Its a week now that I have been working in London and I am surprised just how much the travelling has affected me. Leaving home just before 7am and not getting back until almost 12 hours later, does take a toll! It isn't solely the fact that I feel too tired most evenings to do anything, it is the knock on effect that then has on other aspects of my life - essentially having to cram most things into the two days of the weekend, which normally I would have done across the week. I am assured by those that have been doing the travelling for a while that it is something that you get used too although as I've only got a couple more weeks to go down in London, I probably won't.
Yesterday I was in Manchester. The original reason for my destination was the Collectormania convention at G-MEX. Friday night though I was so tired that I seriously considered not going at all but then that would be a waste of Â£25 spent buying the train tickets. I didn't go to Collectormania as it happens anyway, although I did have an enjoyable day in Manchester.
Thing is, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that this convention just wasn't for me. I don't really enjoy conventions, certainly not on such a large scale. I don't collect much and getting autographs no longer has the appeal it once did. More likely I would spend the day walking aimlessly around a great hall, no doubt having to make polite small talk with people that I neither care for nor am particularly interested in meeting. Besides, no one cared for my absence. Moreover, I thought about the reasons why I was going and they weren't because I wanted too. Often I will do things that I believe will please or be pleasing to someone else when they aren't really what I want to do or places I would want to go. Suchaltruismm is fair to an extent but it is neither rewarding nor satisfying for me. I feel, perhaps unfairly, that I often privilege other's needs above my own and then resent them for it. It is my weakness that I resent most.
Instead I had an enjoyable afternoon and evening in Manchester, visiting The Lowry and Imperial War Museum North in Salford and rounding off the day with some Xmas shopping. And I did enjoy it because I did things at my own pace, visited what I wanted to see and spent some quality time doing things that I enjoyed. Yeah, its selfish but I find 'me' time is very important. I enjoy my own space and company most of the time and sometimes I just need to get away from everyone and everything else.
The truth is sometimes I can't cope with it all. I don't mean to the point of suicide, not that serious but just that I can't deal with all the pressures and expectations around me, mostly of my own making. At the heart of this is the contradiction between the person I am and the person I perceive myself as/want to be. They're polar opposites and not likely to ever be one and the same. Most of the time I live with this contradiction with complete ambivalence. The last week and a bit though I've been going through one of my more bleak moods. I wouldn't describe it as depression because that is something altogether more serious but the way I feel at times has certainly been debilitating. I am conscious of when I am like that and I feel the need to be invisible, to completely withdraw and hide away.
What gets me most in these bleak periods is that little voice in my head that tells me I am a failure. Its awful, I don't know that I can describe it. I feel so sad and small, completely worthless. Its like being wounded repeatedly, each cut a little sharper and more painful than the last. I feel pathetic. The self-loathing is completely destructive and unproductive. It becomes a cycle that takes me down a little bit more each time and at moments when it has seemed really bad, there seems to be no way out. But there is, I know there is. There has to be and that is what keeps me going.
What started off this particular episode was what normally starts it all off. The certain realisation that I am getting older and am still single. That doesn't always bother me, now and again though it does. It takes over. I've never said any of this before because I am so afraid. I keep my fear to myself; my real fear. I don't want to live to 70 or 80 and still be alone, to have never fallen in love. I see all the people around me either in or embarking on relationships and I wonder why I can't form anything meaningful with somebody else. And I know why. Because I am afraid.
I can't say what I am afraid of exactly. I think I know. I don't want to admit it because if I say it then I won't be admitting it just to myself. If I could see beyond and see a different and happy me at the end of it, then that would be different. I don't see that though.
I feel better for saying what little I have. It has been going over and over in my mind for a few days. I find writing this a catharsis, a way to bring out some of the bad stuff inside.
I know I will be better. The dark mood of the last week is beginning to lift. It will come back again, I know that too. For now though I want to put that behind me and move on.