Everything, except celery

I eat everything, except celery.

Category: Mental health

Where is the use?

What use is a kissing gate with no one to kiss
What use is a memorial with no one to miss
What use is a hill when you climb it alone
What use is it all when you’re all on your own
What use is a view with no one to share
What use is adventure when you are not there
What use is persistence when it falls on deaf ears
What use is the waiting when it goes on for years
What use is patience when it goes unnoticed
What use is affection when it’s not from those closest
What use is a life with no one to care
What use is a family when it is not there
What use is a voice when it is not heard
What use is ambition when it is not shared
Where is the use and what does it matter; why do I falter? 

What if…

I suppose being bombarded with advertising about Fathers’ Day is enough to make anyone think about their Father. But I hate myself for it. Years on and I still sometimes struggle to reconcile with the fact that my Father is no longer the Dad that I grew up with. I remember that Dad with love and affection, and then the lump grows in my throat with the knowledge that the person I remember isn’t there any more.

Years ago, before the anxieties of my teens had taken root, I remember a boat trip with my Mum and Dad. It was the 6th of January, in Tenerife. We’d taken a tourist trip to see the dolphins on an overcast and choppy day. The sky was blue grey, the wind was up and the spray was refreshing. Families, to the eye, not so unlike ours were sat in the covered cabin enjoying drinks and chatting away with little expectation of seeing a dolphin at all. 

It was the same trip they’d run in Summer, and the guide’s script was the same. The boat stopped and they asked if anyone wanted to get in, for the chance to ‘swim with the dolphins’. ‘Go on,’ my Dad urged, ‘you’ll regret it if you don’t.’ The bait was set. What if someone else got in, and actually got to swim with a dolphin; what if I was the only one who didn’t get in and I missed out on the experience; what if I spent the rest of the week wondering what it would have been like and wishing I’d taken the chance. 

I left my over clothes in the booth and made my way to the stern to climb down into the water. Half way down the ladder I still wondered if I’d made the right choice. It would be cold, I’d been eating snacks, what if my body went into shock and I froze in the water. I was nearing the splash of the water and the guide said to jump in. The water splashed my toes and sent an exhilarating chill of electricity through me. I let go and splashed back into the water.

The prickle of cold, salty water turned from shock to excitement. I was swimming in the Atlantic, in January. I was swimming in the sea in Winter. I cleared the boat and into the open water. A young couple made their way in next, the girl giggling as she shuddered in the icy water. Lastly, a teenager plopped in and waved to her Dad looking on. I looked for my parents but they’d stayed at our table. Although divorced, they enjoyed eachother’s company and these family holidays were their way to ignore the separate lives they’d chosen and just enjoy the time together.

Despite the other three swimming around me, I felt like the only one in the sea. I was going to be the only one at school who’d swum in the sea in their Christmas break. It bore no consequence that there were no dolphins. This was feat enough in itself. I had achieved. My Dad was right, I would’ve regretted not having this story to tell. But the cold was setting in and I made my way back to the ladder. Climbing back up and wrapping myself in a towel, the guide said I’d won a prize for my bravery, but they’d have to check with my parents if I was allowed.

Padding back to the table, the wooden floor felt warm and soft under my feet. I flung my dress on over my swimming costume and I squeaked along the leather seat of the booth to sit next to my Dad. The guide soon appeared with a cheap bottle of Cava and three glasses. ‘Well done,’ my parents cheered as the bottle popped, ‘but just a little bit of fizz for you’. I still don’t know if they were applauding my winter dip, or the free booze I’d scored for them. I began to shiver as the thrill wore off, the acidic tang of the cava warmed my centre but goose pimples formed on my arms. Dad put his burgundy fleece over me and the day continued.

I wonder what I would do if I was asked to visit my Dad in hospital again. The last time he asked to see me he was in Intensive Care. I went for him, not for me. He’d had a tracheostomy so there was no way of knowing why he’d asked to see me. Four years previous, he’d sent a text saying he’d see me when he was ready. Four years  on, I jumped as soon as he called. I went for him and all I came out with was the flashback to the room in which my mum died five years earlier. It is a small hospital; it was the same room. 

I had to go, because, ‘what if’ I didn’t. I’ve gotten much better at controlling my ‘what if’s’. Were he to ask to see me again, I would go, but it wouldn’t be for him it would be for my peace of mind. I’m okay, I don’t need  to show him the successes I’ve found. They are mine. But I’d go to still the ‘what if’ in my mind of not trying; what if a bit of my Dad is still there somewhere.

The biggest ‘what if’ will always remain; what if he didn’t marry a woman who hates me.

Neglected

I’m afraid I cannot explain myself, Sir. Because I am not myself, you see?
Lewis Carroll

I’ve neglected this space. It’s a space I made to give myself a voice and to help me understand what I needed, but I neglected it. I’ve neglected myself. I think in having lost a bit of my voice I’d begun to lose the need to use it. If you don’t speak, then noone will listen, so why am I surprised that I’m not heard.

I go through periods of amazing self awareness and understanding my feelings, but I can just the same wake up one day and wonder who I am. Sometimes I am not myself, but another version of myself. It is a surreal feeling, sometimes poetic, sometimes terrifying. 

For a while I thought I’d keep a note of all the things I wanted to say, and then write a post for each, accurately chronicling the past to enable me to move forward. Fat chance. I kept the notes, but the times have gone, I’m not the same person who had those experiences so how could I recapture the person I was when I first experienced them.

I may yet recount some of the marathon running and crazy distance walking, but in the mean-time I’m back in real time.

And I might even have the guts to type up some poems.

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