Wednesday 29 January, 2014:
I wake up at 4 am, with questions that press at my thoughts and won’t go away, like a large and persistent cat squashing and squirreling itself onto a cushion. What am I doing back at MC? How am I going to cope there on my own? And when my mind straight away adds, ‘without Slade’, I lay in the peaceful dark, and feel tears sting my eyes.
The troops have left… I feel like the last watchman, sometimes. I need to pack up the last handful of stores, shut the door quietly on the dusty rooms, and ride out.
Sarsha mails me – Tau didn’t go see her last week. I say I’ll try to get hold of him. I guess his beni’s been cut by now. He has to actually go to a course, for Winz to be satisfied with paying him on an ongoing basis. Having said that.. obviously I’ll help in whatever way I can to get him reinstated.
It’s not like he doesn’t know the deal, either. It’s more that… things get in the way, I know they do. And Winz (apart from Sarsha) have been useless, really. They insist on ‘compliance’, and at the same time they make it technically so difficult to attain. But as far as I’m concerned, Tau’s entitled to something. I don’t care what anyone else thinks about that. He does his best with all of it, and he tries over and over again. It’s just – like I said – things get in the way.
Thursday 30 January:
Just being at school keeps irritating me, just scratching at me all day. I have to keep reminding myself to take ‘that look’ out of my eyes. Even so, it hovers there.
Sometimes it works to just tell myself – honey, you’re doing good, you’re doing great. No shit – but my eyes still feel big and hounded. I can’t imagine how anyone wouldn’t notice.
Sunday 2 February:
Shame is so embodied, for me. I never actually think – oh, I’m ashamed – in advance of any situation. When it happens, it’s more like a physical and instantly betraying reaction. I feel it kick in, and then I’m powerless as a limp little kitten terrified by a big dog. My bones quiver. It can happen at the weirdest moments: one time it was the supermarket checkout. I could hardly speak, my mouth felt as if it might lock up, I was dizzy – I don’t know why.
And yet there are times I can just stroll in and take control, like it’s no thing. When the stakes are so much higher. When the game matters.
I guess in some ways, shame (that old knee-jerk reaction) could just be my body’s way of trying to cut myself some slack, after those high stakes situations. Maybe it forces me to go to ground for a while, and to rest.
But there must be other ways I can restore my energy. I look in the mirror and sometimes I wonder: So, what do I have? Do I have anything, or no? Could I ever be one of those lucky people who gets stronger, more useful with time? And I do not know.
Monday 3 February:
I’ve been thinking about how it feels (or how I think I remember it feels) to wake up and be relaxed and happy. Just plain “happy”, huh. Could I ever get it back? And I’m not sure. I remember a time, long ago, when I didn’t wake up with my jaw clenched like a trap, to steel myself for the day ahead.
Being unhappy, it’s like the worst habit of all. It’s not a thing you do in itself. It’s like a combination of all the other things, the things I was trying to write about yesterday. Endlessly looping that old shame circuit, with a little rest in between rounds. My mind’s constant wheeling and the exhaustion that brings me to an halt… before the whole thing just cranks up again. Over and frickin over.
There are things that make me happy, and there are times I’m happy – don’t get me wrong. But often, I have this sense that I’m just doing those rounds. That I’m allowed small bits of happiness, that I can have these crumbs if I’m ‘good’. If I’m loyal. Never complain, never refuse my part, never stand out, never try to be anything special.
It is enough, I sometimes think, to be acknowledged for your role (and you know by that I don’t mean teaching). But what if you can’t keep on proving your worth?
Makes me feel very quiet, writing this down.