Hanging by a thread

Hanging by a thread

When your life falls apart, as mine did in 1995 you try very hard to find a silver lining. You grasp at straws, you pretend all the bad stuff is temporary, even when it goes on day after week after year. Your mother can be vile to you, your father can be getting sicker and sicker, your family can show how immature and stupid they are. You make the best of things as best you can, even when your idea of the world has fallen apart.

By 1998 I had given up my career in stately home catering and gone to university. This added a few extra unexpected years of youth and I did well despite working throughout my studies at a variety of horrible part-time jobs.

It was not until 2003 that things really started to unravel. When my father was resituated next to the front door I realised I had to stop going out at night, and my mother, not the most caring of people, started to really struggle. Four years of over-working, over-caring and slowly coming to the realisation that my life was effectively over ensued. There was no question of introducing new people to a situation in which I would have to explain that my family were dishonest or having children in this house.

Besides which, the house needed lengthy repairs, which had to be fitted around my jobs and paid for. I quietly got on with it. Now and again the exs would turn up and help for a while, apart from that it was a case of accepting that the education was a waste of time, since I wasn’t able to go anywhere.

My mother had a stroke a month before my father died. My best friend and my uncle followed in the next six months. Two cats died in the same period, which with my isolated life is just as bad as losing a person.

It still took until a few days ago to fully accept that my life was over. I kept looking for things to do to distract myself and pretend that not having a normal adult life was OK because I was helping other people and doing other things. I was quite literally clutching at straws for all that time.

I had busied myself with creative projects, all of which were labour intensive and not otherwise practical. I am quite good at some things, not so good at others. What has really fallen by the wayside is the sense of perspective and dumping things that just don’t work.

In the spirit of my rather extreme delusion, I decided not to deal with things I cannot change in the real world, in favour of things I might have been able to change in the virtual world. Now that this thread has also, mercifully, been cut I am left in a fairly poor state of health, realising that even the few people I have been engaging with have not really been engaging with me. I seem to have spent a lot of time pandering rather than bothering to observe whether I was being pandered to.

Any close observation of American soap operas will tell you that thin women whinge about their feelings an awful lot. Fatter women simply eat instead, enabling them to shut up and get on with whatever they are doing. It seems to me that the alternative is to take up activities which avoid people, avoid stress and in particular, avoid women altogether. If the last three months has shown me anything, it is that I was right to avoid them for all these years as their communication seems to consist of bullying each other.

So, to that end, I am now up to walking 10 miles per day. I have to sneak out during the hours that we are not under scrutiny, and I am working on felling a few trees when I am here. One of the exs tried to create boy jobs, and I told him that if he did that, I would not be able to manage anymore and to butt out.

My neighbour laughed at this at the time. She is not laughing now that her husband has dementia and is only capable of burning a few weeds. I have been offering to fit a bannister in her house for the last year, and despite visual deficiencies and having fallen down the stairs, she is refusing. These are big Georgian villas, you have to prepare well in advance if you plan to remain in them during your dotage.

Who knows if the combination of fasting, detoxing and walking excessively will produce anything apart from a very tired Ina? Does it really matter anymore? Is there any point in talking, when you know nobody is listening? Do trees make a sound when no-one is listening?

If I persist with the project I am forced to believe that I can deal with a lot of stress that I do not currently think I can deal with, otherwise I have to give up entirely. I could have lived without the last 8 years altogether. Perhaps sometimes life trades happiness for longevity and it isn’t actually worth it at all? Certainly if I factored happiness into my calculations about life, I would have decided not to bother at all, so how important is it really?

All that there is left, as far as I can see, is anger and a modicum of self-worth that I did not previously have. Maybe this is a good thing? Time will tell.

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