Sunday, April 26, 2009

When 'hottie' is not enough

The seasons don't change gradually in Melbourne, they arrive overnight. We were having a mild autumn; now the chill and solemnity of winter is here even though it’s still April.

Yesterday there was rain. We’re supposed to welcome rain these days and I do. I’ve learned to like the slick shiny look of a wet street and the sloshing sound the tyres make when they hit a puddle. I’ve learned to welcome the sound of rain prongs tapping on the window even though my roof leaks somewhat and it sounds as if rain is coming through the roof and falling on the furniture.

Given climate change and the chaos of Melbourne weather there will still be throwbacks, warm mellow afternoons to be savoured with guilty pleasure. But this is more than a taste of what’s to come for the next few months.

Winter oppresses me. At first I love the change of season as I sleep better because the nights are longer. I compose hymns to my hottie (no, not my hot new lover but my faithful old hot water bottle) and I savour the gas heater.

But when I close my front door I feel more alone in winter, more cut off from the world. Old mistakes and failings bail me up and demand explanations.

There is choosing to live in the past and there are times when the past swamps you like a suffocating blanket. It puts out your fire; it makes you feel cold as ashes.

My limbs feel lonely. I need a sensual workout. At times like this I don't feel like a sufferer of anxiety or depression, just an anonymous magnet without an object, or an object that shuns the magnets that are other people.

So many times I have tested myself and waited for the pay-off. Trouble is I do not hang around for the payoff. I just keep testing myself in superficial ways and saying ‘yes, you’re improving’.

I fear that the structure of my life is set. I fear that I’ll be single forever, that nothing I do will change that fundamental fact. I hope I’m wrong. I hope this is a deluded idea.

Going to the park to walk my sister’s dog Jordan, as I do three times a week, is hard at the moment. I’m still going but I expect less from it. In some ways this is good; when you expect less you’re more in reality, more open to what is really going on for and around you rather than trying to subtly ‘improve on’ the world.

Perhaps one thing I’m learning about the park that is quite painful and difficult is that it’s okay to be needy.

It’s safe to love Jordan, to call him my little pal and to catalogue the subtle ways he has changed me. It’s still not safe to go to the park for a chat because I’m lonely. (I wanted to put ‘a bit’ in front of lonely, as if writing ‘I’m lonely’ was somehow disgraceful.) It’s still easier to see strangers on the oval with unfamiliar dogs rather than people I’ve met before.

I hope this blog post doesn’t sound too self-pitying (although I think it probably does). Writing this kind of thing sooner or later helps me in some way. Life feels bleak, not impossibly bleak, just bleak.

One good thing: two of my sisters rang me, on separate nights, asking for help with computer/internet problems. In both cases I was able to offer wise counsel and useful advice.

Does this mean I’m some sort of computer whizz and I just don’t know it? Or is it simply that my family are so technically incompetent that they make me look good (not meant nastily)?

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