On Thursday I had a breakdown. Which sounds very melodramatic. I am not myself now but I have to be back by Sunday night, or Monday morning. Or Tuseday at the very latest. I have to be well enough to pretend to cope.
And now it’s very quiet in my head most of the time. Except for the screaming.
It’s not usually quiet in my head. I don’t mean that I hear voices in the schizophrenic sense or that I have a head full of personalities struggling for control of my body. I mean that there are always narratives and observations going on in there. I’m always thinking about stuff. And I can always hear that thinking and the other thinking about the thinking.
I suppose that means I really am a writer. Weather I like it or not.
But at the moment things are different. It’s very quiet in here. There must be thinking going on but I don’t hear it. If there’s a narrative then it’s hiding from me. The only thing I do hear, and I don’t hear it all the time, is the screaming. And the comentary on the screaming. Because some things don’t change.
The screaming breaks out occasionally. Most of the screaming isn’t words it’s just noise. It’s just an incoherent cry of rage and pain. And a quiet voice talking over it telling me that a part of me is screaming. The occasional words break through the scream but it’s mostly swearing and seems to be directed nowhere in particular. I am angry at everyone and everything and especially myself.
Being angry with myself is nothing new. I usually am and I have been for as long as I can remember. Even as a small child with some adult screaming at me for some bullshit, as angry as I was with them, I was angrier at myself for my weakness. I wanted to stand up for myself. I wanted to be big. I wanted to be big enough to talk back and make them stop. But even then there was another voice. The one that was angry with me for having got myself into whatever situation had led to the shouting.
Well I succeeded in making myself big. But it didn’t really help. Talking back only ever seemed to make things worse. And I couldn’t stop making mistakes, doing things wrong, being the wrong person.
Because I was always the wrong person. I was never who people thought I was. I was never the person I was supposed to be and I was always coming up short and I didn’t understand why. To me it seemed like I was only being myself. Why did people keep expecting me to be someone else?
I still don’t really know the answer to that question.
I know that I was always a disappointment to my father. Worse than that I was proof of his failure. It was painful for him to look at me and it hurt me to see him feel that pain. I’m not entirely sure what he wanted but it certainly wasn’t me. I suppose he wanted me to have his work ethic. He wanted me to be the way he thought women should be. Maybe he wanted me to be more like my Mum. Or his Mum. Or just less me.
He wanted me to be thin. He wanted me to be sane. He wanted me to have a job, or a husband with a job. He wanted me to be normal.
I don’t know what normal is. I don’t know anyone normal.
My Dad’s dead now. So I’ve lost my chance to make him proud. I wish I could have told him that he wasn’t a failure. He couldn’t make me the person he thought I should be in his lifetime but the fight goes on. One of the voices in my head, which is currently strangely silent but I’m sure it will be back, was his. So even now he’s dead there’s still a part of him pointing out to me how I’ve fallen short, or been selfish, or asked for too much, or been lazy. And you can’t punch a dead man. So I’ve lost my chance to do that too. Sometimes I feel like digging him up to have a crack so it’s probably a good thing I can’t actually get to his grave.
Did I say that out loud?
I think my Mother’s voice was in there too but it always sounded more like me. I only knew it was her because it was the one telling me that I’m my own worst enemy. She always used to tell me that. I’m sure she still thinks that thought it’s been years since she said it to my face.
It’s true enough though. Almost all my problems are self inflicted. Most of the ones that aren’t are exacerbated by my inability to withstand them properly. She is sure that I am not my Mother’s daughter. I am not enough like her.
Do I want to be like her? I wish I felt certainty like she seems to. I almost never feel certainty. Doubt is far more my thing. I do a good impression of certainty but then I do a lot of impressions.
What passes for my personality is really just a bundle of impressions. It’s all just me pretending. I pretend to be sure about things. I pretend to cope. I pretend to be organised. I pretend to be competent. I pretend to be interested and interesting. About the only thing I don’t pretend about is writing. I really do write. All the time. I have done for years. Most of the time I don’t know what I think about something till I start to write it down.
So not only am I still not the right person, even according to my own standards, I’m not really a person at all. I’m a bundle of voices suspended between a mobile phone, a netbook and a moleskin notepad. I write therefore I am. I’m just not sure what that is. What was the question again?