Thursday, 23 November 2017

A Patch of Green

Other people lead such interesting lives. Sometimes I think, and it has been pointed out also, that maybe I had my one shot and I decided not to pursue it. Is that it then? I get one chance whilst others get many more. Notch up more than one significant other and a handful of kids; legally assume different surnames and gain in-and-ex-laws. True, I didn't want that. I always thought I'd have a career and would ultimately choose that over partnership of any kind. Well, the career never materialised and I don't think it will in later life, so all that remains is this single unit in a one-bedroomed apartment, in the centre of town, whereas once I had a sniff of a more permanent tie. And it was just a sniff, but still it could have gone either way I suppose if we'd communicated better. If...for so many incommunicable reasons which had they been voiced he wouldn't have understood anyway. Probably. The split was mutual, so he said, but I broke it off, and so that doubt has always stayed because I was a cow to do it on Valentine's Day. And by phone.
I know, what a day to do it on and what a way to do it. I've felt a mild guilt about it ever since and it was years ago, and I mean years – almost nine years, just one year short of a decade, though I'm sure you can all do the maths without me typing it out.
He's not the one that got away or that I let go. No, it's not like that. Because it didn't last long enough. But I think it was a turning point or a crossroads, or something, because I distinctly remember seeing a life, there for the taking, flashing before my eyes and, at the same time, feeling my individuality was being threatened. I knew exactly how it would unfold if I allowed myself to go down that path.
Maybe, that's what you have to go through to get to somewhere different. Duh. Yeah, the path I get, but not the feeling of Whoa, this is too much! and wondering where in all this I actually was. So I strayed back to the grass where there was a sign which said 'Keep Off', and that's where I've stayed, keeping others away. Not, however, through stubbornness and now habit, well, maybe just a little, but largely so I can live uncensored. I wouldn't if there was another sharing the same living space. If I felt watched. Because then the shoulders would always be tight and the back tensed, and the mind wouldn't settle to anything. Reading, my one true love, would be curtailed, and attention given over to other arrangements or trivial matters. Worrying for two, or more and not one.
Perhaps I'm wrong. Certainly my own grandparents and parents managed, and stayed contentedly married in spite of any differences in their characters. Or maybe, they went through an alteration and made the best of it. Compromised. Perhaps, the problem is I'm just too unyielding...though I think it's more to do with ownership: of myself. Because I've never got beyond that phase of what's going on here? where your thoughts get a little screwy and your usual person gets imprisoned i.e. you react differently in order to please whilst inside you're thinking: what? why am I doing this? who is this person? It freaks me out. There's nothing silly-grin-happy about it, not that I can see. Because although I have my faults I like me. At home anyway.
This is my place, where I don't have to be vigilant, well, not about my person, because, yes, I am that self-aware amongst others, where I try hard to present as 'normal' and not as strange. It's gruelling putting on that kind of act. If there was no respite from everything and everyone, if I couldn't control who or what had access, for how long for and when, if at all, I'd cross that border to lunacy. And so a certain distance would be a requirement if partnered up.
There's that if again. Because I think if you've always been insular and perfectly content to forego a closer level of intimacy to safeguard that privacy then attempts to go against the grain are a mental and emotional strain. Unless, of course, you're either very wilful or lucky, and can put those self-medicating comforts aside. It's a big ask.
So, if you can't, should everything else, including you, fall by the wayside? Well, no, why should it? and yet, here I still sit on this same patch of green, concerned just not enough to flag passing cars.

Picture credit: Reverie, 1890, Robert Lewis Reid