A post of two halves; the first half, me as ostensibly human with all my existential anguishes; the second half, an attempt to philosophically review my current state and look at processes from a higher point of view.
As you can probably tell, I have an analytic type of brain; I like to theorise about things.
But perhaps it is time for less theorising, less intellectualising; perhaps some simple brutal honesty is required.
Having higher purposes and a higher goal in mind may be all good and well, but the basic fact is that I'm now heading towards 30 and my life is going nowhere.
I watched the quirky, dryly humorous British film A Complete History Of My Sexual Failures recently, which despite I not being particularly like Chris Waitt either in personality or history, the main character in this autobiographical film, the similarity of our resultant circumstances nevertheless did make me pause and look at my life from an entirely mundane perspective. Of course, it being a film, it all worked out in the end for him. Doesn't always happen that way in real life, unfortunately.
I haven't had a meaningful relationship with someone for more than three years now; in fact, more to the point, I haven't really even had a meaningless relationship in that time. So, over three years ago I changed my life and came up to live in Newcastle. The Newcastle-Gateshead metropolitan conurbation has a population of nearly one million; so in principle, plenty enough for there to be a reasonable number of potential compatible women, statistically; even for someone as eccentric (in an authentic sense of the word) as me.
In that entire time, nothing. Well, except for one fuck this summer, a Saturday night. I'd gone out, and we were both drunk. I hardly ever drink anything; but from time to time I'll go through brief hedonistic phases and indulge in alcohol. It was a random meeting at a rock club, I saw her on the dance floor, and things just happened of there own accord. I have no idea how or why, but for some reason I knew I'd get lucky that night even before going out. This particular feeling has only ever happened twice before, and both of those were successes too. Unfortunately, I've never been able to find a formula or pattern for learning how to generate or channel this form of magick; and it only occurs as an extreme rarity (i.e. 3 occasions in 28 years). If I could find out how to utilise it, I could directionalise it towards effecting change in my life. Anyway, she came back to mine. We had a fun Sunday morning too. There did seem to be at least some genuine compatibility; got on nicely together. The quietude of post-coital bliss in the morning with just a hint of actual intimacy hinted at some genuine relationship potential. So we arranged to meet up for lunch a couple of days later, which we did. That seemed to go OK too, and we arranged to meet up after work some days later.
That didn't happen, and instead I just got two weeks of silence. She eventually responded telling me she'd decided to get back together with her ex. I expect that this was probably entirely true. Reflecting back on events, although I'll never entirely know - and it does not matter in any case - I suspect I simply happened to be the fortunate (well, for at least the brief weekend experience, anyway...) target and used as a tool to get back at her partner; perhaps he'd cheated on her. Whatever. I was disappointed not specifically because it didn't go anywhere, but because her behaviour and interaction with me had hinted that it could/would - not just be a one night thing. I wouldn't have been disappointed if she'd simply just upped and left first thing in the morning, as would generally be the case in that type of scenario. Kate. Come, and gone (excuse the pun).
The only other time when there has been even the promise of something was with a nice girl who I'll just call J. I very much doubt she ever reads this blog these days, but just in case she does (since she does know of its existence), I won't quote her name in case she wishes to remain entirely anonymous. J is a fantastic singer and incredibly passionate about her Jazz-Soul-Funk type of band that is really her own entire conception. She's the central driving force behind the outfit, even though the rest of the members have changed over time.
We actually got chatting through the whole Zoosk/Facebook thing, and much to my surprise/bewilderment - after many botched attempts, and concluding it just wasn't going to happen - we eventually met up, quite bizarrely, in the local park at night in the pitch black. I guess that's trust! We had been talking for quite some time before we eventually met up. Not sure what had caused her to want to avoid a more obvious social meeting place such as a pub; after all, she is a fine looking girl so has no need to worry on that front. In any case, so we walked and talked for probably 3 hours. Great.
Over the coming couple of weeks, we ended up spending a fair bit of time together, I got to see her sing with her band. There was definitely that energy, that chemistry there. For a brief period of time, there was a critical period where I felt we were incredibly close to something happening, just not quite... Or perhaps it is just a product of my imagination.
But nothing happened, and in the end she pushed me away. Not entirely sure, but I suppose it was the usual case of me being too intense. It perhaps gives a mistaken impression that I expect them to over-commit or require more than they are at any time willing to offer; simultaneously, I hypothesise that it also perhaps creates a fear that I am going to become a dependency or form a disproportionate emotional attachment.
Apart from the nearly-something-but-ultimately-nothing with J and the random physical-act-with Kate this summer, there have only been two other dates, both of which were not successful at all and did not go any further. In both cases we went out for dinner, had pleasant in evenings in both cases. One was another Kate, nice girl, but nothing materialised. Perhaps I came on too strong? Don't know; the meal/conversation had gone seemingly really well. And a highly intelligent Polish girl called Illona, don't think there was much physical chemistry there in the end, and I guess I ended up descending into a kind of existential hubris over the course of conversation; she'd just graduated with a first class honours in Economics, was off to do a Masters, so had a bright gleaming career ahead of her. I was, or rather, am in, a place of absolute mess and failure (most especially in material-economic terms) at the moment.
And that's it. In three years.
It's all very well receiving the usual platitudes of "something come along when you least expect it" etc., but the much more basic reality is that I can go literally weeks, if not months, without even talking to a single female. The only females I interact with in my day to day life are either colleagues at work or the few friends that I know because they are the girlfriends of male friends. That, and members of the public coming into the shop.
There are no unattached women that I know of in my entire social network. Meanwhile, none of my female friends know of any other single female friends they can even "introduce" me to.
I can also reflect upon the other axes of my life in similar terms.
I have a job that presents no real intellectual challenge or in any sense makes me feel like I am utilising anything like my potential. It also has appalling pay. I am suffering this situation due to a lack of coherent career decisions many years ago that has left in me in a financially crippled position.
Secondly, and consequently, I live in largely miserable living conditions. A crappy little room in a shared house. I can barely move because all of my possessions are crammed into a room this is approximately the length and width of 1.5 double beds. The room turns into a disgusting tip after even only a couple of days of not tidying it; my wardrobe is so small I can't actually close the doors properly because my clothes are overflowing out of it (it has one hanging rail perhaps 40cm long; about the same as in those mini wardrobes you get in cheap travel lodges and motels).
The rest of the house is dirty, squalid, and typical of "bedsit" type accommodation. This is not a house that is a "home", it is merely a place to pass through, or in this particular case, a house of depressed bachelors. It is a place I'd be ashamed to bring anyone back to; it is somewhere you have to suffer, rather than desire to be there. The whole place needs renovating. But living here is cheap, and all that I can afford at the moment.
I have no car. So am largely stuck within the city in all practical terms and limited to public transport.
After all my basic bills/costs have gone out, I have around £150 a month to live on. That figure does not include food costs.
It is fanciful, hopelessly romantic, and frankly ridiculous to think that hardly any women are going to take me seriously in light of these facts. It would be different if I was closer to 20, and/or at University/college/etc. But I am approaching 30, and still fundamentally living the life of a student - except I not heading towards a qualification in anything (except perhaps of learning about life's disappointments). I suppose, at least, I am not still living at home with ones parents; at least I gain some sense of independence and self-destiny from that fact. Whilst the type of woman I am looking for is most definitely not materialistic, indeed quite the opposite, the simple fact is that unspoken or not, admitted or not, subconsciously or not, people make significant value judgements based immediately on your material circumstances. And the old social/gender stereotype of "male as provider" does still have significant force, even its modernist sublimated form.
I am unable to formally study anything (apart from more basic qualifications and some largely recreational adult learning courses) since there is no financial assistance available for me to fund higher education, since I have already used up my allowance when I attended University. So you don't really get second chances in life. This is one of the hard facts.
So it is difficult to see how anything will change for me in 2011. Come January 2012 there will be some improvement, as I will be free from my Career Development Loan after 6 years of paying it off. I will then be in a position to clear my overdraft and credit card. However, at this rate, it is going to be 2013 before I am basically clear of debt and back to ground zero, and still nowhere meaningful - materially - in my life. And two more years of living like this. It is taking its pycho-emotional toll.
This Christmas - or rather, Yule, as I prefer to rightfully call it - has perhaps been the bleakest of them all so far. Surrounded by the swarms of people in the shop where I work, open endless hours, maniacally buying and spending large sums of money, talking about the ski holidays they were going on and the things they were getting up to; getting randomly asked what I was up to over Christmas. To which I'd give some placatory and meaningless polite answer, rather than burden and darken the tone by revealing the truth. The truth was that I did absolutely nothing. It was a non-event. I had three days off work. I spent them by myself, in an basically empty house, penniless and present-less - there are very few people I am close to, and those couple of people have virtually no money either. I am not a materialist, so whilst it would be fun and enjoyable to receive (and give) presents, that is ultimately of no real import. But to basically have no company, no one in your life at all in any real sense - excluding my mother, of course; and my ex, now "family" to me, who lives in another country now we've chosen separate paths again - is pretty fucking hard. Even for someone who considers themselves pretty strong, independent, and quite at peace with large tracts of solitude.
Sucked into an existential void and consigned to a meaningless empty oblivion - that's what it feels like a lot of the time.
And that most human, all too human part of me? The weakest part of me that sometimes wants to crumble? It is a form of agony to have no woman with kind eyes for me in my life; someone to share conversation with. Someone to make love to. And the ultimate admission that the archetypal male never wants to speak aloud, since it is almost seen as a sign of weakness in the male ego: Do you know what I miss the most? Not the "simple" companionship, not the practical easing of burdens, not even the sex (though that absence is indeed an extremely acute one, physically)... just the simple act of having someone close to hold in your arms, to be held in her arms. Not physicality; intimacy.
So, no philosophy, no intellectualising. Just plain old me; basically a lost and lonely man.
A man, at least, with a higher vision in mind - even if, not yet in practice.
This first post covers the main thematic material of the current state of my life from a basic, down-to-earth, utilitarian and eminently emotional point of view. The next post will review this position from a deeper philosophical and spiritual point of view. I'll hopefully get round to writing it on New Year's Day; it seems an auspicious day to do so, and take stock of where to go and how to proceed from here.
To be continued...
Update 06/12/09: Concluding part is here.
Finally, just a little thank you to a few of you in particular whose comments, suggestions, or remarks have left an impression in this tail-end of 2009. Whilst I don't write this blog primarily for anyone but myself, or rather, for anything other than the service of trying to find expression to that deep mystery that is life, it is nevertheless heartening to know that some people evidently find something of interest here.
Dianne, a stalwart of compassionate remarks from the very inception of this blog, thank you.
Findingmywingsinlife, for the enlightening comments from someone with an entirely different window on life, thank you.
Triana, same as with Findingmywingsinlife, and for bringing some levity in my direction with the little random mentions. It does not surprise me in the least that you two are friends with each other in real life. :-)
Ashley, I do not know whether I am worthy of your praise of being described as an "exceptional writer" in that final sentence... but I do know that the little comment you made - from someone I don't know, entirely out of the blue, without any ulterior motivation; therefore all the more valuable as a result - was perhaps one of the best gifts I've ever received in this dark period of my life. Small things can make all the difference. I don't really have any other creative or intellectual outlet apart from my writing, and it is entirely undignified and immodest for one to deliberately seek out praise or validation from anyone... so that unexpected compliment was a real emotional and confidence booster. Thank you.