Sunday, April 30, 2006

The beginning- Girl aged 30

30, it sounded such a good age, if ages can sound good, well you know what I mean, just the way it rolls around your mouth and flicks off your tongue sounds nice and cheery – ok I’ll stop now, I can see it’s only me that thinks this! Anyway the point is that 30 has not been a good age. Ironic really as I wasn’t even that concerned about reaching it. So many of my friends go through mini crises at the though of reaching this milestone, lamenting they haven’t done anything. Me, well I had to be different so I’m going through a crisis of the major, life sapping variety here, right now at the ripe of old age of 30yrs and 10 months (Well I’ve been going through it since 30yrs and 6months- but at that point it was all I could do to get out of bed and go to work, writing a wry account of it all would have been too much – for me writing it and you reading it. Hysterical ramblings are not conducive to a good read). Not that I can promise this won’t have its hysterical moments, I’ve just become more adept at smiling through the misery and hysteria. My stiff upper lip is so damn stiff I think it’s got rigor mortis

So anyway annus horriblis wishing to sound regal for a moment, well actually I don’t want to sound regal at all. Can you think of anything worse that being a member of the royal family and still having to go to all those functions knowing your life was a total mess and even worse that everyone was laughing at your misfortune, nodding sagely at each other saying “Ah, you see, money doesn’t buy happiness”. Anyway as another aside my crisis doesn’t yet qualify as an annus horriblis, it’s a 4monthus horriblis (clearly my lack of knowledge of Latin shows – I did German and French, but the teachers were more keen that we learn key phrases like “I live in the south west of England” “I’m having a crappy year” never cropped up – funny that!)

Just for the record, google translate has found the answer, clearly needs a bit of tweaking but it will do for starters.

J'ai une année de crap

Ich habe ein crapjahr

So having established that I’m 30 and I’m going through a life crisis (am sure the Americans must have some snappy turn of phrase for this). I’d better tell you a bit about the crisis in question.

Today is the day when the well practiced smile has slipped and maybe I’m beginning to be realistic. Which has lead me to wonder just how healthy all this stiff upper lip/putting a brave face on it attitude is. More importantly, why do we do it?

There is the thought that your private life is just that, private and yes to a certain extent that’s true. When you pop to the supermarket the last thing you want to hear in the 10 items or less isle is how the checkout person’s life is in turmoil. But that’s an extreme, the reality is that we present this same façade even with our friends and family. There is the notion perhaps that it’s a sign of fallibility. I used to think that made us human, but perhaps not – maybe nowadays to be human is to be an automaton.

For some reason, hearing about the emotions of others doesn’t rest easily on our ears. So why is it then that we insist on continuing to use the greeting “How are you?” The reality is that in most cases we’re not particularly interested. Which I guess is why, when asked the question we are in may cases economical with the truth, more often than not resulting in the stock phrase, “I’m fine thanks”, whilst smiling inanely. Even if your mother/lover/cat has just died this is how you are expected and indeed programmed to respond. Tell them the truth and chaos breaks loose, the boundaries of social niceties have been pushed to their limits. Afterall they are only words, no one is really interested how you are and even less interested if you’re not ok. Immediately you can see the awkwardness in their face as they try frantically to think of an excuse to escape, the awkward picking at their clothes, the sudden interest at their feet, anything, yes anything it seems other than acknowledge the emotion of others.

So anyway, back to me and my emotions (Am not really a me me me person, far from it, it's just that it's relevant to this bit!) I have now decided that the stiff upper lip approach is useless, particularly when it comes to relationship problems and damaging for a couple of reasons which I am about to share with you.

Firstly there is the floodgate effect, the truth is that if you’re not talking about these things then there is a threshold limit after which time you explode. All the tension/tears/upset have to go somewhere, they don’t just dissipate …..end result they come out in a rush, more often than not in a situation/location where you least expect it. EXCELLENT! Just what you need. It’s ok being thought of as a bit emotional, but do this and the likelihood is you’ll then be labelled as unstable/psychotic/ or just plain crazy.

There’s also the added problem that your bravery will be misconstrued as being callous/hard nosed or strong. The latter not too bad, the former a no-no, particularly if behind closed doors you`re going through boxes of Kleenex like there’s no tomorrow (which makes mattes worse as you know there is a tomorrow and that you have to face it!)

Bearing all this in mind I have come up with a decision, no more happy smiley faces if I don’t feel happy or smiley. (May have to moderate this rule at work slightly as get paid to look happy/smiley) So provided money has not passed hands I can look as damn miserable as I feel. All this may mean some explanation is needed to friends and family….and there in lies the difficult bit.

If you remember right at the beginning I mentioned my 4 months of horriblis, well for the past 4 months, having adopted the SUL ( stiff upper lip) approach very few of my friends/family have been aware of all the turmoil. It’s been a bit like leading a double life. (Must consider career as actress if all else fails, as have perfected the art of talking about G to people who ask without a demonic look/tears in my eyes). Either acting or poker.
(G incidently is my husband, central to this story, though how central to the rest of my life remains to be seen)

What made today the day the SUL became flaccid….well my relationship with G has been rocky to say the least for sometime now. The sad thing is I can’t even remember what started it and turned it into a feud to rival the cold war. All I know is it wasn’t anything earth shattering – G wasn’t having an affair with his secretary/best friend etc. I hadn’t become a lesbian overnight ( or infact hadn’t become a lesbian fullstop). The problem is that looking back now we both have lost sight of this mythical catalyst and have attributed our own reasons for this crisis. Typically these lists bear no resemblance to each other and as with most arguments everything else is dredged up too – from who did what in 2003 to who is likely to do what in 2010.

Being a romantic, soft hearted soul (I may have to review these traits) It always brings a tear to my eye (ok makes me bawl) and think how tragic it is when you hear about people who die on their birthday, out of all the 365 days and fate intervenes with that cruel twist. The empathy is now becoming a reality – not a death as such, well not the death of a person, but of my marriage – and the realisation that it is irreparable comes….. you’ve guessed it, on our wedding anniversary, but not just that, even worse than that, on our first wedding anniversary.

How do you beat that, overcome that, get over that? Well at the moment I have no idea, so that is one reason I'm writing my blog. A purely self-centred cathartic exercise, which hopefully will throw up a few amusing lines along the way. If not, bear with me and indulge me.