The dark and beautiful and the doomful good

Posted: August 26, 2013 in Blogs
Tags: ,

Two totally unconnected, small happenings recently made me realise something new about myself, something that perhaps I already knew on some level, but really only just dawned on the thinking part of my brain. If that even exists. I’ve always seen that my brain seems to work differently to many others, perhaps even a bit backward, and this is testament to that I guess. So first, there are two stories and then there is the connection. I am wondering if other people feel like this.

Where all best stories start, I was in the pub talking to some friends that I work with, about books. We’re not intellectuals or anything (well, speaking for myself) but most of us, avid readers and book exchangers. ‘Shantaram’ by Gregory David Roberts was the subject of discussion. I read Shantaram while I was travelling, the novel itself about the journey of a man, but as a convicted criminal, escaped from prison and on the run. While I was travelling through America, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia, this guy was travelling from the slums of Mumbai to the squalid conditions of the city’s Arthur Road Prison. And while I wasn’t subjected to physical or mental abuse from my fellow dormitory dwellers, I am quite certain that some of the living conditions were pretty similar! The book is based on some, although it’s not really known on how much, fact. It’s quite long, but amazing, a real page-turner. Someone remarked that it was quite depressing and on reflection, yes, it’s a fairly dark tale – I still absolutely loved it, I revelled in the darkness. I never got fed up of the next woe to befall the ‘Man of God’s Peace’ (Shantaram). Maybe it’s a book that you can identify more with when you are travelling yourself.

As I write this, I am in post-wedding celebration mode, aka hung-over and sleep deprived. Not my wedding I hasten to add! A wedding I attended. Most (normal) people would agree that weddings by nature are happy occasions. Yes people do cry, but those emotions come from a good place. When you hear a room full of connected people express joy, love, laughter and support and you feel the emotions that fill the room, it’s impossible to deny. On a personal level, I tend to get a mixture of emotions. While I do feel all the aforementioned good stuff, I also find myself feeling a great impending sense of doom, depression and even anxiety. This surely isn’t normal?! It’s not associated with the people getting married either, when I think back to the recent weddings I’ve attended, I can honestly say there isn’t even a snapshot of doubt in my mind about the success of the marriage. I can actually see the happy ever afters, right in the moment. At this latest wedding, on a table with five good friends, we took under our hockey and outdoor loving wings, a simply cracking lady. We all shared similar experiences and interests. She explained about an ex-husband and we learnt later from the bride that she was currently going through a divorce. During the meal I thought a lot about how this lady would have been through all the same experiences that we were all privy to, special in different ways, at her own wedding. But now, what did that day mean?

Perhaps I am pessimistic; maybe my brain is skewed towards unhappiness and anxiety! I can’t help thinking that everything so precious and treasured that is celebrated at a wedding has the fragility of a balloon in the grasp of Edward Scissorhands. The fact that it can be lost so easily makes me balk at the very notion of it. Which brings me to the connection between the joy of the dark book and the pain of the wedding, I tend to identify with pain and anguish more than I do with happiness. I absolutely love watching TV programmes about any kind of adversity that a person might have to conquer. When I was young (don’t be scared) I was fascinated by crimes and murders! By age 12 I think I’d read every book in the library about serial killers. I am also fascinated by eating disorders, addictions, especially drug addiction and depression. I have also found that in my life, it’s some of the good things that really hurt. I distinctly remember finding it very hard to hear positive comments or accept any kind of success. A counsellor once gifted some very generous compliments to me and they just made me cry vehemently.

It wouldn’t take a qualified psychotherapist to work out that maybe my self-esteem needs a bit of TLC and that may go a long way to stop the tears when someone says that I’m a good person. So what can I do to change my negative stance? I am trying to practice a simple technique; mindfulness meditation in order to try and reconnect with the beauty and joy in the world around me. It’s about enjoying the moment, being present to it and not worrying about the past or the future. Plenty of people say that being happy is just a habit, you just need to practice it. Maybe the more I practice feeling positive things the more I will be drawn to them.

I can’t imagine myself getting married, I just can’t see it, and I don’t think I could ever really believe in it. Here’s hoping my new found positive energy and focus will at least address my doomful feelings at other people’s weddings though – I’m 31, I’ve got two more left to attend this year and I can envisage some more around the corner! Or, maybe someone will change my mind?!

  1. Brian says:

    Nice post. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to reading more.

  2. Alex says:

    Hi Minnie
    No doubt relationships are fragile, but weddings for me are a demonstration that a couple (whatever gender, persuasion) are going to give commitment a shot. Doesn’t have to be a church wedding or even a civil ceremony, a friend recently got married in a pagan ceremony and it was no less of a wedding for lack of vicar or registrar. Weddings are also a party and cause to get all your family & friends in one place – so far in my life my wedding was the only occasion when it happened and I may not witness the next one in person 😉 Last comment – my grandmother married three times, my mother has married three times, each time with fresh hope and love. They say it’s hereditary – only time will tell…
    Keep writing

    • Minnie says:

      Probably another example of where I should try and let go of the idea of perfection and be prepared to give it a shot! I find it hard to imagine all my family together at once, but I can hope.

  3. Oh you will marry Min, you just haven’t found a guy with the right skills. You know, Numchuck skills… bowhunting skills… computer hacking skills…

  4. No, but I like your sleeves! Missed you! X

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