Not shouting, conversing

The problem with a blog like this is that you post in a moment of time. It captures the general zeitgeist present at that moment, and likely what’s led up to it, but it may not be indicative of the general flow. It’s rare that you post anything when things are ‘average’, because there’s nothing really notable to report. Then you become roused, motivated to post something because something has occurred. It’s a true thing at that moment, and captures the extremes, the highs, the lows, but doesn’t really account for the nuances. You get the shouted commands, not the quiet conversations.

In my life there are a lot of extremes, and most of them dip below the line.  I respond to them and often I’ll document them here. You’ll see me sometimes despondent, but more often stridently defiant. They’re true, but I’m not really that type of person. I’m determined, and mostly pretty motivated, but I’m also pretty laid back. What I’m not is a rah-rah type of character. Try that on me and I’ll likely roll my eyes at you.

I want you to understand that. I get all fired up sometimes, and while that lives within me pretty well every moment, even if dormant, mostly I’m just a regular Joe trying to manage an irregular life.

It’s a rocky road this. If I seem defiant often, there are also moments when I feel deflated and worn out, and in between I’m busy pedalling just to get by. There are times when I feel very vulnerable, and alone, when I feel disheartened and even discouraged. The consistent theme in that is a sense of helplessness. I feel it when things seemingly run unexpectedly out of control, such as the totally avoidable situation last week when money was taken from me. Often I feel it at the littlest things when people let me down by not returning calls, or failing to do as they promised, or, again, when another person’s carelessness costs me. There’s a sense of futile disappointment that permeates me to the point of abject melancholy.

Mostly I’m up for the fight, and just do it without thinking too much about what that entails, but there are times when for all my efforts I seem to end up where I began, for no rational reason. That’s the hardest part – it just seems so cruel and unjust sometimes. They’re real feelings, but generally they pass quickly because I won’t allow myself such pointless self-pity for too long. Even if it is unjust then wailing about it won’t change it.

More often I find myself energised by the obstacles and hurdles placed in my way. I’ve come to understand this is an essential aspect of my character. When things are smooth and easy – not that I remember such a time – I’ll cruise along, doing enough to get by, the days passing drearily, and seemingly without purpose, and me generally in a state of boredom.

Give me a challenge though. Defy me. Tell me I can’t do it. Ring the klaxons, set the clock against me, ramp up the pressure and expectation. I’m your man. I feel it. It’s like an intellectual adrenalin, fuelled by a deep-seated bloody-mindedness. I surge. My mind focuses, a kind of serenity descends upon me between moments of strenuous activity and decision. This has defined my career choices, but I’m pretty sure has not been as well used as it might have been.

It applies in my personal life too. Circumstances have decreed that I must battle forward. There’s no real option in that as the alternative is to accept a state of affairs that is untenable. As much as anything it’s physics. I can’t go back in time. I can’t bake a cupcake and feed a party with it. I can’t please everyone. And I can’t wave a magic wand to change how I live.

As it happens it fits well with my temperament. I’m combative by nature, innately independent, and have a robust personality when I need it. Above all there is that thing inside me that won’t step aside (though occasionally tempted too in those moments of weakness).

I’ve experienced both aspects in recent times. On Friday I had to appear in court in Ringwood (which deserves a post all of its own). I went there reluctantly. It was a nuisance, and I didn’t know what to expect. I was defiant though too. It was my call to be there. I was unwilling to cop another bollocking, and this was my small protest against it (probably futile, but…).

I went there with ringing phrases in my head, but sat at the back of courtroom 3 listening as the unedifying and vaguely embarrassing cases went on before me. It felt illicit, as if it was improper to listen in as other people aired their dirty laundry. When it came my turn I was more demure than I had imagined being, but had my request for an adjournment granted.

I drove away glad to be gone from there, at the same time reflecting that every small defeat, and even the big ones, serve only to motivate. In part that’s the defiant instinct. There’s also a strong practical aspect – if I don’t fight then I’ll go under. The broader reason though is that I don’t want this litany of challenges to be the thing that defines my life.  There’s a good serving of fear in that – I don’t want to be one of those wretched souls who lose all and never recover. In the tale of my life I want this time to appear as a period of stormy seas and near disaster, but disaster mitigated, and ultimately averted.

If I can survive then the next few chapters should tell a happier tale, and hopefully a triumphant tale in the end. That’s what I believe in. That’s what I’m striving for. I refuse to lose, refuse to be wretched, refuse to let it all slide away – no matter how easy that may be. I want to be the man who endures, who survives, who ultimately flourishes. That’s the tale I want told, and what I tell myself when it feels all too much.

It’s funny what enters your mind. Tomorrow is the third anniversary of my mother’s passing. She’s often on my mind, but more so at this time of year. She adored me, and worried herself sick about me just as a matter of course. I have plenty of reasons to succeed on my behalf, but I’m also conscious of doing it for her. She’s not here to worry, but I imagine she is somewhere fretting at my predicament. The thought horrifies me. I can’t have that, and so I must surmount my circumstances. I want her to know it will be alright, don’t worry, your boy is made of strong stuff.

When you read here of the seemingly unending challenges I must take on understand now why I relish the fight. There are many more reasons to overcome than there is in giving way.

I’m still to find somewhere to live, and on the weekend received the disheartening news that the application I had submitted and accepted by the landlord, had been rejected by the body corporate because of Rigby. That was a blow. I had begun imagining myself in residence there – a mistake – and had begun making arrangements. Talk of unexpected reversals, well that was one.

It means too that I have no other choice than to continue sponging off the Cheeses. That’s a heavy weight, as heavy as any I’ve had to bear because I hate being an imposition. That’s one of my things – a friend told me last week that I should lighten up about it, and he’s probably right. I’m sure I’m an inconvenience, but at the same time know that the Cheeses want me healthy and well.

It’s wearying this, but then you lift your head. You have to make it so – that’s what I must do. Do that, find the place, and the second need slots into place. From there it’s onwards and upwards. Glory beckons ;).


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