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Thursday, August 10, 2006 

Soul Searching (Fear and Addiction)

A long time ago I was scared. I was frightened of so much. I feared falling in love because I’d have my heart broken. I feared having anything more than a fling in case I fell in love. I was scared of going into sixth form and not seeing my friends- scared we’d grow apart. I was worried whenever we went into pubs or clubs in case we got ID’d. I was terrified of everything new, while at the same time afraid of missing out.

It’s hard to find something to be terrified of anymore. It’s like wearing an emotional rubber glove. I keep sticking my hands into scalding water, but with the glove on it just feels tepid. In the past few years I’ve done a lot that previously terrified me. In the case of visiting Berlin I literally bought the T-shirt. And I love it, of course. But that rubber glove isn’t just wrapped around my fear; it wrapped itself around my other emotions at the same time.

Kate told me I was unreadable. She’s lived with me for a month and a half now and says most of the time she can’t tell whether I’m happy or sad, enjoying myself or miserable. She says her husband can’t read me either. At my old job my boss was constantly telling he wished he knew what I was thinking, he said I just didn’t show what was in my head. I’ve always kept up this exterior since my father told me never to show fear because showing it was a weakness. So the more terrified I was, the less I allowed to appear on the surface.

Then finally a few months back he changed his mind. When he told me to hide my weaknesses I was only a kid, seven or eight years old, overly vulnerable and very emotional. At eighteen he said I’d gone too far. I didn’t let any weaknesses show, I seemed too strong and it maybe made it hard for other people to get close to me. He said I always had a smart, sarcastic come back, I laughed too much off, and though it wasn’t exactly that I’d become plastic, it was more that what I did let show was a façade rather than actuality.

Now I’m not scared, so by my father’s rule when I was seven or eight years old, for a time I should be able to let a few things past my guard. Whatever I show cannot be the weakness of fear, so there is no problem. But now I do feel plastic. Keeping up the façade went from something practiced to simply part of being me. I’ve done it too long.

And there are so many scars. The only time I allow anyone to see them is in this freaking blog, and that doesn’t help me. If the only time I allow myself to feel things is when I’m writing, then what kind of existence will I have? But I guess it isn’t just when I’m writing. I have emotions when I’m drunk too. That’s why I took to alcohol so easily I guess, it allowed me an outlet, an excuse to let down the guards that so exhausted me. And it probably explains why I reached my peak of pissheadedness when I was in the only long term relationship I’ve ever let myself have. The only way it stayed long term was because I spent so much time drunk, so could actually feel normal emotions.

God I sound like an addict.

But I know I am one. I’ve gone cold turkey. Really cold turkey not just the pretend version I showed everyone when I had exams. This time I don’t quietly when I’m depressed and no one is looking. This time it actually feels hard. Because this time I’m not pretending to myself, I’m not getting by by telling myself that its just till the exams are over, or that no one will notice if the vodka drops a few inches. It doesn’t matter if no one notices because I will, and I count for more than everyone else as I’m the one I’m doing damage to.

I’ll never be t-total. Just forget it. I’m a piss head. Sue me.

But it isn’t about the drinking. It’s about the drinking because I can’t feel emotions any other way. It’s about the binge writing depressing maudlin prose onto my computer. It’s about being constantly asked if I’m alright and enjoying myself, because no one can tell any other way.

I never told you I wasn’t fucked up. And relationship wise, I’m at a standstill. Some may tell you this is because I’m maturing and have gotten over the hitting on/ allowing other to hit on me simply cos I’m bored and feeling depressed. I disagree. I’ve matured, in a warped way I really have. What I did was learned a little about value. I’ve never professed to be ugly. I’ve got an ego on me, and would rate myself somewhere just above average and verging on unusual. Not pretty, not beautiful, but for all intents and purposes, okay.

But though I thought that I wasn’t ugly, there seemed to be some leap in logic that I just couldn’t make. If I look attractive enough, then people would find me attractive. Right? Okay, fine. Its just I find it hard to believe that someone would want anything more than sex. And I don’t know if I figured this was something to do with my appearance that said “just shag me, nothing else,” or something to do with my personality that would put them off. Probably the personality one. Either way, with men I was insecure as fuck, and compensated for my complete belief that no one could actually like me for more than a night by not letting them get the chance. I pushed people away, and only really felt attracted to people who were very obviously going to do so. That way they lived up to my expectations, and because I expected it, it didn’t hurt so much.

I don’t know if this is making sense. The object of this seems to have dissipated as I’ve rambled, but I’ll continue (sorry) because it’s making sense to me and it’s sort of helping.

Recently I figure that I don’t want that anymore. I’ve got a craving. I’ll say it here and now, I’m a VERY addictive personality and if I enjoy it, I’ll get addicted. So men, yeah, believe me, I want them. At the minute, with the stupid numbers of ice cream parlors in Germany, I’ve managed to substitute a lot of ice cream instead of giving in. The kids are helping keep me too exhausted, and all in all I’d say I’m doing fairly well. I’m not saying I’m celibate like I wasn’t saying I was t-total. I’m merely saying that for a while I’m abstaining from as many of my addictions as possible in the hope that I’ll be able to get a better grip on them when I decide that it’s the right time.

From the stress I don’t know how many times I’ve nearly started smoking and then stopped myself in pure horror.

I came here as… I don’t know what exactly. A way of removing myself from the world for a brief time. It was the right thing to do. But I guess I’m still scared. I’m not scared of the same things, but I am scared that I’ll have to stay celibate forever because how can anyone want me? It doesn’t matter what you look like when you’re so screwy that you can’t even tell what day of the week it is. How can someone love someone who only shows emotions when they’re off their head with alcohol? I’m scared that this time isn’t enough to fix me, and that I’ll never work out how to show my emotions. I’m absolutely terrified that someone will finally tell me they love me, and I’ll fuck it all up by being physically unable to tell them it back.

I’m scared I’ll get fat on all this ice cream I’m eating.

It doesn’t matter. I’ve spent the last two years trying to reach eight and a half stone and it’s no good, I can eat a freezer section in iceland and I’ll still be stuck at eight. Emotionally, I’m stunted. I’ve been damaged too many times now. I don’t think I can change. But it isn’t nice to realise that about yourself.

Maybe I should just say screw it and go back to the alcohol. Maybe take up smoking too while I’m at it. At least that way I’ll be able to cope with it all. But, somehow, I don’t think it would make me happy. And unfortunately, in the end, it isn’t about feeling great when the world is fuzzy and everyone, even that strange person who kind of looks odd and won’t leave me alone, is lovely. It isn’t about having great sex with just anyone who comes along. It isn’t about being beautiful or getting whichever man I wish. Drunk is easy, great sex is maybe a little harder to come by, but still not impossible. And men? You’ve just got to wear the right kind of skirt and have the right attitude. Happiness is hard. Happiness doesn’t come along every day. And happiness is so elusive right now that I’m frightened it will never come.

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From years of experience I can say that its an eternal struggle to get the balance right between not feeling / showing anything (or even enough) or swinging wildly the other way and overflowing all over the place. I guess somewhere in between is ideal - I dont think I'm there yet.

If feelings come most readily in your writing - then work with that - play around with seeing / using / accepting your emotions within your writing - and take it as a practice for then doing it in face to face communications with other people.

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About me

  • An albatross can fly for thousands of miles without getting tired. I've always thought that love is similar to flying, therefore we should aspire to be like the albatross.

    I don't know if I can do that. So far I haven't been so lucky. But one day I'll test my wings with someone, and flying won't be so hard after all. Or so painful.
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    * In 2001 one New Zealand fishing boat killed over 300 seabirds in just one trip, while fishing for ling.
    * Each year over 300,000 seabirds are killed by longline fishing.
    * Over the past 60 years some albatross populations have declined by 90%.
    * Annually around 10,000 albatross and petrels are caught in New Zealand waters alone.
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