Thursday, March 15, 2007

Day 204

The Past Week: Part 2

After an appropriate amount of squirming and glaring (apparently I "glare" at my counsellor quite frequently) at my appointment last Friday, I went straight into to flat hunting - an entirely loathsome combination, especially in the (pissing) March rain. Getting a thorough soaking left my, “I look very respectable don’t I? Please let me rent this property?” ensemble absurdly damp and extremely lacklustre.

When I was gainfully employed, I would hobble betwixt and between flat viewings in jeans and (often suspect) slogan t-shirts without giving two hoots what I was wearing. I was employed after all so what did I care? It didn’t even enter my head. These days however, I am practically suited and booted, with my natty leather portfolio and mobile phone at the ready when something as death defying as flat hunting is the mission du jour – hoping to get someone, anyone, to give me a break.

I had begun the ‘charm offensive’ that morning at 9am sharp, calling four different agents and telling them I had a guarantor so please could they let me view their available properties? “Guarantor” is a truly magical word in Letting Agency speak. “Guarantor” cleverly elevates you from DSS scum, to: “When would you like to see the property Madam?” I had to swallow vast mouthfuls of pride by agreeing to pay any prospective landlord his/her rent via my (step)father’s bank account. But hey-ho, I need a home and my pride, I keep telling myself, I can pick up later.

I had been mooning over the first flat I saw for the last month. It was just out of my reach in price range, and of course because it was a property with a ‘buy to let’ mortgage, a DSS tenant was a no go. But now that I had a guarantor, I had a way in, and (in true “this must be fate” style) they had lowered the rent. So, I viewed and immediately fell in love – not only with the agent who showed me around, turning myself into a giggling mess of over enthusiasm, but with the flat itself. So I took it. Before anyone could change their mind. And after paying the deposit – the flat, all going well with my credit checks, was mine.

The next few hours were a blur. I remember jumping around beside a bus stop on the phone to my mum. Finally I had a beautiful new rented home. Then about 7pm or so… “I don’t deserve it” “I can’t live there! It’s too good for me.” “Someone will take it away” Thump – that was the noise I made when I hit the floor. “Too much to deal with, too much noise” Almost immediately I was back beside my train track, with a thousand trains thundering past while I tried to sort things out in my head. “I can’t pack up this house! Where do I start? What do I do with all this crap?”

The aftermath of this minor meltdown was pretty ugly and in true “I can’t deal with this” style, I crept and crawled around my house for the majority of the weekend and all of Monday. Interjected with minute moments of productivity, my scarily widening arse would meet with couch and indeed bed, almost constantly. It was too strenuous to go outside, it hurt when I moved, and it hurt when I didn’t.

By Tuesday I was trying to struggle on manfully, so very cleverly I decided to take on the biggest task possible. I have had a box in my kitchen since I moved here and for the last year it has remained smartly unopened. Inside that box was everything I destroyed the night my ex told me he was leaving. All my artwork, my pictures, photographs, paintings, collages – diaries. Everything. On that terrible night I had gone through the house like a tornado, destroying everything of mine. My truly eye popping finale, was the painstakingly slow, carve up of my side of the bed sheets, with an enormous pair of scissors. It was like an invisible line had been drawn through the house, my stuff and his. After that there was no way he was staying.

And so, the other night, I found myself in true, ritualistic and incredibly stupid form, waiting until I was really tired, in the early hours of the morning after a lousy day, opening the damn thing. And out came the horrors.

I had begun, when I was first sick, to “work through my anxieties” by making mangled collages of twisted and deformed bodies. All with painted on smiling faces. At the time I didn’t think I was working through anything, I was just having an out of body craft experience. I took numerous pictures of myself, sitting in my chair in the bedroom staring blankly at the window blinds, mashed out of my mind.

After pulling out page after page of craziness, I got out my paper pad and thick, stubby pencil and scratched and scrubbed and pounded the sheet of paper until I was done. Better paper than my arm – right? And much more satisfying that snapping a damn rubber band against my skin. Afterwards I felt so sick. Worse than when I scratched my arms. I was shaking all over when I got out the Goreki and chamomile oil – my second line of defence. I took a sleeping tablet and sat in the middle of a festoon of shredded paper until the sleeping tablet started kicking the back of my throat like an extremely persistent horse.

I was in so deep I forgot my own name, past and present colliding in one giant mess.

The next day I looked at the carnage and thought it was all so damn annoying and self indulgent and horrific and stupid. So, do I chuck it all out, or do I keep hold of it – maybe I should just put it all back in the box and tape down the lid? Or maybe I should get the shredder out. Sometimes I get so fed up of the dark stories, of the macabre mind. What if I just let it all go - what if I just agreed to happiness? What If I tried to believe that forgiveness begins within? What would happen then? Maybe I would be, just fine?

And now I am here, Thursday, after a day of picking up things off the floor and going to the post office to send off forms for my new place. Feeling surprisingly motivated. And, dare I say it, ready to put one foot in front of the other?


Blogger Snoskred said...

Everyone hates moving house. You're not the only one who looks around and says "Where do I start? What do I do with all this crap?" ;) You start in one spot, and you keep going until it's all in boxes, that's what I've found. The last time I did it, we moved over 1600kms away. We really left a lot of crap behind that time and it was so great I think I'm going to try and treat every move that way in future.

Re the box, throw it out. You don't need it.

And congrats on the new home. Give yourself permission to feel happy about it, ok? :) I'm happy for you.

5:49 am  

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