… Don’t you just want to scream?
Life can be so frustrating at times. Just when it looks like a plan is coming together along comes the nuclear warhead of reality and blow it out of the window!
When I was a kid and a teenager, I was always convinced that my life was never going to be like other people. I was not afraid of hard work, I had no intention of slipping into a sidestream of humanity either. no, I was just convinced, without having the slightest clue what I was on about, that my life would be apart from the traditional expectation. I clearly remember fighting with that certainty in my mind. I knew that I was different, that my life would make me follow an alternate path but I spent years rebelling against my own reality.
I did manage a small amount of traditionalism though. I did get married at 23. I worked in London for many years, I worked locally in Essex for many years. I had a varied career (if it can be called that). Indeed, from 1979 to 1993 with only a short break to be a ‘house husband’ I worked solidly in what many would consider, proper employment. To the world I was a straight man doing the right thing by his family.
Of course, the ‘family’ was when being traditional started to go wrong. With special needs kids I was never going to be like other men. If I had to pinpoint a part of my life which shaped all which was to follow, it was Jermaine clearly having special needs. I cannot know for certain but suspect that had he been ‘normal’ then, right now, I would still be Jonny no mates living a married life. That first break which made me look again at my conformity was enough to make me, eventually, examine everything in life I had previously thought to be unchangeable and written in stone and explore whether I could write my own rule book and get away with it?
Clearly this has been the case. I am an openly gay man about to get married to one of the most amazing men I know. I have raised my kids almost on my own. I have learnt heaps of stuff I never thought I would ever have to know. I have met some incredible people, I am friends still with some super people. I overcome my earlier insecurities to feel confident in life and comfortable with myself. I can honestly say, “I like me”.
I am not perfect, I am anything but perfect. You know what? I like not being perfect. It suits me just fine to accept my limitations. I like that I don’t know everything, it makes life exciting. It means there will always be things to look forward to.
Right now, dear reader, and yes, I know I could just be talking to myself at this point, I have things I cannot write about. Things I know which will, in time appear here but not right now. Though they have a serious effect on my future life, I cannot mention them, not in this place, too public. I can say, as far as I know, I don’t have any major health issues. My recent weight loss, if there has been any at all, has been through determination alone. I did not weigh myself when I decided to ease off on the intake and I have not done so since. I have no idea what my current weight is and neither do I have any interest. It is about what I look like, pure unapologetic vanity. I do know that before Christmas I was a 34″ waist and they were tight. I am now comfortable in a 30″ waist. Either my comfort threshold has made a major adjustment or I really have trimmed my belly … even though some do still enjoy referring to me as tubby or cuddly.
My anxiety levels have gone through the roof for for many and varied justifiable reasons. Again, I am not going to write all of them here, many I have already mentioned. It is difficult for me to sit back and see others make mistakes. Even more difficult when I know that I will have to pick up the pieces of those mistakes. I actually yearn for a quiet life, a relaxing life.
Yes, I know this is totally crazy. My dad is going to be 75 this year (I hope) and that’s a good age, any age is a good age giving it some thought, but you know, 75 is an age I feel we each have an entitlement to expect to reach. Thing is, in the back of my mind and not too far back, I am aware that mum died at 52. That is 7 years from now in my terms. Whilst the circumstances were totally different for her it demonstrated to me how precious each moment of life is as we get older. As long as there are things to do, achievements to be had, I was to life life. What if, for the sake of argument, I only had those 7 years? Do the things I want to still get out of life sit into that tiny window of opportunity when I still have so many commitments? I suspect not. It is not easy for me to accept that. To adjust right now, this day to the knowledge that my life has again become controlled. That the restrictions upon me have become such that my options are either to be selfish which will seriously damage the future of several other people or, to be selfless which means my own life may just be left to service others. That is a difficult reality when I have come so far this past decade or so.
I will, because I so far have, I shall cope. I will not only cope I shall flourish and those around me will feel loved and secure. I know this because it is who I am now. I like being me. Do I sometimes wish I could have it easier and others would be looking after me? Hell yeah. But, let us get real for a moment. People like me don’t have problems, we are confident, we are healthy, we are near perfection and the concrete pillar, the bedrock of life for all. Yes, we really are. The only problem I have with that is, what happens if I feel like most of the time I am standing in the wet sand with my feet stuck and the tide is coming in?
Being me, I have spoken to others like me, we tend to feel the same. We are each as vulnerable as all the people we care about. The difference is, we choose to be different. What that generally means is, many people, like me, want to be appreciated, to be loved, to be looked after yet we are totally an utterly useless at communicating that most basic of needs. We are too busy being the centre around which the world of others rotates. Remove people like me and the effect on others is so significant as to be noticed. Above all else, people like me cannot accept being a failure.
For us there are no medals. Because of the way we are perceived by those around us, we don’t have needs so those needs, because they don’t exist, don’t need to be met. If we are ill, well, if we can look after everyone else and nurse them to health, we will surely only see their efforts as inferior so best not to bother. If we are having financial issues then these are obviously under control and we don’t need help because we are so good with these things.
The real irony is, so used to others of us having all the answers that, if we so much as appear to have a need, we will have to walk others through every step of the care we get from them making the entire exercise pointless and just one more job!
I am not complaining, I choose to be the person I am. Just sometimes though, it’d be really nice if others stepped back and considered … hell, I am just leaving it at ‘considered’, that says it all really.