Thursday, 12 June 2014

Slightly overwhelmed

Do you ever have that feeling that everything is just too much?  That you are being slowly overwhelmed and pushed down – not waving but drowning?
I have that feeling at the moment. 
Today is the ninth anniversary of the last time I saw my father lucid and able to talk rationally.  After that, I saw him twice more when he was stoned out of his mind on morphine, and increasingly confused and frustrated by his confusion; and then he was in a coma; and then, of course, a few days after that it was all over. 
The memory of this does not help matters, when I am feeling under pressure in every direction as it is.
I miss my father so much sometimes.  I miss his conversation, I miss his quick mind and his acuteness, and his fascination with any and all new knowledge.  I miss just being able to sit and talk to him.  I miss his whiskey collection and our silly “blind tastings” when he’d bought himself a new malt.  I miss having access to his knowledge of computers and his willingness to share it.  I miss his voice, and I miss his sense of humour - weird musical jokes, dreadful puns and all.
Just now I also miss his support, which was steady and unquestioning and unconditional, and came with no suggestion of expecting or needing anything in return.  He was that kind of chap, old-fashioned in the good way, and utterly sound.  In two weeks it will be the anniversary of his death.  I miss you, Dad.
I could have done with that kind of support at the moment.  I still don’t know if I will have anywhere to live come July, and I still don’t know if I’ll have a job come August - and I do know that the man I fell for a while back isn’t interested in me.  Then there’s the fact that because all this is chaotic and pressured and exhaustingly steessful, at the end of the day I haven’t got the time or the energy at the moment to do the things I really want to do (write, draw, go out, see my friends, and of course my Big Plan for this year, sort out how to publish something online and have a go at it, just to see what happens).  

So I am now just working in order to keep on working; I’m no longer working in order to do the things I love.  This is a state of affairs I dread, and have long fought to avoid.
I have to go on at work, performing properly and demonstrating my ability to deliver under pressure, while not knowing whether my role will even exist in a few weeks time.  I have to pack up my belongings at home and prepare for a move, when I don’t actually know where I’ll be moving to.  I have to smile and be at ease with my crush and accept it will never even register with him how much I would have liked to get to know him better.
I have to keep smiling and saying I’m okay, to all the people who, if I admit to them that I am close to screaming with despair inside, will then get upset and worry about me, and need me to be caring and good, and manage their distress.  I haven’t the energy or the patience to do that at present, so the only practical option is to conceal the situation from them.

It's tiring.
I have to suppress the gnawing doubt, which maybe is not a doubt at all but an unadmitted certainty, that I have wasted my life and am a creature without purpose or use to anyone.  Because if I admit this doubt – this doubt that may in fact be a certainty – then I have to face the question – if there’s no point in me, why am I alive?  Am I alive primarily because it will upset some people if I’m not here anymore? 
And that way madness lies, madness and Ed’s sorry end. 
I don’t want to die; I’m not suicidal, at least not in any sense that I ever have been before.  I think I would recognise the state of mind, as it is hellish in the extreme. 
But I am beginning to wonder if my existence is pointless, and even without any wish to end one’s life that is still a salutary and a depressing thought.
I know my existence wasn’t meant to be pointless (excuse the rather “fate and destiny” tone here!). 
I was born into this life to create.  Of that I am certain.  I’ve known this since I was a very small child. 
I want to tell stories and make images and write songs and plays, I want make beautiful things and share beautiful tales and adventures.  I want to give joy, to cheer hearts and make people smile, to remind those who are feeling alone that they are not alone, that no-one is alone. 
But I’m not doing any of this.  I’m battling-on with a fraught job and fraughter home life, and seeing love go by me like a bright boat on the river.  And my own right work, creating and making new stuff that will give pleasure and joy to those in need of them, is a thing I drag myself to with tired mind and body at the end of the day.  When it ought to be the centre of my existence.
Should I ask for voluntary redundancy here, leave London, bugger off somewhere else entirely and make a completely new start?  It’s almost starting to look tempting.  I have nothing, really, to tie me to London, except liking my life here; or at least, liking the way things have been – until work became insecure and I got asked to move, and all the rest of that, and the bright boat sailed by me yet again... 


Pasha Selim said...

So sorry to hear of your troubles, Imogen. I'm very angry on your behalf that things have come to this. I may have made this suggestion before but would a housing association be a better bet for you? What you could do with is security of tenure and a h a should be able to offer you that.

If it's any consolation (not sure it will be), I long ago stopped worrying about the 'purpose' of my life. If you can have fun for the brief time you're here, that's all that matters. And creating something is surely it's own reward - sharing might be nice but it's in no way essential.

I really hope something happens soon to resolve your problems, even if it involves a move from the smoke. Tip: Warwickshire is lovely and the fact you may be unfamiliar with it is probably a plus.

A shame you missed Carmelites, though I wasn't sure about the stages and I despair I of ever seeing the final scene done as Poulenc wanted it.

Imogen said...

Hello, there, Pashim; & thanks for your note & your good wishes. It's good of you to think of me.
Please don't be angry on my account, though. Believe me, I'm angry enough for three, and it isn't helping the situation in any way that I can discern. I am carrying on searching and that's all I can do.
Leaving London after all this time would be quite a big shift in plans, so I would need to think it through rationally and not make an impulse decision. It may yet turn out to be the right thing to do, who knows?
But for now I've applied for the housing register in Richmond (I'm too well-off to register in Hounslow, the borough I currently live in, which is pretty hilarious on a Kew salary). If I'm accepted that would make me eligible for housing association properties. Round here these only seem to come via local council housing referal. I know I won't be a priority case, as I have no dependents and no medical problems, and I'm in employment. But if I don't apply I'll never find out if I might have got somewhere. You're quite right about security of tenure being the big issue for me; insecurity is one of the things I really cannot stand. In all areas of life it just flips my lid completely.
I do have to disagree with you about sharing the fruits of one's creativity, though. If I never share it, I might as well not do it, since then I'm just sitting on stuff I've made, hoarding it like a dragon - & against what? A rainy day? It's made to be seen, not to lie in a cupboard. Yet lie in a cupboard is frequently all it does. So for my own peace of mind and heart, some day, I need to start excavating the stuff and setting it out for people to enjoy. Even if they don't get it (mental picture of "The Road to Mecca") I need to hold it out and offer it, and hope it will click with some people.
As for the purpose of life being to have fun, well, the act of creating is probably the most fun I ever have. When it's going, and it's flowing, it beats being drunk, swimming in the sea, dancing, sex, being madly in love, everything. It's the best feeling I know.
Anyway, that's me for now. I'm bashing on with the flat-share-hunt and hoping for better luck soon. I've just seen an advert for somewhere that sounds terrific, but they aren't planning to show the room till Friday, so it means another wait.
Cross fingers and hope for the best.
Why Warwickshire, BTW? I'm intrigued. Your home county, maybe?

Pasha Selim said...

Very pleased to hear you've started the ball rolling, re housing associations. A friend of mine has been very happily living in a place in Islington for ten years now, after many years of going through what you're going through now. I think the answer is not to get your hopes up (good advice generally, I think) and you may be pleasantly surprised. I hope you are!

No, Warwickshire is not my home county (I come from Cheshire but wouldn't recommend the north-west, unless you like football and warm beer) but I've spent a lot of time there recently and have become quite enraptured by it. Lovely people, great countryside, lively (in the best sense) urban bits and it never forgets (or let's you forget) that it's Shakespeare's County.

I've decided that the biggest obstacle to realising my ambitions is my own misanthropic streak: I find people (in general) very disappointing, particularly people en masse. A powerful part of me wants nothing to do with the world, yet I need to communicate with the world to realise my artistic ambitions. Am I making sense? Probably not, but I've just got up and need my second cup of coffee.

However, I'm impressed that you don't seem to have succumbed to misanthropy, despite multiple temptations. So, you can be an example to me.

I'm off to see Opera North's Götterdämmerung in Birmingham on Saturday, hope you've had some goodness by then. Sending positive vibes your way!

Imogen said...

Funny you should be a Cheshire cheese; I was born in Stockport, before the creation of the Greater Manchester Unitary Authority, when that was part of Cheshire, too. Having been back to Stockport as an adult, I have no regrets that my parents left when I was small...
Misanthropy; hmm, yes, that would be very easy to give in to sometimes. I'm often filled with rage at the behaviour of the human beast. I remind myself that I probably drive some people crackers just as much as they do me and so who I am to judge? But so many people are blindly mean and uncompassionate that it scares and angers me. The being scared is probably the source of the anger, of course.
It's an easy way out, to give in to hate, I think. It saves one having to face any of the multifarious challenges inherant in differences of opinion, culture, ethics, etc... Much simpler to feel angry and superior, and not have to wrestle with everything.
Not that I can talk; wrestling, yes, but also yelling as I am with childish frustration at every challenge and every set-back just lately.
I hope you are able to stick with the artistic ambitions, whatever they are. Hope springs eternal, and all that.
Have a good "Götterdämmerung" next weekend!