I wrote the following last night, then slept on it. No mind-mapping on this occasion (perhaps it shows). Today the sun is out, news is good and the mood chart heading for lighter values.
I took it into my head to keep a mood chart, for no particular reason, and just now my mood is going up and down like a yo yo. You have no idea the number of different plates we are spinning — each one of us has issues and hopes, ranging from the minuscule (what to do with home-grown chillis) to the mind-blowingly gargantuan (the miraculous Brexit). It’s an interesting time to start the project, but poorly chosen! Writing a blog post when you’re in the depths of despair is never a good idea either.
Half the time I suspect my sole aim in life is keeping myself from thinking too much. Letting your brain get fogged up with useless data or keeping it busy with insignificant projects like mood charts, mind-mapping digital art, databasing your CD collection and writing letters to the world (blog posts)… they’re all just ways of anaesthetizing yourself for a while.
Music makes you happy at times; it’s like your own private cocoon of good beats. Then you go away and get ready for bed, and and it turns on you… wails in your head like a Greek chorus of restless ghosts, and your mood gets very blue. Some songs I’ve learned to avoid because they are black holes of melodious depression.
One I conjured up just now is the opposite of that. Somehow it refuses to be turned into anything quite as miserable, though it’s old, therefore dripping with nostalgia… I relate it to places we don’t live in any more, and to family members long since gone. And yet…
I will keep it in my head for the rest of the night; it’s a tonic! You can have it when I’m done, but not till then.
Sleep is another good way of passing the time — you forget your cares for a while, even if your dreams introduce you to a distorted group of new ones. The best part is just after you turn off the light, when you curl up in the warm with your arm over Little Witness, feeling nobody can get at you till dawn pries at your blinds.
In the period before you fall asleep, you line up your most pleasant thoughts and count them. “These things I shall do tomorrow… beginning with deleting that mood chart or changing it to something different. Then I’ll re-read my latest blog post and see if it’s improved at all during the night.” Sometimes they do. Other times they turn into twisted heaps of rage and and angst, and the best thing you can do with them is put them out of their misery before anybody else spots them.
One thing that’s pretty bad, though, is if you’re reading old posts in your blog and you discover such a sea-change happened when you weren’t looking, and most of your posts have turned into grotesque, windblown skeletons you would rather not know about. As a result, I either avoid reading anything I’ve written that’s older than six months, or I delete these horrors when I trip over any.
Even while we distract ourselves from looking at life too closely, we distract ourselves from our own past distractions. It’s easy to live only in the moment… just sing Mouldy Old Dough to yourself and fall asleep.
Funny how you can start the day in a sunny mood, and end it under a cloud… due to nothing more than a few dashed expectations. Someone I knew (the one who called me ‘rebel without a cause’) said people always have ‘expectations’ of each other, which were the rocks upon which many a relationship foundered.
Isn’t that a bit like saying, “people have a tendency to breathe (and it’s the oxygen that ages them?)” Actually, he probably said ‘high expectations’, but some expectations are perfectly reasonable, and we founder upon them anyway.
A bit of advice I picked up from somewhere is that we should not attempt to change people. We shouldn’t say “I’m going to tell him/her not to do that… it’s for his/her own good.” Just leave it alone. What was meant by that was that we shouldn’t nag, or complain about the little things.
That’s hard when you wish people were more aware, and more chatty when you would like a chat… not sort of dashing off saying “yes, very interesting,” (or, worse), “that’s not very good.” It’s hard to write about this without sounding like a moaner, which is probably why we’re advised to keep quiet and not nag. It doesn’t come across well – but it still has a lot to do with why people end the day under a cloud.
I’m from quite an undemonstrative family. No gushing, no hugging, no kissing. I never understood cousins who wanted to kiss me after not having seen me for months or years, and I never knew how to react. They didn’t kiss me as children, so why did they start when they were in their late teens? The boys were the worst! I was embarrassed having to kiss one cousin’s little boy goodnight when he toddled round all the adults at bedtime… I hadn’t been brought up that way. Trouble is, I think being undemonstrative can be taken too far… it can get a little cold, a little supercilious.
When I was nineteen, I thought people had to keep their emotions in a little box… whether anger, sadness, or great enthusiasm. It would be awful to let anyone know you were actually feeling something! When I discovered that the world didn’t stop spinning if you expressed how you actually felt, it was a huge relief in a way… but it still wasn’t something that came naturally. I think growing up deaf (at any rate, deaf in a mainstream community) also does a lot to destroy natural expressiveness (but not the emotions). But that’s a whole other ballgame and not what I meant to discuss here.
I got all excited when I read over that last paragraph and realized I had written about boxes! Oh, boxes! Last night I was appreciating another blogger’s post, which was about people themselves being put in boxes. Other people put us in boxes, such as ‘Rebel Without a Cause‘. We either accept them or kick them away and climb into other boxes of our own. I’m not sure I ever labelled any of mine? Oh, I suppose I do… ‘agoraphobic’, ‘dreamer’, as well as others that I’m not sure I want to talk about — sad, grey boxes; large, black angry boxes; furry talking boxes; damp, cold cardboard boxes tucked in the draughty bit behind the shed. (I was wondering why ‘draughty’ had a red line under it, and looked it up, and it said ‘British spelling of ‘drafty’. Also ‘labelled’ is British way of saying labeled. Sigh).
When I read that post, I thought, “why don’t I blog about stuff like that? Instead I ramble about mundanities.”
Well, I did blog about boxes, and I didn’t have to think about it… it just happened!
Aren’t you proud of me?
Anyway, I remember a friend who understood that I came from a ‘no huggy, no kissy’ family, unlike hers. One day she was seeing me off on a train… she helped me settle in with my bags, gave me a note to read when the train was on the move, then suddenly gave me a squeeze, and a peck on the cheek. While she grinned at me from the platform, I read the note… it said “I know you don’t like emotional goodbyes, so I thought I would give you a hug at the last minute before getting off the train.”
Funny, I had no objection to that one at all.
Yesterday I was an unsettling mixture of cheerful and miserable. Cheerful because I was finally getting on with things, and glimpsed Big Sister for about six seconds (I was starting to wonder when I last saw anybody I knew). Miserable because my PC’s hard drive finally failed and I have to buy a new one. Now is definitely not the time. Also miserable because of a book I dipped into at lunch time.
The book (which I don’t want to name for fear of spoiling someone else’s experience when they reach for it – but I can tell you if you want to know) told a true story of a little boy who befriended a wild animal. It waited for him every day at the same spot in order to be fed. One day it approached some strangers and was killed. The little boy, of course, was devastated. His father said “that was your mistake – you took away his fear of humans.”
It’s one of those stories you wish you’d never been told, but because you know these things happen, you file it in the box in your mind labelled animals killed for being too trusting. Having put the story away, I got on with the rest of the day without thinking about it. But later at night, as I was about to go to bed, I pushed the window open and stared out at the moon, which was very bright but not quite full. How do people know whether it’s waxing or waning? It must be waxing, surely, because I’ve been such a bundle of apathetic uselessness recently, and it’s only in the last couple of days that I’ve pulled myself together and got things done.
I found myself thinking about the little boy’s friend who came and waited for him every evening. I tried to imagine refusing such a friendship, or weaning the animal off it gradually by failing to turn up every so often; letting the times you didn’t feed it stretch out longer and longer, till finally it stopped coming. But I also imagined staying in the house knowing it was out there waiting for you, searching for you with shiny hopeful eyes. How could one go through with that, even for fear of what other humans might do?
A paw patted my bare foot softly. Surprised, I turned back into the room. Sharky’s tabby form was lying stretched out by my feet as he winked and twinkled at me. The light tap of his paw on my foot had been no accident. I felt he had deliberately drawn me back from my voyage to the moon so I would stop thinking about an animal who died far away and long ago.
Edit Feb 2008: Comments to this post when it was on Blogigo:
1. Pacian wrote at Sep 10, 2006 at 16:09:
I was in a sad mood the other day after reading a book with a slightly nasty ending. I hate stories that try and pretend that life isn’t hard, but a little *too much* honesty can be difficult to cope with.
2. Diddums wrote at Sep 11, 2006 at 00:23:
As my old pappy used to say, “a trouble shared is a trouble doubled.”
Actually it wasn’t my old pappy, it was a friend who sometimes reads this blog, so I better not be caught out in a lie!
3. kaz wrote at Sep 11, 2006 at 20:55:
D is for declining, but a D moon is the opposite. I loved the story, funny how things like that can affect our mood
4. Diddums wrote at Sep 12, 2006 at 01:41:
Thanks, Kaz – and the thing about having blogged about it is that I now remember it every time I visit my page. Maybe I should blog about something different now, and get it out of my head…
5. kateblogs wrote at Sep 12, 2006 at 11:20:
That sounds like the Yearling – it has a similar theme, but events take place a little differently. I know what you mean, we all know about the harsh realities of life, but don’t always want to be reminded of them quite so graphically.
“I’ve been such a bundle of apathetic uselessness recently”
Same here – I’m a little like Worzel Gummidge when he hasn’t got his thinking head on at the moment.
6. Diddums wrote at Sep 12, 2006 at 13:35:
I don’t think I read or watched Worzel Gummidge – he reminded me of Catweasel, and the whole scarecrow/old man thing depressed me when I was little. 🙂
7. Kim Ayres wrote at Sep 12, 2006 at 15:41:
To answer your waxing/waning bit – if the full curve of the moon is on the right, it’s waxing, and if it’s on the left, it’s waning.
8. Diddums wrote at Sep 12, 2006 at 16:08:
Ah – now I understands what Kaz means by saying a declining moon is the opposite of a D – I didn’t realize. That’s interesting to know – thanks! I looked at it again last night and there was even less of it than before, so Kaz is right about it being on the wane.
Had to go out in the bucketing rain to feed some guinea pigs! Got completely soaked, and my umbrella blew inside out. Why is it always windy as well as wet? Not fair!
There’s a song in my head, and I don’t know why – Mr Bassman, as sung by the Muppets. It’s a cheerful little ditty but makes me very sad for some reason. The main singer is permanently on the edge of fading out, and you don’t want him to – you want him to sing it forever in that beautiful voice, and so it goes round and round in your head… “hey Mr Bassman, you’ve got that certain something, hey Mr Boom Boom, di di di di di di…” Woke up in the dark feeling as though it was the end of the world. I bet it’s really just the rain.