I've just been released from my own personal Guantanamo. My gilded workhouse. My dark and lonely palace of despair. I have, in short, finally - oh FUCKING FINALLY - finished some freelance assignments that felt like how I imagine giving birth feels. Painful, messy and endless. Except, instead of shelling out endless cash for the pleasure of the experience (it costs £9 million to raise a child up to the age of 18 apparently) I am at least getting paid for it.
All the sobbing and 18 hour days was totally worth it then.
And like a dam has broken, my mind began to write blogs inside it again. So here I am. Did you miss me? Did you, in fact, notice? I'm guessing not but I like to dream.
The first thing my mind thought about was the first Fay Weldon book I ever read. It was called Worst Fears. And it's about the delusion we all have about being in control of our lives and our relationships with others. It centres around a secure, confident actress whose husband dies of a sudden heart attack while she is away working. She comes home to her best friend who she knows inside out and her comfortable home.
It soon becomes apparent that her husband was having sex when he died. She starts to uncover a web of deceit and subterfuge, with people showing over and over again that loyalties and bonds are as fragile as a bridge made of feathers. Deeper and deeper she goes until she realises that no-one is who they appeared on the surface and her place in her world was a total self deluding fabrication.
Every worst worst worst fear is realised but it ends with her shedding these blackened bonds and flying off to a new life. Realising your worst fears can be liberating as well as terrifying.
I read this years and years ago and I've read it only once. But it has stuck with me. The bonds that tie us together in friendships and relationships are rarely simple and never certain. I think it's vital to assume an understanding of the dynamics that tie us to other people, otherwise it would be impossible to forge any kind of relationship, deep or otherwise.
So we all tell ourselves we know where we stand, how other people feel about us and hide our own urges to destroy, annhiliate and conquer under passive aggression, muted silence and routine. If we all let the animal urges out then where would we be? Everyone'd be fucking everyone else with wild abandon and family units would have no chance. Friendship groups would shatter and trust would be a rare commodity. On the flipside we bury love, lust and wishes to belong because neediness is frightening and unwelcome in an age of enforced emotional independence and self-reliance.
I've been thinking a lot about friendship bonds as I gear up to move phsyically away from most of mine. By necessity I'll have to create new ones. And I'm coming to terms with the fact that it really is quality over quantity. Low self esteem and horrible school days left me with an overwhelming need to collect friends like other people collect DVD boxsets, but these last 12 years in Leam have taught me that to rely on the majority is a folly. Find the gems, keep them close, and chuck the rest in the bin.