Throughout the early part of my life (from about the age of 4 to about the age of 25) I was constantly told that everything was my fault. Well, the negative things that is. Anything positive was a gift. From people way more generous and less selfish than me who had, in their utter awesomeness, decided to bestow something "nice" upon me.
I was also told that I greatly deserved misery, hardship and servitude. To be fair these three didn't emerge until I was about 11 or 12 and Secondary school beckoned like a toothless old crone selling lucky heather at a Gypsy fair.
The bottom line was that I was given shitty agreements and mental patterns that ingrained within me beliefs a-plenty that I was basically worthless, lazy, unfeeling, insensitive etc, etc.
The basic problem was that my mother came from a rich family, went to a private, all girls school and owned her own pony...BUT was forced by my grandfather when she was 16, to leave school without taking her O levels and get a job. A job that she considered to be beneath her social status (and still does). When she got married 9 years later and had me and my brother, she didn't say "I'll make certain that my kids never know that kind of misery!" Instead she was determined that while she would generously spend her hard earned money on us, and send us to University unlike her own father for her...she would make us feel guilty for every penny spent on educating us beyond the age of 16 and to boot, wanted us to work in jobs we hated, for shitty money, with shitty people, shitty hours and feeling generally shitty. Those in the gutter do not wish to ascend to the stars but instead to bring others down to the gutter to join them. In her mind, we had to know her pain so we could then empathise with the sheer misery of having to go "below stairs" and mingle with riff raff.
As a teenager I grew up believing on a very deep, totally sub conscious level, that I was unworthy of my own mother's love unless I trod the same path as she did. From my paper round at 13, to shelf stacking in Budgen's supermarket at 16, to temping after I left Uni at 22...my jobs were badly paid and I worked for bad people, receiving bad pay and being mistreated by the people I worked with or for (including being held down and having my hair cut by two bouncers at a pub I worked in at age 19).
My mother's attitude was "I had to do it so why shouldn't you?!!!
Further...whenever someone had a go at me, punched me, kicked me, spat on me or verbally abused me it was ALWAYS my fault. I'd come home to complain about being attacked again and be met with lines such as:
"It's never your fault is it?""
"Ooh, the way you look at people sometimes!!!"
"I'm not surprised people hit you if you pull that face!!!"
So time moved on and I had these deeply ingrained beliefs that I was only worthy of lousy jobs and that I was personally to blame for every fist or insult that came my way.
My mother also had some truly revolting friends and was also a teacher. Therefore, her friends were perfect and any disagreements between me and her friends was obviously my fault. One loathsome cow that she worked with was a big fat, ginger haired woman who specialised in wearing tight, black leather trousers and had two opinionated, foul little bitches as daughters. One was an arrogant snob, the other a slut. The snob didn't like me and I was told by my mother that this was my fault and that I should be nicer to the little cunt so she'd "like" me more.
Sad thing is that I was so indoctrinated into believing this type of thing that I tried to make this waste of flesh actually like me, believing fundamentally that it was my fault she had been forced to find me unpalatable.
So I walked through life believing jobs HAD to be impossible to enjoy (to fulfil my obligations as a dutiful son), that I was by default an unlikeable little turd, and that my demeanour alone was enough to excuse people attacking (culminating at age 24 with a woman I worked with and was also a flat mate, throwing hot coffee in my face at work. I accepted the smirking assessment of people who hadn't even see the incident, that I had almost certainly provoked the fat cunt beyond endurance with my annoying habits)
Then in 2010 I fell in love...again. Thought it was real, imagined that I'd found my "one and only" and that she felt the same for me. Then in 2012 she dumped me via a Skype call, after having flown back to Europe on a flight that I'd paid for, citing things I'd done over a year previously (that had been discussed and resolved and hadn't reoccurred) as justification for breaking up. When I pointed out that she was being dishonest she said, "OK, to be fair you didn't make the same mistakes twice" but it was clear that she was feeling slimy for trying to exaggerate past grievances to back up what she was doing and didn't want to feel any more guilty about taking my money and dumping me, than she absolutely had to. She ceased all contact with me just after I agreed that she didn't have to pay me any of the money back.
When I met her I was finally convinced that the previous life had been swept away and my struggles vindicated by my perseverance and refusal to fall off the path of "hope." I had found the girl of my dreams and she accepted me for who I was. Yes, the road had been rocky but now I had a significant other who accepted me as I was and had changed me into a better, gentler man. I once posted on this very blog the words, "I love you
you have made a very cynical man realise that life can be the way I want it to
be if I just wait long enough."
In January 2012 I got a job as a postman. Being a postie in an English winter sucks big time. While the job has perks (reasonable pay, decent pension, strong union, good sickness package, health care, free boots, subsidised bicycles, free entrance to English Heritage sites etc). it also has a lot of bad aspects. The depot I work in looks like something out of the
the equipment is shabby and the vans look like the Slag Brothers' Bouldermobile
from Wacky Races.
The job is basically tiring (sometimes to the point of exhaustion), unrewarding and monotonous. I go out in the rain, the snow and the wind. It can be minus 2 degrees and unless the road's are dangerously icy, we still have to deliver. I argue with aggressive chavs, self righteous old ladies and stuck up homeowners. I get snarled at or chased by dogs and soaked to the skin.
End of the day though...for the nearly 3 years I've been doing this. It's been my choice and my choice alone to stay where I am. Absolutely no one has forced me.
I originally intended to take the job for about 3 months until I had enough cash for me and Michelle to get back together in either
or the UK. Once
she left me and my self belief imploded, I basically threw up my hands and went:
"Fuck it! I'll stick this job, what the fuck else am I gonna do?!!"
This was a reaction to the pain, desolation and misery that I felt at having lost not only the supposed love of my life but also any sense of self esteem that I'd so carefully and tenderly nurtured over the years.
Stuck in a rut was good at the time. It meant I didn't have to think too much. Nothing will distract from self pity more than being a postman in February in
This was a self imposed prison sentence. A sanction I gave myself for having failed and for not being able at age 40 to achieve what I wanted. Worst of all I believed most of the bullshit that Michelle span me about my failings as a boyfriend. Harking back to the days of my childhood and teenage years, I fundamentally believed that she was a sweet natured, generous soul who had shacked up with a guy who was immature, drank too much and had been carried by her for most of the relationship. Love is not only blind, it rewrites history. It was a long time later before I remembered that she mentioned having an imaginary friend, that she once lay on the floor screaming and crying because I wouldn't give her an Oreo cookie (solely because when we'd bought them she'd whispered "If I ask you for one don't let me have it, I'm on a diet!" and that she'd never worked the entire time we were in Mexico. All the money came from me.
So now, this self imposed sentence of 3 years is over. My mind clears and I'm left with the realisation that I could have walked away at any time. Being cold, miserable and getting paid for it feels better than being cold and miserable but on benefits.
I want and I deserve only the very best.
Yeah, I like that more.
*** Apart from possibly being a postie in winter in Scotland.