Tag Archive | social anxiety

In Memoriam

On Saturday March 21st, 2015 I had the great honour of giving a tribute at my late Latin and Ancient Greek teacher’s memorial service.  He was an octogenarian when he retired and, indeed when he taught me for my GCSE and A Level exams.  Though he was a private man who mostly kept himself to himself and his humour in check (before pupils, at least it seems!), Mr David Horton was a genteel and amiable soul to write about and to recall in front of – I believe – a hundred or so ex-pupils, former colleagues and old schoolmates.  Two others preceded my brief eulogy, including one of Mr Horton’s first Classics students whereas I was his last proper Classics pupil at Chigwell School.  Mine was the shortest reflecting the time in which I knew the man himself but I am led to believe it had a measure eloquence and wit about it…a tall order considering that only a few hours before I was throwing up and passing out in a bathroom, bruising my arm on a cleaning bucket in the process!

I find social speaking and public speaking nigh-on impossible now, but to speak for such a man, a teacher I hold up as the best example of what I should aim to be, was a privilege had I passed it up, the nightmares truly would have never stopped.  For those of you who deem that last statement hyperbolic, even if you did not know the person intimately, when you feel the loss of a hero or admired figure whom you know you will spend the rest of your life emulating and trying to replicate in the hope of being just as good but knowing full well that you’ll be lucky to be a third as good, your mind does seep through the cracks into the darkness percolating below.

So, I can truly say I will miss Mr Christopher David Horton and I will forever treasure the gift of learning and knowledge he gave me during the final years of his long lifetime.

And now…I have recorded below a 98% accurate transcript of my speech, should you be curious, should you be needing it someday.

Good afternoon, everyone.

Now, I have many memories of one of the greatest inspirations to me, David Horton, all of which come from my Ancient Greek GCSE lessons where it was just him and me in a room in Radley’s Yard during lunchtimes, or band rehearsals and concerts where he would play the trombone, or even A level lessons where he taught a class of three pupils about Tacitus and the uses of the gerundive – a tough task, which I can now fully appreciate as a Classics-Teacher-to-Be – and finally, the chapel services where he played the organ.

Before I launch into an encomium, I would like to just share one anecdote with you all that in my view sums up the man that was David Horton.  Let me take you back to my GCSE year when Mr Horton was around eighty and I was the only student of Ancient Greek.  He used to teach me unseens and prose composition, two of the things I found most difficult and therefore made for difficult lesson time.  Now, back when I was a less PC and tactful person, I just had to tell Mr Lord that I didn’t want to have Mr Horton as a teacher anymore.  When he was shocked to hear this, he asked me why I didn’t want a teacher willing to devote his lunch hour to teaching me, my answer was that during that hour, only the two of us were in Radley’s Yard.  This worried me because I was scared that if Mr Horton had a heart attack I’d be the only one there with no idea how to help.  This did make Mr Lord laugh but he informed me that Mr Horton was still driving and teaching so he would be around long after I took my GCSE’s.  What I was not expecting was that this exchange reached the ears of my Greek teacher and all he could do was laugh and in the next lesson told me to pay more attention to my genitive absolutes instead of his health.  A classicist’s humour but a good sense of humour nonetheless…

I could relate the intricacies of the lessons, and how I’m pretty sure that Mr Horton knew every word in the Ancient Greek and Latin lexica, but that would be a poor tribute for the man who had higher value than the syllabus allowed.  For, it’s not the learned Tacitus or the grasped past participle which is what I remember from Mr Horton’s time as my teacher.  The inspiration and fond memory came from the incredible life he lived, spending as much of it – as I believe is almost humanly possible – in Chigwell School both as a pupil and subsequently as a Classics master.

I asked Mr Horton once if he had a favourite student and – not entirely to my surprise – he replied that it is the current Head of Classics, Mr Chris Lord, who was his pupil when he too was at Chigwell.  As both attended the same college at Oxford and then returned to this unique school to teach Classics, I cannot help but see Mr Horton as the beginning of the pathway that is guiding me through my life and that is the greatest gift any teacher or anyone for that matter, can give a fellow human being or student.  Thanks to the role Mr Horton played in my life, showing me that teaching can be both a career, a vocation and a lifestyle choice, I am now on track to be a Classics teacher.  I will conclude by saying that Mr Horton was a substantial part of the Classics teaching staff at this school and because of his example, his life’s work for Chigwell School, I am finding and making a way to one day carry on the tradition he began here and do it the justice he deserves as a superlative teacher and it is an honour to speak about him to all the people who came today to remember him, which is more of a testament to his memory than my words could ever give.

Finally, I will offer some words by Cicero, seeing as this is a memorial service for a Latin teacher: vita mortuorum in memoria est posita vivorum.  That is: the life of the dead is placed on the memories of the living.

Thank you.

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

24-03-2015

Words of Tender Loving Care (TLC)

Many people say stupid, dumb stuff to people who suffer from mental health issues and disorders.  I won’t – personally – dirty the homepage of this blog with them, so if you want to view the kind of thing I mean, check out this page: Worst Things to Say to Someone who’s Depressed.  What I want to focus on just a few days after 2015 has begun (Happy New Year, by-the-by…) is how much in 2014 and before that, people have helped me with their actions, but more importantly their words.  You will probably have heard the children’s rhyme: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” but I am a firm believer that the opposite is true, succinctly, that physical violence and pain I can take but I can never forget and it takes me so long to forgive the words that come out of people’s mouths (including mine sometimes!).  A Bible passage that has always spoke volumes to me, ever since – in fact – I heard it paraphrased in the LuxVide TV movie, St. Paul, “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man” (Matthew 15:11).  I realise that this is primarily concerned with imposing the rules on meat and foodstuffs on converts to Christianity and peoples who were not originally Jewish, but I found it so meaningful and applicable to someone, like myself, who does find that words sting more than whacks!

Anyway, the true reason for this mini-article/spiel is to thank all the people (not just the ones whose words are featured in the world cloud below) who have said kind, helpful and lovely things to me in the past year.  The most poignant and effective words that can swing me out of my depressive and anxious ruts are the ones that remind me of:

  1. the fact that I am/can be loved
  2. the bravery that I show by not killing myself every day
  3. the great number of people in the world – like me – who suffer from mental illness(es)
  4. the awareness that I have talents such as writing and compassion that are valued by others
  5. the kindness of people, people who don’t treat you like the broken soul you feel and the disaster you are

So, there you have it, in the spirit of the New Year and new pages being turned, this article is as positive as I can make it and I hope you will take a moment to peruse the passages written by family, friends and commentors in my oddly put together word cloud below.

Blog Word cloudLaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

04-01-2015

Let it Go

I am about to attempt something completely new and different (can you tell that’s the theme over the past week or so?).  I am going to attempt to communicate the way I feel about depression and social anxiety and coping with the aforementioned through music and a video blog.  So, this post is less wordy than my others but I hope you will play the video below and listen and see what it is I want to say but often am unable to.  Otherwise, stick around and the next post in my guest series will be up presently!

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

12-11-2014

The Hunger Games: The Odds Never In My Favour

I don’t know that anyone who doesn’t live in the barren countries in Africa or a refugee camp in the Middle East can claim to know or experience true hunger.  However, when you suffer from an anxiety disorder that can lead to hospitalisation and hours of seemingly endless regurgitation as I do, I can assure you that hunger is a very real and recurrent sensation.

It is a shame but I cannot actually recall when my inability to eat began, in fact, to put it plainly, I cannot remember a time when I could sit down to eat and not have to fret about how close the bathroom was or how to make sure I always had a cold liquid to hand.  It’s been that long!  My earliest memories are of me dashing through the halls just beyond Chigwell School dining hall to heave my guts out.  The funny thing about the many times when my lunch at school didn’t go to plan was that often I would fly past the deputy head (the school taskmaster) and they were the only times he never told someone off for running in the hallways.  Small comfort, I know…

I cannot speculate on the matter of how the trouble started, only that it started when I was very young and still has a hold over my eating habits to this day.  I don’t know if it arose on account of how busy a child I was what with musical commitments and studying – yes, I was a geek/nerd at school and am still – but I know that it is nothing whatsoever to do with the actual food.  Doctors have diagnosed it as allergies, but been unable to determine the specific allergen, my mother (a pescetarian) reckons it’s because I eat meat, but I believe it is caused by anxiety and stress.  I think that at some point during my formative years, I must have thrown up during a meal and thereupon developed a kind of psychosis towards eating with people and in a stressful – aka formal – setting, for I am not sick when I eat alone as much as I am when dining in a restaurant and/or in company.

As I’ve said already, I have been hospitalised on numerous occasions because of this and been referred to a throat and mouth specialist in the hospital later, but I do not care about the blood that shows when I am sick more than once per meal, I can easily disregard the tonsillitis that flares up as a secondary symptom on account of stomach acids aggravating my tonsils, and even the cuts I’ve got on the back of my throat from when I’ve had to stick my fingers down my throat in order to feel better on the third or fourth regurgitation matter very little to me.  What I would give anything for to be healed and eliminated is the debilitating sense of failure, wrongness and guilt which accompany the physical sickness.

One of the phrases I am known for using when I see or am referring to a particularly problematic or jarring human being is “it’s like God threw up a person” and though I know it’s not an especially pleasant or eloquent statement, I feel it sums up the sheer inadequacy of the current settings in a situation where you cannot simply press a button to restore factory settings (please pardon the IT Crowd divergence).

The current settings on my body’s mainframe seem to be to fail whenever possible and not backup any crucial information or just shut down at a moment’s notice.  In other words, my body is the MS DOS of computers!  My body does not function with speed or finesse and cannot do the most  basic functions that I expect of it in this – or any, for that matter – day and age.  I am now 21 years of age and despite my romantic, mental, sexual and social lives being non-existent or at best deeply dysfunctional, I feel I am well within my rights to beg the divine beings in the world, to just let me be able to sit down to eat without worrying myself and my fellow diners and having to locate the restrooms ahead of time and then panic if they seem more than a minute’s gallop away.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence): heroine of The Hunger Games franchise

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence): heroine of The Hunger Games franchise

So, to conclude, I guess I am luckier than the poor souls who live without food and don’t know from where their next meal is coming, but (#thirdworldproblems) having a lobster Thermidor or the best bangers and mash in the country (from The Waggon & Horses, Lymington) steaming and appetising on a plate in front of you and then replacing it into a toilet bowl is a kind of Tantalean torture of the 21st century that is hard to bear.  All I am saying is that people forget or dismiss depression and anxiety because so often there is no physical repercussion, however, this post serves as proof and a cautionary tale that mental illness can lead to and perpetuate all kinds of physical trauma.  Mine is the certain regurgitation and the competition between keeping food down and defeating my body or letting it get the better of me and vacate my stomach.  It’s a game of mealtime and a game that until it’s solved and I have help I can not be expected to win.  I just have to apologise constantly and continuously to the people with whom I sit down to meals for worrying them and for consistently flying from the table.

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

23-09-2014

Words of Wisdom

Just wake up put your head to think what you are at university for and knuckle down with your studies. Do not waste all this time on Facebook. Socialise in person to relax with your favourite friends and try to be happy.Do your best. Life will always have ups and downs so learn to face them and overcome them but do not publish your FEELINGS on Facebook.

This comment was written to me on Facebook on a message to a group of friends that just frankly and unemotionally excused myself from a social engagement that I did not feel I could participate in.  It was written by a member of my family.  

I can put into words precisely how it made me feel just reading those words from someone who I used to trust as part of my family and it epitomises just the reason why I hesitate and refrain from trusting my family members.  Most of them are nice to me, or at least civil, yet there are always going to be those who refuse to see that messages and offhand comments like the one above have the power to break me.

Part of the reason my mythomania, social anxiety and depression remained undiagnosed and untreated for so long, resulting in countless times when I tried to kill myself and/or self-harm, is because a lot of people still believe that mental illnesses exist only in people’s head and by simply willing them away they will dissolve into nothing.  My mother believes this along with the majority of her family.  On numerous occasions, she has taken away my medication or instructed me to stop taking it and she claims to be a holistic therapist…well, if I did and I would be a danger to myself without the SSRI’s to keep me as level-headed as I am ever likely to be and if I topped myself during that time, that would make my mother a therapist who kills people.  That’s good for business!

I am not well at the moment.  I haven’t left my flat in a week.  I have lied about going out but the shame and guilt that I feel when I just can’t stomach the feeling of being among other people and just when I feel sure I will tomorrow, I read that message and everything comes crashing down. I have tried to tell myself that the person who sent that message has no power over me and therefore neither do his words, but we all know it’s not that simple (if it were, I’d probably be going clubbing tonight).  I wish I could reply and just tell the sender to stick it where the sun don’t shine but I still respect the majority of my elders (like a good Indian girl…) even if I get no respect in return.  I just wish that someone else who saw that message would stick up for me and say what I cannot: that words like those help no one and people who say those kinds of things to people like me are guilty of cyberbullying and victimisation.  I know it’s passing the buck, but when things like that are ignored by those who could and would lose nothing to speak up, the kindness of the human race dies just a little bit more.  With wars in the Middle East and religious extremism I know it is a small thing, but it is the small things in life that matter most…that make us human.

I have been watching the reimagined 2003 series of Battlestar Galactica and the issue of what separates humans from others is a central theme.  It has made me think a lot about what humans endure from themselves and things of their creation.  On that subject, Facebook as a social site is fantastic for so many things, but as a means to inflict your opinions and derision on others, it works unfortunately well too.  I do think that feelings, particularly those of a personal nature, should be kept off Facebook.  I used to expose myself awfully on Facebook and the knowledge that I was vulnerable and baring my soul to that world was part of the reason I began this blog, to put one more button between myself and the rest of the world.  It works.  I did not expose any feeling on Facebook which is what my relative accuses me of so their words were not only hurtful and resultant in me questioning my family’s love and my value to them if they continue to treat me with such disparagement.

Some people think that giving people who suffer from depression and the like goals and targets to achieve is the best thing to do for them.  I agree for the most part.  Aims and goals are good, they give life meaning and purpose, but ordering people with imperatives is undue pressure and makes aims and goals seem impossible and negative.  Capital letters don’t help either.

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

20-02-2014

The Worst Side of Me

I have written ad nauseam about my delusions, my social anxiety, my depression and everything else I face on a daily basis at the same time as having to face my lecturers and tutors at university, but the one thing that I have only alluded to and claimed to suffer from is my mythomania.  This I will remedy today.

Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”  Though he was arguably one of the smartest men of the 19th century, I can guarantee he knew no one who had to live with mythomania…  It is one of the mental disorders I have lived with for longest, outliving even the depression.

Lying and bending the truth is such a commonplace thing in today’s society (don’t worry I’m not turning this into a treatise on deception!) and most of you will have heard at some time or another, the terms ‘pathological lying’ and ‘compulsive lying’.  I have looked into both of these things and what I have comprehended from my gander on the Internet is that compulsive liars need lies to protect their egos and regret the deceit, but pathological liars lie to obtain their goals and have no qualms about doing so.

Now, I can tell you that I fit into neither category and thus can only be defined as a mythomaniac because I do feel guilt – of the most painful and devastating ilk – and it is not always a conscious decision to tell a lie.  Don’t get me wrong: a lot of the time I am responsible for the utter crap that comes out of my mouth and I openly and willingly acknowledge that, but at other times, I most certainly am not!

I had a very memorable and humbling experience when I was seven years old during my first year at the school that was my home until I was eighteen which I believe I can hold responsible for the conception of mythomania in my young, virgin head.  I won’t describe it in too much detail, even though I recall it as though it was yesterday, because I am currently on a bit of a roll mentally and I don’t want to have a nightmare about it tonight and relapse, but I’ll give you the cliff notes!

One of my friends, whom I knew because she lived in the same village as me, told me after a (what turned out to be fake!) phone call to her mother that her brother had died in tragic circumstances.  I believed her – seven year old that she was then too – and commiserated with her and went with her to the Head’s office and all that jazz.  Before I knew what was going on, I was being called in to all sorts of offices myself and being asked where I was at the time of the telephone call and what I had said.  I had no clue what was happening, but the teachers seemed to think I had informed ‘my friend’ that her brother had copped it.  That was not all, for when I claimed innocence, still no one believed me, not even my own parents.  Eventually, the true perpetrator confessed all and then I was apologised to profusely, but that couldn’t undo what had already been done.  In those couple of days, the days when I was known throughout the lower school as the very worst kind of person: a liar and a loner, I had been shown that deceit and an honest look could achieve things and bear fruit.  I know I did not consciously decide to start lying but I do truly think that this incident forced that concept into my brain and before I could eradicate it, off I went lying and bending truths.  Needless to say, that was the end of little, innocent me…

All through my formative years I lied.  I didn’t always get caught.  I didn’t always know I had told a lie until after I had spoken the words.  Sometimes – if I was answering a question or just filling in a silence – there would be nothing to prevent me from being honest, but instinctively a lie would fall from my lips and then I couldn’t go back.  Have you ever seen a web of lies?  No, course you haven’t, because they’re metaphorical!  But, I have been trapped in them for so long that the spiders have invited friends over to partake in the delight is me because there was no escape for me.  Certain doom was in my future and I couldn’t flee from it no matter what I did.

At school, you would have thought someone would have noticed and called me on it, but this did not happen.  Of course, people noticed that I lied most of the time but sadly, I was enabled by their infinite understanding.  My school was both the best and the worst place for me.  It was great because it furnished me with the home-from-home that I needed and craved because I loathed and suffered in my familial home but all the extra consideration and leniency I merited because of my dire domestic situation worked against me in terms of my mythomania because instead of punishing me for its presentations, I was let off the hook.

Now that I am at university and am receiving a king’s ransom’s worth of help from various campus medical, academic and administrative services, I still find that I lie to people about various things and I get away with it, just because so few people are aware of it and even less aware that I suffer from it.  Just as a sidenote, isn’t it an interesting thing to say: I suffer from it?  It implies I’m the one who truly suffers from mythomania, and in some ways, I guess I really do, but with that particular ingredient in my cocktail of mental problems, it’s probably everyone I lie to who suffers the most.  That realisation is making my heart heavier even as I write but it is true.  How despicable I must be that I’m only realising that now!  Of course, I knew I was hurting people with every word but I always thought of myself as the one and only victim.  You can all call me stupid now if you like because that is precisely how I’m feeling now.  To quote Sherlock: “Off piste a bit, back now, phew!”, and in doing so I return to the topic of awareness of mythomania because I truly believe that if someone during my pubescent years at school would have called me out on it or just realised that it was present, I might have been able to get some help sooner and possibly, just maybe I might have been able to hit it on its proverbial head.  As it is now, now that I’m as much of an adult as I am ever likely to be, it feels distinctly like I’ve missed the opportunity.  So the moral of this particular paragraph is: don’t enable people who lie because there maybe something more behind it than just artless fibbing.

As I said earlier, this blog is my only completely and entirely point blank honest mode of communicating.  That does not mean that everything else I say is false, but I lie in my personal journal, I lie in life, I will most likely discover a rather witty way to lie in death, but I do not lie in blog!  Just thought I’d reaffirm that now…seemed like the most prudent thing to do.

On the subject of coming clean and confessing to lies, which is something I have done in the past in order to wipe the slate clean, though it did turn out that all the slate needed was a clean so there was more space to fill with new lies, I would just like to tell you about a bit of a harrowing mini-episode in my life that happened during my sixth form years (I forget which one).

I spent a week truly loathing myself and wallowing in self-pity and pondering my sorry lot and bewailing my existence but at its conclusion I decided that I would come clean and disclose all the untruths I had told in the past ten or so years to all my friends and acquaintances via a Facebook status.  Don’t I just wish that somebody, anybody had been aware of my plan so that they could have convinced me not to do such a tomfool thing.  Sadly, I don’t have the luxury of a guardian angel – I don’t deserve one – and I let myself in for a world of hurt.

Most people just crucified me on Facebook and let it be online but not bring it up in person, which I was able to cope with as I find trolling and Facebook and/or Youtube and/or Fanfiction.net insults and negative comments fine to cope with as there is no tangible person associated in my mind with the words.  There were, however, as there always are in these types of situation, a select few who thought I needed to suffer a bit more.  That was a bit more gruelling but the odd, offhand comment calling me a liar walking to and from classes and at breaks wasn’t unbearable – I just hid from people but as a socially anxious person, that was quite agreeable to me.  The worst moment which has stuck in my memory and will permanently be plastered there occurred during one of my French lessons while the teacher was absent.  Our French AS level (I’ve remembered!) class was only small, consisting of approximately 7-8 people.  A guy who was in my house and whom I knew relatively well decided to reference my mythomania and my revelation just in a dull and unrelated conversation and I swear – slightly hyperbolically – that the shock nearly killed me.  At the very least, I was seconds away from a conniption fit when it happened.  I froze.  I ceased to exist.  I went to my happy place, if you will.  I would have completely lost control of my nervous system had one of my best friends at the time not just stood up for me and rebutted that I was actually quite brave in my actions and caused my attacker to shut the hell up quickly.  I will never forget the gratitude and shock and relief at that precise moment.  It remains one of the few occasions in my life where a man – or anyone else – has stood up for me and not left me out to dry by myself.  The funny thing is: when I thanked him for his chivalry later, he had completely forgotten that he had done it.  Just goes to show…

The best thing about university is that although classes can – in select modules – be that size, people respect each other.  For, I do my best to appear unapproachable in lecture halls and classrooms because I cannot even contemplate speaking to a stranger without feeling physically sick but everyone is mature enough, respectful enough and more crucially, insightful enough to see and understand that, and then give me a wide berth.  That is the great thing about university.  People are different, can be different and can be allowed to be different.

Hope today’s post proved insightful and hopefully, educational, for you.

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

11-02-2014

High Aspirations, Low Expectations

First off, I have to make an apology.  I don’t think I’m going to finish off relating incidents like I said I would in the last post.  I have just thought better of it since I do not want to dredge up old memories but spend more of my life in the now and looking forward.  I’m not saying I won’t go into it, I’m just not going to force anything on this blog; it just doesn’t feel natural if I plan it too much.

I have had a social weekend for once as Saturday is my best friend’s 21st birthday and it has been an interesting time dealing with the feelings I was having while in the company of others and in the aftermath.  The events themselves were exceedingly different but as always, in some ways were painfully similar.  Yesterday was with strangers and acquaintances along with my friends out in the big, bad world and that day was small and only with my friends in the comfort and security in my own home.

Starting off with yesterday, I went out on a pub crawl in the nearby, idyllic town of Topsham, famous for its Topsham Ten (or, as it is now, really, Six!) pub crawl with my best friend and seven other people.  It was difficult.  It was difficult conjuring up the courage to leave my house having been so scared I got no sleep the previous night.  It was difficult waiting at the train station and believing that everyone else had got an earlier train and left me behind.  It was a mammoth, Herculean effort that forced me to try and be congenial for the good of the group and my best friend who is one of my few kindred spirits in this world.

My first observation of the day was that as always when I am around people in relationships, I find myself feeling uncomfortable and more depressed than I might be otherwise.  It is not that I wish I were attached or that I require the company, it is more that I feel like a wallflower and want to melt away into a puddle and flow all the way home.  You may think that I might be more comfortable being ignored in company because then I would not have to engage with the company present, but it oddly doesn’t work that way.  It makes me wish more that I could be normal and enjoy myself in groups and for once, win the game of social poker (something I’ll expand on later).

I was going well for a while.  The drinking was a big help and I did drink a lot, but eventually I hit the peak of my contentment in company and I started to come down, and then, I was properly sinking.  I noticed it just after we walked into the most crowded pub of the night and I felt really out of place.  As I was trying to check to see when the train left for Exeter, it did seriously enter my mind that I could just shoot through and leave on my own.  I got as far as just round the corner from the pub and I turned back because there really isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my best friends and I would never ruin their birthday celebrations, especially since I know what that feels like…

Going off on a tangent quickly on the topic of things I do for my best friends, I do not do much for them, in fact, I’m pretty sure I am the biggest and heaviest burden they carry.  I am hurt, and not just hurt, hurt badly and sorely, often.  Even the merest slight and rejection can be like a knife in the back to me and normal people are busy and have lives so slights and rejections happen.  The game of social poker as I call it earlier is a game of chance and a game of social poker.  When you are a student there are tons of house parties and loads of big group socials and social occasions to attend and get drunk at.  I can neither leave the house on most days nor be amongst lots of people.  Thus, I am always dealt the lower hand, for if an evening is spent with me, then it is spent giving attention to only a few, whereas when one of my best friends chooses to spend a night at a club with their mates or at a house party – the higher hand – the evening is more productively spent.  Every time this happens and it happens often, I do something for my best friends: I forgive them for hurting me though “they know not what they do”.  I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing anymore for either side, as I lose a little bit more of my self-respect every time it happens and I believe I am less and less worthy of attention each time and I am not sure if it isn’t just them finally tiring of throwing me a bone every now and then.

That is what happened on Saturday night after we were all pub crawling from 2-9pm!  Before the caper in Topsham, I made plans (and told my friends!) to go back to my flat and have a movie night with my friends like we used to do in the old times before I confessed my undying love for one of them and more or less made the other one feel uncomfortable at being included in the message (that is a subject that deserves its own post).  I wish that I could just go back in time and tell my stupid, foolish, lovesick, desperate, multi-adjectival self to shut the fuck up and then, maybe, I’d still have two best friends who could spend time with me without feeling like I was thinking about…well, things.  What upset me the most wasn’t that they chose the house party, that was inevitable, it was more that although the birthday boy and his girlfriend were sort of coerced but that my other best friend actually just forgot that he had agreed to come back to mine in the first place.

Sadly, I had the losing hand and there was a house party going on somewhere else in Exeter, so as usual, I went home alone, drank at home alone, slept at home alone.

Yesterday was a better day except I felt like the four Smirnoff Ices, medium glass of Chardonnay and Malibu and Coke and Jack Daniel’s Shot I had the previous night.  I saw my cousin and his girlfriend on their way home from Cornwall and they were lovely as they always are.  I was looking forward to hosting the film night that was supposed to happen the previous night, but I should have known that that was the queen of wishful thinking.

I managed to get at least three of the four invitees round (guess which one went with the upper hand the Superbowl and Walkabout played?) to watch “Me, Myself & Irene” and while I had hoped for a proper go of a film night, there were calls and texts and before I could really process everything, everyone had gone and I drank some more, watched some more and ate some more…all alone.

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LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

03-02-2014