Driving to a meeting yesterday I heard the results of a survey reported on the radio. The survey was about sex, and according to the results most men wish they’d had more sex partners, while women in contrast come to question some of the sex partners they’d been with.
I mentioned that over breakfast trying to make a point. The point I was making is that I should be pretty pleased with the life I’ve lived. I don’t have those regrets: I’ve had plenty of sex partners, though that wasn’t the point I was trying to make. The point is that for much of my life I’ve followed the urge no matter where it has led me. If in doubt, do it, might have been a motto for a good 15-20 years of my life. I’ve actually done the things that most men regret never trying.
That’s positive. I look back and there’s a lot of great moments and fascinating times. For the most part I’ve lived fully. I’ve been to many parts of the world, have seen and experienced many things I’ll never forget. More than anything I’ve been lucky enough to feel the intoxicating lure of the new and novel again and again. I have no regrets.
Memories though are just memories. They live in your head and in faded photos in an album, but once they’re done they’re static. They’re past tense, almost to the point that it seems surreal. There are times I find it hard to reconcile my current circumstances with the man in those memories. They seem almost another life – did I really drink Pilsener in Prague? Was it me that explored every inch of Petra on foot? Did I really crack a couple of Japanese girls in Hue? They appear vague and disconnected. Sometimes I wonder if my memory plays tricks. As memories they seem foreign to my existence today. What matters is now, and tomorrow. Memories are nice, but they’re as dead as a butterfly pinned to a piece of board.
We spoke of memories a little yesterday. Yesterday I sat across from an attractive woman telling her some of my things wile she told me some of hers. We spoke of other things, plans and hopes and what we’ll do for Christmas.
I played a role – when don’t I really? Do I like her? I asked myself that as I sat there talking to her. I operated on two levels, as so often, carrying on the conversation quite normally while my mind went off on another tangent. I peered at her, feeling a low-level lust that translated quickly into imagination. I wondered how much I like her. Enough? Could it be more? I ate my eggs, impatient to be intimate with her. My conversation was measured, however. I wanted to tell her more, but held back. Instead I gave her the sanitised version of myself, all the detritus and debris airbrushed out of the picture. As I imagined peeling the knickers from her slender body I also imagined opening myself up to her, putting my head on her shoulder and sharing all that is in me. As if! I thought. But still…
I don’t want this to be about her, but I should make it plain. I’ve avoided any relationship for over 2 years. I think I got impatient with that. I felt isolated, felt need. I’ve let this develop when at another time I’d have let it wither and die. She wants this I think. There is part of me held back, as so often, but she would want me to give that to her I think. Am I capable of that?
That’s the question. For my own health and sanity the answer should be yes. The events of the last 18 months have opened me up in ways impossible before then. When you got nothing it’s silly to be anything but humble. I can’t hide the truth, though I’m a dab hand at misdirection. I’ve come to realise that to pretend something when the truth is so clearly otherwise is just plain stupid. Generally then I’ll acknowledge the ruin about me with a wry smile and a metaphorical shrug of the shoulders. I’m not one yet for deep confessions, but I will try to share, my pride intact.
Here I am now though. I’m just about at the end of the rope. I’m over all this, done. I’m out of ideas. Options ran out a month ago. Truly this is as bereft as I’ve ever felt.
Am I depressed? I wonder at that. I should be. Technically I probably am. There’s plenty of good reason to be, and if I am it is because of that – it’s situational, functional even if you want to call it that.
I wonder about this because depression got some press during the week. One of the English cricketers flew home from Australia suffering from it, and has been for a while it seems. That seems more common these days; or is it we hear about more because we no longer sweep it under the carpet as before? I don’t know that it’s completely accepted as yet, but much of the stigma – that of being ‘weak’, a character flaw – is gone.
I’m sympathetic to anyone who suffers from depression. My mother did. I know others too. I’m liberal, fair-minded, kind-hearted I think. Still, while I judge no-one else, I do myself. That stigma in large part remains in me, but only as it pertains to me individually. I refuse to be depressed, from pride and ego. I won’t accept it. It makes me combative.
I know that true depression is debilitating. You can’t function. Your thoughts are dark. You can barely rouse yourself. You feel sluggish and murky. You despair.
I know that because it’s what I read. I know it too because I have experienced it. Fortunately for me those episodes have been fleeting – a morning here, an afternoon there. In my memory it’s all been connected with my situation: what am I going to do? That makes it easier because I have something to focus on. For the likes of me it’s good because I have something to battle against and defy. That’s how I draw myself out of those situations, by refusing to let it beat me. The pride that leads me up so many dark alleys sometimes helps to lift me from my gloom.
I know for others it’s not as easy as that. I don’t know what brings it on, but I gather that they live in a non-specific and oppressive fugue. It must be an awful thing to endure. Even worse, it must be hard wondering how or if they will ever come clear of it.
I’m in a tough situation. I’m really lost now. I feel what I feel, and it’s perfectly natural. I can get help I think – and by that I don’t mean professional help, and I don’t even mean a change in my circumstances (though that would help). I mean help from others. I get advice all the time, all of it well meant. That’s not what I need. What I need is emotional support – love, affection, encouragement, faith and belief. My friends have been good, but they don’t see me like this because I don’t share this me. That’s my error, though it’s hard to overcome the habit of a lifetime. Mr cool and independent. Mr Silly.
I wonder if I should give this girl something of what she wants, and wonder what I’ll find in doing so.