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Confusion……

5 Jul

‘The ability of a child to understand their feelings is limited.  Confusion can easily arise, especially between shame and guilt.  If it persists into later life it can become extremely counterproductive……’

Confusion……

Confusion is nothing new to me.  At six years old sexuality wasn’t something I understood.  I was different and, it was made abundantly clear by those surrounding me, intentionally or not, that it was wrong and shame was something I did understand so I kept quiet, terrified of being ‘found out’.  There was a simple solution to this dilemma; be someone else, which is what I spent my childhood doing.  Soul destroying though it was I needed something to hide behind for fear of the consequences of the truth becoming known and with it, the shame……

Guilt or Shame……

Substantive, tangible guilt is easilly dealt with.  I’m talking about doing something definitively wrong, like theft or vandalism.  You can admit or deny them, but once dealt with any guilt can be let go.  Shame, on the other hand is less easy to reconcile and can become guilt in ones own mind.  It’s the perceived, self-imposed guilt that isn’t so easy to draw a line under.  It has a tendency to to have a cumulative effect over time.  Even things about which you should feel no guilt whatsoever somehow end up in your bag.  I think it’s because guilt and shame are easily exchanged for one and other, to the point where you can feel shame for actions taken against you due to other people’s predudices……

Twisted Reasoning……

I was abused when I was a child.  Not by anyone in my family, but once again shame was at the forefront of my thoughts.  My immature reasoning and fear of shame stopped me from speaking out so it carried on, and worsened.  I had convinced myself that I had been ‘chosen’ because my abuser had worked out what I was and knew that coming forward would ‘out’ me and shame would keep me quiet.  He programmed me to that end.  Yet again guilt and shame became interwoven.  This should never happen to anyone and shame, guilt, embarrassment and fear should not stop you shouting it from the rooftops to make it stop……

A Sad Irony……

Having kept my secret for years, at the age of 21 I finally found the courage to tell my Mother.  Although now I would have done it face to face, I revealed all on the phone.  She was kind of sympathetic but being from a different generation was about to drive in a nail which hurt more than anything I had experienced before.  As if to reinforce the confusing emotions.  This secret could not be revealed to my Father as she was convinced he’d disown me.  To this day, 20 years later, friends and neighbors could not find out for fear of the shame it would bring.  In one telephone call which had taken me 21 years to make, and which could have reconciled the confusing emotional turmoil I had suffered for years, had the opposite effect, making me feel everything I had thought was indeed ‘normal’.

Maybe it’s me, maybe there are others who feel the same but I’m uncomfortable with my sexuality.  This might come as a surprise to anyone who knows me.  Although, it isn’t so much that I’m uncomfortable with who I am, rather, I’m uncomfortable with the ‘scene’ that somebody of my orientation is supposed to inhabit.  Maybe it’s all the guilt and shame bestowed upon me that makes me feel that way.  Either way it has made it very difficult for me to sustain any kind of long term relationship.  I feel like an alien that has no place in this world……

Epilogue……

In yet another twist of irony which I blame on my life experiences, but in reality are the result of my own bad choices, I have more guilt and shame over some of the things I have done.  Although, anybody carrying so much emotional confusion would likely have made similar bad choices; choices that have only added to my feelings of guilt, especially towards the people closest to me, who are affected by the fallout.  I have on many occasions considered putting an end to everything, only to be stopped by the powerful feelings of guilt that are inherent in such a definitive action, but I would know nothing about and be unable to feel by virtue of not being around; yet it still has the power to control……

So, guilt and shame have made me who I am, ruined my childhood, strained family relationships, been at least in part responsible for bad choices and, ultimately, prevented me from taking definitive steps to end my suffering.  And all they are just transient feelings that will end when I am gone……

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Life, Death and Other Things

10 May

‘You might think that the biggest killer of people aged between 15 and 45 in the UK would be road traffic accidents or maybe one of the many cancers we’re reliably told will affect 1 in 3 of us, but it isn’t. The biggest killer of young people in this first world nation is suicide……’

Suicide outnumbers road traffic deaths by 2:1. The latest statistics put the total number at over 6,000 per year; that’s almost one every hour. So, the question is why? What do such a large number of otherwise healthy young people in the prime of their lives find so unbearable that ending it becomes a viable option?

From a personal perspective there is a big difference between life and living. Life is the mechanical process of converting food and Oxygen to the sustain a heartbeat. Living is gaining satisfaction and enjoyment whilst doing so. In the global model of living which we are forced to accept inequality has never been greater, the basic requirements for taking part can become all consuming, leaving many people simply treading water and trying to plug holes in the dam behind which the necessities for life continually pile up leading to the feeling that living is a secondary concern. This is not to say that all downward spirals are caused by what equates to financial stress; rich people are profoundly unhappy too, but for what may actually be the same thing, albeit caused by different circumstances.

On a planet with 7bn other people it is surprisingly easy to feel alone. The family unit or the need to belong and feel needed, wanted and above all loved is another contributory factor. This is where unhappiness doesn’t care how much wealth you have but there is undoubtedly a disproportionate number of economically strained people making up the suicide statistics. The more time you spend plugging the holes in the dam, the easier it is to begin the downward spiral of loneliness and feelings of helplessness and worthlessness.

Despite the narrative that we recognise and care about people who may be well on the way down the path to ending their pain, there is very little professional help available. I’ll guarantee the paperwork and time spent evaluating and exonerating professionals of any blame in the aftermath of a suicide far out ways the amount generated preventing it whilst they were still living.

Although everything I have just written may be factual, it’s typical of my personality to attemp to rationalise and quantify but when all is said and done it is my own internal battle with suicidal thoughts that I intended to write about. The flippant remarks and often quoted misnomer that someone who is suicidal acts completely normally and “nobody would have imagined that they would do such a thing”, is a somewhat annoying cop out. Making the choice to take your own life doesn’t happen in a moment of desperation or madness, it is a considered act in many cases. I can only speak for myself but I go around in circles considering method, guilt and a whole host of emotions and rationale.

I have asked for help but nothing ever happens. Over time I have become more isolated, unhappy and desperate to escape the overwhelming feeling of impending doom. It feels like every concerted effort I make to change things fails. The failures mount up and as they do the chronic (untreated) depression makes the basics hard to maintain. I am consumed by guilt at the thought of hurting people and it is that, and only that that has kept me alive. But I don’t know how much more I can take. I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, or for that matter, a tunnel. This isn’t a cry for help; God knows I’ve cried and cried for help but none has been forthcoming. I have posted many times about this and doubtless I’ll be labelled as the boy who cried wolf. Truth be told, I’m distracting myself from thinking because I’m afraid where it might lead. Death doesn’t scare me and the rationalisation that I could never have to face anymore pain is an appealing prospect but for now I’ll just keep plugging holes until the dam inevitably overflows……

A Story of a Life……

7 Feb

I have started to write a memoir to tell the story of my life.  Normally, a memoir is something you’d expect to be written by someone much older than myself. However, most of the things that happened to me happened when I was young, during my formative years, and made me the complex person that I am today.  It’s not a happy story, much of which few people are aware of, even my closest friends and family.  It’s shocking and sad. Some of my friends know bits and pieces, but no one knows the whole story.  I am undecided how to publish it?  Whether to put it on my blog a chapter at a time, publish the whole thing in one go, or, publish it in print.  However I decide to do it, my concern above all else is to protect my Mother; the one constant source of love and support in my life.

Whatever the final format, it’s a shocking tale of secrets, fear, abuse and self destruction.  I’m not going to put any punches, although some names will be left out to protect identities.  I suppose it’s a kind of cathartic exercise to try and rid mysel Of some of the demons that still haunt me but, as you will see, some demons stay with you your entire life, like it or not……

Just Another Story……

30 Jan

‘I’ve never been good at expressing emotion, so I’ll leave it to someone else…..’

 

Stars they come and go, they come fast, they come slowand like the last light of the Sun they go out in a blaze of glory.

But it gets lonely there when there’s no one there to share,

you can shake it away, and make it a story.

People lust for fame, like athletes in a game,

they break their collarbones and come up swinging.

Some of them of crowned, some of them are downed, some are lost and never found.

But most have seen it all. They live their lives in sad cafés and music halls.

And they always have a story.

Some make it when they’re old, before the world has done it’s dirty job.

Later on someone will say you’ve had your day, now you must make way,

don’t they always?

But you’ll never know the pain, of using a name you never owned.

The years of forgetting that you know to well.

For you who gave the crown, then let me down and try to make amends,

without defending; perhaps pretending.

You never saw the eyes of young men at 25, who followed as you walked,

asked for autographs, kissed you on the cheek, but you never could believe they really loved you.

Some make it when they’re old, perhaps they have a soul they aren’t afraid to bare,

or perhaps there’s nothing there.

But that isn’t what I meant to say, I meant to tell my story, cause we all have stories,

but I can’t remember it anyway, so I tell about the mood in the world today permeating even Switzerland. And it goes on…..

So do I keep on going until I get it together?

Some women have a body men want to see, so they put it on display.

Some people play a fine Guitar, I could listen to them play all day but I’m trying to tell my story.

Janis Ian told it very well, Janis Joplin told it even better, Billy Holiday told even better. We always, always, we always have a story.

And the latest story that I know is the one that I’m supposed to go out with.

And the latest story that I know is the one that I’m supposed to go out with.

And the latest story that I know is the one that I’m supposed to go out with.

Love Hurts……

5 Sep

Recently a lot of things that were buried have come back to haunt me again.

When I was a confused, frightened 15 year old boy I fell in reciprocated love for the first time ever. He was older than me, gorgeous, a football player and told me how much he loved me. There was only one thing that had to be kept a secret; that there was an us. He didn’t want anyone to know.

I was submissive to him. It felt like that’s what I should be. He didn’t hurt me and I enjoyed the sex and the feelings of butterflies whenever I thought about him. Life was great, I had escaped the fear of being found out and it didn’t matter that we were a secret. When we were alone nothing else in the world mattered. I was in love.

As time went on we maintained the secrecy, we had our own secret code to communicate and arrange our secret meetings (no instant messenger then).

Then, one night, we had arranged to meet at a pub but I had to stay away from him until the night was over. This was nothing new. The plan was simple. He would leave and we’d go in opposite directions and meet up at his bed-sit when the coast was clear. Everything was ‘normal’ when he came up to me on the way back from the loo, handed me the keys and told me to go. Change of plan, he’d be home soon.

Soon enough he was. I was undressed and couldn’t wait for just another night of passion. How wrong was I. It was clear something was wrong. But what? I had, apparently, spoken to somebody he didn’t approve of. Butterflies turned to fear. He had hold of me by the top of my arms, digging his nails in. I told him he was hurting me and I didn’t even know what I’d really done but found myself apologising. I tried to kiss him; he moved aside. Precisely what happened next is still a bit of a blur but he hit me in the stomach and I went down. Two, maybe three digs later, I was on the floor in tears. Then he raped me. I don’t think I actually said no. I was confused, crying and in a lot of pain. I just froze. After, I can remember being in bed facing away from him so he couldn’t see me cry. Every time he touched me a shiver went through me.

In the morning he got up and left as if nothing had happened. When he’d gone I got up and walked into the bathroom. In the mirror stood a devastated, crying mess. Bruises and nail marks on my arms, a huge bruise on my kidney and an intense pain; the result of two cracked ribs which acted as a reminder of what he could do, even six weeks later.

He came back, told me I shouldn’t have provoked him and I apologised again. How could I still love him? I don’t know but I did. I put up with his paranoia, temper and abuse for almost two years. I blamed myself.

And when it was over it was him who finished it and I still cried and begged him to stay with me.

It was a long time ago but not the last time. What was wrong with me? Was I so desperate to be loved I’d take anything inflicted on me.
It wouldn’t happen now and I would never treat anybody that way. I don’t even know why I’m saying this. I suppose it’s freed a skeleton from the past. Another piece of embarrassing history. He might even see it and think about the damaged he did to an already damaged boy. And, I still love him. How twisted is that?…

But, as I’ve recently discovered, punches hurt less than unrequited love…

The Pain that Never Ends……

17 Aug

Throughout my whole life I’ve never felt like I belonged in this world. Now, after the years of psychological pain and self loathing, I finally thought there was some hope. I was lucky enough to find that one person in a million who I really believed offered the prospect of happiness and the possibility of a new dawn; a future to look forwards to and leave the past behind.

It wasn’t a quick fix and we agreed to take it slow, building a friendship based on honesty instead of just jumping in. They said they felt the same and I opened doors which should’ve remained closed. It was still a whirlwind romance but one that had pages and pages of honest communication before we even met and got closer but still without doing the obvious thing and jumping into bed.

It was tender and kind and I felt safe again. Not something I’ve ever had much of. After spending a beautiful summers day just being close and talking a lot, probably too much on my part, suddenly it was over, just like that. The reason; they listened to my stories of travel and times gone by and decided that they needed to experience more of life. I have been lucky and seen quite a lot of the world but only because by chance a hobby facilitated it but it didn’t last and was a flash in time.

That was a long time ago and since I have suffered defeat after defeat, trouble and trauma beyond most people’s worst nightmares. Mostly self inflicted because of the feeling of not belonging, not fitting in and being undervalued.

I am a prisoner in my own head. I let someone I cared deeply about into that place and now I feel even lower than I did before. I still don’t really understand why they took that decision. If they are being truthful then they said I made them feel inferior. How crazy that somebody who has made such a mess of their life can make someone with everything going for them feel inferior I’ll never truly know.

The world has done it’s dirty job yet again and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow feels like it will always be out of reach.

I’m alone, messed up and now broken hearted like never before.

There is only so much pain a person can take whoever they are and ‘escaping’ into a world of numbness by self medicating only makes it worse as I know all too well.

Perhaps I am finally broken beyond repair. I am not blaming the person who, for an all too brief moment in time brought me happiness beyond that that I have ever known. I can only hope they too realise what could have been and think again what we could’ve had together. Everybody needs to be loved.

If they did, I’m still here but for how long? Who knows……

Infinity

Never Ending…

Boys Don’t Cry……

24 Jul

Who Am I……

‘The answer to this question is one that I don’t even know myself. What I do know is that who I am has made me what I am, and that’s not something I want to be, it’s not something I like and it’s not something I know how to even begin to change……’

Having the Rug Pulled out from Under You……

Since I can remember there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t been reminded in some way, directly or in ignorance, that being ‘one of those’ is about the worst thing you can be. It’s soul destroying. The more it’s repeated, the more it sinks in, to the point that I actually believe it myself. I’d give anything to be something else, someone else, somewhere else. I’d like to fall asleep and never wake up.

Wearing the Face that I Keep in a Jar by the Door……

Many people who know me won’t recognise the real me. Having spent 40+ years living with it I’ve become an expert at hiding the reality or hiding behind the self inflicted substance issues that make it seem like a secondary issue, but only superficially. To the world you’re waste of space because you’re a junkie. To you being a junkie is a way of hiding from a reality that’s too hard to deal with.

It is so fundamentally undermining that it affects the very substance of what you are. Even my own Mother who I love dearly cannot see the damage that gets done when she tells me how my Grandparents used to refer to people like me back when Larry Grayson and Danny La Rue used to appear on TV. I’ve heard it my whole life from relatives, school friends, teachers, ‘comedians’ and acquaintances. But that’s me. That’s what I am; strange, unnatural, defective, wrong.

I’m leaving out the horror stories and the psychological trauma for another time but where am I now and where do I go from here? Yet more questions to which I have no answers. I find myself isolated, cut off by the mistakes I’ve made, seemingly with no way back. When I look in a mirror I see nothing appealing. Just a bald, ageing, insecure, unattractive nobody with bad teeth.

I haven’t felt the closeness of having someone to hold at night, someone nonjudgmental, warm. Not for 15 years. I feel so alone……