Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Right now, I have a number of posts, all unpublished, where I try to make sense of things. Because lately, quite a few things haven't been making sense.

There's a post where I try to make sense of Glasgow. A post where I try to make sense of the choices we've made (of which Glasgow is one). None published, for fear of how I might sound, or whether i was saying the right thing.

That too is a symptom of a greater malaise that's going on. Or several greater malaises that I've not been able to put my finger on. And the thought of voicing any of these things at all has made me feel unbelievably ungrateful.

But I've realised I feel better when I write things down. No one reads this anyway I'm sure.

Let's start by saying we are damned lucky. We have a house, a great house, in an amazing area, in the most buzzing part of a ridiculously wonderful city.  I work for myself, J works an easy 15 minute walk away. We both do jobs that others envy. I can pop out across the road for a cup of organic coffee, a dozen oysters, a handmade artwork, yoga, an artisan cocktail or any number of hipster bingo numbers. Our families are healthy and we never stop being thankful for this, or surprised and grateful for the house and the area we live in. I can make it all look great on Instagram.

By those measures, the measures that generate envy, we have an enviable life.

But recently, I had a meeting with a business mentor, who asked me a personal question that made me realise: Damnit. I'm really lonely.

I have a few friends - some close, some pub friends, all lovely. But I work alone all day, looking out over a car park in an empty house. Friends have jobs - I am eternally grateful for those that meet me for coffee and lunches in the week. I probably talk their ears off because for the last three days, I've only spoken to J and said a polite hello to the neighbours and the postman.

I don't think I'm built to be on my own like this. Loneliness does funny things to you. It makes you fearful and wrecks your concentration. For a long time, I thought it was a failing in me - but speaking to others helps me realise that there's a reason solitary confinement is generally regarded as punishment.

I've looked into shared workspaces - Glasgow has one option. It's in the middle of nowhere and currently has 8 residents on a busy day. That's no help. You're not going to pop to the local pub if you work there.

I never wanted to work for myself. I just did it because there were no jobs. And I do OK at it. More than that, I guess, I do pretty well. But I never wanted this. And now I'm in a real career cul de sac.

There's pain and conflict in this too. J is happy here. His job is great. He works with fun and intelligent people on interesting, challenging projects and there's plenty of work. It pains him to come home to me feeling sad so many days, and I hate passing this sadness on.

There's uncertainty for us too. The independence vote would mean no work for J. The economic uncertainty in the short term may well leave us unable to move/sell the house, but with no choice but to do it.

The run up to the vote has coloured my impressions of this country, which now feels like a beautiful country full of amazing people, but nastily divided. No one is being nice about this. Whatever the result, it's going to be ugly in the run up and probably even uglier, whichever way it goes. As an English/British person, it's hard to constantly hear how problematic 'you' are from approaching 50% of the population and media.

I love Glasgow - the crazy, divided city that we live in. I love that I find artists and musicians everywhere. I hate that it is half beautiful, half decaying, struggling to prop up the massive space that it once occupied. I want it to be better, but people keep fucking fly tipping and letting their dogs shit on the pavement. And there are so many people let down by it. You see them, sitting by Central Station and think, come on city, fucking sort it out. Don't just leave them there.

But when you're sitting in the middle of Kelvingrove Park on a sunny day, kids playing, bagpipes humming, ice cream in hand, skaters, tightrope walkers and the musuem and university reminding you to be better, it's the best place. The city has a lot of places like this. But between them, these cracks.

But when I go to visit family and I see my mum very manfully not crying when we get in the car to leave for another two months... telling me not to be daft when I try to give her another hug (because I saw her trying not to cry and she knows another hug will tip her over), I feel empty. When my little nephew hugs me and I tell him that if he does that again, I won't want to go home. And he says hopefully 'you're not going home?'

When my mum just keeps saying how lucky she is - lot of people's kids go to live in other countries for Pete's sake, and I know she's saying it for herself and not me.

When my mum tells me she's having a bad week and I work out if there's any way I can see her in the next few days, maybe a shopping trip... no. It's three hours for both of us on the train. She jokes about getting a season ticket for Flybe when we have a family, but honestly, we both know it's £250 each time in return flights. I fear being pregnant and alone when J works away, and alone with children after that.

When we go to England, and the smell after the rain makes me feel almost queasily homesick.

The options open to us now are that I either deal with this - and so, I'm seeing someone to see if I can. Maybe the problem is just me. Maybe it's just chronic homesickness.

Or: Bristol. Moving back to England. Family are closer. Old friends are closer. Will that solve anything? Who knows. We will have to sell our lovely house. J will lose his job certainty. Though if the Yes vote happens, this happens anyway. We have to leave.

The feeling of uncertainty morphs into a feeling of apathy. If all the choices are kind of wrong and you feel guilty about even asking these questions, it seems hard to motivate yourself.

And that's where I am now. There's not much of a conclusion here, except that.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really sorry to hear you're having such a hard time at the moment. Loneliness can do strange things to a person. I hope your situation improves soon.