A Man Apart

All truth lies within the artists scope. The problem consists of what happens when the lens falls out…

I’m not entirely sure where I lost my lens.

It’s been a life long struggle trying to craft and refine a new one that leads me through the darkness in my mind, but very often I find myself lost at sea.

I didn’t ever really fit in to be honest. I had no basis for normality from the beginning. Psychologists will tell you that around 95-97% of our habitual or learned traits, insecurities, triggers, we born within us during the first 7 years of our life, based in part on our pre-disposed genetic make up, coupled with the environment of growth. Those first 7 years are where we adapt that fight or flight, how we learn to connect and work symbiotically within our sphere of society and just generally get a grip on what we fear, vs what excites our mind about the world. If that is true of everyone, then there’s a good possibility that even if I spend the rest of my life trying to own the remaining 3-5% and re-purpose, or re-develop any amount of that 95-97%, it’s more or less futile. I’m late to the party and there’s too much dancing to be done!

I suppose I can only hope to be present, find some calm and try not to galvanise the negative elements within me.

On paper I look great. Spartan Racer, Elite Swimmer, Rescue Diver, bad ass on a Motorbike, Martial Artist, Mountain Running, Horse riding, man of the people who’d throw you from the bus about to hit you in the street without a second thought for his own self preservation, just because he wants everyone to be ok. It’s every prospective suiters wet dream from the external perspective, but its a double edged sword cutting into my back as I journey forth, through the forest in my mind, as it envelopes me.

What goes on between our ears, might just never be spoken. I’ve not always been so open about who I am within, my deepest fears, or those things about me that I just don’t like. Most of the women I know would say that at some point they’ve had an issue with their body, that’s perhaps led to self-loathing or an inability to understand why anyone might want to be with them romantically and you either have to step up and take accountability or, grab your tub of Ben & Jerrys, and stick on Jerry Maguire, dreaming that you might one day, ‘have someone at hello’. I have to say I’m there for sure, I’ve got some deep seated body issues of my own, but the paramount for me is my mind, as it harnesses all things. In either context I can’t always see how the eligible bachelor in the paragraph above is ever going to find that fit in a relationship, were this problem not remedied, irrespective of that being a plutonic one or otherwise.

I moved to Poland in December of 2018, 10 months after my son was born because my partner was Polish and had a property there and because I rarely saw my family anyway (that’s a conversation for another day though). My main reasoning was also that I thought back to my childhood, put the trauma to one side and considered what I remember most fondly. The answer was simple, it was the green fields of Scotland, the highland cows; it was getting lost across the wider limits of Milton Keynes with my little sister and my friends on our mountain bikes and the holidays with my dad, where we’d ride horses and attend cowboy shows, listening to 60’s tunes as we drove around in the sun before surfing the waves of Bude, Tintagel and beyond, while trying not to be swept away by the tide.

There was a kid on my bus to secondary school called Tom; posh kid, posh family, holidays every 5 minutes, even brought his ski’s to school regularly because his parents made sure he was on the dry slopes out of season. Tom was a good guy generally, but how envious I was of him and the concept of skiing, something that I didn’t engage in until I was around 25 years old…

In Poland, rich family, poor family, it doesn’t matter, horse riding costs £6 an hour not £60, so it’s not only open to the societal elite, skiing is a way of life and the slopes are everywhere, so even if not a resort, you can find a mountain, climb it, ski back down. The forests are vast and you can lose yourself in the enveloping greenery and perhaps even find yourself again. This is the reason why I moved. I wanted my son to have access to everything that meant something! The energy of the world that surrounds us and none of the superficial sh*t most people spend their lives trying to acquire. I don’t care about the paint, the furniture, the direction the carpets brushed… I care about connection.

When I planned to leave the country, some of the London business folks thought it was a bad idea, “you’ll fade away, you’ll lose your standing in London”, it was like Poland was a 3rd world country or something; to be honest I couldn’t give a f**k about my standing. A persons perception of me will never be as valuable as how I perceive myself and how my son will one day perceive me. So I left, safe in the knowledge that my son would have every opportunity to become the warrior that I am now, but from day 1.

What I didn’t consider, was that my relationship would break down, with a bit of fault on both sides, a lot of complacency on my part as I lingered lost in translation and on some sort of weird autopilot, almost watching myself from the outside in; I also couldn’t imagine that I’d end up in some context trapped in my own reality. Trapped without language, never wanting to leave my son, I vowed I would be a stones throw away until he was old enough to follow his own path. This wasn’t the plan…

Ultimately working with my partner over 10 of our 11 years together meant that we lost, over time, the sense of where the work ended and the relationship began, along the way I had to deal with two of my close friends (and I don’t trust people or keep close friendships readily) asking her to leave me to be with them and a whole raft of other circumstances too numerous to mention. We were symbiotic in our battle against the world that from childhood had spat us both out to fend for ourselves and that worked great for a while, but the missing bits in the minutia chipped away. In no small part this was on me, I took for granted a lot of who she was and what I had, I didn’t try hard enough when I should have and I just didn’t know what I wanted, but people change a lot over 11 years and I’ve changed a lot in the last 6, while working in the mental health space and even more rapidly and readily in the last few.

In the end, during the latter part of 2020 I decided I had to leave. Our consistent bickering was not creating the energy either of us wanted for our son and I decided that I’d rent an apartment to find myself again. The consideration being that I’d finally be stepping into my fathers shoes, lost and alone; I’d also be in a small village, at the bottom of a mountain, without the language that made my life in the UK flow easily as a man who easily communicates and engages others, despite the darkest of times. But I believe that I had to take a step into the scenario of a man I never wanted to emulate, in order to become the man that I was born to be. The father I was always meant to be.

When I was younger my friends used to joke that every girl I engaged seemed to fall in love with me (scenarios that didn’t help included one stage I actually had a girl turn up on my doorstep unannounced after a one night stand weeks before, who was eager to spend more time with me, didn’t get the memo, my having ignored her text messages and she could hear my phone going off, while my housemate and I bunkered down and he called his girlfriend, a straight talking northern lass, to come and talk her down and send her on her way), but that was not necessarily my desire, I just didn’t treat girls like sh*t when we were together, I was doting on every element in those moments of connection, but I never wanted anything too serious, because I just didn’t trust anyone to love me and stick around. And I didn’t know who I was, or what I wanted, ironically struggling to live inside my own head while alone. Obviously these are considerations from looking back, because I totally did not understand this at the time. I was simply floating.

The issue I’m dealing with present day, is that I didn’t deal with those feelings, thoughts, emotions back then. If I wasn’t binge watching hundreds of movies, or sleeping with every woman I could find (just to pacify the fact that I didn’t want to live in my own head, trying to remain consistently busy and force down the burdens of the past), then I was struggling in a choppy sea without a life raft.

Bolt the sexual prowess and ego boosting moments with countless women over years, onto 3 long term relationships back to back, without a breather, to further avoid my own mental evolution and it sort of makes more sense as to how I then became trapped by circumstance, wanting to love with depth and meaning, truly wishing and longing for it readily, but finding only lack of empathy in moments that should mean more, not as much to my detriment, as to the detriment of women far more deserving than the f**k-up they got into bed with.

I didn’t know what I was doing…

Though now I am in a place of evolution. I don’t care about all that. I don’t need sex to boost my ego… Sex is easy to do well when you’re attentive, it’s the connection based on emotional intelligence that’s hard to establish, the commonality, the side jokes, the quips at each-others expense… the comparative hobbies you share and those moments where you’re present only together, symbiotic. That is what I seek, now that I understand it. But for now I evolve in my own sphere of mindful evolution, the monk on the mountain, dominating in the business world as I find myself again emotionally, happy as a single entity just to be, for the time being and to devote my energy toward my son, while I earn the respect of his mother who I hurt because of my ignorance and apathy. I can’t change the person I was, but I also won’t cling to the guilt I’ve suffered in leaving that behind, because that doesn’t honour anyone and it certainly doesn’t help me move forward. I can only hope for the serenity to accept the things I can’t control in my life, the power to change those things that I can… and most definitely evolve to gain the wisdom to know the difference between the two.

It’s ok, not to be ok… but it’s time to be more readily present, every single day that I’m gifted on this earth. For now I have to love myself and one day, everything else will fall into place. I’m going to trust in that for the time being.

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