I often lay in bed or sit on the loo or wherever and think to myself things like, ‘what was I doing this time last year? five years ago? ten years ago?’ and the ilk. Mostly to ask myself would I swap what I was doing at that exact moment for what I was doing then. I did this last night as I lay in bed and I idly thought to myself, ‘what was I doing ten years ago?’ and for once I could actually answer that question very accurately. I was doing something that would significantly shape who I was today. Weird.
So then folks let me tell you a story. There was a girl (isn’t there always in stories like these) that I knew from the world wide interweb and I had gone to stay with her for a few days. I was in my final year at university and earlier in the week I had finished my dissertation and made my radio tutor cry and been threatened to be kicked off of the course (looking back this was quite the week) but those are merely footnotes.
So I met this girl, we got on ok, nothing spectacular but I was there for a few days (Mon-Fri) and on the Wednesday night I was doing some work and I logged into my Livejournal account and checked it and she had updated hers to say she was getting back together with her ex as she’d seen her other option and decided to get back with her ex. Yes I was the other option and I was still at hers and she’d forgotten to filter me out of this update (or maybe she didn’t care/didn’t expect me to read until I had gone home/hoped it would make me fuck off).
Talk about an awkward situation. Now I must’ve been what, 21? and with about as much knowledge and common sense as that of a gnat. I read this pretty late on the Wednesday and she lived a long way away from the railway station and I had no idea how to get there (these were the days before smartphones with maps) and I was a tight student, I wasn’t getting a taxi. What I should have done therefore was made my excuses on the Thursday morning and gone but what did I do? I hung around like a numpty and she wasn’t even talking to me. Yes I’m serious, she wouldn’t even acknowledge my existence. Like how dumb was I not to think to myself, ‘look Neil, even if you don’t know the way back to town, find out and just go’ but no I spent the day in someone elses house with them not even talking to me, good times…
That night she even slept in her own spare room to get away from me but even then I wasn’t fully clued up. Any logical person would’ve got up first thing and just left but I thought I’d at least hang around to say goodbye. She had thought of this and was so adamant she didn’t want to see me that she kept in the spare room with the door shut all morning and at 1ish I finally gave up and just left. I remembered the way we had walked from the bus on the way to hers so just walked in that direction until I saw a bus stop, which turned out to a the right one and got on a bus to the town with a railway station near where she lived, found the station and made my way home.
She wouldn’t even speak to me again for many months (to be honest I ask myself why I’d even want to speak to her again but back then I was a lot more naive than I am now) and we’ve not spoken in years but hilariously are Facebook friends so I see updates from her life whizz through my screen every so often.
In the opening paragraph I said that this incident significantly shaped who I was today and I’ll tell you how. I am hypersensitive to those who don’t want to be around me. Show me a flicker of the fact you don’t want me around/don’t want to know me and I retreat faster than (enter your favourite war reference here). On occasions I’ve been known to put up some sort of fight but those occasions are few and far between. Usually if you show me that you don’t want to know me/speak to me/see me then I’m gone and if their stance on me changes, they’ll have to seek me out.
If someone pushes me away then I’m gone. I often get told that this isn’t healthy, people – women in particular – want a man who’ll fight for their affections or friendship or whatever. I’ve often found that when somebody hints that they want you to back off/disappear then not doing that is deemed as unwanted, creepy or weird. The old, ‘can’t win either way’ issue.
Writing about this today, ten years on and at this exact point ten years ago I’m hanging around her house with her not talking to me. Fun times. It is amazing how things can stick with you and whilst seemingly insignificant it has helped mould how you react to situations in the future. I could point to several situations that whilst not identical, were broadly similar and if someone pushed, I’d not push back. Whether that is right or wrong I have no idea (there is one particular situation I’m thinking about here from many, many years ago now but that is one I would chose not to discuss).
All very interesting. Saying all this though I am actually in a very good place at the moment. I haven’t had a date for months, nor even the possibility of one if I’m being honest but I am just in a good place. I woke up one morning a few weeks back and felt good and that feeling hasn’t really disappeared. Maybe happiness just comes from within and when you are happy with yourself then you are in a better state of mind to take on the world. Maybe that is just where I am now.
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