Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Confession Is Bad For The Soul

About as bad for the soul as it gets.

In the wee small hours of the morning
When the whole wide world is fast asleep,
I think of  . . .
And never ever think of counting sheep . . . .

Having had a full body massage today/yesterday doesn’t help, a massage always stirs up all the aches and pains that normally get buried during the day and then proceed to nag me all night. And without a massage I’d never get full control of my joints and never get rid of the rocks lodged in them.

It is 3 in the morning and sleep is as far away as the man in the moon.

Tomorrow/Today is my birthday, one of those with a big fat nought, the one where retirement and old age start, where you finally have to face up to the fact that you will never do any of the things your vast talents promised you’d do when you were young,

I have just been downstairs to the drinks cupboard and poured a large glass of sherry; on top of 20mg of temazepam and a double dose of paracetamol that should at least dull the feeling of dissatisfaction, even if it doesn’t knock me out sufficiently to send me into the arms of Morpheus. 

I wish I could be the kind of nightowl who sits over a glass of whiskey on the rocks, a gently smoking cigarette in the ashtray and a romantic tear glistening on her cheek. I am not even granted that dreary stereotype, being far too damned realistic and down-to-earth for any fancy rubbish like that. Besides, I neither smoke nor drink spirits.

I am the sort of insomniac who tosses and turns all night, whose thoughts are of the pointless, circular kind, who feels nothing but self pity and useless regret. And is going to be a complete wreck in the morning.

A group of boring women is taking me out to lunch tomorrow. There is no other kind of woman in rural England; the sort, for whom a good gossip is all the intellectual stimulation needed to provide a warm glow of rather nasty self satisfaction. I shall look a complete mess, which can barely be hidden under a layer of make-up. Still, at least I know how to put on a party face and these poor souls mean well; they went to the trouble of booking a table, organized others of their sort to come along and make up the numbers and they probably feel they are doing me a great favour, when all the time I feel I’m doing  penance.

I’m too bloody kind in spite of my nasty, sneering nature. I should have told them I was busy. It is my birthday, after all.

All of you would probably be overrun with family. The number of female bloggers who describe themselves as “mother of ../ wife . . ./grandmother of…./ always surprises me. I thought we’d left the era when we were somebody’s appendage behind us, and had become women and people in our own right and not valid only because we filled a niche in somebody else’s life. I’m wrong there.

I am all those wheels on somebody else’s carriage myself but I’ll be damned if I validate my existence other than by my own efforts, on my behalf. Still, it would be nice if any of the brood could be bothered to make a fuss of me on my birthday.

I was a rotten mother, always too busy earning a living and being a friend to my children. “I don’t want a friend”, my daughter, who no longer speaks to me, said, “ I want a mum, like the other kids have”. Tough tittie. Food and clothes and a roof over your head came first, my girl.

Right, that’s got rid of most of my readers. In my present state of mind I don’t care, although it would be very kind of you if you could overlook this lapse of good manners and give me the benefit of the doubt. I might behave better in future.

But now I am depressed; I am aching to go to sleep and stop talking rubbish into nothingness, which is all there is to the virtual world.

Thank Goodness, You don’t know who I am.

Confession is bad for the soul, not to mention embarrassing.

If I post this, I deserve to be evicted for stupidity.

Would you believe that the thrush has started his morning concert, and there is already enough light in the sky to see the river? I think I'll go down the bank in my nightdress and drown myself. 


  1. Oh, the dark, dastardly thoughts of the deep, dark hours of the night! Don't drown yourself in a river - wait for a big, hot , bubbling pot of Fridge Soup if you really want to drown in style!! :) In fact, forget drowning - we'd miss you too much!

  2. Oh my dear Friko, how the dark sets our mood. How the black cloud that comes to surround us, obscures any light. Those long nights were sleep eludes seem never-ending. I hope you are not too worse for the wear today and find some bright moments in the celebrations.

    Don't believe everything your depression tells you - it's operating on the limited information available to it in that dark cloud. Hopefully a gentle breeze will come and blow the cloud away, so that you can view your self and your life in the light of love.

  3. Yes, we all go through the early foggy mornings of depression and regret and a little bitterness. Usually on milestone days like birthdays. I must admit I was more admiring of your prose than what you were saying. I just love your writing style.

  4. No, not whisky on the rocks, that is just a no no, so it is good that you aren't that kind of night owl. About massages; Try another kind of massage, there are plenty to chose from and we are individuals needing different things in life - and different massages, that is something I am convinced of.
    Things will brighten up, I promise!

  5. I'm not going to say Happy Birthday , then .

    You're far nicer than me , I must say . I manage to avoid quite a few similar social events .Working with a large group of people all week , I like switching off once I get home . A friend usually prefaces invitations to group outings with " Are you coming out of your bunker this weekend ?" .

    But keep up the good work , trying to convince the women you meet that they're people , not shadows !

  6. Oh...the remembered words of sharper-than-a-serpent's tooth children. I'm glad I didn't have any. Having been a child, though, I do know that if you had been a mum like other mums, one or the other would have complained about that too.

    I think spending a luncheon with a bunch of gossipy (and by definition, boring) women would be hell on earth. Maybe it's time you said, in the middle of all the gossip, "WHO CARES?????" :-p

    S&S and I are of like minds, apparently. (An acquaintance of mine's comment: "I don't think much gets June down off her hill...")

  7. Dear Friko -- Those dark nights of the soul are awful. I wouldn't presume to make suggestions but commend to you Dorothy Parker's thoughts on the subject:

    Razors pain you; Rivers are damp;
    Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp.
    Guns aren't lawful; Nooses give;
    Gas smells awful; You might as well live.

  8. Very well said Friko, to thine own self be true and al that and sod drwonign yourself in your nightdress country women of a certain age have enough tittle tattel to gossip over without making thier smug day better for them with soemthing juicy to get thier teeth into!!

    Happy Birthday and Bon courage...

  9. Well, I will wish you the best of the day, after you've had the worst of the night. Nothing like lying awake with aches and pains to send one into a whirling descent of bleak thoughts, hurtful memories and resentment. As painful as it is, that sort of interlude (ordeal?) is as necessary as the uplifting walk-by-the-water-on-a-sunny-day to keep one balanced. I don't really want to know anyone who hasn't ever been to the dark place.
    re the women who lunch - by now you'll have been and come home. Too bad you couldn't just cancel. One day a year one deserves to say 'yea' or 'nay' without explanation. One of the greatest satisfactions for me is a cancellation. Try it.
    Birthday greetings, empathy, thanks for another thought-provoking post and a kick in the pants to get you going again. (delivered with affection, of course)
    .....and take up drinking spirits in the wee hours - it helps and, unlike sherry, won't leave you feeling a need to brush your teeth again.

  10. yep - know how that feels. I get big periods of depression and it's never over anything you can really put your finger on

    drink is never the answer though

  11. Hey Friko, by the time I saw your sad posting, many of your other friends had responded. I can only underscore their thoughts with mine. You are here on this earth for a reason - probably just to be my online friend. I need you to be your prickly deep self to make me think more deeply and perhaps from time to time differently.
    Besides, who besides you, could actually make me laugh as you threaten to do yourself in?

  12. Waiting around for "The Appendages" to organize a birthday celebration is a self fulfilling prophecy of disappointment. Plan something way ahead of time and make it happen for yourself. You can't be so convincingly independent and then change your spots once a year. Lesser mortals can't keep up. Happy, Happy Birthday to you. Order yourself something extravagant online or book a trip somewhere. Retail Therapy always works for me.

  13. I have nights that are similarly morose. Don't we all? But I hope a layer of makeup helps cover the dark circles and lunch is better than you thought. As for the post - no one could visit the dark night of the soul better. Terrific writing.

    WV - mellatin - ha!

  14. That was a dark hole you fell down. Hope you are crawling back up to the light again.

  15. "that you will never do any of the things your vast talents promised you’d do when you were young, "

    and then you go SO far beyond that in your dear honesty. I felt a bond before with you, Friko. Now it is set in gold. We are a day apart in birthdays, and mine is still a tad shy of the sixth.....but closer than not.....feel what you wish. I got your back. You know that I find that gold sometimes, enough to banish the old demons, and I trust (and hope) that having spoken this truth, you will endure...and continue posting your contribution to our lives. My pal who accorded with me in tone had to move back to the continent, and loved your scathing remarks...oh never mind. I lack your courage...

    Warm Aloha

  16. jinksy - actually, drowning is too wet; there's also not enough water in the river, i'd be bound to swim.

    Bonnie - Thanks, It's been a very good day, the sun's been out, food and drink were splendid and I can sleep some other time.

    Tabor - thanks, Tabor, I think, Limited sympathy, admiration instead. Oh well. . .

    Ann-Katrin - Course they will, by morning at the latest. The massage I have is good, but it does rather stimulate the metabolism.
    Thank you for visiting. I shall come and find you as soon as I have finished these replies.

    S& s - okay then, be like that. Don't wish me Happy Birthday. As for the shadowy type of woman, they wouldn't understand what I'm talking about.

    June - That's just not fair; I think everybody should have children. How else are you going to get your just deserts?
    The comments I get run : "Don't see much of you these days . . .", inviting an explanation.

    Vicki Lane - With D.P., I have long decided that anything as drastic as that would just cause too much bother.

    her at home - thanks H@H, sod the lot of them. On the other hand, looking at them in daylight, they're not really that bad, some of them are quite sweet, in fact;

    Pondside - it was a special birthday invitation, the whole thing arranged specially for my benefit, how could I say no thanks. That would have been hurtful and unkind. And, as it happens, it was quite pleasant in the end, the gossip content was minimal.

    Hungry Pixie - no, I don't think drink is an answer to anything. My large glass of something in the night is no more than an occasional sleeping draught.

    marciamayo - what a lovely comment; I should have had that last night, I bet I wouldn't have felt quite so whingey. I promise not to do myself in until after you have made full use of my facilities.

    English Rider - Did you really have to be quite so practical and sensible? That's my prerogative. You're quite right, consistency should be the order of the day. Besides, I did indulge in some very pleasant retail therapy and I feel much better already.

    Lane Savant - Did you, by any chance, also have a bad night?

  17. Nancy - thanks for the compliment but what is MV - mellatin - ha ?
    Is this a case of being divided by a common language?

    elizabethm - It's never as bad in daylight. Besides, today has been rather splendid, hasn't it. OMG, you KNOW who I am!

    Cloudia - How very sweet of you to say what you said. Thank you, if you like, I'll watch your back. Sorry, you lost your pal, did s/he blog?
    And a very happy Birthday to you too, it's close enough for me to send my best wishes.

    And courage, my dear, in blogland we are well enough hidden to let our thoughts out. If anyone complains, too bad. Or tough tittie.

  18. Sorry to be so late coming to your post. And so sad to hear you had such a bad night. (I tend to avoid massages because of the pain afterwards, so I think you are very brave.) Nowadays when I cannot sleep I think of an incorrigible old uncle who used to say that he "stole time from the night" - looking back I can see he was a bit disturbed. But I try to think about all the good things rather than the bad. Depression is made worse by chronic pain, so I hope both are better now.

  19. Kopf hoch!
    Wir alle haben diese Finstern Phasen.
    Lass dich nicht unterkriegen von den Schmerzen.
    Wir brauchen dich!
    ...und trotz allem:ein Prosit auf dein neues Lebensjahr.

  20. ein bisschen spät,nicht zu spät doch hoffentlich!, erscheine ich nun und wünsche Dir Glück und alles Gute zum Geburtstag, liebe Ursula! Und nun habe ich auch gelesen, dass der Tag doch für Dich in Ordnung war.
    Dunkle Gedanken und ein schweres Herz hat wohl jeder, ein böser Streich des Geistes... Aber das Leben ist wohl wellenförmig und man kommt doch wieder hervor und heraus aus der Tiefe. Ich glaube, dass hier eine tiefe und ehrliche Verbindung der Leute zu Dir besteht. We care for you! Und fühlt man sich allein und "ganz unten", ist das nicht einfach eine Illusion?! Ein tiefes Denken und das viele Sehen und Hinterfragen bringt dies mit sich und vielleicht sollte man es als solches auch betrachten. Und vielleicht hilft es, wenn ich sage: ich verstehe Dich ganz gut und bin Dir auch deshalb ganz nah und beide wollen wir über die Verrücktheit und Ungerechtigkeiten der Gefühle so dann auch lachen...! Bis bald!

  21. Friko, My best wishes to you for a very happy birthday (the day is almost over now where you are but only early afternoon here). So glad you had a good day and that the luncheon turned out much better than expected.
    As far as the drinking goes, I find that if I imbibe too much I am more likely to stay awake tossing and turning rather than sleeping.
    Please don't stop telling us how you feel about things - you have a slant that often gets us (me at least) thinking outside of our usual mindset and, as Martha Stewart would say, "that's a good thing".
    Wishing you a good night's sleep and pleasant dreams.

  22. Your birthday is very nearly over. I hope that, in spite of your agonizing dark night of the soul, it was pleasant.

    I know that we all feel the same way at times - we just lack the courage (or guts) to put it out there for the world to read.

    Raising a glass to you,

  23. Freda - Not late at all, my posts stay up for two nights; I don't have time for more.

    The aches and pains get worse when I can't sleep at night. It's almost as if they come out to play, like little devils. Not that I have a lot of aches and pains, but certainly after a massage when my lovely therapist has had a really good go at me. If I have a free day next day, then 'stealing time' time from the night is quite a good idea, I must remember the saying.

    Maria Angela - Danke schoen, das ist lieb von dir. ich freue mich, dass du jetzt den Weg zu meinen Kommentaren gefunden hast. Danke fuer die guten Wuensche. ich werde mich bemuehen, weiterhin zu bloggen.

    Renee - Nein, ueberhaupt nicht zu spaet, gute Wuensche kommen immer an!
    Wellenfoermig ist gut, und es stimmt auch so. Denn auf und ab geht's eben fuer jeden und wie war das doch mit dem alten Schlager? "Es geht alles vorueber, es geht alles vorbei, auf jeden Dezember, folgt wieder ein Mai. . . usw. Ein bisschen kleingeistig, okay, aber lass mir den Spass. Vielleicht bist du auch noch zu jung, den alten Schinken zu kennen?

    Carla HR - Thank you Carla, the evening will be very pleasant too; Beloved and I will share a glass or two yet, in comfortable togetherness. I have little to do tomorrow, if I don't sleep, it won't matter.

    I am glad you like my contrariness.

  24. Lorrie - now there's a woman after my own heart; Cheers to you too.
    Courage? Guts? With me it's sheer bloody-mindedness.

  25. I'm not sure there is anything I feel wise or witty enough to add. I don't think you need apologise for having a rant in the privacy of your own blog - in the circumstances it seems quite understandable. The honesty is good.

    Best wishes.

  26. Dear Friko

    I hope that your birthday has been an uplifting one, with cheerful company, and that the aches and pains have dissipated..

    I would like to give you a lei of plumeria for your birthday ...but the postman said no...
    so you will have to imagine the sweet perfume...

    Happy happy days

  27. Well, good! I've been checking, hoping to see that you'd returned from the river. Sounds as if you have the black beast under control.

  28. Well, gee, I don't feel all that comfortable about wishing you a happy birthday! But I hope it wasn't as bad as you feared.

    And I think you are wrong about at least one thing: there are a few interesting women in rural England. But probably you know that when it isn't your birthday.

    Time to raise the sherry glass to a better night.

  29. Well, Friko, I am arriving here well after your birthday lunch, lots of comments on you post. None of that puts me off a bit.

    I keep thinking that if you and I were to eventually sit down together (and I keep hoping that day ... or better days ... will arrive) I think that we will find much to trade.

    I know about such night with the swirling thoughts and know that sometimes my way-back-when-yoga-breathing/meditation techniques will work and...some nights they will not.

    What usually works to promote sleep is the arrival of dawn and even better, hearing the alarm clock beep and switching on early morning NYC tv news. Absolutely does the trick. I return to sound sleep for oh, maybe an hour or two. True REM sleep.

    I wish you many good wishes on your birthday ... belated only means that interest has accrued. If the round number is the one that I suspect, let me tell you that some very interesting times still await you. I know.

    Think that I would have found a way out of that lunch, but commend you on your wonderful manners!

    Think that I owe you an e-mail, but let this comment just give you a bit of where I am coming from today.

    Is that gardener still breathing? xo

  30. Best wishes. have been to the depths of depression and back. It is a difficult journey. I have children and grandchildren. It is not any easier to figure out your purpose and the reason for your journey.

    I am the stronger for it. I hope you make it through your dark night. Many hugs.

  31. A belated birthday greeting to you...may I add that your writing has been the most thought provoking pieces for tell it as you see it - darkness, hurt, pain - all are there out front. So many blogs I read are filled with wonderful this and wonderful that - life is so perfect, ad nauseum...I find it hard to believe that is everyone's reality. A simple but favorite quote I like - "It's great to be on the mountaintop, but we grow the best in the valley where all the fertilizer is." I would imagine each of us has spent time in that valley more than on the mountaintop...and so we continue to grow.
    I wish you good nights of rest in the days ahead.

  32. Oh Friko! What a relief. You are not a paragon of perfection, compassion and civility. I might have something in common with you after all! I had the b'day of which you speak a couple years ago, and found myself sitting in my car in a parking lot, having run [driven]away from home in a temper, because sufficient fuss was not being made of me [on such a special day!!] But after driving for a bit I realized I didn't really have anywhere to go. And to add insult to injury, when I crept back into the house, no-one had even realized I'd left, let alone worry or organize a search party!! But you are German. And in my experience German women don't wait around for someone else to throw them a party, they invite all their friends over for coffee and delicious cake. I'm going to do that one of these years . You should too!
    I do hope you cheered up and were able to keep your eyes open and enjoy your special day!

  33. Nooooooo. Friko like they say over at Purplecoo - A great big purple hug for your birthday. We're all there for you.

  34. mountainear - thank you, F. I think I'll stop apologising now.

    Delwyn - could you perhaps bottle the perfume?

    Vicki Lane - there wasn't enough water in it, anyway. But thanks very much for calling back.

    Duchess - you are quite right, I also know that when I have had a decent night's sleep.

    Frances - You are totally right about sleep coming in the morning, when it's too late.
    We will discuss such matters in due course.
    I'm afraid, gardener is still breathing. I don't think he even realises how stupidly destructive he's been.

    btw. the lunch was very pleasant after all.

    Jenn Jilks - The dark night has passed again. It comes and goes, most of the time there is just a tiny undercurrent but sometimes it surfaces, particularly when I can't sleep. Sadness is not necessarily a bad thing. The bright daylight is the sweeter, when it returns.

    taylorsoutback - that's a very apt quote; like you i find the endlessly upbeat blogs a bit tiresome. And the endlessly saccharine comments too. Life's so often a bitch and we all know it. If we're honest.

    Molly - I'll never know how you could get the impression that I am the person detailed in your second sentence. You what?

    Of course, I arrange my own birthday celebrations, but wouldn't it be nice if one's nearest and dearest ever did it, particularly for a special day!

    mollygolver - Thanks for the hug and the birthday wishes. I'm better already.

  35. The nice thing about being old is that you actually get wiser - you really do. Hang in there and happy birthday, one more year and I will officially be an OAP so I know how it feels.

  36. Mike - thanks very much, Mike, but I wish wisdom didn't have to be connected with old age.

  37. Having reassured myself that you survived the night, I bow to the queen of rant. Magnificent. You must have felt sooo much better after getting that of your chest!

  38. IW - Actually, not a lot. I was far too cross about being awake to allow myself the relief of feeling better.

  39. It was your birthday but you gave ME a great gift. You gave me the inspiration of your eloquence and your sincere honesty and the courage to express yourself. Thank you.

  40. I sometimes think my last regret will be not to have died from cigarettes and whiskey.

  41. I am way behind wishing you a belated happy birthday. By now you should feel better I hope. Here is a quotation in French: “« Les destins se font et se défont. Tout passe, tout lasse, tout casse, les montagnes, les hommes, la haine, les ours, les ivrognes, les veuves et les démons de la solitude » by Alexandre Vialatte – translation “Fate are made and unmade. Nothing lasts forever, mountains, men, hatred, bears, drunkards, widows and demons of loneliness.”


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