Friday, November 20, 2009

Body memory

Sorry, haven't been very blogg
Oops, remembered that I swore not to apologise anymore when life gets in the way of blogging.

I've been on autopilot lately; operating 'normally' face to face with people, but feeling really flat and numb inside, the sort of caught-in-a-bubble mood that can be completely indulged by driving the car hard down the highway playing Vienna at ear-blistering volume while tears run down your face.

This is an odd time of year for me: the art school winds up, so I have a less obviously pressing schedule (even though there is LOTS to do), the weather hots up so that my body slows down, but the rest of the world seems to be in a high whizz towards Christmas. I am energised by busy-ness, like a self-winding spring, so unless there are pressing deadlines (I tend to type 'deadlies', which feels right) or people depending upon my efforts, I go into slow mode, and that leaves me time to think or mope, whatever my inclination. This year it's mope, big time.

There are so many names for what I'm going through. Churchill called it the Black Dog, Nick Cave wrote about The Moose in the stairwell. I've been on an internal emotional rollercoaster, which is hard for BB, who is a very smart man but not very intuitive and finds emotional outbursts befuddling. 'What can I do?' is a sensible question when you've been highly trained in management skills and how to motivate a team, but it's infuriatingly useless in the face of someone who wants you to just do something, anything, as long as it's not planned or discussed beforehand. And preferably accompanied by laughter, but he's not inclined to jolly me out of misery: he joins in, which never helps matters.

He sent me a text yesterday, from Melbourne airport, where he'd spent the day:

It's our anniversary soon! What shall we do?

And while I'd like to say everything fell into place, I certainly had a beam of clarity pierce the grey matter.

This is the time of year when bad things happen to my body. Just typing that made my eyes water.

I started writing a list of what happened each year, but if you've been reading the blog you'll know it all. Ever since we've been married, starting from the actual wedding, I've had surgical intervention on my woman parts, mostly for failed pregnancies, but culminating a year ago in the removal of them. All around this time of year.

I'm sure I did the right thing by myself to remove the offending organs (well, they offended me), but I still feel bad about BB's chance to have babies of his own. I console myself with the thought that I have laid a lot of suggestions on the table as to alternatives, with the proviso that if he wants to pursue them he has my full support, but the paperwork/organisation is all his (I think I've done my fair share so far). He's done nothing to date, so the regret can be fully shared in future years.

I think, though, that the combination of time of year and weather and everything is triggering off a large amount of body memory: pain, fear, dissatisfaction, anger, an annual time to take stock and make big decisions about forks in the road. I can't work out if I'm indulging myself or if it's involuntary. I'm unsure if this will pass or build, or be annual or whether I can nip it in the bud. I think having the same routine this year as most of the other years isn't helping (like going to Woodford)... I think I/we need new experiences to avoid this sensation of falling into a pit at the end of the year.

It's not just my flawed body and its memories that has been bringing me down... last weekend Poor Bumblebee had his tender young heart broken by someone we thought was a really good friend. It's a boy in his class who seemed more sensible and sincere than most; he was part of a group of kids who fall in and out of favour with each other constantly, but this boy always seemed to stay out of the pushings and pullings. We had encouraged B to spend time with him after school and on weekends, invited him over a lot, were cheered by B finally finding a friend who seemed to appreciate him for himself (for all his loveliness, he finds it hard to hang out with groups of kids, they always seem to find his weak spots -- he is very easy to tease, he's very thin-skinned). B had so much confidence hanging out with someone who actively listened to him on the same level.

But there was a boy in their 'group' who was very jealous about the afterschool activities, and unbeknown to us was working upon the situation. It's a long story, but ultimately this friend succumbed to the group's mood and hung the phone up on Bumblebee quite brutally, saying he wasn't 'really' his friend anymore. We watched B's face crumple and his confidence shatter on the spot. It was distressing, and made worse by this lad & the rest of the group of lads continuing to ostracise B through the week (not quite silently: pointing and giggling from across the classroom) for nothing that we can actually pinpoint other than it's making the jealous boy happy.

It's sad, and as a family we're all saddened. We feel quite helpless as to what to do. The lad's mother rang back straight after the hang-up and apologised, but didn't sound like she wanted to intervene, thinking it would work itself out. It hasn't, and it isn't a trivial matter. B, who had been feeling secure in that one crucial person's support, feels utterly undermined. He's wary again, and cautious, and we're suffering with him. We all, as a family, feel rejected. We're pretty bad with social upkeep generally, and situations like this show us how thin-skinned the three of us actually are. I went through a lot of them as a young adult, and I'd hoped my child would escape them... but no. So I'm also reliving bad memories of this kind too.

I am pinning my hopes upon high school for Bumblebee. I know it's a whole new big potentially cruel arena, but it will have a breadth that small classroom microcosms don't have. He'll go from a year of 50 students to a mosh of at least 250, and all jumbled up into different classes and groups. The old pecking order will be disrupted, and there will be new opportunities for friendships. And these kids will hopefully learn that you can be friends with each other in different ways and for different reasons.

I can hear thunder outside, which is heartening, but bad for my computer. I think it's time to get out & about, try to jolly up somehow. Harden the f%&* up, as they say.


Mindy said...

(hugs). I hope a good thunderstorm helps clear everything up for you.

Tell Bumblebee that there are people on the internet who sincerely think that he out "David Tennants" even David Tennant. When he grows up, I can see him as the ??no. Doctor. That would be so cool.

With school holidays coming up, and away from the pressure of peer groups at school Bumblebee's friend might find that he has long hours to amuse himself in and remember the good times they spent together. I hope so.

genevieve said...

Thank you for saying what I think a lot of people might be feeling - I have had a cruddy three months really, and starting to hit a wall this week, and yes, find something different! DO THAT. Even obeying your body if it wants to slow down a little might give you some breathing space :-)
Went to the supermarket just now in a grump, and realised everyone was grumpy with the heat down here, so it was not a good day to be unhappy really...but it is cathartic to read this, now I don't feel quite so crazy, so thank you.

Good luck with the young man's troubles - I think you are on the right track considering the bigger pond of high school, there is usually more variety. Primary school can be a little place, with little-minded people, sometimes.

librarygirl said...

God I am in tears here over your son. I also have a very sensitive 12 year old who struggles a bit with the peer group dynamics of Grade 6, and I'm longing for/dreading how he will adapt to High School next year.

I detest this time of year. Hope you have someone lovely to make you a cup of tea and pat your hand and understand your sadness.

Ampersand Duck said...

Thanks for listening, too, and making me feel not quite so melodramatic.

Mindy, I hope this boy comes to understand just how spineless and hurtful his behaviour was. The sad thing is that even if they make up, I don't think B will ever be wholly comfortable with the friendship again. It's one of those wounds he'll carry around with him until someone (and it can't be us, we're just his parents) can heal it.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Harden the f*** up, nothing. Why should you? One should harden the f*** up only if one wishes to be hard.

Hands up whoever wishes to be hard.

Which reminds me that in any case I've always thought of this expression as something boys use to refer to their genitalia as metaphors for power, like 'grow a sack' and so on. A lady simply holds her silken skirts clear of that particular muddy puddle and looks the other way.

Anonymous said...

Yes ducky: don't harden the fuck up. Who says that? Idiots.It is the time of year, I think. Bumblebee is a lovely boy: he'll be fine. The last year of primary is weird: so grown up and yet still such babies.
Mind you, Ultravox would depress even the sunniest soul. I'd suggest 'Driving away from home' by It's Immaterial


curious said...

Just reading this, I could see the glorious photo of your son's phoenix. We ache for their hurts, I hope a wider circle at high school rewards his individuality and quirkiness. The other photo of Mr Padge's armpit, makes me think that a nice cup of tea on this stinking hot day, and a cuddle with him (he'll protest as it's so hot) might help things along. PS, I am with pete on Vienna - I saw Midge Ure play in a Status Quo cover band when I was a teenager so have never been able to take that existential angst very seriously.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

oooh I right with Pav here. seriously, if anyone ever dared to tell me to harden the funk up, they'd be torn a second and probably third rectal orifice. I know supposedly hard people and really, all I want to do is punch them to test their hardness.

don't go there girlfriend! ;-)

as for dear B, that's heartbreaking. I was bullied for most of infants and primary, and had some extremely fickle friends as a sort of second rank of bullying. there really is nothing worse than trusting someone and having that trust thrown back at you.

in high school (holy cr@p! 250 in first form, really????) there's clubs and stuff so he can at least find people with similar interests to start with. clean slate, hopefully. scary and happy at the same time.

also, what Mindy says. just wait, young B, your time will come! :-)

the yellow house in the U said...

Arghhhhhh!This is contagious. I had written on twitter just before reading your post :

Do you know what? I don't want to wish my life away but this year can just frick off now. Bye bye.

Life is nuts. Thank god for blogs :)
Hope sharing makes you feel better.

naomi said...

Kate Miller Heidke was on ABC702 yesterday, singing Caught in the Crowd. It might help to have that on rotation in the house for a bit?

Very hard to take the long view and be pragmatic about that person not being a good person to have in your life when you are just 12. Tell BB from Aunty N that his cousin worships the ground he walks on. I mean, I know he's family and all, and littler, but it's true.

I am sorry you are feeling sad and fraught. It's only natural, but again, hard to take the long view when you are in there. Ditto the wise souls who have ruled out hardening the funk up. Why would you want to do that? Particularly when you are so intelligent and beautiful when you write about this? Your honesty is a gift, particularly when coupled with such eloquence.

Am trying to think of something genuinely funny to make you laugh, but it's only 7.30. Guess LOLcats doesn't quite cut it? So you'll just have to accept a huge hug. Love you.

naomi said...

I used particularly in two sentences there. My bad. Empathy is no excuse for poor expression.

The Duckpond said...

Oh how I feel for young Bumblebee.

The other boy's mother perhaps has no idea how shattering her son's dismissal of a 'friendship' can be to a young person. And of course, here is the chance for that mother to point out the joy and reward in 'being' a strong friend, which can often work both ways - and last a lifetime.

Helen said...

Yep. Those 12 year olds/grade 6 kids. It's a funny year isn't it?

The period from October to November always gets a bit fraught, if you're a parent. There is so much going on with school, with extracurricular activities, etc - with us there's a bunch of birthdays as well - and I always feel as if I"m on a terrible rollercoaster of doom which I will fall off if I'm not careful (and will certainly end up broke at the end of the ride.) Hang in there Duckie!

I second the recommendation of "Caught in the Crowd" for BB. Also Dan Sultan's "Your Love is Like a Song" for highway teary driving. Uplifting.

Ampersand Duck said...

Wow, all the hugs are great. I love blogging -- so much warmth out there. Right back at you, for those suffering as well.

Pete, Naomi & Helen: Thank you, I always love suggestions for new music. I will explain Ultravox in a mo, but always happy for new earworms.

Paper Chipmunk said...

Jeez! Just thinking about what you've been through will make my own steering wheel be drenched next time I go out! My heart goes out to you. My own female parts were removed a few years ago. Not an easy thing to cope with.

And I thought pre- and pubescent girls were the nasty ostracizing ones? Poor BB.

I wish I could send some of our lovely cold Northwestern California rain down your way to cheer you up.

Btw, my cat who looks stunningly like Padge is hitting me furiously and screaming at me as I type. He says it's time to eat.

Penthe said...

Nothing useful to say to you or Bumblebee I'm sorry. I don't think either of you need to harden up. The horrors of school. Adult life is never so raw and frightening, however hard.

fifi said...

I have a twelve year old who lived through trauma this time last year. He seems to find it hard finding appropriate friends. I know exactly what you mean by feeling rejected as a family: I always thought I was overreacting.

anyway, I'm just sending you good wishes, and thank you for this I feel somehow heartened in that we are not the only ones who feel like social rejects...

Helen said...

And I thought pre- and pubescent girls were the nasty ostracizing ones?

Well, blow me down. Who ever would have thought gender essentialism as promulgated by tabloid op-edders could be .. inaccurate?

Hope Bumblebee's coming through this OK.

Anonymous said...

Your life at the moment mirrors mine. I had my ovaries, my complete female kit and caboodle, removed in late October last year also. A common enough op, but a devastating one, especially if you haven’t had children like me (a 1970’s IUD undoubtedly the cause). Like you, I’ve been somewhat down lately, but I’m doing my best to see the light. I don’t think about hardening myself, I keep on muttering “resilience girl, resilience”. It works, even in this heat.

I felt for your poor lad and his encounter with that dreadful bully boy (a psychopath CEO in the making?). It’s so hard when we are children, no easier when we are adults. 2008 was a hell of a year for me – three stays in hospital (two beginning in emergency), the knowledge that I was going to be retrenched caused me much angst as I was too ill to hunt for a job, a venomous boss who lost most of her department to another manager, and her relentless bullying - I was no longer of any use. She even bullied me while I was convalescing at home by calling to tell me off for not being in touch (she failed to visit me) and that there would be "a meeting" on my return. I could see her evil smirk when she refused to give more details, just glad I couldn't smell her bad breath! Evil, plain evil. Maybe it’s because I’m not a Christian, and she (says) she is. That's god with a capital g type.

And what do I do? Sometimes I imagine her in a very dark, very lonely part of the bush. She steps out of her car, falls into a very deep hole, breaks her ankle, blood everywhere, mobile phone won’t work. Then she realises the hole is full of very hungry rats. Images can help. In reality, I would rescue her. Mug that I am, but I like my mug. Best wishes to you and your boy.

Paper Chipmunk said...

Sorry--I didn't mean to be offensive with the comment about girls. You're right, Helen. I was just thinking back to my own experiences, and that came out wrong. This isn't the forum for debating gender stereotypes. I'm sure we all just wish the best for AD and BB, and I do send you both my best wishes through what sounds like a dreadful time.