Listening to Regina Spektor’s beautiful Eet, it reminds me of when she was playing live in Leeds, in between tears: her viola player and friend had died, drowned in Lake Geneva, just a little while ago during that same tour, leaving a baby daughter and a wife and his friends. That concert was incredible, touching, beautiful, amazing.
I was hoping some people I considered friends already would join me, but not only did they not come wit me, they didn’t even reply they wouldn’t to my invitation. That’s England for you, I knew, and after a few years I have learnt to look for the signs of true friendship and warmth in other expressions and actions, perhaps even deeper than my own. But at the time, I was very sore. In turn, I was reminded of another concert I went to see in dreadful circumstances: tickets bought with my boyfriend at the time, but we subsequently broke up and I was devastated to say the least. But it was Radiohead, we couldn’t not go. We met there, each of us making their separate way there, then meeting up. Of course I hoped against all logic I could win him back. But then, as with Regina, I was able to be so transfixed by the artist performing that the people who were (or, later, weren’t) there with me didn’t matter. Funnily enough, the two albums I am listening to now because Amazon said I could stream them for free having purchased them in the past, are Regina Spektor’s Far and Radiohead’s in Rainbows.
I’ve always been extremely fast, and extremely intense. A lifetime of staying in places for no more than a couple of years meant, in retrospect, that were I not fast and intense, I would spend my life without relating to people, and I need relating like the air I breathe. As much as I thought I needed absolute freedom, my anarchy, my independence of thought and action.
Both the intensity and the independence have scared, angered and hurt countless people, and yet in the process of all this my relationships have been very intense and fulfilling, albeit short-lived for the most part. Some exceptional people live on relating to me, even in the distance of time and space.
In all this, people wondered how I could want children, long ago, and how I could marry, more recently. I often wondered myself, but my life has never really been about thinking things through before acting, I just didn’t have the luxury of time. I always just did what I felt was right in that moment. The fact that a moment later I might feel a completely different and opposite urge was irrelevant.
My boys, and then my little girl, however, once they came into this world, never for one moment did I doubt they were the right thing to do. Not even in the hardest, weirdest, craziest, most painful circumstances did I ever doubt they were right to be in the world and I was privileged to have them with me.
But a husband? I no longer have many qualms in admitting he is my schizophrenia. I look at him and feel blessed and lucky and happy and sexy and loved and loving. Two minutes of conversation afterwards I look at him and he makes me want to rip out my hair in rage, and he is the epitome of my lack of communication with the world, and he is my golden cage and I want to run away screaming in rage. Two days (lately, a day, sometimes even an hour or so) later, he is my life, my love, my happiness, and I would be completely lost without him.
I have never met anybody that wasn’t certifiable who would change their perception of the reality around them as often as me. I therefore know myself to be as crazy as I ever feared I would be. At the same time, it is such a constant in my life, and has been for so long, I realise that that is my way of being, and it is normal to me. I also finally understand how not normal and how difficult to deal with it must be for those around me.
I met a man in Midsummer Common the other day, cycling to work in the morning, He was on the side of the path, lying, sleeping, I realised quickly enough when I stopped to look at him. Nobody had stopped yet, so I did, and put my hand on his shoulder and asked him whether he was ok. He said “I’ve given up.” “On what” “On life” he said. I wasn’t fazed. I just knew how he felt. And I told him so, with a smile, “Ah that’s ok, we all feel like that sometimes. Thing is, you’ll feel better, if you sleep it off, but do get out of the sun as it’s going to get very hot here soon” I said, “look there’s a lovely tree over there, go sleep it off under there.” He managed to open his eyes, look around, whispered thank you a few times, got up… “Are you sure you don’t want me to call anybody?” “I’ve got nobody to call” he gestures, hands opening on his side, signifying emptiness. He walked towards the tree, and I thought that was just too much. I found a pen, found some paper, wrote him my number and name. I gave it to him and said “Next time you feel like that, call me”. He thanked me and went to sleep, and I left.
I know that if he ever calls (his name was Vyan, or something), I’ll ask him to come over for a coffee, or I’ll go meet him for one. That is me, and yet me is also the one who would probably get told off in the vein of “what? NOW? But there’s this to do, or that, and the other. How can you always be so insensitive to us, or me?”
This contradiction drives me regularly nuts on such a daily basis I don’t even notice it anymore. I suppose I have come to peace with the crazy, and have accepted that some people can feel in the same way for more than an hour, or even more than a day, good or bad, sad or happy… to me that is pretty much impossible. But I give up striving for an equilibrium, and in that have found my balance.