Thursday, March 15, 2007

Counselling and time for thought

A very intense counselling session with Kunu today, but a worthwhile one too. She's halfway through "A Dangerous Man" ( and is finding it "gripping", so that felt nice. We talked about family and my place in it - a subject we looked at briefly last week, but in more depth today. To be honest, I got rather tearful about it but even that felt like a good place to be. A couple of times towards the end of our hour, I couldn't talk at all, as I needed to mull on stuff - but Kunu's okay with that. It's good to have somewhere where I can be silent. God, how I need that sometimes. Not that my family was an obviously difficult place to be - we were well-off, we lived in the country or, later, a nice part of the town, we took foreign holidays, etc etc. All facts which make it more difficult to look back and think that, yes, it may have been good, but it wasn't good for me.

I think it would have been better if I'd been able, at all, to get on for any length of time with my two older brothers - or they with me - but that never happened. And, no, we don't talk now. We haven't for years. My decision - it was the right one to take at the time (though the most difficult decision I've ever had to make) and it's still the right one now. And, yes, that makes me - on the outside - the cause of the family split, but at the same time I think it helps me (slowly, so slowly ...) to work towards wholeness. I don't think either of them have ever, apart from one or two notable and short-lived occasions, been my friends. And, in fact, today I would probably count both as my enemies - though it's an animosity that's been very subtly demonstrated over the years. What I remember from my childhood relationship with my siblings is a fairly constant sniping, the assumption that I was unworthy of notice and a good stooge for mockery. I also felt, particularly after my father died, that there was nobody prepared to fight my corner and I was essentially alone. I suspect that might be natural in families (fathers favour daughters, and mothers sons - hey, 'twas ever thus!), but it doesn't make it any easier to live in the environment, believe me. It might have been easier though if I'd actually made any friends at primary school, but I hadn't worked out the trick of doing that yet (that came with secondary school, thank God). The scrawny child in the playground corner? Yep, that's me. Ye gods, and then people wonder at my lack of self-esteem. Being myself with somebody else is the most difficult thing. Almost impossible. Sometimes I'm astonished when I can relate to people at all.

So, as you can see - intensive, which has made it a day for thought. And recovering from the feeling that I've just taken two steps over the bloody trenches with only an overwhelming need to discover where I left my self, and a counsellor, for company. Interesting too, that in my slow drift from the counselling session to where I'd parked a car, I met a friend coming the other way who'd also been to his counselling session. A fact about each other neither had known before. God, but Guildford is full of headcases. But on the whole we're harmless. I hope.

At home, I've flipped idly through the Radio Times, whilst sipping my decaff coffee. It felt like being normal. Which I've needed this afternoon. I've been thinking too. About how the times when I've felt most happy in myself have come from my christianity, and my relationship with Lord H. And with one or two friends when I can let the mask slip a little. No, I don't like that language. Sorry. The mask is part of me too. Something I use and dwell in. It's more like allowing another layer to surface and to exist for a while in a conversation, I think. It's happened with Jane W and Jane H, and one or two others from my past, but no-one else that I can remember. At least not face-to-face. I find it's easier to be me to the people I know only through the means of writing. It feels like a truer medium there. Most of my conversations otherwise are entertainment, not connection.

Neither is God the connection I so longed for him to be when I made my commitment when I was 18. No. Not true either. It worked for a while, but I think I was covering the issues, not dealing with them. Not that I could have dealt with them then on any level - it's only now that there seems to be time and space to think. Maybe, when I finally walked away from Evangelical christianity (I count myself as an Evangelical survivor, in so many ways) when I was 28 was in fact my first real step to adulthood, I don't know. Since then, God has become mistier, more unclear and so very uncertain. And I've tried so hard to pretend that's not so. Now, I gain every so often a sense of connection with him, but it's as if I'm walking along a path by myself which is lined by very thick woods. Now and then, there's a movement in the woods, and I sense someone might be there other than myself, but I can't see anything, not really, and the silence soons comes again. God, to me, is like that. For me, anyone who says otherwise is a liar.

In the middle of all this, I have done a few more words to "The Gifting". And yes, Simon does get sea-sick. I'm good at vomit. Tonight, I was supposed to be (a) going up to London to a Writewords ( get-together, or (b) going dancing with my non-existent dance partner, but I'm doing neither. Tonight I need to be at home. With Lord H. Watching TV and resting. God, yes, that will be good.

Today's nice things:

1. Counselling
2. Talking briefly with the friend I met in Guildford
3. Thinking.

Anne Brooke


Cathy said...

Deep stuff Anne. I feel like I want to reply to you in more detail, and will probably do so later, but privately not on a blog.


Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Cathy - appreciate the thought very much.



Peter said...

As Kathy said, deep stuff. Families are strange organisations. They say that you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family. I often think about my own siblings. I’m sure Lord H has filled you in with all the brothers and sister. They do have a huge effect on who you are, for better or worse.

OK, so you say that you were the scrawny child in the playground corner. Me too. I had two main friends at Primary/Junior school and they were only friends because on the first day of school our parents put us together. But being a scrawny child in the playground corner was something I was and that isn’t me anymore. I try to see how I am now and not how I was, too embarrassing to look back. But I hope that all my experiences has made me what I am today, and I hope I’m a better person for it.

Would you have been where you are if things were different in your younger days? If you had stacks of friends in your younger days would you now be writing books, living with Lord H etc… Would you be a different person now and would that person be the witty, intelligent and overall good egg that you are now?

Anne Brooke said...

Wise words, Lord B-I-L - and if I'd seen you in the playground I'd have DEFINITELY come over. But the concept of Lord H actually telling me anything at all, let alone about the family, did make me giggle! But don't tell me!! - he was a complete chatterbox at home and only became the strong, silent type when he met me - arggghhh!!

Ooh, and would we all be different? Gosh, I don't know - something else to think about indeed! But even if I had been different, I know I definitely wouldn't be the lovely, kind-hearted and forbearing person you always are.



Peter said...

Oh god no - Lord H has never said very much at all. Ever. I've never really known what he's thinking or how he feels about stuff. Perhaps he should do a blog!!

Anne Brooke said...

Oh lord, Peter - and you're his favourite!!! Though I think it's a close-run thing with Lady S-I-L, though Lord H thinks she scarier ...

And I daren't tell him your suggestion - he'd hide in the cupboard for a year!!! - though I think it's a great idea!