Back to Blogging

As you may have noticed I have not been blogging for a while. This is not due to a lack of experiences or subjects that I am formulating comments on but because I have actually become overwhelmed by the magnitude of events entering my once simple, ordinary life on a daily basis.

If I actually described how I felt right now or everything that has happened to me since the beginning of 2008 then this blog would never end and would become longer than War and Peace combined with Ulysses and Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past (all books which I am dying to read but need to create a clone of myself to be able to ever achieve this goal).

So I will try to be succinct. I have a lot to say as I have experience a lot in a small amount of time. However, we live in a quick fix instant gratification age where people have short attention spans (myself more than others) and so no one, not even I would bother reading through all my diverse and over complicated thoughts in just one blog  post. So I propose to commit some of my current thought to digital cyber code in a series of blog posts on specific subjects.

Compartmentalising the different aspects of our lives, thoughts, characters and experiences may be anathema to me, as I feel one loses a great deal of meaning by disconnecting various interwoven threads, but at least it will be easier to read and compose. Hopefully you will find something in there that you relate to, a conflict I am facing that you may have faced before, or are currently facing and maybe we can conjure up some useful insights by the process of transferring my thoughts and your feedback using the power of modern technology (i.e. this blog.)

To Keep this blog post short I will just list some of the various topics that I will write about as they have been a big part of my life since January 2008. That may seem an arbitrary year to begin my cyber “memoirs” but it has some significance. 2008 was the year in which my first child was born and was the year in which I was made redundant from a job I would have never left and then went to work in a modern day professional office “sweat shop” and fell ill having contracted a serious of viruses and developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, to add to my already debilitating Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diarrhoea.

2008 Was also the year I started CBT – Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, sessions, in order to combat my worsening IBS-D, and that forced me to start dissecting my thought processes and lifestyle to uncover the root causes of my various physical and pyscholigical illnesses.

In 2009 I continued with the CBT, took up Yoga, joined Weight Watchers, lost 2 stone in weight in 5 months, put back on most of that 2 stone since November 2009, honed my skills as a multi-tasking househusband, babysitter cum live at home father, dogsbody son and son-in-law (carrying out various time consuming duties for my family), was put on various trials of medication to try and combat my CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), such as Vitamin B12 injections on a weekly basis and a variety of polypharmacy solutions.

I also developed asthma and Hay fever just to add to the myriad of medical conditions attack me. I quit smoking (not because of a less stressful life – life was ever more stressful, but due to the asthma), supported my beloved wife as she completed her Doctoral thesis, whilst working and being a mother and stressed out wife and daughter all at the same time.

My father-in-law had a sudden major stroke in late October 2009, 2 days after I had booked non refundable tickets to a wedding in Houston that I couldn’t afford to go to but was a reward for my wife’s year of constant stress, struggling and no sleep. We didn’t go to Houston over Christmas but instead shuttled between hospitals and funerals through the sudden snow storms of 2009/2010 as I began to start job hunting seriously, having realised we were on a financial precipice.

I got a job interview and job offer after 30 job applications, for one of my favourite Consumer electronics companies, only to be told that they had messed up and in fact the company had a recruitment freeze so the job I had been given was taken away from me bringing back into the same frustrating, anxious, stressful place of being broke, jobless, overweight, confused, conflicted and struggling to re-train as a web designer whilst finding a temporary finance job and supporting my wife as she cares for her bed-ridden father and physically drained mother (whilst she herself is still working and raising our daughter with me).

On the plus side I got to spend a lot of time with my daughter, which taught me a lot about myself, about fatherhood, the trials and joys of parenthood and has made me re-learn many subjects and pieces of knowledge that I have forgotten over the years (such as astronomy and geography, not to mention grammar and basic maths).

I have also been forced to grow and challenge myself and my preconceptions due to marriage and my never ending crisis situations, and I have discovered that adaptability is a very under rated skill that is vital to success in life.

I have also had the good fortune to discover the artistic genius of TV shows such as The Wire, The Sopranos and Battlestar Galactica (re-imagined) whilst getting more involved in social media experiences like Twitter and blogging.

I also managed to buy a Nintendo Wii, using vouchers from my credit card provider, so if things get too much and I am in need of some techno salvation i can always fire off some stress with my Wii Zapper gun (so long as the wife is away, she is not a toy gun fane).

I also completed a Career Change programme with a Career coach that was a real eye opener into the way I live my life and how I can take back control and start living more of my “truth”, rather than the crowd pleasing facade I have become so accustomed to wearing almost permanently.

I managed to read some Chekhov Short Stories and finish reading Dune by Frank Hebert, which was an immensely enjoyable read, and A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway, the first Hemingway book I have ever read, which was also a revelation.

And finally, most important of all, I managed to get in game of Scrabble, which I haven’t played in years, although the joy was short lived as I was beaten by my wife. So much for my aspirations to become a short story writer and novelist!

P.S. See the next post for the promised list of topics I will blog about and put links for.

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Express Yourself – Behind the Masks

So why am I composing a blog post when I have no time or energy and so many more important things to do?

The answer is I need to express myself. It is no longer a case of wanting to express myself. I have suppressed most of my inner feelings and thoughts for too many years.  I need a platform and audience to vent my increasing confusion, thoughts, bewilderment and increasing disillusionment with life.

Not to depress you too much or put you off.

My problem is that although I am surrounded by lots of people, and always have been in my life, I have come to the realisation that none of them actually listen to me. The ones who should and do care the most, my parents and family, are there when I speak to them, and ask me to fill the void of silence between us with words when they question me about my state of mind and feelings, but when I fill that void with my true thoughts and feelings it is as if the wind blows away the words in a sudden gust over their heads and not one if the words enters the heads of those who love me. This happens on occasion with my wife, but she is perhaps the only person who actually listens to what I have to say and hear what I am saying, by absorbing my speech into their mind. My parents and everybody else just talk at me. They regurgitate their own fixed, narrow views and are convinced that they have the solutions to all my problems, even though they never come to understand what my true problems are because they do not listen to me. It is like talking to a brick wall, except that brick walls can be broken and can provide solace by at least appearing to listen to you, because they don’t talk back and provide proof of their deafness.

It is not only my parents who exhibit and posses these qualities of inertness when it comes to my myriad tangled web of issues. It is also my in laws, extended family, friends and society in general. Every new psychical ailment or psychological problem I develop leaves me full of anxiety and frustration as half the people do not believe me and the other half are so confused they stop caring. People don’t want to hear what I have to say, even though I listen to them, and I need someone, in fact more than just one poor soul (the role currently filled by my poor wife) to provide a sensitive, thoughtful ear. This was always the case, and I found ways of getting through life and rising up the social ladder, even though I was pulled down by inner turmoil, ill health, my inability to be good at any sports or display any artistic talents, and my lack of co-ordination. How did I get by? In a nutshell, I lied. I created a set of masks for different people and ended up becoming a walking masquerade artist. I lost my true self in the process and now that my career coach and CBT therapist are trying to unearth that poor unloved soul deep below the piles of masks I am suffering in the upheaval within.

I can feel the swirling vortex of bitter, twisted demonic thoughts brewing and boiling in the vat within me. I have a lot of issues. 30 years of suppressing my true self and thoughts has taken its toll on me. I was always encouraged to live out the dreams and lives that other people felt I should be living. I always told people what I thought they wanted to hear, not what I really felt inside. This is how you live in life, I was told. It is partly a cultural thing, where true self expression is frowned upon, as a selfish trait of individualistic corrupt societies, in favour of “group social cohesion” which is the best demonstration of a communal society.

I never got over my lonely, volatile, turbulent, “permanent battle ground” childhood, which altered my adrenaline production so badly that I have been suffering from stress related illnesses ever since. I am also still exposed to that fiery, tense, confrontational atmosphere, though less often than before.

The more people that came into my life, the more I hoped that I would find someone I could connect to, engage with, and open up to, finding an outlet in a group of likeminded people with whom I could connect with and share my insightful thoughts and unique experiences with. With the one sole exception of my wife, and teetering hope son the horizon, this has never happened. Instead, the reverse happened. I did become absorbed into a world of ever greater numbers, with more “friends”, “family” and people than I ever knew, but they were all as bad, if not worse, than what I had before. I could not relate to, or engage with any of them. There were, and still are, some who touched a hopeful nerve or 2 along the way, but they are not in my immediate sphere of influence. They live abroad or are perpetually busy. The actual real people always in my life are just more people who do not listen, have fixed, narrow ideas they seem unable to break free from.

All this means is that my Oscar winning performance of the happy, stable, professional, obedient, conformist half-wit man with the smile, the artificial facade I walk around with and project when faced with other people, has to be worn even more often.

When there were less people in my life, and less responsibilities, I at least had lots of alone time, where I could escape into the world of Fiction, History and Sci-Fi books, music, films, writing, strategy computer games and art.

Instead, I now have to face legions of dull, shallow people who make me feel like a desperately small man, a failure in life, and to whom I have to lie, put on the mask and pretend I am a happy, stable, equally shallow, emotionally inert, narrow minded undeserved success. They lack the depth, sensitivity, breadth, empathy or sympathy to function as a positive source of hope and light in my life. They keep the plug hole rattling over my mouth firmly closed, as all the steam within my bubbling soul increases the pressure to burst the hole open.

I want to let it all out. Vent my feelings, tell all the shallow, hypocritical, narrow minded people around me what I truly think of them and the way they live their lives. I want to stop having to live the lie that I am a contented professional with the temperament suited to being the accountant he never really wanted to become. I want people to accept that I have a creative imagination, a whole load of internal emotional problems and am constantly on an emotional rollercoaster that even I have no control over.

There are times when I feel like the king of the world, able to achieve anything, then suddenly the rollercoaster carriage falls down the abyss and i sink so deep and into dark places I dare not even speak of here. I have been having the most frightening flash image sin my head of doing things to myself I thought only really crazy people thought. Something very troubled and angry within me, a parasite that is feeding on my suppressed rage and bitterness, is taking over my subconscious and it scares me to think what he will do to my rational, conscious, ever determined self.

This blog is my only outlet. All the friends I like and trust, and who may have a modicum of sensitivity are abroad. I am surrounded by people here, but have never felt more alone. All the people around me are a source of stress and lack the open minds, trustworthiness and sensitivity, as well as time and energy, needed to be true good listeners. They would only kick me if they knew I was down.

All I want to do is knuckle down and finish the 11 short stories I have been working on, but until I clear my head and start to unearth the truth within me I will keep having anxiety induced panic attacks and psychical/ emotional problems. I need to let of the steam in reality and re-connect with positive influences and people in reality before escaping into fiction writing, where I may just lose myself forever.

I created an alter-ego, an avatar in Second Life, so that at least a part of me could engage and connect with other people and express himself, and when that was working it was great, but these days, as I have had less time to log into Second Life, and as my sanity has waned, even he is feeling lonely and frustrated. He also has a Twitter account, but is even less socially connected than the real me! Salvation will not come, it seems, from cyber space.

My CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) practitioner told me to sign up for more long term psychological therapy. I agree with her but it is a crying shame. It is not even on my “To Do” list and that is now so long it has found its way onto page 2. All I probably need is some drinks down the pub with good friends, a long walk in the park, hand in hand with a wife who does not have a never ending doctoral thesis hanging over her liek a death sentence, or some fast food gratification.

mardi_gras_mask-12020

Instead I have found solace in a very strange place indeed. It is in my iPhone. The iPod bit of my iPhone to be precise. I walk around from one chore to another listening the a deep voiced man describe the horrors of world war 2 as I find distraction from my own problems and get perspective whilst learning from an audio book version of Niall Ferguson’s  War of the World: History’s Age of Hatred, that I downloaded onto my iPhone months ago. It is fascinating stuff and like all those World War 2 documentaries that seem to be the only thing capable of calming my near panic attacks down I must thank it for being there for me when very little else is. Thank you History. And thank you dear iPhone, you are always here for me. Except when your battery runs out.

I would summarise my current situation as:

Cash poor, time poor, energy poor, health poor, and sanity poor. Frustration, anxiety, and insanity rich.