Musings arguments and gig reports from your favourite Goth lesbian transsexual vegan recovering alcoholic and drug addict sceptic rationalist atheist comedian chameleon and caricature.

Tuesday 31 May 2011

What do I do now?

It's been a strange old week, last week I was in London for most of it and enjoying myself stopping over with my friend Tat.  She's got a lovely place in Hackney and I got to stop there for a few days, wander round London Fields and discover that it's true what they say, in London you're never more than 6 feet away from a twat.

Saturday evening I headed back up north, my last minute search for gigs had been unfruitful and I was going to be spending a Saturday night off So I headed to my sister's house where I'm currently in residence on her couch.

The next day She went off to Chester for the day and was stopping over so I was on my own in the house.  I don't deal with prolonged periods of being on my own very well.  I have got a lot better, it's part of the addict in me that I don't trust myself on my own, when I'm on my own it has always appeared, I'm in bad company.

I've never trusted my brain to have my best interests at heart, it hates me and plays tricks on me and convinces me that the course of action that will cause the biggest reaction will undoubtedly be the best thing to do, and 99 times out of 100 it's wrong.  My emotional brain is in a constant battle with my rational brain.  I don't believe in ghosts, I don't believe in spirituality, I don't believe in gods or afterlives or any of that stuff.  But I still manage to scare myself to death every time I'm in the car on a dark road that if I look up into my rear view mirror Jason Vorhees will be sat in the back of the car and poised to strike, or I'll see the eyes of the beast that was in the cage in that story in the film Creepshow.  Or I'll turn a corner of a winding country road and there'll be some sort of phantom there.

I know that there can't possibly be, but it still scares me because my emotional brain in those situations wins because it's had 2 billion years of evolution that has only been passed on by being scared of being eaten and led to me existing in the first place.

Which is why it seems so odd that my brain's default setting when something goes wrong in my life is to go, "Oh, well, there's no way you can handle this, you should probably just kill yourself."

I don't know why it does that, but it does, and mostly it's fleeting, but during times of great pressure and sadness it hangs around like an ominous vulture circling, looking down on me waiting for my resolve to weaken so that it can swoop down and tell me that I and everyone else I know would be better off if I were dead.

I have intrusive thoughts all the time, this is why I don't trust my brain, they find their way in there and then they won't leave.  The reason I don't eat deep fried food is not for health reasons, it's because every time I try to make something that way my brain goes "go on, stick your hand in the oil, go on do it! DO IT! DO IT!!"  Or it tells me that in a second it's going to override my control and pick up the pan of boiling oil and pour it down myself.

It's the same voice that tells me when I'm talking to someone nice who I like who has a position of authority who I'm listening intently to "spit in their face, or knee them in the groin, show them they're not in charge, they think they're better than you, attack them!"

I never act on these thoughts but they're always fighting there underneath the surface, and that's the real reason I'm scared of heights, that my brain may throw me off without letting me have any input.

Anyway, after a few hours in the house on my own I decided to have a bath and go off to my flat to pick up some things, having left in a hurry a few short weeks ago taking just enough stuff to last me 5 days,  I was also dying to see my cat Lucy.

I had a bath and in the bath is usually sanctuary, a calm place where I can reflect on things, feel the water's warm embrace and plot and plan and look to the future, but recently that's not what's happened.

Writing this now it's nearly a month since Rosanne broke up with me.  I'd been away in Camden doing the Camden Crawl and had the best gig of my career there thoroughly enjoyed myself and was heading home after a good weekend and looking forward to a couple of days off with the love of my life.

When I got home she was already at the front door of the flat downstairs waiting for me, this was unusual but I thought nothing of it.  She told me she'd cut her hair, "that makes sense" I thought, because I go a bit mental sometimes and if people I know cut their hair or get new glasses or a new tattoo it takes me a while to adjust to that and sometimes I can over react.  This time I didn't though I was fine with it.

We walked up stairs and she seemed down, I assumed she was just feeling a bit miserable but nothing that a few days off and some pampering wouldn't solve.  As we got into the flat we sat in the lounge and I asked her what was wrong and she said "I don't think our relationship's going to work out."

And that was it.

There were tears, I took off my engagement ring, we talked about it, I tried to tell her that we could sort it out somehow but she was adamant.  After a few hours we went to go to bed, she didn't think it was a good idea to share the bed for one last night, I told her that it was what I needed, it was what I'd been looking forward to all weekend the end point of my journey, we had all the rest of our lives to be broken up, but for tonight, for one last time before the unknowable stretch of nights alone it would be nice to sleep able to hug her, to feel her warmth against me, to know that place where I could feel safe and loved and for the whole world to go away.

We lay next to each other that night, but it wasn't the same any more and never would be again.

It felt exactly like when you're trying to sleep at the end of a weekend taking ecstasy, you've started the comedown, there's no more fun to be had, the seratonin's stopped firing and you're running on empty.  Your brain has now shut down all the functions that it can, all the feelings all the ability to move, it's trying to repair itself and your mind's racing and it won't let you sleep even though you're tired.

Over the next week or so I didn't see her much and I was left at the flat with the cat and felt totally isolated.

I came to my sister's then and let her stay in the flat.  It made sense, Manchester had beaten me again and it felt like there was nothing for me there any more.

In the here and now I was in Preston in the bath thinking about going back there, and having not thought about it all week, it all came flooding in. As I got out of the bath to dry myself I started to cry.  Why?  Why had this happened?  Why did she leave me?

Fed up I called my mum, My dad answered and on hearing I was upset passed me over to my mum.  I spoke to her for an hour and felt a bit better, not much, but I got myself together and went over to the flat.

I'd phoned Rosanne to see if she was going to turn up, as I'd wanted to see her.  See, as much as it had hurt me, I knew it had hurt her too.  The break up was strange.

Part of the difficulty in looking forward and looking to some point in the future where I may find someone else is that the relationship that Rosanne and I had was as close to perfect as I could imagine.

Genuinely.  It was the first relationship I've ever been in where I felt like I wasn't being used, where I felt like it was a genuine partnership, where there was mutual respect trust and a mutual level of feelings.

I loved her as much as she loved me.  We never argued, we respected each other, we had the same opinions, she liked that I'd occasionally spend a whole day playing on the PS3, I liked that she'd go off and do her own thing, I liked that she was into art things that I had no comprehension of.  We were never jealous of each other or jealous of the friends of each other.  There was nothing in there that I would have changed one little bit of.

The reason for breaking up was simple and true, she needed to be free to mess up, to disappear at a moment's notice, to not be tied down to one place, she's a conceptual artist, she needs to be in a place where she can experiment and do anything, she thrives on anarchy.  I need to have stability, I'm away on the road a lot I want something that's constant, I want my own place, I want to own it and I want to nest in it.  The two things are mutually exclusive and offer no negotiation.  After talking we decided it was wise to break up now whilst we were still happy, whilst we still were in love, before the compromises that we'd both have made to keep the relationship working had driven us to hate each other.  To quit whilst we were ahead.

So how do you move on from that?  How can you form a relationship again after that?  I genuinely don't know.  I've had a perfect relationship with someone who I'd consider to be a perfect partner for me.  No matter how good a relationship I may find myself in in the future I'll know, deep in my very bones I'll know that it can't last.  Even the most perfect human I'd ever met couldn't maintain a relationship with me.

I drove.  I got to the flat.  I got out of the car.  As I opened the door to the front of the building I could feel the feelings welling up inside me.

I got into the flat and could hear the cat crying for me, she'd missed me, she needed me.  And there it was again, uncontrollably sobbing now I stroked her and wandered round the flat.  Everything brought with it a different memory, something sad something horrible, even the happy memories, the things we'd bought together in the knowledge that we'd be making a life together now suddenly simply served as a reminder to all those future happy moments, those days those weeks those years, the holidays, the Christmases all these future happy moments lost to me now, a parallel universe that I'm unfortunately trapped away from.  Like Rose and the Doctor at the end of the second series of Dr Who.

all the emotions that I'd not felt, all the thinking that I was getting through this break up relatively pain free, that I was getting through it quickly because I was sober and clean was being dragged into the harsh light of day and held up in front of me showing me what a fool I'd been.

It was the worst I'd felt since she'd said she was breaking up with me.  As I stumbled through the bedroom collecting my clothes I saw by the bedside table, lying on the floor, my engagement ring.  I picked it up and held it tight, putting it in my pocket.  It was all too much for me.

My rational and my emotional brain fighting each other so hard I felt like I was sitting in a back seat watching them.  My brain going to the "you should kill yourself, you've had the best day of your life and every day's worse than the last, you wake up every morning knowing that today will be the worst day of your life, and you know what?  As bad as that day is, you'll also know that tomorrow will always be worse."

My rational brain, knowing it can't beat my emotional brain on the sheer visceral self loathing scale says "That's as well, but make sure you've paid off everyone you owe money to before you do that, you can't leave them in the lurch, and think of how that debt would be passed on to your family, you can't do that to them."

And I know that the rational brain is right, and also cleverer than the emotional brain because it's sneaky, it knows that it's going to take me a few years to pay off everyone I owe money to and by then I'm bound to feel better.

But in that moment it's so difficult to deal with.  The cat sits on my knee contented, happy to be with me and for a few minutes I'm happy.  I can feel the joy again, I can cast from my mind all the horrible stuff that's filling it.

Rosanne doesn't turn up.  I was hoping she would, I felt like I needed to talk to her.  I know that she's probably having as difficult a time as I am, we've both lost a load of weight through the pain of this.  But from where I am she's unreachable, untouchable, and the one person who I could always share everything with and she's not there.

She's not there.

I want to take her by the hand and say "this is how I'm feeling, can you tell me how you're feeling so that I know, so that it doesn't feel like I'm all alone, so that I can at least know that you don't hate me, so I can at least know that I still exist to you."

But I can't.  These are the things I can never say.

I'm an addict, it's in every part of my life, I basically made myself needed thinking that that was a good and kind thing to do, but basically it was creating a prison for her, and I couldn't help myself.  The sadness and the feelings of loss are withdrawals.  I watched Get Him To The Greek the other night and there's a line in that where Aldous has said he was clean and sober for 7 years, and Jackie says to him "Yes but you did yoga for 5 hours a day, that's mental, there's nothing in the world that you can't turn into heroin"  And that's what I've been doing here, and I know it.

That's why in the second that it drops and I'm alone, and I know that it's over that I'm 15 again, and it's 3.22pm on the 25th May and I'm sat in the living room of my first girlfriend's parents and I'm being told that it's over, and I leave and I walk home with my eyes closed the sun on my face illuminating my eyelids and me seeing the redish orangey glow and feeling cold, hoping that if I keep my eyes closed all the way to the bus station I'll cross a road and get hit by a car.  And then oblivion.

It's the same from then on every time I get dumped, every time it hurts more than the last.

It's as insidious as any of the other addictions, when I was using there's nothing I wouldn't do for a fix of whatever it was I was taking at the time, and this is no different.

I get my stuff together in the bag and I walk out of the flat locking the door behind me.  I get to my car and I take a few deep breaths and I drive away to my gig, to a room full of people who want to be made to laugh, to a room full of people who only want me for 20 minutes, and we both know the score, when it's over it's over, I love them and they love me, they need me, without me they won't be laughing and I can make them laugh and that feeling, the hollow and meaningless love of strangers is enough.

I need this.  Until time takes it's toll and I'm through the worst of this, which it will, everything gets better eventually, I'll love again, I'll live again, I'll find myself a few years down the line in love with someone and completely unable to remember what this felt like, sure as day follows night.

But until then, what am I supposed to do?


Anonymous said...

There are never any good answers to that one - I still miss mine, and there wasn't even any reason. Other than maybe we'd reached the broken point. There was just the balance and the tipping point.

On the one hand I regret the choices I made, on the other I'm not sure that I'd've been able to live with the alternative. With someone who understood me as perfectly as anyone ever could and still needed from me something that, they, in another part, knew, I couldn't be.

Then again I, too, desired that from which they were departing, so I there was symmetry there also.

Holly said...

Oh Beth. I wish I had some words to make things better but I don't think any words can do that and if someone had said Something like "It takes time" to me, I'd have stood on their throat and screamed "Just tell me how I get her back"

So here's my advice and you can stamp on my throat later. Your gonna hurt but you don't have to hurt alone, this is the time to lean on those that care about you, so lean. Don't look for a reason to go on, just go on. Take it one breath at a time and if you need to feel bad, feel bad. Just survive, just do what you need to do to get through to tomorrow. Don't look for someone to blame, blaming yourself will only hurt you more and you don't need more pain. Blaming someone else will only make you angry and anger is just extra baggage you don't need.

So there's a survival kit.  Doubt it'll make you happy but I hope it gets
You through the night. Hxx

TicketToTheTrip said...

Great piece, Bethany. Hope you're in a far better place now.

Bethany Black said...

Yes, I'm in a new relationship, absolutely in love and it's amazing. Life gets better, all bad things pass eventually.