Sometimes, lately, as I write in this blog I’m embarrassed by the subject matter. It’s not so much the slow decline of H I describe here – by and large I’ve become immune to the humiliation it entails. I’m embarrassed because it seems self-indulgent – like one of those people you meet who can’t stop talking about themselves. Granted, this medium pretty well dictates a monologue, and it is a personal blog, but, still…it sits queer with the ethos I was brought up to believe – which, basically, is old school Australiana: less is more.
The embarrassment passes. This is real after all, not made-up. I can’t ignore it. These are the things happening in my life, and in my head. Though often times these things bite deep I try to approach them with a scientific detachment. There’s both a subjective ‘reality’ and an objective truth. I know the subjective very well, am carried up and away by it on occasions like a gust of hot air. I’m wary of it though because I know that it is the objective truth I have to deal with: feeling hard done by achieves nothing except adding to my misery. Acting on the reason why might actually help. It’s important to keep my feet on the ground lest it becomes too big for me to handle.
I find as I write about these things that I pause often to properly dissect the events in question. I’m watching myself, observing my actions and reactions, searching my feelings, asking questions of everything till I get a sense of understanding. I’m curious too. Though I’m the subject of this, I find it fascinating from a voyeurs perspective. Ultimately I’m trying to chart the process. I’m like a man with a fatal disease who dispassionately takes notes as his health deteriorates, recording not just the state of his health and its ups and downs, but his feelings along the way, the reactions of others, the reflections he observes.
In that spirit then let me make note of some of the things I’ve noticed lately. Despite my earlier comment I am embarrassed by my situation. There’s no way I could admit to an acquaintance everything I’ve suffered and am going through. I wonder what people know; and if they know, what they think. All of this came to the surface again on Saturday night at the party.
There’s a bunch of clubs I don’t belong to anymore. Once you lose membership it’s hard to make conversation, though I manage to obfuscate. Most people I met on Saturday night would fall in the upper-middle class, upwardly mobile set that I too once sat comfortably within. Pretty well all have decent and sometimes very good jobs. Naturally the conversation slides around to that on a pretty regular basis.
I listen, I contribute when I can, and I make the small things I still own sound much bigger. I get wistful though listening to them. I wonder why I’m not one of them anymore. In certain ways I feel a bit of a fraud standing there with a beer in my hand talking about the challenges of career when I do it by memory only. The thing is, that while I feel like an intruder to that extent, it does not extend to how I feel. You might expect this situation to impact on my self-esteem. I think it would be natural to take the ongoing bad news quite personally. Self-doubt goes hand in hand with that.
I haven’t suffered that. Perhaps it’s a sign of megalomania that I haven’t. I’m without, but that’s a state of circumstance and not a state of being.
I chatted to Mrs Cheese about this through dinner. I found it hard to ask, but finally blurted it out: how do you see me now? It was as if she expected the question. I think it might be something she talks to Cheeseboy about. She told me she saw me no different now to the first time she met me. I’m a different person to her, she confessed, the entrepreneurial risk taker – but then I always had been. She told me she felt as if I’d been subjected to an extended and ridiculous period of bad luck, but that she thought no less of me for that.
I listened, somewhat reassured, but still somewhat sceptical. That was fine for her, but what of others?
She told me she asks Cheeseboy all the time, “hows H going?” “Going ok,” he says, and she always thinks, really?
I smiled at that and admitted there were times it got me down. I’m not always ok. But then she said she was amazed I managed so well. “It must be so frustrating,” she said, “to not get a chance when there are a lot more less intelligent than you who sail along without a thought?” I smiled at that to, knowing that intelligence, or the lack of it, has only fleeting relevance to most things. We have our own paths to follow.
It doesn’t change much in the end. I feel as capable as ever, but a fraud nonetheless. No matter what I do I can’t get back to where I was before, an oblivious member of the club. I’m not as shiny as I used to be, but the dents cause me no personal grief. I exist, ready for things when they change, or if.