Inside Out

First, I’m still here. Kind of obvious given the very existence of this post but it’s still worth pointing out, given the nature of my last one. Like I said, writing really helps me at times (though at others it’s a pain in the arse) and vomiting out my thoughts and feelings (yuk) onto the screen was a positive thing.

There are other reasons why I think I might just be able, possibly, to see light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not that something miraculous has happened. I still have no job, although I do have four job applications in and am about to submit a fifth. My money has now run out and I’m considering ways I might be able to earn some cash: niche male stripping, organ donation etc. I’m still sore as hell from the end of my relationship and above all, I’m still grieving my mum.

So why would I classify my mood as now merely grumbly, as opposed to utterly-miserable? The answer is people.

A week ago, I had a long chat on the phone with someone I was at school with. In fact, I can remember the first time I met her and have to confess that I fancied her for years, even when she went out with one of my friends. She was also the first girl I kissed. Crikey. We’re both 50 now and have both been through life’s mill, with at least two divorces between us.

It was a chance to catch up and just share our tales of woe. I stretched out on the sofa and nattered away. I also listened. Maybe it takes 35 years of knowing someone to reach the point we’re at; even though we hadn’t spoken in months, we could offer each other advice (although the advice was mostly coming my way tbh). The overwhelming message was “don’t panic”. Things will work out. I can’t even remember exactly what was said but I do know I came off the phone a different person. It was an emotional reboot.

Like I said, nothing has physically changed. Well, one thing has: I can see the light at the tunnel’s end again. But it’s not that it had ever actually gone out, it was just obscured by a spiral of grief, stress, heartbreak. You feel really down and that makes the light hard to see, which makes you feel bad, which fogs the light up further. Just called me Freud.

This morning, I had a message request on Facebook. You know, where someone wants to chat to you but isn’t already a FB friend? It was from someone who had been tidying her son’s bedroom and had found a signed copy of one of my books, which she then read and enjoyed. This led to her finding my blog and reading the last post. She messaged to say some nice things and now the light feels a tiny bit brighter still.

Lordy, that makes me sound shallow. Like all it takes is for someone to tickle my pink underbelly and all is right with the world. All is not right with the world, but I no longer feel disconnected from it and therefore panicky. And my underbelly is untickled.

Perhaps it’s to do with the difference between how I see myself, compared to how other so. Someone once said, “We compare our insides with others’ outsides”, meaning we compare how we feel with how others look. “I feel like a failure but look at him with his shiny teeth and luxuriant hair”.

It’s been good to get a glimpse of how other see me. My old school mate (no longer an object of my teenage desires btw) sees me in a good light and can predict that things will turn around. The nice woman who dropped me a line on FB sees a version of me through my writing and wants me to hang on in there. Sometimes the inside me is wrong and I need to see the outside me, the one that others do. Maybe we all do.