Yeah neverSo R, the daycare woman, smiles and I smile and I wish I was brave enough to say to her, you should bottle that smile, because it seems like that would be nice and I like to brighten people's day. (No, really. Sometimes.)
But then I get to thinking, that's more likely to frighten her than brighten anything, and I put the notion away to the back of the mental cupboard. Because I am thinking, does anyone else have this problem about themselves, that they just don't know how others see them?
I imagine everyone has some idea how they are presenting themselves, what others see when they look at them. I don't mean what they physically see: I can be objective enough to recognise that they see a big man, carrying some middleage spread, greyhaired and a bit worn, fairly unwrinkled for a man of his age (less sun than most as a kid, rather than miracle skin, although until age started to creep patches of wtf over it, I had good skin), ordinary at best. I mean what they think of you.
The best I can come up with is slightly dull. But that doesn't really answer my question, because what I am asking is more like why anyone would bother with me. Because no one does and it bothers me.
I am not entirely lonely. Even on days that I don't see another person, I have company. I talk for hours with people online. I have no idea why they bother though. What am I giving them? Do they all simply enjoy being charitable? I know why I'm talking to them. I enjoy talking to A because she is wise and openminded and she will put up with me when I whine. I enjoy talking to P because she and I have surprisingly lots in common, and she is funny without trying too hard. I enjoy talking to S, although she doesn't often bother, because she feels like my intellectual peer, she is manipulative and clever, and because she writes so nicely that you can't help revelling in it. I enjoy talking to boots because he is a oneoff and I think that he is aware he's talking shit but cannot help smuggling the odd diamond into it. I enjoy talking to Tom because he does not think thinking is a crime, and he is an oldschool conversationalist, always able to think up stories or illuminations that add value. And I enjoy talking to K because she is the single nicest person to spend time with that I've ever known, and I value niceness above everything else, because underneath my shell is a small boy, who flinches at the anger and pain that fuel our world, and basks in the warmth of someone pleasant.
R seems nice, but all she sees is another dad, I'm sure, an old guy who she would laugh at the thought of spending time with. I am just physically lonely. I need someone proximate, someone I can hold, make feel good, lavish kisses on. I need a girlfriend because I want to be needed, and not just by a child who wants me to give it something, which the four people who do need me most all are. Someone said to me the other day what a pity it is that I need someone else to love me to feel validated (or words to that effect), but it's equally the case that I need someone to want me to love them. The monkey does not tell me that no one can love me. I know people love me, for whatever reason they do. It would be hard to force yourself to believe that when people say otherwise. He tells me that I have nothing to offer. That's much harder for people to prove to you.
I didn't always feel like that, and I am not condemned always to feel it. Of course I don't believe I would be fixed simply by acquiring a girlfriend, or by becoming acclaimed for one thing or another. But in the year before I first moved to Australia, I had a strong self-image. You would have liked me then. I knew what people saw when they looked at me and I knew they liked it. How did I do that? I became myself. I'll write about it some time, but the essence of it was I shed the accreted shit of my first *mumbles* years. I meditated, I ate well, I focused on what was good about me and I was convinced there was plenty. I had a job I enjoyed, friends who I enjoyed being with and didn't feel I had to try hard with. Simple.
So. But someone said to me, and I hope they won't mind my quoting them:
you feel trapped by forces beyond your control... This is making you see things all wrong, including the way you look at yourself.
and I know it's true. In the year before I came to Australia, I made myself happy. I was fucking great. I have to believe I still am, if I want to live, because I am sick of dying. It has been too little fun and the result has been, well, dying, which is not like life, however much you try to convince yourself that it is.