Taking a break from the blog.
I will return when the project is ready to update.
In the meantime I have an artist to redesign and a stack of work to finish.
Taking a break from the blog.
I will return when the project is ready to update.
In the meantime I have an artist to redesign and a stack of work to finish.
Over the last decade, I went from being a Senior Banking Consultant, government researcher and corporate researcher to now being a fledgling author and artist. During all of this time I was renovating and maintaining a mansion which will never belong to me and taking care of my parents.
At the beginning of this period, I had around six ex-boyfriends who used to come and visit, thankfully missing each other in the process and helping out if they felt like it. None of them were particularly keen to get me out of my shell, they kind of delivered themselves like pizzas as and when they were not busy.
Overall, the crucial years from the age of 25, a long time ago now, were taken up with my parents and family. I had previously been a successful chef, and was out-earning the rest of the family when I was told that I was to take care of things as nobody else would do it. I could have ignored this, but it turned out to be a statement of fact.
I only really realised that my life was over at around 33 or so, when it proved impossible to get decent employment locally, and I could not leave my mother to take care of my father alone as she was not a natural carer by any means.
So, from being absolutely work-obsessed, driven and very keen on pretty poor quality relationships with equally lazy boys, I have become a loner, who slowly moves towards a life of self-expression, for good or ill.
My friend from Slovenia, who I got to know when building the island in Second Life, is now married and is contemplating, at 40, having a child. I am contemplating the fact I will never have a child as I do not leave the house and have no prospect of forming any new relationships. The old ones were curtailed as a result of my overwhelming feelings for Wolfe. I do not regret this at all. In many ways he was an excuse to move on from a rather stagnant life. Nor do I genuinely envy anybody. I just feel rather despondent at the moment and am struggling a bit with the idea of moving on with no goal in mind.
As it is evident that I will never trust anyone enough to have a child with them now, I am inclined to focus on my appearance as a major project that I can spend a lot of time thinking about. I also need to resolve some of the issues that caused my current problem set in the first place – the fact that I never felt that I looked good enough, the fact that I have insufficient real emotional support to let things go easily, (my reaction to Wolfe was most uncharacteristic) the fact that I have failed to get any of the things I wanted – life in a rural location, career, children etc. A major worry is that I have no real way of building a pension.
I always have at least half a dozen plans, which I usually carry out within five years or so. A former friend recently commented that it was always worth dropping in on me every ten years or so because it is never boring and there is always a masterplan. This is not the problem. The problem is that my heart really isn’t in it at the moment, and I feel as if I have been swimming around the same bowl for the last decade. I can handle being wrong, I have been wrong countless times. I just don’t know quite how to break out of the cycle of being wrong over and over again.
One good thing about the Wolfe era was that it forced me to give up a lot of things that were holding me back, and it forced me into a situation in which I had to express myself publicly since there was no way of doing it privately. For this I am strangely grateful. Every step I take at the moment, however, is tempered with a feeling of impending doom. I am sure that this will pass, but at the moment it is rather sad.
None of the people that I have left behind over the last few years did anything unusually wrong. There was more of a generalised wrongness that meant that I was constantly feeling suppressed or undervalued. Wolfe was very much the last straw in that lengthy period. I was insulted, under-valued and not listened to, not directly by him, but by his associated entourage, and after the experience of my family stabbing me over and over again in the hope of gaining money from my parents, enough was enough.
So, although I am numb, lonelier than ever and again forced into a situation in which I have to come out of my shell or perish, you will not catch me genuinely hating Wolfe or his crappy idea of business practice. I have learned and observed a lot that I would never otherwise have noticed, and I am overall better off as a result. despite my almost total destruction in the course of my latest metamorphosis.
Just before I go for my walk – I just had a quick look around the newer, calmer, more measured haters of Wolfe on Youtube. Most interesting. Things have moved on by quite a bit since five years ago. Wolfe has developed his crowd gathering strategy by quite a bit, and the offended vegans making videos appear to be a bit calmer than last time I looked at this.
I only found one offended customer, and this was an offended 801010er who had gone on one of his courses, only to get crap customer service and lose 800 dollars. So, then, Wolfe evidently still needs to upgrade his staff. Sigh. Were I to show you my emails, which I have no intention of doing, I could show you some far more extreme material from far angrier people, including some people from the Icke camp.
Right then, to inject some rationality into this:
Pros of Wolfe
Wolfe is the most useful person the entire alternative health industry has, because he is utterly shameless about crowd-gathering, can muster enthusiasm about the most obscure topics, and has an extremely tough shell as a result of doing this for more than a couple of decades.
He is the most successful marketer in the business, and there are many businesses that are nothing to do with him making money off his work. He gives away more work than most people do in the course of a full time week.
Yes, a proportion of his recent work is quite far out, but it keeps the audience awake, entertained and interested in learning more, whether this is from him or on their own. The point is that listeners with more than one brain cell gain confidence from his work, not that listeners who are not so blessed follow blindly. That is not the point of Wolfe at all, although I see that there are several such people milling around Youtube.
From someone who had a lot of knowledge before I had ever heard of him, I can tell you that his work is extremely useful in terms of making you more committed to fighting your corner and dealing with problems conventional medicine cannot manage. I tend to disregard quite a bit of what he says, but other things are quite useful.
Cons of Wolfe
He keeps pissing people off, including me at times. Arrogance is not a virtue.
He is too self-interested, but that is in the nature of successful people, so it is probably a useful affectation.
He doesn’t seem to look after number 1 terribly well because he is too busy having a good time.
He relies too heavily on esoteric role models such as Rudolf Steiner. Yeah, Wolfe, we all have our Steiner moment. Most of us grow out of it at age 17 and stop wearing the stupid hat. Over-use of this stuff makes you appear to be a shill, which is not helpful at all to those concerned about such things WHO ARE AN INCREASING PART OF YOUR MARKET. This is one area in which you can easily be defeated so you need to sort that out.
HE STILL HASN’T SORTED OUT THE STAFFING ISSUE. GET A GRIP WOLFE!
Whoever is now running Longevity Warehouse – yes, I see why the prices keep escalating – because people keep buying – but perhaps a budget or wholesale range might make you look a little more egalitarian? If you want to build a true society, you have to cater for people other than rich people with no knowledge or time to go elsewhere. In the meantime you are losing business from everybody else. What is he working for if not to make yet more money?
Personally, I have gained a lot from Wolfe, without spending a penny on anything, but then I decided fairly early on that it was more useful to me to like him rather than not like him, no matter what he did. Nevertheless I was also very critical, as I do not think being nice is necessarily being a good friend to anyone. (we aren’t, just to be clear – the website represents a lengthy period of stress and upset) He has been a major thorn in my side, and I do not owe him any more favours than he has already had, although I am sure he would say the same or worse about me were he to say anything at all.
You can waste a lot of time on picking holes in people. Wolfe is a royal pain in the ass, but he is driven, successful, very good at coming up with more strategies for increasing his community, who then become irritated and go to someone else. Therefore everybody is depending on his being successful. Be careful who you shit on, because that goose is still laying the golden eggs in the alternative health market.
As a historian, I have to take information from a wide variety of sources. You will find any social scientist doing much the same thing. I studied history both from an arts and a social science perspective, so I do a little of both, although I have to say I err on the side of social sciences. I simply find the arts side of an intellectual pursuit of history a bit flowery and a little bit too much like guesswork.
In the last few years, I have seen more and more posts saying that ‘if it isn’t scientific, it isn’t true.’ I think this is just as dangerous as saying that creativity is insanity. It is a very dangerous precedent. Where, I wonder, do people imagine knowledge comes from, if not from testing a ‘mad’ idea that popped into your head?
The vast majority of new science is funded – someone paid for the pursuit of the knowledge. As such, it seems to me, that it is very much tied up with our corporatist future. If the public are led to believe that only a wo/man in a white coat can tell you the truth, then no alternative knowledge is to be respected, and you are automatically a crank, even when you are right.
Not to denigrate the strides made in the pursuit of scientific research in relation to health, but we are seeing more and more previously discredited knowledge being hijacked in the name of science. Only yesterday, I was reading that a company had ‘discovered’ that inflammation had an impact on health, and were researching it. Anyone who has ever been involved with natural health has this as basic knowledge.
Therefore, the scenario I described in Best Scandal Ever is swiftly coming true. It is a very difficult thing to combat, without making an impact on culture. I see more and more advertising reminiscent of the 1950s, ‘scientific’ replacing ‘natural’ as being highly desirable. Sooner or later, in our march towards our genetically engineered and very unhealthy, both economically and literally, future, we will be told that natural is dirty and not good for us.
Having dealt with a lot of jealous middle-aged men over the last few years, who all kept telling me that my new found health was invisible to them, that my diet was a disorder, and that eating properly was unscientific because it did not fit in with what they had been told by our corrupt board of nutrition, I have direct experience of how dangerous this is, and how narrow minded it makes people. Therefore, when I see articles suggesting that anyone arguing against commonly accepted ‘science’ I feel quite sorry for the person who has mistaken science for intellectualism, and who is no longer capable of free thinking research or objective testing.
The example of my mother is a case in point – if I had not had the experience of the last ten years, with my father having been starved to death by the NHS under the Liverpool care plan, to make life more convenient, a common practice, (deaths from Alzheimers in Scotland leapt up by a whopping 31% in one year, for example)followed by my own spectacular recovery from a condition regarded by the NHS as not worth bothering with not once but twice now, I would not have had the confidence to stand up and fight them off when they began the process of drugging my mother to death. As it is, I did, and she is doing very well and has made a good recovery from her stay in hospital. The point is, that the possession of authority does not translate to correct or morally right. The point is also that low denomination understanding of centuries of knowledge is likely to be pretty damned basic.
The real question is – why are these so-called intellectuals rejecting knowledge that has been acquired over centuries for corporate-sponsored information delivered by a man in a coat? Have they lost their capacity for imagination or open mindedness? The hostility is astonishing. At one point, my aging friend was drinking a product entirely composed of chemicals just because it looked more ‘scientific’ than my highly technical natural diet. He sat and watched me reverse my age by at least ten years, and still fought me every step of the way.
There has to be some way of stopping this rot and encouraging imagination, open-mindedness and selective information gathering before it is too late. All that this current climate of science worship is fostering is a lack of enquiry. This is not good for the future of science, never mind the future of humanity because without imagination, without independent thought, and without alternative knowledge sources, the pool from which to draw will become very narrow indeed.
In an effort to cure my crippling shyness and move on from the recent past, I have today been researching narcissism. I found some interesting stuff on shyness as a narcissistic trait. The theory being that shyness is narcissistic because it indicates that you imagine your presence is important.
I have not always been shy. I originally worked with the public. Whilst this was a strain because I am so used to having quite so much alone time, I managed it without too much fuss and was a fairly big personality. Likewise when I became a head chef, I had no problem learning how to work a room full of male chefs to get the best out of my staff. I also have little problem trying new things, so evidently I have a form of confidence. I just don’t particularly like interacting with lots of people.
I am trying to get over this, as I work on the Ina Disguise Entity project, as I think I will call it. I have been back on my old youtube channel and re-released some old stuff. I made a couple of videos today. I still find I am worrying constantly about whether anybody wants to see it, whether it makes sense, whether I should be bothering to try. I should not be worrying about this.
I made quite a few videos for my friend in London years ago when I first went raw, and found the minute the view count hit 40 I just wanted to take them all back down again. The thought of people looking at me horrified me.
For the purposes of inventing Ina Disguise as a person I need to start getting over this as quickly as possible, therefore it is important that I work on it. Making a youtube video should not be a source of quite so much anxiety, especially when you have a very small channel with few viewers. Nevertheless I have already made and taken down about seven, regardless of the fact they only had one or two viewers. This is not perfectionism, as anyone who has listened to the Ina Disguise channel can testify, but social anxiety.
In the spirit of making the best use of this anxiety, I am kind of using it as fuel to make me work harder on my appearance. If I know people will see me, I take a lot more care than if I never see anyone, so it is quite helpful for that. Having said this, in the event I ever do have to make public presentations, freaking out and going over every word I say over and over again is less than helpful. I need to lose the hang-ups, basically. It has become far worse since the family disaster and events of the last decade, so it is something I need to persist in working on.
In the spirit of self-acceptance, it would be nice to forget about it and do back-room types of work, but it does not look as if this is how life is going to work out, so I am going to persist with it. At least it will force me to regard myself as an artwork, which is probably a good thing. It has, however, created something of a crisis of confidence about my artwork. I kind of want to make a bonfire with quite a bit of it at the moment.
Shyness as a form of narcissism is a similar concept to caring as a form of self-abuse. You hand over your life to care for someone else to show what a nice person you are, at your own expense. It is a very damaging way of expressing yourself, especially when you have at least one real narcissist in your family waiting to criticise your efforts at every opportunity. It is up to yourself how strong you are in terms of rationalising and taking action to avoid becoming a victim of these things. I certainly never thought my life would ever end up like this. It was not what I worked towards at all.
So, the Wolfe-era journey has now led me into very unfamiliar and terrifying terrain. A lot of self-evaluation and development is still necessary, despite my exploring having gone relatively well so far. The problem with such self-evaluation is that it opens up many cans of worms you don’t really feel like opening, or necessarily really need to open. I don’t write worrying terribly much about the attitudes of other people, for example, so why would my physical appearance and voice be so different?
All this, I do for a person who will never speak to me again. I am still being an idiot. At least I will be a better educated idiot, I suppose.
OK I was just having a look at Wild West Online, which looks promising, although I will not be participating as I am too busy, and realised that I had not extensively described the ones I am actually working on. There have been significant delays with the game projects, as I had hoped to send some work to the Gambia, but as this was not possible I had to take care of all of it myself
Best Adventure Ever is the one relevant to the David Wolfe project, and will be suitable for PC, Mac, tablet or mobile. Although the visual novel is not the perfect format for the original story, I felt this was a good idea for maximum coverage since I am a noob to the games market. I have not decided on whether to attempt to make any actual money on it as all the work on the Wolfe project is intended to gain reach rather than profit.
It is the separate story of Kira and Sam Redwood, who in terms of graphics freakishly resemble Wolfe and I, in a sort of self hating kind of way, and their progress through a series of dating episodes. Sub-choices are made via consumption – what you choose to eat, drink and do moves the story along. As you can see, the graphic quality is rather nice. Without giving too much away, the game is intended to improve the knowledge and confidence of the player no matter how they feel about themselves, and so I think it is a worthy project. I don’t know why I still care about doing this for nothing, but never mind.
Mood Machine is a steampunk adventure set in London, and tracks the friendships of young people making their way in a mysterious society where people have, for a variety of reasons, disappeared or died. This one is more about psychology and how people interact with one another, and contains rather a lot of nice bits of economic history.
The two games are intended as entries into the games market with a view to creating the game I really want to make, which is a much bigger job and will also feature Wolfe. (this family thing is most inconvenient in terms of game character building, Wolfe) Although this was also intended to increase his reach, I think I will have to offer avatar selection for this game, and so I may include Icke and Robbins as possible selections and widen the games outlook. Gamers have been awaiting a decent cult builder for a long time, so I think this is a nice back scratching way of serving the market.
In terms of hold ups, I could do with some technical discussion and I need to build up some more skills to get to this third and most important game. I have the courses available, but have been significantly delayed in getting on with them, and all of this is secondary to clearing the studio, which needs to happen fairly soon. I think the first priority is to complete the visual novels and see how that goes. If it goes well, then full steam ahead with Best Guru Ever.
There is also the risk that Wolfe will object once the game is complete, since he chooses to ignore everything I am doing. I haven’t hidden any portion of what I am doing, so I suggest if he has any objections, he gets on with making them before I put all this work out.
FYI – he will not. I do not know why he considers it a good idea to ignore work that is being done. The rule in these circumstances is ‘do it until they stop you’ but it is really a waste of everyone’s time. Extremely frustrating if you are trying to make things happen and very disheartening.
In the course of a relatively short life, I have been everything from 98lb to 311lb. (150lb is probably about right given my build) In my case, any attempt at a normal diet after the age of about 9 or so ended up with continuous weight gain. (following glandular fever) I do not eat entire packets of biscuits or fries and now have an extremely high level of nutritional knowledge. I just cannot eat ‘normal’ food or engage in social eating of any kind.
It has taken, for a variety of reasons, decades to accept this and put myself first. Even when I found the answer, something came along to cause me to ignore it.
As you can probably tell by the website, my second love is men. Food is more of an obsession. I was a Michelin level chef for a few years, and following my education became very interested in food politics.
Causes of self-neglect have varied. From avoiding men, to being upset by men, to trying not to be assaulted by men, to ignoring my own needs for either gender, I am guilty of having put myself last at every opportunity. I used to think that this was a virtue. I have now, finally, thanks to the Wolfe era, accepted that it is my biggest failing. With the exception of my mother, who is 90, I will no longer be doing that.
So, one of my theories about why people like me put on so much weight is that they have the following issues:
To be fair, in my case, the issue was complicated by a lengthy battle with my love of smoking, which, being orally fixated, helped for a while, however the real basic problem is the repulsive comments made to me at an early age by my sisters. For those who do not understand the effects of bullying at an early age – all those nasty comments you make stay with the person forever. Be very careful what you say to people. I will probably never choose to spend time with women because of this, because I am always looking for the next negative comment to cling to. That is my problem, not theirs, but it is a fact.
So, in the spirit of empowering a few people who hide in their homes as I do, please remember the following:
Being a kind person is very nice, but it may well be killing you. Having been put through a lot, you may regard your kindness as your best feature, but in terms of your own health, it may not be. Learn to make space for yourself, and avoid anyone that will not let you do that.
If you have any questions, feel free to use the comments.
The Story so far:
In early July, I realised I was again at risk of a stroke. I never usually suffer from headaches, but my chest pains and headache combinations were getting worse again due to the stress of having to fight off the NHS as I saved my mother’s life. They and social services objected to her new raw diet despite her having previously stopped eating or being awake for very much of the day. I was exhausted, very stressed and was starting to struggle even doing shopping for my mother.
She had been sent home to me painfully thin, with teabag skin. She a low chance of survival after a spell in hospital because I had sent her in to have a clot scanned. I thought this would take one night. Due to changes in consultants, infections and other problems caused by her normal diet and some well-meaning but rather daft staff, she ended up stuck there for two months. Hopefully we won’t be doing that again for a while.
After having had to explain her diet in low-to-moderate detail to a variety of so-called professionals (there wasn’t one that fully understood how her diet worked or how it would replace four medications) I eventually won out, and have now been left in peace again.
Because I was prevented from doing much of her additional therapy and my artwork by a series of bitchy nurses, progress on the artwork side of the project has stopped for the moment.
This has caused me to do a lot more writing again, since nobody can complain about that, and I stopped eating garbage around about early July. I went low carb until my gut recovered from the inevitable imbalance of normal food, then went back onto Supermix only about three weeks ago.
Progress has been slower than in the past, however it has been about 8 weeks now and I have lost 42lb. My face is in recovery (I have some delightfully hideous pictures to prove it.) I am now doing 2x5k walks per day, and I have taken up cycling, although it will be some time before I am even able to do half an hour as I have never regularly cycled in the past. The last time I had to shift this amount of weight, it took about 5 months to get to this point with exercise, so I am still getting the benefit of my previous raw diet.
Taking into account that last time I had decades of toxic refuse instead of about three years, this does not seem like bad progress so far to me. Much of the struggling when you are taking up exercise after hiding for a long time is actually just phagocyte activity, as in shaking things up in order for your body to get used to the idea that you are going to be doing it all the time. It is disappointing not to have the same spectacular occurrences of 21lb weight loss in one week this time, but is probably a good sign in terms of my body having worked better despite the abuse of a normal diet.
I have never been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but I suspect that if the parameters were not so strict I would be, as I have low blood sugar to start with. Therefore when they do a fasting blood sugar test, it comes up normal when for me it is actually sky high. I do have a marker for fatty liver, but no GP so far has been remotely concerned about it. I am also blessed with low blood pressure, so I do not get hassled about that often.
The last time I was raw, my blood work was outstanding, so I am waiting until my weight goes down some more before I go and re-verify that. I can tell you that from a prognosis of ‘nearly dead’ my mother is now the subject of monthly tests because they cannot believe her recovery. From constant UTI infections and a state of decline, she no longer requires antibiotics because of her raw diet. Even I was impressed, and I had taken this radical action because I knew what the NHS had done with my father at a similar stage in his illness.
It was not until I saw this, that I realised that the raw foodies are completely correct. No other form of nutrition would have pulled her back from quite so close to the brink. I am not saying that anybody could have pulled it off, her diet is really quite technical, but certainly low carbing, paleo etc would not have done it. Therefore I am somewhat more committed to raw than I was previously. 7 years ago it was a fabulous cultural curiosity, now it is a matter of life and death, to put it bluntly.
From a personal perspective, what was a casual attempt to stop my health declining in July, became more motivated when I discovered Wolfe was coming over in early August, which seems to have reengaged some hormones (nuff said) and certainly improved my motivation. I basically conned myself by thinking about going even though I knew it was an extremely bad idea in reality. I have now switched over to focusing on re-modelling Ina Disguise to become an actual person, so it is more of a professional interest. I ain’t no fangirl, and I am not the type of chick that thinks it is cool to chase married people. It would have been nice to sort out the work issue, but that is really up to him, and he is way too lazy/vain to bother finding out. Therefore Ina will be taking over the original project in the fullness of time.
So, in terms of fitness recovery, compared with my last foray into the world of raw food, this time is a massive improvement. Supermix is, of course extremely comprehensive now, and I am a lot more savvy about the whole raw food concept than I was 7 years ago. When you are new to it, you get caught up in a lot of bullshit and self-doubt. This time I doubt nothing, which is immensely helpful and less stressful.
The fact that you need so much sleep to start with is a bit annoying, but apart from that the inch loss so far is even more impressive than the weight loss. I will keep hammering at it until the job is done, now that I have no further concerns about:
Therefore, I figure, I may as well devote myself to creating a beautiful Ina. Whilst I do that, I will be creating a persuasive, technical, political and economic argument for Ina to present. I have no idea whether I can do it in terms of dealing with the public, but I will give it a damn good try. Wolfe, in the meantime, is welcome to enjoy his semi-retirement. (waves)
“It’s OK, people like you shouldn’t have children anyway.”
“What do you mean, mother? Why do you keep saying that? Why are you being so horrible?” Given that Petra had just saved her mother’s life, she felt that this was a little bit harsh, to say the least.
“People like you…” Petra’s mother, at 90, had forgotten the thread of the conversation.
“Why do you always get so nasty on Sundays? Is it because Alice is coming over and you need the practise when she starts bitching about me?” Petra was genuinely curious about this phenomenon. For someone with dementia, her mother always seemed to sense that it was Sunday, with similar results.
“You’re not very …nice…People like you deserve all they get. I don’t like clever people.”
“Is that why you let them behave like that? Is that why you join in? Because you don’t like clever people?” Petra felt the lump in her chest worsen as she realised that her life had been meaningless to her mother because she didn’t like clever people. “I gave up everything for you. I haven’t had a night out since 2003. I took you around Europe when they wanted to take your money and throw you into a care home. I restored your entire house. I took care of your husband and you. I’ll never own a house or have a family or a pension. That drink you are drinking cost me £1200 to put together. I had to fight the NHS to give it to you. Are you saying that I haven’t done enough for you?”
“Oh, I don’t know….I don’t know.” Petra’s mother appeared to be turning back into the pillow to go to sleep.
Petra, who had had three hours sleep, felt the tears return again. She went through to the lounge. One of the cats sensed her despair and settled next to her on the couch. She tried to pull herself together before the nurses would arrive to give her mother her daily injection. As it was Sunday, she would have to clean down the kitchen, hoover and remove any personal items from her mother’s room before her sister arrived to formulate her next complaint. Petra often wished she had let her family be prosecuted rather than prevent them from committing the crime in the first place.
At eleven, the nurses duly arrived. “There is a stain on the bed. Has she been sick?”
“My mother does not suffer from such problems, she does, however, like to throw her drink around a bit before drinking it.” Petra eyed the small green spot on the duvet cover.
“You need carers in. We want carers in.” The small silver haired nurse looked at Petra menacingly.
“That is too bad, because we value our privacy. Carers do not magically produce more bedsheets as far as I know.”
“That’s just it, it’s too much work for one person. We want carers in.”
“I live here. You are here for five minutes per day. I do not want any more people in making any more false allegations.” In the last three months, a variety of strangers had barged into the house inventing a surprising range of stories, usually relating to invented cat-related problems. Evidently these bitches did not like cats. “Are you done yet?” Two nurses stood over Petra as she patiently waited to be able to leave the room again. She knew from experience that if she left the room when they were here she would be accused of neglect. How one goes about neglecting a sleeping person had never been explained.
“We’ve got to look after you as well.” the nurse tried.
“Well, the best way of doing that is to leave, and not invite any more hostile strangers into my home. You have a salary, a pension, a home of your own and probably a family life. I have to lock myself behind that door even to continue giving up all of those things for my mother. You have no idea of the situation I’m in.”
“Oh we don’t deal with family dynamic.” the nurse pursed her lips.
“Exactly, so perhaps, since you refuse to take the biggest problem we have into account, you should stop trying to force me to do things I do not want to do.” Petra was trying hard not to lose her temper again.
At length the nurses gave up and left, and Petra finished up the washing and completed her removal of anything remotely incriminating before her sister was due to arrive. She locked the door to her mother’s room and left, leaving access for Alice. She returned to her room and continued to ponder which of the many tasks she had on her list to do next. There was the gardens, the cleaning, the books, the artwork, the shops, the writing. Petra had tasks for every mood, every time limit. She did not know how carers in smaller houses coped, since she had been driven nearly mad with her imprisonment. Alice would only stay for ten minutes, so she could not go out until she had gone.
Petra looked at the internet for a while. Gary Walsh, a motivational speaker she had admired and briefly known, was due to have an event in a month’s time. She looked down at herself. She did not look good enough to go. She looked at the prices, and considered the amount she would have to spend to go. No, surely not? Two days of carers, a housesitter, care for the cats. Gary would probably not want to see her anyway, particularly looking so ugly. Even if he let her into the non-refundable event, he would probably not speak to her.
At length, Petra thought more positively. Did she not deserve a day off? Should she not seize the day, as he frequently recommended? Try to grab the opportunity, since she would be unlikely to ever be able to afford to go to such an event again? Petra thought of her impending destitution, and at length decided that since life was so very short, she should go, regardless of her appearance. She emailed the organiser, asked whether Gary would object to her attending given that their relationship had been rather stormy in the past.
A few days later, no email had appeared. Petra was fasting, trying to lose some weight. She changed her hair in anticipation of ‘going or being damned’. She had snatched a couple of hours a day to walk, and try to repair her ailing health. She knew she had to make a big change in a short space of time even to organise all the help she would need to make it at all.
Two weeks later, and still no email. Petra looked in the mirror. She still looked awful. Should she go? She guessed that she did not begrudge him the cost of the ticket regardless, and bought it. She felt briefly empowered by this. This was what he recommended, after all. Positive thinking, not considering others, doing what you want to achieve what you want etc. Petra’s walk became noticeably straighter as she went about her mundane day.
Still no email. Petra had by now resolved her lack of suitable clothing for the event, hired the relevant people and informed the housesitter of the situation with visiting nurses and carers. The event was in the south of the country, and would require at least one overnight stay. So far her day out had cost £500. Petra had not, however, had a holiday for two years. She admired her own decisiveness and checked her car for the long journey. She ensured that nothing nasty could be said about the gardens, the house, or anything else, since she planned to tell people nothing that they did not need to know. She so wanted to see Gary, and discuss her half-finished book.
The day before the event, arrangements in place, Petra noticed the email. She debated whether to open it. If the answer was no, she had wasted an awful lot of money. She decided against it. The rain also failed to put her off. She got into her car, bag in hand, and set off for the south.
It was a long drive. Petra loved long drives, so this left her unfazed. When she arrived she looked for somewhere to stay. The only place open was a Travelodge, which was rather uncomfortable. She checked in anyway and prepared herself for the possible disaster that would be the following day. Another night of little sleep, and finally the morning of the event arrived.
Petra approached the small town hall that the great Gary was to appear in. She was very surprised. Surely, a man this difficult to deal with was more famous than this? She was the first to arrive. The ticket office raised their eyebrows and whispered to each other when they saw the name on the ticket. Petra shut her eyes, assuming that she was not going to be let in.
At length, and after a phone call, she was ushered down to the front of the hall that Gary was to appear in. She had a VIP ticket. She tried not to look up as she approached the desk at which Gary was shuffling his papers.
She needn’t have worried. Gary did not appear to notice anybody else in the room. He was concentrating, she reasoned. She feigned interest in her very boring phone. A mild headache was developing.
As the other members of the audience filtered in, Gary started to look up and greet them. Petra now suspected that he did not even recognise her as he smiled and waved at his preferred punters. She was amazed at her smallness, given the time and thought she had wasted on Gary over the years. She felt sadder and sadder as she viewed the scene. She could not think of anything less motivational than being so utterly ignored. Petra wondered if she should stay for the full day, or sneak out at lunchtime rather than attempt to talk about her work.
When lunchtime finally came, Gary did his rounds of the wooden VIP benches. Petra was now terrified. He could not avoid her now. When he got to her she looked up at him, and was horrified when she saw the level of hatred in his eyes.
“And you are?” he extended a hand.
“You know who I am. I’m Petra, the lady with the book. Do you think you could spare some time to talk about it later?”
“If you had been more proactive when I spoke to you online, then I would have spoken to you. You should have said it then. My life has gone in a different direction now, you stupid bitch.” Gary seemed surprisingly bitter, and very angry with her.
“I’m, I’m sorry.” Petra was surprised to find herself apologising to somebody she had just had to pay so much to see because he had refused to speak to her online. “You could have tried a normal conversation?” She felt slightly indignant. “All I wanted was to give you the world, and you couldn’t even let me.”
“Let you? How could I let you when I didn’t even know about it? You think my staff have a clue about writing? That isn’t what I pay them for.”
“I did inform your agent at some length.” Petra frowned. “You are the big star, I was repeatedly told that I was a nothing.”
“Haven’t you learned anything from listening to me? You shouldn’t have let anything stand in your way. Why did you?” Gary still looked furious. “Your work is no use to me now. I have different priorities.”
“I waited for so long just for any sign at all that you were interested in the book, or anything that I had to say. You said nothing. What was I supposed to think?” Petra was now in physical pain at this disaster. She had thought of little but Gary for some years, and now this?
“You don’t wait, you make it happen. You just don’t get it, do you?” Gary moved on to the next person on the bench and pinned his smile back on.
Petra’s heart sank. He would not discuss it now, she was sure. She wondered if she should not just get back into her car and drive home. She had felt so courageous by coming here, and now it seemed that she had not been courageous enough. She had failed him, and failed herself. Petra was conscious of the melancholy creeping across her chest.
Gary finished the line and turned to return to his desk. As he reached Petra, he turned to her. “Well? Do you have it with you?”
“The idea was for you to give me some idea what else you wanted from it, so that I could complete the research.” Petra was now very downcast. “I wanted to give you high quality work.”
Gary leaned over her and put his lips to her ear “Fuck quality. I need speed.”
Considering the years of her time and emotion he had wasted on failing to talk to her, Petra was now close to snapping. “I am sorry, I can’t work like that. You are my muse. I need input for this element of the project, and I need to know that there is a point.”
“Bye then, no use to me. Life is short and I have other things, like my children to think about.” Gary returned to his desk.
Petra closed her eyes. He had no idea. None. That had initially been what she liked about him. Now it felt like a cancer eating her soul. She got up and left the hall. As she got to the door, she turned around. Gary was staring at her, a mixture of disgust and panic on his face. Petra frowned. Was she considered to be the bigger partner in this arrangement? How odd, considering she had been creating a gift for him? The conversation was over, however, that much was clear. Petra returned to her car. At least she would not have to pay for another night’s accommodation, she reasoned. What did that look on his face mean? What did he want from her?
Petra tried to think how she could have otherwise handled the situation. What she really wanted to do was slap him, rip his shirt off, possibly scratch his eyes out, demand that he left his wife and devote herself to making him globally famous. In the absence of any surety that she could actually pull all that off, she guessed that any of that would be pretty impolite. Besides, he had chosen to get married, to someone he presumably loved. He had rejected her attempt at conversation online. What on earth was she supposed to do? If life was short, as he said, she guessed that she should just walk back in there and do it, regardless of mother and cats. She put her head in her hands. Why did that man, out of any men, make her so crazy?
The real war, she reasoned, was between motivation and reality. Reality dictated that she drive home, leave him in peace, die, preferably soon, having wasted her work and her life. Motivation dictated that she ravish him on his desk regardless of the audience members, probably stuffing the pages of her book into his mouth so that he couldn’t continue to speak as she did so. Love is very messy, Petra thought, as the lump in her chest finally turned into yet more tears. She had no wish to upset anybody, and no confidence that doing so would make her anything other than insane and probably dangerous.
Life really is no fun, Petra thought, as she turned the key in the ignition and set off for home.
“I think I found it, what do you reckon?” Electra smiled, her newly unlined face luminous in the light of dusk. She was thinner than he remembered her too.
“I think you look terrible, what have you done to yourself?” Simon, a creased forty something, stubbed out his cigarette. “How did you get the money for surgery? Why would you do this to yourself?”
“I haven’t had any surgery. I just eat properly.” Electra was suitably deflated. “Can’t you see that I look better?”
“You are far too thin, your hair is ridiculous. You aren’t twenty anymore.” Simon was aghast at her appearance. He hadn’t seen her for fifteen years. Now he looked fifty and she looked twenty five. There was no way he could seduce her, as planned and take her back to his crumbling cottage. Why did people have to change themselves? Wasn’t life supposed to go in chronological order?
“I feel so much better though, and look at the lovely things I can wear.” Electra couldn’t understand why he was being so nasty. She thought they were friends, at least. They had split up over a decade ago, surely he wasn’t still upset? “I like being able to go swimming again.”
“I don’t know how you can be bothered. What is wrong with some TV news and a biscuit?” Simon had been looking forward to finally securing Electra’s attention. Now she wouldn’t want him anyway, he decided that talking her down was a good idea. “Wouldn’t you like some cake?” She had always liked cake, he reasoned. If she could be persuaded to eat cake, he might be able to convince her that his cave was the only cave to be in.
“I can’t eat food like that anymore. I had cancer, and lupus. I was really very ill.” Electra wondered if she was destined to be gorgeous, but alone. Simon seemed most displeased.
“You are being stupid. What on earth are you eating?” Simon twiddled his wristwatch and considered the rabbit in port he had prepared for her coming to lunch. It did not look as if his plans were going to work out.
“Grasses, seaweed, a few herbs. I eat about ten portions of vegetables every day.”
“Ridiculous. I made some lovely lunch, wouldn’t you like some?” Simon was almost prepared to whine.
“Um, no, do you have any salad?” Electra assumed that everyone would have salad.
“No, I don’t eat rabbit food. I eat rabbits!” Simon chortled. “When did you become this vain?”
“It isn’t a case of vanity, Simon, I just want to be well. Look at this video, this lady is 74?” Electra pointed at her phone, which showed a beautiful black woman who looked about 30.
“You’re the wrong colour.” Simon was now becoming panicked, and irate. “I went to all this trouble, and now I find you are on some fad diet. There is nothing wrong with you.”
Electra was now becoming slightly frightened. Simon had once been quite vicious, she now remembered, and she didn’t want to get on the wrong side of him. “Perhaps we should do lunch another day. At my house perhaps?”
“No thank, I am quite happy with the age I am, I don’t want to drink from your fountain of youth. Besides, how on earth do you eat out? It doesn’t look like fun.”
“It’s fun having enough energy to do what you want to do. It’s fun being well. I don’t think I’ve ever been well before. I like swimming, and walking.” Electra nervously tugged at her short dress. She was now feeling a bit isolated and lonely. She had not expected him to be this unsupportive. She had thought that he would perhaps want to join her at the pool.
“I am too old to be going swimming, and so are you.” Simon remained resolute. “I remember when you used to be dignified, and serious. Now look at you.”
Electra was, by now, suitably crushed. Simon saw his advantage, and pressed it home. “Would you care to join me for some rabbit?”
“No, sorry. I hadn’t thought about telling you. I was so looking forward to seeing you.” Electra sadly thought about the drive home and the cold flat where she would be spending the afternoon, rather than the warm cottage she was currently in. “Another time perhaps.”
“Not even a drink?” Simon remembered how much Electra had enjoyed drinking, and considered this a marvellous ploy, given that she wouldn’t be able to drive after it.
“No, thank you.” Electra was now extremely sad. Why couldn’t he see how much better she was? Why did he find it so offensive? She sadly got up from the table and went for her coat.
It had not seemed important when he had got in touch. She was so proud of her new looks and improved energy. She had had no idea that her very lethargy was what had made her so appealing to men of her age. Now she was stuck. Looking younger than her years threatened her old lovers, and she did not go out enough to meet new ones. Beautiful and alone was not necessarily going to be fun. The only problem with finding the fountain of youth, apparently, was finding someone to join you to drink from it.
Simon was disappointed. Why couldn’t she just accept her age, and stay with him? What was so desirable about youth? Time is so short when you are getting old, why not enjoy it?
“It’s a shame, Simon, but I am guessing you didn’t want any more children anyway.” Electra pouted slightly as she got to the door. “I don’t really have much time left.”
Simon laughed in her face “Children, at your age? I don’t think so.”
“Ah well, I guess we would have been wasting our time anyway.” Electra sighed. Simon was, in short, past it. Electra, at 47, was not. “Sorry Simon, I really did like you.”
Simon continued to laugh. “Imagine you with children! Do you know how much hassle they are?”
“I had considered that, yes. If I don’t do it now, I won’t be able to anymore.”
“You stupid cow.” Simon was now red in the face as he tried to make her feel bad enough not to leave, laughing at her folly. “The last thing you need is kids.”
“I would have liked the chance to find out. I always thought of you as being one of my better partners, but I guess I was wrong.” Electra now felt utterly bereft.
“Bye then.” Simon sneered. “Keep your fucking fountain to yourself.”
And yes, several very similar conversations actually took place.