June 2019

Something from a journal document type thing I have sporadically written in since the birth of my daughter last September. Not sure why I’m posting it. It’s a sort of whiny, burp or fart sort of post, so perhaps I’d just rather it out than in.

June 21st

Only at around 10am did I realise that today is Friday 21st June, the summer Solstice, rather than Thursday 20th June. I would and should have risen early to try and get some sunrise photographs, as last year. Having wrestled with an intermittently sleeping baby until the small hours, and because I vaguely believed today was Thursday 20th, I didn’t.

Floorboards are your worst enemy when trying to exit a room in the silent dead of night. Especially when trying to inch away from a lightly sleeping baby in a cot. Last night’s final manoeuvre of the three attempts must have taken ten minutes, from gradually removing a comforting hand from her body, to actually exiting the room.

Dreams can bewitch and confuse some time after you have them. Last night my old university flatmate featured prominently. In the dream I walked through a crowded room, first ignoring him and possibly one other person I knew. But then, afterwards, after I had gone through a violent ordeal – tinged by the dystopian thriller I’m currently reading and have had my mood infected by – we did speak at length. It occurred to me in a wakeful state that he may reoccur sporadically in my dreams because his was an important friendship to me, and a good one for a time. I ultimately grew to think he was an utter prick, but for the first two of the three university years we lived together, we were pretty much best mates. We went out and got drunk together a lot, as well as living together. We shared a lot of laughs. Only in the final year did it sour, when he split from a girlfriend and forbade me from seeing her after she came to the flat for a cup of tea, which I told him he couldn’t do – via text message. It was cordial after that, and we never socialised together. We both had girlfriends by then anyway. He was a pretty boy and never single for long. There was an awkward exchange in the street in Cheltenham a few years later in which we traded mobile numbers, half knowing we’d never use them, and never did.

Perhaps the dream came about because I’m feeling bored and lonely, frustrated and anxious at the moment. I never get out from this domestic bubble, I have no social life or close friendships, I hardly exercise aside from walking the dog and that currently comes with hayfever misery. I feel sort of trapped due to lack of funds and financial worry. I constantly worry about work and money and the future, and I am easily irritated by C.

She extended her maternity leave so we are still living on top of each other all the time and have petty squabbles not infrequently. Coming back from our first Welsh lesson on the dual-carriageway yesterday, I indicated to overtake a car and came up perhaps a little too close to the car in front, just as the one behind me had also pulled out to overtake. “Are we in a hurry?” C questioned, so I pointedly backed off and slowed right down. We argued over whether she meant for me to slow down, which she insisted she didn’t but I claimed she sort of did, and she grew tremendously irate about it. She can also appear entirely ambivalent to my feelings and loneliness, sexual repression and financial worry. She is wrapped up in a sexless baby-world, concerned by baby safety things, infinite purchases of items we may or may not need, social politics with other mums, baby classes, her own work. She skitters indecisively back and forth, moth-like, struggles with simple decisions, takes fucking forever to do even the simplest of tasks. She can lash out as she did yesterday, comparing mine to a Nigel Farage mentality when I rejected what she said she meant. We are probably on egg-shells around each other far too much.

She’s going to bed a little later now, around 9pm, as E is sleeping a little more consistently from 7.30 – 8ish. But when she goes I am left with the dog and a book or Netflix and am usually pretty bored and fed up, hankering for extra human interaction. So I drift onto social media and that ends up depressing me or making me feel worse about myself.

Work is slow, my summer pipeline is not full, there’s not much to look forward to or be optimistic about, I am woefully under-occupied and constantly beating myself up for not doing more with my time. What should I be doing? What should I be doing? Come on. Create create create. But at the same time, if you look at my life generally – married, beautiful baby daughter, lovely dog, nice enough house, good health – I don’t have much to complain about. E continues to be generally wonderful, a reliable outlet of pure joy where everything else can be forgotten.

In a similar dream vein, a few weeks ago I dreamt about my first girlfriend and she stayed on my mind for a good part of the next day. I skimmed through her Facebook and Instagram accounts. More of the same outdoorsy lifestyle, enviable mountain walking holidays with husband. No sign of a baby yet. Her mother and father had really struggled to have her, I remember. There was at least one miscarriage before her and she is an only child. Perhaps there’s a genetic issue. You can’t really discuss previous relationships and first loves with your current partner. It’s always difficult and hard to know what to do with those lingering feelings.

We populate our brains with these growing shreds of memory and feeling as we age. They get filed away somewhere deep and are unearthed at seemingly random but probably not really random times, injected into dreams to remind or unsettle you further. When the brain offers a distant flashback from a decade or more ago, it feels like a message, like you are being asked to consider yourself anew, like this stuff is not just navelgazing narcissism, but profound and worthy of contemplation. Probably isn’t though.

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