Saturday, 13 March 2010

I know nothing

Now I have a half share in an amusing themed blog I can post more depressing, whiny, solipsistic thoughtful stuff on here. Yeah. That's you warned. Get out your tiny violins, there will be moaning.

The slightest of "romantic" (a misnomer) entanglements has just evaporated on me. It was doomed anyway, and after the momentary sting of hurt and the wounded amour-propre, it's sort of a relief. An Eeyore kind of relief, but a relief all the same. Being alone is one kind of a thing. A muted thing, but not an awful thing. There are books, music, DVDs, eccentric food for one, endless writing (though not of the right kind). There is (very occasionally) cathartic cleaning and mean laughter with girlfriends on gchat. I know how to 'do' it. But the anxious, sick, self-doubting, emptiness that I have been discovering recently was far more lonely. Liking someone makes you vulnerable to getting kicked in the guts, and all the consolations that have kept me so happy for so long seemed dusty and inadequate - I felt dusty and inadequate.

Because the problem; I think, with the spectral possibility of some kind of relationship was that it highlighted what I am missing. Let's be clear: there are lots of things I'm not missing, and lots of things I am enjoying. I can amuse myself very happily for big swathes of time solo, and even though I am desperately out of practice, I'd say I was improving. I am not looking for Anything Heavy, or really, anything at all most of the time. But there are indubitably things that are much better with someone else. I sound pathetic, but remember I haven't been on my own since I was nineteen, I am fumbling around, discovering things that the majority of the population discovered aged 23. A late developer. A shy late developer in a foreign country, where people of her age are all busy having children and not keen to go out dancing, or even looking for new friends.

Things that are better with someone else (who absolutely does not have to be a boyfriend, except possibly the first part of No. 3, which could get awkward with your friends. So I hear):

1. Sundays - always mildly suicidal, Sundays on my own make me feel 85. Somehow, having a dog makes it even more senior citizen-esque, possibly because my neighbourhood is filled with elderly gentlemen walking ugly dogs early in the morning. 'Bonjour messieurs'. 'Bonjour madame'. A bit of arse sniffing from the dogs, and and we part - they head back to their proper Sunday lunch, I probably head back to my MacBook.

2. Watching shit tv and being snarky about it. Good tv on your own is fine. But tawdry, crap, reality tv loses its sparkle when you watch alone, I think. This would be fine if I was watching the same tawdry, crap tv as my imaginary friends in the computer, but I'm not, because of the Belgian thing. Sigh.

3. Sex - obvious. There have been evenings when I have contemplated answering one of the "cherche femme qui ne veut pas être seule ce soir*" ads in Kiss and Ride. Not for very long, what with the danger of getting chopped up, or imprisoned in someone's basement, this is Belgium after all. But still. I miss hugging too. I often want a hug, and noone (except my children, and they only under sufferance) hugs me in the WHOLE OF BELGIUM. Thank goodness I have a dog who, although too big to fit on my knee, will submit to having his ears pulled companionably.

4. Takeaways. You have to pretend there's more than one of you to justify the amount of food you are ordering. "Yes, 4, no I mean 6 pairs of chopsticks please".

Oh, I dunno. Sometimes it seems like the infinite potential of being single is in fact just the infinite potential for rejection and hurt. Sometimes I think I will sit at this table at this laptop until I fall over dead and get eaten by stray cats. But sometimes the good bits are amazing. Often I am optimistic that things will be ok, probably in a way that I can't even imagine right now. Things have a habit of doing that. But mainly I find myself thinking over and over again that I DO NOT KNOW ANYTHING.

I am going to have some gin now. Because gin is good alone. This much I know.

(*Looking for a woman who doesn't want to be alone tonight)


Eireann said...

After 9 months without a single hug, I would have traded everything I loved about France for one!


Lisa-Marie said...

Emma, I want to give you a great big hug. I can't imagine how it feels, when you have spent the majority of you adult life with a partner.

I think you cope with it admirably, and I hope that you find a good person to share your random two people things, when you are ready to.

And, I think you know alot.

jen hit the roof said...

I agree with comment no.2, hugs are needed. I had to comment on the gin though, it's my new favourite drink. Not just any old gin though, it has to be uber-expensive Hendricks gin, distilled in a tiny place in Scotland. It tastes great with a slice if cucumber and lime. Put it on your to-do list next time you're in Blighty. Sending www.hugs :)

Lisa-Marie said...

Jen, Hendrick's is made 10 miles from where I grew up. It is amazing stuff!

jen hit the roof said...

It really is a small world. I think I like it more because it's Scottish like me :)

soleils said...

Ah but you see, I had a conversation with a friend yesterday, about generally growing up and stuff and my truly heartfelt conclusion was that when you hear yourself utter the words "I know nothing", then that is just finally a sign you are starting to know something.
In my twenties, I could lecture anyone under the table, about most anything really (even stuff I didn't give a fuck about), but now... now that I am weeeeeell into my thirties, I often just shrug, smile a little sadly and mutter a somewhat surprised "I dunno". And I think it's OK (though it does sometimes make me want to give myself a great big kick up the arse and yell at myself "well bloody well find out, then!").

soleils said...

Er... and another thing. Thank you, really thank you, for sharing this wonderful gift of yours of being able to write so gorgeously about life, people, places, feelings, so very candidly and pudiquement à la fois. Sorry, English mode has (almost) left the building.

Krazy Kitty said...

Hugs. Hugs are the worst. Hugs find me crying in the phone too late at night, pathetically sobbing that I'm fine, really, I don't want a boyfriend, I'm happy on my onw, it's just that I want a hug.

Holding hands was neat too.

Anonymous said...

Today i caught myself thinking that may be my ex-boyfriend wasn't so bad after all; that may be it would be a nice idea to give him a call... Wrong: I just miss hugs. Bah.

katyboo1 said...

I so know what you mean about tawdry television. how odd is that? It is just utterly, utterly without merit on your own and yet compulsively brilliant with someone else. Oh yes, and the hugging thing. That's a biggy too. I did at one point resort to hugging myself in that crap teenager way where you watch yourself in the mirror so it looks like someone else is hugging you. Rubbish.

WrathofDawn said...

In agreement with each and every point. I LOVE doing things on my own. I just took myself to the opera (film not live), to a restaurant for a meal and then tootled along in the mall looking at whatever caught my eye. There were many couples there, some where the an was clearly dragging the woman to look at something she had no interest in, the opposite and I passed a couple debating which luggage to buy and I thought, "It's all so COMPLICATED when there's 2." I want to buy luggage? I pick a colour I like in a price range I can afford and Voila! Bob's your ready-to-travel uncle.

But yes, crap TV must be shared and hugs are sorely missed.

But the gin? The gin is MINE!

WV is ressigh, which is what I do everytime I remember how long it's been since I've been hugged.

WrathofDawn said...

also: an = man

Lack of hugs steals your ability to type, apparently.

The Spicers said...

Emma, you have pretty much summed up everything I've discovered about being single over the past two months (minus the living in Belgium part). I haven't done it in such a long time, or ever, really, that it's profoundly weird. I don't know what I'd do without my MacBook.
Sending you hugs.
xo Janet

the polish chick said...

you're doing fine and it will get better. and a premature end is infinitely better than the dragged out bitterness that would have been the result of this if it went on, but you know that.

Ellie said...

Is anyone in possession of a MacBook REALLY single?

Em said...

I send you hugs from a million miles away, but still blimmin' huggy dammit. I think you've touched on everything being alone and sometimes being lonely can feel like. Take care.

Jessica said...

I think it's CRAZY how NOBODY hugs here. : /

frau antje said...

Cannot think of a single consolation.

Nothing is ultimately knowable? Feel better?

Glad to see that everyone would hug you if they could (it's the thought that counts), though not me, I'm more of a creepy arm touch type.

auntiegwen said...

I cannot add anything remotely useful to this as I am Queen of Crap Relationships.

But I am very grateful for the new gin tips, I will also like as I too am Scottish.

Unknown said...

I love that video for the Dave Matthews Band song, "Everyday". If we want to be loved sometimes, we need to start being loving in random, crazy ways.

ALTHOUGH I do not recommend spending the day standing on street corners, wearing a ball cap, and trying to get random strangers to hug me, I do wonder if enough hugs from strangers eventually equate to a single hug from a "loved one."

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...there're lonely relationships and marriages too, the f*cked up, no hugs kind. Gah, wish I were single, a lot more clarity!

Alison Cross said...

Oh, I wish I could send you a hug!
At the risk of looking like a touchie-feelie arse here's one:

(((((((((( hug))))))))) there may not be as many closed brackets as open ones, but you get the idea.

There *are* so many worse things than being alone, but not when you are feeling lonely.

You are a fantastic writer - you have made me pee myself more than once today (your Gwyneth P posting here and over at Facegoop)

Your writing is really entertaining, life-enhancing (fuck, sounding all touchie-feely again - sorry!). And that makes this posting all the more poignant.

Ali xxxxxxx

pinolona said...

yes, hugs are nice, but there is a whole load of other bad stuff in relationships that far outweighs the benefits.
Sundays alone are a blessed relief :)

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