Saturday 22 November 2008

Safe Within Fort Crushed

I was awoken about eleven thirty this morning by having random items deposited on my head. A bogroll, my wallet, a curtain, etc.

Profoundly annoying in some respects. 'I left my coat here last night'.

And I roll over thinking 'Well, why can't you just let yourself in, get your coat and go quietly? Why, when you let yourself in to get something, or use the computer, do you always have to go through this ritual of dumping items on my sleeping form?'

Because he does it every time.

About an hour later I was on the PC, eating breakfast (Wine gums) and chatting to Haydee.
Which I'm still doing.

I suppose in a way, I don't overly mind the dumping of items on my head in this bizarre mates ritual. It has some curious purpose in there somewhere, I'm sure. Some ritual purpose which is some curious outward dynamic of twelve years of close friendship.
And I reflect that at least I can be sure of one thing. If I ever die in my sleep, I wouldn't lie decomposing for long.

Even with the baby being on the scene, we still spend a lot of time together. Not as much as either of us would like. He's trying to arrange with D for us to spend 'quality time' together at some point over Christmas. Like we used to be able to do. Go out somewhere on the Friday, then sit and listen to music, maybe watch a few DVDs and debate topics for hours on end, punctuated by the odd trip to the pub, just spend days enjoying eachother's company.
I do miss those weekends.

I don't know how he does it, this family man life.

I have fought so hard all my life to create this space. To be able to come home at six o'clock and shut the door. Me on one side, the world on the other. And no one can cross that threshold without my say so. No one can just turn up and expect to be let in- I don't answer the doorbell. I only open the door, when I am expecting someone. I will answer my phone if I'm out of the flat, but unless it's the Baker or a call I'm expecting, I usually won't answer my phone at home. I'll let it go through to voicemail, then return the call when it's convenient for me. This is my home. And when I'm in it, I talk to who I want, when I want.

It's having that personal space that I can control access to. That having crossed that threshold, I'm safe in Fort Crushed. That in Fort Crushed, my rules and my rules alone apply.

I eat when I want, I sleep when I want. I come and go as I please.

I want it that way. I'm not a recluse, far from it. I go out most nights of the week. But that's the point. I go OUT. I leave Fort Crushed to do so. And out there, I'll give everything.

But I will guard my fortress with my life. It's mine.

I guess I spend a fair portion of my time when I am here chatting to Haydee. I suppose in many ways I let her in in a way I wouldn't normally.
Things is, one of the most important factors in me being comfortable chatting away to her is the safety features. If it didn't have the safety features, would I be so comfortable?
I love her, I do, I love her with all my heart.

BUT. I have invented a safe way of never really being lonely in Fort Crushed, yet still being totally in control.
And that's the point.

With Internet Messenger, you can appear offline.

Really, it's that simple. It's a safety feature which ultimately means I'm comfortable conversing with Haydee hours on end from my own home. And I don't feel uneasy that my control over Fort Crushed is threatened.

You see, the real truth about why I feel so safe with her, why I guess I love her and give her my heart, even though she doesn't want me that way, can be summed up by describing a little byplay that I would guess happens every couple of weeks or so.

I come in, I switch on the PC, and alter the IM settings to 'Appear permanently offline to Haydee'.
Why do I do this?
It varies. Some days it's because I feel really strongly about her and don't think I can deal with talking to her, some days it's because I'm being a petulant little girl about something, either way I've decided at the point I get in, that I want to pretend to be out. To her.

And then when I see her come online, a funny feeling comes over me. Because always, always, when she does, I want to talk to her. And I'm wrestling with myself. Do I alter the settings back?

And I usually think 'Leave it a bit'.

But somehow, she seems to instinctively know. Know when I'm actually not there, as opposed to 'hiding'.
And she'll IM through 'Are you there?'

And that moment, I guess, is what it's all about. That moment, I guess, is my safety feature.

When she does that, I feel two sensations mixing. One is a negative feeling, a kind of panic. What do I do? Do I answer or not?
The other is knowing that I don't want to push her away, a feeling of total love for her. A sense of shame that I hid from her.

And it always goes the same. My finger hovers over the keyboard thinking, 'Do I answer her, or run out that door to the Westcroft and lay low for a while? Have a couple of pints and flirt with Lou?'

And I always go for the first choice. Always.

And I feel a sense of guilt. Because I have kind of been slightly disingenuous. But I think she kind of understands why. I love her, so, so much, but I fear her too, BECAUSE of that. And a huge part of me, larger than she can truly realise is so, so, reassured by her NOT loving me back.

It's knowing that I CAN push her away, if I so wish. That I could just not answer. That I could, if I wanted to, just not respond. That it would be that easy.

People say finding someone who they love and loves them back is the most important thing in their lives.
Not to me.

Having full control of the switches which permit or deny people access to me, THAT is the most important thing in my life.
And making sure that if I give you access, you touch nothing. That you leave everything exactly the way I've organised it. You can look, but you can't touch.

I have a vast life out there, outside Fort Crushed, which just about anyone has access to.
I most certainly do not live the life of a recluse.

But Fort Crushed is mine. Mine and mine alone.
I don't want anyone else to share control of it.

I'm going to go toast some crumpets and eat them in the bath. Then I'm going to pop to the pub for a bit. I'm hoping Haydee will be about when I get back, because I miss her and I was enjoying that conversation we were having about the legends of Ys and Lyonesse.
And I'll probably be up most of the night doing various blogging related stuff. I'll turn in about half four. I might visit my grandmother tomorrow, I might not. It's possible the Baker will come round and we'll go for a drink. I also want to continue with Operation Seduce Gemma.

This isn't some kind of default life I'm forced to live because I have no alternative. It's the life I CHOOSE to live and would RATHER live.

And it's taken me my whole life to find it.

A life where no one shares the power I have over me, and I depend on no one.


Anonymous said...

I like being able to shut the world out as well...I really really value my home life. It's where you can recharge your batteries, take the 'happy face mask' off for a while.

I usually come home, throw my bra off, get into my pj pants and jump on the computer and hang out blogging.

God, that sounds disgusting now that I write it. haha! what a slob!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, that feeling of closing the door and shutting out the world can be great, but that doesn’t leave me entirely on my own. When I shut the world out it not just me, it is We shutting the world out and snug and safe inside our fortress.

I figure “we” is better than “I” in this, ‘cos it is trite but true, that a trouble shared is halved and joy shared is doubled. I really wouldn’t want to shut that out with the rest of the world.

And yes I figure most of us have that ‘facing the public’ face we keep on an imaginary hook by the front door. I know I do. It comes with a box fitted with the heavy lid you can sit on, for bad moods and PMT ^_^