Saturday, 14 October 2017

(ir)rational.

I have irrational thoughts all the time. I get into patterns of irrational thought where I obsess over things that don't have any logical grounding and yet they make me feel scared and alone and angry. To counterbalance these irrational thoughts I make stories up in an attempt to rationalise. 

I have this fear of being alone. Of being not found by somebody, of being left unloved. I have this irrational idea in my head that it is too late, I should have had some great and glorious love by now, I am somehow far behind in my experience of life. How ridiculous, how silly to be so young and so afraid of being alone. 

At the same time I have this story going that I am much better by myself. Sometimes I even convince myself that it is unfeminist to want to be loved, desired, needed. I should be able to stand by myself. I should not need this extra thing. This, supposedly, is the rationalised part of my thought process. 

I've made up a story of my own independence, of my life against love, to counterbalance the horrible feeling of loneliness. The terrible suspicion that I am unloveable, that I am not good enough for that kind of love. 

My thought patterns are made up of irrational and "rational" ideas. One tries to cover up the other. I rather suspect it's a vicious cycle instead. 

Of course this is all really quite ordinary. People feel this way, people have always felt this way. They feel lonely and irrational and unconvinced by their own existence. But it's not too healthy, to have a cycle going on in your head. And sometimes I'm not sure how to break out of it, I just hope and wait until it fades. 

Friday, 6 October 2017

Envy.

Envy does not sit well with me and yet I feel it frequently. I rarely feel envious of another's possessions, more often of their qualities, their achievements. I could shake my feeling of envy off as competitiveness but then I could not explain the bitter taste of self-pity that comes afterwards.

This is possibly entirely unfair on myself. The feeling of envy does not always lead to self-despairing and I almost always do something about it once I feel it.

In fact, rather than qualities, it is almost always achievements I get jealous of. If it is something I know I can do I will berate myself for not having done it sooner and vow to make it happen. One day.

But it's funny how I forget everything I have already done in moments like this, forget that someone else might be envious of me, focus entirely on the person or the thing which has made me jealous.

If only envy did not indicate a lack in myself it would be a useful feeling. It is unattractive and unpleasant and selfish. I suppose that vowing to not feel envy is a vow to appreciate myself more. To only feel inspired by other's achievements, and to not compare them to my own.

Vowing to not feel envy, I suppose, is a vow to simply like myself more.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Boys.

I don't think I have any particularly "masculine" friends. I never have. Or, at least, I've never had a male friend who doesn't defy some sort of gender norm. I imagine I wouldn't get on very well with a man who felt he had to cling desperately onto his masculinity. I'd feel too sorry for him.

It's funny though, despite their brilliance, my most sensitive male friends are still sheepish. There's the self-consciousness of having mostly female friends, or of enjoying "feminine" things, conversations, feelings. I don't think they're ashamed as such, just aware that they are on the outside of a very small box.

I don't think femininity is as emotionally and mentally harmful as masculinity. Not in the way that these opposites are drummed into boys and girls. It scares me, really terrifies me, to think that boys are still taught to suppress feelings, to not cry, to keep things on the inside. As a great believer in the power of crying, of the release it can bring, I can't bear to imagine what it must feel like for a man who must not cry.

I'm not sure how to go about it. How to go about encouraging my male friends, encouraging any identifying male that I know, to carry on being human rather than masculine. I want to make sure that they bring boys into the world who are not afraid of crying, of expressing, of being. I always find it funny, funny sad, that to be a man is to suppress feeling, and therefore to suppress being.

I want to always make sure that my friends who are guys know that they can be entirely expressive in my presence. They can always cry, they can always talk. They can always just be.


Friday, 15 September 2017

I'm an okay person.

How do you love yourself? Is it in the way that you look? The way that you smile? How many goals you've achieved? How good you are as a person?

I think that I love myself in a number of ways. Not as vanity, not as narcissism. I think that sometimes I can fully appreciate myself. I have faults, I do the wrong thing, I make mistakes. But I can forgive myself. I can feel happy in my own skin. I can enjoy being alive with the body and the brain that I have.

I say this like it comes easily to me. I've said before in other posts that often it's a challenge. I can also hate myself.

A year ago I looked at my naked body in the mirror and I told myself to never hate it or myself ever again. I told myself I was brilliant. I told myself to love everything that I am.

Several months later I spent a long and painful time doing the exact opposite. I didn't feel good. I was off kilter. I can't remember if I was comparing myself to other people. I probably was. I can't remember all the different things I didn't like about myself, what I was over-analysing.

It seems silly now that I feel safe in myself again. I'm an okay person. Most people are. It's good to be aware of your flaws so that you can be good to other people. You might be rude sometimes, you might not listen. But God help you if you hate yourself. It takes a lot to come back from that deep, dark hole.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

The end of a friendship.

I've lost friends before. Not to death, thank God, but via the tidal wave that is time. Some friends I naturally grew apart from, some friends left me, very few friends I fell out with. Each friend that I've lost I still love in the time before we stopped knowing each other well. My love for old friends is frozen in time, it can't continue or grow, it just stays still like smiles in a picture. My friendships are probably captured forever as just that; smiling and frozen. A relic, to someone, one day. Or nothing but something to me. 

Lost friendships are always sad. I mourn lost friends still even if it was good for the relationship to end. Friends, more than lovers, feel like they should last forever. But I know that that's not true now. Some friendships I have I know will last forever, others I know will be swept away by time. I feel sad even for those that haven't gone yet. As if I anticipate myself remembering my time with that person, or that group of people, and mourning a lost thing. 

It's okay to lose friends. It's natural and normal. It is always just terribly sad. 

Friday, 18 August 2017

Uncertainty of youth.

Sometimes I feel very jealous of anyone over the age of 70. Perhaps if I'm sitting opposite an elderly person in a cafe, or watching a group of older women potter about the streets I feel quite strongly envious. Or maybe I just feel calm and I am jealous of their gravity.

Obviously I have no idea what their lives are like. I don't know how many people they've lost, I don't know their financial struggles, I can't imagine the slow malfunctioning of one's own body. But often I am just jealous of how long they have been on the planet, how many memories they have, of how grounding that must be. Perhaps they regret things, perhaps they look at me and wish they were young again. But I wish that I were them sometimes, I wish that I could replace the feeling of freshly painful memories and emotions, I wish that I could look back on my life and know what happened.

This is sad, maybe, that I think this. I don't always think it. Sometimes I am caught so perfectly in a moment of my life that all I can be is alive and present. I don't want to know what happens in my story yet, because it is too exciting discovering things.

I just wish that the uncertainty of youth wasn't so cutting, so frightening.

I am writing this because I know it is naive. I know it is childish of me to find older people calming, it is wanting to be looked after, to be taken care of. I am writing this because I know that my older self will laugh. I will laugh at myself for feeling so afraid of being young. I will laugh at myself because adulthood does not mean certainty for the rest of your life.

I'm going to be 20 soon. I wonder if I'll feel differently then.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Oh, sorry you're a racist.

I was speaking to a man, probably in his 60s, the other day and he was vaguely racist. He was nice enough to me because I'm white and educated and middle class. He would have been nice enough to someone from an ethnic minority, but I'm not sure he wouldn't have some reservations about it. 

Maybe I'm being unfair, maybe he wasn't as racist as I thought. But I met him the day after Charlottesville and I wasn't in the mood for any form of casual prejudice. It was very subtle of course. He was reading the Sunday Times and every time he thought something was ridiculous he'd mutter and tell me the headline. One of them was something about non-English speaking students, or students with very little English, being admitted into English universities. "How ridiculous!" He said. In my mind I knew immediately to distrust the headline and the article, it was obviously going to be misleading and dishonest. I tried to explain that sometimes in scientific degrees, for example, excellent English isn't entirely necessary. His muttering that followed had the same tone as the muttering about the evil foreigners you hear from Daily Mail readers. Later there was Indian music playing and this man looked up the title of the song on Shazam. He was genuinely interested. But then he read out the title and said "that's enough to get me into university". Not really racist, not overtly awful, but just enough for me to wince. 

I didn't say anything because I was at work and frankly it wasn't worth it. I hadn't managed to convince him that lowering the GCSE boundaries was probably a good idea considering the reform hadn't gone smoothly. I wasn't going to pick an argument with him about something maybe I had misconstrued. 

Was I being over-sensitive? 

It's not because I'm brainwashed by politically correct lefties, but because it is such an unfair sweeping judgement against an entire country of people. I wince because it doesn't sit well, it doesn't seem right. I feel guilty because I keep my mouth shut and smile meekly. 

I would have picked it up if I hadn't woken to news of a bunch of Nazis in America doing actual harm. I would have picked it up, but maybe I wouldn't have thought about it for so long. 

People always say that casual racism is for old people and old people will be dead soon anyway. I don't believe that this man would ever attend a Nazi rally, that he would ever cause that kind of violence and hatred. It would be completely unfair of me to equate his tiny comment to this incident of terrifying prejudice.  I don't know the whole of his views, I don't know what he would have said if I had picked him up on it. Maybe I could have changed his attitude, made him see how inappropriate comments like that are. 

But what about the casual racism that isn't actually casual? Why do we allow ourselves to brush bigger things off as casual, as unique, as some white guy with poor mental health? Casual racism becomes something much darker when you let it. A lot of the mainstream press call their casual racism news. Racism as news is dangerous. Who can tell you you're wrong when it's in the papers, right? 

The incident in Charlottesville was an incident of terrorism, obviously. But it didn't happen by accident, and it isn't an isolated event. 

When someone tells you that, say, not being allowed to tell a racist joke is political correctness gone mad, ask them why they want to tell it in the first place. Political correctness means not spreading that casual racism that turns into harmful racism. Casual racism is boring and outdated. Casual racism sometimes ends up with events like Charlottesville. 

Sorry if you're racist and you can't just spread your hate.