Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Drinking in The Source cafe in Carlisle

A few minutes ago when I decided to add this post I tried to think of a clever title but I can't manage it tonight, which will come as no surprise to a few of my ex-girlfriends...

Seriously though, I'm effectively 3 days into an 8-day Taiji seminar with one of the best Taiji practitioners on the planet and I'm already feeling the effects. A couple of weeks ago at my monthly acupuncture appointment the acupuncturist said the 4 months of unemployment have obviously been good for me as I've 'uncoiled' during that time. What the uncoiling means is that I've had some moments of ridiculous emotional release: when BT told me they couldn't move my phone number to the new place without sending an engineer round and charging me £125 for the privilege I sat around crying (yes, crying) and whining plaintively to myself, saying "What have I done?" regarding the momentary stupidity that ended my previous relationship and, therefore, my previous life. Of course, by the following day I'd resolved to find a way around BT and their anal-intrusive ways, and I did.

The 'uncoiling' has also meant I've somehow become a lot more comfortable with who I am and what I want from my life. During the few minutes after my stupid mistake, when my then girlfriend was screaming at me (it was justified - although it's not actually the truth, it did look as though I was trying to get another woman into bed, so I deserved the treatment I got at the end) she said "What do you fucking want?" Now that was anger, frustration and confusion erupting out of her and of course no answer was required at the time. That's good, because I don't know if I could have told her - I'm not sure if I really knew the answer or was just too scared to say it, but I wouldn't have said anything no matter what. Now I know exactly what I want and I'll tell anyone who listens. I want something that the vast majority of people would be unable to give, and almost all of them would refuse to admit that they wouldn't be able to give: I want to be accepted as I am. Think about the implications of that for a while and you'll see why most people wouldn't be up to it.

That means there's a chance I could be alone, i.e. not in a sexual & emotional relationship with a woman (sorry guys, I'm straight so my bedroom has a licence for only one penis: mine) for a long time. However, I'm actually so much more happy at the moment I really don't mind. This is probably a combination of the time I've had to unwind, the new experiences I've had, the few days I've spent practicing Taiji with a teacher so good even being in the same room as him improves your practice, the pleasant time I'm having in Carlisle and the bottle of wine I've guzzled this evening. Today was the 'break' in the Taiji seminar so tomorrow is the start of the remaining 5 days and therefore the start of the tougher, deeper and potentially more transformative work.

I spent today wandering through Carlisle in the rain and just enjoying the experience of being alive. I visited the Cathedral and the Castle but drew the line at paying £5.20 to visit the Museum & Art Gallery. I sat in a pub for nearly 2 hours enjoying the great jukebox (Metallica, Johnny Cash, Iron Maiden, QOTSA, Linkin Park) and my book (Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead") before walking down the road to a Costa Coffee and sitting in there for an hour too. Now I'm in the cafe 'attached' to the dojo/kwoon where the Taiji seminar is being held. I took advantage of the free practice period tonight and after about an hour's work I was pleased to see some of the effects of Patrick's teaching have stuck already so the first 3 days were obviously worthwhile. The remaining 5 days are going to be great, I just know it.

Anyway, the point was that I may be alone for a long time. Given my impotence the chance of my getting any occasional casual sex is pretty much nil unless the woman is happy for a bloke with a beard (yes, I like it and it's staying) to go down on her and do nowt else. At the moment the taste of a good woman, eventually followed by the sound of a good woman's orgasm, would be very welcome. I don't really expect it to happen and my days of strolling languidly through the rain-soaked and slightly pungent streets of Carlisle have reinforced a single idea: I don't care. Nothing is static, everything changes: even a corpse gradually rots away, so I don't think this feeling of solitary bliss will last for very long but while it's here I'm enjoying it.

I'm going to be pretentious and end on a quote from Rudyard Kipling:

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it you will be lonely often and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

No, I'm going to be even worse and end on a quote from Henry Rollins:

"Fuck all y'all."