Thursday 7 August 2008

Why I Think I am The Way I Am.

I suppose this blog is about a lot a lot of things.
One of them is why we need to end this system, this way of life, this ratrace to ruin and start to build Utopia.
One of them is to try understand our universe.

One of them is to ruminate on odd things I observe, odd thoughts pop into my head.

And one of them was for me to come to terms with whatever it is drives me.

To add to that small circle of people with whom I'm comfortable actually discussing personal things with. Me, basically.

My parents are not in that circle of people. I've made sure they've stayed at arms length all my adult life. I've devised a life strategy that involves using a small group of people who've constantly proved their worth to me over the years and making them my self chosen family who will care for and protect me.

Because they do. And I realise- or have realised since I started writing this blog, why it is they have proved themselves and I really couldn't live without them, because I couldn't cope. They understand me. In a way I don't- or didn't. They make allowances, they unconsciously treat me in a certain way.

And I realise now what that is.
Basically, the people I trust all unthinkingly just make a whole series of assumptions, because they understand the mentality of the person they're dealing with, and once you understand that, they really always do treat you with love and affection.

Because I do. I'm very affectionate, tactile and trusting with my friends.

They treat me as you would a precocious child.

Now that's complicated.

What I mean is, you can't treat me as a child. Wouldn't work. So many of the women in the past who I've had relationships with kept trying to do exactly that, because the way I am encourages a certain type of women to want to get all mothery over me.

But the thing is, you don't treat a precocious child as a child. You can't. The precocious child doesn't believe in the tooth fairy. He knows man evolved from the apes and he knows how oral sex is performed.

So for most purposes, the way to deal with a precocious child is to treat as an adult.

But in a few areas, you have to remember they are still a child.

OK. Now imagine that precocious child is somehow Dorian Gray. He has a picture somewhere that becomes an actual adult, but he never does. He has all that life experience of a thirty year old- in fact a lot more than most sixty year olds- but he remains a precocious child.

I've been able to face this basically, by adding to to the list of people I'm actually comfortable seeing how my mind actually works.
In RL, that's four people.

But I think, now there are at least four people online who seem to have that strange knack of just figuring out exactly what the four people in RL instinctively seem to know in how they relate to me.

It's about adolescence. It's about the days when you pick a life strategy.

I was at a party recently where a beautiful black psychologist and I were discussing Freud.
And then came the off-baller.
'So how would you describe your relationship with your mother?'


I suspected a trap. Am I that obvious? Am I so obviously a man who's obvious total fear of commitment is possibly linked to never really having felt close to their mother?

Which was what I said to her.

Anyway, I was honest. I'm fond of my mother. But say the word 'mother' and I don't think of her. First image I have, is of the Virgin Mary.
Which possibly explains a lot. Again, early conditioning. I suppose a lot of my filial instincts are actually tied up in the unknowable Father and virgin Mother of the Catholic faith.

And then, there's the bizarre adolescence.

The failed experiment.

Ok. I don't like to talk about anything in my life before uni.
Here's why.

Basically, I was sent to one of those private schools which believe in 'educating children in classes arranged by ability, not age'.

So, at eleven years, I was stuck in a class of thirteen years old.

And no one seems to have stopped and thought what sticking an eleven year old child in with a class of thirteen year olds and a couple of fourteen year olds might actually result in.

The experiment would have meant me doing A-levels at sixteen.

And it was aborted. Because what actually happened was what any sound observer of behaviourial logic not with their head in dusty academia could have told you would happen.

I became a sort of class mascot. All these little adolescent rituals that were now being explored by a group of pubescents were things I was seeing when most my age still play with toys.
And I mentally jumped to thinking about girls and drinking and all the illicit things.

And believe it or not, is is true that the motor which sets off adolescence is often related to peer groups.
I had my first shave a month after I turned thirteen, and had long since graduated into the earliest vice most of us come across.

So I couldn't be bothered with schoolwork.

I don't think my parents ever understood this. Or anyone really. That unfortunately, I'm now thinking in cognitive terms and social terms like someone much older, but totally lacking in the other developments of a fifteen year old. This is where I was at thirteen.

So I returned at thirteen to the more comfortable water of our Comprehensive system.

But I'm not on anyone elses's wavelenth.
And thirteen is SO a bad time to be in that situation.

And this, I guess is when I started building the system which has now become a way of life.
The ultimate strategic defence strategy.

For example, I was perpetually marked down as an underachiever. Not in a threatening way, just that I was coasting my way to red brick, not grafting my way to Oxbridge. And this was mystery both parents and teachers battled with. For some bizarre reason, secretly I wanted to do this. The bare minimum. I just did what I wanted and no one could get to me. Inside, there was just me. I was walled up against the world.

I was a prefect though, which is interesting. And I was actually on report when they made me one.

I realise that one of the things that can make people wary of me if they know me better than casual acquaintance, but don't know me as well as I've described above is how hard and direct acting I can be if really provoked.

Because I realise that I come into that certain category of males who people don't provoke, if they know you. I don't get into fights ever. And that's partly because I'm usually good at defusing such situations, but also because if provoked, a person good at the signs can see what type of person I am if I'm pushed. And those who've seen me blow, remember it usually. Because it's rare, but when it happens, it's real.

And that's the difference. Desmond Morris says there are two ways people get angry. Red face and white face.

Red face goes red, shouts and blusters, lets it all out, then is easily calmed. The red is him letting off his muscle tension by a series of gestures designed to defuse the situation by intimidating so the threat of violence leaves. Red face doesn't want violence, he hopes the display will work.

White face doesn't. White face simmers.

If I'm getting angry, REALLY angry I won't be raising my voice. I will probably be getting slower and softer. I will probably be getting briefer in my responses. I will probably be staring fixedly at something. I will probably start to get ironic. Expect a lot of it 'Is it now?' 'Is that a fact, now?' 'Ah, of course. It would be.'

Expect me to be chewing my bottom lip. I might start playing with my curls. To me, my body has stopped. It's still. I can hear a pin drop. I can feel it coming. The display you're about to get, isn't my way of blustering. It's my way off saying 'Back off. Or I'll go for your neck. I mean it. Back off.'

And that's often the difference. Because anyone looking in to my eyes during the display that will follow will know that at this particular minute in time, I'm someone who if they move to punch me, will launch their fingers on either side of their windpipe.

Because I've got faster reaction times in this frame of mind. And if you get one punch in, it's over. I have to win it in one shot, one all or nothing blow. So I'm just going to put you out.

And it's that, it's having that edge that enables you to walk into any room like you own the place. No one is going to start on you.
Going through life knowing that, always give you an edge.

And knowing you don't care if they do.

I went through adolescence funny. A strict home life led me to invent a double one. While I was doing my A-levels I worked at a hotel. Evenings and Weekends. I wasn't home much. And I just used the job to cover everything.

I learned to perfect so much. While others where learning to fall in love, go through the trauma of tentative relationships, etc, etc, I was learning how to do what I built a life on doing. Selling.

Selling myself, like a prostitute.

Basically, it starts with trying to tout for tips. Learn to build up quick relationships with customers. Your aim is to charm your way in to their wallet at bill time when they're drunk and euphoric at one AM and the bill needs paying.

I learned how to talk, how to purr, how to move.

I learned how to be androgynously, but non-threateningly sexual in every move I made, every word I said.

Little things. Like how to stand when apparently doing nothing.
One foot about a foot in front of the other pointing toe to heal. One arm folded across the chest, other arm folded up, hanging near the shoulder.

The way a woman stands when they're smoking.

Trust me, it's psychological. Generally, only women stand that way. Which is why it instinctively makes women see it as sexual, and men as somehow something they trust but don't know why.

And learn how to walk with a slight swing to your shoulders, a slight wiggle, and if someone calls as you pass by, learn to turn slowly, with a slight flick of the shoulder, raising one foot from the ground in so doing and fix them right in the eye, raising and dipping your eyelids at the same time.

And learn exactly what voice to use on who.
Know when to talk in your coarse vulgar Brummie speak and know when to bring out the honey tone seductive lilt, when even the word 'extension' can be made to be a come on.

Soon I did more than just earn tips. I did a lot of things that weren't hotel policy. And I accepted cash offers from customers to turn a blind eye to a lot of things.

I lived a double life. I often finished work and went clubbing. I took several of the Polish waitresses out shopping and then went on for a few drinks then back to the staff hostel for a quick one and then home before the Duty Managers caught me. I got two staff warnings for being caught. So my introduction to all that, was fairly casual, already quite cynical and businesslike.

I ended up at a red brick- and that in itself shows how bizarre it all was. The grades I got were the grades Oxbridge ask for. But in those days you get offers on the basis of predicted grades. And the lack of time I spent at sixth form, and the even tinier portion of that I spent doing any work, I wasn't predicted very good grades.

I guess, by the time I went to uni, I'd developed a life strategy which had only existed in double life form, but here it became my full life.

And it was a life strategy that worked. It did what life strategies are supposed to do- protect us and keep us safe.

And I had earned myself three years of sex and drugs at someone elses's expense. And a piece of paper saying 'Bachelor of Arts' for as much actual effort as I now have to spend in one week to earn a salary.

And this of course, is where I met The Baker and The Chimney Sweep.

So they saw the years I kind of 'polished myself', as The Baker puts it.

The Baker always says it would be much easier for people to understand me if they'd seen the unpolished version which everyone remembers from those years.

Best characterised by the Bizarre situation which everyone who knows about it calls 'Cruhed and his slave.'

What it was, was I kind of kept a personal sidekick. And that is how people describe it. And these days I'm honest about the fact that's what it was.
He was like a kind of Baldrick.

He was a source for money- unlikely to be returned. he was a source for alcohol. He did my laundry. He cooked me meals sometimes. He would come for a drink when summoned. He would type up my essays. He wasn't even allowed to pull unless she had a fit friend who felt like putting out easy. What's his was mine, and mine was...mine.

And I did some pretty not-mate-thing-to-do things in his case. Like shagging his ex the night after they split up. I didn't exactly always behave very well where he was involved. Not really.

The Chimney Sweep doesn't see what the slave got out of this.

I told him. He got a life. He took a break from the trajectory written from birth of being the son who never leaves home and stays forever a data inputter with a blue chip corporation. He got in, for three years, in a sex and drugs lifestyle he'd never otherwise have had and I gave him that way in. In a sense, being honest, I also think looking back he had a huge gay crush on me.

The Baker points out that at uni I was just far more blatant about the characteristics that now I've learned to polish.
I'm pretty much a control freak. I have major OCD about systems and control.

I fear control and won't let anyone near me unless I can be sure they cannot force me to surrender any control over myself in any way.
And my best way of preventing this against those I don't trust is to go on the offensive.
So I adopt a simple strategy of trying to sell me. I want to get on with as many people as I can, bring people in, make them my allies in life. And make sure I keep those I can't away from territory I'm guarding.
Basically, I look like a fairy, but I think like a predatory carnivore.

And you have to know me really, really well, and I have to be able to trust you really, really, well, before I'll let you beyond that.

To the precocious child beyond.

Who jumped mentally straight from childhood to adulthood and lost something along the way.
And be someone who can take that into account in judging the ruthless, cynical, harsh, secretive, untrusting, embittered, worldly wise, sometimes callous, explosive, interior that lurks under the surface of the charming, self confident, sociable, personable, passionate, open, candid (in the sense of not holding back on opinions or preparedness to tell the most shameful anecdotes about themselves kind of way), intelligent, somehow mesmerising persona that is how I present myself.

But behind all those barriers, I am the person those I trust, know how to relate to.

And for those who make it that far, it's worth it.
It's why those who do get that far, stay.

Those I let in, never go.

New Year's eve, 2006.

The Baker and I were sitting in a club called Subspace in Manchester.

It was about half eleven.

I said, 'Come I want a good spot on the dancefloor come midnight. Preferably right up on the front of the stage. Fucked if I'm not having my choice who's throat I have my tongue down at midnight.'

BAKER: Crushed. Chill. Let me finish my drink.


BAKER: I just want to say this. You've been probably my closest mate over the years, you and (another mate of his), both of you, my real brothers if you like, closer than my real brother, and you know, sometimes it really annoys me sometimes when people get you wrong. Like don't get you. Some people think you're a total bastard and that upsets me, because, I mean the times I've spent with you, some of the defining moments of my life, the days we've spent just really talking about stuff, really worthwhile times, and just a valuable part of living, I guess, sometimes it annoys me when people don't see that you. If anyone ever went for you, I'd take a pasting for you, you're that good a mate.

CRUSHED: (Well, no, sometimes you don't know what to say) Thanks. I feel the same about you.



That's me.

That's the author of this blog.


Anonymous said...

Well we all do what we have to to get through life as unscathed as possible.

It's good that you have friends like that around you.

Anonymous said...

Lol at the psychologist conversation. Your reaction is typical. And that actually speaks well for you. You're a human being. To expect something other than than the obvious human reaction to something so basic would be to think of yourself as something other than human.

Anonymous said...

It always feels as though I fall behind on your blog simply because I can't just scan through your posts and leave a simple comment. It all needs to be read in detail and considered... so this doesn't really work as I'm just sipping a coffee and casually surfing about.

The one thing I've noticed over the year or so that I've been reading you, is how much more insightful your writing has gotten. We all have our blind spots, to be sure, but you seem to be starting to poke around the edges a little more.

Anonymous said...

crushed not having a witty come back? Wow...

Anonymous said...

I agree with princess pointful - you really do seem to be opening up a lot more and figuring out why you are the way you are etc. Your writing is a lot more personable than it was, and it's good to read.

Anonymous said...

Pretty cool.
You've learnt to live and survive in a way many others couldn't have. The stuff of your hotel years could make a best-selling book, I'd bet :-)
Ok, putting you in an express class can be blamed; so many kids who go in those turn out like you (we don't have that over here in the government schools).
I can see that liking you would be easy; living with you less so ;-)

Anonymous said...

Bunny- I agree. Not sure how unscathed I got through it though, I think in a lot of ways I'm quite damaged goods.

But, yes, I do have good friends.

X-dell- I've read enough psychology to know what a lot of this psycho-analysis seeks to discover.

And women LOVE to psycho-analyse you...

Princess P- :) This one actually took ages to write.

I guess I've started to Try address why it is I have the operating mechanisms I do, rather than just stop at the simple part of admitting you're like that.

Crashie- No, no witty comeback. There are times when you don't have to WIN a conversation.

Kate- It's probably become more the way I naturally talk. I think now, I pretty much write exactly how I speak. I think earlier on, I didn't QUITE do that.

I'm actually finding following the rapid evolution of online communication to be fascinating- the start of a whole new chapeter in human interaction.

Eve- And it's been very draining having somehow make that work- in so many ways, this life strategy has cost me. I am the first person to say 'Don't try this at home kids', as in, don't live your life the way I do mine. Any of you.

Because I paid a huge price for it. But, having paid that price, i'll stick with it, because having paid the price, it now becomes the life chosen, And I get something out of it, and I doubt any other life could work- for me.

But in many ways, it really is a hard lifestyle to lead.

What it really means is always being alone at the centre of the crowd.

It's about whether you really can find satisfaction in that being your life.

And I do.

Yes, liking me is no hard task, I don't think. Living with me probably deserves a nobel prize. I'm not easy to live with all.