An awful, lingering thought

So this is going to be a confronting topic for some. I make no apologies for that.

But it’s something I need to get off my chest, to clear my mind and perform some long overdue processing of some thoughts.

Suicide – some amongst us have experienced this personally, having people close to us – family or friends – who’ve taken their lives this way.

Often, it happens with little understanding as to what drove them to it, or what was behind an awful act that some might glibly suggest showed cowardice on their part.

Some of us, myself included, might have been inconvenienced by an act of suicide, actual or attempted, and mused internally upon hearing what caused the delay mused internally, wishing they would have just got on with it so you could get to work, or school, or wherever it was you were headed at that point in time.

I find this very uncomfortable to say out loud or even share, but over the last couple of weeks and for reasons which I can neither explain nor comprehend, my mind has had frequent enough thoughts about wanting to end it all.

Mercifully these awful thoughts have not serious enough to even think about planning to do it, but scary enough to have increased my anxiousness to levels I’d never contemplated.

They however have been more than enough to put me off buying or hiring the garden mulcher I need to get my front yard fully sorted, and avoiding cooking dinner at home on account of feeling very uncomfortable around sharp knives.

Annoyingly, the anxiety arising is doing awful things to my body. I’ve spent the last four days with a raging case of indigestion. I didn’t know what it actually was at first, and after I’d figured it out – all the other causes that could explain why I was inexplicitly suffering it have been crossed off the list.

It’s seemingly adding a “deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars“, if one is to borrow and re-purpose a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. talking about violence.

The worst thing for me is not being able to put my finger on why I’ve been having these thoughts of late. Social isolation may be one part of it – lacking a strong network of friends, frequent conversation, working in a role where my home is my office – hence no colleagues to chat to during the day, trying to stay active, and the almost never-ending search for intimacy – all issues I’ve been struggling with for some time, and wrote about on more than one or two occasions.

This sadness also wasn’t helped by some news of an event that occurred between two people I consider good friends earlier this week, one which left me feeling genuinely sad for both of them. Two nice people, whom for their own private reasons, are going their own way for a time.

You want to reach out see what you can do to help them manage the pain, but that of course is a little limited when you yourself are feeling like an emotional cripple, and specifically want to avoid exacerbating what could already be a fragile situation.

But getting back to it – in some ways, this leaves me feeling annoyed.

At myself for not being able to figure out how, or struggling with even the smallest of steps to overcome the feelings and concerns that have built up to the current level of uncomfortable anxiousness.

At my close friends, for not recognising how I’m feeling and offering whatever help they can. There could be reasons for that of course, but by the same token I’m a little sick of being the emotional crutch – dropping tools to help anyone else out, but not receiving the same in return.

At my childhood experiences, for growing up with so few friends and being socially isolated in the school yard that it made it hard to learn skills that would help avoid this.

At people I went to school with, for being – as children and teens are prone to be – awful people who didn’t how others felt as a result of what they said, or did, or didn’t do, leaving me with scars – both physical, and the emotional which there are some I still haven’t recovered from.

At my teachers, for not realising or bothering to take action to correct the struggles of their students, and doing everything within their power to help someone reach their potential, and not feel discouraged by all that – at least within the school environment – that was holding them back.

At myself again, for not seeing things through. For reaching a point where after so much time battling and fighting, I felt mentally exhausted and gave up on trying. Not pushing myself to that next level. For pursuing university, or an MBA, or even a Diploma course that might give me some chance at being where I want to be, or have the potential to be, in my current field.

At my parents, for bringing me up in a religion which frankly I should have rebelled against and gone and lived the life and experiences a normal teenager/young adult would have.

To not be so uptight, taking the missed opportunity for a sneaky pash in the school yard with the hot girl, going out, partying, staying up late, all experiences I missed out on growing up.

Of course leaving out the drinking. Sorry, I still don’t see the value in that.

At my father, for being an emotional cripple, and dealing with his inadequacies through physical and psychological violence towards his eldest – who is to this day frankly smarter than his father could ever have been. Like the school yard, the emotional scars haven’t even come close to healing as well as they need to.

And at myself again, for lacking the confidence to address any of this to the point where I’ve been able to put it behind me.

It leaves me with this piece of dialogue floating around in my head:

I studied a lot in school. I studied hard in high school and at Harvard and in law school.
My IQ doesn’t break the bank, and I wanted to do this so I studied all the time. And I missed something or it’s like I skipped a year ’cause I never learned what you do after you think you like somebody– what you do next.
And every-everybody did learn. A lot of other people, anyway.

 

I was too focused on trying to be as good as I could be, that I missed learning how to have fun.

And right now, it honestly feels like I’ve missed that chance.

Some people have made welcome suggestions lately, but I don’t know if I have the willpower or the strength to give it a proper go.

Even going to the gym every couple of days feels uncomfortable. Not withstanding nobody to go with, but feeling out of my depth, especially with extremely fit people, and sometimes some very desirable women, around the place leaving me to feel like I don’t belong.

Which pivots back to where I started, and only just recognising and acknowledging – literally as I’ve started to write this very paragraph – why this awful thought isnt go away.

I feel like I don’t belong. In amongst everything going on around me, I feel like a square peg in a round hole.

I haven’t found where I fit in.

I don’t know how to find where I fit in.

And I’m not sure how to find it, or if anyone else knows the way.

The best I can hope for is an end to this spiral of unwelcome thoughts.

An end that is positive, and does not result in the sadness, and perceived cowardice, of early death.

I want my Mallory (Warning: Feelings inside)

Mallory O'Brien (Allison Smith)Those who know me, will know just how much I enjoy The West Wing.

No, let’s be honest, I’m a fan. I can quote lines, re-watch episodes often, and can be found occasionally borrowing my oratorical stylings from the show when I decide to get on my high horse about something. Sorkin-esque you might say.

And those who know the show, will hopefully remember Mallory O’Brien (the reoccurring character played by Allison Smith).

The daughter of Leo McGarry (John Spencer) and his former wife, the secondary school teacher was as funny as she was quick witted. As smart as she was stylish. If you didn’t fall in love with her the first time she graced the small screen in this well written show, then something had to be wrong with you.

Mallory is my idea of a perfect women – and I promise you that it isn’t just because of how she looked.

She’s educated, smart, willing to step up to the plate and challenge both misconceptions and the opposite sex, on her way to or has become accomplished in her chosen field, obviously looks after herself, and is aware of her feminine charm that makes the more sophisticated or eloquent of the male species hot under the collar whenever she catches their gaze.

And let’s be honest – her red hair. For me that’s the icing on top of what is seemingly an already perfect cake (yes, I like redheads – but jet black hair does it for me just as well, with blondes next in line).

We then cast our eyes forward in the series to another recurring character, one Jordan Kendall, the attorney at law played by Joanna Gleason.

Jordan, albeit not a redhead, again embodies all those values I see, ageing gracefully to boot. Who wouldn’t want to fall in love with a Mallory who matures into Jordan-type character you want to grow old with, slow dance to the classics of your shared era, and stay up late with sharing all the good memories of times past in the comfort of each others arms.

Ok, so Mallory might be just a character on a long finished TV show you may wonder. Followed by the next obvious thought – being why the fixation, or using her as a reference point for your desires in a women?

It came to me after starting to re-watch Season 2 of the aforementioned TV series for the seven hundred and sixty second time. I always found it difficult to articulate the kind of women I sought. I knew the values I sought; I knew that her already having kids wasn’t going to work for me; drugs, smoking and excessive drinking were always a bridge too far; but I’ve never been able to get that and the rest of it down to a simple elevator pitch.

And here we take a segue into the life of an introvert. I know what I want, I have a good idea of what I’m looking for, but I don’t have the first dammed clue how to get it.

I struggle in conversations with people, regardless of gender, for whom I have no pre-existing basis to make conversation from, let alone be comfortable around. The anonymous nature of social networks such as Twitter has actually allowed me to build some good friendships, especially with those of the fairer sex.

But I’ve never capitalised on them, except once in a moment of honesty and possibly kismet, that has put me in the situation and place I’m in today.

The number of people who know the more intimate details of my life can be counted on one hand. And the specific, more intimate parts of my life which has put me in the head space I’ve been residing for the last week, are details of which I’m not going to discuss in any form or detail, especially in such a public way.

But I will say this – I’m very close to my Mallory, closer than I’ve ever been. And for someone who struggles to date (my last proper date and steady relationship was over 8 years ago), finds it difficult to engage new people in conversation, or make new friends regardless of gender, it’s a good place to be.

I was also going to make a joke about the lack of making friends not being limited to just gender, but also species – due to the inability to have an animal as a pet for some form of companionship… but I think that most of you have dirty minds and you’re going to unwittingly build an awful mental picture that was entirely unintended.

Ahem, I digress.

But this women, despite having all the characteristics I seek, isn’t available to me in the way I’d honestly like her to be.

I have to settle for something much less than what I truly desire, and I sadly don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future. Even then, knowing the limitations of the current paradigm being faced – I still struggle, on a daily basis, to reconcile these limits. I have to balance my desire for some form of limited companionship (if only to get back on the proverbial horse to practice and build skill) against its limitations, if only to avoid this coming to an abrupt, and unwanted halt.

And the way this women makes me feel. To even so much as attempt to describe it, could not come within a thousand miles of giving it the literary justice it so honestly deserves. Just writing this has given me the high of endorphins I get being around her, but not enough to overcome the nervousness of expressing myself and my feelings in this way.

It’s like a high wire balancing act, crossing the deep canyon – where I need to constantly respect the boundaries that are set for fear of falling off in a spectacular fashion, and ultimately being so injured and bruised after the attempt that it’s another 8 years before I try again.

That would be a uncomfortable state of affairs, as I’d be in my 40s by then. May your respective deity help any introvert who’s still trying and struggling to find love at that age.

It’s a sad, difficult situation to be in – when your Mallory, or something very close to it, is so very near – almost in your reach, yet still so very far away.