I am discontinuing this blog. I started it so that people who I didn't want to know about or read Yeah Whatever would be able to read about what I was doing or thinking or whatever. But they didn't bother. The only person who reads this that doesn't read YW is Mrs Zen, and she only does it so she can get all bitter at the thought that I might find a new woman. She certainly doesn't care about how I feel or how I am.
I don't actually enjoy things that are personal to me being read by people who don't care about me. Mrs Zen never appreciated that I did it for her anyway.
Changed my mind. I was going to have a completely separate blog but actually, I like my archives and don't want to dissociate myself from them.
I will never write anything on Yeah Whatever again though. That was the blog of my heart and it went to waste. I am content not to be a writer any more, just another schmuck with a boring journal.
Sometimes I'm just feeling there's a mountain to climb. I suppose in some ways that's better than feeling like you are at the bottom of the ocean, getting the last ounce of air crushed out of you, but it makes you weary to think how far you have to go to have a view you are going to like. And sometimes you are tempted to believe you are Sisyphus and the climb will be in vain, that you will slip, lose your footing and find yourself in a crumpled heap at the bottom once more.
It is not helping that I have regained my sanity only to discover that everyone around me has lost theirs. People act in ways that are utterly incomprehensible to me. Some days I ask myself wtf is going on. Others I just shrug and saddle up my horse and ride out with the fuck-it cavalry.
I do not understand any of it. I don't want to. I feel it is a task imposed on me: become happy with life. But I used to be happy with life! I was content to be a family man. Now I have to be something else and most of the time I am thinking, I want my family back.
No one wants to be a failure. But when you have been, in a big way, you know that it is possible that you can be, and suddenly everything is a task that seems destined to defeat you. I think the best way to approach it is to cut everything as fine as I can, so that I can succeed in each thing small enough to be easy to handle, and make all things that small. And so, upward!
Today, I'd like to contrast two views from two elderly men. One shows love for his fellow humans; the other not so much. One makes a gentle, heartfelt plea to extend dignity and compassion to humans in suffering; the other a complaint that my home nation extends tolerance to a section of the community that he disapproves of.
Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer's and will decline as he ages, losing the wit and vivacity that define him. I'm not a huge fan of his books but their gentle humanism has surely done no harm to the many people who have read them. He is an outspoken supporter of the right to assisted suicide, and has made a suggestion that resolves many of the difficulties with this approach to terminal illness. It's a genuine concern that many have that were we to permit euthanasia, the elderly would be pressured into it, killed off by relatives greedy for their estate or tired of caring for a sick parent, perhaps unsure what they were agreeing to. A tribunal that decided whether the person was making the decision with reason and sound mind is a fine idea.
We are not lumps of meat. We should not treat ourselves as though we are. Life in itself is not valuable--living is. It's a distinction that I think is valuable. Of course it is difficult to decide whether someone is truly living: many people have a quality of life that we would not accept for ourselves but we find difficult to judge whether it is sufficient for them. I read the other day of a young woman who had contracted severe ME, and could not speak or move. She wished only to die. It is a tragedy that a life should be cut short, but in my view, a greater one that it should be prolonged only so the person should suffer.
I formed my view when my beloved granddad was dying in Arrowe Park hospital. He had lung cancer and was destined to die in the bed he lay in. He was in a lot of pain and wanted only to die. His life had ended; there is no other way to think of it. He had no enjoyment of it. The things he liked to do he could no longer do. Yes, it would distress his wife for him to be allowed to die, but she was concerned only for herself. Of course I believe that is understandable: she had loved him for many years and I know what a wrench it can be to lose a partner that has been part of your life for a long time. She did not want what was true to be true.
My granddad begged to die. He was too weak to find a way to kill himself. Nobody should have to do that. I do not care what your religion says about life; I do not care how sacred you think life is. Living is what counts. I have never forgiven myself for lacking the courage to help him.
I don't know what the Pope's illness is but more and more, this horrible reactionary old man fashions himself into a figurehead of intolerance and hatred. Catholicism is not alone among religions as being a tool for horrible reactionary old men to hate other people with, but you cannot help but feel that it's a pity. In the Bible, Jesus is quite clear that we should love each other unreservedly. There is no codicil stating "except for teh gays". Catholicism could be a force for good in the world (I'm sure in some ways it is). After all, its believers are mostly unreflective, adopting the religion because they were indoctrinated as children, and many adhere to whatever moral strictures are doled out to them by Pope and priest. Sadly, those strictures do not generally focus on loving thy neighbour, but more on petty matters of sexual morality, which are a peculiar focus of a group of celibate men for reasons we need not speculate on.
One has to remind oneself that when the Pope claims that the UK is restricting the "freedom of religious belief" that that belief is that gays are hateful and should be hated. Why anyone even listens to an ancient womanhating clown is beyond me. The guy has no idea how people live. He's never even been married. Indeed, he's never even had sex, as far as I know, so what would he know about the feelings we share for each other. He's spent years whipping his out of himself.
Sometimes I feel I have been thrown into a hole and can't climb out. And sometimes I wish someone would care enough to lower down a rope ladder and pull me out, and other times I get my pitons and say fuck it and climb a few more inches up. Sometimes a piton springs out and I fall back down a few more feet, and I curse myself for how weak I am, as though I could somehow have flown if only, if only.
I am not going to die down here because I am determined that my last three seconds I will not spend crying.
I feel tired of feeling that everyone is entitled to judge me, to weigh me in scales of their own devising and discard me because I don't measure up. And none of the people marking me down has done anything to deserve the privilege. I realise, when I think about it, that having a good heart is the quickest route to getting that heart broken, but I don't want to be a coldhearted arbiter of others, enforcing my black and white view of how it should be.
Because what good did that ever do us? To break each other on the wheel of our whatever. What I need is a friend who cares more about me than they do about how much they care about me. It is not too much to ask that someone finds something golden in me because I have something golden in me. I do not believe you if you say I don't. I will not love you for harsh judgements. What good did that ever do us? I do not judge you harshly.
Here's something really good from Beach House. I am dedicating it to Mrs Zen because I don't think she has ever known that I loved her truly and she burned it for petty jealousy. For something I don't even feel, so alien was that to me. To punish me for liking someone. If I had ever had the chance to make account for myself, I would have explained that having a heart big enough to love her meant having one big enough for others. But she wanted something wizened and small like her own, and I didn't get that chance: she destroyed our marriage instead. Still, she deserves something this good--everyone does, and I feel bad about not expressing that I did, do, love her:
When I meet people, I know that it will be them who decide. I will try to find ways I can like them, and they will weigh me in a balance and, it seems, mostly find me wanting. I think it is a virtue to be want to find something in a person to like, even if it's not always possible. But it means I am always the one battered at the end of the night, a week later, when it breaks down.
It feels painful to be putting myself on the line, always saying "like me" to strangers. I don't mean I put on an act. I wouldn't even know how. I just quietly hope someone will.
This next is from JJ's new album. This is for K. It's hard to pick something for her because our tastes do not coincide. But here's the thing. They don't have to. I am lost in a world where people feel you have to have a shitload in common before you can like each other, but in fact, you can just like each other and the rest of it takes care of itself. So I hope she likes it, but if she doesn't, I'll like it twice as much for her:
Sometimes I wish I was somebody completely different, that I wasn't lame, ugly, stupid, whatever. Then I stop and realise, no, I just want to be loved for who I am and most of the lameness, ugliness and stupidity is just accretions, and if you know that, you will not need me to change.
Here's something from Four Tet's excellent new album. It's for anyone who wants it: