An absolutely gorgeous day greeted me, as I decided on yet another way to find that place, where I’m trying to find the way to get myself better.
I knew it had been from way before 5am though. Yet another sleepless night for apparently no reason. By then I’d given up trying to get rest as the first rays of sunlight seeped through the windows. Enjoy the moment and deal with the tiredness when it hits me.
Today’s route was by necessity the shortest. Not sure where and when my lad would be out for the weekend so had to go via the cashpoint there, and the shops back, to cover my bases. Strange but natural, I guess, to care for and protect your own flesh and blood, yet rarely give yourself the same levels of attention. That still has to change.
The route was unremarkable, as the world whooshed by in their cars and trucks and buses. Just as well it’s all shops along this grimy road. Living by it would send anyone into therapy.
There was plenty to get through with Lesley. She, understandably, was disappointed that my social anxiety reared its’ head again at that book launch the other night. It was a real opportunity to extend my comfort zone that I didn’t take. As ever, Lesley was right, but I still didn’t see it that way.
It’s something that’s been with me ever since I can remember. I never enjoy parties, at other public engagements I like to stay in the background, preferring to stay in the company of who I know. To any outsider it comes across as cold, aloof, rude.
To my mind, it’s just me, naturally quiet and understated. I do acknowledge I have to change but that stupid pride wouldn’t allow me to admit that to Lesley. Add some humility to the need list as well, then, too.
We progress onto the homework it had slipped her mind to do, to find some dating websites for me to join. My pic was going to be taken too. Just as well I’d already joined a couple and found a pic that was halfway presentable for them. Always nice to catch someone out, too, though I didn’t labour the point.
Something that caught me out, however, was an out of the blue experience that added to my shame. I mentioned to Lesley that among the people who tried to contact me was someone who was clearly a transsexual or, at the very least, a crossdresser.
My initial reaction to seeing that at the time was shock, then for some reason annoyance, and mild offence. At no point on my dating profile did I indicate any inclination for wanting to date transsexuals or crossdressers.
I was then appalled at myself for responding in such a prejudicial way. Lesley was also curious as to why I reacted like that too. After all, I’ve spent my life not exactly steeped in the LGBT community but pretty much railing at society and the bigotry displayed, whether it be homophobia, sexism or misogyny. I get very het up about it.
Yet there it was, my subconscious bigotry manifesting itself. Lesley pressed me. I thought back to my formative years. I was inspired by an openly gay artist, went to their concerts, bought all their albums. Even to the point where my undoubtedly homophobic father came storming over to me one evening, demanding to know my sexuality, clearly intent on something untoward depending on the answer.
Had it all stemmed from there? I do not know, though I guessed openly with Lesley that it has to be a contributory factor to some degree. I won’t use that excuse to hide that inner prejudice I exhibited, it was a pretty shameful response. I’m not going to be happy until I rid myself of it.
We meandered on, uncomfortably on my part, with long pauses between questions and looking towards the desk and wall than directly at Lesley. I have to face what’s making me feel this way, though, or I’ll never be free of my self destructive side.
Eventually, some sanctuary in the form of successes. The nods given for my latest voluntary work placements were greeted with genuine joy. Lesley was also encouraged that, in spite of that Wednesday evening saying or doing little, I still managed to fix myself up with writing and business groups.
The storm last Friday over Charlize Theron, which I inadvertently added to on both sides of the Atlantic, was also chatted about. I found it unbelievable that a remark I made, in a living room of an unremarkable house, in an unremarkable town, became a brief discussion point from Newcastle to New York. It tickled me too.
We also mused on what I’d bring to the writing group table. It’s said that there’s a novel in everyone. Lesley was impressed, almost engrossed, at the outline of mine. That spidergram of ideas (I’m pretending to be brainy here, but actually I’d never heard of a spidergram until Lesley drew one there and then) was soon filled with possibilities.
Yet again, we looked at our watches, to see that what I thought was 20 minutes of talking had actually been well over an hour. Out came our purses. Which then led to more inspiration.
I showed her mine, which proudly was in the colours of the LGBT rainbow, and she showed me what was her “travelling purse”. I was intrigued by the fact she had a main purse and a travelling one, which always had five pounds in it for emergencies. That had somehow disappeared today though.
I then mused on ‘The Travelling Purse’ in terms of a childrens book. A walking, thinking purse, with the power of karma. It would place itself onto public transport, or leave itself lying on a pavement, and what the person who found it did with The Travelling Purse defined what karma they would receive. If they handed it in to lost property, something wonderful would happen. If they kept it, there would be life-teaching consequences.
Sometimes – well, a lot of the time – I wonder how my mind works, and how screwed it must be to come up with ideas like that. Lesley loved it though. With a few good illustrations, it has the makings of a fun little childrens book. Perhaps I’ll work on that.
As we said our goodbyes, I found the perfect pic for today. One problem though. I asked Lesley “What tree’s that?” “An acer tree.” Her knowledge of all things green, or today deep red / purple, has kept me on the right road. Today my route home was via the acer tree.
It was tough, yet again, to face my fears, and an unwelcome prejudice today too. Face them I did, though, thanks to Lesley and that curious item. As we said our goodbyes, I could only say one thing.
“Give my love to the travelling purse.”