Hard thinking

Duality of Mind

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Once upon a time it used to be quite normal for me to head out the front door and go for long walks through the streets long after dark. Often times I would walk for over an hour taking random paths as I went, and often not returning home until after midnight. These nocturnal strolls were the outcome of a restlessness I could not contain. Invariably the restlessness was caused by the thoughts going through my head, things I needed to figure out or understand, decisions that must be thought through. It must have been a strange and possibly troubling sight at times for others as I wandered by in the dark, tall and lean, as I was then, intent on my own thoughts, my mind fuelled it seemed by the simple action of taking one pace after another. It was the locomotion in the dead and quiet of night that allowed me to think clearly and to resolve action.

For the first time in quite a while I found that urge returning to me last night. I felt terribly restless. I wanted to read, but couldn’t. I thought to sleep, but knew it wouldn’t come. I turned on the TV to deaden my mind, and though that worked to a degree it was unsatisfactory. I thought of taking myself into the dark, but refrained. Eventually I switched off the light and gradually fell asleep.

The fact of the matter is that I’m under the most intense pressure of my life. Mostly I manage to keep it at bay and forge forward, but sometimes it gets to me. It did not get at me last night. My mind, my demeanour , was cool. All the same I was aware of the huge challenges I face, and the ever-diminishing bag of tricks I’ve been using to meet them. Nothing I have done has made much difference. You wonder at times if there is any point continuing. Aware that doing the same thing again and again expecting a different outcome is the epitome of foolishness I try new things, different angles, I strive day after day to make something different. All to no effect.

I might have walked last night and looked to conjure up some new tricks, but that was not really in my head. In truth nothing was on my mind. I just felt it. Had I walked though and felt the movement pump through me to my brain I’m sure I would have ruminated on what it means for me. Here I am in a point of time. I remain positive by living in the moment, in being thankful for what I have now. There’s no value on dwelling on what I have lost, or might lose. Time will pass. At some point this will be history. At some point I will prosper again. I know that. Right now is now though. To get to there I need to get through this first.

For me, now, it becomes somewhat of an existential question. By day I must to battle with the pressing practicalities of the situation. By night I wonder where I am being led, and what path I should choose. Somewhere inside me I wonder what I am being told, what I am learning, what wisdom I should take from this. By day I worry myself with the material realities, by night my soul seeks expression.

I have no answers here. I am reporting what is rather than explaining what will be. The immediate future looks bleak. If I’m lucky I’ll pull a rabbit out of my hat just in the nick of time. By day I seek. I explore all avenues. I think creatively. Where can I find a hat? Still, little time remains. I remain positive, but realistic. The realism bruises. I look upon it dispassionately much as one might look at a photo of some disaster, with a kind of morbid fascination. Could I endure that? I wonder. Can I? I don’t know if I can. And if I can’t, what then?

I’ll survive, but I need to find a way. So by night, unbidden, my mind floats clear of me and these ugly realities. While reality presses and must be faced, the larger question, ultimately the more important question perhaps, is examined night after night, with no answer yet.

It is a hard time.

Writing about H

English: Old Reading road Not too clear but wa...

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Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been given cause to revisit much that I had previously posted to this blog, going all the way back to the start. The catalyst for this has been a person far from here who has cottoned onto this site and has been reading it with an almost obsessive zeal. I watch, bemused, as the stats wrack up. Occasionally I’ll get a message from the person about one particular post or another, to which I’ll politely respond. I’m curious and also fatalistic. I don’t know what they’ll find or what they’ll think, but that is no real cause for concern. In a way this blog puts me on the public record, and I can’t expunge what I’ve already committed to writing, and have no desire to censor the story – erratic I’m sure – that is occasionally presented. It is me after all, for good or bad.

While I have watched this feat of reading I have myself occasionally clicked on some of the links from a sense of curiosity and occasional nostalgia. I find myself reading wondering how other people take this in. I am always writing for myself – but how does the audience receive what are often quite self-indulgent posts? Gradually as I read I find that curiosity recede. In place of it I find myself recalling moments that had slipped from me. I read things and surprise myself now realising that while often enigmatic, my words frequently have the veneer of deeply considered wisdom. If only!

It’s probably not the done thing, but I find myself appreciating the man who could think and feel so deeply before attempting to transcribe those thouse thoughts and feelings for the world. Much of what I wrote may be mysteries to others – I am coy often, and archly reticent – but even if I have forgotten some of the people I refer to, the sense of what I write is always clear to me.

As I read I recall the different stages of my life the posts reflect. Unlike any reader who stumbles across my blog, I have the benefit of complete context – I lived it after all. And so as I read I recall the moments and the incidents that prompted me to write. I remember the things about it, often incidental, which go unreported here. You get the high notes here, but in my mind and my memory I can still recall the tune whole, the slow movements as well as the dramatic.

Reading again gives me context on the present also. I realise, or remember, that I have experienced most things at least once before. The good things you never forget, and the bad – often forgotten – you’ve obviously found a way to survive. That’s a reassuring note. We all know when trouble looms how overwhelming it can seem, so inescapable in fact. There’s no guarantees of anything – even escape – but given you’ve done it before countless times, have taken on adversity time and again and survived, there is sense of perspective and confidence. She’ll be right.

Reading back too it seems to me that my blog is a mix of things I’ve reported externally – from politics to movie reviews to commentary on my travels; and, more significantly, reports on my internal movements, the things I think, I feel, the torturous road I’ve followed. It’s very clear in re-reading that I’m strongly heterosexual, motivated by a combination of powerfully insistent lust, all the way through to a tender romanticism that makes the present day H blush. There’s a lot about women here.

I don’t know what it says about me, but the things I’ve forgotten are often incidental contacts, some of which appeared to be far more at the time. As an exercise the other night I lay in bed and tried to figure out how many women I’d had sex with in the last 12 months. It was a figure I found myself revising by the moment, recalling banal and insignificant encounters that had faded to the back of my mind: sometimes sex is only that. In another year I’ll have forgotten some of those encounters altogether. You remember what is important, the rest drifts away.

I thought that this morning as I woke up. I had dreamt overnight of a girl I used to work with and like. We still have some incidental contact via Facebook. You know how it is sometimes you feel surprise at the events unveiled? So it was in this dream with the girl making a b-line to me in a public forum and making it clear she wanted to be with me. Ok then, fair enough – she’s cute after all.

I thought of the dream and then thought how many times have I had such a dream and written of it here – or even not bothered to write of? Likewise moments when I’ve met with, or flirted, or even bedded some woman? It’s just normal, just life, just another small blip on the radar. Ultimately this is what this blog has become: it charts a journey, the small things, the big things, the sorrow and joy, the angst and desire, failures and successes, the map that has led me from there to here, and ahead a road uncharted but surely to be described.