Tillsammans

I-Dawg (typing just ‘I’ makes things very confusing so we’ll go with his nickname) has just been round for a brew after work. We had a good chat, even if I bollocked him for messaging his ex and accidentally stirring up rumours. I told him about all the magical changes which I’ve recently experienced. While I’ve been going through my ups and downs, I’ve felt something stirring within me. I feel like I understand the world and myself a bit better than I did a few months ago. I’ve learned some hard lessons:

– Don’t start conversations that you’re not willing to have because the other person as a real, living and separate human being with feelings.

– Patience truly is a virtue. Be patient with the universe, it unfolds at its own pace, and also with yourself. I can be so hard on myself and live life at breakneck speed. It comes down to having confidence that things will happen as they should. Most importantly, if someone wants you then they will come and get you – particularly boys who have to think it was their idea in the first place.

– Don’t assume that everything you hear is true. Question it and look at your source. You think this one would have stuck with me having done a sociology-ish degree but it’s a lesson easily forgotten. By the same token, there are two sides (often more) to a story. You will only ever hear an interpretation from the teller’s perspective and so too will the listener interpret it themselves.

– Empathy is hard but a valuable skill which not enough people dedicate themselves to.

– Nothing is permanent, particularly with regards to your body. I first learned that my body was flexible when I started doing yoga, not because of the positions I got into, but that it could move and change. I don’t always have to be overweight. I can be strong and healthy. On the flip side, if I get lazy then I don’t look as good but I never probably look as bad as I think. As a fat kid (a lifelong psychological condition exacerbated by rude grandmothers and PE teachers – even if you lose weight you never lose that feeling of wheezing on the sidelines) this can be very hard to learn. I realise now that fit people work hard to be that way, just as I work hard on essays and mathematicians work really hard to solve problems. This shit does not just happen and it all takes skill, dedication and hard work – though, of course, there ain’t half been some lucky bastards.

– In a much greater sense, nothing lasts forever and it can be much easier and more thrilling to live when we recognise the transient nature of everything. You realise then that every experience is a gift and it doesn’t have to last forever. Preservation, if you really want it, takes work.

– Taking care of yourself feels (and tastes) good. It permeates all areas of your life.

– Being alone can be super awesome. It makes you free and you don’t have to wear pants.

– Doing stuff is awesome and makes you more interesting. I always used to be so skeptical of people with hobbies because I always thought they were a replacement for personality. I still am but going and doing stuff, particularly with other people who also enjoy doing that stuff, is fun.

– Others are just as rich and deep as you. Don’t be a snob and take time to get to know people. I realised last night that I’m just like all those other people at life drawing, particularly the boozed up enthusiastic geeks at the end, and loved both them and myself for being vulnerable and daring enough to go out and talk to strangers.

– Be proud of who you are and what you do, though don’t be a jerk obvs. When we’d finished drawing last night, I assumed that we had to display all the pictures we’d done so I spread mine on the floor in a big collage. I looked round and realised that only the bloke next to me had done it, foolishly copying me, while nobody else dared. Everyone kept saying ‘oh it’s terrible, I don’t want you to see it’ and I felt a fanny who’d committed a dreadful faux pas. Then I saw everyone looking at my work, all gathered round, and I felt really good. However, I have never been shy and am quite ready to bear my soul at a moment’s notice. I’ve always been an overachiever with my work on the walls too so I’m quite happy to display myself as I trust that people would never be rude enough to say anything nasty… also I’d had two glasses of wine. If anyone’s horrible about you when you make yourself vulnerable by sharing then it’s definitely their problem, not yours.

I’m hoping that all this stuff is part of me getting closer to that real, undeniable truth of myself. There’s so much more to do and discover, and plenty more stuff to fuck up, but I gotta say: I’ve come a long way, baby.

I had a nice time at work. I really like the service user and I think she likes me. She’s got a wicked sense of humour and spent the entire four hours gently mocking the other staff member without really saying anything out loud. She’s not much older than me and I’m hopeful that we’ll get on well. I have been a bit low today but I worked out after tea and felt a lot better, especially when I watched Lukas Moodysson’s Tillsammans before I-Dawg came round.

 

“Better porridge together than a pork cutlet alone.”

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