Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Al Green

I wonder why it is that I only really feel the urge to 'Blog' at times of emotional excess? Loneliness, sadness, OK - embarrassment, joy (although I'll have to read back and see if there many of those), all seem to bring on the urge to write something here.

Perhaps it's because I don't really seem to have anyone else I can truly TALK to? I have friends, I have family.

In that order.

But do I really, honestly have someone I can TALK to. Someone who will listen without feeling the need to speak. Someone who will hear what I have to say without feeling the need to tell me I'm wrong?

No, not really.

I've never been good at 'friends'. I don't mean I'm incapable of having, and BEING a good friend, I'm not. To assorted people throughout my life, I have been a very good friend.

That may be part of my problem, but let's park that for now.

I think however that I am a victim of my parents. Don't get me wrong, they were superb parents and set an example to me in many ways that I will always struggle to live up to as a parent myself. I sometimes wonder if this is an aspect of my generation. Somehow, we just don't seem to be as 'grown up' as our parents were.

Maybe a war does that to you?

Or maybe it's just a perspective thing, and our own parents felt the same about theirs, viewing post-Victorian morals and mores as the sign of being adult, whilst they jived and jitterbugged and... OK, so my knowledge of dance is as limited as my knowledge of Psychology and self-insight, but that's what happens when you have two left feet.

However, my parents, whilst possessing a large social circle, often through various committees and groups, they only had a small circle of true friends. Growing up, we saw a lot of these people, so there never seemed any kind of vacuum, but I noticed that, once my Father had died, my Mother struggled and, sadly, many of these friends couldn't cope and deserted her. Over recent years, even more sadly, almost all of her closest friends have themselves passed away, leaving her increasingly isolated and angry.

We deal with this, supporting her as much as we can, but as I intimated above, friends and family are, largely, not interchangeable. She feels the gulf in her life and I find myself wondering if she regrets focusing on a small circle of true friends.

Perhaps it's not a choice we can make. Perhaps, in truth, it's the way we're wired as individuals, nature, or instilled in us from an early age. The eternal debate.

All I know is, I sit here today, conscious that, yet again, I feel so very alone. It's not helped by being a private person in some respects, or by being someone who doesn't really enjoy many of the group activities - football, drinking, team sports - that my peer group use to create and maintain social bondings, but I can't help feeling that I need to make a concerted effort to address this.

But it's not all about friendships, as I want so much more.

I am someone who has always invested heavily in relationships. Sometimes, many times, this has been to my detriment. Yet holding back doesn't seem to work for me either.

Bloody difficult.

I have been told I am a good person, a kind person. That hated term, a 'nice' person. I have been told that women don't like b@st@rds. I am told that even those women who blatantly DO like b@st@rds will, ultimately, see the error of their ways and will want a nice man.

This, it would seem, is b******s.

Maybe that's a generalisation, but I can only base it on my own experience. Of course I am aware that I have my own failings and that whether you consider being 'nice' to be one of them depends on your point of view. These other failings may perhaps outweigh niceness as a positive feature, but even so, I see no sign of it being more than a short-term attractant, almost a novelty or bit of light relief.

So I will have to change, become that which I despise. Overcome the nurture AND nature and focus on MY needs, MY desires and if they come at the expense of someone else's, well, so be it. I need to become selfish.



Not gonna happen.

I know that, in the unlikely event that I COULD do that, I would actually find that, the end result is that I wouldn't like myself. I realise that, actually, I like nice people and I like who I am, at least in that respect. If I have to change to be with someone, then I will be alone.

I don't want to date. I don't want to look back at each year past and tick off all the people I've been out with. I don't want to kiss a lot of frogs. I know I'm unlikely to have an 'eyes meeting across a crowded room' moment.

Not least because I'm not big on crowded rooms.

Or frog-ponds.

But I think this is something else I can blame on my Parents and, in particular, my Mother. I was brought up on a diet of 1940's and 50's romantic films, which has perhaps left me expecting exactly that, complete with the string section of a hidden orchestra and soft focus (much to my benefit). The fact that, once our eyes have met, I cannot glide across the floor to her like Fred Astaire is a slight hitch but one that, with lessons and appropriate footwear, I'm sure I can overcome to some extent.

Maybe the soft focus will help mask the two left feet?

Maybe not.

But how many other people my age can sing (OK, chant) the lyrics to "I hear music, and there's no-one there"? More to the point, how many people my age WANT to?

Not including those addicted to hallucinogenic drugs.

I'm feeling vulnerable and an element of self-pity at the moment, but with a few more cups of coffee, it will pass.

I'm sure what I want is no more than what most people want, but sometimes, just sometimes, I have a feeling that someone forgot to tell me one important piece of information.

That, of course, is rubbish.

So perhaps, for now, I need to take the advice my Grandmother gave me, which is that "when you can't find something, look for something else and you will find it".

Problem is, I can't find so many things: Car keys, wallet, inspiration, the £10 winning lottery ticket from a couple of months ago, the 'koyach' to make some of the phone calls I need to, the right words to say to my Mother, my Daughter, myself, that I'm running out of things I CAN look for.

So, I'm off to look for the Holy Grail, Unicorns and the Philosopher's Stone and, in the meantime, will leave behind something I could find.

I have always loved music, although it seems to weave in and out of my life, touching key events and times and leaving a footprint, like those in the cement of Hollywood Boulevard, indelible and permanent. A marker, saying "You were here then, and, at that moment, I was here with you".

A little like this Blog.