Best Ages

Play List To Which This Was Written (Thanks Cuddles, Hamburger Hill and Radio Steve):

“Foolish Games” Written by Jewel Performed by Jewel and Melissa Etheridge

“What You’re Made Of” by Lucie Silvas

“Predictable” Written By Emma Bunton

“Goodbye To You” by Michelle Branch

“All For You” by Sister Hazel

“Come Pick Me Up” by Ryan Adams

“You’re So Cold” by The Red Romance

“Broken” by Seether

“Your Song” Written by Elton John Performed by Euan Macgregor

“Ready To Run” by The Dixie Chicks

“Chemistry” by Semisonic

“True” by Ryan Cabrera

“I Won’t Say (I’m In Love)” by Disney Performed By The Cheetah Girls

“Mystery” by The Indigo Girls

“Building A Mystery” by Sarah MacLachlan

“Love the light in You” by Martyn Joseph

“Breathe” by Faith Hill

“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

“Feels Like Summer Again” by The Wallflowers

“Time and Time Again” by Stretch Princess from Smallville

“Come Pick Me Up” by Ryan Adams

“Good Vibrations” by The Beachboys

“When A Man Loves A Woman” Written by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright Performed by Percy Sledge

“Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” Written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper Performed by Otis Redding

“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town” Written by Mel Tillis Performed by Waylon Jennings

“Gimme Some Lovin'” Written by Stevie Winwood (as Steve Winwood), Muff Winwood and Spencer Davis Performed by The Spencer Davis Group

“I Wish It Would Rain” Written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield Performed by The Temptations

“We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil Performed by The Animals

“I Second That Emotion” Written by Alfred Cleveland and William Robinson, Jr.

“Subterranean Homesick Blues” Written by Bob Dylan

“Fixin’ to Die Rag” By Country Joe Fish

“There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths

“The River” by Bruce Springsteen

“Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space” by Spiritualized

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” by joy Division

“Don’t Change Your Plans” by Ben Folds Five

“Bell Bottom Blues” by Eric Clapton

“Last Goodbye” by Jeff Buckley

“Positively 4th Street” by Bob Dylan

“Substitute” by The Who

“Common People” By Pulp

“Since I’ve Been Loving You” by Led Zeppelin

“Wild Is The Wind” by David Bowie

“Pale Blue Eyes” by Velvet Underground

“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd

For Those Who Are Not Interested In A Dissection Of My Sense Of Self And Various Issues Therein, Don’t Read On (I’m not kidding, theres not even that much about sex in what follows).

Pretty much this is a brain dump, don’t expect sense.

The Princess came up to visit and make her many and various pronouncements on my life the other day (I’m liking her living in Manchester!) and in amongst the large amount of gossip she proposed that different people have ages which they’re best at. She reckons hers was seventeen, and I’d certainly agree that she knew exactly who she was and where she was headed then. I hope she’s wrong, I think she is, there are lots of different times when I’ve really felt myself and for different reasons. If I were to play along with her, then I’d say my best age was twenty.

I had a shock the other day, I was having a fairly light conversation and started, apropos of nothing, to cry, big shuddering sobs type of crying. The thing is, it was apropos of nothing, we weren’t even touching on something I thought was an issue for me, not even close. If anyone was to ask me lately how I was I’d have to say reasonably good, not everything is perfect but by no means are things totally to shit. There are niggles, there are things I’m hoping for and things I’m dreading. If anyone was to ask me what was wrong then before the other night I’d have said, I’m worried about my nearest and dearest but me – I’m doing pretty good (and guilting more than slightly about that very fact because not everyone else is).

Twenty though, twenty was the last time I really remember being bullet-proof. I feel bad about saying this, but I’m still fairly bounceable. I don’t want to jinx anything but, I can’t think of a situation (and I can picture some really awful things) that I couldn’t bounce from and maybe that’s a good thing and maybe it’s not but that doesn’t stop it being true. I wouldn’t say I was as bullet-proof anymore though, I care too much about people – there’s one thing I will say about living your life anti-Love, if you walk away from love all the time you get very good at saying ‘goodbye’ and you expect the pain and ride through it until you’ve bounced. Goodbye is still an option, as always, but the hurt is greater.
At twenty, I would probably have denied being bullet-proof, after all just because you don’t want to be in love doesn’t mean you don’t fall from time to time, and I probably spent more time on walking away from love than anyone I know who did the relationship thing. Say goodbye, keep walking, and once you’ve learned how to keep walking I don’t think it ever stops being an option. Does that mean you can’t stay? No, but you have to learn how to do that too and I think that learning to do that is as painful as learning how to walk.
At twenty I would have said, had anyone really been interested enough to ask (say, anyone still reading this?) that I was reasonably able to deal with what life had to throw because the only way for me emotionally was up. I had my heart broken at an reasonably early age, not too unusually so I think now, but actually broken which while not unheard of is a little unusual. I don’t want to find out how many times you have to break your heart before you stop being able to fix it. Looking right back I wonder if he broke my heart or if I did. Love, I feel too intensely, it’s too much for me, I need some distance, need to be held at arms length and I’ve thought at times that I fell in love to early, and at times that I’ve bigged up an adolescent crush to mean more than it did. It doesn’t stop me being unable to fall out of love, there must be a trick to that, but once I’ve fallen for you I’m in a hole I can’t get out of.
Back to being twenty and thinking that my walking and bouncing abilty was all down to me having had a broken heart and fixing it my own way. Back then I didn’t really know that you can have your heart broken in lots and lots of different ways. Falling for a group dynamic is very different from falling for a person but just as likely to break your heart when it’s suddenly over, perhaps moreso. Theres loss and theres choices and theres hardship and by twenty I had some experience of all of these, not as much as some and more than others but enough to be bullet-proof without being hard. Well, without being hard in everyone’s eyes anyway. My own at least.

Then I get to twenty two and the rather forced on me knowledge that the stuff I’ve put to the back of my head, that’s going to have to be dealt with and maybe I could live with love but it’s going to take some doing. So I systematically started to deal with stuff, look at what happened to me and figure out how I felt about it, and most stuff, I’m fine with, most stuff, well it happened to me. I’m not a victim, I’m not a negative person, or at least I don’t think I am, I am who I am and I wouldn’t have anything have happened to me my whole life happen differently, because I wouldn’t be me else, and I quite like me. Hell I’m annoying as fuck and I still like me. Over the last three, four years I’ve worked through some of the real shit that happened to me and yes I am well aware that it doesn’t read at all like shit to some people (whereas I’m reasonably sure that others would think it was the end of the world) but in an ideal world theres a number of things that wouldn’t have happened the way they did.

I’d thought I’d come to an understanding with some of the really big stuff, stuff that seems like it ought to be big, except that that’s the stuff that I am most ‘it just happened’ about. My first experience of sex with a man wasn’t great, but if it wasn’t for that I’d never have had half the lovers I did, and I would miss them. They should all be there.
But, lets get back to the reason I was crying.
I came to uni ready to be free and I flew, and I loved it. My parents were convinced I hated it, that I was in my room each night and hating every minute of it. They were wrong. They didn’t believe me all year when I told them (the edited version of) how much fun I was having. So we come down to it, the whore and the prude – the public faces of Mish.

Everyone I think has different sides of themselves, hell I used to think I was a bit weird for having named the little voices in my head and then in Japan I read a blog and figured oh, another thing that’s just a symptom of being human. But the fact remains, I got used, very quickly to there being different facets of myself, at first I just thought people would fix on what they wanted to see. There are some people around who will tell me that I haven’t changed since I was four, or seven, or twelve or eighteen, they’d all be right but they’d all be right about different things. They’d all pick up on things I do, phrases I say and none of them would be looking at who I am or what I do. It’s the same way with people who call me interesting, I’m not an interesting person, I’ve done some interesting things. They’re things, not me.
Everyone shows a different side of themselves to different people. I try to be the same wherever I go but people pick up on different things and they fill in the expected blanks. This job at the moment, they didn’t pick up on the things that people at work usually do, and so their blanks are different.
This isn’t what I’m trying to write, but it’s so tangentially related.

I don’t have the greatest relationship with my parents, The Princess jokes that I don’t get on well with my family, I like to pretend that this isn’t for want of trying. Except that I don’t try really, how are my family supposed to relate to a kid who spent the first eighteen years of her life ignoring them and making a beeline for Grandma, Uncle Arthur and to an extent Grandad. I used to get on reasonably well with my cousin Tim, for about a year I guess. I think my Great Uncle Arthur genuinely liked me back, my Grandad thought I was vain and Grandma would bitch about anyone so who knows there, really. As for the rest of them, well what are you supposed to do with a kid who only gradually figures out it’s polite to at least say ‘hello’? Is it any wonder that my parents have always found me difficult? I was always a difficult kid – at least when one of your friends is weird you get to say goodbye to them at the end of the day, me – they had to live with. Dad, of course, had it worst, he had to work in the same place I went to school. I suspect that was what honed my ability to have five opinions on the same thing, all equally heartfelt, and like the good Freudian case that I apparently am (just ask the Jellicle) it was always five by the end. There are always ways to please the grown-ups, always things you should say and feel and there are behaviour patterns that other people don’t want to see together, I’m not sure how I got so divided up, but I did and yet we work by consensus, just a formalisation of the same things everyone does inside their heads.
It gets formal when there are parts of my life that my parents don’t want to hear about, but then again I’ve always been a secretive kid, my pleasures usually involve going somewhere that no one knows I am. When I was thirteen that tended to be Fish Town, just the very act of tramping between Fresney Place and Victoria Street when my parents thought I was in Bridge Town or Royston Vasey or wherever was enough to make me laugh out loud. Is it any wonder that they got used to me needing walls and walls and walls between us? It was just how our personalities worked together and left me with a great ability to speak with one voice or another depending on who was listening and an over the top need to tell EVERYONE EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. So who am I to object to not being able to tell them that I’m bisexual? That was the big thing when I was seventeen.
Parents need space, they being people too and why would they be any more interested than any one else in my love life? If I can skim over the bits that I know Last NS doesn’t want to know then why shouldn’t I for my Mum? I believe that normal people have no need to tell their mothers that they had whichever person it was in their bed last night. Of course most people I know could do that by dint of it being a boyfriend, so whatever I’m supposed to be blaming them for we come back up to my own choices and decisions on how to live my life. Not something I would have classed as important but I guess that along with the bisexual thing the fact I couldn’t tell my family anything I regarded as important about my time at uni has added to the fact that I’m very bad at calling them.

Now it seems as if there is a really big thing about my life that is this huge safe topic and doesn’t have my Mum wincing away with ‘Don’t tell your Mother that’ and it’s not something I would ever have classed as important.
I’ve worked with kids my whole life, ever since I was one. I never really thought about it, it was just something I did, usually in a girl guide or teaching context, I’ve never been a likely candidate for being a nanny or even a mum or anything of that sort but I’m good with kids. I don’t always like them, and we already covered my hormones in far too many posts. It’s just something I do. It’s something I do that people don’t seem to think fits with other parts of me and yet, that voice in my head who gets on with kids is the same voice who sleeps with a lot of people.

That last little thing my parents and I have in common, it’s not of course, there’s the gardening, but thats not a career, thats just something we do. There are so many other things like watching Dr Who, listening to Radio 4, playing the piano, things that we like to do. But it’s not who we are. The teaching was an idea I had to keep my art teacher sweet during GCSEs and it gave me a reason that everyone could understand for me doing the things I did, just whilst I became a writer. It was a nice outward motivation, people never have nice clean reasons for what they do – according to an autism behavioural wossname class, they just do them. What am I doing right now? Trying to find something nice and clean in amongst all the tangents. How pointless of me.

The (still living) teachers in my family; Soap Star, Middlesborough Fan, Twiggy’s Classmate, The Headmaster, Grandma, Mum and Dad. I want to go and play Scrabble with Grandma and Uncle Arthur, which is a pretty good explanation of my usual method of dealing – Mexico here I come. I think that explains why I can’t move on.

I am bisexual, can’t change that. I am polyamorous, can’t change that. I am a liar – sorry I mean writer, can’t change that. I am a teacher, can’t really change that but I can take that away from them and face that as the Christmas conversation. Or maybe I’m lying to myself and imagining they might even care, no, it’s not that I think they’d care, I’m not that far gone but it was nice on the Soap Star’s hen do to have something to talk about that didn’t make me feel as if they wanted to elbow their way through solid stone to get away from me.

It’s just another one of those things that are up to me. Phone calls and personal integration, I’ve started it with this job, and I’ve had to cope for years now with editing my life for my family, it gets hard over the really important stuff but it’s just one more rule to remember in the game.

And this is a game, it’s just really difficult at times.

I’m still going to win though.

Told you I was a fairly positive person didn’t I, and I said that this wasn’t depression.

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