Thursday, August 17, 2017

Living in the past

One of the problems of looking back and figuring out how things became the way they are is you are not who you were then. After all, we change moment to moment. We only seem to have a connected, continuing self. It's illusory. But it's compelling.

Another problem is that, say, you were sick or confused when you made decisions, that buys you no leeway. You might be fine now but you are stuck with what you did or decided when you were not fine. So I think forgiveness is valuable. When you forgive another, you are really expressing your desire to be forgiven. The latter is surely less valuable if not supported by the former. How can you want something you won't give? Well, people do but they oughtn't really.

Don't get me wrong. I talk about forgiveness but there's no one really for me to forgive and I genuinely do not believe I need forgiving. When I think about Ally, I don't think she's a bad person who has done and is doing bad things. I think she is just the same person she has always been and is doing what she thinks is the right thing. It might be opaque to me but I expect I could understand the reasons if she would share them. 

Might be opaque to me. Downright is. One of the problems I am facing is that things that happened in the past, causes I supported, seem to have been different. They were always viewable in different lights and I viewed them from a place that was entirely sympathetic to Ally. Now I can't be so sympathetic, they look different. Does that mean I don't believe what she told me any more? No. But it means I'm less willing to see them in the same light she does. So I feel I may have done wrong without really knowing it, whereas now I know all too well.

But Ally didn't change as far as I know. She just stopped loving me, if she ever did. She stopped thinking I was worth anything. Maybe it seemed that way; maybe I'm not. I don't know how I appear to her. It's a problem because I'm Tiggy's father and she seems to think Tiggy is hers alone, and I'm just someone she must tolerate. And she's wrong about that and it's incredibly painful that she's pretending she can't talk to me -- which of course she can, I'm nothing like the monster she is weirdly pretending I am -- and we will have to fight over our baby. I don't know because she won't say but it does look like she is just aiming up for a court battle. I can't help feeling it won't go the way she wants and that perversely makes me sad.

I still do love her. I want her to have what she wants. But what she wants is breathtakingly selfish. And whatever I want or wanted, did or didn't do, that was a real problem that hasn't improved any with time. I'm laughing as I write that because I know Ally would read it and pick out the word "selfish" and nothing else would matter. It's how she processes. And somehow it's deeply insulting but it's what she says about herself. "Ally wants, Ally gets." 

I'll give you an example. At Christmas, we were fighting, mostly driven by Ally, as our fighting so often was. I wanted to be involved with Tiggy and she rebuffed everything I said. And it annoyed me so I said, You treat me as though I'm not Tiggy's dad.

I was reminded because one of my sisters said, But Ally is treating you like you're not even Tiggy's dad, because she won't let me have a relationship with Tiggy. And I'm like, Well, she never has. She's never thought I'm worthy. And I don't think I should take it personally. I think she'd treat any man the same. She'd create the world in which she can.

Anyway, she heard me saying that someone else is Tiggy's dad. Which I suppose is a reading of what I said, even if not a very natural one. It's easy to see how she misunderstood. Aspies sometimes struggle to understand that you're using a word in an abstract sense (in this instance, dad as a role). So I say, You're not treating me as though I fulfil the role of father, and she hears, You banged some other dude. Which rationally you could never believe I'd say. I don't say things just to hurt people. I rarely lie and never to hurt a person's feelings. Which all she knows.

Another example. I said, Don't break up our family. I will fight for Tiggy. I will fight to keep her. Ally brought it up when I was in Australia and it's clear she is using it not just to justify refusing to allow me to have proper contact with Tiggy there but to justify refusing to talk about Tiggy's future. I said, What? I would never snatch Tiggy. She said, You said you would. I said, No I didn't. I meant in a court. I even said in a court. But you know I believe a mother is the most important in a child's life. She said, That doesn't make any sense if you want to take the child off the mother. And I'm like, This is difficult because I've never said I wanted to; she believes it because she has created a more concrete meaning for quite abstract words. But this was in the circumstances that she would not allow me to spend time with Tiggy, so there you have it. Fighting for Tiggy in a court is precisely what I have to do! Whether I fight for custody or just for contact, I still have to fight. Not because I want to. Because Ally has decided that's what we're doing.

Which makes me sad. I do understand her quite well. I know she misinterprets things on the reg. But she's not as far as I know doing it on purpose. She can look like a bad person to people who don't get her, and certainly other people who should be close to her aren't, and because of how and who she is, she utterly blames them and there's no coming back from it. But I don't think she is. I believe she's a delicate, beautiful soul, often orthogonal to the world, often doing things wrong, but still the woman I loved, and love. I thought long and hard about it and I know I can't just stop loving her.

What worries me is something that happened when we were together. Sometimes, I'd say, Why choose this? Why be horrible to me when we can just chill a bit and figure it out? And when Ally would stop and chill a bit, we'd figure it out. But it still happened. She would seem to prefer conflict to sorting things out. I couldn't understand it and I still don't. We are clearly so much better off talking about Tiggy that I feel a sadness that I can barely come to grips with that she has chosen not to. I mean, she has Tiggy. Maybe she feels that won't change and if she's just obstinate enough, she'll "win" and get to keep Tiggy and I'll just have to fuck off.

But she only just "won" last time she did this. And being obstinate came at a terribly high price for her. She lost her eldest daughter and destroyed our marriage for it. Was it worth it? 

Is this worth it? Even if she did "win", Tiggy will hate her for it. It's just the way kids are. You don't get to work your magic on the other parent. There's just nothing to gain. Or at least, I concluded that they will just make up their own mind and it's not worth wasting your time or energy on poisoning them. And I'm better off for that and so's Mrs Zen. We have great kids, who despite some issues, make us proud and have come through our shit in good shape. 

Tiggy doesn't know who I am now, I'm pretty sure. Ally has succeeded up to this point. She has shut me out of Tiggy's life. And as a bonus, she has made me sad. But eventually Tiggy will realise she's supposed to have a dad. (And as an aside, when I met up with Ally, her daughter T who she has clearly forbidden to ever speak to me said she wished I hadn't gone away.) Then what?

Anyway, I'm feeling a lot better now. I still don't have a job but I soon will. I've got ideas. I feel more like myself. I expect a bitter fight for Tiggy that I don't relish but it's worth it. She's my daughter. I am not just going to hand her to Ally. It becomes a sort of vicious circle, actually. If you're the kind of person who's willing to hurt your coparent and willing to keep the child from knowing its parent, you're not the kind of person who should be allowed to be the child's sole window on the world.

I did offer Ally that we could do this the right way. I'd take Tiggy for some months then give her back. Ally could let Tiggy live with me when she does her "pracs" instead of struggling with her three girls. Instead of making Tiggy suffer, she could let her have the life of Riley with her family here, then take her back six months later. Everyone would be happy. Except Ally. Me, Tiggy, we'd be happy. We'd get to know each other. My family would be happy. They could spend quality time with her. They wouldn't have to fight themselves for brief moments with Tiggy, which they are now thinking they will have to do. Everyone benefits. Except Ally. For some reason, it means more to her to hurt me, to hurt my family, than to do the right thing by us and our child. I understand not relying on other people but I don't really understand giving in to the impulse to be self-centred, which is much more powerful in me than it is in most people.

I don't want her as my enemy. I love her. In retrospect, we should never have lived together. But we did. It's just another thing I did for other people and when I lost my job and my health, I wasn't strong enough to hold all that together with another adult intent on pulling it apart. But I don't "blame" her. I don't look back and point fingers. I only look forward. Looking back is just a tool in trying to do things better in future. You cannot fix the past.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Worthless breathing

It's part of who I am to want things to be "fair". By which I think I mean balanced or perhaps ordered is the better idea. It's like you have an idea "this is how it should be" that is the centre of your world and you can't really handle it if it's shifted out of true.

And it's hard to abandon the idea that things really are "fair" even when they clearly aren't so much of the time. But in my own life, I try to make everything look the way I think it ought to.

So I look at how low I am, how deep of a pit I feel like I am in, and I have the two thoughts chasing each other endlessly: I must deserve it somehow; but I can only overcome it if it's not something I deserved.

But I don't think I can overcome it. I don't even know how to start. I needed not to have it come to this in the first place.

And that reinforces that I must have deserved it.

I know it must be hard for people who don't think in terms of deserts to understand someone who does. People have berated me for talking like that. But that's how I see the world: a web of transactions, giving and taking, a world we share the creation of piece by piece.

***

I feel bewildered. How can people want what they're doing? It used to strike me when Ally would abuse me that she was choosing that. She couldn't stop herself from just making it as shit as possible. And she'd say to me, you think you can just be shitty and then five minutes later, you're shrugging and going, it's all okay, but it's not okay. And I do get that. But I never saw why you'd prefer something horrid to something good. Because I think I never have been able to feel good about making things horrid for other people. But Ally does. It's like the wind in her sails.

And it's like every time I talk to her she wants it to be more horrid. It's as though in her world, if she makes it horrid for me now it somehow means she was right to do what she did.

***

But I was just struggling. I needed her. That was all.

***

The worst thing is, I have learned a lot about myself, and above all, I've realised I really am the person she thought I was. I mean, when she loved me, not the person she is pretending to her friends I am.

I know for instance that it's true that I sometimes process things wrongly at first glance and then get a better view of it given time. And knowing it is the beginning of being able to work at it. And I know that part of being oppositional stems from the same source. And that too could be fixed.

But what's the point? The woman I love only wants to hurt me. It's not enough that she took my child, broke up our family, left me effectively homeless, saddled with debts, left with a choice of living on my family's charity or dying in the street; she wants to ensure that I don't have a proper relationship with my child.

The child I try not to think about because when I do, when I think about how I cannot see her, hold her, kiss her, love her, will not see her first steps, will not hear her first words, am just exactly the kind of man I profess to hate, when I think about that, I want not to exist.

***

A bit more than a year ago, I had an endoscopy to check my throat. I had a series of blood tests, which showed I was in fine health, my kidney recovered fully from the stone, my liver in good shape, low cholesterol, and so on. I had good blood pressure. I moved into a house I loved with my family. I adored my wife, although she was worn down and unhappy with the fight for her kids and her pregnancy had begun to take its toll. I had a job that was solid if not particularly well paid, which I didn't love but I could bear doing, and whose hours fitted my life pretty well.

I felt good.

Then I lost my job and Ally used her connections to get me another one, not a great job but certainly better than nothing. But I started waking up with terrible headaches that would last all day and I couldn't seem to concentrate on anything and could be a bit bleh with people. I sometimes need time on my own to get my gimbals reset but it started to be I couldn't handle them much at all.

So when Ally told me she was leaving, I started to try to lose weight, which will go some way to fixing the sleep apnea and help me regain at least my physical health. I had pretty much stopped drinking.

But she decided she didn't want us to have any future and something just broke in me, what I had left just fell into pieces. And I started eating, not just comfort eating, gorging on sweets and the good English things I had missed. And I started drinking again. Not a huge amount but most nights.

And I don't think it out loud but I know why I'm doing that. Because I think I can get sicker, maybe even die, and it won't be like I killed myself. I can pity myself, perhaps, although I am not finding myself easy to pity; I am too disgusted and ashamed.

***

Why should anyone care? I don't feel like I have anything to offer. I can't have. Ally and I used to talk for hours on the phone; we'd chat online all night. Now she will not talk to me at all.

***

I know the answer is to focus on what I can fix and not so much on what I can't. But that only works when you feel there is a destination you can head for.

I can fix what I can fix and my life is still fucked. I am still going to be lonely. I am still going to hate myself. I am still going to be a man it's perfectly right that his wife wants "mediation" to try to stop him from ever being a real part of his child's life.

My worth to people was always what I could give them. Ally understood that and when I needed to take, she dropped me like I was a wet shit in her hand. I don't blame her. I too feel I have nothing to offer and nothing to offer is nothing to live for, leaving a life that doesn't feel real enough to save.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Pyrites

I have never known anyone as entrancing, as captivating, as my wife. I have every reason to give up on loving her and I can't. She is so lovely and precious to me, I just can't. And it's worth nothing -- is there any harder lesson to learn than what you think should have value has none; that is what I've spent these years learning, that you can't make other people think what you think is worth while is worth anything at all -- but I am destined to burn another lonely, gentle candle, brighter, fiercer and just as poor at illuminating my life and anyone else's.

I feel like I will never have her back because we are living different myths. And I knew who I was but maybe she didn't. I was strong for years, for everyone but myself, and then I was weak and my life fell apart and I have pieces but I always was that man.

I always was that man and I thought she knew it.

And she says she will have me if I become someone else and I am not going to, I know that. Because I never was and I never will be and I don't know how or when she fooled herself, but she must have done, because she does not love me, she loves a mirage. And god they all have but why? Perhaps they see gold but I only have pyrites.

I cannot be someone else because I am not strong any more. I am only strong enough not to be in pieces. That takes everything I have. I am only made of failure and shame and the pretence of an endoskeleton of wire, rusty but still extant.

I feel like I will never have her back because she believes she is strong and I believe I am weak and we are both mostly wrong. Or mostly right. Is spite strong? Is contempt strong?

Sometimes on one of my playlists there comes Hey QT. I don't even know why I put it there. I'm transported to a time that proposed happiness that would last for a lifetime. I can recall believing in her, that she would be my light, my life. And that night we made a child and abandoning that child is killing me. It takes all I have to bear it, to still smile, to make it so no one can feel it. I am just curling into a ball and I don't know how to uncurl.

I had to do this to live and now I'm deader than I ever was.

And I feel how much better to have nothing than this wreck and I know she was right to stop loving me, to reject me, to demand better or nothing at all.

But I do not know how to live with that and the only people who've ever cared about me enough to help me try to find out have died or their love for me has died, and that's the same; you wouldn't know it until it's happened but it's the same.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

No road home

I have always never really known what to do. It's hard to describe to people who know what to do because it seems so obvious to them that you should just know. But I never have. I've just stumbled and drifted from one thing to another.

And now here I am, nothing and nobody. The most salient fact about me is I have no means of subsistence. And of course I don't know what to do about it.

But that's not my big problem.

My big problem is I seem to have died and it's proving hard to motivate myself. I knew I had fallen far and low but I didn't know I had actually died. I think it was having to live apart from my new child. I think I just can't think about how deep a failure I am that I can't hold her, can't see her, can't love her.

I thought I could recover here but I seem to have died instead. I seem to have shut down so that I will not feel any more pain. I seem to be unable to think, to reflect, to do anything at all except hope it goes away.

I had a decent enough job, the woman of my dreams, love, the family I cherish. I had in sight the happiness that has eluded me in life. And now I am left with a body I have to nourish, a heart I cannot mend, a life that is meaningless and my main aim is to ensure I don't carelessly forbid myself to see tomorrow.

Monday, March 27, 2017

On Earth

This is rock bottom. No money, no income, no home, not worthy of having kids.

Not even able to work because I fucked up and didn't have my old passport in my hand baggage.

My life doesn't feel real. None of it makes much sense. I just woke up and I was in Penzance.

I just woke up and everything was in ruins and I don't have the first idea what I'm supposed to do about any of it. I can't and don't complain about it but I do wonder that the world has so little use -- none really -- for me. I feel like I have things to offer. But I suppose we all do and we are lucky ifare. we know what they really are.

Still, I am at home and perhaps time with family will help me recover the resilience I will need to crawl upwards. And perhaps understanding that it's okay to inch forwards will help.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Letter to Miggins

The most important thing I want you to know is I did not leave because I do not love you. I feel as though I have no right to claim I love you when I am failing you so greatly but still I do. I do claim it; I am consumed with it.

I would not choose it lightly, sweetheart. But sometimes our choices seem so narrow, so straitened, that we feel like we have no choice at all.

I will not make excuses to you. Your mother believes I am worthless because love in itself is not enough to be worthwhile, and what I had to offer is not worth more to her than what is not.

But I have poetry. Almost nothing in this life hurts more than that being worth nothing at all. In romances, having the poetic heart is enough in itself but in life it is barely paid even a smile.

I will now enter purgatory where the sins I have committed will be punished by the torture of hearing your laugh and seeing your smile but only in my fleeting memories. I will not hold you or whisper that you are clever and strong and beautiful and how much I adore you and hope for you.

I am sorry I could not be better. It is not that I didn't want to be or wouldn't try. I am made only of what I'm made of. There is nothing else but this unsatisfying restless void.

I will do what I can to make it worth being my child. That is all I can promise. That, and of course that I will love you with every breath I have.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Inspiral fuckwits

When I first married Ally I stopped doing a lot of the things I had been doing and my life became a little bit unreal. We spent a lot of time together and when we weren't together we would talk all the time. Which seems weird now because she does not talk to me at all: just brief things she wants me to know and yelling when I don't interpret her correctly and give her what she wants.

But things were fine, we had a rhythm and I didn't miss anything I had had. I let myself be carried away by impulse and doing that was like ripping the legs from the beetle of my life. I didn't know then what I'd done. It's only obvious you have no legs when you try to stand up and walk.

This isn't Ally's fault. This post is not about what Ally does wrong, except when I talk, and I have to talk, about how I've become unable to see the good she does.

So there was the court case and that sucked, and we decided to have a baby and that's another story. But it was all okay. I had a decent although unsatisfying job and we could easily cope with having a kid. It was something to really look forward to.

Then I lost my job. It was completely out of the blue.They had told me there was a contract for three years but that turned out to have been a lie. And right about then, I stopped being able to live my life.

I cannot explain it any other way. Everything started to become unreal. I felt dissociated from my life, as though it wasn't happening, was yet to start. I had already been feeling it but now the feeling grew.

I got another job. Not as good but enough for us to survive. But I hated it. I couldn't not hate it. I knew I should not hate it but I couldn't make myself. This is one of the curses of aspieness or whatever: I know what I should or could feel but I can't make myself do it. It's inexplicable for someone who doesn't feel the same way.

So I lost that job. That was stupid. And then I couldn't get another one.

It's not that I don't want to work. I desperately do. I just don't know how to get a job. I never really have known. I don't know how to lie to people. I don't know how to blag or boast up my achievements. I don't know how to sell myself. I've never really had to. I've just stumbled from one thing to the next.

Luckily, a couple of jobs came up that I had had before. One with John Wiley, the publishers, for the exact role I had had with them. Perfect. But they didn't even give me an interview. I have no idea why. But it was a huge blow to me. It probably wouldn't be to you but you're not me. I wish I didn't have to spend most of my life apologising for myself.

Then a job came up at Coorparoo for the education department. Even better than Wiley. Perfect for work/life, and I did the exact same job a couple of years ago. I couldn't be better qualified for it. It's just temporary so no big deal. So I had an interview. The guy interviewing was a bit weird but we seemed to get on okay. He told the temp agency I had interviewed well but they'd preferred someone else. 

So an old boss of mine got in touch, which was nice. He had overflow work with QUT. So he got in touch with the professor who hands out the work and arranged for me to be added as a supplier. But no one ever contacted me. Not even to say fuck off. Not a word.

So an acquaintance of mine put me in touch with his boss, who runs a foodie mag. That was very decent of him, and I really am thankful that there are people who look out for me. The boss eventually got on to me and sent me some things. I did them and that was that. Five hours' work. Not another word. No hint whether I did them to his satisfaction or not. Nothing.

So the Coorparoo people are hiring again. More than one job. Great! I should surely be in now? Nope. They won't even give me another interview and won't even tell the agency why not. I'm "not suitable". I'm prepared to suggest there is not a person in Brisbane more "suitable". I have 25 years' experience as an editor, three of them in education. I did the job before and I did it well. I'm easy to get along with and I don't stir the shit if I'm treated okay.

And these are the jobs in my actual field. I need something new to do. But I'm 50 and it's not easy to move. How do I do it and earn money at the same time? 

And I know the answer is I could have been learning skills instead of sitting around doing nothing but it's like a bomb went off in my face and I'm still reeling. And I don't know why, it just does feel like that. I feel more and more embarrassed to be me.

I asked Ally to help me, to work with me as a team. She knows how to find jobs. She's practical in ways I'm not. She would know what to do and it would really help to talk. But she won't. She doesn't want to help. She wants me to fail so she can be angry with me. I mean, that's how it feels, that she just prefers to have a shitty relationship. I can't fully articulate why I feel she does that but partly it's that I've become so dissociated and useless and she's afraid I won't change (yet won't help me with it); partly it's because if she's angry she doesn't have to feel bad about her eldest.

It's impossible to fix right now because she doesn't want to. I mean, I'm happy to say I'm at fault. I'm fucking it up horribly. But I can't find my feet to pull her out of it. She sits in our room with the baby and yells at me when I don't do the right things. I can't predict what will be wrong next because it changes all the time. It's like having a bad mum who won't be consistent so you can never feel you please her.

I wish you could just walk up to a counter and say give me work and you'd have work. I'd even have my shitty job back at CL. But it's like everything in life. You have a ton of inertia. I am an editor. That's what I've done for so many years. I can't become something else just by wanting it because other people won't let you. They won't believe you can do this, that, the other. You need to know how to package yourself. But I don't. And I don't have any friends to help me with it. Ally helped with one job and it was awesome. I don't know why she has decided Team Awesome is Team You Fucking Cope On Your Own. But I feel like she grew that feeling out of feeling she had to cope with losing C on her own. Not sure.

It doesn't help that I have sleep apnoea. When I'm dreaming, I wake up 30 times an hour. Which sucks because it means I wake up with headaches. I try to help Ally through the night but I need her to "lean on me" rather than expect me to interpret what she needs, because I'm too befuddled from never sleeping to be able to figure it out. I am actually not as tired as most men would be because I was already not having a good night's sleep. But I feel demotivated and I realise that that, and the unreality of my life, are partly outcomes of not sleeping well.

The thing is, I know I focus on myself. It's an unattractive feature of mine. But that's who I am and I do try to be kind to make up for it a bit. But Ally is like, I had a baby, I am tired, I don't sleep. But we both have our crosses to bear, don't we? I think this is a perpetual refrain of early infanthood, and probably one reason marriages so often founder at this point. Women feel overwhelmed physically and emotionally and have no space, none at all, for what their man may be feeling. And that should be okay. We should be strong. But what are we supposed to do when our lives are unreal and we can't find our feet? Sure, I picked a bad fucking time for that but I didn't make myself redundant. I was doing a good job. And I did a good job at CL too, for all that was worth. I didn't like it but I did it well. And if I had the job in Coorparoo, I'd be back on the road to recovery.

Not having a job and having a wife who shows me no goodwill make for a life that feels of very little worth. It spirals in on itself. And you become the cunt she was treating you as though you were, so she feels justified, and treats you even worse, and ever onwards. And you know, I do get that it's not her fault, that no one makes you feel a particular way, but we are not islands. We do affect each other. We can choose to lift or lower each other. I really don't need much. I just need her to see some good in me. She used to. I need her to sit with me and write a plan of action. She refuses to do even that. I should be able to do everything myself. Well, can't we agree I should and I'm pathetic but then she helps me?

If I had friends, I could ask them for support. But I don't. I don't know why I've never made any here. They've come and gone. I can't figure out why. It's not like I'm really unpleasant. Or at least I don't think I am. And the friends I have who are distant don't know my life well enough to help. They think I am depressed and need to "talk to someone". I need a job! I need work so my wife starts respecting me again. I need help to find one. I don't need a fucking pill to make me feel better. I am not unable to get a job because I'm not happy. When I was happy I had no better idea.

Or money. If I had money I would be fine. You'd quickly see how not depressed I am. I wouldn't care that society doesn't value me because society values money. It's such a pitiful amount too. 

And the worst is, I'm not my own friend. I hate myself and that's probably why I keep destroying myself over and over. It's that tedious. So I suppose I need to try to be that friend for myself. If I had the money to tide me over till Ally is ready to work, I'd be able to find ways to make money in the interim. I don't know if there's a name for the way fear prevents you because you're running short. It's so stupid! I mean, why not just do it, whatever it is, even if it comes to nothing because you find work. I know. So I need to do that. However little I can get in, I need to get it in, in whatever way I can think of. I can't be anyone else or do anything else.

I need to stop feeling sorry for myself. I will make an appointment right now for the doctor. I will just forget everything up to now and do whatever I can to make Ally happy. Why worry about what I get back? I love her, isn't that enough? I will try try try to get a job anyhow I can. I will not lie down and die. I'm glad we had this talk. I feel better for it. I don't need people telling me I'm worthless and need a doctor to make me feel worthwhile: that isn't true. I needed help to get on my feet. I don't have anyone, not a soul in this world, who will help me get there, so it's just you, Davey, just you so crack on son.