Just to confuse everyone, this is the revised draft that should have been published, but that disappeared into the depths of my laptop…it has taken me this long to find it again…apologies…I think 🙂
Good question….and I truthfully can’t give you an answer! I can tell you my name, what I like, what I don’t like, to a point…….. things I’ve done at various times in my life, usually in the form of a funny story….but I don’t really know who I am, why I am, what defines me, makes me….well…ME!
I have always been someone else’s someone. I was a daughter and a sister, and tried to be and do what was expected of me to fulfil those roles. Then I was a girlfriend now and then, eventually becoming a wife, and then a mother, and now a granny…again behaving as, and doing what, I thought was required and expected of me..or at least trying to. Obviously didn’t get the wife bit right as he tootled off to pastures new way back in 1990, and is still there! And I sometimes wonder about the mother bit too. I have 3 sons from the failed marriage, who are SO different from me it’s ridiculous…probably not a bad thing for them though lol
But I look around at other mums/families, both within my extended family and among friends, and I see a closeness I don’t think we have…a need to be in each others company, spend time with each other for no other reason than we want to be together. There is love, I’m not saying there isn’t, and I know in an emergency we would all be there like a shot….it has happened in the past, so I know it to be true….but we don’t see each other regularly unless there is a particular reason to. Not spontaneously is what I think I mean….you know, popping by just to say hello, how are you…or a call to say do you fancy coming with us to…. ‘wherever they’re going’ ! I help out with 2 grandchildren 4 mornings a week, covering the gap between Daddy going to work, and Mummy coming home from work, so I see my son then, but when I’m not ‘needed’ I don’t. I give another son a lift to work on those 4 mornings, because I’m about at the time he goes….but we rarely see each other for any other reason…now and then, but rarely. I used to see my other son when I took his son home from school once a week, and if he needed something taking to the tip, or a lift to an appointment…….but rarely otherwise. Sadly I don’t see him or his 3 children, my grandchildren, at all now….a silly situation became a massive issue somehow nearly a year ago, and it’s all gone Pete Tong as they say. I’ve tried to sort through it, but I have failed miserably….so now my family is not complete any more (or as complete as it could be), because there are 5 holes in it.
Basically I have produced 3 children, who have produced more children, but who have their own lives, friends etc in which I can’t find a slot to slip into. I’m immensely proud of all of them, and love them dearly, but sometimes feel that my job is done, and I am no longer ‘required’. No doubt they would argue that, but I can’t help how I feel.
I ‘know’ lots of people from varying points in my life, some for a long time, but I hardly see them. I have spent a lot of time with some of them, but in the course of a job, not socially. And I am awkward socially anyway….I don’t like my appearance…never have…confidence doesn’t exist really…not sure how to dress, never liking what I wear because my face is atop of it, and I’m not body confident either. If I’m told I look nice, I always smile and say thank you, but then question if they are just being polite (in my head, not to their face obviously!), because I can’t see it, nor do I feel it. Don’t drink, don’t like drunks, so always feel awkward and uncomfortable in pubs, and have not done parties either, nor nightclubs. Hate my gob and dental problems, so not keen on eating in public either.Not confident with my ‘knowledge’, so feel unable to join in with some conversations….usually just sitting and listening, wishing I was as knowledgeable as those I am listening to.Maybe I am, but I’m not confident enough in my opinions/thoughts to be able to put them forward, and even find myself agreeing with someone just to become part of the convo, even if it’s not what I really think! Or trying to put my ideas forward, sound intelligent, and just looking a fool, so going back to listening.
Sometimes I get things totally wrong, read a situation wrong, act accordingly and make a right tit of myself. Say what I think people want to hear and end up upsetting, angering or completely alienating them, when I was actually trying to impress them, bolster their ego, sympathise with them or elicit their friendship. Or react in a knee-jerk way to something and make a situation worse, or hurt someone totally unintentionally, then ball’s up the apology/attempt at reparation to the point where the hole is so deep I can do nothing but obligingly jump in it and stay there! Or try to do the right thing by someone, be a friend, support them through something…only to be seen as a fawning individual out for what I can get from a situation, or overly needy….. and summarily dumped/ignored/pushed away because of it. Basically I can’t get it right for going about it in the wrong way.
So who am I? I have the ‘title’ of mother and grandmother, there are people I know that I see occasionally…are they friends? One or two are I think…the others are people I happen to know, and talk to, or spend a bit of time with now and then. But there isn’t anyone I feel close enough to, to feel brave enough to be totally honest with. Lots of people have heard how I feel about bits and pieces, but there isn’t any one I can turn to in times of crisis….I dealt with the death of my parents alone (So basically I didn’t deal with it), the only people who saw even a smidge of what I was feeling when my youngest was really ill were his brothers, and even then I hid most of it so as not to worry them. I honestly can’t say when was the last time I cried…properly cried, sobbed, wailed…either alone, or with someone there to soothe me. I sometimes get ‘wet eyes’ at a memory, or a sad film, even a happy film, but I haven’t had a good wail since I don’t know when…not even when I lost my parents just 3 months apart, 19 years ago. The only cuddles I get are from children…either my grandchildren, or the children I used to work with in a school, or sometimes a friends grandchildren. My boys are not physically demonstrative with me…they were when they were young, we loved a good snuggly hug on the sofa now and then, reading a story or watching a film….but not since they hit their teens…… and they are all in their 30’s now.
The me that resides at my address is a woman that can go days without physically talking to anyone…and I mean ANYONE……who sits on the sofa tapping away at a computer…writing this, playing a game, looking at my photo back-up, exchanging banter or pleasantries on FB (can be witty in front of a screen at times)……the telly on in the background…a cat by my side. Or I might be tootling around in the garden…or wandering round the shops somewhere, usually alone, coming back empty-handed because I didn’t really want anything, just to get away from these 4 walls. I might drive down to the coast and sit on a beach, watching the sea, and the people around me…a part of it, but not, although at my most content and peaceful. But even then, I worry that someone might be looking at me…all alone…sizing me up, judging me…so I move on. I always feel conspicuous I think…I’m probably not, but it’s how I feel…presumably because I am not at ease with myself, how I look, sound, present myself…I don’t know….wish I did, ‘cos then I might be able to work on putting things right within myself.
I can’t remember the last time I laughed until the tears streamed down my face and my stomach and face hurt…a real proper belly laugh, giggling fit, whatever you want to call it. Of course I laugh, usually at something the grandchildren say or do, or maybe something I read, a funny film, someones post on FB…but then those laughs are alone (except for the grandchildren obviously), not with a friend, holding onto each other while laughing uncontrollably, telling each other to “stop, for god’s sake!”, unable to look each other in the eye because you’ll go again…..the breathing probably wouldn’t allow it anyway, but the opportunity to test that would be good now and then.
Sometimes I don’t get dressed because there’s no reason to, no-ones coming, there’s nowhere to go, so why bother? Housework happens as and when I get fed up looking at it, I eat more convenience ‘microwave’ meals than I do fresh cooked stuff. I do have times when I ‘batch cook’…make a load of bolognese, chilli, casserole etc., then freeze it in portions to bung in the microwave. Sometimes I just have toast…what’s the point? There’s only me.
I always had a houseful when the boys were young, and loved to ‘look after’ them, dishing out drinks and snacks, suggesting and joining in with games, acting the fool, giving out hugs and kisses when required, having a laugh, just enjoying the company.
I used to read avidly, disappearing into a book, living it in my head as I read……..but in the past few years even that has gone. I have tried and failed, even my beloved Little Women cannot grasp me to the point of being oblivious to my surroundings anymore. I used to love my music too….happily hoovering or whatever to Queen/Linkin Park/Depeche Mode/ Tears for Fears at full volume, singing my heart out. I sold my stereo last year at a bootsale because I hadn’t used it since I moved to this flat…partly I think, because I couldn’t whack the sound up because of the neighbour upstairs…well, I could have, but wasn’t confident/thoughtless/carefree enough to do so. I have cd’s in the car, and warble a bit then, but only if I’m on my own, and only if I’m driving further than from here to my sons in the morning…otherwise it’s just background noise. Plus it’s harder to sing these days because of the breathing……..!
So there you have it! Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t feel sorry for myself, I’m not trying to elicit a response of sympathy or do-gooding….I don’t mind my own company as it happens…but I do have this weird sense sometimes of wondering why I am here, almost looking at myself from a distance somehow, thinking is that really what I am, how I appear to others, or is it just my own warped, dissatisfied sense of who and what I am? Am I actually totally different to how I think I am? Do people really actually like me, my company? Do I really look as awful as I think I do? Or am I really and truly the slightly overweight, pug-ugly, nosy, simpering, lazy, needy, sarcastic bitch that I feel inside that I am?
Will I ever figure it out? Probably not! So I will just continue to stumble my way along the best I can, trying to be kind, polite, caring and helpful to all I meet along the way….sometimes it will work, more often it won’t…but I have got to that point in my life where I don’t really care any more. I am alone but not always lonely, I love whether it is returned or not, I will enjoy the company of people who seem to like me when they want me too, but won’t worry when they don’t, and in between all that I shall pootle about in the flat or the garden, go to the beach, and take photos of things that please my eye, even if they don’t please the eyes of others…all on my little lonesome……and maybe I will find me along the way…here’s hoping huh?