Elated by love
Jealousy distorts pure heart
Driven mad by hate…
Emotional Oblivion… If only I could capture how it feels Describe destructive passions as they rise Record their tightening grip with strength so real Write down in words my silent, strangled cries. Such visceral sensations surge and fall Emotion sickness, writhing hard and fast Internally I cannot think at all So overwhelmed by feelings, urgent, vast… But then the raging storm inside runs still And empty spirit, hollowed out, bereft Of every sense and feeling, waits until A germ of hope can heal whatever’s left. For now with heavy heart and soulless sigh Emotional oblivion creeps by…
Yeah I know, a bit of a weird thing to be peeved about, but the past is really messing about with my mind just now, and it’s annoyingly pervasive and persuasive in its pester power.
Let me explain. Four months ago my husband and I sold up in London in the South of England and moved to Inverness in the North of Scotland. This was a long-anticipated move, and one we’re both delighted about – in fact, we first met as children in the local area (but not in the town itself) forty-six years ago, when I was 10 and he was 12 and our families became near-neighbours. (I say near-neighbours because we all lived in the countryside, and rural neighbourly closeness is in no way measured on a similar scale to urban neighbourly closeness.)
Anyway, although my husband had moved away from the area in his late teens, I stayed here, got married young (to someone else at that point), had three children, got divorced, and became a working single parent while my children were still relatively young. So I find myself in the strange situation of once upon a time having gone to secondary school here in Inverness, had my children in the hospital here, commuted in to work here, and having done all my main shopping here for years, but never actually having lived within the town as we do now – and it all feels very weird.
It’s weird because I remember places that don’t exist any more, or have had several name changes and/or changes in use. I remember people I went to school with, or worked with, and have a basic understanding of the geography of the layout and yet I’m living in an area of the town I’d only ever passed through in the past on the way to somewhere else, so in that sense it’s all quite new to me. In fact, even me calling Inverness ‘town’ is well out of date, as it achieved city status at the turn of the Millenium, just as I moved to London so I keep forgetting – I still think of it as ‘town’ because to me it’s always been ‘town’.
So overall I have both good and bad memories of a past reality that sit rather disjointedly with my present reality, and an 18 year gap in between when I was no more than a short-term visitor to the area coming up to see my family several times a year, and I find it all quite disconcerting to deal with at times. For example, there was a reunion of staff at one of my old workplaces at the weekend, but I found myself unable to face it so in the end I didn’t go. I know I’m still the core ‘me’ in many ways but in terms of age and life experience I’m not the same person who left all those years ago.
So I find I’m no longer living a London life, but not yet living a full Inverness life again, either. I’m back here for good, but not as the young insecure person I was, and not to the same place or the same circumstances that I moved away from. So I feel like I belong, but I don’t belong all at the same time. In the intervening years I’ve got a degree, got married again, have become a dreaded mother-in-law to two strapping lads and have had six grandchildren who I absolutely adore.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being here so close to my family again, and feel like I’ve come home for sure, but I also inevitably feel a bit out of step with the real-time everyday actuality of the world around me. I know for sure my future here will be fine once everything settles down again, but for now I’m finding the past and present colliding in a confusing kaleidoscope of thoughts and feelings that I’m struggling internally to visualise clearly.
I know I need to just sit with all of this and let it all unravel and settle and sort itself out in its own good time, but I’m thoroughly peeved to be feeling it all the same! 🙂
Now we’ve reached September I suppose a wet and windy autumn is upon us, and the summer sun has truly gone…
My less-than-summery mood at the moment certainly ranges from mediocre damp, drizzly and dull to full-scale blustery and showery several times a day just like the weather outside, leaving me feeling melancholy and miserable, then raw and ravaged in waves of undulating emotion. Since moving from London to Inverness a month ago I’ve not been so careful at managing my anti-depressant medication, and am sadly sufferring the up-and-down consequences of my forgetful inconsistency.
Living temporarily in limbo with my parents until we can move into our new house (still another six weeks and counting) is also taking its toll on my ongoing emotional stability. However grateful we are for having a roof over our heads for the time being, my husband and I are both used to our own space, our own lifestyle, so we’re not finding it easy – but then I suppose it’s not easy for any of us. We’re doing our best to fit in without fuss to mum and dad’s meal-times and food choices and TV viewing etc but oh, how we miss having our own home!
However I suppose one of the good things about me feeling so emotionally unsettled is that I’m starting to feel a creative urge building up inside – sometimes my best artistic out-pourings have been a result of feeling thoroughly frustrated and fed up and psychologically out of sorts, so there’s always the possibility I may find this the perfect opportunity to create a new materpiece of some kind? Or at least attempt something artistic?
I haven’t done any painting for ages, and there’s certainly plenty of landscape inspiration everywhere I turn right now, so perhaps I should make the effort and see what turns up…? 🙂
Forever plagued by ‘should’ and ‘ought’
Self-discipline so firmly taught
Just leaves me feeling overwrought –
A battleground I never sought.
So rigidly it binds me tight
Held captive by the thought of ‘right’
Internally I feud and fight –
But can’t escape, try as I might.
A childhood foe in adult skin
Craves self-approval from within
While fearing judgement outwards in –
Uncivil war I cannot win…
“Fortunately, some are born with spiritual immune systems that sooner or later give rejection to the illusory worldview grafted upon them from birth through social conditioning. They begin sensing that something is amiss, and start looking for answers. Inner knowledge and anomalous outer experiences show them a side of reality others are oblivious to, and so begins their journey of awakening. Each step of the journey is made by following the heart instead of following the crowd and by choosing knowledge over the veils of ignorance.” ― Henri Bergson
Often I feel that I am the anomaly in life, I am the one who is out of step with the rest of the world, unable or unwilling to fit my firmly square-edged peg into the restrictive round hole alloted to me. But then I read words like these, and feel reassured that perhaps I am, after all, philosophically on the right path for me, and feel glad of my different outlook to the accepted norm… 🙂
As well as my undergraduate degree (BA Hons in Psychosocial Studies – a deliberately cross-disciplined blend of psycholgy and sociology) I have also achieved a post-graduate certificate in Applied Positive Psychology. It was actually supposed to be a Masters Degree, but for varying reasons at that time I found studying a real strain so decided to knock it on the head only a third of the way through. The parts of the course I had already passed gave me enough credits to be to be awarded the PG Cert, so here we are.
The thing is, I was both working full time and studying part time (working Monday to Friday with weekend lectures), and after my 92-year-old grandmother died followed a couple of months later by my best friend’s husband (early 50s, cancer), my head was so full of new and unresolved stuff I just couldn’t concentrate properly, so initially took a break for a semester, and simply never went back to my studies. To be honest, I think had the course truly fulfilled the need I had for finding answers in my own life, I would probably have found a way to keep going, but as it was, I gave up.
In diametrical opposition to the intention of me studying Applied Positive Psychology, the whole experience left me feeling completely out of step with most of my classmates. Where they readily embraced many of the ideas fully and with a genuine enthusiasm, I felt resistant to many of the assumptions that were made as they simply didn’t resonate with my own life experience. I felt like the Eeyore of the group, an unintentional grey misery of negativity. The realities of my own disfunctions become glaringly obvious to me and I could see I was becoming depressed again, so withdrawing from the course seemed the best option for me at that time.
And I have no regrets – neither in relation to beginning the course nor ending it when I did. It did for me what I needed it to do, but not quite in the way I’d intended. I learned that I still had a long way to go to heal the psychological hurts of the past, and that Applied Positive Psychology was not going to be the way forward for me in this aim after all. But I still keep on looking for answers, and keep on keeping on – and I’m still here, plugging away at life, so I must be doing something right, mustn’t I? 🙂