““I wasn’t crying about mothers,” he said rather indignantly. “I was crying because I can’t get my shadow to stick on. Besides, I wasn’t crying.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
For most of my early twenties I felt my approach to any kind of issue in my personal relationships was perfectly captured by the episode of Sex and the City where Robert surprises Miranda with a cookie that has ‘I Love You’ spelled out on it in frosting. She promptly eats the whole thing because, as she tells Carrie the next day, if it wasn’t there, then she didn’t have to deal with it. Then later, when Robert then asks her what she thought of the cookie, she has nothing to say, because, as she explains to Carrie, she’s so fucked up.
Now, I haven’t felt the need to refer to that particular piece of television in so long that I had congratulated myself on having grown out of that phase of my life.
Today, however, I realised that the reason that I haven’t thought of it in so long may actually be because that ‘out of sight/out of existence’ philosophy has gradually seeped into most of the rest of my life, to the point where I’m really in denial about pretty much everything.
I mean, I think I hide it pretty well, evidently even from myself. Nobody who’s seen the whirlwind of activity that has been my job hunting frenzy since I found out I wasn’t going to China would look at me and imagine that I don’t know how to tackle a problem, or that I struggle to come up with solutions. But it’s not problem solving that’s the problem. I’m great at solving problems. And I have pages and pages of creative ideas on how I can increase my employability, make extra money, and just generally get myself out of this unexpected unemployment scenario. The problem is that I only employ these skills very selectively; to just a few of the many things that I really need to sink my teeth into.
And I can’t even begin to work out why this is. Other than perhaps habit. Or the fact that it’s been just too easy not to bother. And because if I don’t look as these things, as with Miranda’s cookie, well, then they’re not really there and I don’t have to deal with them.
Several of the issues I’m currently in denial about are irresponsible, and one just flat out makes me a bad person.
But when I suggested to myself earlier that it might be time to man up and get a handle on things, I gave myself a panic attack. And then I cried to Natalie Portman about how I really wasn’t coping.
I studiously ignore everyday, inconsequential things as well.
My mail is delivered to a lock box in the post room downstairs. I haven’t checked it in so long I couldn’t even tell you. Long enough that I still don’t know whether anybody sent me a Christmas card. There’s no logical reason why I should be avoiding my mail, it’s ninety-five percent junk anyway. But I can’t face the thought of seeing it.
It’s almost as seldom that I bother to check my emails, for much the same reason..
I put off calling my lawyer for so long that she left me a voice message asking me to confirm that I was still alive. We then had a perfectly innocuous conversation, that lasted all of about three minutes. No real conceivable reason why we couldn’t have done that at the beginning of January.
And I rarely check my bank balance either. I’m not destitute or anything. I’m not worried about money; at least I wasn’t until last Wednesday. It’s just that the thought of knowing exactly how much is in my account on any given day inexplicably freaks me out.
I’m just a bit, well, fucked up, really. Maybe the Chinese were right about me after all.
photo credit: HBO