The Game Changer

… the next instalment of my chournal, chronicling a year of change …

10.5 20.46

And today could have been just as shitty. It started with a nice ride to bouldering. Pinged my shoulder and still couldn’t finish a project I am working on, but I liked being there.

Got back home and was faced with another rest of the day of nothing. Like yesterday, the people I know here, all three of them, are busy. And I can’t start stalking them just because the weight of the rest of the long day has settled on my shoulders. I played my favourite songs, that always helps. I had a nice alcoholic drink, that always helps as well. In my letter to my game changer I did say that I would come out of this either really fat or really fit, but definitely alcoholic. Like most of the things in my letter, he didn’t respond to that statement. The jury on the fit or fat statement is still out.

Hopped on my exercise bike, did some French, nearly reached the end of the day without crumbling too much.

My sad thoughts used to fill my whole body and my whole mind. Time and I have begun to shepherd those thoughts into separate room in my head. The door is still open, the thoughts are still roaming around a lot. In time I will close that door. The part of me that likes to crack on, that likes to boulder, dance, belly laugh, hang out with friends, make new friends, see movies, read books, watch a play, travel, be challenged, learn something new and grow, that part can have the rest of the body back. Once in a while, maybe often, the sad thoughts will escape and haunt me. And once in a while I will open the door to have a look and see what shape those thoughts are in.

And I still don’t understand and I miss him.

11.5 22.23

My German wingwoman and I have many parallels. She had a father who nearly destroyed her, the way my step father nearly destroyed me. She has had to deal with similar issues of doubt, self value and guilt. She also would have packed up and followed a loved one. She went through a period of self-harming herself. I had assumed that people cut themselves because they hate who they are. She said no, she cut herself to see whether there was still life inside her. I have had moments, even days, when I have felt dead inside, when I felt nothing, because it was easier than feeling sadness and pain.

She told me that there is almost no such thing as a private sphere for an actor, as you have to let people close, really close sometimes, even if you don’t know them. The result often is that many people ‘do it’ with many other people. Because the emotions are close to the surface, one has to be vulnerable and keep it together. Maybe just another way of living that I would have found distasteful not that long ago, now it seems perfectly acceptable, as long as you deal with each other honestly and with respect. She told me about one man who was diabetic. One day he became seriously ill and ended up brain damaged and paralysed. He could no longer have sex, but really enjoyed watching. My friend used to go over to his apartment with her sexual partner and have sex in front of him. It was just a gesture of kindness, nothing else. It reminds me of a quote in a movie I watched many years ago, a quote I have never forgotten. The movie was called ‘Jesus of Montréal’ and in it a woman describes the sexual relationship she has with a much older man. She says ‘It gives him so much pleasure and me so little pain.’

Finally my friend said:

‘And after all this, I am glad I am not broken. There are a lot of people who are really, really broken, and I am glad I am not.’

It was good to be reminded of that. As upset as I am at the moment, I am not broken. When I was eighteen I nearly killed myself and the only reason I didn’t was spite. Because I didn’t want to do my step father that favour. That was the ONLY reason, not because I still enjoyed life or thought it was going to get better. I was stubborn and spiteful. But it was enough. I recovered and rebuilt my life after that, I was able to love, laugh and enjoy.

And despite the shitty moments since then, the perennial doubt, the loneliness, I am not broken. I am learning, taking positive things away with me from my experiences, appreciating the new people I have met. I am grateful that I am not broken and am in a position where I can make choices and am in control of the direction my life takes.

And tomorrow I will try that black project again. That’s the thing with bouldering, if something doesn’t work, you have to change your grip. You have to make every movement perfect, the way it can and has to be perfect only for you. A bit like life.

12.5 18.31

Tried not to think about some things too much. Thought about some things too much. The author of my little book talked about the fact that the man she had loved, still loved, tried not to love anymore, had expected her to present herself as the same woman to him, and in the same way, as a friend, without the love, now that he had turned away and found someone else. There was a slight indignation in her tone. One can’t just make this transition. One is not the same person. One has to do the work. She writes ‘Leave me be. I don’t want to turn around.’

And then I received an email from him. Just a hello, not signed with an ‘X’, the way his emails used to be. It must have been nice for him to be so desired and loved, no wonder he did nothing to stop it and took what was on offer. I was unconditionally available after he had made no promises. Well played.

Then I laughed. Because I know I will get through it and it won’t break me.

And I take away with me this most incredible feeling I have experienced. At a time when many people are resigned to a situation, and I was resigned to a situation and a feeling about my life not that long ago. And now, briefly, I felt that anything was possible, I was flooded with a never before experienced and giddy love.

That is special, and THAT I will celebrate.

I may never feel it again, but I felt it.

13.5 16.04

Got my tattoo! I can’t believe I actually have a tattoo, I used to hate tattoos. My German wingwoman came with me for support, which was super nice of her. I used to suffer from needle shock and didn’t know what to expect. I was a bit worried that I might start feeling sick. My friend explained that the pain was like a strong Chinese burn.

The artist started on the fleshy bit of my upper back, maybe because it was a perfect starting point or because it was the least painful. It was a gentle way in. Over the bony bits it hurt a lot but hey, once you start you can’t stop. It was nice to have friend there, to be able to joke in between. And for it was nice to share this experience with someone.

‘Once more into the fray, the last good fight I’ll ever know, live and die on this day, life and die on this day’ next to some roses is now permanently etched into my skin. That bit hurt the most. I told my body that I knew what this pain was, it was nothing really serious, it could relax. And the pain wasn’t going to get worse, there were no nasty surprises. And I thought that this pain was not as bad as my heartache.

A couple of hours later and then it was done! It marks a time in my life I will never forget.

And whilst I was in the middle of it this guy came into the tattoo parlour. My artist, who knew him, asked what he could do for him. The reply was ‘wash, cut and blow-dry please’. I nearly rolled oft my bench with laughter. Nice to have a belly laugh in the middle of this. And the humour is there, it just takes a while to come out.

Another guy added crows and smaller, spiky a big, gnarly tree on his back. He was sitting up and flicking through a magazine. It looked amazing. Afterwards he told us that he was bathed in cold sweat the whole time, it hurt so much.

I have a tattoo.

14.5 7.22

I have worked out that elasticated items can be stretched over a chopping board, and you can iron on that. Cradle it in your left, iron with your right, it works really well for little corner areas. Who needs an ironing board. I don’t have much that needs ironing, that is one good thing about synthetic clothing, a good shake before hanging up does half the work for you.

I keep looking at my tattoo, I just love it. It looks raw, the skin is raised. I feel like a different person, there is an element to me that wasn’t there before. I want to show it off to the world.

Finally finished that black project I had been working on. I had some energy at nine in the evening and cycled to the hall. It was still light outside. That’s what I was looking forward to when I came here, the long summer days. I love the long summer days.

And finally I managed to use all the levers at the right time and with the right amount of grrr. I was chuffed. I did a couple of other moves I didn’t think I could do. I was chuffed. And I knocked my knees a few times really badly. I wasn’t chuffed but I don’t care. It just doesn’t look nice when I wear a cute dress.

Also finished that book. The woman describes analysing all the communication she receives from him, reading between the lines, searching for and finding signs that he has changed his mind. She calls those thoughts the ‘lianas’ that entwine us and don’t let us go. I have done that so much. For the second time she is indignant that he expects her to be the same as before, without the love. She doesn’t know how this can be. How can you be the same person with and without love?

I don’t know.

Most times I think I can do it, other times I feel lame with sadness, and at other times again, I feel bright flashes of real anger.

And finally the author describes how she slowly moves on. She goes dancing one evening. She ends by saying.

To dance if you thought you would never dance again, that is a battle won.