says, and we respond to that pain as we respond to trauma. The only people without shame are also without empathy and the capacity for compassion. There is no significant correlation between shame and self-esteem, because shame is an emotion and self-esteem is a cognitive construct. So repeating my gifts as above is positive, but does not reduce my shame.

We suffer in absence of connection, and after lack of motivation stopped me seeing people on Sunday and bad weather stopped me seeing one person on Tuesday I was feeling this badly. I have not seen another human since Thursday. I joked to Poppy, the Samaritan, that if I were an orangutan that would be OK but for any other great ape, and most primates, it’s bad. Yet I feel weak and needy because I need connection. I should be self-sufficient. I beat myself up about that, as about many things.

I need connection, and I have a drive to hide away, driven by shame.

Shame is not guilt. You feel guilty about behaviour, shame about self. I did something bad, not I am bad. Humiliation has the same physiological response as shame, but we recover because we do not believe we deserve it. Feeling embarrassed is less traumatic, because as you feel it you know you are not alone.

Shame correlates with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, bullying, aggression and violence. So trying to shame someone out of addictive behaviour does not work.

Shame is reinforcing- there is something wrong with me; individualising- it’s only me; pathologizing- I’m broken. If we can bring these things into conscious awareness we can counteract them.

I do that. I must change in order to get out and use my gifts for the community, benefiting others and fulfilling myself. How must I change, I ask. The jobcentre client adviser wants to put me on a new scheme, but did not say what it would do for me. I feel if she thought I would desire what it might do, she would tell me more. She said “You want to go back to work, don’t you? Because some people don’t.” And I thought it is more complex than that. I fear I do not have the resilience or motivation. I don’t feel motivated or resilient. I grope for understanding of this wherever I might find it, such as a documentary on anorexia- the woman knows she has the condition, yet eating anything terrifies her as it will make her fat. They are not being manipulative, getting their parents to look after them again, and they cannot snap out of it. They die of it- or exist, in suspended animation beneath the waves. As for me, I cannot just conjure up resilience and motivation with a few mantras. I can tell myself of my gifts to build self-esteem, and try to notice emotions making me hide away as my mother taught me.

Resilience is critical awareness: Demystifying- I understand how shame works; contextualising- it’s bigger than just me; and normalising- we all struggle.

Acceptance LIX

I have the stubbornness to bash my head against the things I can’t change, the lassitude to tolerate the things I possibly could, and the idiocy not to see the difference.

I am pleased with that line. I said it in sardonic bitterness, but then thought, that’s close to what the twelve-steppers pray for. I even have the wisdom to tell the difference, just not as quickly as I might like.

I am sad. I am hurting. And this fills me with fear, in case I do something embarrassing because of it, like burst into tears, or behave like creepy stalker guy, which would be unbearable; contempt, because I should have recovered by now; and anger with myself for feeling this way, preventing me from useful action. I had two hours with the Samaritans bloke, which has enabled me to articulate that, and also to feel the depths of my sadness. I had a good cry. I would have denied it because the feeling was too unbearable, but no longer do that.

I showed courage. I went somewhere, facing my distress, fearing that I would do something embarrassing. I am rewarded: I see that I did not. Perhaps I could trust myself more. Perhaps I could trust others, not to hurt me, not to want to hurt me. Of course just because my suspicion is greater than it need be does not mean it is never appropriate; but too much self-protection just restricts me, as I protect myself by withdrawing, and that is tedious, dull and uncreative.

He did his thing. No, I am not suicidal. I don’t want to discuss options or goals. Society gives us so many conventional ways of having fun or advancing to useful goals, and sometimes we might even fool ourselves we are enjoying ourselves or being fulfilled; but I am utterly sick of that. I have these intense emotions which I find nearly unbearable- the sadness as well as the fear and anger; and I want to come to accept them. I am in a sulk, I have been for years, and growing acceptance and trust might make me more effectual, and happy; but even if it doesn’t, acceptance is what I am working on now.

What will you do now? he asked. I will cook. I have bacon, egg, spaghetti, onion, and will do a Carbonara. Then I will blog about this: two thousand people a month visit my blog. That at least is a useful question. And the session has been useful, it has moved me from overwhelm towards equanimity. I have these overwhelm moments; acceptance is a tool I can develop to make them less paralysing. My sadness is about much of my life, and one situation; symbols and reality, many things which do not really contradict each other, and all are important. It is about not accepting reality, even while acceptance is the way through it.

Some of the equanimity is about words: I move from AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH to “I feel sad”. The sadness wells up craving conscious attention, and naming it makes it bearable; and acknowledging it with him as my witness helps me accept it. And, I said that about lassitude and stubbornness through tears- I keep minimising my feelings.

 ♥♥♥

In other news: I cycled to K– meeting this morning. The clear blue sky, with a kite, flocks of birds, trees changing colour, open fields and majestic wind-turbines, it was all too beautiful not to. We are amazed at the horror of Trump’s election. I said I must take pleasure in the beauty- people here are beautiful- and in what I can do; that was my exercise in meeting. H wants collective action- but she was with the Women’s Equality Party yesterday, and that must be enough for the moment. We will not have a mass movement in an “if there is hope, it lies in the Proles” kind of way; exhilarating certainty that you are part of a great people, all working together for Right, is only for the Dark side- “Build that Wall!”

Yesterday was my last AM as clerk. We disagreed, and we took the time to express the disagreement, and consider all sides; and we found a minute we could unite behind. It is beautiful. We do this without a leader to defer to. It is work. It is worthwhile.  Then we watched the one-woman show about the life of Ada Salter, working in Bermondsey between 1909 and 1921 with young women who were rag pickers or collectors of dog mess for leather tanning. She emphasised the horror- sheets from death beds, bandages from wounds, all kinds of human excretion and infection, and possibly broken glass inmixed, painstakingly collected for a few coppers from the paper factory. Yet that was hopeful, too: people do what people must.

Feeling good

It was definitely my right of way on the roundabout. That car should have given way to me. It was approaching quickly, but it would slow down- however perhaps the driver did not see me at first, and I looked to my left seeing it bearing down on me. Had he not slowed down, he might have clipped my back wheel- as it was I escaped unscathed. I considered sharing my feelings with the pedestrian just beyond the roundabout- relief, anger, fear, bewilderment- but he did not look the empathetic type, so I did not.

Then I got home, glistening all over with sweat in the heat, and felt Wonderful. It could have been the weather, exercise, narrow escape from injury or anticipating lunch with Liz.

I have been feeling down. It could be the bitterness and falsehood of the Referendum campaign- neither leave nor remain feel like powerful choices. I was thinking of my job interview on Thursday:

-Do you want the job?
-No, you B*****ds, f*** you, give it to someone else, see if I care

-caring too much-

when I switched on my phone, and picked up the voicemail message from yesterday. The interview panel wanted to know where I was. I had checked how to get to Birmingham this morning, looked at Helen’s email to find where it was. I looked at the email again: it clearly says the interview is Tuesday (yesterday) not Thursday. I don’t know how I made that mistake. I feel utterly miserable. I am in a dreadful situation and cannot trust myself with the simplest thing to improve it. I cried.

I call the Samaritans. “I wanted someone to talk to.” “We’re not a chat-line,” Eve said. And I feel anger and resentment and I say something sarky,

and amazingly I feel energised, really good. Wow. What is that? Anger at you energises me- “Correlation is not causation, as they say”. I don’t know that it is that which causes it-

She would not say that. She has not heard it before. Well, some say post hoc ergo propter hoc. It should really be post hoc non ergo propter hoc.

What is causing this buzzing on the landline? To me it sounds loud, she hardly hears it. The landline has been buzzing for weeks. It could be the adsl filter, I unplug the modem-

and the buzzing continues. And I feel dreadful again. I cannot even deal with this!

The heart of my depression is lack of motivation. I cannot improve my situation: anything I attempt I will just do badly and fail. Not judging myself so harshly might do some good; so might behavioural activation. I have cleaned off some of the ingrained grime from my bathroom floor, which I have not properly cleaned for years. And I scrub at the wee black spots on the linoleum, and think, It is an improvement. Value all the improvement. It does not need to be perfect. And I do a bit, then stop, then go back to it. I have swept the hallway too.

And now I have phoned BT about the landline. There is a fault on the line, and they will deal with it. How last century, to have a BT landline! Well, I find it useful, for some things-

Signac, 1890

Joy and pain

Joy and pain are constant intertwined…

I phoned up the Samaritans, and said I am depressed. “People say that’s not important, but it is important, it matters very much indeed” prosed the woman. We’ve got a right one ere, I thought. I told her I had been playing Beethoven. The Adagio from the sonata op.2 no.3 is gorgeous, like a Bach prelude filtered through a nightmare, or LSD. Played professionally, it sings in perfect darkness while the tension tightens from unbearable to excruciating.

Beethoven! she said. Oh, how lovely! That’ll make you feel better! Oh, he was wonderful! So much lovely music! How wonderful that you can play the piano and make yourself feel happier!

I agreed Beethoven was one of the great human beings. I told her she sounded a lovely person, and it had cheered me up to speak to her, and wonder whether she would be told to shut up, listen, and not tell people what to think.

I did not meet Richard this morning as he called to cancel as he is depressed. I am, too. It is sunny. I must go for a walk in the sunshine. That will make me feel better.

D stood at AM on Sunday to share his cunning plan, twice. The question was whether the Cornwall interest in decriminalisation of drug possession is a religiously based concern, and if so whether BYM or our AM should do anything about it. Instead, people want to discuss drugs policy. D had his brilliant idea from the University chaplaincy: with a small child who is upset he would lead it away and interest it in some other pastime, and similarly with addicts we should produce something to engage their interest. Alright as far as it goes, which is not far.

I felt depressed, and it seemed to me that my resistance made it worse. I am ashamed of it. I am wrong. I must end it. Instead, I thought, go with it. It just is. My thoughts of what I ought to do to make it better miss the mark: instead, what do I want to do? I wait for inspiration to rise from unconsciousness.

I kneel in my ritual space, and weep. I have not been silent there for months. Then I consulted again, and decided to play the piano. I want to analyse this, to come to an understanding and explain it to a Samaritan, but find she wants to do the talking, and I am clear enough anyway. Acceptance is the key.  It is nearly midday. I decided to shower. Then, though it is a little early, I decide to have lunch.

What I want to do then is that job application. The closing date is tomorrow. It is strange. I want to do it. If I told myself I should do it, it would feel quite different. I have the energy I need to do the thing I decide to do, if only I decide unconsciously rather than by ratiocination. I complete it, then I lose it.

I had saved the attachments to a zip file, and so when I save the completed form it goes in a temp file. It appears to have disappeared: I look through lists of files, I search for it, I check recent open files- nothing. Miserable, cursing and weeping I google for ways to find it and start writing it again, not as well.

I found it, eventually, after trying various things. And now, I feel good. I want to understand. I can’t understand. Anything. At all. Yet it’s OK, just for now.

Bosch, Ecce Homo

Samaritans

Phone call to the Samaritans.

-Well, we’ve had a good long chat about your feelings.
-Are you saying you need to get on? She won’t answer that straight out. Instead, she says, carefully,

-We’re always available if you need to call us. So I said,

-I ask you a question, and you will not give me an answer. You lead me to understand that you wish to end the conversation, though I do not want that. I feel manipulated. Though I also feel quite pleased that I can state my feeling, rather than just be disappointed and acquiesce. That is new for me. Do you want to end the phone call?

(pause)
-Thank you for calling
(pause)
-Goodbye
(pause)
Click

It was only 27 minutes. What I wanted is a listening ear. I know all the fucking wisdom-bollocks.

Live in the moment.

Accept what is.

I know my objections are ridiculous, but they remain my objections. Just before the call ended, I told her that I was seeing a psychotherapist on Friday, and one of my reasons for calling was to find a corner of the Gordian knot at which picking might be behovely. (Then thought that expressing that in that way was to make it beautiful for me, rather than necessarily communicative. Then thought that I am judging her as less cultured and intelligent than me.)

-Can’t you just let the session take its course?
-Oh yes! Absolutely! It will be what it will be! But I thought that stirring the pot beforehand might bring things to consciousness which might not otherwise come.

Those adverts, a guy looking really rough, unlike normal advertising picturing people the target audience aspire to be, and the caption A Samaritan helped me take control of my life. Perhaps she wants to Give Advice. Well, perhaps she will say something helpful, and perhaps I will make all the connections and she is just a listening ear. That’s good too.

Emotional turmoil. Friday, wonderful time with amazing person. Saturday, email- delight! She feels it too! Sunday tantalised, Monday immiserated- When will I see her again, if getting to one afternoon in a coffee shop takes two months! That email had warm promise, and also a list of other things she really has to do which get in the way of meeting, just like the other things which led to cancelling our last two arranged meetings and delaying the first arrangement for seven weeks. It does not help that she is more intelligent than I, as well as out of my league by every other possible measure.

A job interview!

And, having discovered and accepted my Rightness- my femininity, expressiveness, playful childlike nature, will-power, beauty,

I am left with my Wrongness, how I sit around watching TV or scrolling facebook, choleric at the shared articles, not tidying the advertising leaflets- at least not chip wrappers or dogshit, it’s not as bad as the worst home visit story I have heard- lying on my floor for the last week. I don’t see how it would improve things, or something,

and the question of What to DO????

Note the sexism of the posters. Picture of man- “A Samaritan helped me take control of my life”. Woman- “For once, I could be myself”. And I couldn’t.

1000 speak is up again.